Geelong Cats At Their Best in AFL Round 21, Melbourne and West Coast in the Top 8

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The Geelong Cats were at their best, as they defeated Richmond 80-66 despite a depleted list. The Cats backline keeping the Tigers in check, as Richmond’s goal kicking was also woeful. Patrick Dangerfield stepped up in a big way, leading the Cats with 30 disposals, veteran Harry Taylor booted four goals as he continues to shine in the forward pocket, Daniel Menzel adding a pair. Dion Prestia was again great for the Tigers, and Dustin Martin had 2 goals, but they needed much more, key forward Jack Riewoldt was held to just a goal. Given the Cats and Tigers could face off in finals, this preview of the much more important games to come for both teams showed Geelong’s veterans have the edge.

GWS Giants Dominate Western Bulldogs

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The GWS Giants pulled away in the second half as the Western Bulldogs were held to just one second half goal in a 105-57 defeat. The Dogs dominated inside 50’s but couldn’t get the goals they needed, as the reigning Premiers look along way away from the quality of the Giants, and their play last season. They’ll likely need to win out the final two games of the year to reach the top 8. Lachie Hunter notched 26 disposals, and Tory Dickson had two goals in a losing effort, but the Bulldogs had little more to show in terms of quality. Dylan Shiel and Zac Williams led the Giants, while big Jon Patton kicked four goals, Toby Greene and Josh Kelly combining for four more. Having overcome a midseason slumber, the Giants look set for finals.

Sydney Swans Punish Fremantle

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The Sydney Swans more than took care of business against struggling Fremantle. The Swans won 143-39 in one of the most lopsided games of the season. The Swans led in tackles and disposals by a wide margin. Lance Franklin and Luke Parker combined for seven goals, five other Swans had a pair of goals, and Dan Hannebery sparked the Swans midfield. Only Nat Fyfe and Cam McCarthy stepped up in any way for the Dockers, as many of their players had some of their worst games of the season.

Brisbane Lions Win the Q Clash

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The Gold Coast Suns collapsed again, as an improving Brisbane Lions side beat them 142-84 on the back of a strong second half. Dayne Beams had 32 disposals and four goals, Tom Rockliff and Jake Barrett combined for six more, and three other Lions combined for another six goals as everyone was getting in on the action for Chris Fagan’s young side. David Swallow and Jack Martin (four goals) led the Suns, but their backline was abysmal. The Suns look desperate for the season to end.

Adelaide Crows Show Class Against Essendon

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The Adelaide Crows won a respectable 123-80 victory over Essendon, keeping the Bombers outside of the top 8 for now and maintaining their dominance on the AFL ladder. The Crows pulled away in the second half, and the Bombers couldn’t quite pull things back. Adelaide should finish top of the ladder after Josh Jenkins and Mitch McGovern combined for six goals, and three more Crows added another six. In total 11 Crows kicked at least one goal, while Matt Crouch notched a massive 35 disposals. Michael Hurley, Cale Hooker, and Joe Daniher were good for Essendon, but they couldn’t break into open field like they want and were left nipping at the edges too often.

West Coast Eagles Top Carlton

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Things could have gone very badly for West Coast Eagles, but at least this week they got the job done, winning 100-83 against Carlton to stay inside the top 8. The Blues had plenty of chances on the stat sheet, but once again they were held under 100 points, and it’s hard to win games that way in the modern AFL. Josh Kennedy was front and center for the Eagles, he kicked six goals, while Andrew Gaff and the retiring Sam Mitchell were best in the midfield. Jamie Cripps also added three goals. Marc Murphy and Bryce Gibbs were best on ground for Carlton, but they are another side ready for the season to end.

Melbourne Demons Edge St Kilda

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Melbourne got out ahead of St. Kilda and didn’t look back, dashing the Saints finals hopes while keeping their own finals hopes alive with a 96-72 victory. Early in the final term it looked like the Saints had a chance, but they lacked class in the finishing half of the ground. A banged up Jack Billings and Luke Dunstan lead the Saints, but they didn’t have a goal scorer. with more than two. Nathan Jones and Clayton Oliver were among the best on ground for the Demons, James Harmes and Cam Pederson combined for five goals. Oliver continues to be a revelation this season.

Hawthorn Defeats North Melbourne in Tasmania

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Hawthorn defeated North Melbourne 116-89 in a game that was less competitive than the final score. The Kangaroos are limping into the end of the year despite three goals from Ben Brown and 31 disposals from Shaun Higgins. Tom Mitchell and the retiring Luke Hodge led the Hawks, while Luke Breust and Jarryd Roughead combined for seven goals. It’s fair that Hodge is retiring, but the Hawks are going to miss his class next season. Hawthorn will hope to get above .500 in the final couple of games this year.

Port Adelaide Keeps Pace Against Collingwood

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Port Adelaide avoided a slip up against Collingwood, defeating the Magpies 98-71. It was a good bounce back week for Port, while the Pies are condemned to another disappointing season below the .500 mark. Port avoided drifting off the mark in their bid for finals, as the Pies fought hard led by Taylor Adams and Adam Treloar yet again. Ben Reid kicked four goals for Collingwood, but no other forward stepped up. Eleven Power players kicked a goal in a true team performance, Chad Wingard, Ollie Wines, and Brad Ebert were best on ground, as Wines hopes to avoid a suspension next week.

The Ladder
1. Adelaide Crows 62
2. GWS Giants 56
3. Geelong Cats 54
4. Richmond Tigers 52
5. Sydney Swans 48
6. Port Adelaide Power 48
7. Melbourne Demons 44
8. West Coast Eagles 44
9. Western Bulldogs 44
10. Essendon Bombers 40
11. St. Kilda Saints 40

Port and the Swans are neck and neck in terms of percentage, while Richmond needs to keep winning to stay inside the top 4 given their lower percentage. The Giants and Cats will compete for the #2 spot, while the Crows look set to finish as the best team on the ladder this regular season. St. Kilda is all but eliminated based on percentage, Essendon needs to win out, while the Bulldogs need to do the same, their lower percentage makes it unlikely they can make finals with another loss or draw. The 5-10 slots remain tight, while at the bottom of the ladder Carlton, Brisbane, and North Melbourne are all competing for the wooden spoon.

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