The widespread upsets of the previous fortnight subsided somewhat, but Round 9 of the AFL premiership nevertheless featured some nail-biting finishes and dazzling comebacks.
Cats celebrate homecoming in style
Geelong unveiled their revamped home ground in style by beating reigning premiers Western Bulldogs by 23 points at Simonds Stadium. After three straight losses, the intent was clear right from the start as Patrick Dangerfield laid two superb tackle on Marcus Bontempelli before nailing a goal from 55 metres out. He would kick a stunning goal from the boundary later in the quarter and finish the night with 36 disposals and four goals. In a game that saw dramatic momentum swings, it was the Cats’ pressure which overwhelmed the Dogs. The Cats laid a club record 134 tackles for the night. Harry Taylor kicked five goals and Joel Selwood was inspirational, especially in the last term.
Swans revival continues
Sydney thrashed St Kilda by 50 points at Etihad Stadium. It is their third win in a row as the Swans try to recover from a dreadful 0-6 start. Coach John Longmire was particularly pleased with a 15-minute patch in the third term that he described “as powerful, strong footy as we’ve played”. Lance Franklin was influential up forward with four goals but the star of the game was Dan Hannebery with 30 disposals and 12 marks. Harry Cunningham was also terrific, kicking two fabulous first-half goals.
Tigers pipped at the post again
It was a case of déjà vu as Richmond let slip a match that were leading all day. A week after their heart-breaking loss after the siren to Fremantle, the Tigers thought they had sealed the game when debutant Shai Bolton was awarded a goal only for a last-minute reversal just before play restarted because it was touched off the boot. From the kick-in, the Giants would go would complete a Hail Mary play, taking it from one end of the field to the other before Jeremy Cameron kicked a goal for a three-point win. The Giants had pulled a rabbit out of the hat.
Crows bounce back with Brisbane belting
A ruthless Adelaide were back in the winners’ circle after crushing Brisbane by 80 points at the Gabba. Having suffered two straight losses, they bounced back to remain at the top of the table. The Crows, who have a reputation as the most potent attacking team in the competition, found plenty of avenues to goal with five players kicking three goals or more, including debutant Hugh Greenwood. Tom Lynch booted three majors while Rory Atkins and Rory Laird were influential as well.
Magpies back from the dead
Collingwood pulled off one of the greatest comebacks in its history, converting a 43-point deficit early in Q2 into an 18-point win over Hawthorn at the MCG. It was the first time Collingwood had beaten Hawthorn under Nathan Buckley’s coaching. The Magpies kicked nine goals to one in the second half with Jamie Elliott and Darcy Moore combining for five goals. Scott Pendlebury was prolific all night with 36 touches. Tom Mitchell had a staggering 50 touches for the Hawks but to no avail.
Eagles’ Melbourne woes continue
Essendon had their second impressive win in a row, obliterating West Coast at Etihad Stadium by 61 points. The writing was on the wall early as the Bombers kicked 12 goals to three in the first half. Joe Daniher continues to blossom, slotting five goals. Zach Merrett, David Zaharakis and Mark Baguley were the best performers for an Essendon team that only lies outside the top eight on percentage. It was the Eagles’ eighth loss in their last 10 games in Victoria, a run that started with the 2015 grand final. The game was also noteworthy as the AFL had its first ever female field umpire.
Roos down Dees in fiery affair
In a spiteful clash, North Melbourne beat Melbourne at the MCG by 14 points to record their third win of the season. The Kangaroos led all game and looked to be in control with a 22-point lead going into the final quarter. But goals to Melbourne’s Christian Salem, Clayton Oliver and Jordan Lewis made for a nervy finish. Ben Brown took six marks and kicked five majors up forward. Ben Cunnington was one of North’s best ball winner but inflicted a crude low blow on Bernie Vince.
Tardy Dockers get the job done
Fremantle recovered from a slow start to beat Carlton at Domain Stadium by 35 points. It is a win that sees Ross Lyon’s men rise to sixth on the AFL ladder, just behind hometown rivals West Coast. After conceding a quarter-time lead, the Dockers would kick 12 of the last 15 goals to record their sixth win of the season. Lachie Neale was arguably player of the match with 37 possessions, while Michael Walters had 27 disposals and kicked three goals and Connor Blakely was also prominent.