Round 17 AFL Review

Friday
West Coast 12.5.77 defeated by Collingwood 11.12.78

On a perfect Friday night for football at Optus Stadium, the Collingwood Magpies made their way to Perth to take on the in-form West Coast Eagles. In a match that was close throughout, the Magpies have triumphed over a newer rival to end up one-point winners of a very high-intensity, and exciting game of footy. In spite of the Eagles holding sway for most of the match, they were never able to create any decent lead over the visiting Magpies, and once the third-quarter rolled on, the Magpies lifted a gear and made everything hard for the Eagles once the ball got near the grass. This intensity picked-up even more in the last, where the ball spent nearly 80% of the time in Collingwood's half of the ground. At the end of the match, the Pies had moved up to second spot on the ladder and Nathan Buckley was a much happier coach.

Saturday
Sydney 8.14.62 defeated by Carlton 9.15.69

On a blustery afternoon in Sydney, the Swans came up against the improved Carlton Blues looking to get their first win at the SCG for a very long time, and with the injuries, the Sydney team had at the moment, the time for them to cause an upset hasn't been better. After seeing the opposition have most of the play to start the match, the Swans dug in to turn the match into the type of game they perform best in, a wrestle, but could they put the breaks on the Blues? With Sydney having to use Alir Alir (15 Disp, 3 Marks and 12 Hit-outs) in the ruck, not only did it rob Sydney of a quality tall in their backline, but Matthew Kreuzer (19 Disp, 2 Marks and 45 Hit-outs) still dominated the ruck, helping his team to first use of the ball.

Hawthorn 12.12.84 defeated Fremantle 8.5.53
On a tough day for football in Tasmania, the Hawks were looking to keep their great record at UTAS intact against a Dockers team that has had a form drop-off across the past few rounds. While Hawthorn managed to pull out a nice lead across the first two-quarters, having kept Fremantle goalless in the first quarter, the Dockers kicked the last four goals of the second to go into half-time down by just the 8-points. At one point in the third-quarter Fremantle got to within three points of Hawthorn but this closeness seemed to add new urgency to the Hawks, as they worked to pull out to a 21-point lead at three-quarter time and 31 point victory. After a near two year absence from AFL, it was great to see Hawthorn's Grant Birchill make a successful comeback to the game. He finished the match with 21 Disposals, 8 Marks and a Tackle.

Essendon 12.14.86 defeated North Melbourne 12.9.81
At Marvel Stadium on Saturday afternoon, two in-form teams went head-to-head in a vital match for both team's season, and their chances of making a finals appearance in 2019. In a game that North Melbourne won the first half, and Essendon won the second half, it was looking like the Kangaroos were going to pull off a surprising win, until Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti found himself on the end of a last-minute Bomber surge to snap home the game's sealer within the last half-minute of the match. As you can imagine, there wasn't an Essendon supporter left sitting! Not only did McDonald-Tipungwuti kick the sealer he would also have been one of Essendon's best players for the match, finishing up with 19 Disposals, 3 Marks, 4 Tackles and four goals two behinds.

Gold Coast 8.8.56 defeated by Adelaide 23.13.151
Up at Metricon Stadium on Saturday night the Adelaide Crows set about doing to the Suns what Richmond did on the scoreboard just the week before, win and win by A LOT! We know that the Suns are a young, developing team, but they just have to stand up for each other more than they have over the past few weeks! Successive "almost" 100-point losses aren't acceptable! On the other side of the coin, the Crows came out showing a really noticeable intent to make amends for the poor effort of their match last week, where they only kicked five goals for the match, having come to a stop. While I understand the Sun's coach wants players to improve in, or win, their positions, I can't see the rationale of having a player the calibre of Alex Sexton sitting up in the forward 50 watching the play from a distance. With this kind of victory, I don't think there is too much point in focussing on any specific Adelaide players, such was the team's complete dominance.

Geelong 12.12.84 defeated St. Kilda 8.9.57
Down the Princes Fwy on Saturday night, the league-leading Cats played host to the St Kilda Saints at GMHBA Stadium. In a match that most tipsters would have penciled in (make that "penned in") for the Cats to have a comfortable win, the Saints showed a fair bit of heart through the first two quarters, they played well enough to be leading at the half-time break (they lead 6.3.39 to Geelong's 5.7.37), before the Cats came out of the rooms to kick seven second-half goals to St Kilda's two. I would think the Saint's coaching staff would have been happy with the first-half, before their team ended up as victim number 13 of the 2019 model Cats. St Kilda's defence did well to limit Tom Hawkins to a single mark inside 50 and just the one goal, while the Cat's midfield started to find some form after getting beaten there by the Bulldogs last round.

Sunday
Richmond 13.16.94 defeated GWS Giants 9.13.67

The first game on Sunday found us at the MCG where the Tigers were taking on the Giants in a match that was important for both teams and when the Tigers ended the first quarter with a four-goal lead, after keeping GWS goalless, the signs were good that the home-team would come away with the four points. After last week's breakout game from Tiger Jason Castagna, this week it was the turn of the rarely talked about Kane Lambert. Not only did Lambert kick 3 Goals, he also had 19 Disposals, 6 Marks and 3 Tackles to be in the bests for the match. With Coniglio getting injured early and the duo of Josh Kelly and Callan Ward unable to be selected due to injury, it isn't all doom and gloom for the Giants.

Western Bulldogs 10.14.74 defeated Melbourne 9.12.66
At Marvel Stadium on Sunday afternoon the Western Bulldogs ground out a hard-fought eight-point win against the Melbourne Demons. While the game was very close there were two main reasons why it came to be this way 1. The Demon's ruckman, Max Gawn, once again showed why he would be the first player picked each week for the Dees and 2. The Bulldogs only managed to score 1 goal and 8 points during a third-quarter where they absolutely dominated their opposition. As the saying often spouted goes... "bad goal kicking is bad football!", so the Dogs played both great football and bad football. Such is the complexity of AFL in 2019. Moving on to the reason the Bulldogs won the match, I will give you two words, Josh Dunkley. The Bulldogs star was man of the match with 2 Goals, 39 Disposals, and a huge 15 Tackles.

Port Adelaide 6.13.49 defeated by Brisbane 14.13.97
The Power were hosts to the Brisbane Lions on Sunday afternoon at Adelaide Oval, and after their 57-point humiliation of the Crows last round, the home team would have been keen to continue their efforts of that game. For the Lions, they also would have been feeling very positive about getting an important away win, after they too had a great result last week, with a comfortable win over the GWS Giants. Right from the outset, the Lions stamped their authority on the match, never giving the Power a sniff of winning and with Charlie Cameron staying on song, the Lions ran out convincing 48-point winners. The Lions now sit in fourth place as the Giants have dropped to 6th.

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