AFL 2023 Round 20: Showdown 54, Carlton down leaders, Scott’s coaching record, Q-Clash, Eagles snap losing streak

AFL 2023 Round 24

Taylor Walker kicked a Showdown-equalling, record seven-goal haul as Adelaide took the honours, in the South Australian derby, by thrashing arch rivals Port.

The 33-year-old, who signed a new one-year deal earlier in the week, picked up the first Showdown Medal of his career, with 15 votes, for a scintillating performance.

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Speaking to the press, ‘Tex’ said “Up the field as a forward I rely heavily on how the ball is moved but at times you need to be able to compete ahead of the ball. It is not always going to come in shoulders out. You have to have a great balance of being able to compete but also when the boys are running at the game, giving me a good look, it’s pretty nice to get on the end of a few.”

On the award, he replied “It’s a nice little feather in the cap but it could have gone to anyone as we had some good performances across the board. I am just happy that at the back end of my career we have kept out finals hopes alive. We have made it a little bit harder for ourselves but there is still light at the end of the tunnel for us.”

Can Carlton supporters finally dare to dream about a first finals appearance since 2013 after watching their team down ladders leaders Collingwood at a packed MCG.

It’s six in a row for the Blues but this one was extra special against their arch rivals – captain Patrick Cripps accepted the Peter Mac Cup, in its 30th year and the longest running charity match in VFL/AFL history, which raises funds for cancer research.

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Coleman medallist leader Charlie Curnow bagged another six-goal haul, taking his season’s tally to 67, and won his first Richard Pratt Medal for a best on field effort.

Speaking on ground to Channel 7, the 26-year-old (pictured below) said “I am a bit speechless to be honest. Just so proud of the way the boys came out and so many good stories.”

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“We always have great games against them and the old players came in to tell us about the old rivalries. This game matters a lot to us, so it is a great game to be in.”

On his form, he replied “It comes off the back of the other boys’ hard work. I am just so happy to be out here and playing footy, which got taken away from me for a while. Loving the feeling of the Blues crowd; how good was today, Friday night footy and what a show.”

The decision to move Harrison Petty as a forward paid huge dividends for Melbourne as he kicked a career-high six snags in their 32-point success over Richmond.

With the match on the line, heading into the final term, the Demons were able to step it up, finish strongly and get the chocolates – ruckman Max Gawn (40 hit-outs, 28 disposals, 11 clearances and 10 score involvements) also really caught the eye.

Two-time Premiership coach Chris Scott set a new record by eclipsing legend Reg Hickey for the most games at the helm in Geelong Football Club history.

He led the Cats to a flag in his first season in charge, back in 2011, and also holds the best winning percentage (68.75%) for any coach with more than 100 games.

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Talking to AFL360, in the lead-up, on his achievement he said “I struggle, especially as a coach, with the personal milestones because I never really thought it appropriate. You are a representative of your club and you work for your players.”

“But to be around for so long, to rack up that number of games is something that I am proud of and appreciative. The club has supported me really well and it is an honour to be, even in some way, associated with Reg Hickey.”

Unfortunately, though, his 305th didn’t go as planned, as he watched his team crash, in the upset of the weekend, going down to lowly Fremantle on their home deck.

Greater Western Sydney made it seven consecutive victories, a new club record, after coming from behind to run over the top of the Western Bulldogs in Ballarat.

Captain Toby Greene was the star and led by example, booting five majors, to continue the Giants impressive form and put themselves into top four contention.

In the other derby encounter of the round, which took place up in Queensland, Gold Coast secured their first triumph, since 2018, over Brisbane in the Q-Clash.

Ben King hit the scoreboard with five goals while Suns co-captain Touk Miller (pictured below) (29 disposals, five marks and five tackles) won his fourth Marcus Ashcroft Medal for a superb showing that included nullifying the threat of Lions midfielder Lache Neale.

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Speaking in the presser, coach Steven King said “You can’t allow teams to push and shove you around and get the wood on you and that had happened in the past. I think our playing group had, had enough. As a footy club we’d had enough of honourable losses and coming up short.”

“This group is unbelievable. When we’re connected for four quarters, this is the result. We knew our best is good enough to challenge any team. The disappointment of last week was a source of motivation for us.”

He concluded “This win means more than four points. It builds belief.”

St.Kilda chalked up their biggest score of the year to remain firmly in the all-important eight after seeing off the challenge of a spirited Hawthorn outfit.

They got off to a fast start, including a club record five goals from centre bounce clearances in the opening quarter, which laid the foundation to get the job done.

Joel Amartey booted a career-high four goals as last year’s Grand Finalists Sydney kept their September hopes alive by winning a thrilling contest against Essendon.

In co-captain Callum Mills 150th game, the Swans were really made to work for it as they came under siege from a surging Bombers in the last quarter but just held out.

Closing out the action, over in the west, saw the bottom two on the ladder lock horns with West Coast snapping a 16-game losing streak by beating North Melbourne.

They put their fans through it though, the Kangas came hard in the last, before the final siren which was met with a sheer outpouring of emotion and celebration.

Round 20 Results

Collingwood 10.16 (76)
Carlton 14.9 (93)

Geelong 9.10 (64)
Fremantle 10.11 (71)

Western Bulldogs 10.13 (73)
GWS 11.12 (78)

Gold Coast 15.6 (96)
Brisbane 7.13 (55)

Essendon 15.9 (99)
Sydney 15.11 (101)

Adelaide 16.16 (112)
Port Adelaide 9.11 (65)

Hawthorn 14.9 (93)
St.Kilda 19.8 (122)

Richmond 15.8 (98)
Melbourne 20.10 (130)

West Coast 10.12 (72)
North Melbourne 10.7 (67)

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