Round 7 AFL Review

Friday
Collingwood 15.18.108 defeated Port Adelaide 10.9.69

In the Friday night game this week we got to watch a fast-starting Magpies burst out of the gates to kick 7 goals to 0 in the first quarter; I believe the Collingwood coaching staff cracked out the banana lounges early in the second quarter and partook of several pina coladas. After getting such a great lead so early, this Firday night match would have been more relaxing than most.
While Port Adelaide had shown some quality moments in past games, when they would flow smoothly from one end of the ground the other, their Collingwood opponents allowed no such freedom in this match, dominating possession right from the first bounce of the ball. While the Magpie forwards were efficient, Ben Ried must have forgotten his 'kicking boots' for a pair of slip-ons, kicking 1 goal and 4 behinds for the night, the Power forwards just didn't get the ball often enough to really show off what they could do. They also missed the quality of high-forward Gray for the match.
The Magpies are starting to play the type of footy that had many people expecting them to be real contenders for this year's flag!

Saturday
Melbourne 11.13.79 defeated Hawthorn 11.8.74

Well, there you have it folks! Melbourne has held off Hawthorn to record their second win for the 2019 season. While I have seen lots of "the Demons get their season back on track..." type of articles, I think the journalists pumping out such headlines need to take a deep breath! While I am sure all Melbourne supporters, not to mention the players, are rapt with the win, it is just that... a single win.
Even though the Hawks had the dominant forwards in Bruest (4 goals) and Gunston (3 goals), it was the Demons who had the midfield dominance and more shots on goals, this time they managed to convert enough of them into six-pointers, and with playing the Suns next weekend, the Dees have a shot to build some momentum in the middle part of the year.

GWS Giants 18.6.114 defeated St. Kilda 10.10.70
The GWS player's radars were on target for this game in Canberra on Saturday afternoon, and doesn't it make a difference!
Through the first two-quarters the Giants were looking like they were going to stomp all over their St Kilda opponents, but then the Saints had a dominant patch either side of the half-time break, enabling them to peg the deficit back to a manageable 16 points early in the third quarter. Unfortunately, for the Saints, that only seemed to wake the Giants up from a brief slumber; sorry fellas, no time for a Winter-long hibernation today! The Giant's tall-timber of Cameron (6 goals) and Himmelberg (2 goals) took up the challenge by slotting the next few goals to halt any chance of a St Kilda upset.
Even with losing gun midfielder Witfield for the game, the Saints had no answer for the Giant's midfield and half-back line over the four-quarters and, in spite of a determined St Kilda performance, the Saints were simply unable to keep up with the likes of Haynes (26 disp and 9 marks), Taranto (28 disp and 5 marks) and Williams (30 disp and 8 marks) et al.

Brisbane 14.19.103 defeated Sydney 12.9.81
Even with the Lions getting out to a 5-goal lead by quarter time, the Swans didn't panic and had it pretty much pegged back to an even game going into the half-time break. The Lions then came out in the third and had nine scoring shots to Sydney's three, and yet they missed waaay more than they made, keeping the door very much open for the always tough Sydney-siders. It wasn't until the end of the third-quarter that the Lions were able to get some breathing space, taking a 15 point lead into the last. With a pretty even tussle throughout the last-quarter, the Lions would be happy to leave the ground with a 22 point win.
For the Swans, I thought Sam Ried, as a key-forward, really needs to do more. While he had 8 tackles, he only took 6 marks and kicked a point. I don't know if Sydney has anyone in the wings, but it could be time to give them a run in Reid's place. The Brisbane Lions will be really happy with the progress of their young players and will continue to put important games into them on their AFL journey.

Western Bulldogs 15.9.99 defeated Richmond 7.10.52
The Bulldogs managed to make Luke Beveridge's 100th game at the helm of the team a memorable one, by running out 47 point winners over a disappointingly flat Richmond outfit on Saturday night. In a game that many had pencilled in as a win for the Tigers, the Bulldogs midfield exposed their opponents through both ball-winning ability and their quick spread; it's like peanut butter but different... By the end of the game, the Bulldogs had amassed 440 disposals to the Tigers 328, an absolute wholloping in anyone's book!
While the Tigers should be concerned that their best player on the night was probably a guy who was playing in just his third game, the Doggies had no such worries. Right across the field, the Bulldogs played better, faster, more exciting football than Richmond, with Bontompeli, McRae and Dunkley all great, NOT TO FORGET the awesome display of marking put on by Aaron Naughton, who just missed out on equalling Wayne Carey's record for most contested marks in a game, with 9.

West Coast 11.14.80 defeated Gold Coast 8.9.57
After a thumping from Geelong last week, the Eagles were back at home and looking to get their season back on track against the Gold Coast Suns. And they did.
The Eagles have made for an interesting study of late; even though they seem to get the ball A LOT (they won this stat 383 to 354) they just don't appear to be as attacking with it as they have been in the past, see - last season. I also think their midfielders are kicking fewer goals this season, but that is something that would need more investigation if I had the time or inclination... On this, you can comment on this post and let us know if you agree.
While the Suns staged a great comeback, from 42 points down in the third quarter to get within 16 points, it was always going to be really tough to make up so much ground on a team the quality of the Eagles.
Without going into detail about them, the usual West Coast players stood up again on Saturday, but I wanted to make mention of the great form of Gold Coast co-Captain, Jarrod Witts. Against the Eagles he had 60 hit-outs, which shows a massive work-rate. The week before, against the Lions, he tallied 43 hit-outs and even when his side was trounced by the Crows, the week prior again, Witts managed 17 disposals, 5 marks, 5 tackles and 46 hit-outs. He has taken a big step up this season and would now be right up there with the established premier ruckmen of the AFL.

Sunday
Carlton 8.14.62 defeated by North Melbourne 18.12.120

These two lower placed teams went head-to-head at Marvel Stadium Sunday afternoon, and with both teams desperate for a win I was hoping to see, at the least, a willing contest between them. Boy was I wrong!
With Carlton missing players the quality of Kade Simpson, Mitch McGovern, Nic Newman and Matthew Kreuzer, the Kangaroos were certainly in the box-seat to get a solid win on the board, but would they?
Right from the start the Roos bounded out of the gates and proceeded to jump all over their Carton opponents (see what I did there?). Unfortunately for their Blue opponents, they only had a spud gun to fire back with.
With Blue, Patrick Cripps (26 disp and 2 goals) being somewhat held, and Shaun Higgins (37 disp) back into the fold for the Roos, the only thing that would have made the Kangaroo coaching staff happier would be Ben Brown kicking a goal or two... and he did! Brown finished the game with 4 goals and 1 behind.
Who knows, Brad Scott may have even cracked a smile. Maybe...

Geelong 13.8.86 defeated Essendon 7.12.54
In a game I was really looking forward to last weekend, the super in-form Geelong were taking on the rising Essendon, and while both teams had some unfortunate outs, this had the makings of a good game.
So what went right for the Cats and wrong for the Bombers? A point in the last quarter summed this up for me... After Tom Hawkins (2 goals) kicked a goal early in the fourth, the Bombers went on to record five behinds before being able to slot a major. This made for two goals and five points for the term. If the score had been reversed, the game could have finished quite differently! But you have to hand it to the Cats, they have all their players on the same tram with valid Myki cards, and it is working really well for them. Even with Scott Selwood ruled out of the game beforehand, the Cats came out and played like everything was exactly as it should be, and credit to them for it.

Adelaide 7.9.51 defeated Fremantle 5.4.34
After seeing the quarter and half-time scores in the match I went and had a look at the BoM's radar. Was it pouring with rain in Adelaide? Were the winds so strong that cats were being blown into trees? No and No... So why then was the half-time scoreline, Adelaide 1.6.12 to Fremantle 2.2.14? Fortunately, things picked up in the second half. Well, picked up a little bit.
In a game that never hit any highs, Adelaide managed to kick six second-half goals, to Fremantle's three, to win a match that I doubt either team will want to watch again anytime soon! I mean, just an 85 point total across both teams...?
In good news for both teams, and a rarity across the start of the season, neither side appears to have suffered any injuries. Yay!

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