Round 20 AFL Review

North Melbourne 12.14.86 defeated Hawthorn 9.10.64

With a lot riding on the outcome of this game, the Hawks jumped out of the gates, and fireworks smoke, to take a big early lead in their match-up against the Kangaroos at Marvel Stadium on Friday night, but then the quarter time siren sounded and things began to change. Once the whistle blew to start the second quarter, the North Melbourne players picked up the pace, and aggression, and started to win the ball through the middle, changing the tide of the game completely. Ben Brown (14 Disp, 6 Marks, 5 Hit-outs, 4 Tackles and 4 Goals), Jack Ziebell (18 Disp, 5 Tackles and 3 Goals) and Mason Wood (12 Disp and 2 Goals) all began to get some touches and kick goals from them. The only Hawk to stand up to the Roos was James Worpel (37 Disp, 5 Marks and 5 Tackles), but he could only do so much... Congratulations go to the new full-time North Melbourne Coach, Rhyce Shaw, who gets to celebrate a win from his first, sort of, match.

Essendon 9.13.67 defeated by Port Adelaide 19.12.126

After four losses from their past five matches, the Port Power faced the task of traveling to Melbourne and trying to stop the in-form Bombers from building on their five-game wining streak. While the Bombers would have been fancying their chances in this match, the Power players came out in a manner that showed they weren't going to be happy going home without a much-needed win on the board, and that is exactly what they got! The absence of Dyson Heppell, and the concussion to Parish, certainly made things harder for the Bombers, there could be no doubting Port's superiority in this match, beating Essendon across most of the ground and putting the clamps on . The win has kept Port's push for a Top 8 finish alive, made things much harder for the Bombers to stay in the Top 8, and given a bit of breathing space to the teams immediately above Essendon.

GWS Giants 12.11.83 defeated Sydney 12.9.81
While it wasn't quite the narrowest of wins, the Giants certainly kept their fans on the edge of their seats right until the final siren sounded at the Sydney Showgrounds on Saturday afternoon! Even when the Giants had opened a four-goal margin during the third quarter, the Swans couldn't be kept down, or counted out of this contest, kicking five goals to the Giants one during a 30 minute period spanning the third and fourth quarters. While they briefly held a very narrow lead, the Giants did what good teams do, wrestling back a couple of goals to get an eleven-point break. As the match entered the final minutes, the Swans pushed for the win but could only kick one goal and two points, as the Giants managed to hold on for a memorable win against their cross-town rivals.

Fremantle 14.11.95 defeated Geelong 9.7.61
While the Dockers were at home to Geelong in this Saturday afternoon match, most people would have tipped the visiting team to get win number fifteen on the board but, in one of the seasons bigger upsets, Fremantle has not only held off the ladder-leading Geelong, they have pulled away from them! In spite of being down early in the game, the Dockers really stepped things up in the second have to record an inspired win against a high-quality opponent at Optus Stadium. While the Dockers did a great job of sharing the ball around, I really think that credit needs to be given to their two ruckmen, Aaron Sandilands (15 Disp, 39 Hit-outs) and Sean Darcy (6 Disp and 22 Hit-outs). Knowing the Cat's main weakness is in the ruck, Ross Lyon elected to go with two ruckmen in the hope they would be able to give their team first use of the ball, and it certainly worked! The Docker's midfield wrenched control away from their opponents and ran away with the ball, and the game.

Melbourne 9.6.60 defeated by Richmond 13.15.93

At the MCG on a cold at wet Saturday night, the Richmond Tigers have further put their case for a Top 4 finish after having run over the top of an often time free-wheeling Demons outfit. And then the rain came down. I am not sure what type of boots the Richmond players had on, but they certainly helped them keep their feet in the even wetter MCG turf, and going by their ability to outplay, and outscore the Demons five goals to one during that time, I have the feeling the Tiger players may have secretly had Speedos on underneath their footy shorts. For the Demons, I thought Bailey Fritsch (16 Disp and 3 goals) was again an always threatening presence up forward, while Dion Prestia (31 Disp and 6 Marks) was a hard-running bull all game.

Adelaide 14.8.92 defeated St. Kilda 10.10.70
While St Kilda's good late-season form had kept alive their (unlikely) finals hopes, Adelaide's uptick in form will have put an end to it while keeping their own alive, thanks to an eight goals to five second half at Adelaide Oval on Saturday night. While the style of football taken by the Crows made for a largely 'hard to watch' match, at times they seemed to want to kick the ball anywhere but forward! At the end, it was co-Captain Taylor Walker (12 Disp, 6 Marks and 4 Goals) and the promoted Eddie Betts (11 Disp, 4 Marks and 3 Goals) who put the goals on the board and who will need to step up another couple of notches as the Crows take on the Eagles (in Perth) and the Magpies at Adelaide Oval over the next fortnight.

Collingwood 18.12.120 defeated Gold Coast 8.3.51

In a match at the MCG that I had considered to be a prospective 'danger game' for the Magpies, we instead saw the absolute opposite happening, with Collingwood running all over the visiting Gold Coast to record a comprehensive 69 point win. While the win was a vital one for the Pies to get, and stay in touch with the teams above them on the ladder, the size of the win, and the boost to their percentage, could mean the difference in getting a home final or not. After the visiting Suns held sway through most of the first quarter, the Magpie's train start to chug along nicely, gaining momentum the longer the match went on, with the home team kicking eight goals to the Sun's three after half-time. While the Suns have now lost fifteen matches in a row, unless the Magpies lose every remaining game, they have probably cemented a spot in the Top 8.

Carlton 11.9.75 defeated by West Coast 15.9.99
Even with the Eagles taking care of business, through winning a game they were supposed to win, this match also showed just how far the Blues have come since their terrible start to the 2019 season. If this game was held a couple of months ago, it is not hard to imagine that a 10-goal thumping would have been on the cards. Instead, West Coast, who was ably led by the that great player to watch, Liam Ryan (16 Disp, 4 Marks and 4 Goals) and their usual ball-magnets Luke Shuey (28 Disp and 2 Goals), Elliot Yeo (25 Disp and 10 Tackles) and Andrew Gaff (28 Disp, 7 Marks and around 500 metres gained for the match), moved to second on the ladder, behind Geelong on percentage only and looking in good form.

Brisbane 14.14.98 defeated Western Bulldogs 11.14.80
At the Gabba on Sunday afternoon, the streaking Lions found themselves host to a Bulldogs outfit coming off a good win against the Dockers and sitting just outside the Top 8. After the Lions had gone about building a solid lead throughout most of the first three quarters, the Bulldogs kicked the last four goals of the third, bring the deficit back to a more manageable three goals. From that point forward, the two teams managed to balance each other out, with the final score showing the Lions had outscored the Bulldogs but a single point in the last quarter. Once again, the Lions showed some great ball movement that helped their star small-forward, Charlie Cameron (13 Disp, 7 Marks and 4 Goals), show off his effectiveness in the Forward 50.


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