Within the final 8 itself there are a couple of mini battles going on with 5 teams trying to finish top 4 knowing all too well just what that means in the finals run to the premiership. Then we have the next 3 teams battling to make the finals with a few just outside the 8 knocking on that door. It will be a fascinating final few rounds and it’s interesting to note that Carlton and St Kilda are two lucky teams that get to play the two new teams in the final round. Teams above them will want to be settled in their ladder positions knowing those ‘gimmes’ with the 4 premiership points will be handed out!
Hawthorn 27.18.180 defeated Essendon 12.14.86
The score was 8 goals to 1 in the 1st quarter then 14 goals to 3 at half time. Game over! Hawthorn was able to keep that margin for the rest of the game. In fact they didn’t ease up in the last quarter and won by just under 100 points! 3 big defeats for Essendon in 3 weeks makes it look like someone has removed the chocks from behind their wheels and the bomber is sliding downhill. Hawthorn is in the top 4 to stay but they have a nice tester against the Cats next week which both teams need to win for different reasons. Essendon travels to Adelaide so they could drop another game.
Geelong 15.12.102 defeated Adelaide 11.9.75
The Cats got away from the Crows in the 2nd quarter but to their credit Adelaide came back and was just 8 points down at the last change. Geelong played a strong last quarter to kick 5 goals while holding the Crows to 2, enough to win by a comfortable margin come the final siren. Teams need to look out for the Cats at finals time it seems. Adelaide may be a bit shy of making the big one but a good performance anyway. The Crows face the Bombers next week and Geelong’s momentum may hit a speed bump playing the Hawks next week.
North Melbourne 19.13.127 defeated Melbourne 11.7.73
North had the measure of the Demons all day and the 8 goal 3 quarter time margin was maintained through the last quarter. Melbourne tried hard but they were never going to win a game against a team who had a lot more to play for. In the end a 9 goal margin was probably a good measure of the difference between the 2 sides. North plays the Western Bulldogs next week so they should maintain 8th position although an Adelaide win might get them another position higher. Melbourne will be trying for that extra win against Gold Coast.
Collingwood 26.18.174 defeated GWS Giants 7.12.54
17 minutes into the first quarter the Pies were only 7 points ahead! Thinking was: they will just play hard enough to win by 10 goals. From that point on the game was a rout as Collingwood pushed for some much needed percentage. A 9 goal last term for the Magpies showed they totally dominated the game and the final margin of 120 points might come in handy as teams vie for top 4 positions. The Pies have a tough one against the Saints next week and must win to stay in top 4 contention. The Giants might give themselves a chance against Port too.
Carlton 14.11.95 defeated Richmond 13.13.91
I can’t imagine what would be going through the minds of Richmond players after suffering their 3rd defeat in a row by less than a goal. It’s really diabolical and if you add those 3 wins to the Tigers they would almost be in the 8!! Tipsters who thought Richmond would win those last 3 games are also not happy. The win has put a breath back into the Carlton race for the finals and a lot depends now on how hard their last few games will be. For the Tigers it’s goodbye! Richmond travels to the Gabba to play Brisbane. That should be a close game and Carlton will have to play above their best to beat the Sydney Swans at Etihad.
Sydney Swans 19.12.126 defeated Gold Coast Suns 8.6.54
Another Sydney win and another Gold Coast loss. These two teams are at opposite ends of the ladder and the win puts the Swans a game clear on top and a handy percentage boost for today’s game is a bit of cream. We have Ablett’s stats again – imposing but they kind of lose impact when coupled with a 12 goal loss! Sydney might need that buffer of a game as they might lose Goodes for a couple due to a hamstring injury. Then again, they did okay without him before too. The Swans are on a big winning streak and maintaining that level of play and intensity might start telling on the players. The game against Carlton looms as a danger match for them. Gold Coast can beat the Dees next week.
Fremantle 11.9.75 defeated Port Adelaide 6.12.48
It was a dull, low scoring affair with the Port ‘powerless’ to put more than 1 goal on the board in the first half. They again added just 1 goal in the 3rd quarter and certainly at 3 quarter time the bird had flown, or should we say the anchor had been weighed. Freo didn’t help itself with a weak final quarter making the final margin rather complimentary to Port Adelaide. Nevertheless a much needed win for the Dockers. How will they go in the Western Derby against the Eagles next week? I wouldn’t be tipping them for that one. Port Adelaide has a tough match every week and facing the Giants is just another one.
St Kilda 16.22.118 defeated Western Bulldogs 6.6.42
The Bulldogs, you could say, had a dog of a day with a very disappointing performance against the Saints who just keep marching on. You could stretch the truth a little and say the Doggies might have still been in the match up to half time but a goal less 3rd quarter and 5 goals to the Saints in that quarter sealed the issue. The final margin of just under 13 goals keeps final hopes alive for St Kilda. They will have an issue next week trying to beat Collingwood and ditto the Western Bulldogs against North Melbourne.
West Coast 28.7.175 defeated Brisbane 12.5.77
There were 3 huge scores over the weekend, Hawthorn with 180, Collingwood with 174 and this West Coast score of 175. After some fine efforts by the Lions in the past couple of games they were totally outclassed by an Eagles side that really showed no mercy. With a 10 goal lead at 3 quarter time the Eagles could have taken it easy in the last and still won but no, they kicked 11 goals to almost make it to the 100 point winning margin. The last quarter saw 16 goals kicked in total. West Coast remains in top 4 contention and Brisbane can plan for next season. They sure will be planning to improve on this effort and to beat Richmond at the Gabba next week. The Eagles enjoy a flightless fixture and play the Dockers in the Derby.