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.
Round thirteen will kick off with Thursday night footy at Adelaide Oval, with Port Adelaide – fresh off a victory over the reigning premiers – taking on the Western Bulldogs at Adelaide Oval. This makes for a short turnaround from a cracking Queen’s Birthday Monday clash that saw a red hot Collingwood take down the highly fancied Melbourne Demons in front of a massive MCG crowd.
Chris Kowald reporting for AFANA from Optus Stadium, Perth
The Fremantle Dockers continued their unbeaten streak at their new home by comprehensively dismantling the inconsistent Western Bulldogs. The Dogs had defeated the Essendon Bombers and pushed the Sydney Swans in recent weeks, showing signs that they were regaining the form that won the a premiership in 2016.
The West Coast Eagles entered the 45th Western Derby with a clear intent to wipe away all memories of their previous round’s meek capitulation to Hawthorn at the MCG. Back in their home territory, the Eagles were in no mood to offer their cross town rivals the opportunity of an upset win.
Geelong capitalized on Docker errors to post a convincing win to launch their season. With the return of Aaron Sandilands, Fremantle dominated in the ruck and won more clearances than Geelong, but Fremantle’s frequent skill errors gifted the ball to their opponents. The Cats midfielders, Patrick Dangerfield, Mitch Duncan and Joel Selwood punished any Fremantle turnovers and shot the ball deep into the Geelong forward zone. Tom Hawkins
Chris Kowald reporting for AFANA from Domain Stadium, Perth, Australia
In a prize fight between two of last year's contenders, shown live across the USA on Fox Sports 1, the West Coast Eagles have left a battered Fremantle reeling on the ropes.
Michael Walters’ four goals were the difference in the Fremantle Dockers narrow win over the Collingwood Magpies at Domain Stadium in the west in Round 13. It was a hard fought game and the result was contested right up to the final siren. Walters kicked his first goal within 30 seconds of the bouncedown but from there on the Magpies had the upper hand.
Victorian teams have taken a leaf out of the Richmond playbook when they travel west to take on Fremantle at home.
North Melbourne was put to the sword in a one-sided contest against the Fremantle Dockers in their Round 8 clash in Perth. The visiting Kangaroos were never a threat and showed the same inconsistency that has haunted them over the past few seasons. Just when fans think that North might be a contender, the players fall and stumble at the hurdles that teams like Fremantle throw up at them. It is hard to predict which Kangaroos' side is going to take the paddock from week to week and for this game the wrong side turned up. North Melbourne was belted from pillar to post and looked second rate against a more skilled and disciplined Fremantle unit.
by Lisa Albergo reporting for AFANA from Chicago
In mid-November, Fremantle held its club champion awards function and - despite missing four games through suspension - midfielder Nat Fyfe was the resounding winner of the Doig Medal. It is Fyfe's second consecutive win, capping a stellar season during which he was named the AFLPA's best player and earned All-Australian selection. Fyfe polled 283 votes from his 20 appearances, 20 more than he did from two more games in 2013.