444Port Adelaide128041078965100.191L
820GWS Giants127051082960111.051L
924Gold Coast1370611341051119.751L
1128Western Bulldogs1360711911037100.11L
1332Brisbane Lions125161038899115.821W
1432St Kilda1350891798392.252W
164West Coast133010894123172.623L
188North Melbourne121011799136361.881W

The Young Hawks Continue Taking Major Steps

Young teams often falter due to their inability to close out tight games, but Hawthorn is proving to be an exception this season. Last year, they lost three out of four matches with single-digit margins, including a two-point loss to the GWS Giants. However, this time around, Sam Mitchell’s side showed remarkable composure against a team considered to be a premiership contender, earning a well-deserved four points.

Even in a first half where they struggled with accuracy, the effort from Hawthorn’s players was unquestionable. The team, fully bought into Mitchell’s vision, clawed their way back into the game every time the Giants seemed ready to pull away. Leading the charge were 23-year-old Will Day, 21-year-old Connor MacDonald, who nailed two crucial fourth-quarter goals, and 20-year-old swingman Josh Weddle. This win marked five victories in six games for Mitchell’s Hawks, signaling a bright future even if they fall short of finals this year.

Sydney’s Three-Headed Midfield Monster Dominates Again

It’s hard to see how any team can stop Sydney from winning the premiership this year. After Geelong kicked the first six goals of their Sunday afternoon clash, the Swans responded with a terrifying display of dominance. In just 10 minutes, they erased Geelong’s 35-point lead and eventually secured a comfortable 30-point win.

Errol Gulden, Isaac Heeney, and Chad Warner were the chief destroyers, combining for 89 disposals, 14 clearances, five goals, and 1,761 meters gained. Off-season acquisition Brodie Grundy was also pivotal, finishing with 24 disposals and 34 hit-outs, effectively feeding his midfield running mates. Sydney’s dominance in the midfield is proving to be a critical advantage as they continue their march toward the finals.

Young Bombers Taught a Lesson by Ruthless Blues

Essendon, one of the biggest surprises this season, faced a harsh reality check against a more experienced Carlton outfit. The young Bombers were outclassed by 26 points, with their execution leaving much to be desired despite their effort. Essendon won the inside 50 count 60-40 but couldn’t capitalize due to haphazard forward entries.

In contrast, Carlton was clinical, converting 62.5% of their inside 50s into scores compared to Essendon’s 45%. Michael Voss will be encouraged by his team’s response to Essendon’s third-quarter challenge, with the Blues kicking four goals in the first 10 minutes of the final quarter. Despite Patrick Cripps and Sam Walsh being well-held, young stars Elijah Hollands and Tom De Koning stepped up, showcasing the Blues’ depth.

Undermanned Magpies Shine as Demons’ Slide Continues

The King’s Birthday clash between Collingwood and Melbourne, billed as a battle between premiership contenders, ended in an underwhelming victory for Collingwood. The Magpies kicked the first four goals and maintained a commanding lead by halftime, benefiting from Melbourne’s poor goal-kicking.

Melbourne dominated many key statistics but failed to convert their chances, epitomized by Bayley Fritsch’s 1.4 kicking. Despite missing key players like Jordan De Goey and Scott Pendlebury, Collingwood’s system under Craig McRae allowed players like Nathan Kreuger to shine. Jack Crisp’s workmanlike performance earned him the Neale Daniher Trophy, highlighting the Magpies’ resilience and depth.

Lions Make a Midfield Statement

Brisbane’s midfield lifted itself once again for a marquee matchup, systematically dismantling the Bulldogs over four quarters. Lachie Neale praised his midfield teammates’ ability to rise to the occasion, with Jarrod Berry’s job on Marcus Bontempelli proving crucial. The Lions’ midfield dominance allowed them to create and convert numerous opportunities.

Eric Hipwood’s revitalized performance added to Brisbane’s potency, marking a stark contrast to earlier games this year. However, Neale acknowledged the need for consistent performances week after week to keep Brisbane in the finals race after their second bye.

North Maximize Their Advantages and Reap the Rewards

North Melbourne went into their game against West Coast in Perth knowing they had key advantages in the midfield and forward line. Nick Larkey’s six goals and a dominant midfield performance led by Jy Simpkin and Luke Davies-Uniacke secured their first win of the year. Despite challenges in the final quarter, the Kangaroos rallied for a memorable victory, highlighting their resilience and potential.

Suns Go Down as AFL Admits to Wrong Call on Free Kick

Gold Coast Suns faced a controversial loss to St Kilda after a late free kick against Mac Andrew for an off-the-ball incident. Max King’s resulting goal clinched a three-point victory for the Saints. Suns coach Damien Hardwick criticized the decision, while Ross Lyon admitted his team’s inability to capitalize on opportunities almost cost them the game. The win places the Saints six points outside the top eight, keeping their finals hopes alive.

A Few Returning Tigers Make a Massive Difference

Richmond’s returning players, Dion Prestia, Shai Bolton, and Tim Taranto, made a significant impact in their win over Adelaide. The Tigers dominated in areas where the Crows struggled, particularly in the midfield and creativity. Bolton and Liam Baker were livewires, while Taranto excelled in the tight final quarter. This performance offers hope for Richmond’s future under Adem Yze, showcasing the potential of young players like Tom Brown and Seth Campbell.