AFL Rd 15 Wrap & Brownlow Votes Predictions

Round 15 featured four big upsets and turned the season on its head as teams staked their claim as finals contenders.

Ryan Lepore
Tue, 2 Jul, 12:00 AM

The final Thursday night game of the home and season featured Essendon hosting GWS under the roof of Marvel Stadium hoping to keep their season alive and relieve pressure on coach John Worsfold after the blowtorch was well and truly applied during the week.

The Bombers started brightly taking a two-goal lead into quarter time before the Giants were able to control the second term and take the narrowest of leads into the main break. The third quarter saw the Giants squander some key chances in front of goal, a theme that continued into the start of the final term as they opened up a game-high 19-point lead, twice.

From there though the Bombers dominated possession and the weight of inside 50s were converted on the scoreboard as the Dons kicked five of the last six goals of the game to record a thrilling six-point win. The win though was marred by controversy as Shaun McKernan’s goal to level the scores looked to be touched off the boot.

The score review didn’t see conclusive evidence to overturn the decision and the goal stood, despite the protests from the Giants defenders. Another game seemingly decided by the goal review system, and again it seems like the incorrect decision was made.

In saying that, it was a spirited comeback from Essendon to square the ledger at 7-7 and move within percentage of the top eight, while the Giants missed a golden chance to move to second on the ladder as doubts over their form in Melbourne will continue to be asked.

Friday night footy featured 1st versus 5th in what shaped as the game of the round, certainly by ladder position, but again after a slow start, the Cats came away comfortable victors and continued their dominance over the Crows at GMHBA Stadium.

Geelong trailed by 20-points midway through the second quarter but were able to fightback thanks to outstanding performances by Joel Selwood and Brownlow Medal favourite Tim Kelly who continues to shine in just his second year at AFL level.

A heavy knock to Patrick Dangerfield in the third term was the only concern for the Cats who again sit two games clear on top after their 27-point win and look all but assured of a top two spot. 

West Coast travelled to the MCG and not only had to overcome a Hawks side hungry to snap a three-game losing streak but Melbourne's wild wet weather. A dominant second quarter saw the visitors open up a 20-point lead at halftime as they searched for a 5th straight victory on the home of football.

Hawthorn responded mightily in the third quarter recording 11 scoring shots to one. That wastefulness in front of goal ultimately proved costly, as their five-point lead heading into the final quarter wasn’t enough as Jamie Cripps snapped truly from a spillage at the top of the goal square to give West Coast a six-point win, which moved them back into the top four.

The Gold Coast Suns entered their match against the Sydney Swans at the SCG with a nine-game losing streak but buoyed by the corresponding fixture last season where they stunned the Swans on their home turf.

The Suns were more than competitive in the first half and only trailed by four points at the major break before the Swans stamped their authority booting eight goals to two after halftime to run out comfortable victors and continue their resurgence. At 6-8, John Longmire’s men sit just four points outside the top eight having won five of their past seven and playing the best football of their season. 

Saturday night’s fixtures looked to be one-sided on paper and it panned out that way. Just not the way the majority were expecting as both North Melbourne and the Western Bulldogs dominated their more fancied opponents to record inspiring wins.

North Melbourne’s was particularly impressive over 2nd placed Collingwood, holding them to just five goals for the match and recording their biggest win over the black and white in 34 years. It could have been even more emphatic than the 44-point margin reads at full time if not for some downright awful goal kicking by the Roos.

Jack Ziebell again led by example along with Ben Cunnington who were instrumental for the victors, as were the younger lesser lights who have continued to flourish under Rhyce Shaw who has helped turn their season around and now look a genuine finals threat.

It’s not panic stations yet for Nathan Buckley and Collingwood, but the last fortnight has been very ordinary and need to quickly turn it around before a tough month of footy to come. The positive news is that they still sit comfortably in the top four.

Port Adelaide hosted the Western Bulldogs in torrential rain in Adelaide and the consistently inconsistent Power were at it again, trailing for the majority of the match and squandering a golden opportunity to solidify their top eight position.

Just seven days after beating the top of the table Cats, the Power were unable to match the Bulldogs hunger and cleanliness in the horrendous conditions, which has left them on the outside looking into the top eight. 

Sunday’s slate of matches begun with St Kilda taking on Richmond in the annual Maddie’s Match at Marvel Stadium. The Tigers made seven changes from their last outing against Adelaide before their bye and were desperate to arrest a three-game skid against a struggling Saints outfit.

The Saints got out of the blocks booting the first three goals of the match and held their lead for the best part of two and a half quarters before Richmond, thanks to Dustin Martin and Sydney Stack took control and gave them a little buffer heading into the final term before kicking seven goals to two to win by 33-points and move the 2017 premiers back in the top eight.

Melbourne travelled north to take on Brisbane fresh off their win over the Dockers a week ago, but the Lions were coming off a big win of their own and were in no mood to disappoint their home fans at the Gabbatoir.

Their home ground has become a fortress once again having won six of their seven matches this season, but had to do it the hard way against the Dees who led for three and a half quarters, but the Lions were inspired by Eric Hipwood who became the first player this season to boot four goals in one quarter.

His four third-quarter goals were enough to swing the pendulum in the home team’s favour before running over the Dees in the final quarter, to win by 33-points and leaves them just percentage outside the top four and can take that spot if they’re to defeat GWS at Giants Stadium in next week’s mouthwatering Sunday twilight fixture.

The betting suggested Fremantle should stroll to victory over the Blues at Optus Stadium, especially against a team without Patrick Cripps and Harry McKay and a dismal interstate record. That result looked on track when the Dockers opened up a 29-point lead at quarter time, but this Blues team under David Teague are up for a fight and clawed their way back into the contest.

By half time the margin was cut to 10-points and the game as well and truly on. The Blues hit the lead momentarily in the third term before Fremantle steadied with the final two goals of the term to go into the final break leading by two goals.

Carlton kicked three straight goals to hit the lead late in the match before Sam Switkowski gifted the Dockers back the lead deep into time on, before Mark Murphy’s brilliant banana gave the Blues one of the unlikeliest victories of the season. The win ranked as the third biggest upset of the season in terms of longest priced odds behind Fremantle’s wins over Collingwood and GWS. 


Brownlow Votes Predictions

Essendon v GWS     Port Adelaide v Western Bulldogs  
3 S. Coniglio GWS   3 J. Macrae WB
2 A. Saad Ess   2 J. Dunkley WB
1 C. Hooker Ess   1 M. Bontempelli WB
Geelong v Adelaide     St Kilda v Richmond  
3 T. Kelly Geel   3 D. Martin Rich
2 J. Selwood Geel   2 S. Stack Rich
1 P. Seedsman Adel   1 M. Chol Rich
Hawthorn v West Coast     Brisbane v Melbourne  
3 L. Shuey WC   3 D. Zorko Bris
2 J. Darling WC   2 E. Hipwood Bris
1 J. O’Meara Haw   1 L. Neale Bris
Sydney v Gold Coast     Fremantle v Carlton  
3 J. Dawson Syd   3 N. Fyfe Frem
2 L. Parker Syd   2 M. Murphy Carl
1 I. Heeney Syd   1 E. Curnow Carl
Collingwood v North Melbourne          
3 J. Ziebell NM        
2 B. Cunnington NM        
1 J. Pittard NM        


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