In the game of AFL Round 12, the Carlton Blues stunned the GWS Giants and sent them a notch down the ladder with a nailbiting 71-70 victory at Etihad stadium. The Navy Blues sang their song loud and proud after late errors by Giants forward Toby Greene helped the Blues escape. Levi Casboult and Zac Fisher kicked some of the biggest behinds of their career just seconds apart to tie the contest, and then take the lead late in the final term. The underdog Blues got a big performance from ruckman Matthew Kreuzer, and their backline, led by Sam Docherty and fresh in Liam Jones were massive in ensuring GWS advantage in inside 50’s wasn’t enough to secure them a win. Docherty had 35 disposals, while Kreuzer led with 8 tackles, and the ex-forward Jones had a game that went beyond his stat sheet. Matthew Wright was also good for a pair of goals as every time the Giants got some momentum in the footy, Carlton would respond with a stiff spine in one of the most exciting games this season.
In the key moments of the contest, the Giants came across as confused, selfish, and without direction. The aforementioned Greene had a horrific 0.5 showing and only Dylan Shiel (32 disposals, 2 goals) had a game worth writing home about, the Giants blowing chances at goal and going 9.16. The Giants disappointment was to Carlton’s benefit, as Blues fans having hope for next season, and a slim chance at remaining in finals contention, despite being 2 games off the top 8 mark.
Ladder Leading Adelaide Crows Thump Saints
The Adelaide Crows got off to a fast start and exposed St. Kilda. Adelaide moved to the top of the ladder with the win and built their lead throughout finishing with a 111-54 result. The Crows forward line had a big game, with Josh Jenkins, Tom Lynch, Tex Walker, and Eddie Betts combining for 11 goals, their total alone being enough to defeat the Saints, who struggled to do much with the footy, and couldn’t deal with the Crows ball movement when they pounced. Rory Laird had 34 disposals, and a new player in the Adelaide side, Jonathan Beech had a solid game and kicked a goal.
Seb Ross and Jack Steven both had more than 30 disposals, and Josh Bruce kicked 4 goals, but Koby Stevens, Jack Billings and the rest of the Saints needed to be much better on the day. The difference in class between a top four side like Adelaide, and a fringe top 8 side like St. Kilda was clear.
Sydney Gets Revenge on Bulldogs
The Western Bulldogs finals chances took a serious blow as they fell to the Sydney Swans 88-42 in the first game of round 12. Despite entering the contest as underdogs, it was the Swans that showed their best footy as the Bulldogs struggled to do the most important thing in Aussie rules, kick goals. Sydney had a massive 71-39 edge in inside 50’s as Lance Franklin and Sam Reid combined for five goals, and Tom Papley added another two goals. Josh P. Kennedy, Isaac Heeney, and Jake Lloyd all had more than 30 disposals, giving the Swans the edge in that category.
The Bulldogs had no multi-goal scorer, and despite solid performances from Jack Macrae and Luke Dalhaus, the Bulldogs lacked a key player to step up and take control of the game when it matters. Marcus Bontempelli for example had one of the worst games of his young career. Now at 8th in the ladder, the Bulldogs will face a dogfight the rest of the season to make finals, and look far removed from their premiership winning best.
Gold Coast Gets the Double Against Hapless Hawthorn
In a contest that got interesting late, the Gold Coast Suns defeated Hawthorn for the second time this season, winning the day 95-79 and likely putting the nail in the coffin for Hawthorn’s season. Gary Ablett helped the Suns control possession with 37 disposals, and he also kicked a pair of goals, and secured 10 tackles. Jarryd Lyons with 28 disposals and a goal was also solid, while Tom Lynch, Peter Wright, and Brandon Matera combined for six goals, Wright kicking a late goal that sealed the game.
The Hawks best on ground was again Tom Mitchell with 39 disposals, and Jack Gunston had five goals, but Hawthorn could never find the consistency needed to come back from a second half deficit.
Fremantle Woes Continue Against Brisbane
The Brisbane Lions emerged from their bye week refreshed and claimed their second win of the season 121-64 over Fremantle. The Dockers trailed throughout, and they got off to a miserable start at the Gabba that they were unable to recover from. Looking slow and struggling to get forward, the Dockers only had Lachie Neal over 30 disposals, and only Nat Fyfe and Bradley Hill had multi goal games. The Lions picked apart their opponents Lewis Taylor kicked four goals, Tom Cutler had three, while Dayne Zorko and Jake Barrett combined for four goals. Zorko and Dayne Beams both were over 30 disposals, as they took some of the load off Tom Rockliff, who was returning from a shoulder injury. All in all it was the best week of the season for Brisbane, as they also retained key forward Josh Schache, who seemed unlikely to resign this season.
Pair of Melbourne Sides Move into the Top 8
The Melbourne Demons secured a comeback victory over Collingwood 104-100, winning off of behinds to move into the top 8. The Pies built a significant halftime lead that they surrendered by the start of the final quarter and that setup Jack Watts game winning goal, one of his three on the afternoon. Tomas Bugg and Jeff Garlett booted two more goals while young gun Christian Petracca went 3.2 in a key performance. The Demons midfield of Clayton Oliver, Nathan Jones and others held up against Collingwood’s best as the loss is a brutal one for the Pies that dims their finals hopes.
Collingwood had six players with two goals each, but their forward line still seemed aimless at times, while Steele Sidebottom led the way with 32 disposals, and two goals.
The unpredictable Essendon Bombers surprised Port Adelaide to move into the top 8, the Bombers won handily 131-61 as Port was out of the game by the end of the first term. The Bombers dominated control of the footy, and had most of the goal chances, Cale Hooker kicked five, Joe Daniher kicked four, and so did Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti. Zach Merrett, Dyson Heppell, Brendon Goddard, and Jobe Watson went over 30 disposals, and showed the competition that Essendon could be a very dangerous dark horse in the finals. Outside of Justin Westhoff and Robbie Gray, the Power will be wondering what happened this week, as they will need to make serious improvements in round 13.