AFL 2023 Round 15: Chris Scott 300th, Magpies back on top, Spuds Game, Swans thrash Eagles

AFL 2023 Round 24

Geelong boss Chris Scott celebrated his 300th match in charge of the club, in the perfect way, by seeing his side finish strongly to see off the challenge of Melbourne.

The 47-year-old, who won a Premiership twice as both a player and a coach, took over the reins in 2011; he has the highest winning percentage of any AFL coach.

He has never finished with a losing record in any season and has a remarkable run of making finals in eleven of the last twelve campaigns; missing out once in 2015.

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Speaking in the presser, post-siren, he said “The conditions made the game a bit of a slog at times, so it became a game of will as much of a game of method.

“I thought as the game went on, we adapted better. I thought they had control of that battle for a while and we thought big parts were going against us. However, when that happens and you can find a way to win the game, then coaching feels good.”

Asked about reaching the milestone, he modestly replied “The 300 games has snuck up on me. I don’t want to display any false modesty or self-deprecation but players play 300 games, the coach just has to turn up. I haven’t been injured once for one of these 300 games!”

Sydney recorded their joint biggest winning margin and also chalked up their second highest score, in club history, as the hammered a woeful West Coast by 171 points.

The returning Isaac Heeney (pictured below), Logan McDonald and Joel Amartey amongst the goalscorers for the rampant Swans that won’t have an easier afternoon this season.

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Just when Eagles fans thought that this year couldn’t get any worse they see their side slump to their heaviest ever defeat, in a really embarrassing effort, that will only further questions as to just how bad things are going to get for the WA outfit.

Speculation will no doubt focus on the future of Adam Simpson, who is in a very difficult position with his side so decimated by injuries, but he was defiant in his press conference, still feels he is the man for the job and, long-term, will get them out of it.

Collingwood returned to the top of the ladder, on percentage, after coming from behind to get over the line against Adelaide in an absolute thriller at the MCG.

Played before 65,930 – a record home and away crowd between these two teams – the Magpies, that made a real name for themselves last year for winning the close ones, needed all that experience to see off the brave challenge from the Crows.

This contest saw the welcome return of vice-captain Jeremy Howe (pictured below) as he came back into the side after three months out with a broken arm and the subsequent rehab.

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Speaking in the rooms to Magpies TV, the defender said “Nothing like coming back to a nail-biting win. It was amazing and everything I hoped for; great to get the result and exciting to be back on the ‘G’ with a packed crowd.

“The arm actually got through it really well, didn’t have any awkward incidents. I fell down a couple of times which is great, probably want to get yourselves in those scenarios to test it out and it all come up really well.”

He added “The boys looked after me today, I felt like the backline as a unit worked so well. They made my job easier and I hope I did a bit for them as well.”

Fremantle bounced back from last weekend’s horror show with a solid performance that saw them get the job done over Essendon, in front of 43,063 at Optus Stadium.

The return of ruckman Sean Darcy to the line-up, following two weeks out with a hamstring injury, was a real boost for the Dockers. It allowed Luke Jackson to push more forward, which paid dividends as he hit the scoreboard with three majors.

The Brisbane players gave their gaffer Chris Fagan the best birthday present by getting up over St.Kilda in the annual ‘Spuds Game’, which aims to raise life-saving funds to deliver pioneering mental health and suicide prevention programs.

In a touching tribute to Danny ‘Spud’ Frawley, who tragically died in 2019, the two teams and umpires came together to join arms in the centre of the ground. Hawthorn legend Jason Dunstall then addressed them, the crowd and the broadcast audience, urging everyone to take two minutes to talk to a mate about mental health.

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Lions forward Eric Hipwood continued his recent good form in front of the big sticks with four majors, enjoying his best outing against the Saints, in a fine display.

Talking in the rooms to Lions TV, the 25-year-old (pictured below) said “It was an arm wrestle. We knew that St.Kilda were going to bring it for four quarters and it was good to be on the right side when the siren went; really proud of the way the boys fought it out.

“I think the ball movement helped me a fair bit, really well controlled and I reaped the rewards really; thought our defenders and midfielders played exceptionally well.”

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On his current form “Not too much has changed to be honest, kicking accurately helps! I have just reaped the rewards of our ball movement and that is as simple as it is – been able to put myself in some good spots.

“We have got such a good forward line and so many avenues to go and I have just been lucky that the last couple of weeks I have been on the end of them.”

In the final action of the weekend, Gold Coast bounced back from a sluggish opening before going on to dominate and thrash a disappointing Hawthorn by 67 points.

Midfielder Brayden Fiorini (35 disposals, 25 kicks and 8 score involvements) had a real stand out display for the Suns whose pressure proved simply overwhelming.

They were able to generate plenty of opportunity with 68 inside 50s whilst also excellent down back in restricting the Hawks to their lowest score of the year.

Round 15 Results

Geelong 11.12 (78)
Melbourne 8.15 (63)

St.Kilda 8.8 (56)
Brisbane 12.12 (84)

Sydney 31.19 (205)
West Coast 5.4 (34)

Fremantle 14.9 (93)
Essendon 9.7 (61)

Collingwood 12.10 (82)
Adelaide 11.14 (80)

Gold Coast 14.17 (101)
Hawthorn 5.4 (34)

Bye: Carlton, Greater Western Sydney, North Melbourne, Port Adelaide Richmond, Western Bulldogs

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