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Taylor Adams
Collingwood Stays on Top

The big three in Collingwood, Geelong and Greater Western Sydney all had wins over the weekend to strengthen their positions on the AFANA AFL Power Poll and put themselves in great shape as the season moves into round eight. The Magpies dominated Port Adelaide early in the Friday night game to cruise to victory, while Geelong was never threatened by a disappointing Essendon at the MCG on Sunday.

The Eagles bounced back with a home win against a plucky Gold Coast Suns, Brisbane comfortably took care of a struggling Sydney Swans and the Western Bulldogs returned to form with an easy win over a lackluster Richmond at Marvel Stadium on Saturday night.

Melbourne and Hawthorn had the close one at the MCG on Saturday, with the Demons prevailing by just five points to keep their season alive.

North Melbourne smashed Carlton by 58 points and the weekend was rounded out with Adelaide defeating Fremantle in a low scoring and uninspiring contest at the Adelaide Oval on Sunday.

The results see little movement at the top of the AFANA AFL Power Poll, but there were big moves by the Bulldogs and the Crows on the back of very solid wins.

1.    Collingwood Magpies (Last Week - 1) 
Collingwood started brilliantly against the Power on Friday night before running out comfortable 39-point winners. Ben Reid returned from injury and performed well, while Scott Pendlebury and Adam Treloar continued their excellent form.

2.    Geelong Cats (2) 
No Joel Selwood, no problem for Geelong who never looked threatened by Essendon in defeating the Bombers by 32 points. The win was even more impressive considering Patrick Dangerfield played under obvious duress with a knee complaint. Sam Menegola had his best game for the season with 28 disposals while Tim Kelly was once again outstanding for the Cats.

3.    Greater Western Sydney Giants (3)
The Giants proved far too strong for an undermanned Saint Kilda at Canberra’s Manuka Oval, running out 44 point winners and underlining the team’s depth in the face of key injuries. Zach Williams took up the slack for the injured Lachie Whitfield by notching up 30 touches amongst his 12 defensive clearances.

4.    West Coast Eagles (5) 
While Coach Adam Simpson was visibly frustrated by some of the ball use displayed by his charges, the Eagles comfortably saw off the Suns to get back into the winners circle. The most pleasing aspect of the game for the West Coast was the return to form of the previously struggling Jack Darling who kicked four goals and laid five tackles.

5.    Brisbane Lions (6) 
Brisbane continues to impress, defeating Sydney at the SCG by 22 points but in reality having complete control of the game. The Lions had a whopping 76 entries inside the forward 50 meter arc compared to just 40 for the Swans. Dayne Zorko, Lachie Neale and Hugh McCluggage dominated the center of the ground, racking up 21 clearances between them.

6.    Port Adelaide Power (4) 
Port traveled to Melbourne for Friday night football against league pacesetter Collingwood, confident it could take down the Magpies and firmly establish their finals credentials in 2019. It took just one quarter to smash that confidence as the Power failed to score a goal while the Magpies piled on seven. While Port was competitive for the rest of the game, the 39 point loss was a harsh wake-up call for Ken Hinkley’s men. 

7.    Adelaide Crows (12)
The Crows are the big movers in this week’s AFANA AFL Power Poll, all the way to number seven from 12 last week. Two wins on the trot against in-form teams has the Crows starting to deliver on their pre-season promise of a top-four finish. Young ruckman Reilly O’Brien continues to impress, racking up 44 hit-outs to go with 22 disposals.   

8.    Fremantle Dockers (9) 
The Dockers move up one spot to number eight despite losing away to Adelaide, mainly due to the fact so many teams below them lost, and Fremantle actually played a solid game against the Crows. David Mundy was best for the Dockers with 35 possessions, while Nathan Fyfe laid eight tackles while getting 32 touches. 

9.   Richmond Tigers (7) 
The Tigers may have reached their tipping point with injury as David Astbury joined Alex Rance on the sidelines against a taller and hungrier Western Bulldogs. The form of non-drafted supplementary player Sydney Stack continues to be the feel good story at Tigerland, but Coach Damien Hardwick has his work cut out to stay competitive until some of his best soldiers return.

10.    Western Bulldogs (13) 
The Bulldogs were super-impressive in tearing the Tigers apart by 47 points at Marvel Stadium on Saturday night. Young forward Aaron Naughton was incredible for the Bulldogs, taking 14 marks and kicking five goals while Marcus Bontempelli was at his line-breaking best notching seven clearances.

11.    St Kilda Saints (8) 
The Saints are suffering an extensive injury toll right now, yet they continue to be competitive on the field despite the wins not coming. Whilst they went down to the Giants by 44 points in the nation’s capital, the Saints had 20 more inside 50 meter entries, but failed to lock the ball in their forward line. 

12.    Hawthorn Hawks (10) 
Hawthorn was not firing on all cylinders in their match against Melbourne at the MCG, and that was all the Demons needed to take victory. Forwards Luke Breust, Jarryd Roughead and Paul Puopolo all had quiet games and new recruit Chad Wingard is yet to show what he can do in the Hawthorn colors. A disappointing day for Alistair Clarkson’s men.

13.    Essendon Bombers (11) 
The Bombers were outplayed by the in-form Cats at the MCG, clean ball use and conversion in front of goal having a marked effect on the outcome as Essendon went down by 32 points. The form of Jake Stringer (3 goals, 18 disposals) was a bright spot for Essendon as the ex-Bulldog appears to be back to his best after some indifferent form.

14.    Melbourne Demons (15)
Melbourne needed to win to keep its season alive, and despite some struggles along the way, the Demons came out on top by just five points against Hawthorn at the MCG. James Harmes was best on ground as he notched 31 disposals and added the game winning goal as the Demons were challenged late by the Hawks. Whilst there is a long way to go to reach their best, Melbourne has the talent to emulate Sydney’s 2018 march to the finals after a very sluggish start.

15.    North Melbourne Kangaroos (18)
The Kangaroos and coach Brad Scott had been under the pump after dropping two games in a row as they prepared to face a Carlton team that had showed marked improvement in the last couple of weeks. They certainly made a statement against the Blues, booting 10 first half goals to Carlton’s one on the way to a massive victory. Cameron Zurhaar kicked five goals and Trent Dumont played his best AFL game with 38 disposals and five tackles.

16.    Gold Coast Suns (14) 
The Suns slow start in the west derailed any chance of a win over the Eagles, but a strong second half where they scored seven goals to the Eagles three would give Coach Stuart Dew some confidence that his young team is on the right track. Jarrod Harbrow and Jack Martin continue to impress.

17.    Sydney Swans (17) 
John Longmire has all but admitted the Swans are in rebuild mode, and fielding a younger team than the Brisbane Lions on Saturday supports that theory. The Swans battled hard against the Lions but could not sustain the effort for four quarters as they went down by 22 points. George Hewett was Sydney’s best with 34 disposals and six tackles to his name.

18.    Carlton Blues (16) 
Carlton had built up some goodwill with its fans after two weeks that saw it notch a victory and run Hawthorn very close down in Tasmania. That goodwill was all but destroyed in one half of football where the Blues kicked just one goal as they were destroyed by the Kangaroos. Back to the drawing board for Coach Brendon Bolton.

Article last changed on Tuesday, August 20, 2019 - 8:05 PM EDT


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