An extended round six kicked off with the unusual Wednesday night game that saw Richmond victorious by 43 points over the struggling Melbourne Demons. The Anzac Day battle between Collingwood and Essendon was a classic that ended with the Magpies hanging on to win by four points in controversial circumstances as the Bombers fell just short of pulling off a great comeback. Brisbane, Port Adelaide, Fremantle and the Giants took care of business as expected while Carlton almost pulled off back to back victories before succumbing by just five points to a frantic Hawthorn down in Tasmania.
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.
In early October, the trade period began. It ran through October 17. A number of players had previously told their clubs they wanted to go elsewhere. Some were restricted or unrestricted free agents.
Fremantle was the first club to sign a player during the free agency period. They signed Richmond defender Reece Conca. Conca, 26, is originally from West Australia and decided he wanted to return home after eight seasons and 204 games for the Tigers.
Defender Liam Dawson has been delisted by Brisbane. Dawson, 22, played 18 games for the Lions in four years. He played only one game in the past two seasons but failed to add to that tally in 2018. Rohan Bewick, Claye Beams, Jake Barrett, Marco Paparone and Tom Bell have also been delisted while Cian Hanley has retired.
Bewick, the nephew of former Essendon 1993 and 2000 premiership player Darren, played 103 games for the Lions in eight seasons. Bewick, 28, celebrated his 100th AFL game milestone in 2017 and kicked 71 goals for the Lions throughout his career. In 2018,, he played three senior games.
Sydney players will be kicking themselves after letting the First Qualifying Final slip out of their grasp against the Fremantle Dockers. The Swans' inaccurate kicking on goal let them down - they kicked 18 points, two of them within minutes of the end of the game where they could have snatched a thrilling victory. Sydney looked the better team at the end of the day and despite letting the Dockers out to a commanding lead, they were always in the hunt, right to the final siren.
Fremantle put Sydney on the back foot with four quick goals in the opening term. Small forward Michael Walters booted two of the early goals against a gale force wind favoring Sydney’s end. Sydney players were spraying the ball badly when they kicked on goals and they had six minor scores on the board before Sam Reid finally straightened one up for a goal. Sadly for Reid, it was his last major play in the game as soon after he pulled a hamstring and substitute Zac Jones made an early entry into the match.
Rick Browner reporting for AFANA from Patersons Stadium Perth
Sydney limped across to Perth for the Preliminary Final against the Fremantle Dockers, injury ravaged and tired from their Semi Final encounter against Carlton. Fremantle players were fresh after a week off and, playing on their home ground in front of more than 43,000 people, were expected to outlast their opponents and secure a place in the Grand Final.
Brook Kilpatrick reporting for AFANA from Australia
Hawthorn will meet Collingwood in a Preliminary Final after comfortably defeating Sydney by 36 points at the MCG on Friday night. The Hawks dominated the contest early and at one stage in the third quarter held a 46 point lead before the Swans fought back. In Adam Goodes’ 300th game the Sydneysiders worked their way back to trail by just 18 points late in the third quarter. However Hawthorn showed poise under pressure to wrest back the initiative and cruise home with a six goal victory.
Sydney and West Coast have a history of close, hard fought encounters over the last decade. The Eagles’ form so far this season has been good but Sydney never gives up the fight. This game was billed as a big challenge for the Eagles, up against a Finals team from last year after finishing on the bottom of the Ladder.