AFL Rd 14 Wrap & Brownlow Predictions
The final split round of the season saw the top team defeated, while the rest of the top eight started to take shape after some big results.
The Thursday night fixtures continued as the final six teams had their bye in a shortened round of footy. Kicking off Round 14 was West Coast hosting Essendon at Optus Stadium with the Eagles looking to bounce back after suffering a heavy defeat to the Swans before their bye, while the Dons were searching for a 3rd consecutive victory to help push them into the top eight.
The Bombers started brightly kicking four straight goals to take a narrow lead into quarter time. From there, the reigning premiers asserted their dominance and if not for some wayward kicking, would have taken a commanding lead into halftime. After the main break, it was one-way traffic for the Eagles who went onto to have an incredible 20 more scoring shots than the Dons, yet only come away with a 35-point victory as pressure continues to mount on John Worsfold’s side.
Friday night footy featured an in-from Swans outfit looking to continue their mid-season resurgence against one of their great rivals in Hawthorn. The teams had played some amazing matches recently with the last five fixtures decided by nine points or under. In his 299th AFL game, Lance Franklin lit up the SCG with four goals before succumbing to a hamstring injury late in the third quarter, which would have given the Hawks a sniff despite trailing all match.
They were even more chance when Jack Gunston booted a goal right on the three quarter time siren to reduce the margin to just eight points heading into the final term. Rookie Nick Blakely stepped up in the champion’s absence in the final quarter, dominating in the air and kicking two crucial goals as the Swans kept their season alive, moving to 5-8 with a favourable draw to come.
It was Hawthorn’s third straight loss as they fell to the same record as the Swans with their season now hanging by a thread as their forward line continues to struggle to kick a winning score, failing to score over 80 in six of the past seven weeks.
Melbourne were looking to restore some pride in their season and look to snap a four-game losing streak when they hosted Fremantle at the MCG on Saturday afternoon. The Dockers were entrenched in the top eight having won their past three including an upset win against Collingwood at this venue and looked to repeat the performance, leading the majority of the match.
Jesse Hogan playing against his former club for the first time was a non-factor after injuring his foot early in the contest, which is a major blow for Ross Lyon’s team who’ve already lost talls Rory Lobb, Alex Pearce and Matt Taberner for extended periods with the latter two out for the season. Melbourne kicked four goals to one in the final term to overrun the Dockers, with Tom McDonald booting the final two in his best game for the season.
Melbourne remain in the bottom four, but can cause some headaches for teams chasing a final spot in the final weeks of the season, while the Dockers remain healthy percentage ahead of Richmond to remain in 8th spot.
The Brisbane Lions were looking for a bounce back after their shock defeat to Carlton at Marvel Stadium a fortnight ago and delivered in spades with a thumping win over a disappointing St Kilda outfit - their first against the Saints at this venue in 19 years.
The Lions led from the outset and put on a clinic in the third quarter kicking nine goals to one in a dominant 30 minutes of football. The Saints got within a kick halfway through the second quarter before conceding 13 of the next 14 goals of the match as Charlie Cameron booted a career-high five goals, which leaves the Lions roaring at 8-5 and very long odds to miss the finals now.
The only positive for St Kilda was the performance of prized recruit Dan Hannerbery who racked up 27 disposals in his club debut and was arguably his side’s best contributor on a dirty day for Alan Richardon and his troops.
Ken Hinkley made some huge decisions at the selection table on Thursday night dropping veterans Justin Westhoff and Paddy Ryder as well as consistent youngster Sam Powell-Pepper. It was a bold move that paid off as Port, who also had some star power returning, controlled the game from start to finish and continuing Geelong’s miserable record after a bye.
The Cats have now lost their last eight matches coming off a week’s rest, which will concern Chris Scott, especially considering their is now a bye before the first week of finals. Geelong still sit on top of the ladder, a game and percentage clear of Collingwood. Port Adelaide’s win jumped them back to 7-7 and up to 7th on the ladder with their next three matches at their home ground, including a Showdown against the Crows.
It was the first chance to see how Collingwood would look with three tall forwards inside attacking 50, with Jaidyn Stephenson suspended for the remainder of the home and away season. Collingwood again did enough to earn four points, despite not being at their best as they defeated the Dogs by nine-points.
In what was an arm wrestle for most of the day, Brodie Grundy's 50 hit-outs, 25 disposals and two goals was probably the difference. Ben Reid (three) Mason Cox (two) Jordan De Goey (two) and Brody Mihocek (one) all hit the scoreboard with goals, but the Pies didn’t look themselves again for the second time against the Bulldogs.
Luke Beverdige’s men were up for the fight and booted the final two goals of the game to close the margin to nine, but it’s as close as they got after reclaiming the lead early in the third quarter. Their record now sits at 5-8 and look to be resigned to missing finals for a third straight season after winning their drought-breaking premiership in 2016.
Brownlow Votes Predictions
West Coast v Essendon St Kilda v Brisbane
3. D. Sheed WC 3. C. Cameron Bris
2. E. Yeo WC 2. D. Zorko Bris
1. J. Redden WC 1. H. McLuggage Bris
Sydney v Hawthorn Port Adelaide v Geelong
3. L. Parker Syd 3. R. Gray PA)
2. D. Rampe Syd 2. S. Lycett PA
1. L. Franklin Syd 1. T. Boak PA
Melbourne v Fremantle Western Bulldogs v Collingwood
3. C. Oliver Melb 3. B. Grundy Coll
2. T. McDonald Melb 2. A. Treloar Coll
1. M. Gawn Melb 1. C. Daniel WB