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.
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).
With just one round to be played before the finals series begins, the top eight is finally taking shape, but there is still plenty to be decided with some big match-ups in the final round. The big winner out of round 22 was Melbourne, which finished strongly against the West Coast Eagles in Perth to book their first finals appearance in 12 seasons, much to the relief of Coach Simon Goodwin. Last year the Demons crashed out of the race late in 2017. Collingwood strengthened its hold on a top four finish with a big win over Port Adelaide at the MCG, effectively ending Port’s finals campaign in the process.
A crowd of 62,000 filtered into the Melbourne Cricket Ground for the all-important Round 4 clash between the Collingwood Magpies and the Richmond Tigers. Both teams were desperate for a win after sluggish starts to the season. Richmond had more on the line given they had already dropped two games they were expected to win. Collingwood has had the ascendancy in recent head-to-head battles between these two proud teams, having not lowered its colors to the Tigers since 2007. With Brett Deledio still unavailable for the Tigers due to an achilles injury, the bookmakers had instilled the Magpies as favorites in what was expected to be a spirited contest.
Brook “Boris” Kilpatrick reporting for AFANA from Australia
Round 22's “Clash of the Sash” was also shaping up as Essendon’s last chance to take a stand and show the football world they were worthy of playing Finals footy. For Richmond, it was once again about rebuilding a franchise and taking it back to the glory days of the 70s, when the Tigers and playing Finals were synonymous.