Melbourne threw the minor premiership race wide open with a major upset of Hawthorn, while the Bulldogs down the Kangaroos in a vital top-eight showdown in a Round 20 weekend that otherwise went largely to script.
Tigers upset Pies in dead-rubber
Richmond beat arch rival Collingwood by 15 points at the MCG to relieve the pressure on coach Damien Hardwick. The Pies edged in front in the final term when Scott Pendlebury kicked a goal but the Tigers clung on for victory. Dustin Martin was the Tigers best with 34 touches while Shaun Grigg was also prominent.
Swans hold onto top-four spot
Sydney thrashed Port Adelaide by 67 points at the SCG to make sure they finish the round in second place. Port Adelaide’s score of 4.9 (33) is their lowest ever against Sydney and their lowest ever score at the SCG. At one stage, Sydney led 54-0. Sydney’s star midfield of Dan Hannebery, Josh Kennedy and Tom Mitchell all had great games.
Dees stun Hawks to keep minor premiership race alive
In a major boilover, Melbourne defeated Hawthorn for the first time since round 8, 2006, ending a thirteen match losing streak. Max Gawn, the cult figure with the long beard, has to be in line to be the all-Australian ruckman after 41 hitouts. Jack Watts and Jack Viney were also superb for the young Demons.
Giants squeak past Suns
GWS needed three goals to one in the last quarter to beat a challenging Gold Coast by 8 points at Metricon Stadium. Tom Lynch was inspiring for the injury-depleted Suns, kicking four majors. But, thanks to Tom Scully and Toby Greene, the Giants were just good enough to complete the win and finish the round just inside the top 4.
Bulldogs clinch crucial win over Roos in dour struggle
The match of the round did not live up to expectations. It ended up being a low scoring scrap with Western Bulldogs edging North Melbourne by 14 points at Etihad Stadium. Marcus Bontempelli and Jason Johannisen were the two standouts for the Doggies who should be in line to host an elimination final in September.
Crows obliterate toothless Lions
In a record breaking result, Adelaide thrashed Brisbane by 138 points at the Adelaide Oval. Adelaide’s score of 27.15 (177) is the highest score by any team at Adelaide Oval, their biggest score against the Brisbane Lions and Brisbane’s biggest score conceded in South Australia. The winning margin was also a ground record for the Adelaide Oval. Eddie Betts, Taylor Walker and Tom Lynch each kicked four goals.
Saints whip Blues
St Kilda crushed Carlton by 71 points at the MCG. The Saints led by 19 at quarter time and increased their margin every quarter. It was their 10th win of the season but they were helped by too many turnover from the Blues. This was the send-off match for retiring Blues stalwart Andrew Walker but the Blues couldn’t send him out in style. Nick Riewoldt and Jack Newnes were the Saints’ best.
Geelong cruise against Essendon
Geelong eased past a beleaguered Essendon by 66 points at Etihad Stadium however the Cats still remain out of the top four on percentage alone. The Bombers lost skipper Brendon Goddard to a groin injury in the first quarter and never troubled the Cats. The highlight of the match was a superb snap from Josh Cowan. Patrick Dangerfield or veteran Corey Enright will lay claim to the three Brownlow votes.
Eagles dominate derby out west
In the Western Derby, West Coast beat Fremantle by 46 points as Coleman medal leader Josh Kennedy kicked seven goals. But they were given an early scare, trailing by as much as 15 points mid Q2 before a 10 goal to four second half. Besides Kennedy’s huge haul, Matt Priddis and Chris Masten were also prominent. The Eagles have a tough run home and will probably finish seventh or eighth.