AFL 2023 Round 17: Pendlebury smashes record, Tuohy makes history, Dixon 200th, Gunston kicks a bag

AFL 2023 Round 24

Ladder leaders Collingwood remain in pole position after coming out on top, in the big Friday night blockbuster, with a hard fought success over the Western Bulldogs.

Midfielder Nick Daicos (pictured below) (29 disposals, 15 contested possessions, 11 clearances, six tackles and two goals), the current favourite for this year’s Brownlow, picked up the Bob Rose-Charlie Sutton Medal with another scintillating best on ground effort.

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It was a special night for Scott Pendlebury, in his 373rd senior game, who early in the third quarter broke the AFL/VFL record for the most career disposals, previous held by Robert Harvey, and received a standing ovation from the Magpies supporters.

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Speaking on ground to Channel 7, the 35-year-old said “It was pretty loud when I got the ball so I knew I must have been around the mark. To be honest it was nice to get it done and out the way. The boys looked after me and fed me a few little ones.”

He added “Most important thing was we got the win, it was a really tough game. We didn’t start too well but clawed our way back into it and managed to get over the top.”

Right behind them, in second place only by percentage, are Port Adelaide that made it a club record thirteen consecutive victories by putting away Gold Coast in style.

They were severely challenged in the first half, by the Suns, and actually trialled at the main break. However, they came out firing with a devastating nine-goal third quarter and from there never looked back in Charlie Dixon’s 200th AFL match.

Jack Gunston marked his return with an equal career-high six majors as Brisbane kept up the pressure on the two front runners by defeating West Coast with ease.

In a very one-sided affair, they could have won by a bigger margin than 81 points, with more accurate kicking, but, none the less, still boosted their percentage.

Christian Petracca flourished playing in a more forward role as he chalked up an equal career-high four snags as Melbourne got up over an undermanned St.Kilda.

They were helped in their triumph by the Saints enduring some bad luck, on the night, losing the trio of Sebastian Ross (hamstring), Max King (shoulder) and Zaine Cordy (concussion), all in the first quarter, which severely hampered their rotations.

While this contest saw Christian Salem make his 150th appearance for the Demons, it also marked the debut for Taj Woewodin, son of 2000 Brownlow Medallist Shane, who was called up to the senior side having impressed in the VFL for Casey.

Speaking post-match to Seven+, the 20-year-old said “It was good to be out there. Definitely quicker than in the VFL, but it was good to get the win with the boys.”

He went on “Nerves weren’t too bad, been in and around it the last couple of weeks, so it was good to kind of get off the track and into it; I felt pretty good.”

Richmond produced a strong finish, having been behind for most of it, to boost their finals chances after getting over the line against Sydney in a real arm wrestle.

Jack Riewoldt (pictured below with his daughter Hazel) got on the scoresheet, taking his career tally to 779 goals, to leapfrog Kevin Bartlett and move into outright second on the Tigers’ all-time goalkicking table.

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They handed debuts to Sam Banks and Jacob Bauer – unfortunately, for the latter, he had an evening to forget, suffering a left hamstring injury after just 78 seconds, and now holds the unwanted record for the fastest substitution in AFL history.

Two sides hoping to be in the mix come September clashed, under the lid at Marvel Stadium, where Essendon beat Adelaide in an exciting, high-scoring encounter.

Bombers captain Zac Merrett led by example with an awesome display, which included 39 disposals, seven inside 50s, seven score involvements, five intercept possessions and a goal, to help his side hold off the challenge from the Crows.

Zach Tuohy broke the all-time record appearance for an Irish player in the AFL/VFL by making his 265th start in Geelong’s 62-point thrashing of lowly North Melbourne.

The 33-year-old, born in Portlaoise, arrived in Australia back in 2009 and surpasses the long-standing record held by Jim Stynes to write himself into the sport’s history.

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Speaking to the club’s website on his achievement, he said “I’m obviously super appreciative of the recognition. I haven’t really thought about it until recent weeks when it got closer, I wasn’t sure what to expect in the build up to it. The club are really good at celebrating our people so it’s nice.”

“My goal initially was to play one game, then maybe 100-games seemed like a good effort for an Irish player. I genuinely never thought I’d get here, not that I thought I couldn’t, it was just never on the horizon for me.”

On the impact of Stynes, he added “I don’t think I appreciated the significance of the impact Jim Stynes had on the game; I only really got to understand it when I came out here. He is everyone’s hero; you almost feel guilty playing more games than him. I think it’s mostly because I don’t really feel like I belong in Jim’s category as a player, and obviously not in terms of legacy.”

“With Jim’s legacy, I’m not sure how long clubs would continue to pursue Irish players if we didn’t have Jim initially, then Sean Wight at the time and then Tadgh Kennelly. It’s hard to know if I would’ve been given the opportunity to make it this far if those guys hadn’t forged their careers before me.”

In-form Greater Western Sydney boosted their top-eight chances, making it four in a row for the first time since 2018, by getting the job done against a plucky Hawthorn.

Forwards Jake Riccardi and Jesse Hogan combined for seven majors while, at the other end, All-Australian Sam Taylor was immense down back for the Giants.

Closing out this latest round, over in the west, saw Carlton produce a dominant display as they led all evening and hammered a poor Fremantle on their home deck.

The Dockers got off to a terrible opening and, in truth, never really got going as they went down to their heaviest home defeat to leave their finals hopes in tatters.

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Round 17 Results

Richmond 12.16 (88)
Sydney 11.9 (75)

Western Bulldogs 11.11 (77)
Collingwood 13.11 (89)

Brisbane 16.20 (116)
West Coast 5.5 (35)

GWS 12.13 (85)
Hawthorn 10.12 (72)

St.Kilda 8.10 (58)
Melbourne 12.7 (79)

Port Adelaide 16.10 (106)
Gold Coast 11.7 (73)

Geelong 19.11 (125)
North Melbourne 9.9 (63)

Essendon 17.13 (115)
Adelaide 15.7 (97)

Fremantle 6.9 (45)
Carlton 14.14 (98)

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