Close Finishes and A Sucker Punch Highlight AFL Round 20

Tigers Keep Cats Out of the 8 With Win

Gary Ablett missed a sitting chance late as Richmond nipped Geelong 85-82 in a game they led throughout but still nearly fell to defeat in at the MCG as the 9th placed Cats hung in tough with the first place Tigers. Kane Lambert and Dustin Martin led the Tigers while Jack Riewoldt kicked 4 goals to secure victory.

The Cats got great games from Patrick Dangerfield, Joel Selwood, Tim Kelly, and Mitch Duncan, while Daniel Menzel kicked three goals. For as well as they played there is still a significant chance that the Cats will miss the finals despite having the firepower to hang with the best in the competition in a one off basis.

Dees, and Eagles and Giants Take Steps Towards Top 4 Finish

Melbourne destroyed the Suns 143-47 as Clayton Oliver continued his late Brownlow votes push, Jesse Hogan kicked 4 goals, and Angus Brayshaw was also fantastic for the winners. James Harmes and Dom Tyson also put together great games.

For the otherwise hapless Suns Alex Sexton kicked 5 goals and Touk Miller had 25 disposals.

The West Coast Eagles defeated their rivals Fremantle 142-84, but the win was marred by a sucker punch by their star midfielder Andrew Gaff who with a swift blow broke the jaw of Andrew Brayshaw and will likely see himself suspended for multiple games, and perhaps all the way into next season. The loss of Gaff will add to the list of Eagles stars who are not able too be in the best 22. Gaff led the Eagles in disposals yet again and was making a late Brownlow push, while Jack Redden was also over 30 disposals. Jack Darling and Jamie Cripps combined for 8 goals while Liam Ryan kicked 3. Bradley Hill and David Mundy were best on ground for the Dockers.

The GWS Giants destroyed Carlton 151-46, playing the final term with less than the standard number of players on the ground. Brett Deledio, Dawson Simpson, and Toby Greene are all key players who went down for the Giants in the win. Josh Kelly, Stephen Coniglio, Callan Ward, and Jacob Hopper all put over 30 disposals on the board for the winners. Jeremy Cameron booted 4 goals, while Harry Himmelberg and Adam Tomlinson combined for 6 goals. Patrick Cripps was again best on ground for the Blues.

Bulldogs Thump Saints

The Western Bulldogs won with surprising ease 103-68 against the St. Kilda Saints in a game that was played for pride. Seb Ross and Jack Billings were best on ground for the losers but it was the performances of club champions Jason Johannisen, Jack Macrae, Lachie Hunter, and Josh Dunkley that made it happen for the Bulldogs. Marcus Bontempelli and Josh Schache combined for 7 goals.

Crows Win Showdown

Adelaide won 96-93 against their rivals Port Adelaide, Josh Jenkins kicked the winning goal, but even Jenkins admitted the ball grazed the post and it likely shouldn’t have counted as a goal. The bad officiating call potentially having massive consequences for the Power. Outside of the first term the Power had a small lead most of the game thanks to the midfield prowess of Jared Polec, 3 goals from Kane Farrell, and 8 goals combined from Chad Wingard and Robbie Gray.

Matt Crouch had 35 disposals for the Crows, Josh Jenkins and Rory Sloane combined for 5 goals while eight other Crows had a goal as it was a true team effort that led to the win.

Swans and Kangaroos Remain in Finals Hunt, Essendon Eliminated by Hawthorn

Tom McCartin kicked the game winner for Sydney as the Swans upset the favored Collingwood Magpies 73-71 to keep their season alive and at this moment, finish in the 8th position on the ladder. Sydney trailed early, but Lance Franklin kicked 6 goals while Jordan Dawson added a pair to give the Swans the decisive advantage. Dane Rampe and Aliir Aliir were influential for the Swans as well. while Brodie Grundy, Taylor Adams, and Travis Varcoe (4 goals) were best for the Magpies, who surely would have won if they could have fielded their best 22.

A tremendous defensive effort late and a bad miss by Cam Rayner secured North Melbourne a decisive 107-104 victory. The Roos had a lead most of the game but the Lions made a late comeback push at home to try and steal the win. Jack Ziebell (3 goals), Trent Dumont and Majak Daw were influential for the Roos. The Lions were led by Dayne Zorko, Hugh McCluggage and Mitch Robinson.

Hawthorn‘s 107-103 win has finished Essendon’s finals chances. The Bombers gave up a third term lead despite 41 disposals from Zach Merrett, and 6 goals combined from Mark Baguley and Jake Stringer.

Tom Mitchell had 43 disposals for the Hawks, while Jack Gunston and Luke Breust combined for 8 goals. It was also a great day for Ben Stratton and the entire Hawthorn backline.

AFL Ladder After Round 20

  1. Richmond (60)
  2. West Coast Eagles (56)
  3. GWS Giants (50)
  4. Melbourne (48)
  5. Hawthorn (48)
  6. Collingwood (48)
  7. Port Adelaide (48)
  8. Sydney (48)
  9. Geelong (44)
  10. North Melbourne (44)

With three games left to play 10 teams are vying for the 8 finals spots. Adelaide or Essendon would have to win out to finish on 52 points and get lucky. There are five teams on the same number of points, only separated by percentage, while Geelong and North likely need to win out to finish top 8. Richmond has already qualified for finals and a top 4 place while West Coast is close to doing the same.

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