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West Coast, Western Bulldogs, and Hawthorn Notch Close Wins in Upset Ridden AFL Round 7

In terms of competitiveness, three of the nine AFL games in round 7 were decided by 2 goals or less, highlighted by the West Coast Eagles gaining a key away win against Port Adelaide, the Western Bulldogs coming back to beat Richmond by less than a goal, and the Hawthorn Hawks winning their second game of the season, this time at the MCG against Melbourne. Ladder leaders Adelaide Crows, GWS Giants, and Geelong also suffered upsets this weekend, demonstrating the high level of parity across the AFL right now.

Bulldogs and Richmond Battle to a Near Draw

Western Bulldogs and Richmond are both 5-2, and showed they are worthy of their current records, as the Bulldogs fought back to edge Richmond 80-75. Trailing most of the game, the Bulldogs would not die, and Richmond couldn’t put them away as Clay Smith (4 goals), and Marcus Bontempelli (27 disposals, and a goal) lead the Bulldogs fight back. The pairing of Luke Dalhaus and Jack Macrae notching more than 60 disposals combined for the Dogs. Richmond played better than expected, Shaun Grigg, Dustin Martin, and Bachar Houili were among their best, while Jack Riewoldt kicked four goals. If they can learn how to keep it up over four quarters, they still have a shot a top 4, while the Bulldogs despite errors at times, showed they are still great at moving the ball forward through passages of play, as they lead inside 50’s, it’s a shame one of these sides had to lose, as they played an enjoyable game to watch.

Double defeat for Adelaide Sides in Round 7

The West Coast Eagles built and maintained a lead against Port Adelaide for three quarters, and then staved off the Power’s comeback attempt in the final term, as Power had an adventure in terms of kicking goals and finished up 12.15 falling to the Eagles 97-87 despite massive advantages in terms of inside 50’s, disposals, and hit outs. Elliot Yeo continued his career best season for the Eagles with 27 disposals and a goal, while Mark LeCras (4 goals) led the West Coast attack that featured nine different goal scorers, including Josh Kennedy, and Jack Darling (2 goals each).

Charlie Dixon (3 goals), Jarman Impey (2 goals), Chad Wingard, and new father Brad Ebert (30+ disposals each) were great for the power, as was Ruckman Paddy Ryder, but they failed to maintain a high enough level of consistency to take the lead at any point. Now a trip to China looms, and then a bye week as they drop to 7th in the ladder, West Coast moving into the top 4 once again.

Port’s defeat was nothing compared to the drubbing the now 6-1 and ladder leading Adelaide Crows suffered in Tasmania. The first quarter was one of nightmares for the Crows as they failed to score even a solitary point, while North Melbourne came out firing, kicking 10.4  and maintaining a decisive lead throughout the match for a 145-86 victory. North Melbourne was able to attack early and keep the ball in their forward half, while the Crows were sloppy and struggled to gain control of the footy, much less move it forward. Eddie Betts got goal number 500 and ending up notching three goals on the day, but the likes of Rory Sloane and Tex Walker were out of sorts. North’s hero on the day was Jarrad Waite, who returned from injury to kick six goals, only top cop a one week suspension for an aggressive tackle on Tom Lynch during the match. Ben Brown and Mason Wood also had multi goal games for North, while Ben Cunnington (29 disposals), was much better than the previous week, the Kangaroos putting on a true team performance to gain their second win of the season, a win nobody could have seriously expected them to have, much less by the massive margin they won by.

Hawthorn and Sydney Both Notch Wins

Hawthorn moved to 2-5, handing the Melbourne Demons a significant setback as they prevailed 94-91 on Sunday. Despite the narrow margin of victory, the Hawks led throughout the match, and took better advantage of their scoring opportunities to gain the win. Melbourne led the way in most statistical categories, but not on the final scoreboard, as Jordan Lewis (30 disposals and 2 goals), couldn’t get the win against his old team, despite a solid individual performance. The Demons midfield, including Jack Viney and Clayton Oliver, was superior but their forwards, including Jesse Hogan left more to be desired.  Tom Mitchell (31 disposals), and the loveable Jarryd Roughhead (4 goals) were best on ground for the fighting Hawks, while ruckman Ben McEvoy was a revelation, taking advantage of the Demons ruck depth issues, and getting forward to kick a pair of goals. The Hawks may not be dead yet but they still have a long way to go to get back into the top 8 conversation, Melbourne dropping to 3-4 for their part.

The Sydney Swans were determined to get out of the cellar against the new bottom dwellers Brisbane Lions as they built a five goal+ lead after the first term and never looked back winning 135-81 in their most confident and complete performance of the season, a performance that gained them their first win. The Lions continued to struggle after a promising start to the season, Mitch Robinson was added to their injury ranks, as without an injured Dayne Beams they were lacking leadership, while already being bereft of confidence. Swans star Lance Franklin returned to form with a bang, kicking 8 goals while midfielders Luke Parker and Dan Hannebery notched more than 25 disposals each in improved performances. Isaac Heeney (22 disposals and a goal) also added something extra to the Swans attack. Tom Rockliff had a huge game in yet another losing result, notching 32 disposals and 2 goals for his part.

St. Kilda Rises to the Occasion Against GWS

The St. Kilda Saints showed what they are made of on Friday Night Footy, rising to the occasion in the final term to win 108-85, their margin all gained in the fourth quarter, as they trailed at three quarter time. The Saints found ways to break the GWS backline down, as the disorganized Giants managed just one goal in the final term, surrendering six goals and three behinds. Missing Toby Greene, the Giants were not as successful inside 50 as usual, despite the strength of their midfield, veteran Steve Johnson was notable for his poor performance.

The Saints opened up the Giants as two Jack’s Steven and Billings were key, while Seb Ross (31 disposals), and a now suspended for a week Koby Stevens (28 disposals) providing something special. Dylan Roberton and Jimmy Webster helped the Saints shut down GWS forward line. The Saints keep improving and moved to 8th on the ladder at 4-3, while GWS remains 2 at 5-2.

Carlton Spoil Collingwood’s Party

The young Carlton Blues extended Collingwood’s poor season, prevailing over their rivals 79-56 on the 125th anniversary celebrations for the Magpies. Collingwood was terrible in front of goal again, despite leading the inside 50’s as 2 goals and 21 disposals from star in the making Samo Petrevski-Seton led the way for Carlton. Carlton got unheralded but good performances from veterans Marc Murphy and Daisy Thomas as well. Kade Simpson, Sam Docherty, and Caleb Marchbank led a Carlton backline that kept Collingwood pent up for most of the game, as Blues pulled away in the second half, leaving Magpies coach Nathan Buckley searching for answers.

Suns edge Sluggish Cats

Gold Coast Suns joined a mass of teams at 3-4 as they handed Geelong their second straight loss 124-99. The Suns were the better team throughout the contest and kept up a lead, as the Cats couldn’t get closer than 5 points in the final term. The Geelong backline leaked inside 50’s, 71 to be exact, as Gold Coast controlled the footy and had too many chances for their own good, kicking 18.16 in terms of goals vs behinds. Aaron Hall, veteran Gary Ablett, and Jarrod Harbrow had over 30 disposals, Ablett playing exceptionally well yet again this week, and doing it against his former team. Callum Ah Chee surprisingly notched three goals, while Tom Lynch unsurprisingly got three of his own, with twelve Suns notching goals, showing the depth and talent of their list. Mitch Duncan (33 disposals) was among best on ground for the Cats, but they simply needed to create more chances for themselves than they got on the weekend.

Fremantle Moves Within Sight of the Top 8

Fremantle continued their up and down season, beating a tired Essendon Bombers side 116-79, despite trailing for most of the contest. The Western Australia heat exhausted the Bombers as Matt Taberner kicked four goals in his first game of the year for Fremantle, while Lachie Neal (40 disposals), and Brad Hill (37 disposals), were stars for the Dockers. Hill added a goal and used his speed to gain ground against Essendon.  as Joe Daniher and company kicked 11.13 and did not take advantage of the chances that were on the table for them.

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