The Sydney Swans didn’t just defeat the West Coast Eagles at Optus Stadium, they comprehensively thrashed them to hand the Eagles their biggest home game loss in the club’s history. The Swans were without Buddy Franklin, who has made a habit of tormenting the Eagles at Optus and veteran midfielder, Josh Kennedy, who was rested for the game. The Eagles virtually rested their own Josh Kennedy in the first quarter as the ball rarely got near their big forward. The Swans had a massive 21 forward entries in the opening term, while West Coast could only manage four. Sydneys’ reserve ruckman Peter Ladhams dominated in the ruck to highlight the extended absence of the Eagles’ ruckman Nic Naitanui. The Eagles' midfielders Elliot Yeo, Tim Kelly and Luke Shuey, who were all returning from extended layoffs, barely touched leather in the opening quarter as Sydney’s Callum Mills, Isaac Heeney and Errol Gulden did as they liked. Tall forwards Hayden McLean and Logan McDonald dominated in the air and kicked two goals apiece and a busy Ben Ronke booted a goal after two early misses. The lopsided first quarter score line flattered the Eagles as Sydney missed some very gettable shots.
The Brisbane Lions retain top spot on the AFANA AFL Power Poll this week, courtesy of win number seven in a row over a competitive Western Bulldogs outfit. The Eagles remain right on the Lions tail after an impressive road win against a resurgent Carlton, Richmond overcame a slow start to roll the Demons at the MCG and the Giants stayed hot with a win against crosstown rival Sydney.
Geelong once again stumbled, this time losing to an injury hit Fremantle at Optus Stadium, Essendon had its winning streak broken by an up again Port Adelaide, the Kangaroos took care of Hawthorn after a sluggish start and finally the Adelaide Crows showed some form to end Saint Kilda’s finals hopes at Adelaide Oval.
Thursday night saw Geelong continue its early season dominance with a stirring win over Adelaide, the upstart Brisbane Lions stormed home to defeat the vastly improved Port Adelaide and the Grand Final replay saw the Eagles once again victorious over a disappointing Collingwood.
Highly fancied Melbourne are yet to register a win after faltering against Essendon, the much maligned Gold Coast Suns won again, and Richmond added a couple more players to its ever increasing injury list in a big loss to an impressive Greater Western Sydney Giants at Spotless Stadium.
The roof was open for today’s Saturday afternoon match at Marvel Stadium. The conditions overcast but comfortable and a good crowd rolled in through the first quarter. For those that didn’t make it until quarter time they missed eleven goals and eight lead changes. Quarters two and three were uneventful as the Swans slowly edged away before a final quarter that saw the Blues open up a window of opportunity but were unable to climb through it.
Sydney Swans vs Greater Western Sydney Giants (SCG)
STATE OF PLAY:
Expect a fiery encounter as the cross-town rivals will leave nothing in the tank in this do or die elimination final. With the game being played at the SCG, you would usually think it was advantage Swans, but 2018 has been no cakewalk for Sydney when playing at home - where they in fact have a 5-6 record at a ground that in the past has been somewhat of a fortress.
Twenty one rounds into the AFL season and incredibly the finals and top four races remain wide open and just two weeks to go. A big win to Richmond over the Suns has locked up a top two spot for the reigning premiers while an amazing last gasp win to the Eagles – in almost identical fashion to their final in 2017, and once again over a distraught Port Adelaide – leaves them in great shape to finish in the top two and secure a home final.
A gutsy win to Hawthorn over Geelong has catapulted the Hawks into fourth position on the AFL ladder, in turn sending the Cats crashing out of the eight, while the Giants 14 point win over Adelaide kept them in great shape for a finals double chance while ending the Crows chances of any finals participation in the process.
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.
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,
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.
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.