Round 22 AFL Review

Friday
Melbourne 5.12.42 defeated by Sydney 15.5.95

Just when you think things couldn't get any worse for the Melbourne Football Club, at the MCG on Friday night they did! Even though the Demons had more Disposals, Inside 50s, Free kicks and Contested Possessions, they still had their score more than doubled by a young Swans outfit out to show their coach they have what it takes! And they did! To show the dominance of Sydney, not only did they kick the first three goals of the match, they also kicked the last four. To add insult to injury, the Swans dominance was so great that they held Melbourne goalless for the second and third quarters of the match. While Max Gawn (52 Hit-outs) was again great for the Demons, it was the bevy of Sydney youngsters that would have had their coach smiling widely. Even with Sydney's lowly finish this year, they at least looked like a side with upside, unlike the dispirited Demons.

Saturday
Carlton 11.12.78 defeated St. Kilda 10.8.68

In this match at the MCG on Saturday afternoon, Carlton lead, then St Kilda lead, then Carlton lead and then St Kilda led and on it went in what was a very entertaining match of footy! When the final siren sounded, it was the Blues who came out victors, ensuring a win for coach David Teague in his first outing as the 'it's now official' Carlton Blues head coach. With Jack Stevens doing a great job in restricting Carlton Ace Patrick Cripps to just 22 Disposals, the Saints held a 45 - 33 edge in clearances, a big win for Stevens and the Saints! In the air it was a different story, with the Blues taking 10 more contested marks than their opponents; a player who excelled with their marking was the Blue's Levi Casbolt, who took 10 marks to go with his 20 Disposals in a dominant showing in defence for Carlton.

Brisbane 10.15.75 defeated Geelong 10.14.74
The Gabba held the top of the table Geelong (1st) and Brisbane (2nd) in a match that lived up to the hype of a contest between two teams who have been the best performed over the course of the 2019 Season. In a twist to the result, ex-Cat Lincoln McCarthy used Geelong backman, Jack Henry, to get skyward and take a great grab! With only a bit over a minute left on the clock, he went back and kicked the goal that would put the Lions a single point up. If Lion's coach Chris Fagan can keep his charges performing to this level, the Gabba will continue to be packed for their home games! You could see how much this win meant to the team and coach. While the Lions are sitting atop the ladder, they have to head to the MCG and take on the Tigers, with the Cats facing the Blues at home. Yes, the top spot on the ladder is still up for grabs!

Adelaide 6.12.48 defeated by Collingwood 17.12.114
At Adelaide Oval on Saturday afternoon, the Magpies were able to take a stranglehold on the match at three-quarter time to kick away from the Crows in an important match for both teams. While there were only 17 points in the match at half time, largely through both teams being unable to capitalise on their Forward 50 entries, Collingwood held the Crows to a single goal for the third quarter, while they kicked six themselves. For the Pies, Jamie Elliot put in a much-improved performance to finish with five goals, while Josh Thomas had three goals, and a few others kicked two. With the way other matches have played out over the weekend, it looks like the Crows season will not include any finals action, and on their current form that is probably a good thing!

North Melbourne 22.12.144 defeated Port Adelaide 8.10.58
In a match that was a thousand times more important to the Power than the Kangaroos, the 'Ben Browns' came out onto Marvel Stadium and not only turned the Power off, they disconnected the venue from the grid, installed solar panels and low-wattage LED lighting throughout. In what turned out to be a completely one-sided affair, the Kangaroos came out running and didn't stop until the final siren sounded. Ben Brown was in great touch, as he kicked ten goals and a single behind in a fantastic return from his opportunities. Nick Larkey chipped in with a solid five goals from half-forward, while Todd Goldstein had 28 Hit-outs and a huge 34 Disposals to go with them. I'm not sure if the Port Coach fell asleep, but he was given an absolute lesson in this match, which has seen his team dumped from the Top 8.

Fremantle 7.13.55 defeated by Essendon 13.9.87
The Bombers headed across the Nullarbor to play Fremantle at Optus Stadium on Saturday night. In a match that had big implications for how the Bomber's season would play out, the Dockers had only two less scoring shots than the Bombers and yet lost the game by 32 points. While this was not how the Dockers would have liked to send of club stalwarts, Aaron Sandilands and Hayden Ballantyne, there can be no doubt that the Bombers were playing in the manner from when they went on a five-game winning streak, starting at Round 15. Even though the Dockers had more Disposals, Contested Possessions, Clearances, Inside 50s and Hit-outs, their ability to use the ball well deserted them again, from which the Bombers repeatedly made them pay; Essendon kicked five goals from turnovers in the first half alone! With a finals berth locked in, let's see what the Bombers can do in 2019.

Sunday
Richmond 13.10.88 defeated West Coast 13.4.82

At the MCG on Sunday afternoon, the match between the Richmond Tigers and West Coast Eagles started in beautiful sunny conditions that, while windy, made for a great spectacle. Then the rain came! While the Eagles had managed to hit the ground running, the Tigers worked hard, against the quality West Coast team, to peg the Eagle's lead back, and when the three-quarter time siren sounded, there was just a single point between the two teams and it was anyone's game. While the Tigers managed to get some breathing space in the last, the Eagles were never out of contention in a great match! From the start of the second quarter, it was hard not to notice the intent in Dustin Martin's (35 Disposals, 6 Clearances and a goal) play. On a number of occassions he did everything needed to drag his teammates to play better, and his team to get a win. It worked!

GWS Giants 9.11.65 defeated by Western Bulldogs 19.12.126
The Western Bulldogs headed north to take on the GWS Giants at the Sydney Showgrounds on Sunday afternoon, and what a result we got... While the Giants would have entered the match looking to consolidate their spot on the Top 8, they were also the favourites to get the win, but the Doggies had some strong ideas on this! After a very even first half, the Giants kicked the opening goal of the third quarter. That was the last goal they were to kick in this match, as the Bulldogs went on a ten goal to one second-half rampage. The Giants have now lost their last two matches, and six of their last ten. While it won't be all doom-and-gloom at GWS HQ, it isn't the form you want to be heading into the finals with. With their great form over the past two matches, where they have beaten the Bombers and Giants, the Bulldogs are now eighth and looking a real threat to the other finals bound teams.

Hawthorn 18.10.118 defeated Gold Coast 7.6.48

At Marvel Stadium on Sunday night the Hawthorn Football Club had a 70 point win over the visiting Gold Coast Suns, and sent off the retiring Jarryd Roughead off on a good note, possibly a C sharp... Right from the word go, the Hawks stamped their authority on the visitors, going into the quarter time break five goals up. By the time the siren for half time sounded, the Hawks had kicked ten goals to the Suns two, and while the Suns did improve during the second half, they weren't a match for the experience and skill of the Hawks! While Worpel (34 Disp, 7 Tackles and 2 Goals) had another great game, getting to see 'Roughy' finish his AFL career with six majors could only bring a smile to your face. For the Suns, while it has been a horrid year for the club, they only need to look a little bit north, to the Brisbane Lions, and see what huge progress you can make in a season.

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