Despite injuries to top talent including Mark LeCras and Andrew Embley, the West Coast Eagles remained at the top of the Ladder as they flew into Melbourne to take on the improving Richmond Tigers. The bookmakers had installed the visiting Eagles as solid favorites, however a quick look at the recent results between the two teams at Etihad Stadium showed the Tigers with a 3-0 advantage. For Richmond it was a chance to notch a win against top class opposition – something it had threatened to do all season without being able to close the deal. For the Eagles it was a perfect opportunity to consolidate a Top Two position on the Ladder and a springboard to the Finals.
Both teams came into Round 3 with a 0-2 record and were feeling the heat for different reasons. Demons' coach Mark Neeld had been under siege after a poor start to his AFL coaching career, taking over a team considered Finals contenders at the start of the previous season. The coaching change was supposed to inject new life into the Demon line-up but the results so far had been disappointing to say the least. On the other side of the coin, Richmond shared the dreaded 0-2 record. However both losses were to highly touted opponents in Carlton and Collingwood. There had been enough positive football played by the Tigers to suggest they could still improve on their 12th position finish from last season but a loss to the struggling Demons would no doubt have loyal supporters and the media lamenting yet another season of unfulfilled promise.
A Round 23 clash between two struggling clubs would normally not attract a lot of attention but this round had a high level of importance for both Richmond and Melbourne. The Tigers had seemingly lost their way after an exciting start to the season but, coming off a thumping 47 point win against perennial finalist Sydney, they appeared to have their mojo back. If they could pull off a win against Melbourne – a feat they had not managed since Round 18, 2009 – some momentum could be regained as the Tigers move into a very important off-season. Melbourne on the other hand, has had its season torn apart over the past month, going from a highly-touted dynasty built around Trengove, Scully and Watts to a team which sacked its coach after some abysmal late season performances. Amazingly, the Demons could still mathematically make the Finals with a win over Richmond and games against cellar-dwelling Gold Coast and Port Adelaide to follow.
Sydney arrived at the MCG for the last game of Round 21 expecting to strengthen their Finals claims with a victory over Richmond. The Tigers have had a disappointing second half to the season and, while looking to regain some respect from the football public on the back of a six game losing streak, were not given any chance against the Swans.
Sydney's Dan Hannebery is the 2010 Rising Star. Just ahead of the first Finals series, Hannebery was presented with the Ron Evans Medal by 2009 winner Daniel Rich from Brisbane.
Hawk midfielder Travis Tuck faced the Tribunal on the Tuesday following Round 22 as the first player charged with a third strike under the AFL's illicit drug policy. It was not through testing that his third offense was discovered, but rather from an incident during the Round 22 weekend.
Round 16 will see Sydney Coach Paul Roos notch 550 games as a player and coach. This includes 269 games as a player for the Fitzroy Lions 1982-1994, 87 games as a player for the Sydney Swans and 193 games as coach of the Sydney Swans.
Anzac Day football has a special meaning for Australians. The traditional playing of the Last Post in front of 38,000 silent people will raise goose-bumps on the arms of anyone who is fortunate enough to be present. The winless Richmond came into this game with a good record against Fremantle, having won their last four encounters. Last year Fremantle were humbled by their opponents on most occasions. This season so far their attitude and skill levels have improved and they appear capable of beating any team in the league. The Tigers arrived in Perth at the bottom of the Ladder but who knows what any team is capable of when the blood is up and the ANZAC battle cry is ringing in its ears.