The race to feature in the finals went down to the wire in the final round of the AFL premiership season, while some champions of the game said farewell, and Buddy Franklin came out of nowhere to win the Coleman Medal.
Hawks deliver for Hodge one more time
Hawthorn sent out retiring champion Luke Hodge by taking down the Western Bulldogs in a nine-point win on Friday night at Etihad Stadium. The game had a celebratory feel to it despite the Bulldogs needing to win to keep any finals hopes alive. Hawks captain Jarryd Roughead had one of his best games for the club, while James Sicily, Jaeger O’Meara and debutant Harry Morrison were dominant. The game also saw the farewell of Bulldogs champions Robert Murphy and Matthew Boyd.
Dee-saster as Melbourne let finals slip
Collingwood denied Melbourne a berth in this year’s finals series after winning by 16 points on Saturday afternoon at the MCG. Melbourne needed to win to cement a finals spot but were left behind as Collingwood jumped out of the blocks early and waltzed around them. American Magpie Mason Cox had a memorable afternoon showing some signs that he can be handy in years to come, before subsequent results shattered the Demons’ playoff hopes.
Kangaroos whack Lions with spoon
North Melbourne avoided finishing last after defeating Brisbane by 51 points on Saturday afternoon at the Gabba. In the battle to avoid the wooden spoon, Ben Brown ensured his side wouldn’t have a bar of it with a career-high seven goals, as youngsters Trent Dumont and Ryan Clarke were able to do as they pleased in midfield.
Buddy warms up for September with 10
Lance Franklin single-handedly defeated Carlton on his own boot as Sydney ended the Blues season with an 81-point belting on Saturday evening at the SCG. The Swans needed to give themselves a big percentage boost to try and finish above Port Adelaide as Franklin took home the Coleman Medal with 10 goals. The 2016 runners-up head into September having made history being the first side to make the finals from a 0-6 start, winning 12 of their last 14 games to surge into September aiming to go one better this year.
Cats purr into September after jumping over the Giants
Geelong leapfrogged Greater Western Sydney into second on the ladder after a comprehensive 44-point win on Saturday night at Simonds Stadium. GWS needed a win to ensure a home qualifying final and were monstered in the third quarter, with Geelong’s Mitch Duncan the catalyst. Sam Menegola continued his strong form in midfield for the Cats, while Patrick Dangerfield was a brute with 24 contested possessions as the Giants had no answer. Callan Ward was the only player who could hold his head high in a disappointing night for the Giants.
Port obliterate Gold Coast as struggling Suns reach new low
Port Adelaide demolished a listless Gold Coast side with a 115-point smacking on Saturday night at Adelaide Oval. The Power headed into this game knowing they needed to win by over 70 points to ensure they would jump the Sydney Swans on percentage, and they achieved this quite comfortably. Sam Gray kicked six while Charlie Dixon kicked another four to continue on from last week’s hot form. The Suns’ return of (3.2) 20 was the lowest in their seven-season history.
Bombers hold nerve to make September
Essendon held on against a fast-finishing Fremantle to win by 15 points on Sunday afternoon at Etihad Stadium to confirm their place in the finals. The Bombers were well led by youngster Zach Merrett and the retiring Jobe Watson, as Fremantle threatened to comeback from 38 points down before Bombers forward James Stewart capped off a fine afternoon with some crucial late plays. The win ensures Watson will have at least one more game for the red and black.
Tigers blow away Saints to cement third
Richmond swiftly took out St Kilda with a 41–point win on Sunday afternoon at the MCG. The Tigers were up to the task early, kicking eight of the first nine goals to stamp themselves into third position on the ladder. Dustin Martin had another fine display in what could have sealed the Brownlow Medal. Meanwhile, Jacob Townsend ensured he will keep his place in the Tigers finals side with five goals. The result brought down the curtain on Saints legend Nick Riewoldt’s career.
Eagles blitz seals finals berth
West Coast were able to force themselves into eighth by 0.5 percent after defeating Adelaide by 29 points on Sunday evening at Domain Stadium. The Eagles had it all to play for after Melbourne lost the day before, and they didn’t let up at the Crows all day. Retiring Eagle Sam Mitchell was influential in ensuring he gets at least one more game, as Andrew Gaff and captain Shannon Hurn provided strong, precise kicking around him. Meanwhile, Crows brothers Matthew and Brad Crouch had a combined 98 possessions in an astonishing display for the minor premiers.