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Inaccurate Bombers Lose Second Place on Ladder to Blues

Charlie Curnow (file photo/AFANA)

A cool dry Melbourne winter's eve greeted these two old foes, for this Round 13 match under lights at the MCG. The Bombers sitting second on the ladder and the Blues, fifth, separated by just two points. It was close to a full house which showed up to watch the clash. The first quarter would be a pretty even affair, at least across the ground, but the Blues were accurate, and the Bombers were not. The Bombers broke forward early, with Perkins marking on the lead out of the square but missing the set shot for a point. The Blues moved it smartly from the kickout, but the Bombers defenders swooped and then rushed a behind.  

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Blues Hold Off Fast Finishing Demons

Petracca Goals (file photo/AFANA)

A cool drizzly night made it easy for fans to watch from home but the match saw a good crowd of 58,472 turn up to the MCG. The drizzle was falling early but not enough to make it too slippery at the start. After an early arm wrestle the Blues struck first after six minutes of play, where each team worked cautiously to feel each other out. Walsh broke the shackles, snapping around the body from 35 meters out, straight in front, for the Blues. 

While the Blues midfielders were looking for Harry and Charlie, it was the big man from the middle in Pittonet who marked and goaled at the top of the 50. Martin made it three goals in 5 minutes for the Blues when he marked at the top of the goal square. The rain grew heavier halfway through the quarter. Neither team could score again for another seven or eight minutes, but Harry McKay was able to get a better read on a bad kick to evade the defending Lever and mark and goal from 20 meters out.  

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Hawks Suffer Mid-year Blues

Cripps Racks Kicks Again (file photo)

On the middle day of the calendar year it was very much a drizzly winter morning in Melbourne. Still a respectable crowd of just over 66,000 turned up.  The sun had come out for the opening bounce and the Hawthorn Hawks had the first clearance, then the Carlton Blues eventually winning the back and forth tennis match before getting a high snapped kick onto Curnow's chest. He goalled the set shot to get the scoring started.   

Jack Martin kicked the Blues second after getting on the end of a chain of handballs inside the Blues 50 and being in the clear, easily snapped the goal on his left foot. A rampant McKay ran inside 50 and centered to a leading Cuningham who goalled from 30 meters out for three unanswered goals.  The Hawks appeared to be asleep for much of the quarter and the return of just three behinds accurately reflected that at quarter time as the Blues took a 19 point lead into the first break.  Hawthorn's kicking efficiency was just 50% for the quarter and when they did go forward, the likes of Weitering thwarted their efforts.

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Carlton and Curnow Crush Eagles

Charlie Curnow (file picture)

The Carlton Blues bounced back from two consecutive losses to record a thumping victory against the West Coast Eagles at Optus Stadium. The match was never in doubt after half time, as Carlton held ascendancy across the field and dominated on the ball. Charlie Curnow had a day out for Carlton booting nine goals and setting up several others. Patrick Cripps was powerful in the middle for Carlton, gaining 33 possessions (22 of which were contested possessions) and laying eight tackles. The Eagles tried hard in the opening quarter and pushed Carlton in the second quarter. However the home team became spectators for the rest of the match as the relentless Carlton powered to a percentage-boosting victory (Ed: percentage in this case is calculated as the ratio of total points scored divided by points against for the season; it is the tie breaker if teams have identical won-loss records).

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2023 AFL Season Opener Ends in a Draw

Jack Silvagni's 100th game (file photo)

It has been debated in the wider footy media on various occasions in past years that these two teams might no longer deserve the season opening blockbuster. But tonight's classic match saw scores level at the final siren and in front of a vibrant and vocal crowd of 88,084, between two teams that finished 7th and 9th last year, should guarantee them both at least a few more years in this opening slot. 

The crowd was mostly in early for the first bounce of the 2023 season. The first ruck contest resulted in a free kick that saw Nankervis kick the ball long into the Richmond forward line and Dustin Martin put the first goal of the year on the board when his Carlton opponent spilled the mark. A great sign for Richmond supporters.

The reply was quick as Zac Fisher for Carlton returned the favor snapping on his left across the body from 25 meters out. Jack Silvagni got a good ride on his Richmond opponents to rise above them and mark, but it was the resulting goal that mattered most. A good sign for the Blues, too.

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Dockers Survive Late Power Surge

Lobb kicks over Aliir

The Fremantle Dockers survived a late surge from Port Adelaide Power to bolster a position in the top four. In a contest that was punctuated with soaring high marks (catches) and skillful goals, the Power played for their season but fell agonizingly short. Illness and injury forced the Power to use forwards Jeremy Finlayson and Charlie Dixon in the rucking role. The Dockers took full advantage with Sean Darcy controlling the ruck and the home team dominating clearances. Caleb Serong, Ethan Hughes, Andrew Brayshaw and Darcy himself got first use of the ball 28 times throughout the day. Ollie Wines and Travis Boak did more than their bit for Port in the midfield and Darcy Byrne-Jones at half-back played an influential game, but ultimately the quick ball movement by the Dockers, through most of the match, sealed Port's fate.

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AFANA AFL Power Poll - Round 14

Cameron with His First Goal!

The bye rounds are over, and as we head into round fifteen the battle for the coveted top four spots and the race for the finals is well and truly on. Geelong moves to top spot on the AFANA AFL Power Poll despite dropping a game on the road to an impressive Port Adelaide, while Collingwood continues to win despite not being at its best in recent weeks. 

The big movers are the Adelaide Crows, moving from 8th to 5th on the back of a three game winning streak while Fremantle and Port continue to look the most likely to take a spot in the final eight unless Richmond can end its free fall down the AFL ladder.

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AFANA AFL Power Poll - Round Twenty One

It's been a dark year for the Blues

Twenty one rounds into the AFL season and incredibly the finals and top four races remain wide open and just two weeks to go. A big win to Richmond over the Suns has locked up a top two spot for the reigning premiers while an amazing last gasp win to the Eagles – in almost identical fashion to their final in 2017, and once again over a distraught Port Adelaide – leaves them in great shape to finish in the top two and secure a home final.

A gutsy win to Hawthorn over Geelong has catapulted the Hawks into fourth position on the AFL ladder, in turn sending the Cats crashing out of the eight, while the Giants 14 point win over Adelaide kept them in great shape for a finals double chance while ending the Crows chances of any finals participation in the process.

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AFANA AFL Power Poll - Round Eighteen

The Eagles are on the march.

Round eighteen gave us some sensational football with Geelong stealing the limelight. Twenty nine points down in the final quarter to a steadfast Melbourne, the Cats conjured some more Kardinia Park magic to steal a two-point win on a goal after the siren to Zach Tuohy. The Giants won a hard fought away game against a suddenly struggling Port Adelaide, setting themselves up for a top eight finish in the process. 

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Saints Too Good for Midwinter Blues

Jack Steven handballs (from 2017)

On a midwinter’s night in what was effectively a dead rubber, the best that could be hoped for was a close match with some big highlights. Neither brief was filled. Having the roof closed was a small mercy at Etihad Stadium for the 33,780 fans. On form this match would almost certainly be a bankable win to the Saints.  In the end it was so, and no mercy was shown to the Blues on field. St Kilda won the toss and kicked to the Lockett end in what seems like a formality in the windless conditions. Carlton tonight were wearing their dirty grey clash strip with the curious fake pockets on their shorts.

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