AFL 2023 Round 18: Melksham Magic, Umpire Roseberry 500th, King winning start, Red-hot Giants

AFL 2023 Round 24

Jake Melksham was the toast of Melbourne after he kicked the last two goals of the match to help his side come from behind and defeat Brisbane in an absolute thriller.

The Lions actually looked on course to break their MCG hoodoo, before going down to their 14th loss of their last 15 fixtures at the venue in a heart-breaking ending.

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In a last twist of the tale, the 31-year-old forward (pictured above) took a contested mark and then, with just 33 seconds left on the clock, went back to put the ball through the big sticks, from around 45 yards out, to sparks wild celebrations amongst the Demons fans.

Speaking in the rooms to the club’s website, he said “I knew that was going to be the decider of the game either way, so felt like the weight of the world was on my shoulders. You have just got to go to your process.”

“I do heaps of goalkicking practice. I have missed plenty of goals from that spot but also kicked plenty from that spot so you have just got to believe, which is what I did and went back and slotted it which I was pretty happy about as you saw.”

Sydney coach John Longmire celebrated his 300th match at the helm by watching his players hang on and get over the line against the Western Bulldogs by two points.

As well as being the club’s longest serving gaffer, he became just the 25th person in AFL history to coach 300 games and the 23rd to play and coach a combined 500.

During his twelve years, the 52-year-old has won a premiership, reached four Grand Finals, making finals in all but two seasons and has a winning percentage of 61.71%.

Port Adelaide’s club record 13-match winning streak came to a spectacular halt as they were crushed by an in-form Carlton, under the lid, at Marvel Stadium.

Jesse Motlop (pictured below, left), a late inclusion, and Jack Silvagni (pictured below, right) both booted career-high four majors for the Blues that got off to a good start and went on to lead for the rest of the night.

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Speaking on ground to Fox Footy, captain Patrick Cripps said “We spoke about it at the start of the game, that it doesn’t matter where somebody is on the ladder. We just rock up and bring our pressure, play team first footy then we feel like our best can beat anyone.”

He went on “Port Adelaide and Collingwood are the best teams in the comp, so to come out and play our way, a really powerful brand was great to see and you can see how much it means to us and the fans.”

That result meant Collingwood are now the outright leaders as a devastating ten-goal second term allowed them to put away Fremantle in clinical fashion.

It was a big evening for Brett Rosebury as he became just the second person to umpire 500 VFL/AFL games and he received a guard of honour from both teams.

The 43-year-old, who grew up in Armadale (WA), is currently in his 23rd season and has officiated at nine Grand Finals. He still holds the record for becoming the youngest ever WAFL umpire at 17 years old as well as at AFL level at just 20.

Reigning Premiers Geelong continue to hit their straps and are putting themselves well in contention to challenge for the top four after they thrashed Essendon.

Tom Hawkins chalked up a game-high five goals while Cats supporters were delighted to see the return of fellow forward Jeremy Cameron back to the line-up, following three weeks out on the sidelines, with the season starting to hot up.

A really dirty night for the Bombers, in particular captain Zach Merrett in his 200th, who only recorded 28 inside 50s which is their lowest count on record since 1999.

Greater Western Sydney notched up their fifth interstate triumph of the year as they came from the clouds to run over the top of Adelaide in a fiery encounter at the Oval.

It makes it seven on the trot for the Giants for whom All-Australian Lachie Whitfield became only the third player in the club’s history to reach the 200-game milestone.

New Gold Coast interim coach Steven King (pictured below) enjoyed the perfect start as he watched his side get up to keep their finals chances alive at the expense of St.Kilda.

He took over the reins following the decision by the board to part ways with Stuart Dew, after six years, and he was delighted with the response from the players.

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Speaking in the presser, the Victorian native said “There is a lot of work that goes on behind the scenes to get the players up and looking forward to the challenge today after a very difficult week. That positivity and energy, you are never sure if that is always going to translate to the combative side of the game.”

He continued “The boys control that and it is a testament to their mental strength and resilience to get up for that fight. We saw those signs in the first quarter, there was a lot of scrapping and fighting and geez we were at them. I thought, they have bought in today and it is going to be a good day for the club.”

Over in the west, bottom side West Coast put up a decent fight and made a contest of it before eventually crashing to defeat against top-eight chasing outfit Richmond.

Daniel Rioli really caught the eye with an equal career-best 31 disposals while summer recruits Tim Taranto and Jacob Hopper were excellent in the midfield.

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In a clash between two teams down at the bottom of the ladder, an inaccurate Hawthorn still had too much as they romped to victory over North Melbourne.

A tough afternoon for the Kangas that crashed to their 15th straight loss and suffered a number of injuries throughout the afternoon which hampered their rotations.

Round 18 Results

Sydney 11.12 (78)
Western Bulldogs 11.10 (76)

Melbourne 16.9 (105)
Brisbane 16.8 (104)

Collingwood 18.5 (113)
Fremantle 10.7 (67)

Gold Coast 11.11 (77)
St.Kilda 8.3 (51)

Carlton 18.14 (122)
Port Adelaide 10.12 (72)

Geelong 18.14 (122)
Essendon 7.3 (45)

Adelaide 8.9 (57)
GWS 10.11 (71)

North Melbourne 6.4 (40)
Hawthorn 12.16 (88)

West Coast 8.12 (60)
Richmond 14.14 (98)

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