AFL unable to act on McLean tanking claims

Tank Accident

“[Bailey] was saying it was all in the category of development etc. – his players were always trying and [there was] never any intent to lose.”

- Adrian Anderson, August 2011, following comments by former Melbourne coach Dean Bailey.

Next minute, Melbourne charged with tanking because of Brock McLean’s comments? Possible, but highly unlikely.

The AFL has put itself in a bind regarding tanking. Anderson’s statements in the middle of last year meant that tanking would not be looked at in cases up to and including the 2009 debacle.

If the AFL was to investigate the allegations against Melbourne, they would have to investigate other clubs. There’s the 2007 ‘Kreuzer Cup’ in Round 22 between Carlton and Melbourne. Terry Wallace ‘doing nothing’ in 2007. Efforts by Hawthorn and Collingwood in early 2000s and West Coast putting players in for early surgeries when it was clear the season was shot are all other examples of tanking.

The Collingwood example saw them gain Scott Pendlebury and Dale Thomas, cornerstones of their current side. Reports were made at the time of many of these allegations and even Brendan Fevola’s new book makes mention of the tanking at Carlton. Yet the AFL have only investigated one case of the offence.

If it is a crime, then Melbourne have to be punished. Since the tanking year in 2009, Melbourne have not made the finals. The club has gone backwards in a year of both on-field and off-field hell.

The supporter base is completely demoralised; one look at the comments on the official Melbourne Facebook page after yet another loss shows that. Recent history has compounded into a season of hell. The two Melbourne jumper sponsors are short-term after the EnergyWatch scandal. For the AFL to add to this might even put the club’s existence at risk.
Many supporters seeing, say, a loss of draft picks on top of five years of terrible performances might give up on the club for the time being.  Memberships and merchandise sales would surely suffer.

Finally, what’s to be gained from such a punishment? The coach of 2009 has been sacked. The then-president of Melbourne is a legend among the eyes of many Melbournians and not just supporters of the Demons, and dragging his name through the mud since his passing is a sure-fire way to come under attack from the mainstream media.

It’s too much of a risk to the AFL for them to go after Melbourne. A quiet word to clubs, saying that the party is over and if you’ve got people who come out and say this again, we will punish you, will be the way to go.

Otherwise the last decade of AFL football will forever be tarnished by the actions of various clubs over the years.

Scott Thompson escapes conviction – Match Review Panel Round 18 2012

Steve Johnson. Photo – www.flickr.com/photos/jamesdphotography

Adelaide’s midfield superstar Scott Thompson remains in contention for the AFL’s most prestigious award, the Brownlow Medal, after his high bump on Geelong’s Steve Johnson was cleared of being malicious.

Geelong were forced to sub Johnson out of the match after he was bumped by Thompson in the first few seconds of the Cats’ 27 point win over the Crows at Simonds Stadium on Saturday Afternoon. It was revealed that Johnson had concussion.

The MRP ruled that Thompson had recieved a push from Johnson’s Geelong teammate Joel Corey into the path of Johnson and that the Adelaide player could not be held responsible for the incident.

Earlier in the day, teammate of Thomspon, Jason Porplyzia, argued that the incident was part of the ways of contact sport.

“It just looked like a contest you would see every week,” said Porplyzia. “(It was) just unfortunate where the hit took place that Steve Johnson went down, it was just a football contest in my opinion.”

In total there were eight charges laid by the MRP.

Adelaide skipper Nathan van Berlo has been charged for a first offence for negligent contact with umpire Luke Farmer during the first quarter of Saturday’s match in Geelong. He can accept a $900 sanction with an early plea.

Melbourne’s Neville Jetta has been charged with a level two making forceful contact from front-on or bumping charge on Kangaroo Lindsay Thomas during the fast quarter of Saturday’s match at Etihad Stadium. He can accept a one-match ban with an early plea.

North Melbourne’s Lindsay Thomas has been charged with a level three engaging in rough conduct charge against Melbourne’s Daniel Nicholson during the third quarter also on Saturday’s match at Etihad Stadium. Due to a previous poor record, Thomas can accept a two-match suspension with an early plea.

Western Bulldogs defender Brian Lake can accept a $900 sanction with an early plea for a first offence for wresting with St Kilda goalsneak Stephen Milne during the second quarter of Saturday Night’s match at Etihad Stadium.

Another Bulldog Lindsay Gilbee has been charged with a level two striking offence against Saint Sam Fisher also during the third quarter of Saturday Night’s match at Etihad. He can accept a reprimand and 70.31 demerit points to his record with an early plea due to his five-year good record.

West Coast captain Darren Glass has been charged with a level three engaging in rough conduct offence against Lion Jonathan Brown during the final quarter of Sunday’s match at Patersons Stadium and he can accept a one-match sanction with an early plea due to a five-year good record.

Simon Black and Scott Selwood have been charged with a first and second offence respectively for wrestling after they engaged against each other on Sunday. They can accept $900 and $1800 fines respectively with an early plea.

Contact between Jarryd Roughead and Brent Stanton; Jack Trengove and Jamie Macmillan; Andrew Carrazzo and umpire Dean Margetts; Trent McKenzie and umpire Craig Fleer; Karmichael Hunt and Ben McGlynn; Matthew Pavlich and Danyle Pearce; Beau Wilkes and Daniel Cross; Stephen Milne and Bob Murphy; Stephen Milne and Brian Lake; Stephen Milne and Liam Picken and contact between Leigh Montagna and Daniel Pearce were all looked at but dismissed.

Saints Push on for Finals

Captain Nick Riewoldt booted 4 in Brendan Goddard’s 200th game.

St Kilda have kept their finals hopes for 2012 alive with a commanding 76 point victory over the Western Bulldogs on Sunday.

In star player Brendan Goddard’s 200th game the Saints put on a clinic in the second half, building on a 24 point half-time lead and kicking 9 goals to 2 in the second half.

The margin could have been much bigger if not for some wayward kicking for goal.

Goddard starred in his milestone match, gathering 33 disposals and laying 9 tackles in his best game of the year. He was ably assisted through the midfield with strong performances from veteran Lenny Hayes (28 disposals, 7 tackles, 3 goals), Leigh Montagna (32 disposals, 1 goal) and a classy display from Nick Dal Santo (28 disposals, 2 goals).

The Dogs struggled for winners on the park, with captain Matthew Boyd not damaging the Saints at all in his head-to-head clash with Goddard and Ryan Griffen being well held by Clint Jones.

Saints skipper Nick Riewoldt set the tone for the game early, booting the opening 3 goals of the match. The Dogs tried to stay with them and were within 8 points at quarter time, but could only double their quarter time score for the remainder of the game.

Brendan McCartney lamented the Dogs poor form, saying that their inability to stop opposition teams blowing them away was “unacceptable”.

The Saints got their run on late in the second quarter, with a beautiful piece of play and a sublime finish from Dal Santo leading to a run of goals. They held the Dogs goal-less for almost an hour, not that they didn’t have their chances.

Tom Williams kicked consecutive shots out on the full and their inability to make the distance and take advantage of opportunities was worrying. With Roughead and Grant playing further up the ground and spending time in defense, there was very little for the Bulldogs’ players to kick to when they managed to escape the stranglehold of the Saints’ forward 50.

The loss was compounded by a season-ending injury to hardened midfielder Daniel Cross. His shoulder was damaged in a crunching tackle by Saint Beau Wilkes and he was visibly distressed as he came off the ground.

The frustration got the better of some players. Robert Murphy played a strong defensive game on Stephen Milne, restricting him to one late goal. Milne incited a melee with Bulldogs’ defender Brian Lake, and another melee erupted in the third, during which Riewoldt lost his jumper.

The Saints’ gained a much coveted percentage boost and are now one game outside the 8. They have an extremely tough fixture against Collingwood at the MCG next weekend, while the Bulldogs face a surging North Melbourne outfit at Etihad.

Votes

3. Lenny Hayes (STK)
2. Brendan Goddard (STK)
1. Nick Dal Santo (STK)

GOALS

St Kilda: Riewoldt 4, Hayes 3, Dal Santo 2, Koschitzke 2, Schneider 2, Montagna, Steven, Milne
Western Bulldogs: Giansiracusa 2, Dickson 2, Tutt, Gilbee

BEST

St Kilda: Montagna, Hayes, Steven, Dal Santo, Goddard, Jones, Riewoldt
Bulldogs: Griffen, Boyd, Murphy, Wallis, Minson

Grinners and Moaners Round 18

Greek Tragedy MasksGrinners

Geelong

The chase is on. It could be scoffed at earlier in the year when it was suggested that a side could win the flag from outside the top 4, but who’s laughing now? Geelong, clearly, can never be counted out. Their run home sees a mega-blockbuster against Hawthorn next Friday night, West Coast in Perth, St Kilda, the Bulldogs and Sydney in Geelong, which is tough, but their win has shown that tough simply may not be enough to stop the Cats as they amp up for September.

West Coast

The Eagles desperately needed that percentage recovery, as it will lead to West Coast jumping either Adelaide or Collingwood should either side slip up. Moreover, it was just the sort of stabiliser that the Eagles needed before one of the hottest derbies in a while, with Freo needing to win to keep their finals hopes alive while West Coast want to crack the top 4.

Carlton

Oh boy. If Carlton make the finals, it will be a case of falling into the eight rather than making it on their own merit. The massive injection of luck that they received on Saturday night will surely have to be repeated in order for the Blues to get their, but there’s still life signs in the hope of September.

North Melbourne

10 wins now, coupled with Essendon’s loss, sees North looking at 7th spot at the end of Round 23. They have one guaranteed win against GWS in round 23, as well as a probable against the Bulldogs. The Roos have to take on Collingwood as well as Fremantle in Perth, but looming large is the clash with Essendon in two weeks’ time, a match which very well could be the sealer for finals one way or the other for both sides.

St Kilda

Somehow the Saints remain discounted from finals contention. Such an idea is strange, as they sit on 9 wins (equal with Carlton) and have an easier run home, with games against GWS and Melbourne. They continue to quietly chip away at their chances, and a slip or two elsewhere will see them into September action.

Moaners

Hawthorn’s 23rd player

The Hawks have both Lance Franklin and David Hale to return. Max Bailey seems the obvious omission for Hale, but the Buddy question looms large. Hawthorn’s forward line is in fact performing damn well without him.  Someone has to go to fit the guy leading the Coleman chase… but who?

Richmond

Another week, another ‘honourable’ loss. 8 of Richmond’s games have been decided by a margin of two goals or less, of which they’ve won two, against St Kilda or GWS. If they’d converted another two for a 50-50 win rate, they’d be 9-8 and well in the finals hunt. Instead, their chances are almost certainly over once again.

Essendon

The wheels are quickly falling off the Bombers’ season. With their continuing injury list and the numerous other sides who are hunting finals that they play between now and the start of September action, there is still the risk that Essendon could miss the finals due to the realities of their run home.

Melbourne and the Bulldogs

The silence is deafening. The seasons are over already for both, and it’s without a care by most in the footy world.

Adelaide

The more this season goes on, the less impressive the Crows seem despite their ladder position. When Adelaide lose, it seems to be a whimper more than a tight contest, with a fifteen to twenty minute lapse in concentration leading to huge scoreboard damage.

Fremantle Fail to Capitalise

Go Fremantle – Credit: flickr.com/michaelspencer

PORT ADELAIDE 1.2 1.3 2.7 6.12 (48)
FREMANTLE 5.2 6.7 9.9 11.9 (75)

In front of a meagre crowd, just short of 15,000; Fremantle has kept its increasingly slim finals hopes alive by making easy work of Port Adelaide at AAMI Stadium.

An early burst of goals by Ross Lyon’s perennial underachievers was the defining factor in the match with Port, having come back from a win against Melbourne in Darwin, looking slow from the start.

Nathan Fyfe starred on his return to the Dockers side; the highly fancied flanker found the ball 26 times and booted a goal, proving his fitness after that shoulder injury that he sustained earlier in the year.

In a trend for the round, Port Adelaide found themselves with no more than a goal and a few points to their name at the first break, similar to Melbourne and Essendon in the days prior.

In an even worse turn, they booted just one point in the second quarter to finish the half on 1 goal 3 and down by 34 points to their wasteful opponents.

The absences of Jay Schulz, Robbie Grey and John Butcher were more apparent than ever, with the midfield not having the opportunity to find a target with the limited inside 50 chances they had.

Fremantle, led by their consistently excellent captain Matthew Pavlich, found themselves up by 44 points at the main break; before Port fought back to keep it to a respectable 27 point margin.

Fremantle’s inability to hit the scoreboard would have been a source of frustration to Lyon, with his side sitting 9th on the ladder but suffering with a percentage of just over 106%.

Juxtaposed with North Melbourne’s 110% in 8th place, and St Kilda’s 121% in 10th – the Dockers will be wondering why Pavlich missed 3 of his 5 set shots and Michael Barlow failed to hit the scoreboard in a major way from the midfield in scoring 0.2.

Matthew Primus, meanwhile, finds himself in yet another spot of bother. With a GWS game to save face next week, the coach will need to oversee a victory over a side whose 78 point loss to Melbourne 6 weeks ago has led to a 100+ point average losing margin since.

If he manages to lose to the Giants, he’d be rightly nervous about his status as coach – but that fantasy would take the greatest achievement in footy chokelore to become a reality.

Freo, meanwhile, will host West Coast at Patterson’s Stadium on Saturday in what is sure to be a red hot Derby. With the Dockers looking to leapfrog North into 8th and the Eagles hoping to skip above the Crows into 4th, we can expect an even more passionate game than usual.

VOTES

3 – Kane Cornes continued an unusual rich vein of form by gathering 31 touches and a goal.
2 – Nathan Fyfe was very good on return with 26 touches and a goal.
1 – Michael Barlow couldn’t impact on the scoreboard, but his 7 tackles and 24 disposals were encouraging.

GOALS

Port Adelaide: Brett Ebert 2, Stewart, Boak, Westhoff, Cornes
Fremantle: Mayne 2, Pearce 2, Pavlich 2, Fyfe, Mundy, Mzungu, Sutcliffe, Walters

INJURIES

Port Adelaide: Nil
Fremantle: Nil

SUBS

Port Adelaide: Aaron Young replaced Jackson Trengove in the fourth quarter
Fremantle: Cameron Sutcliffe replaced Michael Walters in the fourth quarter


Reports

Port Adelaide: Nil
Fremantle: Nil

Umpires: Foot, Ryan, Mollison

Official crowd: 14,583 at AAMI Stadium

Lions Crushed

WEST COAST             7.4   11.5  17.6    28.7  (175)
BRISBANE LIONS     2.0    5.2    7.3     12.5   (77)


The last time these two sides met, Brisbane stunned the Eagles with a last gasp goal and seemingly sent the Eagles into a spiral of poor form. They lost three of their next six games and their wins lacked the usual polish the Eagles were renowned for, but it was clear from the get go today that they were out to stop the rot.

They quickly took the lead in the first term and never looked back, capping off the victory with a dominant display in the last quarter, kicking 11 goals.

Captain Darren Glass will face a nervous wait however, with a head high bump on Jonathan Brown sure to grab the attention of the Match Review Panel. Brown was dazed for a few moments before taking his kick and played out the game without any problems, but they MRP have shown they like to crack down hard on head high contact before.

The Eagles were lead by Nic Naitanui, who is quickly becoming the most spectacular player in the AFL. He had 36 tapouts, three goals and several brilliant grabs. His ruck work was important, giving the West Coast midfield with first use of the footy which in turn cut the Lions’ back half to pieces.

The Lions tried their best to reduce the margin during the second term, but it was all in vain as the Eagles scored at will.

Votes

Naitanui

Waters

Darling


GOALS
West Coast:
Darling 5, Hill 4, Hams 3, Naitanui 3, Hurn 2, Cox 2, Gaff, Waters, Masten, Priddis, Shuey, Scott Selwood, McGinnity, Lynch, Sheppard
Brisbane Lions: Brown 3, Zorko 2, Hawksley 2, Merrett 2, Redden, Adcock, Polkinghorne

BEST
West Coast: 
Naitanui, Waters, Gaff, Hurn, Darling, Glass
Brisbane Lions: Redden, Black, Adcock, Raines

INJURIES
West Coast:
 Daniel Kerr (hamstring strain)
Brisbane Lions: Matt McGuire (ankle)

SUBSTITUTES
West Coast: 
Patrick McGinnity replaced Daniel Kerr in the third quarter
Brisbane Lions: Todd Banfield replaced Matt McGuire in the third quarter

Reports: Darren Glass (West Coast) engaged in rough conduct on Jonathan Brown (Brisbane Lions) in the fourth quarter

Umpires: Fila, Nicholls, Mitchell

Official crowd: 35,767 at Patersons Stadium

Late McLean Sinks Tigers

CARLTON      4.2    7.5   10.11  14.11   (95)                 

RICHMOND   5.2   5.7    8.11    13.13  (91)         

It was almost accidental, but a goal to Brock McLean late in the game sealed a four-point victory to the Blues and yet another heartbreaking loss for the Tigers.

With 53 seconds remaining in the match McLean marked just outside 50, near the boundary line. Knowing there wasn’t long let, he swung around and kicked it in the direction of forward Levi Casboult.

Jayden Post was able to nudge Casboult out of the contest, but the ball had drifted over their heads anyway, as it bounced through for the unlikeliest of goals and the most disappointing of losses.

Third time unlucky, it could be said, as the contest twisted and turned all night with countless lead changes.

The Tigers were more impressive early on, kicking five goals to lead by quarter time; all five came from midfielders Trent Cotchin (24 disposals, five clearances, three goals) and Dustin Martin (19 disposals, seven clearances, three goals) who couldn’t be stopped pushing forward.

It was undoubtedly a battle of the midfields, as best on ground could have gone to either of Shane Tuck (31 disposals, 23 contested, nine clearances) and Marc Murphy (36 disposals, 22 contested, nine clearances), who both played fantastic matches.

Providing noble support for Murphy was milestone man Andrew Carrazzo (27 disposals, 17 contested, eight tackles, eight clearances) in 150th game and of course McLean (27 disposals, 18 contested, nine clearances, 11 tackles), with the absence of a lot of key players.

Their impressive performances allowed them to hold Richmond to an inaccurate 0.5 in the second quarter, allowing them to gain an advantage rarely lost throughout the course of the night.

With the midfield performers stepping up and the ability to hit the scoreboard enough – Eddie Betts kicked four goals – Carlton were able to maintain their lead, but Richmond slowly clawed back.

It was their style of footy: desperate, intense and, despite trailing by 12 at three quarter time, it allowed them to compete in a goal-for-goal shootout in the very latter stages of the match.

However, their third loss in a row by under a goal rules them out of finals contention, while it keeps Carlton’s surge alive.

GOALS

Carlton: Betts 4, Thornton 2, Armfield 2, Murphy,  Carrazzo, Bell, Garlett, Casboult, McLean

Richmond: Martin 3, Cotchin 3, Tuck 2, Nahas 2, McGuane, Newman, Grigg

BEST

Carlton: Murphy, McLean, Carrazzo, Curnow, Betts, Scotland

Richmond: Tuck, Maric, Cotchin, Deledio, Martin, Edwards

INJURIES

Carlton: Nil

Richmond: Morris (shoulder)

SUBSTITUTES

Carlton: Frazer Dale replaced Nick Duigan early in the final quarter

Richmond: Addam Maric replaced Daniel Jackson in the third quarter

Reports: Nil

Umpires: Margetts, Rosebury, Hay

Official crowd: 46,013 at the MCG

Pies inflict Giant Defeat

GREATER WESTERN SYDNEY    3.4     5.4        6.11     7.12 (54)
COLLINGWOOD                               7.5    13.11    17.14   26.18 (174)

Travis Cloke has responded to a week of heavy speculation in perfect fashion, booting six majors as Collingwood, as expected, thumped the tiring Greater Western Sydney Giants.

GWS were quick out of the blocks and up for the contest, with Devon Smith kicking the first two goals of the game in a matter of minutes. The Giants forwards were more than holding their own, with Jeremy Cameron and Jonathon Patton taking good contested grabs and Jonathan Giles was giving the likes of Toby Greene and Adam Treloar first use in the middle.

The longer the quarter went however, fatigue set in for the home side’s young bodies, and the kicks got sloppy, decisions poor.

The big Collingwood forwards benefited from quick delivery after Giants errors, their size advantage even more prominent with the defenders stretched on the rebound. The Pies kicked 38 points from Giants turnovers in the first quarter. Luke Power had a couple of muffed kick ins that came straight back over his, and the goal umpires, head, Chris Dawes clamped a grab in the square and converted, and Cloke was getting lots of the ball, but not converting it to the scoreboard.

With fresh legs, the Giants are a formidable team, they get lots of numbers at the ball and have skill on the ground. The home side again kicked the first two goals of the quarter, with Cameron getting a free in the pocket, which he snapped trough, then the big resting ruckman Giles marking and goaling from close range.

The tide turned the longer the quarter went and after a number of missed chances – with Chris Tarrant the worst offender, spraying three behinds from gettable shots -  another turnover from the Giants defence saw Mooney kick Collingwood’s first after 13 minutes. Nick Maxwell chimed in and kicked a long bomb from the centre square to increase the lead to 28, Swan goaled on the run a minute later to take the margin past five goals.

The Giants shone early in the second half, getting the first five clearances, and having the first two shots, yet unlike the opening two quarters, the shots missed. The Pies were struggling to score at the other end, until Coke stood up and took two big marks and blasted them through from close range. Another miss to Cameron at the other end, and a great running goal through the corridor to Smith after a great grab, dummy and handball from Giles at least showed the Giants were sticking in, despite the three figures on the scoreboard against them.

The Giants matched the Pies in the third term, nearing the end of the term the inside fifties were twelve all, and it was only the inaccurate 1.7 by the home side, to Collingwood’s four goals that proved the difference.

The margin at three quarter time was 69, though it wasn’t the licking the Pies were hoping for in a top four race where percentage will be all important, a strong last term would likely have satisfied the desires of coach Nathan Buckley.

Votes

Swan

Pendlebury

Shaw

GOALS

Collingwood: Cloke 6, Swan 5, Beams 2, Elliott 2, Goldsack 2, Dawes 2, Sinclair, Blair, Mooney, Maxwell, Shaw, Fasolo, Tarrant
Greater Western Sydney: Smith 3, Cameron 2, Palmer, Giles

BEST
Collingwood: Swan, Cloke, Pendlebury, Shaw, Elliott,
Greater Western Sydney: Giles, Greene, Treloar

INJURIES
Collingwood: TBC
Greater Western Sydney: Cornes (virus) replaced in selected side by Bruce

SUBSTITUTES
Collingwood: Martin Clarke replaced Caolan Mooney in the third quarter
Greater Western Sydney: Nick Haynes replaced Jonathon Patton at three quarter-time

Slick Swans Smash Suns

GOLD COAST              2.1       5.2       7.4       8.6 (54)
SYDNEY SWANS        6.3       8.7       16.9     19.12 (126)

Once again Suns captain Gary Ablett has produced a masterclass yet has still been powerless to stop his Suns from being completely dismantled by a superior opponent.

The Swans rotated opponents off the Brownlow Medallist, allowing their midfield group to quickly take control of proceedings as Ablett desperately searched for a helping hand. Kieran Jack, Josh Kennedy and Ryan O’Keefe all had big games, setting up the comfortable victory.

The Swans entered the contest on top of the ladder – equal with the Crows. The win sees them a game clear of the Crows and Hawks, and the healthy percentage boost may prove to be invaluable by the end of the season.

The win came at a cost however, with star forward Sam Reid appearing to seriously injure his knee in the first term and Adam Goodes limping from the field in the last.

Coach John Longmire was confident that Reid’s injury would only be a minor setback, and hoped the forward would be back before finals whilst Goodes could be fine to play next week.

Reid’s absence was covered by Lewis Roberts-Thompson, who kicked a game high four goals.

The Suns battled valiantly, but it was a case of too little experience under pressure as the Swans’ intense and tough game style battered the young side into submission.

Votes

O’Keefe

Kennedy

1  Ablett

GOALS
Sydney Swans: 
Roberts-Thomson 4, Goodes 3, Bolton 3, Jack 2, Dennis-Lane 2, Bird, Hannebery, Jetta, McVeigh,Kennedy
Gold Coast: Matera 3, Smith 2, Ablett, Brown, Lynch

BEST
Sydney Swans: 
Jack, Kennedy, O’Keefe, Pyke, Bolton, McVeigh
Gold Coast: Ablett, Harbrow, Hine, Stanley, Warnock, Matera

INJURIES 
Sydney Swans: Reid (knee), Goodes (corked thigh)
Gold Coast: Brown (TBC), Swallow (corked leg)

SUBSTITUTES

Sydney Swans: Craig Bird replaced Sam Reid in the first quarter
Gold Coast: Liam Patrick replaced David Swallow in the third quarter

Reports: Nil

Umpires: Fleer, Leppard, Wenn

Official crowd: 11,169 at Metricon Stadium

North on the Up

North Melbourne   5.4   9.6   15.10   19.13 (127)
Melbourne              1.2     5.5     7.5     11.7 (73)

North Melbourne have consolidated their grasp on finals footy after beating Melbourne by 54 points yesterday.

Melbourne’s chances were quickly ended, with the Kangaroos jumping out of the blocks, kicking the first five goals of the contest. The Demons remained competitive afterwards, but the damage was already done.

Brad Green kicked three goals in his 250th game and was key to the Demons continually fight, but the fact of the matter is that North Melbourne are simply superior to the struggling Demons.

Drew Petrie continued his stunning form with another four goals to make it 18 in three weeks, but it was his captain Andrew Swallow who really stole the show.

Swallow had 32 disposals, 17 of which were contested yet still managed to use the ball at 81% efficiency. He kicked a goal and set up a few others whilst being instrumental in the congested clearance work, finishing with an incredible 17 tackles – two shy of the record set by Swan Jude Bolton last season.

It wasn’t all good for the Kangaroos however, with Leigh Adams suffering a shoulder injury which will cause concerns for the Roos medical staff over the coming days.

Votes

Swallow

Harvey

Petrie
GOALS
North Melbourne: 
Petrie 4, Tarrant 4, Adams 2, Thomas 2, Harvey 2, Bastinac, Macmillan, Anthony, Swallow, Harper
Melbourne: Green 3, Sylvia 3, Blease, Howe, Garland, Martin, Jones

BEST
North Melbourne:
 Harvey, Gibson, Wells, Cunnington, Swallow, Goldstein, Atley
Melbourne: Jones, Green, Moloney, Howe, Macdonald

INJURIES
North Melbourne: 
Adams (shoulder), Scott McMahon (soreness)
Melbourne: Nil

SUBSTITUTES
North Melbourne: 
Scott McMahon (soreness) substituted for Matt Campbell in the third quarter
Melbourne: Neville Jetta substituted for James Strauss in the third quarter

Reports: Nil

Umpires: McBurney, Armstrong, Harris

Official crowd: 20,816 at Etihad Stadium

Saints Look to September

The Saints have strayed from the script, hoping to write a quick fast-track to the dizzing high’s of 2009 and 2010. It seemed that their older players were getting on and the rebuild was imminent. This has changed greatly this season. The hunt for the eight is on, and they can almost taste it. The Dogs are now out of finals contention, but the kids are willing to get their hands dirty, despite a lack of polish and skill that comes with experience.

WHY SHOULD YOU TUNE IN:

St.Kilda: The Saints midfield and older bodies now need to bring themselves to forefront more than ever. The Dogs mids, which are an older and mature bunch, rely on winning contested ball. After Lenny Hayes’ brilliant comeback year, him and Dal Santo must be prepared to use their hardness and class around the contests. The last result was not as one sided as the scoreboard suggests, as the Dogs won more clearances and had more inside 50s. The Saints must not even allow those opportunities for the Dogs or it could go pear-shaped.

The Saints were smashed in the ruck last week, losing the hit-outs 61-36 and the discrepancy probably would have been much higher but for Shane Mumford’s injury. Ben McEvoy has been holding the fort but has had little help since Rhys Stanley has been out injured.

Western Bulldogs: Another flying start would be handy. In the opening three minutes against Carlton last week, the Bulldogs kicked the first two goals and didn’t even let the Blues touch the ball. A similarly ferocious approach will be required to unsettle the Saints, who also lost on the weekend after making a strong start.

The Bulldogs achieved a better spread of contributors in the midfield against Carlton. Skipper Matthew Boyd usually supplies the most possessions – and often by a considerable margin – but the Dogs struck a better balance against the Blues, with Boyd (25) eclipsed by four teammates – Ryan Griffen (28), Tom Liberatore (28), Daniel Cross (26) and Mitch Wallis (26).

Prediction:

The Saints need this one more than the Dogs. The cream will rise to the top in a tough encounter, with the Dogs just not having enough class for the Saints.

Saints by 29.

 

Adelaide hunted down by Cats

GEELONG                 4.3 | 9.7 | 10.10 | 15.12 (102)
ADELAIDE                3.2 | 4.4 | 9.8 | 11.9 (75) 

The dominant forward presence of Tom Hawkins and a standout midfield performance from captain Joel Selwood has seen Geelong walk away 27-point winners at Simonds Stadium. The Cats’ victory came at some expense, however, with Steve Johnson being concussed at the opening bounce and Joel Corey injuring a hamstring in the 2nd quarter.

Geelong’s win proves that the classy veterans such as James Kelly, Paul Chapman and Corey Enright are all ready to have the Cats challenging once again come finals. This was also aided by strong performances from the younger Cats, with Hawkins and Allen Christensen playing well; Hawkins had three goals while Christensen picked up 23 touches through the middle.

Adelaide, on the other hand, struggled for much of the game. Although the Crows kicked the opening two goals of the match, a second quarter which saw Geelong kick five of six goals made things incredibly difficult. The Crows fought back, but collapsed midway through the final term which allowed the Cats to run away comfortably.

However, such a performance was not for the want of attempts, with Scott Thompson picking up 40 disposals in his accumulator style and Patrick Dangerfield getting 33 touches. However, the return of Taylor Walker was not to plan, with the forward returning three behinds despite grabbing a few on Tom Lonergan.

The win sees Geelong solidify their finals chances, moving up to sixth with Essendon’s percentage loss, while Adelaide have dropped to third due to Hawthorn’s percentage gain.

Adelaide play Essendon at AAMI Stadium next Saturday, while Geelong take on Hawthorn next Friday night.

VOTES
3)
 Joel Selwood (Geelong)
2) Tom Hawkins (Geelong)
1) Patrick Dangerfield (Adelaide)

GOALS
Geelong:
 Hawkins 3, Chapman 3, Mackie 2, Stokes 2, Duncan 2, Smedts, Bartel, Christensen
Adelaide: Dangerfield 2, Porplyzia 2, Vince 2 Mackay, Rutten, Jenkins, Sloane, Callinan

BEST
Geelong:
 Hawkins, Christensen, Selwood, Bartel, Chapman, Duncan, Corey
Adelaide: Thompson, Dangerfield, Vince, Porplyzia, Douglas

INJURIES
Geelong:
 Steve Johnson (concussion), Joel Corey (hamstring)
Adelaide: Sam Jacobs (Late WDL), Daniel Talia (cork)

CROWD
18,377 at Simonds Stadium

 

Power out to Prevent Freo’s Push

Where and When: AAMI Stadium, Sunday 29 July, 12:40 pm

It’s another game set to shape up the bottom half of top eight and those below it, as Fremantle continue their push for finals with a trip to South Australia to play Port Adelaide.

While the Power cannot make finals, there’s no doubt they’ll be instilling the mindset to win every game they can, which could pose problems for Fremantle who need to do the same to hurdle those above them in the top eight.

Either way, this one seems to be an interestingly even contest.

Port Adelaide

The Power have made ground this year with their improvement and development overall, despite only winning five games and sitting 14th, and will no doubt take a lot from their victory last week over Melbourne in Darwin.

Despite the long-term Travis Boak controversy, who was arguably best on ground last week, Port Adelaide have unveiled some great talent over the course of the season.

Boak, Danyle Pearce and Kane Cornes, as some of the more senior players, keep trucking along, as does Domenic Cassisi, but new faces such as Brad Ebert, Paul Stewart and Matthew Broadbent are all leading the way in what is a good year overall for their younger contingent.

A fair few of them can hit the scoreboard, as they are slowly starting to prove with Jay Schulz out and including Justin Westhoff – Stewart kicked five goals last week – and provided they can get it forward effectively, they may have the firepower to damage.

Given that they should have a ruck advantage – Jonathon Griffin will line up on his own against Matthew Lobbe and Daniel Stewart – and the home ground advantage, it’s perfectly feasible to see a Port Adelaide win, especially since they have the habit of knocking off teams around Fremantle’s mark, with wins against North Melbourne, Carlton and St Kilda at AAMI this year.

Fremantle

Fremantle will look for their tenth win of the season in their surge for finals, and even then seem to fly under the radar. David Mundy hit good form last week and now their midfield is starting to look damaging.

With the returning Nat Fyfe, who has overcome his shoulder injury, amongst names such as Michael Barlow, Matt de Boer, Stephen Hill and Clancee Pearce, their midfield has a bit of variety and, while not elite, is a great group of both inside and outside players who can harm sides with ease.

They’ll need to give all they can to the captain back in his home state, Matthew Pavlich. He’s in ripping form and whether’s he on or not should have a fair say in which way the result swings.

They also feature the returning set shot star Chris Mayne and also Hayden Ballantyne, Michael Walters and Kepler Bradley up forward – a diverse forward line featuring a number of players that can kick many goals on any given day.

If the Dockers can get on a roll, with the overall skill level and performance to date, they should win.

Players to Watch

Matthew Broadbent: In his 50th game, the young midfielder’s been impressive this year, racking up enough ball and hitting the scoreboard frequently enough to have an important impact for Port Adelaide. He’s got the confidence of a good game behind him and he’s that sort of striking player who could very well hurt given the chance.

Nat Fyfe: He will arguably be underdone, slotting straight into the seniors after a long layoff with a shoulder injury. The young star has the talent, everybody knows that, but it will be very interesting to watch his return to see whether he can have the impact he normally can.

Prediction

Fremantle continue to pinch games, and with a host of players in good form, they can easily win if Port Adelaide lose touch.

In saying that, the Power know they can beat sides of Fremantle’s calibre in Adelaide, and I reckon they can do it again.

Port Adelaide by 5

Squads

Port Adelaide

B: Tom Logan, Alipate Carlile, Jackson Trengove

HB: Tom Jonas, Troy Chaplin, Domenic Cassisi

C: Matthew Broadbent, Travis Boak, Kane Cornes

HF: Danyle Pearce, Justin Westhoff, Andrew Moore

F: Paul Stewart, Daniel Stewart, Brett Ebert

Foll: Matthew Lobbe, Matt Thomas, Brad Ebert

I/C: Jarrad Redden,Aaron Young, Chad Wingard, Darren Pfeiffer, John McCarthy

Emg: Cameron Hitchcock, Ben Jacobs, Jarrad Redden

In: Darren Pfeiffer

Out: Jasper Pittard (ribs)

Milestones: Matthew Broadbent – 50 games, Tom Logan – 100 games

 

Fremantle

B: Lee Spurr, Luke McPharlin, Adam McPhee

HB: Garrick Ibbotson, Michael Johnson, David Mundy

C: Paul Duffield, Ryan Crowley, Dylan Roberton

HF: Michael Walters, Kepler Bradley, Stephen Hill

F: Hayden Ballantyne, Matthew Pavlich, Clancee Pearce

Foll: Jonathon Griffin, Michael Barlow, Nathan Fyfe

I/C: Chris Mayne, Matt de Boer, Tendai Mzungu, Cam Sutcliffe

Emg: Nick Suban, Lachie Neale, Zac Dawson

In: Chris Mayne, Nat Fyfe

Out: Zac Clarke, Nick Suban

Swans to roost in Suns’ perch

WHERE AND WHEN: Metricon Stadium, Saturday July 28, 7.40pm

LAST TIME: Sydney Swans 15.16 (106) d Gold Coast 4.12 (36), round 16, 2011, at Metricon Stadium

 

 

Gold Coast play host to what is quickly becoming one of the toughest tasks in the AFL on Saturday night, the rampaging Sydney Swans. The young Suns have been vastly improved over the past three weeks, claiming their first victory for the season and going agonisingly close against the Brisbane Lions last weekend. Still, they’ll be hard pressed against a Swans side that has done it easily on the road this season

The Swans will be looking to notch up a strong victory to solidify their spot on the top of the ladder, looking to fend off any would be takers in the logjam that is the race for finals spots.

The Rundown

Suns

The Suns forward line has been one of their biggest worries since their inception and it is unlikely to get any better this weekend, facing one of the most miserly defenses in the AFL in the Swans. The likes of Ted Richards, Heath Grundy and Rhyce Shaw have kept opposition average scores to just over 70 per game this season and if this Gold Coast side is to do any damage they will need to find a way through.

These worries are compounded with the Suns horrible goal-kicking as of late, costing them the game against the Brisbane Lions (with a late set shot to Jared Brennan one of the main culprits) and leading to a conversion rate of under 40% over the past month. This is unacceptable, even from a young side, and they will need to take every chance they can get.

They lose experienced pickup Michael Rischitelli this weekend to injury, along with a rested Sam Day and a dropped Josh Hall, but welcome back the bustling Danny Stanley as well as Taylor Hine and Steven May.

Jarrad Harbrow plays his 100th AFL game and his rebound off the backline will be essential to a competitive team.

Swans

The Suns’ midfield is a scary future prospect and is even quite strong at present but it should prove no problem for the Swans. Relatively under the radar, as much as you can be at the top of the ladder, Sydney have quietly assembled one of the best midfields in the AFL and they are firing at all cylinders currently.

Josh P Kennedy was an early Brownlow favourite this season and was back to his inside, hard-hitting best against a Saints side that challenged them heavily. He is ably supported by the fantastic form of players like Kieran Jack, Daniel Hannebery and Jarrad McVeigh.

To further bolster this group they welcome back young Luke Parker who was in outstanding form earlier in the year. He comes in along with forward Trent Dennis-Lane who is replacing Andrejs Everitt. Shane Mumford’s knee, perhaps in a precautionary move, is being given the week off as well. Expect Mike Pyke to shoulder most of the ruck load with an occasional chop out from Lewis Roberts-Thomson.

 Key Players

Gary Ablett – Ablett has been unfairly criticised for being selfish and being a ‘sideshow’ to the Suns group, but will need to silence any remaining critics with a very strong performance if the Suns are to challenge at all. Before last weekend he had struggled against the Lions in recent times but broke out and won the Marcus Ashcroft medal for best afield in a losing side. A replication of those efforts – and a contribution on the scoreboard, are needed from the captain.

Lewis Jetta – By his lofty standards this season, Jetta has been relatively quiet over the past fortnight. With 37 goals for the season and some amazing pace and lead-up work he is quickly becoming one of the Swans’ most important players. Assuming he isn’t tagged and the attention goes to other Swans’ midfielders, he has a real opportunity to carve up the Suns and provide lethal thrusts forward. With percentage looming as a very important factor he could be key in the Swans kicking a big score.

Prediction

 It almost feels tempting to say there will be little to no contest in this match, but it’s likely the Suns will show bursts of talent and slam on goals in quick succession at certain points in the match. However, the sheer skill of the Swans’ backline and their goalkicking prowess from the midfield will prove to be far too much for the Suns to handle. Unfortunately they’ll have to wait another week for their first win at Metricon.

 

Swans by 60.

Teams:

Gold Coast Suns

B: Maverick Weller, Steven May, Trent McKenzie

HB: Daniel Stanley, Matthew Warnock, Jarrod Harbrow

C: David Swallow, Gary Ablett, Matt Shaw

HF: Liam Patrick, Tom Lynch, Brandon Matera

F: Luke Russell, Jared Brennan, Campbell Brown

Foll: Zac Smith, Karmichael Hunt, Harley Bennell

I/C: Charlie Dixon, Taylor Hine, Dion Prestia, Josh Caddy

Emg: Sam Iles, Tom Hickey, Jackson Allen

 

In: Daniel Stanley, Taylor Hine, Steven May

Out: Michael Rischitelli (Knee), Sam Day (Rested), Josh Hall

Milestones: Jarrod Harbrow – 100 games

 

Sydney Swans

B: Rhyce Shaw, Heath Grundy, Alex Johnson

HB: Nicholas Smith, Ted Richards, Martin Mattner

C: Adam Goodes, Jude Bolton, Lewis Jetta

HF: Craig Bird, Sam Reid, Ben McGlynn

F: Jarrad McVeigh, Ryan O’Keefe, Lewis Roberts-Thomson

Foll: Mike Pyke, Josh P. Kennedy, Kieren Jack

I/C: Nick Malceski, Daniel Hannebery, Trent Dennis-Lane, Luke Parker

Emg: Jesse White, Andrejs Everitt, Tony Armstrong

 

In: Trent Dennis-Lane, Luke Parker

Out: Shane Mumford (Knee), Andrejs Everitt

Roos Will Roll On

WHERE AND WHEN: Etihad Stadium, Saturday July 28, 2.10pm

North Melbourne will look to sure up their spot in the top 8 and make it six wins from their last seven when they face Melbourne.

The Kangaroos are coming off a thrilling game against Richmond. They were able to hold on for a four point win, showing they have the composure to win close games. Drew Petrie was critical in the win with seven goals, making it 14 in two weeks. North will move the ball quick and long to give him the best chance of kicking another bag.

Melbourne’s previous performance on the other hand was not as impressive. They lost to Port Adeliade by 28 points despite leading in most of the key indicators, their main problem was that they just broke down in going forward. The Dees will want to turn that around this week for former captain Brad Green’s 250th game, a win would be the perfect reward for his service.

The Demons make three welcome returns to the team this week. Brent Moloney comes back from his spell in the VFL, James Seller returns to add some height in the backline and Jordie McKenzie will probably go to Andrew Swallow. They lose two mature aged recruits in James Magner and Thomas Couch as well as Ricky Pettard. Conversely the Kangaroos go in unchanged.

Players To Watch

Colin Sylvia

Sylvia is the barometer of the Melbourne team, when he is playing well the team is comoetitive, as seen in the Fremantle game. He provides so much for the Demons, not only can he win the contested ball and clearances but he often heads forward for a goal, something Melbourne are struggling to find.

Todd Goldstein

 After a breakout year last year, Goldstein is yet to reach the same heights this year. Ruckman are key come finals time and now would be a good time to hit form. Without Mark Jamar or Mitch Clark Melbourne’s ruck stocks are severely depleted, with this in mind he should be in for a big day and he will deliver the North midfielders first hands to the ball.

Prediction

Melbourne have had an underwhelming year to date, with six rounds left there is not much time for improvement. However wining this game would be a good step forward and a sign of respect for a quality player in Brad Green.

Even with this in mind North Melbourne will be too strong. The are one of the in form teams of the competition and are gearing up for finals. This should be an easy win for a finals bound team and the Kangaroos will make sure of it.

North Melbourne by 35pts

Teams

NORTH MELBOURNE
B: Scott McMahon, Scott Thompson, Michael Firrito
HB: Shaun Atley, Nathan Grima, Jamie Macmillan
C: Ryan Bastinac, Daniel Wells, Ben Cunnington
HF: Leigh Adams, Robert Tarrant, Samuel Wright
F: Lachlan Hansen, Drew Petrie, Lindsay Thomas
Foll: Todd Goldstein, Andrew Swallow, Brent Harvey
I/C: Matt Campbell, Liam Anthony, Kieran Harper, Sam Gibson
Emg: Cruize Garlett, Cameron Richardson, Aaron Mullett

MELBOURNE
B: Daniel Nicholson, James Sellar, Tom McDonald
HB: Joel Macdonald, James Frawley, Colin Garland
C: Rohan Bail, Jack Grimes, Jack Trengove
HF: Colin Sylvia, Stefan Martin, Lynden Dunn
F: Neville Jetta, Jared Rivers, Brad Green
Foll: Jake Spencer, Jordie McKenzie, Nathan Jones
I/C: Brent Moloney, Sam Blease, James Strauss, Jeremy Howe
Emg: Matthew Bate, Jordan Gysberts, James Magner

In: Brent Moloney, Jordie McKenzie, James Sellar
Out: Ricky Petterd, Thomas Couch, James Magner

 

 

 

 

Hawks Demolish Dismal Dons

ESSENDON      1.4     3.7      9.11      12.14 (86)
HAWTHORN    8.5    14.9    20.15    27.18 (180)

Hawthorn have further enhanced their premiership credentials after smashing yet another top eight team. This time it was Essendon who were on the receiving end of  a 94 point romp.

The Hawks won the game in the first half, putting on a clinic kicking 14 goals to three. Essendon were blown out of the water and were made to look like a second rate team. The Dons were able to put up a fight in the second half but they were still no match.

The tone was set early by the Hawks three of their first five goals came as a result of quick transitions combined with suburb disposal. All night Hawthorn sliced open the Bombers, easily finding men in space and hitting them with pinpoint passes.

The Hawks freedom came as a result of their hard work, whenever they won a contest two even three players would stream forward knowing that their teammate would find them.

While the Essendon defenders battled valiantly, they were always going to succumb to the the pressure and sheer weight of numbers, the Hawks finished with 70 inside 50s. Hawthorn came in so often because they controlled the midfield, not allowing the Bombers to get their hands on the ball.

Essendon also contributed to the problem, constantly turning the ball over while coming out of defence because of both perceived and real pressure.

Essendon’s troubles down back were compounded by their problems up forward. They rarely got the ball inside 50 when the game was up for grabs and when they did Essendon never looked like scoring. Scott Gumbleton was the only forward to have any success finishing with four goals.

Scoring for Hawthorn on the other hand was never a problem. They almost seemed to look better without Lance Franklin as the goals were spread among many.  Luke Hodge had the perfect first game back kicking five goals before being subbed off. Matt Suckling also kicked four while Jack Gunston and Jarryd Roughead contributed with three each.

Rioli was best on ground.

However the star of the show was Cyril Rioli. With 21 possessions, 15 contested, seven clearances, 10 inside 50s and nine tackles; Rioli ran amok. Cyril spent more time in the midfield where his skill and poise paid dividends. He also moved forward to apply plenty of pressure.

Brendan Whitecross was also one of the Hawks best with 29 possessions. At 93% efficiency his disposal was superb and set up many goals.

As for Essendon Jobe Watson stood out with 37 disposals and nine clearances. His 14 possessions in the first quarter were admirable but he lacked any support throughout  the whole match. Gumbleton continued to impress with limited opportunities and Dyson Heppell was solid off half back.

Votes

3) Cyril Rioli

2) Brendan Whitecross

1) Luke Hodge

GOALS
Essendon: Gumbleton 4, Hille 2, Dell’Ollio, Howlett, Jetta, Lovett-Murray, Monfries, Winderlich
Hawthorn: Hodge 5, Suckling 4, Gunston 3, Roughead 3, Young 2, Breust 2, Rioli 2, Smith 2, Lewis, Puopolo, Shiels, Whitecross

BEST 
Essendon: Watson, Gumbleton, Heppell, Howlett, Carlisle

Hawthorn: Rioli,Whitecross, Hodge, Suckling, Gunston

INJURIES 
Essendon: Crameri (hamstring) replaced in selected side by Kavanagh, Hooker replaced in selected side by Dell’Olio
Hawthorn: Hale (soreness) replaced in selected side by Bailey

SUBSTITUTES
Essendon: Nathan Lovett-Murray replaced Alwyn Davey in the third quarter
Hawthorn: Shane Savage replaced Luke Hodge in the third quarter

Official crowd: 44,899 at Etihad Stadium

 

 

Box Hill with Hodge romp it in – VFL Wrap Round 17

VFLBigFooty News will be running a quick weekly wrap-up of the Victorian Football League.

The VFL was formed as the VFA in 1877 and was renamed the former in 1995. It took on its current status in 2000, as the reserves league to the Victorian AFL clubs, as well as mantaining its traditional clubs and still creating a pathway for the best local players.

Round 17

Collingwood 4.13 (37) defeated by Box Hill Hawks 23.15 (135)

Victoria Park, 10:30AM Saturday 21st July

Leading goalkickers: Daniel Pratt (BH) Luke Lowden (BH) Bradley Hill (BH) Liam Tobin (BH) 3, Jackson Paine (CM) Michael Thompson (BH) Taylor Gilchrist (BH) 2.

The Votes: 3. Luke Andrews (BH), 2. David Mirra, 1. Luke Rounds (CM).

Sam says: It was very much a preview of what the day would hold for the Collingwood senior side. Box Hill always held the lead in this match, but the term that told the story of the match was the second quarter, where the Hawks kicked 10 goals to none. It was a great spread amongst Box Hill with the goalkickers, with four players kicking three each. Jackson Paine continued his good form for the Magpies, kicking two goals and taking strong marks all day. Box Hill will need to keep up this form if they are to make the finals, with four sides stuck on 32 points. Hawthorn captain Luke Hodge made his return to football and kicked a goal.

Coburg 6.14 (50) defeated by North Ballarat 19.13 (127)

Mantello Holden Oval, 1:10PM Saturday 21st July

Leading goalkickers: Aaron Edwards (NR) 4, Bill Driscoll (NR) Paul McMahon (NR) 3, Adam Saad (CT) Aaron Black (NR) Derrick Micallef (NR) 2.

The Votes: 3. Aaron Edwards (NR), 2. Paul McMahon (NR), 1. Myles Sewell (NR).

Sam says:The Roosters held the ascendancy all day and showed their class with a big win. Kangaroo Aaron Edwards booted four goals and was best on the ground, but due to the senior side’s good form it will be hard to see him getting another game this season. Fortunately for Coburg, their AFL affiliate Richmond put up a better effort on Sunday against the Roosters’ half-affiliate North Melbourne. However, the Coburg-Richmond partnership won’t last much longer, with Richmond to bring in their own rserves side in 2014 to join Collingwood, Essendon and Geelong.

Northern Blues 8.10 (58) defeated by Port Melbourne 18.19 (127)

Preston City Oval, 2PM Saturday 21st July

Leading goalkickers: Luke Mitchell (NB) Dean Galea (PM) 4, Myles Pitt (PM) Adam Bentick (PM) Callan Thornton (PM) 2.

The Votes: 3. Toby Pinwill (PM), 2. Sam Pleming (PM), 1. Luke Mitchell (NB).

Sam says: The round of whitewash’s continued with a big win to reigning premiers Port Melbourne over the Northern Blues. One good sign for the Blues and affiliate Carlton is that Luke Mitchell, son of one-time All Australian Barry Mitchell, booted four goals, while Port’s Dean Galea also kicked four. Former Carlton player Adam Bentick kicked a couple while Norm Goss Medalist Toby Pinwill played another stellar match. The Borough were always in control of this match and they now regain top position on the VFL ladder off the Casey Scorpions.

Bendigo Gold 12.12 (84) defeated by Sandringham 14.11 (95)

Queen Elizabeth Oval, 2PM Saturday 21st July

Leading goalkickers: Matt Little (BG) 6, Daniel Archer (SZ) 3, Dean Polo (SZ) Daniel Markworth (SZ) Marcus Marigliani (SZ) 2.

The Votes: 3. Raphael Clarke (SZ), 2. Elliot Kavanagh (BG), 1. Matt Little (BG).

Sam says: It was up built as one of the matches of the round, and it didn’t live up fully to its hype. It was all level after the first quarter, but then the Zebras kicked away. They lead by five goals at 3QT, but the Gold kept them to only two goals in the final quarter while kicking five of their own. Matt Little is in top form, kicking another bag of six goals while Essendon youngster Elliot Kavanagh looked good and could maybe make his debut before the end of the season. Raph Clarke also played a top game for the Zebras.

Williamstown 14.7 (91) defeated Werribee 13.11 (89)

Burbank Oval, 2PM Sunday 22nd July

Leading goalkickers: Ben McKinley (WT) 5, Ben Warren (WT) Liam Jones (WS) 3, Dylan Conway (WS) Edward Carr (WS) Majak Daw (WT) 2.

The Votes: 3. Ben McKinley (WT), 2. Ben Warren (WT), 1. Ben Jolley (WS).

Sam says: Finally, there was a close match for the round. Coming into this match, Werribee were third on the ladder with Williamstown in ninth, so it was a big upset by the Seagulls. The two Ben’s from North Melbourne, McKinley and Warren, continued on their fantastic form, with the former kicking another bag of five. Despite the senior side’s good form, surely he must ge another opportunity. The Seagulls were the only home team to win this weekend. Kangaroos rookie Majak Daw also played a top game.

Round summary: A few upsets this week as the competition heats up for a spot in the finals series. Port Melbourne had an easy match against the Blues but it saw them regain top spot on the ladder. Casey, Frankston and Geelong had the bye this weekend while in two weeks time, Werribee will take on WAFL-side Claremont in the FOXTEL Cup Grand Final.

The ladder:

1 Port Melbourne 44
2 Casey Scorpions 44
3 Werribee Tigers 36
4 Geelong Cats 36
5 Box Hill Hawks 32
6 Bendigo 32
7 Sandringham 32
8 North Ballarat 32
9 Williamstown 30
10 Coburg Tigers 16
11 Collingwood 12
12 Northern Blues 8
13 Frankston 6

Let the Games Begin

The Australian sports fan’s quadrennial interest in random sports like European Handball and Judo is about to kick off again.

The London Olympics starts early Saturday morning, Australian time with an opening ceremony predicted to feature James Bond, Paul McCartney, Harry Potter and the Queen.

The undoubted star of the Aussie team is James Magnussen, the current world champion in the 100m freestyle and the undisputed favourite for that event in London.

Not only is Magnussen favoured for the individual event, he will also anchor the men’s 100m freestyle relay, where the Aussies have a pronounced advantage over its closest rivals, the USA and France. The Aussies will be looking to replicate the “smash em like guitars” efforts of Thorpe, Klim and co in 2000.

Sally Pearson is Australia’s best hope in athletics. Despite a hiccup in her final run before the Games, she remains favoured to take out the sprint hurdles. Long jumper Mitchell Watt is the other Aussie in genuine gold medal contention.

The Aussies have other medal chances in athletics including walker Jared Tallent and Jarrod Bannister in the javelin. There will also be plenty of interest in whether team captain and reigning Olympic champion Steve Hooker can overcome his mental demons in the pole vault.

As always, Australia will vie for gold in several team events including the Hockeyroos (men’s hockey) and the Opals (women’s basketball). We’ll have our eye on the podium in sports where we’ve traditionally excelled, such as sailing, cycling and rowing where dual gold medallist Drew Ginn is part of the coxless fours which recently beat the favourite crew from Great Britain.

At the top of the medal count, the likelihood is that China will again pip the USA. On the next tier, the host nation has become very Australian in the way that their national identity is shaped by sporting achievement. Team GB has joined the likes of the English cricket and rugby sides in finally creating expectation in the Mother Country, as opposed to applauding a “jolly good effort”.

As for the Aussies, most pundits are predicting a drop in our medal tally. It is almost certain that the unthinkable will happen and we’ll be beaten by the British. As the Poms are strong in the sports we normally perform well in, anything above 12 gold medals would be positive.

The Games Board on BigFooty.com is the place to go for Olympics related chat and news – it is guaranteed 99% free of “Oi! Oi! Oi!”.

Competition (not Olympics related)

Prize: 3 x Supporter Guernsey’s (winner’s choice of team) to 3 separate randomly selected people as a prize for anyone who signs up to our newsletter prior to 12th Aug.

Enter here: http://www.marketsports.com.au/email-signup.html

On the Grass – AFL Round 18

BigFooty Links for AFL Round 18 – Friday 27 July 2012

CHAT and LIVE BLOG @ 7:30 TONIGHT

Round 18 Teams

Win a Footy Book

Get your Tips in!

Play BigFooty Coach

Competition – Win a Guernsey

Prize: 3 x Supporter Guernseys (winner’s choice of team) to 3 separate, randomly selected people as a prize for anyone who signs up to our newsletter prior to 12th Aug.

Enter here: http://www.marketsports.com.au/email-signup.html

ESSENDON V HAWTHORN

ES – Fri Jul 27, 7:50pm

Essendon

Preview: http://www.bigfooty.com/forum/threa…rlich-browne-out-myers-dellolio-dyson.962717/

Changes: http://www.bigfooty.com/forum/threa…browne-out-myers-dellolio-dyson.963562/unread

Banter thread: http://www.bigfooty.com/forum/threads/essendon-v-hawthorn-banter-thread-round-18.962848/unread

Hawthorn

GEELONG CATS V ADELAIDE

SS – Sat Jul 28, 1:45pm

Geelong Cats

Preview AFL Round 18 – Geelong v Adelaide, Simonds Stadium, 1:45PM Saturday 28 July

 Adelaide

Changes v Geelong

Tippett (concussions. not trades)

The JAG-a-Goalkicker Challenge

NORTH MELBOURNE V MELBOURNE

ES – Sat Jul 28, 2:10pm

North Melbourne

VFL – Box Hill v Werribee

VFL – North Ballarat – bye

FOXTEL Cup Grand Final: Claremont Tigers v Werribee Tigers

Melbourne

Match day info

Weekly Threads

Changes vs North Melbourne

Pre-Match discussion/Official preview

News

Jeremy Howe: Howe to face tribunalHowe free articlediscussion thread (@Eth )

Other Discussion Threads

I’ve been away for 6 daysStriker475
Six years laterHigh Flying Flag

GWS GIANTS V COLLINGWOOD

SK – Sat Jul 28, 4:40pm

GWS Giants

Preview: http://www.bigfooty.com/forum/threads/round-18-gws-giants-vs-collingwood.963080/

Injury report (updated this week): http://www.bigfooty.com/forum/threa…nnedy-and-mohr-listed-as-test-for-r18.957664/

MVP votes and leader boards: http://www.bigfooty.com/forum/threads/2012-bigfooty-giants-mvp-leader-boards.932868/

Collingwood

Pies Board

GOLD COAST SUNS V SYDNEY SWANS

MS – Sat Jul 28, 7:40pm

Gold Coast Suns

Gold Coast Preview

Sydney Swans

Preview
Injury List
Reserves

CARLTON V RICHMOND

MCG – Sat Jul 28, 7:40pm

Carlton

Preview – Rnd 18 Carlton v Richmond

Injury List update

Toast – Andrew Carrazzo 150 Games

Preview – Battle for last finals spots – how it shapes up

Could there ever be a breakaway league?

Richmond

Preview v Carlton
Game Day v Carlton
Autopsy v Carlton
MVP v Carlton
Preview / changes next week v Brisbane

PORT ADELAIDE V FREMANTLE

AS – Sun Jul 29, 12:40pm

Port Adelaide

Selection Discussion

Injury List

Preview

Official Team Selection

Players in the SANFL

Hot Topics

The media…*shakes head*

Our first round pick

Matty T’s trade currency

Travis Boak may not renew contract

Fremantle

Freo Board

ST KILDA V WESTERN BULLDOGS

ES – Sun Jul 29, 3:15pm

St Kilda

Preview St Kilda vs Western Bulldogs Round 18 2012

Congrats BJ 200 games!

Western Bulldogs

FaceOff vs St Kilda

JJ upgraded
Our worst list since 1982
At least we still have picks 5 and 6

WEST COAST EAGLES V BRISBANE LIONS

PS – Sun Jul 29, 2:40pm

West Coast Eagles

Team Changes Discussion
Offiical Teams
WAFL Watch
Dig Deep Jumper to be worn this week

Brisbane Lions

Preview v West Coast

“Voss to Assess Brisbane List”

The Gabba > Metricon because….

Will Matthew Leuenberger play again this season?

Reserves thread

 

Cats to Pounce

Geelong v Adelaide

Simonds Stadium – Saturday 28 July – 1:45PM

Adelaide will be looking to consolidate a top two position when they travel down to Simonds Stadium to take on Geelong.

A win for Adelaide this week would all but clinch a top two finish for 2012, given the incredible blessed draw they have to finish the season.

The Crows have been in great form the last couple of week, disposing of an injury riddled Eagles line up last week with relative ease.

Geelong meanwhile reignited its season last Friday night with a vintage performance to demolish Essendon. The Cats needs to display the same intensity in order to get past the high-flying Crows.

The win maintained a vital gap ahead of the chasing pack, with both North Melbourne and Fremantle gunning for the last two positions in the eight.

Simonds Stadium hasn’t proven to be the fortress it was in previous seasons, with Geelong recording several unconvincing wins at the ground this year. Geelong will look to rectify the situation this Saturday with its newly found vigor.

Kurt Tippett will miss this week after his much-publicised third concussion in five games. Luckily for Adelaide, young gun Taylor Walker returns from suspension to lead the Crows attack. Andy Otten will also miss with a knee concern, replaced by Luke Thompson.

Geelong will welcome back important duo Jimmy Bartel and Allen Christensen for this crunch match. The duo come in for star defender Matthew Scarlett after receiving a week for a back handed whack while Jordan Murdoch has been omitted.

The loss of Scarlett will mean Tom Lonergan and Harry Taylor will have to be at their very best in order to curtail a very potent Adelaide forward line that has shown the capability to find goals from multiple sources over the past few weeks.

Adelaide however will need to be wary of Tom Hawkins, who began to re-find some touch last week.

Indeed, Tom Hawkins may be the decisive factor in the result of this game.

Prediction: Geelong by 1 point

Teams

Geelong Cats

B: Joel Corey, Tom Lonergan, Corey Enright
HB: Harry Taylor, Josh Hunt, James Kelly
C: Andrew Mackie, Taylor Hunt, Mathew Stokes
HF: Jimmy Bartel, Tom Hawkins, Steven Motlop
F: Paul Chapman, Josh Walker, Mitch Duncan
Foll: Trent West, Joel Selwood, Steve Johnson
I/C: Jackson Sheringham, Allen Christensen, Billie Smedts, Cameron Guthrie
Emg: Mitch Brown, James Podsiadly, Jordan Murdoch
In: Jimmy Bartel, Allen Christensen
Out: Matthew Scarlett (Suspension), Jordan Murdoch

Adelaide

B: Luke Thompson, Ben Rutten, Michael Doughty
HB: Nathan van Berlo, Daniel Talia, Brent Reilly
C: Bernie Vince, Scott Thompson, David Mackay
HF: Jason Porplyzia, Josh Jenkins, Matthew Wright
F: Richard Douglas, Taylor Walker, Ian Callinan
Foll: Sam Jacobs, Patrick Dangerfield, Rory Sloane
I/C: Graham Johncock, Brad Symes, Jared Petrenko, Brodie Smith
Emg: Shaun McKernan, Richard Tambling, Tom Lynch
In: Taylor Walker, Luke Thompson
Out: Kurt Tippett (Concussion), Andy Otten (Knee)

Check out the thoughts of both sets of supporters on BigFooty leading up to the big game

Geelong

Adelaide

A Pie in the sky hope

GWS v Collingwood

SKODA Stadium – Saturday 28 July – 4:40PM

Collingwood will be after a vital percentage boost when they travel to SKODA Stadium to take on GWS.

Possessing the weakest percentage of the top four contenders, the Pies will be desperate to capitalise on the competitions free hit in the Giants.

The Pies were crushed last week at the hands of fellow premiership contender Hawthorn, which only highlighted the hard work still needed to be done by Collingwood.

The Giants on the other hand has lost its last five games by an average margin of 110 points, a situation that is making a mockery of the sport’s most elite competition.

Collingwood will also take the opportunity to rest some of its star players with Steele Sidebottom, Harry O’Brien, Dale Thomas and Darren Jolly all missing this week. The outs provide Marty Clarke, Ben Sinclair, Simon Buckley and Cameron Wood with an opportunity to stake a claim in the finals bound Collingwood team.

GWS continue to routinely make mass changes to its line up in order to balance the workload of its younger players with Jeremy Cameron, Jonathon Patton and Chad Cornes amongst others all coming back in to the side to provide a much needed boost.

Travis Cloke has been in the headlines this week after Collingwood announced it would be ceasing contract negotiations until the end of the season. This game provides Cloke with the platform to regain some much needed form and shift focus away from his contract and back to producing quality football.

Sadly for football, the only things of interest in this game is the extent of the Collingwood’s victory, the attendance from the Sydney crowd, any Collingwood injuries and the form of Travis Cloke.

The sooner GWS become competitive, the better.

Prediction: Collingwood by 128 points

Teams

GWS Giants

B: Luke Power, Chad Cornes, Tomas Bugg
HB: Curtly Hampton, Phil Davis, Sam Frost
C: Adam Treloar, Callan Ward, WIlliam Hoskin-Elliott
HF: Rhys Palmer, Jeremy Cameron, Jacob Townsend
F: Devon Smith, Jonathon Patton, Nick Haynes
Foll: Jonathan Giles, Tom Scully, Toby Greene
I/C: Shaun Edwards, Israel Folau, Anthony Miles, Taylor Adams
Emg: Josh Bruce, Dean Brogan, Adam Kennedy
In: Jeremy Cameron, Shaun Edwards, Jonathon Patton, Taylor Adams, Devon Smith, Chad Cornes
Out: Kurt Aylett, Josh Bruce, Steve Clifton, Gerald Ugle, Mark Whiley, Nathan Wilson

Collingwood

B: Tom Young, Nathan Brown, Chris Tarrant
HB: Nick Maxwell, Ben Reid, Alan Toovey
C: Caolan Mooney, Alex Fasolo, Jarryd Blair
HF: Scott Pendlebury, Chris Dawes, Heath Shaw
F: Ben Sinclair, Travis Cloke, Tyson Goldsack
Foll: Cameron Wood, Dane Swan, Dayne Beams
I/C: Martin Clarke, Simon Buckley, Paul Seedsman, Jamie Elliott
Emg: Luke Rounds, Jarrod Witts, Jackson Paine
In: Martin Clarke, Cameron Wood, Ben Sinclair, Simon Buckley
Out: Heritier O’Brien (Groin), Dale Thomas (Ankle), Steele Sidebottom (Quad), Darren Jolly (Soreness)

Check out the thoughts of both sets of supporter on BigFooty before the big game.

GWS

Collingwood

Two teams black and blue

Carlton vs Richmond

MCG, Saturday 28 July, 7:40pm

This round 18 clash looms much larger than just the four points on offer. The patience and hope of fans, members and boards has all but evaporated for the Blues and the Tigers, jobs and futures could be on the line both on and off the field.

Carlton has won the past seven matches against Richmond, including the annual thumping in round one by 44 points. The Blues, currently in eleventh, are still clinging to top eight aspirations in a season where after their round three defeat of the Pies, top four was theirs for the taking. The realities of an injury plagued and inconsistent season has seen their sights lowered significantly, especially after a season ending injury to Lachie Hanson, which on top of the suspension to Chris Judd, leaves this a must win this match for them to stay in the finals hunt.

Mitch Robinson will be another Blue missing, after failing a fitness test; while a number of players including ruckman Matthew Kreuzer (hip), Zach Tuohy (back) and Kane Lucas (hamstring) come into the game under an injury cloud.

The Blues just beat a fading Western Bulldogs side last week, after being down by as much as 25 points, were belted by the Roos, humbled by the Hawks, yet amid all this knocked off the Pies for a second time in round 15.

Richmond will be treating the clash as a virtual elimination final. The yellow and black army had their ever-haunted hopes raised with stirring victories over Sydney, St Kilda and Hawthorn suggesting long-sought finals action may soon be theirs, but alas, losses to the cellar-dwelling Suns and a single-handed effort by Drew Petrie has left their situation dire.

The Tigers haven’t beaten Carlton since round one 2008, and in their late season clashes in the past two seasons have produced losses by 103 and 89 points. Damien Hardwick has been feeling increasing pressure, as some of his charges adopted the mantle of Richmond being the sleeping giants of the competition a bit too literally, and in twelfth place on the ladder – it is crunch time.

Jake King comes onto the bench for the Tigers, in for Brett O’Hanlon, and will no doubt ‘push up’ into the forward line at some point and provide some ground level grunt.

Mark Murphy and Andrew Carrazo – who will play his 150th – notched up 32 and 31 disposals in the round one clash, while Cotchin was the only notable ball winner for the Tigers.

Key Match Ups

Andrew Carazzo vs Trent Cotchin – Carazzo will have to not only hold his own possession wise in his 150th, but also try quell the class of Cotchin in a vital battle in the centre.

Eddie Betts vs Steven Morris – The dangerous, yet erratic Betts meets the in-form young defender Morris, who had 23 disposals against the Roos.

Matthew Kreuzer vs Ivan Maric – The Missile vs The Mullet – a battle of the big men not only in the centre circle, but around the ground where both have proven to be go-to drifting forward targets.

Prediciton:

The Blues are almost on their last-legs personnel wise, and the Tigers will be treating it like their own grand final and will be desperate. Both teams are too inconsistent to pick, but on sheer recent history alone, and that unquantifiable thing that one team can hold over another, the Blues hoodoo may continue for the Tigers.

Blues by 7.

Teams:
CARLTON
B: Tuohy Jamison Joseph
HB: Yarran Thornton Scotland
C: Lucas Carrazzo Gibbs
HF: Collins McInnes Dale
F: Garlett Casboult Betts
Foll: Kreuzer Murphy McLean

I/C: Armfield Bell Curnow Davies

Emg: Ellard Duigan Russell

In: Kreuzer Davies Lucas Tuohy
Out: Russell Bower Duigan Watson

RICHMOND
B: Morris Rance Newman
HB: Houli Moore Dea
C: Grigg Cotchin Deledio
HF: Martin Edwards Jackson
F: McGuane Riewoldt Nahas
Foll: I Maric Conca Tuck

I/C: A Maric King Post Ellis

Emg: O’Hanlon Miller Graham

In: King
Out: O’Hanlon

BigFooty Team Board Previews

Carlton

Richmond

Follow it Live on BigFooty’s Game Day Thread

 

Hawthorn set to blow Bombers away

Essendon v Hawthorn

Etihad Stadium – Friday 27 July – 7:50PM

Hawthorn will be vying for blood when they meet with arch-rivals Essendon at Etihad Stadium Friday night.

Fresh off their commanding performance against Collingwood the Hawks now turn their eye on the Bombers, who have stumbled in previous weeks.

Essendon has been hit hard with injury yet again this week, with David Myers and Ricky Dyson both set to miss while Stewart Crameri remains highly doubtful.

In more positive news for the Bombers, Jason Winderlich makes his way back in to the side for his first game after his ACL injury in round 4 of 2011 to give Essendon some much needed leg speed. Heath Hocking also returns from suspension while Alex Browne comes in for his third career AFL game after impressing at Bendigo.

There are no such concerns at the Hawks however with captain Luke Hodge making his long awaited return from injury while Brent Guerra returns from suspension to leave Hawthorn missing just Lance Franklin from its best side. Kyle Cheney and Tom Murphy are the unlucky two who miss out.

The elite kicking skills of both Hodge and Guerra will only bolster a Hawthorn team that is immaculate to watch by foot, allowing the Hawks to slice through teams like a hot knife through butter.

Essendon has proven this season to be susceptible to flooding the center corridor, with the Bombers falling in to the trap of playing on without caution – resulting in a spike in turn overs and subsequent scores against.

Hawthorn will looks to exploit this once again, with Guerra and Hodge adding to the rebounding capabilities of the Hawks, who will capitalise on any opportunity.

Even more concerning for Essendon is the spread of goal kickers Hawthorn has been able to create, as Hawthorn midfielders work hard to create as many avenues to goal as possible, effectively resulting in Essendon almost having to play a 12 man defence to counteract the six Hawthorn midfielders floating forward.

While Essendon should be a lot more competitive than their last encounter, Hawthorn should still prove to be too strong for the Bombers.

Prediction: Hawthorn by 16 points

Teams

Essendon

B: Mark Baguley, Jake Carlisle, Kyle Hardingham
HB: Courtenay Dempsey, Dustin Fletcher, Cale Hooker
C: Dyson Heppell, Brent Stanton, Jake Melksham
HF: Jason Winderlich, Scott Gumbleton, Stewart Crameri
F: Leroy Jetta, David Hille, Alwyn Davey
Foll: Tom Bellchambers, Jobe Watson, Heath Hocking
I/C: Nathan Lovett-Murray, Angus Monfries, Ben Howlett, Alex Browne
Emg: Tayte Pears, Elliott Kavanagh, Cory Dell’Olio
In: Heath Hocking, Jason Winderlich, Alex Browne
Out: Ricky Dyson (Ankle), David Myers (Achilles), Cory Dell’Olio

Hawthorn

B: Brent Guerra, Josh Gibson, Benjamin Stratton
HB: Matt Suckling, Ryan Schoenmakers, Grant Birchall
C: Isaac Smith, Sam Mitchell, Clinton Young
HF: Brendan Whitecross, Jack Gunston, Jordan Lewis
F: Paul Puopolo, Jarryd Roughead, Cyril Rioli
Foll: David Hale, Shaun Burgoyne, Brad Sewell
I/C: Luke Hodge, Liam Shiels, Shane Savage, Luke Breust
Emg: Max Bailey, Thomas Murphy, Kyle Cheney
In: Brent Guerra, Luke Hodge
Out: Thomas Murphy, Kyle Cheney

Head on over to BigFooty for the match threads:

Essendon

Hawthorn

Weekly Punt: Take GWS Line

Last week was the first time we didn’t profit after a hattrick of positive results the previous three weeks. In fact in two of the lines that didn’t come up, the lines were covered to the very last second. In one game we were beaten by a kick after the siren. It just shows that the Weekly Punt may post a loss every now and again but when it does it barely dents our fund. 

Have the Pies giving up on making up percentage? They are resting way too many players and it may cost if GWS give them a scare with a lot their good players back. Last week GWS almost had their line covered after playing away to Fremantle. The Pies are not in great form any longer and while many punters are predicting another smashing were banking GWS to get well within the +88.5 handicap offered only by Sportsbet and out bet of the round. (Interestingly before the teams were out, the Pies vs GWS 95.5 line was the biggest line of the year).

The Roos are flying having won five of their last six games. They have also beaten the line in four of the last five games, only narrowly missing out last week by a point. With the Dees still having multiple outs the -43.5 line offered by Sportsbet this week for the Kangaroos should be well covered by the final whistle.

Can the best team on the line this year beat the line for a record 8th consecutive week? The Hawks have won their last seven games by almost 80 points and expect them to beat the -30.5 offered by Centrebet against the Bombers on Friday night with their captain back as well.

The Adelaide Crows are the third best performing team on the line this year and they face the Cats who are worst at the line this year. Geelong still has significant outs, while Adelaide gets Walker back. Last time these two met in Adelaide the game was effectively over at half time and the Crows won by 50 points. Expect another Crows win to virtually cement a home final. The -+6.5 handicap for Adelaide this week is a good bet.

The last time Richmond has beaten Carlton was almost six years ago. Despite been a close game for most of the match back in round 1, the Blues still blew out the lead by 43 points and the end and so it appears they still have the wood over them. Carlton should win and the +6.5 line should easily be covered for the whole game.

 

Current Betting Fund: $3,598.50. Total staked so far: $1,003.50

 

GWS v Collingwood – Handicap (+88.5) – $200 @ $1.92 Sportsbet

North Melbourne v Melbourne – Handicap (-43.5) – $200 @ $1.92 Sportsbet

Essendon v Hawthorn – Handicap (-30.5) – $200 @ $1.91 Centrebet

Geelong v Adelaide – Handicap (+6.5) – $150 @ $1.92 Sportsbet

Carlton v Richmond – Handicap (+6.5) – $100 @ $1.98 Betfair

 

(Bet is on team in Bold)

Odds correct at time of posting

Latest odds: http://odds.bigfooty.com

AFL Round 18 Teams

ESSENDON V HAWTHORN

ES – Fri Jul 27, 7:50pm

Essendon

B: Mark Baguley, Jake Carlisle, Kyle Hardingham
HB: Courtenay Dempsey, Dustin Fletcher, Cale Hooker
C: Dyson Heppell, Brent Stanton, Jake Melksham
HF: Jason Winderlich, Scott Gumbleton, Stewart Crameri
F: Leroy Jetta, David Hille, Alwyn Davey
Foll: Tom Bellchambers, Jobe Watson, Heath Hocking

I/C: Nathan Lovett-Murray, Angus Monfries, Ben Howlett, Alex Browne
Emg: Tayte Pears, Elliott Kavanagh, Cory Dell’Olio

In: Heath Hocking, Jason Winderlich, Alex Browne
Out: Ricky Dyson (Ankle), David Myers (Achilles), Cory Dell’Olio

Hawthorn

B: Brent Guerra, Josh Gibson, Benjamin Stratton
HB: Matt Suckling, Ryan Schoenmakers, Grant Birchall
C: Isaac Smith, Sam Mitchell, Clinton Young
HF: Brendan Whitecross, Jack Gunston, Jordan Lewis
F: Paul Puopolo, Jarryd Roughead, Cyril Rioli
Foll: David Hale, Shaun Burgoyne, Brad Sewell

I/C: Luke Hodge, Liam Shiels, Shane Savage, Luke Breust
Emg: Max Bailey, Thomas Murphy, Kyle Cheney

In: Brent Guerra, Luke Hodge
Out: Thomas Murphy, Kyle Cheney
Milestones: Cyril Rioli – 100 games

Competition – Win a Guernsey

Prize: 3 x Supporter Guernseys (winner’s choice of team) to 3 separate, randomly selected people as a prize for anyone who signs up to our newsletter prior to 12th Aug.

Enter here: http://www.marketsports.com.au/email-signup.html

GEELONG CATS V ADELAIDE

SS – Sat Jul 28, 1:45pm

Geelong Cats

B: Joel Corey, Tom Lonergan, Corey Enright
HB: Harry Taylor, Josh Hunt, James Kelly
C: Andrew Mackie, Taylor Hunt, Mathew Stokes
HF: Jimmy Bartel, Tom Hawkins, Steven Motlop
F: Paul Chapman, Josh Walker, Mitch Duncan
Foll: Trent West, Joel Selwood, Steve Johnson

I/C: Jackson Sheringham, Allen Christensen, Billie Smedts, Cameron Guthrie
Emg: Mitch Brown, James Podsiadly, Jordan Murdoch

In: Jimmy Bartel, Allen Christensen
Out: Matthew Scarlett (Suspension), Jordan Murdoch
Milestones: Joel Corey – 250 games

Adelaide

B: Luke Thompson, Ben Rutten, Michael Doughty
HB: Nathan van Berlo, Daniel Talia, Brent Reilly
C: Bernie Vince, Scott Thompson, David Mackay
HF: Jason Porplyzia, Josh Jenkins, Matthew Wright
F: Richard Douglas, Taylor Walker, Ian Callinan
Foll: Sam Jacobs, Patrick Dangerfield, Rory Sloane

I/C: Graham Johncock, Brad Symes, Jared Petrenko, Brodie Smith
Emg: Shaun McKernan, Richard Tambling, Tom Lynch

In: Taylor Walker, Luke Thompson
Out: Kurt Tippett (Concussion), Andy Otten (Knee)
Milestones: Rory Sloane – 50 games

NORTH MELBOURNE V MELBOURNE

ES – Sat Jul 28, 2:10pm

North Melbourne

B: Scott McMahon, Scott Thompson, Michael Firrito
HB: Shaun Atley, Nathan Grima, Jamie Macmillan
C: Ryan Bastinac, Daniel Wells, Ben Cunnington
HF: Leigh Adams, Robert Tarrant, Samuel Wright
F: Lachlan Hansen, Drew Petrie, Lindsay Thomas
Foll: Todd Goldstein, Andrew Swallow, Brent Harvey

I/C: Matt Campbell, Liam Anthony, Kieran Harper, Sam Gibson
Emg: Cruize Garlett, Cameron Richardson, Aaron Mullett
Milestones: Scott McMahon – 100 games

Melbourne

B: Daniel Nicholson, James Sellar, Tom McDonald
HB: Joel Macdonald, James Frawley, Colin Garland
C: Rohan Bail, Jack Grimes, Jack Trengove
HF: Colin Sylvia, Stefan Martin, Lynden Dunn
F: Neville Jetta, Jared Rivers, Brad Green
Foll: Jake Spencer, Jordie McKenzie, Nathan Jones
I/C: Brent Moloney, Sam Blease, James Strauss, Jeremy Howe
Emg: Matthew Bate, Jordan Gysberts, James Magner
In: Brent Moloney, Jordie McKenzie, James Sellar
Out: Ricky Petterd, Thomas Couch, James Magner
Milestones: Brad Green – 250 games

GWS GIANTS V COLLINGWOOD

SK – Sat Jul 28, 4:40pm

GWS Giants

B: Luke Power, Chad Cornes, Tomas Bugg
HB: Curtly Hampton, Phil Davis, Sam Frost
C: Adam Treloar, Callan Ward, WIlliam Hoskin-Elliott
HF: Rhys Palmer, Jeremy Cameron, Jacob Townsend
F: Devon Smith, Jonathon Patton, Nick Haynes
Foll: Jonathan Giles, Tom Scully, Toby Greene
I/C: Shaun Edwards, Israel Folau, Anthony Miles, Taylor Adams
Emg: Josh Bruce, Dean Brogan, Adam Kennedy
In: Jeremy Cameron, Shaun Edwards, Jonathon Patton, Taylor Adams, Devon Smith, Chad Cornes
Out: Kurt Aylett, Josh Bruce, Steve Clifton, Gerald Ugle, Mark Whiley, Nathan Wilson

Collingwood

B: Tom Young, Nathan Brown, Chris Tarrant
HB: Nick Maxwell, Ben Reid, Alan Toovey
C: Caolan Mooney, Alex Fasolo, Jarryd Blair
HF: Scott Pendlebury, Chris Dawes, Heath Shaw
F: Ben Sinclair, Travis Cloke, Tyson Goldsack
Foll: Cameron Wood, Dane Swan, Dayne Beams

I/C: Martin Clarke, Simon Buckley, Paul Seedsman, Jamie Elliott
Emg: Luke Rounds, Jarrod Witts, Jackson Paine

In: Martin Clarke, Cameron Wood, Ben Sinclair, Simon Buckley
Out: Heritier O’Brien (Groin), Dale Thomas (Ankle), Steele Sidebottom (Quad), Darren Jolly (Soreness)

GOLD COAST SUNS V SYDNEY SWANS

MS – Sat Jul 28, 7:40pm

Gold Coast Suns

B: Maverick Weller, Steven May, Trent McKenzie
HB: Daniel Stanley, Matthew Warnock, Jarrod Harbrow
C: David Swallow, Gary Ablett, Matt Shaw
HF: Liam Patrick, Tom Lynch, Brandon Matera
F: Luke Russell, Jared Brennan, Campbell Brown
Foll: Zac Smith, Karmichael Hunt, Harley Bennell

I/C: Charlie Dixon, Taylor Hine, Dion Prestia, Josh Caddy
Emg: Sam Iles, Tom Hickey, Jackson Allen

In: Daniel Stanley, Taylor Hine, Steven May
Out: Michael Rischitelli (Knee), Sam Day (Rested), Josh Hall
Milestones: Jarrod Harbrow – 100 games

Sydney Swans

B: Rhyce Shaw, Heath Grundy, Alex Johnson
HB: Nicholas Smith, Ted Richards, Martin Mattner
C: Adam Goodes, Jude Bolton, Lewis Jetta
HF: Craig Bird, Sam Reid, Ben McGlynn
F: Jarrad McVeigh, Ryan O’Keefe, Lewis Roberts-Thomson
Foll: Mike Pyke, Josh P. Kennedy, Kieren Jack

I/C: Nick Malceski, Daniel Hannebery, Trent Dennis-Lane, Luke Parker
Emg: Jesse White, Andrejs Everitt, Tony Armstrong

In: Trent Dennis-Lane, Luke Parker
Out: Shane Mumford (Knee), Andrejs Everitt

CARLTON V RICHMOND

MCG – Sat Jul 28, 7:40pm

Carlton

B: Zach Tuohy, Michael Jamison, Aaron Joseph
HB: Christopher Yarran, Bret Thornton, Heath Scotland
C: Kane Lucas, Andrew Carrazzo, Bryce Gibbs
HF: Andrew Collins, Andrew McInnes, Frazer Dale
F: Jeffrey Garlett, Levi Casboult, Eddie Betts
Foll: Matthew Kreuzer, Marc Murphy, Brock McLean

I/C: Dennis Armfield, Marcus Davies, Edward Curnow, Tom Bell
Emg: Jordan Russell, David Ellard, Nick Duigan

In: Matthew Kreuzer, Kane Lucas, Marcus Davies, Zach Tuohy
Out: Paul Bower, Jordan Russell, Matthew Watson, Nick Duigan
Milestones: Andrew Carrazzo – 150 games

Richmond

B: Steven Morris, Alex Rance, Chris Newman
HB: Bachar Houli, Kelvin Moore, Matt Dea
C: Shaun Grigg, Trent Cotchin, Brett Deledio
HF: Dustin Martin, Shane Edwards, Daniel Jackson
F: Luke McGuane, Jack Riewoldt, Robin Nahas
Foll: Ivan Maric, Reece Conca, Shane Tuck

I/C: Jake King, Jayden Post, Brandon Ellis, Addam Maric
Emg: Angus Graham, Brad Miller, Brett O’Hanlon

In: Jake King
Out: Brett O’Hanlon

PORT ADELAIDE V FREMANTLE

AS – Sun Jul 29, 12:40pm

Port Adelaide

B: Tom Logan, Alipate Carlile, Jackson Trengove
HB: Thomas Jonas, Troy Chaplin, Domenic Cassisi
C: Matthew Broadbent, Travis Boak, Kane Cornes
HF: Danyle Pearce, Justin Westhoff, Andrew Moore
F: Paul Stewart, Daniel Stewart, Brett Ebert
Foll: Matthew Lobbe, Matt Thomas, Bradley Ebert

I/C: Jarrad Redden, Cameron Hitchcock, Ben Jacobs, Aaron Young, Chad Wingard, Darren Pfeiffer, John McCarthy

In: Jarrad Redden, Cameron Hitchcock, Ben Jacobs, Darren Pfeiffer
Out: Jasper Pittard (Ribs)
Milestones: Matthew Broadbent – 50 games, Tom Logan – 100 games

Fremantle

B: Zac Dawson, Luke McPharlin, Adam McPhee
HB: Garrick Ibbotson, Michael Johnson, David Mundy
C: Paul Duffield, Ryan Crowley, Dylan Roberton
HF: Michael Walters, Kepler Bradley, Stephen Hill
F: Hayden Ballantyne, Matthew Pavlich, Clancee Pearce
Foll: Jonathon Griffin, Michael Barlow, Nathan Fyfe

I/C: Christopher Mayne, Nick Suban, Matthew de Boer, Tendai Mzungu, Lachie Neale, Cameron Sutcliffe, Lee Spurr

In: Christopher Mayne, Nathan Fyfe, Lachie Neale, Zac Dawson
Out: Zachary Clarke

ST KILDA V WESTERN BULLDOGS

ES – Sun Jul 29, 3:15pm

St Kilda

B: Jarryn Geary, James Gwilt, Tom Simpkin
HB: Sean Dempster, Sam Fisher, Jason Gram
C: Nick Dal Santo, Clinton Jones, Brendon Goddard
HF: Ahmed Saad, Nick Riewoldt, David Armitage
F: Stephen Milne, Sam Gilbert, Jack Steven
Foll: Ben McEvoy, Lenny Hayes, Leigh Montagna

I/C: Justin Koschitzke, Adam Schneider, Farren Ray, Tom Ledger, Arryn Siposs, Beau Wilkes, Sam Dunell

In: Farren Ray, Tom Ledger, Beau Wilkes
Milestones: Brendon Goddard – 200 games

Western Bulldogs

B: Daniel Pearce, Brian Lake, Robert Murphy
HB: Lindsay Gilbee, Tom L. Williams, Christian Howard
C: Daniel Cross, Matthew Boyd, Ryan Griffen
HF: Jason Tutt, Liam Jones, Jarrad Grant
F: Clay Smith, Tory Dickson, Patrick Veszpremi
Foll: William Minson, Mitchell Wallis, Liam Picken

I/C: Dylan Addison, Daniel Giansiracusa, Ryan Hargrave, Jordan Roughead, Thomas Liberatore, Luke Dahlhaus, Jason Johannisen

In: Dylan Addison, Ryan Hargrave, Jordan Roughead, Liam Jones, Jason Johannisen, Clay Smith, Tory Dickson
Out: Shaun Higgins (Hamstring), Ayce Cordy, Nathan Djerrkura, Mark Austin (Wrist)
New: Jason Johannisen (East Fremantle)

WEST COAST EAGLES V BRISBANE LIONS

PS – Sun Jul 29, 2:40pm

West Coast Eagles

B: Beau Waters, Darren Glass, Eric Mackenzie
HB: Shannon Hurn, Will Schofield, Sam Butler
C: Matthew Rosa, Matthew Priddis, Andrew Gaff
HF: Josh Hill, Jack Darling, Chris Masten
F: Luke Shuey, Quinten Lynch, Dean Cox
Foll: Nic Naitanui, Scott Selwood, Daniel Kerr

I/C: Adam Selwood, Patrick McGinnity, Brad Sheppard, Gerrick Weedon, Ashton Hams, Jacob Brennan, Fraser McInnes

In: Luke Shuey, Gerrick Weedon, Josh Hill, Fraser McInnes
Out: Murray Newman
New: Fraser McInnes (Perth)

Brisbane Lions

B: Ryan Harwood, Matt Maguire, Ryan Lester
HB: Josh Drummond, Joel Patfull, Jed Adcock
C: Elliot Yeo, Simon Black, Pearce Hanley
HF: Jack Redden, Jonathan Brown, Dayne Zorko
F: James Polkinghorne, Daniel Merrett, Jack Crisp
Foll: Ben Hudson, Tom Rockliff, Andrew Raines

I/C: James Hawksley, Todd Banfield, Niall McKeever, Claye Beams, Rohan Bewick, Sam Docherty, Stephen Wrigley

In: James Hawksley, Niall McKeever, Claye Beams, Sam Docherty, Stephen Wrigley
Out: Aaron Cornelius, Jared Polec
New: Sam Docherty (Gippsland Power (VIC)), Stephen Wrigley (Labrador (QLD))

Team of the Week – Round 17

Forwards

Jordan Lewis (Hawthorn) – Lewis took the opportunity to play a more prominent role in the forward line this week. He was on fire in the third quarter and got on the end of some of the Hawks great ball movement through the midfield. He finished with 5 goals and 20 disposals.

Luke Dalhaus (Western Bulldogs) - Dalhaus was at his dangerous best against Carlton. Although he only had 11 disposals, he was very evasive with the ball in hand and left his mark on numerous passages of play. He finished with 4 goals.

Drew Petrie (Kangaroos) – Petrie has always had the ability to play a brilliant quarter of footy. Despite being well beaten during the first 3 quarters he was so good in the last quarter that he arguably elevated himself to best on ground. He was too strong on the lead and in marking contests and also kicked accurately for 5 last quarter goals (7 for the match).

Matthew Pavlich (Fremantle) - Pav made the most of his opportunity to boost his goal kicking tally against a hapless GWS outfit and move within striking distance of a Coleman Medal. He kicked 4 goals in the opening quarter to begin the demolition job and finished with 7.

Stephen Milne (St Kilda) – Milne was too sneaky for opponent Nick Smith and burst out of the blocks with 3 first quarter goals. He finished with 5 for the game and did his best to keep the Saints in it. It’s amazing that no one seems to be able to contain him.

Paul Stewart (Port Adelaide) – Stewart wasn’t dominant but he certainly made the most of his opportunities against a poor Demons defence to kick 5 goals straight. He’s tall and not bad at ground level and the Dees didn’t have anyone who was a suitable match up for him.

Midfielders

Tom Bellchambers (Essendon) – Bellchambers was dominant in the ruck against the Cats with 35 hit-outs.  He also played a role in the forward line and kicked 3 goals. It will interesting to see how Hird handles the ruck duties when Ryder comes back.

Mitch Duncan (Geelong) – In the absence of Bartel, Duncan has stepped up and this week he was arguably best on ground against Essendon . He had 31 disposals and a goal. He looks more at home in the Geelong midfield with each passing week.

Bernie Vince (Adelaide) – In his 100th game Bernie was the standout player for the Crows. He had 25 disposals and hit up the scoreboard with 4 goals. He’s starting to hit his best form at the right time of the year.

Tom Rockliff (Brisbane) - Rockliff had another great game, this time picking up 29 touches and 110 Dream Team points against the Suns. He used the ball well throughout the game and took a crucial game winning contested mark in the goal square in the final term.

Gary Ablett (Gold Coast) – Ablett got the better of Andrew Raines and was dominant in contested situations. His stats were yet again amazing; 37 possessions, 9 tackles, 9 clearances and a goal. For his efforts he won the Marcus Ashcroft Medal.

Josh Kennedy (Sydney) – Kennedy produced a clear best on ground performance and was sensational in the confined spaces of the SCG. He finished with 35 disposals and a game high 9 clearances.

Defenders

Pearce Hanley (Brisbane) - Hanley was great off the half back flank against the Suns. He repelled many Gold Coast forward 50 entries and had a game high 5 rebound 50′s as well as 27 possessions and a game high 6 1%ers.

Charlie Dixon (Gold Coast) – Looking at the team sheets prior to the game it was hard to see how Gold Coast were going to stop Brown or Merrett. However Dixon battled manfully and was a large part of the reason they only kicked 1 goal each. He took the points against direct opponent Brown and had the confidence to win 10 contested possessions and take 7 marks. It was arguably his best game in the AFL.

Christopher Yarran (Carlton) – Yarran was one of the Blues’ small men who made the difference against the Dogs. He had 20 touches and sliced up Dogs’ defensive set up from half back. Incredibly, he had 11 running bounces (the next most in the game was 2) and clearly wasn’t afraid to take on the Dogs with the ball in hand.

Sam Fisher (St Kilda) – Fisher was amongst the best for the Saints and played a commanding defensive role. He was crucial to keeping the Saints in the game. He had 10 marks and 4 rebound 50′s.

Michael Johnson (Fremantle) – Johnson didn’t have much in the GWS forward line to worry about. He more or less did as he liked and worked himself back into some of his early season form. He finished with 20 disposals, 11 marks and 1 goal.

Brent Reilly (Adelaide) – Reilly continued his outstanding season with another good game against the Eagles. On numerous occasions he was able to cut off the Eagles forward 50 entries and was very reliable in switching the play. He had 23 touches.

Bench

Patrick Dangerfield (Adelaide) – Dangerfield is stiff not be in the starting line-up this week. He was perhaps not as explosive as his usual self but his game against the Eagles was certainly damaging. He had 28 touches, 9 clearances and went forward and kicked 2 goals.

Travis Boak (Port Adelaide) - Boak is another one who is stiff not to be in the starting line-up. He was arguably best on ground against the Demons. His work around the stoppages was classy and he finished with 28 touches and a game high 9 clearances.

Luke Breust (Hawthorn) – Breust seems to enjoy going under the radar but he’s going to find that more difficult if he has more games like his against Collingwood. He only had 15 touches, but he kicked 5 goals and was instrumental in setting up some of the Hawks’ dominant forward play.

Steve Johnson (Geelong) – Despite receiving a groin injury and being substituted in the 3rd quarter, Johnson’s influence was so great early on that he makes the team of the week. He won possessions in all parts of the ground and extracted the ball from stoppages. By the time he was substituted he had 22 touches, 5 inside 50′s and two goals.

 

Grinners and Moaners – Round 17

As the writing super sub, I’m coming in this week with my look at who were the big winners and big losers from this round of footy.

Grinners

Hawthorn

Certainly did all they could on Saturday against Collingwood to remove any doubts about their premiership credentials. Despite not having any of the best two or three players on the ground, the Hawks won by eight goals with the whips put away early in the final quarter.

Jordan Lewis is having a career year, Sam Mitchell has hopped on the rejuvenation machine, Jack Gunston is making the most of his belated opportunity in the Hawthorn side, and they still have Luke Hodge and Lance Franklin to return.

Geelong

We’ve been trying to figure out if the Cats still have what it takes to make waves in September, and while some remain unconvinced, it’s hard to think of anything more Geelong could have done last Friday night other than demolish Essendon. With youngster Mitch Duncan best on ground, and improved performances from Tom Hawkins, Steven Motlop and Billie Smedts, the Cats look to have once again discovered a bunch of young talent that could keep Geelong in the top half of the ladder for years to come. Whether that means the Cats can push into the last couple of weeks of the finals this year remains to be seen.

North Melbourne

The Shinboners continue to demonstrate their credentials as the team most likely to emerge from the pack to claim eighth spot. Make no mistake, Richmond threw everything but the gas hot water heater at the Roos on Sunday, only for North Melbourne to come through with another win against a key rival.

Drew Petrie produced another excellent performance kicking five last quarter goals for a match total of seven. As footy folklore tells us, key forwards who take contested marks are worth plenty come finals time, and North Melbourne have a great one who is in form.

Moaners

Collingwood

I couldn’t care less about Saturday’s match from Collingwood’s point of view. But the events of the following few days have shown that the Westpac Centre may be short a key marking forward come 2013.

The news that the negotiation between Collingwood and Travis Cloke has been postponed until after the season is an onimous one, considering it has all been confirmed that Fremantle and Melbourne have offers before Cloke worth $1 million per year, and also Carlton and Richmond are interested. On top of all that, Cloke’s form is not good at the moment. Something needs to change.

Essendon

Certainly the most worrying performance of the weekend, as a tired and injured Essendon list limps towards finals and another meek exit. While long term everything is ticketyboo at Windy Hill, the tough preseason conducted by James Hird and his conditioning staff has caught up to the players, and they are breaking down with monotonous regularity.

Despite all that, the other worrying signs are the indications that other teams have figured out how to beat Essendon, and more generally, Essendon’s form. With a tough remaining fixture, even the prospect of missing finals is looking increasingly likely for the men with the red sash.

The AFL

It was supposed to be a great round with all the final eight playing each other, but it didn’t hit any great heights until Sunday afternoon. There were numerous dubious decisions, especially with the video review, which needs to be altered considering players are now (successfully) appealing for incidents to be referred. The Q-Clash was forgettable, Buddy got done for speeding, and GWS need the finishing line like no other team since the Royboys were going around. Hopefully things start to pick up soon.

The Ziebell conundrum – how to keep the AFL physical but safe

Jack Ziebell
Jack Ziebell – Credit: Realfooty

The AFL has a love/hate relationship with Jack Ziebell.

Please keep reading! This isn’t a whinge about Ziebell’s suspension last week. The case has been tried and he’s already served one week. He’s in Utah now preparing for his return. That matter is done and dusted.

There’s a wider issue at play here though. The AFL obviously have a problem with Ziebell’s uncompromising attack on the footy. He’s been suspended for seven matches now in a “calendar season”, both times for incidents where he has dished out a bump or made contact with a player in a contest.

So the powers that be are clearly sending a message to Jack: you’re playing our game the wrong way.

Except, er, those self same powers that be featured Ziebell’s hit on Nick Riewoldt last year on its keystone television ads for “Australia’s Game!” this year.

And herein lies the circle that the AFL is struggling to square.

It knows that people love the physical aspect of our game. It is what makes it many ways unique. Yes, there’s other contact sports but the 360 degree nature of Australian Football leads to contests and clashes found nowhere else.

Every team has its “hard man” – West Coast fans adore Beau Waters in the same way North people love Jack – and the reality is that player who has an almost suicidal attack on the contest is a staple of our game, like the high-flying forward and the crafty goal sneak that dribbles through the impossible goal from the boundary.

The physical aspect of the game is one we adore. Nobody wants to see people cleaned up brutally where’s there’s no intent get the ball, only harm the man, but the very core of the game is the physical clash for possession of the footy.

The AFL knows this instinctively. That’s why it used Jack’s hit on Riewoldt in the ad. But the AFL’s problem is magnified now by its need to appeal to the rugby-centric markets in western Sydney and the Gold Coast.

Its market research will have shown what anyone who has ever visited LeagueUnlimited knows anecdotally: a key claim against Australian Football in the rugby lands is that it is “soft” compared to League.

Yet the AFL does have a legitimate cause for worry. Even if (and obviously in my view he was) Ziebell only had eyes for the ball in his collision with Aaron Joseph, the pace of the game and the increasing size of the players means that collisions are growing ever more dramatic.

And as we see the career of a potential champion in Kurt Tippett hanging in the balance due to repeated concussions, the bind the AFL finds itself in is clear.

There’s no easy answer to this, otherwise you can be guaranteed that Adrian Anderson would already have wheeled it out. The level of public and media outrage at the Ziebell verdict shows us how close we are to a tipping point.

What if a player like Dayne Beams was suspended in a preliminary final and would thus miss a Grand Final because of a contest where no free was paid against him and the Match Review Panel agreed he had eyes only for the ball?

The streets of Melbourne would not be for safe for rampaging hordes of Collingwood fans, led by a Eddie McGuire frothing at the mouth, looking for the heads of tribunal members to put on spikes.

And yet, what if Beams is ruled out of a Grand Final by that exact kind of hit? No doubt those same Collingwood supporters would be outraged.

I’m not sure how the AFL untangles this knot, or even if it can. But it certainly needs to start thinking hard if only because Jack Ziebell will be back for Round 21 and won’t be changing the way he plays.

Howe leaps straight to the Tribunal – Match Review Panel Round 17 2012

Melbourne high-flyer Jeremy Howe will face the AFL Tribunal on Tuesday night after the Match Review Panel bypassed his case.

Howe alledgedly wiped blood from his knee on Port Adelaide defender Tom Jonas’ shorts during the third quarter of Saturday Night’s match in Darwin, which the Demons lost by 28 points.

He was charged with a misconduct offence by the MRP but the tribunal panel will decide the punishment.

The only similar case in recent times was back in 2002, when then-Collingwood captain Nathan Buckley wiped blood from his forehead on Geelong hard man Cameron Ling’s guernsey.

In other cases, Geelong fullback Matthew Scarlett has been charged with a level-two triking offence against Essendon youngster Corey Dell’Olio during the fourth quarter of Friday Night’s match at Etihad Stadium. Due to a previous poor record, Scarlett has received a one-match penalty, and this cannot be reduced with an early-plea.

Seven North Melbourne and 11 Richmond players can accept fines for their involvement in a melee during the first quarter of Sunday’s match at the MCG.

Richmond’s Shane Tuck, Alex Rance, Dustin Martin and Luke McGuane and North Melbourne’s Michael Firrito and Jamie MacMillan can accept $2100 fines for a second offence for enganging in a melee.

Matt Dea, Jayden Post, Chris Newman, Reece Conca, Steven Morris, Brendan Ellis, Kelvin Moore, Drew Petrie, Robbie Tarrant, Lindsay Thomas, Sam Wright and Daniel Wells can accept $1200 fines for a first offence engaging in a melee.

Richmond’s Brett Deledio has also been offered a $1950 first offence fine for using absuive, threatening or obscene language during the second quarter of the match on Sunday.

Other incidents assessed were contact between Eagles’ Beau Waters and Adelaide’s Kurt Tippett, contact between Carlton’s Paul Bower and Bulldog Christian Howard and contact between Swan Ben McGlynn and St Kilda’s Brendan Goddard, however these were dismissed.

 

Crowing from the Top

ADELAIDE         6.5    10.6    14.7  19.10  (124)
WEST COAST    1.2    5.5       8.7   11.9    (75)

Bernie Vince has celebrated his 100th game in perfect fashion, kicking four goals and gaining 25 disposals as the Crows created a one-game buffer at the top of the ladder by comprehensively defeating the Eagles by 49 points.

Not everything went right for the Crows however, with key forward Kurt Tippett subbed off early in the contest due to what appeared to be concussion – the third such injury for the forward in a month.

The recent spate of head injuries would mean the Crows may need to err on the side of caution and give Tippett some rest on the sidelines in order to prepare for September, as Adelaide are certainly staking their claim as a genuine premiership contender.

The Crows opened the game with a knockout blow, kicking six goals to the Eagles’ one and never allowing West Coast back into the contest.

Alongside Vince, Patrick Dangerfield was again brilliant, with 28 disposals and two goals. West Coast may rightly lament the injuries suffered to their forward line but the midfield was where this battle was won – and it was a landslide victory.

The Crows had 153 contested disposals to the Eagles’ 127, whilst winning the clearance count, meaning they were the beneficiary of the better ball use as they streamed forward in numbers.

The quick and precise movement stunned the visitors, who never really looked capable of firing a reply.

Votes

3 – Bernie Vince (Adelaide)

2 – Patrick Dangerfield (Adelaide)

1 – Scott Thompson (Adelaide)

GOALS
Adelaide:
Vince 4, Porplyzia 3, Dangerfield, Johncock, Sloane, Jenkins 2, Douglas, Wright, van Berlo, Jacobs
West Coast: Hams 3, Darling 2, Kerr, Lynch, Masten, McGinnity, Naitanui, Sheppard

BEST
Adelaide:
 Dangerfield, Sloane, Thompson, Vince, Porplyzia, Jenkins
West Coast: Priddis, Gaff, Naitanui, Scott Selwood, Cox, Butler

INJURIES
Adelaide:
 Tippett (concussion)
West Coast: Nil

SUBSTITUTIONS:
Adelaide:
 Kurt Tippett replaced by Brad Symes in the third quarter
West Coast: Matt Rosa replaced by Murray Newman at three-quarter time

Reports: Nil

Umpires: Leppard, Fila, Meredith

Official crowd: 40,724 at AAMI Stadium