AFL Round 18 is in the books, here is your look at all the action.
Suns Stun Swans in AFL Round 18
The Gold Coast Suns have endured a miserable season, but an upset win over Sydney helps show fans and players alike there is a light at the end of the tunnel. The Suns upset potential flag winners Sydney 88-64 overcoming a strong Sydney first term lead, and staving off a Swans comeback attempt in the final term. The Suns backline avoided a collapse and they had an attacking advantage to win their first game in 12 rounds. The Suns had never previously beaten Sydney and were away at the SCG but they didn’t play scared at all. Jarrod Witts had one of his career best games with 56 hit outs, 9 tackles, and 14 disposals, Will Brodie and Touk Miller led the disposal count and Aaron Young and Alex Sexton combined for 7 decisive goals while Lachie Weller also booted a pair.
Sydney’s Lance Franklin was shut down by Sun Rory Thompson, while Josh P. Kennedy, Tom Papley, and Luke Parker turned in solid performances for the home side. The loss sees Sydney fall behind the top 4 teams as they are now just a game clear of 8th.
Geelong Beats Melbourne at the Horn
In the race for finals, Geelong needed to beat Melbourne at home and they did, 100-98 as Zach Tuohy kicked the winner after the siren on a set shot. It was a close game throughout, but Melbourne had a lead early in the final term that they threw away despite having more scoring chances. Tim Kelly and Mitch Duncan led the disposal count, while Gary Ablett and Sam Menegola were also on 30+. Best on ground went to forward Tom Hawkins, he booted 7 goals, while Patrick Dangerfield also made his mark. Clayton Oliver and Tom McDonald were best for the Dees as McDonald kicked 4 and Oliver had 9 disposals. This game was one of the best of the season and it’s worth checking out if you haven’t seen it already.
Giants Upset Ruckless Port Adelaide
The GWS Giants upset the Port Adelaide Power 80-58 on the road, a pivotal win for the Giants finals hopes as they appear to be returning to form at a pivotal time of the season. The Giants avoided a late collapse as Lachie Whitfield, Josh Kelly, and Jacob Hopper were among the best on ground. Ruck Dawson Simpson also ran wild as the Power couldn’t match him in the rucking contest. Ollie Wines and Jared Polec turned in good games for the Power while Charlie Dixon and Robbie Gray combined for 5 goals.
Richmond, West Coast, and Collingwood Maintain Winning Ways
The top 3 sides in the competition all turned in easy wins on the weekend. Richmond crushed St. Kilda 111-57 despite a good game from the Saints Seb Ross. Dustin Martin cleared 30 disposals while Jack Riewoldt and Dion Prestia combined for 7 goals in a game where the Tigers showed how good they can be when they are firing on all cylinders.
West Coast eased past the Western Bulldogs 100-46. The Dogs were impotent on attack as they lacked a multi-goal scorer. Josh Dunkley had 29 disposals but it was the Eagles midfielders Andrew Gaff and Luke Shuey that stole the show while Elliot Yeo also had a great game. The Eagles ran riot on attack with 6 goals combined from Jamie Cripps and Jack Darling while Josh Kennedy and Mark LeCras combined for 4.
Collingwood punished finals contenders North Melbourne 130-64, damaging the Kangaroos percentage as Brody Mihocek and Jordan De Goey combined for 8 goals while Will Hoskin-Elliot and Jaidyn Stephenson combined for 6 goals. Taylor Adams had a fantastic performance in the midfield while Shaun Higgins (33 disposals), and Majak Daw (3 goals) were good for North.
Crows, Hawks and Bombers Maintain Finals Push
The Adelaide Crows were troubled by Brisbane but prevailed 93-88 in a must win game at the Gabba. Alex Witherden was best on ground in defeat for the Lions while Matt Crouch and Rory Laird led the Crows disposal count and Hugh Greenwood booted 4 goals. Brisbane deserves credit for fighting hard despite the close defeat.
Hawthorn crushed the near certain wooden spooners Carlton 124-52. Tom Mitchell outhustled fellow Brownlow contender Patrick Cripps, although both were best on ground. Mitchell and Worpel cleared 30 disposals (Mitchell had 46) while Luke Breust and Paul Puopolo combined for 9 goals. Cripps was the only multi-goal kicker for Carlton.
Essendon turned in a steady and effective performance to close out Fremantle 99-70 despite an awful 13.21 kicking performance. Devon Smith was best on ground for the Bombers while Orazio Fantasia and Mitch Brown combined for 8 goals and Zach Merrett had 28 disposals. Lachie Neale and Michael Walters were best for Fremantle.