Welcome to the first AFANA AFL Power Poll for 2019, and what a crazy couple of rounds of footy we have witnessed to kick off the season! If what we have seen so far is any indication, Aussie rules football fans are in for a crazy ride in 2019. Nothing should surprise us given the last three premiers have come from 8th, 13th and 6th on the ladder in the year prior to taking out the big one.
Richmond Tigers vs Hawthorn Hawks (MCG)
State of Play:
This game has all the makings of an absolute classic. On one hand you have Richmond, the reigning premier coming into the game riding a 21-game winning streak at the MCG. On the other you have Hawthorn, the form team of the competition boasting a massive total of 265 games of finals experience (the Tigers have just 114).
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.
Boris Kilpatrick, special to AFANA from Australia
With three rounds in the books, incredibly Port Adelaide remains as the only undefeated team, underlying what shapes up as one of the closest races for the top eight in recent memory. The Power had an almighty scare at home as they scraped in by just five points over a rapidly improving Brisbane Lions. In the match of the round, crosstown rivals the Sydney Swans and the Greater Western Sydney Giants battled it out at the SCG,
by Troy Thompson, reporting for AFANA from Melbourne
After five goals in the first eleven minutes of the match by Carlton, Richmond worked their way back into the match before blowing the Blues away in the final quarter, running out winners by 26 points. It was a perfect night for football and the 90,151 fans saw a good contest with improvement by the Blues and a solid finish by the reigning premiers.
To kick the game winning goal after the final siren is every Australian footballer’s dream. It’s the equivalent of the walk-off home run in baseball, the three-point winning buzzer-beater in basketball and the overtime goal in the NHL. On Saturday night, Richmond’s Sam Lloyd lived that very dream. In a see-sawing battle at the MCG in front of a small but rabid crowd of 36,014, Lloyd saved Richmond’s flailing season, possibly the job of its coach Damien Hardwick, and certainly gave its loyal fan base a healthy dose of joy in a season that has delivered mostly just heartache. A live audience on Fox Sports 1 watched across the US.
After a tough Western Derby and a second successive six-day-break, West Coast used their height and tackling pressure to totally dominate Richmond in a punishing game of quality football.
In the first two minutes, the Tigers showed good defense and cleared a stoppage with a chain of accurate deliveries, to score a fine goal via Kane Lambert. However, this sparked the Eagles into life and their midfield
A beautiful Melbourne afternoon greeted fans of Collingwood and Richmond as they headed in droves towards the mecca of Australian sport, the Melbourne Cricket Ground. Under enormous pressure after three losses in a row and with a tough draw ahead, Richmond coach Damien Hardwick was in desperate need of a win to avoid another week of speculation about his tenure at the helm of the Tigers. The late withdrawal of small forward Shane Edwards, arguably the Tigers' best player of the season to date, was a cruel blow to Hardwick and Tiger fans prior to game time. Collingwood coach Nathan Buckley would have been feeling confident of victory with the Magpies holding a winning streak against the Tigers that went back as far as Round 19 in 2007.
Fresh off a first-up win against the West Coast Eagles, a young Western Bulldogs outfit was expected to find life tougher against Richmond on their home turf at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. The Tigers, expected to challenge for a Top Eight spot in 2015, had plenty at stake after an unconvincing Round One win over a weakened Carlton outfit. Kane Lambert was the second Tiger debutant in as many weeks, with star midfielder Brett Deledio missing through suspension and small forward Shane Edwards a late withdrawal through injury.
Richmond headed home to the MCG to take on the Greater Western Sydney Giants with a four game winning streak at stake. A win against the Giants would keep the Tigers’ slim Finals' chance alive, while any slip up would end their season with regard to post-season action. The Giants came into the game showing improved form, narrowly failing to beat premiership contenders Geelong in the previous round. Richmond coach Damien Hardwick would have been looking for a fast start, knowing that the wet conditions from the West Coast game may produce some weary Tigers as the game wore on. His opposite number Leon Cameron would have been looking for quick delivery into young GWS “twin towers” Jonathon Patton and Tom Boyd, hoping to use the height advantage of the young forwards.