The big movers on the AFANA AFL Power Poll this week were the Tigers and the Saints up four places each, while the Adelaide Crows fell four spots after a disastrous loss to the previously winless Kangaroos. Other notable happenings over another topsy-turvy round of footy were the Demons notching their first win for the season up in Sydney, while the previously unbeaten Cats were ambushed late by an impressive Giants outfit despite losing Callan Ward to a nasty knee injury in the first quarter.
Boris Kilpatrick, special to AFANA from Australia
In a quirky scheduling twist this week, round eleven – celebrating Australia’s Indigenous heritage - saw the top eight teams pitted against the bottom eight, giving the top teams the chance to stretch their advantage while those struggling had the opportunity to make up some ground. Fast forward to Monday, and with all of the games in the books, the top six teams on the AFANA Power Poll all had wins, keeping them at the top of the tree.
Just days after one of Australia’s largest online betting sites paid out on Hawthorn winning the 2015 Premiership - more than two months before the Grand Final is to be played - the raging favorites have been upset by Richmond in front of a massive MCG crowd.
Richmond bounced back from last week’s disappointing loss to the Western Bulldogs with a scrappy 79-point victory over a struggling Brisbane Lions at the Gabba on Saturday night. Brisbane was looking to fire after a demoralizing 82 point loss at the hands of North Melbourne in round two, but despite a solid start could not match the rampaging Tigers who took control of the game late in the second quarter. Both teams were missing gun midfielders through injury, Brisbane without clearance machine Tom Rockliff while Brett Deledio failed to pass a mid-week fitness test for the Tigers.
The first quarter saw Richmond dominate possession, with captain Trent Cotchin leading the way as the Tigers took the lead through a Ben Griffith goal. Taylor Hunt and Kamdyn McIntosh were also racking up plenty of touches early as Richmond held a massive 10-3 advantage on possessions inside 50 meters, but the Tiger forwards failed to turn the advantage into a big lead. At quarter time, Richmond led by just nine points.
Richmond players faced St Kilda at the MCG in the final game of Round 22, knowing their fate was well and truly in their own hands. Riding the wave of an incredible seven game winning streak that included on the road wins against the West Coast Eagles and Adelaide Crows, the Tigers had to beat the Saints to keep their slim Finals' chances alive. After Round 14, Richmond held a 3-10 win-loss record, placing them 16th on the AFL premiership ladder. Fast forward to Sunday, and as the Tigers ran out onto the hallowed turf of the MCG, a win would send them to 11-10 and into the Top Eight with one round to play.
Round Ten's clash at Spotless Stadium between the Greater Western Sydney (GWS) Giants and the Richmond Tigers would have been a major talking point in AFL media circles no matter the result. Richmond, struggling with a 2-6 record, found itself under massive media scrutiny all week, not only due to its ongoing poor form but also because key forward Jack Riewoldt had questioned Coach Damien Hardwick’s game plan in a press interview during the week. GWS players had been under pressure of their own, putting together a six game losing streak highlighted by a 111-point belting at the hands of the West Coast Eagles in Round Nine. To say both of these teams needed to win would be a massive understatement.
Brook “Boris” Kilpatrick reporting for AFANA
Richmond headed to the MCG looking to climb back into the Top Eight after their Round 11 bye. The Adelaide Crows, fresh off a 77 point belting at the hands of a rampaging Sydney Swans, were keen to make amends and show the fans they were still in the hunt for a Finals berth. In the past Adelaide has had the wood over the Tigers winning six of their past eight encounters. However the return of young guns Brandon Ellis and Reece Conca had the bookmakers installing Richmond as the favorites to win over a determined Adelaide outfit.
by Lisa Albergo reporting for AFANA from Chicago
Mick Malthouse (CARL) and Kevin Sheedy (GWS) are now tied in second place for all-time wins by a coach. Carlton's Round Five win against Adelaide and the Giants' loss to Gold Coast put both on 388 career wins, just behind Collingwood's Jock McHale (467 wins).
Brook "Boris" Kilpatrick reporting for AFANA
A massive crowd packed into the MCG to witness the blockbuster between the improving Richmond Tigers and perennial powerhouse Collingwood. Tiger supporters' confidence was high after a 3-0 start and they were excited by the chance to prove their credentials against one of the best teams in the League. The Magpies were keen to put the Black and Gold army back in their place and
by Lisa Albergo reporting for AFANA from Chicago
The University of South Australia’s Center for Muslim and non-Muslim Understanding and the Australia Day Council have created an award to honor those who contribute to multicultural understanding, social harmony and community cohesion. Richmond defender Bachar Houli