Round 16 AFL Review

Friday
Hawthorn 9.13.67 defeated Collingwood 9.9.63

At the MCG on Friday night, Hawthorn played host to a Collingwood outfit who has hit a bit of a mid-season slump. Having been settled in second place for most of the season's first half, Collingwood has now suffered two consecutive losses, the first being a belting at the hands of the Kangaroos. This was a game that Hawthorn had to win to have any chance of scraping into the Top 8 at some stage of the year, and in spite of trailing the Magpies throughout the match, key forward Mitch Lewis kicked truly to give the Hawks their first lead at the midway point of the final term. Try as they might the Magpies were unable to re-take the lead, falling to a team that had smaller numbers of every stat except Inside 50s. The Hawks James Scilily was just fantastic, repelling so many of Collingwood's forward moves. He finished the match with 28 Disposals and 14 Marks.

Saturday
Essendon 11.10.76 defeated Sydney 9.12.66

In a huge blow to the Essendon Bombers on Saturday at the MCG, their skipper Dyson Heppell was ruled out of the match against the visiting Sydney Swans. In spite of this big hole in their midfield, the Bombers managed to get over the Swans for a quality win that briefly launched them into the Top 8. After having their lead wrestled from them at the beginning of the third quarter, the Bombers dug deep to get the game back on their terms through a tightening of their defence, which restricted the Sydney-siders to just two goals in the final quarter, while Essendon had most of the play and four goals to win the match. After a pretty quiet year so far, David Zaharakis really stepped up in this match, leading the Bombers with 3 Goals, 22 Disposals and 7 Marks.

Gold Coast 9.4.58 defeated by Richmond 23.12.150

At the Gold Coast on Saturday, the big question on everyone's lips was, "are Richmond the 'real deal' or have the Sun's players just had enough of Season 2019?" This thought would have been crossing people's minds from half-time, when Richmond went into the rooms with the score sitting at Gold Coast 3 Goals 1 point to Richmond's 16 Goals 7 points; the fact that the Suns could only get to around half that score *at the end of the game* shows you how dominant the Tigers were for this match. A bright spot for the home team was that to their credit, the Suns came out of the half-time break and outscored Richmond in the third quarter.
In a break-out game, the Tiger's Jason Castagna was the liveliest of Richmond's lively forward line, finishing with 18 Disposals, 10 Marks and 5 Goals 2 Points. He also gave off a goal and went at a very healthy 90% efficiency with his disposals.

Adelaide 5.14.44 defeated by Port Adelaide 15.11.101
On Saturday night at Adelaide Oval, it was time for the two South Australian teams to renew hostilities on the football field and, looking back at their matches from last round, the Adelaide Crows would have been feeling pretty good about their chances against their city rivals!
During a very even first half, both teams showed patched of quality football but the Crows were having trouble kicking through the big sticks. After the half-time break, it was like Adelaide had spent their rest period listening to Enya CDs, while Port Adelaide had AC/DC turned up to high while draining double espressos. The following two quarters were one-way traffic, with the Power dominating everything you can dominate on a football ground and proving they do have the ability to beat quality teams, but we still can't be sure when they will turn up and do it...

Western Bulldogs 10.11.71 defeated Geelong 7.13.55
At Marvel Stadium on Saturday night the Western Bulldogs were out to make a statement against the most "winning...est" team in the competition this season, the Geelong Cats, but would they have a plan that could negate the competitions best backline and midfield? While it would take until the last quarter for the Doggies to truly stamp their authority on the game, when they did the floodgates certainly opened, and opened wide. In the final quarter, the Bulldogs outscored their Geelong opponents five goals to one, sealing a 16-point win that could be the launch-pad into the finals series the Bulldogs were needing. After a quieter few matches, the Dog's Aaron Naughton again showed why he has been touted as one of the competitions more exciting forwards, finishing up with 14 Disposals, 9 Marks, 2 Hit-outs, 3 Tackles and 4 Goals.

Fremantle 2.19.31 defeated by West Coast 19.8.122

In the Western Derby's latest rematch on Saturday night, the West Coast Eagles landed blow after blow on the Fremantle Dockers until they were left reeling and, obviously from the score, unable to see straight. Not surprisingly this was the lowest score the Eagles have ever kept the Dockers to, on the surprising side, it was only the second biggest winning margin achieved and that was without key forward Josh Kennedy playing, after being a late withdrawal due to illness. After a fiery opening stanza, the game became not so much of a contest as a 'how much will the Eagles win this one by?', event. For the Dockers, Darcy Tucker (29 disposals) was great, especially in a team that was embarrassed, while for the Eagles, well, pretty much every West Coast player won their position. In a strange stat alert, the Dockers had ten more Inside 50s than the Eagles and yet lost by nearly 100 points!

Sunday
Carlton 15.10.100 defeated by Melbourne 15.15.105

At the MCG on Sunday, the Carlton Blues were a part of another tight finish to a match, but this time they were on the wrong side of the ledger, as the Demon's Jayden Hunt scored a goal with just four minutes to play. It turned out to be the winning goal as try as they might, the Blues weren't able to get an answering major on the board and get what would have been an unexpected win. After having put in all the hard work to lead by 38 points during the third quarter, the Demons watched as the Blues put on a six-goal surge, starting midway through the third quarter, to take a very narrow lead as the match clock wound down, but thanks to the accurate kicking of Jayden Hunt, Melbourne got to celebrate an exciting win.

North Melbourne 17.10.112 defeated St. Kilda 11.7.73
Down at Tasmania's Blundstone Arena on Sunday, the resurgent North Melbourne came up against a St Kilda side looking to arrest a losing streak that has seen them fall down into the bottom quarter of the league ladder. As the first quarter siren sounded things weren't looking too good for the Saints, as they were already behind the eight-ball, with the scores sitting at 7.4.47 (Kangaroos) to 1.1.7 (Saints). From that point on while the game evened out, the Saints were never able to make much headway into the Kangaroos lead, going down to the men in the blue and white stripes by 39 points. For St Kilda, Jack Steele worked tirelessly to finish up with a huge 18 tackles while, for North Melbourne, Cameron Zurhaar did his chances of winning the Rising Star award no harm with 16 Disposals, 8 Marks and an equal game-high 5 Goals.

GWS Giants 11.8.74 defeated by Brisbane 14.10.94
In an upset as big as the Bulldogs taking down the Cats the day before, the Brisbane Lions have travelled to the Sydney Showgrounds, to take on the GWS Giants at home, and have left with a solid 20-point win. In a sign of the quickly growing maturity of the Brisbane team, they managed to get an early lead, and withstand the pressure from the opposition when being the hunted (in the last quarter the ball was held in the Giants Forward half of the ground for 70% of the time), not a situation a lion has to deal with very often! In another game where the winning team trailed in nearly all of the important stats, the Lions won this one through making the most of their Inside 50s, taking 27 shots from 50 Inside 50s which resulted in more shots than the Giants.

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