Boris Kilpatrick, special to AFANA from Australia
The Eagles are still flying high, the Demons are red hot and the Kangaroos continue to defy the critics. These were the big stories of an enthralling round ten. The Giants once again couldn’t find a way to win while the Tigers, minus two of their playmakers who went off injured early, could. Collingwood won again to keep in touch with the pack while Adelaide had a shocker.
With Port Adelaide and Gold Coast having a rest with the first of the byes for 2018, what did they see from the comfort of their sofas as the other 16 teams battled it out in round 10? The AFANA AFL power poll will reveal all!
1. West Coast Eagles (Last Week: 1)
The only question that remained about the Eagle’s premiership credentials was “can they win in Melbourne?” Sunday’s fifteen point win over Hawthorn at Etihad Stadium says they can. Still the team to beat.
2. Richmond Tigers (3)
The Tigers were expected to handle Saint Kilda comfortably; however they lost their only tall forward in Jack Riewoldt (concussion) within seven minutes of play, followed by rebound back man Bachar Houli around 15 minutes later. Down two men, the Tigers found themselves 18 points down in the third quarter. The “old” Richmond would have lost. This team however found a way to win by 28 points. Still not at their best, but don’t count them out.
3. Melbourne Demons (5)
Melbourne demolished the Adelaide Crows in Alice Springs to the tune of a whopping 91 points. The three highest scores of the AFL season all belong to one team – the Demons. On the back of Sunday’s masterful performance, Melbourne’s five game winning streak has them firmly in premiership contention.
4. Sydney Swans (4)
It was business as usual for the Swans as they traveled to Brisbane to take on the feisty Lions in wet conditions. The Lions managed to curb Lance Franklin’s brilliance, but they couldn’t stop the midfield of Josh Kennedy, Isaac Heeney and Jake Lloyd. The result was a solid 18 point win to the Swans.
5. North Melbourne Kangaroos (6)
With the game against Fremantle in the balance in the final quarter, it was surprisingly the tall timber in Ben Brown and Jarrad Waite who got the job done for the Kangaroos in slippery conditions better suited to the smalls. North Melbourne now finds itself in 5th position on the ladder, and the same spot on the AFANA power poll!
6. Geelong Cats (7)
The Cats were expected to trounce Carlton at their home fortress of Kardinia Park, but in a game that never reached any great heights, it took until late in the final quarter for the Cats to seal victory. A freak goal by Sam Menegola had the home crowd breathing a sigh of relief, but there was bad news among the good as despite victory. What looked like a nasty broken leg to Esava Ratugolea will stretch the Geelong tall division in the coming weeks.
7. Adelaide Crows (2)
The Crows plummet down the power poll after an abysmal performance at Traeger Park in Alice Springs against a rampaging Melbourne. While Adelaide has been stoic in the face of a long injury list thus far, the dam broke in a big way as the Crows had no answers to the Demons relentless speed and pressure. Coach Don Pike would not have slept soundly on Sunday night.
8. Port Adelaide Power (8)
Port had the bye on return from their clash against the Gold Coast in Shanghai.
9. Collingwood Magpies (9)
A strong second half propelled the Magpies to a comfortable 35 point win over the struggling Western Bulldogs. Brodie Grundy was once again fantastic in the ruck, while Tom Phillips and Adam Treloar led a rejuvenated Magpie midfield. Coach Nathan Buckley would be well pleased with the progress of his team.
10. Essendon Bombers (15)
A few weeks ago the Bombers were being discussed as the season’s biggest disappointment, having dropped down the ladder after some simply awful performances. In the last two weeks, Essendon has played some magnificent football, crushing Geelong before taking down the Giants in Sydney with a brilliant final quarter blitz. Zach Merrett is back in form, David Zaharakis is playing inspired football and Captain Dyson Heppell is leading from the front. A fascinating “Dreamtime at the G” against a potentially undermanned Richmond this week should be a beauty.
11. Hawthorn Hawks (10)
Hawthorn was competitive against the all-conquering Eagles, but once again didn’t do enough to claim the four points. With three losses in a row, the Hawks are now out of the eight and looking up at a lot of strong teams. Coach Alistair Clarkson, long feted as the best in the business, will once again have to weave some magic if Hawthorn is to be considered a threat in September.
12. Greater Western Sydney Giants (11)
The Giants just can’t seem to find their mojo this season. Like the Crows, they have suffered long term injuries to some of their best players, however as some players have returned their play hasn’t reached any great heights. Until their individual brilliance gels as a team, the Giants seem unlikely to fulfill their promise. This week they travel to Adelaide to take on the Crows in a game the Giants must win.
13. Western Bulldogs (12)
The Bulldogs hung with Collingwood for a half and actually looked the better team at times. Unfortunately once again things fell apart in the second half for the Bulldogs, who failed to stop the contested ball dominance of Collingwood. Right now the Bulldogs are a young team due to injury and retirement, putting too much pressure on the stars such as Bontempelli, Macrae and Mclean each week.
14. Brisbane Lions (13)
The Lions finally broke through for a win that has appeared close in previous weeks, and what a win it was, smashing Hawthorn by almost 10 goals in an inspiring performance that delighted the home crowd. Dayne Zorko and Dayne Beams were instrumental in setting up the win, while young forward Eric Hipwood provided the finish with four goals to his name. Once again accuracy helped the young Lions, kicking 20.9 after booting 18.6 at the same venue against Collingwood two weeks ago.
15. Fremantle Dockers (14)
The Dockers faced the Kangaroos at Optus Oval in a big game for both teams in the scheme of the final eight. Fremantle fought hard with Michael Walters leading the way with 27 possessions and two goals, but the Dockers persisted in playing dry weather style footy in wet conditions, ultimately contributing to their downfall. The Kangaroos were more efficient, going longer and more direct in attack, feeding their dominant tall forwards. Next week sees the Dockers travel to the MCG in a must win game against Collingwood.
16. Gold Coast Suns (16)
The Suns had a bye in round 10; they now await their first home game at Metricon Stadium in round 11.
17. Carlton Blues (17)
The Blues were plucky against Geelong at Kardinia Park, still one of the hardest grounds for opposing teams to take victory. To be fair this was not a game that would have Cat fans rushing for the DVD, as it was a scrappy, error riddled affair that only held interest due to the tight scoreline. The Blues let themselves down in front of goal, kicking 5.15 and effectively handing the game to the Cats who were too strong in the last 10 minutes, running out 28 point winners. Overall it was a much better effort from the struggling Blues.
18. St Kilda Saints (18)
Another team that at one stage looked like causing a big upset over the highly fancied Tigers, the Saints simply couldn’t stop Tiger superstars Alex Rance, Dustin Martin and makeshift forward Josh Caddy who willed Richmond to the win. Overall there were some strong performances from the Saints with Jade Gresham (6 goals), Jack Steven and Seb Ross the best of the bunch in a much improved Saint Kilda outfit.
Article last changed on Tuesday, June 12, 2018 - 4:26 PM EDT