Round 8 AFL Review

Friday
Sydney 11.11.77 defeated Essendon 10.12.72

Wow, what an exciting start to Round 8 of the AFL season we had up at the SCG on Friday night! - I've recently read that we need more exclamation marks in writing, so expect to see as many as I can reasonably get away with!
After having lost their previous two matches, the Bombers came out looking like a team who wanted to stop the rot and get back on the winner's list and they held sway for the majority of the first three quarters. In their usual fashion, the Swans never let their heads drop and went about the business of reeling in their opposition on their preferred home ground, and reel them in they did! In a rather uninspiring match, the Swans got away with a fortunate win; Essendon's Myers' shot on goal *after the siren* fell short of the big sticks. Yep, he had a chance to be an absolute hero buuut... this turned out not to be one of those Disney Moments.
For the Bombers Fantasia (pronounce it correctly will you Brian...) was the most dangerous forward on the ground, kicking 4 goals straight, while Luke Parker (33 disp, 12 of them contested, and 5 tackles) put in another great game for the Swans.

Saturday
Western Bulldogs 13.14.92 defeated Brisbane 11.10.76

Which sadist thought to put two teams up in Ballarat as we move into Winter? I don't get it, and bet the Lion's players wish they weren't a part of this tortuous AFL experiment!
While Brisbane was full of run early, they were wasteful with some good opportunities eg. Eric Hipwood had 5 points before registering a major! This left the door open for an improving Bulldogs outfit, who find themselves on 4-4 after taking control of this game from the final minutes of the 2nd quarter onward. While the Doggies are definitely playing better football of late, I am pretty sure I saw some of the Lion's joints start to seize up, not to mention around a third of their players concerned about 'doing a hammy' duy to 'icicleitis'!
Ex-VFL player Dunkley probably played his best game in the red, white and blue, racking up 36 disposals (22 of them contested!), 10 clearances, 8 tackles and a goal. Great game!

Carlton 13.9.87 defeated by Collingwood 16.10.106
In a game most were expecting to be a black-and-whitewash, the Blues put up a surprisingly good performance at the MCG on Saturday. While the scoreline may make it appear that the Pies had a pretty comfortable win, they really had to work hard for it and only got away from Carlton in the final term, where they piled on 7 goals to the Blue's 3.
While new Blue McGovern lead all scorers with 3 goals, the Pies spread scoring duties around quite evenly, with six of their players finishing with 2 goals.
Collingwood fans would have to be rapt with the development of Tom Phillips who, once again, was in the top handful of possession winners on the ground, and also managed a lazy couple of goals to go with his 34 disposals.

Gold Coast 9.6.60 defeated by Melbourne 8.13.61
Just when you thought that the Sydney v Essendon game had an exciting ending, which it did, along comes this match, and while neither team is doing anything amazing in 2019, they certainly put on a performance that had both side's fan holding their breath, especially for the final minute of the match, where the result was very much up for grabs!
With just under a minute to play, the Sun's Nick Holman (19 disp, 12 tackles and 2 goals) ran the length of Metricon to dribble through what looked like the sealer for Gold Coast, as it put them six points up. Thirty seconds later the Dees shuffle the ball forward and find an open Hoare who kicks a goal, from 50 out, to level the game at 60 points apiece. Melbourne's Tom McDonald rushes a kick on goal, knowing that any score will do, hits the post and gets his team the win.
While it wasn't the prettiest football ever seen, it sure was exciting! (is anyone keeping count of these things yet?)

St. Kilda 10.10.70 defeated by West Coast 12.16.88

In the Saturday night game at Marvel Stadium, we had the reigning premiers visiting an improved St Kilda.
Throughout the match, the St Kilda defenders did a great job working together to limit the impact that the Eagle's Darling or Kennedy had on the contest. However, the work they put into these two did give a bit more room to others, with Oscar Allen (2 goals) and the exciting Liam Ryan (1 goal 4 points) finding a bit of space to work in. Still, you can never contain everyone and the Saints had their plan and stuck to it well!
While the Eagles have their Top 5 possession winners, who are usually the same week-to-week, the Saints are doing a great job of spreading the load across the team.
For everyone who has been wondering the same thing during this part of the review... Yes, the Eagles did win the important 'Interchange' battle, taking it out 84 to 79. Something the players and coaches are pretty happy about!

Port Adelaide 9.14.68 defeated by Adelaide 13.10.88
After having been 44 points up in the early stages of the last quarter, the Adelaide Crows almost managed to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory in their contest with cross-town rivals, Port Power on Saturday night.
For those of you in Victoria, NSW, Tasmania, anywhere other than S.A., this game has particular importance. Until the next time these two teams meet, the winning team's fans, being the Adelaide Crows, get to heap ridicule and scorn upon those fans of the losing team, which this time is Port Adelaide. While it is a great time for the winners, it's not so brilliant for the others, and with the Power only kicking 3 goals to three-quarter time, Power fans could be excused for making a mad dash for the carpark before the final siren sounded and the torment began.
Crows fans rejoice, your time in the sun has begun!

Sunday
North Melbourne 11.14.80 defeated by Geelong 16.8.104

While I think he shouldn't have been playing in this match, due to suspension, Gary Abblet was both his team's saviour as well as likely to get looked at for another "oh, I didn't mean to elbow him in the head" incident, which you can see the AFL Twitter feed (the video may, or may not, work depending on if Ablett is officially charged).
In a fast-paced, and high-quality match between these two teams at Marvel Stadium, North Melbourne kept coming at the ladder leaders, but every time they did it was like Ablett was there to keep on driving them back, ensuring the Cats would keep their win streak intact and their position at the top of the ladder in place.
In a good 'battle of the key-forwards', Ben Brown (11 disp, 8 marks and 5 goals) played his role really well, while Tom Hawkins (12 disp, 5 marks and 4 goals) certainly helped his team get across the line, while being on the end of much hard work done.

Hawthorn 10.11.71 defeated GWS Giants 5.8.38

In the 2019 AFL tradition, there has to be at least one major upset a week, and so far for Round 8, this has been it! While there are some facts that can be used as a 'why you should have picked Hawthorn this round' prompters, being 1. GWS is pretty ordinary at the MCG and 2. Out of their previous four meetings, the best GWS has done is a draw. I could probably add one more of, GWS seem to get ahead of themselves pretty easily, and often. For the Hawks, they are a well-coached team that always comes to games ready to play. I used to think that teams had 'bogey teams', I don't feel quite the same way anymore. I think it is more about the system that team plays, and Hawthorn played in a way that gave the Giants an absolute bath; I mean, GWS only kicked 5 goals! With all of that talent, they kicked just 5 goals...
Hawthorn is still lurking around the Top 8 while the Giants have dropped a place after this loss.

Fremantle 12.14.86 Richmond 17.9.111

And there we have it, Richmond has provided upset No 2 for the round by knocking off Fremantle at their home-ground.
While Nat Fyfe (33 disp, 7 clearances, 9 inside 50s and 3 goals) was in commanding form I wanted to touch on who the Tigers were missing, by half-time, from what would be their starting 22 . Those I can think of are Rance, Cotchin, Riewoldt, Grigg, Vlaustin, Short and Rioli, who were out from the start. They then had their ruckman go down in the first-quarter and gun recruit Ross out of action before half-time. Things were so dire they moved a goalless backman up to be the full-forward, where he even kicked his first ever AFL goal! I mention these things as it really shows that the players left (who should all take-out some form of extra insurance ASAP) played a fantastic game to get past the Dockers!
One last note, this game may see the emergence of the highly-talented, and springy, Shai Bolton. The WA native played an amazing game and ended with a game-high 4 goals.

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