The West Coast Eagles ended a club record losing streak of nine consecutive losses by beating the Essendon Bombers at Optus Stadium. It was the Eagles' first victory at their home stadium in eleven months and the lively home crowd enjoyed the ride in a game where the lead changed nine times. The Bombers pushed away to an early lead in the first quarter with Jake Stringer finding plenty of space and booting the first goal. The Eagles' first goal came three minutes later when they worked the ball out of defense to Josh Kennedy, who marked and kicked truly. From there the Bombers took control and produced three goals. The first, a good snap by Matt Guelfi from a stoppage near the goals. The second by Stringer after a turnover in the center and the third by Peter Wright after the Bombers had transitioned from defense. The Bombers were running and the Eagles had lead boots. The first quarter was played mostly in the Bombers' half of the ground. A rare change of play saw Jack Darling complete a clever one-handed mark (catch) and convert, which inspired the home team.
Round fifteen has opened up the race for the top eight with some highly fancied teams dropping games they were expected to win. Geelong bounced back from defeat at the hands of Port Adelaide last week by taking care of the other Adelaide team (the Crows) at GMHBA Stadium, holding on to top spot on the AFANA AFL Power Poll in the process.
Collingwood drops down to third on the Power Poll courtesy of a shock loss at the hands of a resurgent North Melbourne which climbs all the way to eighth under the control of interim coach Rhyce Shaw. The Eagles once again used some last minute heroics to defeat an unlucky Hawthorn at the MCG, with Jamie Cripps providing the match winning goal on this occasion.
Round ten saw the top four teams on the AFANA AFL Power Poll all notch victories during the Sir Douglas Nicholls Indigenous round to tighten their grip atop the rankings. The top three didn’t have it all their own way however, as Collingwood, Geelong and the West Coast Eagles were all pushed to the wire their opponents in Sydney, Gold Coast and Adelaide respectively - the Eagles particularly impressive as they fought back from more than five goals down away from home against the Crows. For the Greater Western Sydney Giants, it was another story as they completely dominated Melbourne at the MCG, running out 26-point winners in a score line that flattered the Demons.
Round nine was conspicuous in that the result of almost every game went as expected, an occurrence which has been extremely rare so far in 2019. Top teams Collingwood, Geelong, West Coast and Greater Western Sydney all had wins to solidify their spots atop the AFANA AFL Power Poll, while Adelaide pushed Brisbane away from home but ultimately fell by a solitary point.
Richmond proved too strong for an injury hit Hawthorn, Port Adelaide stormed home for a big win over the Gold Coast and Essendon scrapped out an untidy win against Fremantle at Marvel Stadium. The Sydney Swans produced the weekends only true upset, amassing a handy lead early before holding on by just five points over the Kangaroos at Blundstone Arena in Tasmania.
An extended round six kicked off with the unusual Wednesday night game that saw Richmond victorious by 43 points over the struggling Melbourne Demons. The Anzac Day battle between Collingwood and Essendon was a classic that ended with the Magpies hanging on to win by four points in controversial circumstances as the Bombers fell just short of pulling off a great comeback. Brisbane, Port Adelaide, Fremantle and the Giants took care of business as expected while Carlton almost pulled off back to back victories before succumbing by just five points to a frantic Hawthorn down in Tasmania.
In early October, the trade period began. It ran through October 17. A number of players had previously told their clubs they wanted to go elsewhere. Some were restricted or unrestricted free agents.
Fremantle was the first club to sign a player during the free agency period. They signed Richmond defender Reece Conca. Conca, 26, is originally from West Australia and decided he wanted to return home after eight seasons and 204 games for the Tigers.
Sydney Swans vs Greater Western Sydney Giants (SCG)
STATE OF PLAY:
Expect a fiery encounter as the cross-town rivals will leave nothing in the tank in this do or die elimination final. With the game being played at the SCG, you would usually think it was advantage Swans, but 2018 has been no cakewalk for Sydney when playing at home - where they in fact have a 5-6 record at a ground that in the past has been somewhat of a fortress.
Boris Kilpatrick, special to AFANA from Australia
In a quirky scheduling twist this week, round eleven – celebrating Australia’s Indigenous heritage - saw the top eight teams pitted against the bottom eight, giving the top teams the chance to stretch their advantage while those struggling had the opportunity to make up some ground. Fast forward to Monday, and with all of the games in the books, the top six teams on the AFANA Power Poll all had wins, keeping them at the top of the tree.
Greater Western Sydney has ticked another box in its development as an AFL powerhouse. The Giants staged a gutsy comeback against Port Adelaide in blustery conditions at Adelaide Oval on Sunday afternoon. Trailing by 20 points at half time against a Port team desperate to win and still hoping to reach the finals; the Giants showed great determination to take control of the game and run out 19 point victors. The Giants vaulted themselves into second place on the AFL ladder.
Just 100 games into their existence, the Greater Western Sydney Giants are living up to their name – and the rest of the AFL competition must be seriously concerned. In the battle for Sydney supremacy at Spotless Stadium on Sunday, the Giants dismantled perennial finals contenders the Sydney Swans, ruining the Swans chance to go top of the ladder and giving them plenty to think about as the AFL moves into the second half of the regular season.