Wins for the Brisbane Lions and West Coast highlight the AFL Round 17 wrap up.
Crows, Giants and Bombers Stay in Finals Hunt With Victories
Realistically there are 12 teams contending for 8 finals spots, (which can be whittled down to 10 teams contesting 6 remaining spots based on the current ladder). Adelaide, GWS, and Essendon remain in that bunch after posting wins on the weekend. The Crows won at home with a strong second half showing en route to 112-97 win over Geelong. Rory Laird had a career best game while Matt Crouch posted 30 disposals and Tom Lynch and Lachlan Murphy rose up to combine for 7 goals. The best efforts of Patrick Dangerfield and Tom Hawkins (7 goals combined, 33 disposals and 10 tackles for Dangerfield) weren’t quite enough for the Cats.
GWS Giants nipped Richmond, denying the Tigers their first interstate win of the season. 79-77 was the score in a game that the Giants led almost the entirety of. Lachie Whitfield, Callan Ward, Stephen Coniglio and Heath Shaw all surpassed 30 disposals, while Zac Langdon, now healthy, kicked 3 goals to lead the Giants forward line. Brandon Ellis and Daniel Rioli were among best on ground for the Tigers, who remain the league’s top team.
Essendon boosted their percentage, running away from Gold Coast 95-51 in a game that broke open at halftime. Nick Holman was a lone bright spot for the Suns (3 goals), as Zach Merrett and Dyson Heppell bossed things from the midfield with 37 and 36 disposals while Devon Smith posted 9 tackles and Mark Baguley added 3 goals.
Fremantle and St Kilda Enjoy Wins
Fremantle will be thrilled with their confidence boosting 59-50 upset win against Port Adelaide at Optus. David Mundy, Luke Ryan, Lachie Neale, and Brennan Cox were all standouts for a side that looks set to compete for finals in 2019 if their youth continue to flourish. Ollie Wines and Chad Wingard were among just a handful of Power players who were not off the pace in oddly poor attacking day for the finals contending Power.
St. Kilda pushed Carlton further towards a wooden spoon with a 116-52 victory in a game where the Saints offered plenty on attack, and Carlton could barely get the footy in their forward half. The four Jack’s, Steven, Steele, Newnes and Billings were standouts for the Saints in terms of disposals, goals, and overall contribution. Patrick Cripps and Ed Curnow were once again best on ground for Carlton.
Melbourne and Sydney Keep Up The Pace
Melbourne pulled away from the Western Bulldogs 119-69 in a game they needed to win to maintain pace in the race for finals. The Dogs went away in the second half despite having plenty of chances to make the game competitive. Max Gawn dominated in the ruck, Angus Brayshaw and Clayton Oliver bossed things around in the midfield while Jesse Hogan and Tom McDonald combined for 7 goals. Lachie Hunter, Mitch Wallis, and Jack Macrae (back from injury) were great for the Dogs.
A late Aliir Aliir goal helped Sydney scrape past fellow finals contenders North Melbourne 104-98 in a back and forth game that went down to the wire. Rucks Todd Goldstein and Callum Sinclair had a classic ruck duel while Isaac Heeney, Jake Lloyd, and Buddy Franklin were standouts for Sydney, with young Ben Ronke booting 5 goals. Jack Ziebell, Ben Brown, and Majak Daw combined for 13 goals for the Roos while Shaun Higgins had 33 disposals and Jed Anderson put in another great performance.
West Coast Posts Statement Win at The MCG
For the first time since 1995, West Coast defeated Collingwood at the MCG and they ran away with things in the final term 102-67. The Eagles demonstrated they why they could be the premiers this season as midfielders Luke Shuey, Jack Redden and Andrew Gaff combined for 90 disposals while Willie Rioli, and a now healthy Josh Kennedy and Jack Darling combined for 9 goals. With their forwards back healthy, West Coast looked like a much better team. Taylor Adams and Jordan De Goey were among best on ground for the Pies.
Brisbane Wins Third Straight
The Brisbane Lions are giving their supporters tremendous belief as they shut the door on Hawthorn in the second half and beat a finals contender handily 98-65, erasing what was a Hawthorn lead at the half. Tom Mitchell (43 disposals), Jaeger O’Meara (4 goals), and Liam Shiels (34 disposals) were standouts for Hawthorn but they went ice cold in the final term. Dayne Beams led the Lions midfield while Eric Hipwood and Cam Rayner shined for 6 goals.