AFL 2023 Round 19: Elliott magic, Curnow ten-goal haul, Ashcroft injury, In-form Giants, Ratten heartache

AFL 2023 Round 24

Take a bow Jamie Elliott…the forward booted not one, but two clutch goals from out on the boundary, with a very hostile crowd behind him, as leaders Collingwood came from behind to defeat Port Adelaide, in front of a sell-out crowd, by just two points.

The clash between these top two sides on the ladder received quite the build-up, with plenty of media hype around it, and certainly lived up to every part of its billing with all the pundits calling it “the game of the year” and a great advertisement.

The Magpies have become the experts in holding their nerve to win close ones, set a new record last year, and this was their fifth by a single figure margin in 2023.

Speaking in the rooms to Magpies TV, the 30-year-old (pictured below) said “It was pretty crazy. I have lost my voice. I am deaf in my left ear from all the Port Adelaide supporters screaming at me. I am just super proud of this group.”

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“To be honest I didn’t feel any pressure. I was coming back to my routine which is seven and seven, walk and run. It was annoying because I was on the fence, but I just kicked through the ball and fortunate enough it went straight through the middle.”

He added “For three quarters we were there or thereabouts but that last quarter we just showed what we are capable of and our brand of footy. Everyone played their part. I am just on the end of it and fortunate enough to get kicks like that and finish it. But it doesn’t happen without blokes up the field setting it up for me.”

In another exciting fixture, which went right down to the wire, Melbourne managed to hold out and see off the valiant challenge of a surging Adelaide outfit at the MCG.

It was a really brave effort from the Crows that fought their way back into it in the final term. They actually got on level terms before falling just short to continue their poor run of results on the road – this loss effectively ends their September hopes.

Up in Canberra, in-form Greater Western Sydney made it six in a row and burst into the eight, for the first time since the opening weekend, after beating Gold Coast.

With the game in the balance at half-time, the Giants put together a dominant third quarter and never looked back as they went on to record a comfortable success.

Two sides vying for a place in this season’s finals clashed at Marvel Stadium, where the Western Bulldogs produced a strong second half to get up over Essendon.

Despite conceding the fastest goal of the year, after just 19 seconds, the Bulldogs grew into the encounter and were superbly led by captain Marcus Bontempelli (29 disposals, 21 kicks, eleven marks and two goals) to a very important victory.

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Speaking post-match to Channel 7, ‘The Bont’ (pictured above) said “We had to change some things up after quarter-time; credit to them, they wanted to keep the ball off us. I think when we did, we got to work inside and managed to finish the game strong. We were still playing in spurts at times but to see it from quarter-time onwards was a real positive.”

He went on “It was a crucial win, we built it up like that and they probably did as well knowing where we both sit on the ladder. We have still got to keep this going week to week. There are opportunities up ahead, but we can’t let our minds shift too far. Obviously not in a safe position at all, so we have to keep playing our way, keep growing. If we play more and more like that then we will be in a good spot.”

Liam Baker was the hero, snapping the winner in the final minute, as Richmond came from the clouds to break Hawthorn hearts in an exhilarating encounter.

Trialling by five majors, at the end of the third, the Tigers mounted an incredible comeback to get the chocolates and keep themselves just outside the eight.

Charlie Curnow kicked a career-high, monster ten-goal haul as Carlton boosted their percentage by putting bottom side West Coast to the sword in a 71-point triumph.

The 26-year-old key forward, whose previous best was nine against the same opposition earlier this season, now sits firmly on top of the Coleman Medal table.

Brisbane kept up their pursuit of a double chance home final by seeing off the challenge of reigning Premiers Geelong in what proved to be a low scoring affair.

The Lions not only kept the Cats goalless in an opening term, for the first time since 2015, but also their lowest score of the year whilst maintaining their perfect home record – the Gabba is going to prove a real fortress for them come the pointy end.

The only downside, on the night, was the sight of gun midfielder Will Ashcroft, No.2 2022 draft pick, hobbling off the ground after injuring his right knee in a contest.

Speaking in the presser, coach Chris Fagan expressed his concern; he said “We’ll all hope for the best. You’ve got to live in hope that it’s something a little bit less than an ACL. We’ll just see. It’s dampened my mood. I don’t like to see that for any player at any club, any time.”

He added “We’ll obviously get him scanned on Monday and hope for the best. We’re not sure. He feels a little uncertain as well. We’re just hopeful it’s something less than what we all might think it is.”

Lance Franklin, returning back to his hometown of Perth, and Will Hayward both scored three apiece as Sydney travelled interstate and knocked over Fremantle.

It was their fourth success outside the state of New South Wales (NSW), with a powerful opening half setting them up for a result that keeps their campaign alive.

In a scrappy fixture, played in difficult conditions, St.Kilda produced a stunning late showing as they overturned a deficit to get over the line against North Melbourne.

Really tough on Kangas coach Brett Ratten, unceremoniously sacked by the Saints last year, as he saw a potential victory slip away, with the returning Jack Higgins booting the sealer, and condemn his side to their sixteenth consecutive defeat.

Round 19 Results

Essendon 7.7 (49)
Western Bulldogs 13.12 (90)

Richmond 14.12 (96)
Hawthorn 15.5 (95)

Carlton 21.14 (140)
West Coast 10.9 (69)

Brisbane 9.10 (64)
Geelong 7.11 (53)

Fremantle 12.4 (76)
Sydney 16.9 (105)

Port Adelaide 12.11 (83)
Collingwood 13.7 (85)

GWS 15.13 (103)
Gold Coast 9.9 (63)

Melbourne 14.13 (97)
Adelaide 13.15 (93)

St.Kilda 9.15 (69)
North Melbourne 9.7 (61)

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