AFL Round 3 saw the ladder tighten with the Western Bulldogs and Richmond responding with big wins, Melbourne snapping a massive losing streak against North Melbourne, the WA teams winning at home, and the Swans beating the Giants. Port Adelaide is now the only undefeated side in the competition, but they had to survive this round to stay that way.
Western Bulldogs Respond and Port Adelaide Survives a Scare in AFL Round 3
Dogs Respond to Adversity against the Bombers
The Western Bulldogs posted a 104-83 win over Essendon after a week of adversity due to their poor start to the season. It’s now crisis time for Essendon after the young Dogs finally played their best. Lachie Hunter, Luke Dalhaus, and Jack Macrae combined for almost 100 disposals, while Marcus Bontempelli kicked 3 goals, and Toby McLean kicked 2. Caleb Daniel was also solid while the Dogs backline shut down the Essendon forwards. Zach Merrett and Joe Daniher needed to be better for the Bombers who were very quiet on the day.
Geelong takes a loss and a long injury list from Perth
The West Coast eagles had a solid lead at halftime and looked safe for a win on their home ground. Then they got themselves in trouble after a strong fight by Geelong. However, halfway in the fourth term they recovered, and aided by a shortened Geelong bench came away 95-80 winners in what was a pretty even contest overall. Dom Sheed, Andrew Gaff, and Luke Shuey matched the Geelong midfield play for play, but it was Nic Naitanui with 39 hitouts and a goal that helped the Eagles take control of the game. The Eagles forwards also played well with Mark LeCras and Jack Darling combining for 5 goals, while Liam Ryan kicked 3 but seriously injured his ankle in the process after a go-ahead goal in the final term.
Patrick Dangerfield and Sam Menegola combined for over 60 disposals, while Gary Ablett had 26 in a game where he went down with a hamstring injury. Despite the decent midfield showing, the Cats lacked goals, as just Tom Hawkins and rookie Esava Ratugolea had a multi-goal game, and they were dominated in the ruck.
Crows Thump Struggling Saints
It wasn’t that much of a surprise but Adelaide put St. Kilda even more under the pump with a 104-55 win where they applied a ton of pressure and stunted the Saints forward line. Rory Laird, Paul Seedsman, and Bryce Gibbs lead the Crows while veteran forwards Tex Walker and Eddie Betts combined for 6 goals. Seb Ross and Luke Dunstan were solid in the Saints midfield but they didn’t have a multi-goal scorer with Blake Acres, Paddy McCartin, and Jack Billings really disappointing.
Collingwood gives Carlton the Blues
Collingwood kicked a very clean 16-4 to win 100-76 after building a second quarter lead against the Carlton Blues at hte MCG. The Pies dominated the midfield with Steele Sidebottom and Jack Crisp over 30 disposals, while Josh Thomas (5 goals), Sidebottom (3), Ben Reid, and Will Hoskin-Elliot were all major goal contributors with 3 or more goals. Brodie Grundy put up a great performance against Matt Kreuzer in the ruck.
By contrast, the Carlton backline struggled, and despite 4 goals from Levi Casboult and solid games from Marc Murphy and Patrick Cripps, the Blues were feeling the blues in a game that both sides really needed to win.
Port Adelaide survives scare against Brisbane
Port is looking like one of the strongest sides in the comp overall but they were challenged by an onwards and upwards Brisbane Lions side who had the ball in the forward pocket late in the game (plus a second term lead) and lost 97-92. Port generated more chances but the Lions piled up more tackles. Brisbane was lead by a remarkable performance from ruckman Stef Martin who posted 30 disposals, 49 hitouts, and 7 tackles against a backup Port ruck. Eric Hipwood and Charlie Cameron combined for 6 goals and Mitch Robinson was good too, but it was still Port that came away with the points.
Jared Polec put together a special performance with 29 disposals, Ollie Wines and both Robbie and Sam Gray were also solid, with Sam Gray kicking 3 goals. Not every win is going to be easy for Port, and in it’s own way this was a key performance.
Melbourne Gets past Kangaroo Jinx
Early in the first term it looked like Melbourne would remain snakebit against the Roos. Over the course of the game the Demons won out 123-86 thanks to better play in the forward line and a much stronger midfield, plus a dominant performance from Max Gawn. Jordan Lewis, Jesse Hogan, Nathan Jones, and Christian Petracca were among best on ground for the Dees, while Tom Bugg kicked 4 goals, and Dean Kent and Jeff Garlett combined for 6. Shaun Higgins, Ben Cunnington, and Ben Brown were competitive for North, as was Jarrad Waite, but the performance from Gawn really put the Dees over the top.
Fremantle stops Suns momentum
Fremantle racked up scoring chances to stall the Gold Coast Suns momentum in a 96-68 victory for the Dockers, the side in purple pulling away in the final term despite a tie at the half. Despite a great effort from Jarryd Lions with 30 disposals, 10 tackles, and 2 goals, it was Nat Fyfe that stole the show. Fyfe looked back to his best with 38 disposals, 8 tackles, and 5 marks, plus a goal. Cam McCarthy and Michael Walters were both big contributors as well, Lachie Neale had 29 disposals and all and all the Dockers outworked the Suns around the ground.
Swans win the Sydney Derby
It was back and forth for a while but the Sydney Swans pulled away to win 103-87 in the first Sydney derby of the year. Callum Mills stepped up for the Swans, as did Callum Sinclair (with 3 goals), and Lance Franklin, who only kicked 2, but kicked a massive goal late when it mattered. Nick Haynes and Stephen Coniglio were solid for the Giants, but Lachie Whitfield and Josh Kelly didn’t answer the bell. Jeremy Cameron added 3 goals but Tim Taranto in particular was poor, in a result that GWS can learn much from, while the Swans will gain confidence from.
Richmond returns to form against Hawthorn
The Richmond Tigers roared to a 102-89 win against Hawthorn that was more lopsided than the score would indicate. Other than a late push by the Hawks, the Tigers dominated things, and perhaps most surprising of all it happened while Tom Mitchell was firing and Dustin Martin was not. Trent Cotchin, Bachar Houli, and Reece Conca led the disposal count for the Tigers, while their forward line was fantastic with Jack Riewoldt, Jason Castagna, rookie Jack Higgins, and Dan Butler among the leaders. Toby Nankervis also stood up in the ruck, and helped make up for the poor performance by Martin.
Tom Mitchell (42 disposals), and Jarryd Roughead (4 goals) fired in a big way for the Hawks but the rest of their side looked a big flat after a big performance in round 2, with fatigue perhaps playing a part in the result.