Teams 7, 8 and 9 are all on 44 points with just percentage separating them. St Kilda and Carlton, after their weekend losses may have missed the boat to the finals. Over the remaining rounds there will no doubt be some shuffling going on between teams placed 1 to 9 and in the balance are home finals and second chances.
Another great game of football for the crowd and a dream kick after the siren for Hawkins to steal the game from the Hawks. Geelong started with a 9 goal 1st quarter that would normally be enough to win a game of football from that point but to their credit Hawthorn pulled back the deficit and took the lead in the last quarter. The Cats’ bogey over the Hawks remains and let’s not discount Geelong in the Grand Final should they get there. Geelong has had to play 3 tough games in a row and next week it’s the West Coast Eagles in Perth. Hawthorn should get back on the winning list when they travel to Tassie to play Port Adelaide.
North Melbourne 18.7.115 defeated Western Bulldogs 8.13.61
The Bulldogs seem to have no problem keeping up with opposition teams to half time but after the long break they fall away. And so it was again in this match against North when they were just a few points down at half time but were powerless to stop North from adding 11 goals to 2 in the 2nd half. Coach McCartney is of the same opinion – how does he get his players to continue on in the latter part of the game? The Doggies take on Richmond next week and North Melbourne might just knock Essendon out of the 8.
GWS Giants 16.11.107 defeated Port Adelaide 10.13.73
The game may have been a low point in the history of Port Adelaide but it was another high in the short history of the Giants. The game was up for grabs at 3 quarter time and surprisingly to all but Kevin Sheedy the Giants kicked on. You could say that Port was somewhat ‘overpowered’! GWS might still finish bottom but 2 wins in the first season is being seen as a good effort, similar to that of the Gold Coast Suns last year. Fittingly it was Sheeds’ 1000th game as player and coach! Wow! The Giants might even be looking at back to back wins when they play Gold Coast next week. Port’s misery will continue in Tassie against Hawthorn.
Fremantle 17.11.113 defeated West Coast 6.12.48
Quite a score line not only because of the unexpected win by Fremantle but also because of the ridiculously low score kicked by West Coast who booted almost 200 points last week! If the Dockers needed to win a game they were not expected to win then this was it. The win maintains the pressure on the teams in the 8 and the loss by the Saints and a loss by Essendon will have Fremantle poised for a nice end to the season. But next week they play the Crows in Adelaide so hopefully they left some juice in their tank after that game against the Eagles. West Coast need to lift if they want to beat Geelong at Subiaco next week.
Collingwood 12.19.91 defeated St Kilda 13.7.85
A really close call for the Pies in a tough, tight game that almost ended in a draw. But talk of umpiring decisions at crucial times? Well it’s only a crucial time because the game was close at the end. The same decision made at the 12 minute mark of the 3rd quarter would not get a comment. It’s a costly loss for St Kilda in the context of that final 8 position and an important win for Collingwood considering Hawthorn’s loss on Friday to Geelong. It will be up to the Magpies to put a stop to the winning streak of the Sydney Swans next week in a top of the ladder clash and St Kilda will like their chances against Melbourne to keep their finals hopes ticking.
Richmond 20.12.132 defeated Brisbane 12.12.84
A good second quarter by the Tigers set up a convincing win against Brisbane. The Tigers went on with it in the 3rd enabling them to set up a substantial margin going into the last quarter. Any thoughts of a close one were dispelled and after a few frustrating weeks Richmond won reasonably well by 8 goals. They should do it again against the Western Bulldogs next week and the Lions will need to improve to beat Carlton next week at Etihad.
Melbourne 16.12.108 defeated Gold Coast 9.12.66
A 6 goals to zip first quarter by the Demons certainly set them up for a good win and Melbourne did not let the Suns back into the game. To their credit Gold Coast kept pace with the Dees for the rest of the match but it was too little too late. Melbourne will stay off the bottom of the ladder and leave it to the two new teams to fight for the wooden spoon. The Dees face the Saints and Gold Coast meets the Giants next week.
Sydney Swans 14.9.93 defeated Carlton 10.11.71
Sydney created a new winning game sequence with this victory over Carlton who will be wondering whether that’s the end of any chance they have of making the finals. Now 2 games adrift of North Melbourne and every game that little more difficult to win the Blues realise that making the finals in a season they were being touted as premiership possible just might not happen. There will be questions over Ratten’s tenure too. Meanwhile Sydney has to be considered a prospect for the flag based on the consistency of their performances. They have another big one next week against the Magpies at ANZ, a game Collingwood has consistently won over the years. Carlton will want to keep their finals hopes with a faint heartbeat when they meet the Lions.
Adelaide 16.8.104 defeated Essendon 15.10.100
Essendon supporters would have been surprised and disappointed at the result considering the solid start their team made against the Crows to lead at half time. But the premiership quarter was supplied by Adelaide who not only erased the deficit but also went into the final stanza with a 1 goal lead. Essendon had their chances in the final few minutes but just could not convert some shots on goal to record a winning score. The damage from this loss to the Bombers has yet to be considered. Adelaide’s win keeps them in the top 4 and they play a resurgent, giant killing Fremantle next week. Essendon will be fighting for the finals’ life in an important game against North Melbourne.