AFL 2023 Round 16: Houston Heroics, Giants upset Dees, GF Re-Run, Blues thrash Hawks

AFL 2023 Round 24

Dan Houston was the hero, kicking the winner after the final siren, as Port Adelaide got over the line to break Essendon hearts and win an absolute thriller at the ‘G’.

The defender made an intercept mark, then went back and held his nerve to score with a huge effort, from 55 metres out, that just crept over the line – the goal given following a score review – to the delight of the travelling Power supporters.

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It means that they now make it a club record twelve triumphs in a row and are in a very rich vein of form, which bodes well, as they look to lock in a top two spot.

Speaking on ground to Channel 7, about his big moment, he said “I put my boot through it. Trent McKenzie told me if I missed it, he still loved me, which meant a bit. I think the wet ball helped it sail through. But it was a good win by the boys.”

Collingwood travelled interstate and showcased why they are top of the ladder and the bookies favourites for the flag by doing a real demolition job on Gold Coast.

Seen as a potential banana skin, the Magpies were superior throughout and the contest that was effectively over, by the half-time interval, such was their dominance.

A really dirty night for the Suns, playing before only their second ever sold-out crowd, as they had a chance to impress on the big stage but frankly were never in it at all.

No doubting the standout result of the round, which came up in the Northern Territories, where Greater Western Sydney hung on to get up over Melbourne.

In a low scoring affair, not helped by the wind/rain, Josh Kelly (pictured below) scored what turned out to be the sealer for the Giants that then faced some real nervous moments, in the last few minutes, coming under siege and forced into some desperate defending.

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Post-siren to Channel 7, the midfielder said “Glad to get the win. To have a crowd like this out in Alice Springs and hopefully the community enjoys having us out here. They were unreal. Great opportunity for us to play here.”

On the conditions, he added “You have to adapt. It was what it is. You have to come out and keep the ball moving forward. That was a big part of it. We love it.”

Brisbane flexed their muscles with a superb four quarter performance, maintaining their perfect home record (seven-zip), in the thrashing of Richmond at the Gabba.

The Lions proved too strong and led for the whole evening, increasing their lead at every change, to secure a ‘W’ that keeps them in contention with the front runners.

Two teams vying for a place in the all-important eight met at Marvel Stadium where the Western Bulldogs produced a big final term to run over the top of Fremantle.

With the game on the line and up for grabs it was the Doggies, for whom ruckman Tim English made his 100th start and Jamarra Ugle-Hagan kicked four snags, that stood up and, in doing so, bucked the trend of clubs losing coming off the bye.

In a re-run of last year’s Grand Final, Sydney and Geelong could not be separated and drew for their very first time in the history of the competition (231 encounters).

A scrappy contest saw the Swans coming away the more aggrieved that they didn’t get the chocolates and were left to rue some real missed opportunities to win it.

They hit the post on four occasions and, in the final moments, had the last two scoring shots, which were both gettable goals, but only went through for behinds.

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Speaking in the presser, coach John Longmire (pictured above) said “It’s always a strange feeling, you sit there, you’re not really sure how to feel. It’s a bit of ‘Geez that first half we played some really good footy and we just didn’t hit the scoreboard’.”

“Then we got eight points down and we fought back so it’s a strange one. You don’t know how to feel after games like that. We just need to hit the scoreboard a bit better than what we did.”

Carlton scored their biggest victory margin (60 points) over rivals Hawthron since 1995, which keeps them in the hunt for a first finals appearance in a decade.

The returning Charlie Curnow and Jack Martin grabbed three majors apiece whilst midfielder Adam Cerra (27 disposals, seven tackles, six clearances and two goals) was the real standout player for the Blues that enjoyed a straightforward afternoon.

As for the Hawks, they were kept goalless at the main break for the first time since 2017, only the second ever time at the MCG, and will want to move on quickly.

Izak Rakine booted a career-high five goals as free-scoring Adelaide belted lowly North Melbourne, by 66 points, in front of a packed house at a sun drenched Oval.

The Crows were certainly in a contest early on but then were able to go up a gear, in the second quarter, and pull away – fellow forward Taylor Walker chalked up three of his own, taking his season tally to 46, to keep him top of the Coleman Medal table.

Closing out the round, young forward Mitch Owens kicked a career-best four majors as St.Kilda survived a mighty scare before getting past bottom side West Coast.

It looked like the Eagles, who suffered the heaviest defeat in their history just last weekend, might be on the verge of pulling off a massive shock as they led at the end of the third but, despite a very spirited display, just fell agonisingly short.

Despite another defeat, the home crowd gave their players a standing ovation at the end, acknowledging the effort; something that has not always been there.

Round 16 Results

Brisbane 20.14 (134)
Richmond 7.11 (53)

Sydney 6.18 (54)
Geelong 7.12 (54)

Adelaide 21.12 (138)
North Melbourne 11.6 (72)

Western Bulldogs 16.6 (102)
Fremantle 11.7 (73)

Gold Coast 5.12 (42)
Collingwood 18.12 (120)

Essendon 10.14 (74)
Port Adelaide 11.12 (78)

Hawthorn 7.10 (52)
Carlton 17.10 (112)

Melbourne 5.15 (45)
GWS 7.5 (47)

West Coast 12.5 (77)
St.Kilda 12.13 (85)

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