Results went largely to script in Round 17 of the AFL, with the Hawks, Crows and Bulldogs breaking away from the chasing pack.
Rioli snatches it for Hawks
Hawthorn has maintained top spot on the ladder after a thrilling five point win over Sydney in what could have been a grand final preview. Cyril Rioli kicked the match winning goal from 55 metres to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. It was the Hawks fourth win by less than a goal this season. The real star of the final quarter, though, was Shaun Burgoyne. He kicked two clutch goals and finished with 26 disposals.
Scratchy Cats subdue Dockers
Geelong beat Fremantle by 17 points in an unconvincing performance to ensure their top-four chances remain alive. In a low-scoring game, Patrick Dangerfield was again outstanding, kicking four goals and racking up 31 disposals to poll a probabe three Brownlow votes. Bizarrely, Cats coach Chris Scott said after the game his team does not deserve to be classified as top-four material but hopes that changes by season’s end.
Martin stars again for Tigers
Dustin Martin continued his imperious form by helping Richmond beat old rivals Essendon in a hard-fought 19-point win. Martin, a lock for the Tigers’ best and fairest award this year, had a round-high 43 touches and two goals. However, the yellow and black were without Brett Deledio for the second half as he suffered a calf injury. Essendon only trailed by one point with 10 minutes remaining, but poor goal-kicking cost them as Richmond kicked the last three goals of the game.
Port stay in the hunt
Port Adelaide kept their slim top-eight hopes alive and simultaneously put into jeopardy North Melbourne’s in a classic ‘eight-point game’. The Power did the damage early with 10 goals to three in the first half to eventually win by 28 points. North had momentum in Q3 but self-destructed, kicking a horrendous 2.9. Power captain Travis Boak was best on ground with 35 possessions.
Crows’ streak continues
Adelaide marked club stalwart Scott Thompson’s 300th game with a 28-point win over Collingwood to move to second on the ladder. Eddie Betts, certain to be the all-Australian team, kicked three goals. The Crows set up the win by kicking the first five goals of the game. It was fairly competitive thereafter, but the damage had already been done. Collingwood can at least be satisfied with their defensive display. It is just the fourth time this season Adelaide has been held to less than 100 points, but they nevertheless managed their eighth straight win.
Bulldogs feast on weakened Suns
Western Bulldogs thrashed an injury-depleted Gold Coast in Cairns by 48 points in Cairns to move to third on the ladder. Picking on a team missing Gary Ablett, among others, was easy meat for the Dogs but the win may have come at a cost. Jake Stringer, a match-winner at times this season, suffered a suspected shoulder injury from a Steven May bump. Koby Stevens and Marcus Bontempelli were two of the Dogs’ best.
Eagles edge out determined Blues
West Coast survived a late Carlton fightback to win by seven points at the MCG. This win did little to shorten the Eagles’ premiership odds but coach Adam Simpson will just be relieved to bank the four points. Sam Docherty was inspiring for the Blues but ultimately West Coast had too many avenues to goal, with Jamie Cripps kicking three and Mark LeCras among a group of three others with two goals.
Saints stay alive, Demons done
St Kilda beat Melbourne by 36 points at Etihad Stadium to keep alive a faint chance of making the top eight. Tim Membrey was awesome for the Saints kicking four goals and grabbing 10 marks. Maverick Weller and Leigh Montagna were also noteworthy contributors. For the Dees, Max Gawn and Jack Viney impressed. Melbourne continued their horrible record at Etihad, winning just one out of their last 25 games at the ground.
Lions woes continue against Giants
Brisbane hit rock bottom in a 79-point loss to GWS. It was a club record 12th consecutive loss and the crowd attendance of 10,195 was the lowest ever at the Gabba for a Lions match. Josh Kelly and Callan Ward were gold class for the Giants, each kicking three goals and starring in midfield. Stephan Coniglio and Dylan Shiel also had over 30 touches to show just how much midfield depth this team has. GWS dominated the middle two quarters, kicking 17 goals to five.