After 23 rounds of sensational footy we now have our eight finalists ready to battle it out for the 2019 AFL premiership in a weeks time. The Western Bulldogs smashed their way into the last available finals spot by running out 34 point winners over a disappointing Adelaide Crows in Ballarat on Sunday. Just a couple of hours later, Richmond ended Brisbane’s nine-game winning streak with a 27 point win at the MCG, earning the Tigers a double-chance plus a road trip to Brisbane to once again face the Lions in week one of the finals.
A dramatic change has taken place on the AFANA AFL Power Poll over the past weekend with some big results that could have a significant effect on the race for the 2019 premiership. After finally reaching number one on the back of a string of brilliant performances, the West Coast Eagles came crashing down to earth and have dropped all the way to fourth on our Power Poll after an unexpected loss at home to its 2018 premiership victim in Collingwood.
The Cats move back into the number one spot after a hard fought win against Saint Kilda, while a red hot Brisbane Lions move up to second after a road win full of merit against a frustrating Port Adelaide. Essendon needed a last gasp goal from their barometer in Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti to down the Kangaroos, Richmond overpowered an undermanned Greater Western Sydney and the Adelaide Crows smashed the Gold Coast Suns up at Metricon Stadium.
It has taken until the completion of round sixteen, but the reigning premiers are back at the top of the AFANA AFL Power Poll after thumping cross-town rivals Fremantle by 91 points on Saturday. The Eagles win coincided with Geelong going down to an improved Western Bulldogs and Collingwood being run over in the last quarter by Hawthorn on Friday night, signaling a change in not only the AFANA Power Poll but betting markets all over the country.
The Brisbane Lions announced to the rest of the competition that they are not only big improvers but a genuine threat to the top four with an away win full of merit against the fancied Greater Western Sydney Giants. Port Adelaide continued it's up and down season by crushing the favored Adelaide Crows in the "Showdown" at Adelaide Oval and the resurgent Kangaroos had another comfortable win, this time over a faltering Saint Kilda.
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.
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.
Boris Kilpatrick, special to AFANA from Australia
Round eight gave the football public some classic matches, making a mockery of those in the media who have been complaining that the overall standard of the AFL is trending downward. It started with a brilliant contest between Hawthorn and Sydney at the MCG on Friday night with the Swans storming home to take the win after it looked like the Hawks had the game won.
by Lisa Albergo reporting for AFANA from Chicago
Not since 2002, when Nick Riewoldt (drafted in 2000) won the Rising Star Award*, has a Number One draft pick been the winner. Now, Essendon's prized frist selection from 2016 joins Riewoldt in the unique double. He was named and presented with the award on Sept. 1 after an impressive debut season. McGrath, 19, earned his nomination in Round Four against Adelaide. He had 28 disposals, laid four tackles and had five scoring involvements. McGrath becomes the second Essendon player to win the award, following Dyson Heppell's win in 2011.
by Lisa Albergo reporting for AFANA from Chicago
Just ahead of Round 23, out of favor Docker defender Garrick Ibbotson and veteran Bomber midfielder Brent Stanton both announced their retirement.
The big winners in Round 18 were the Adelaide Crows and the Sydney Swans. The Crows win over second placed Geelong in Adelaide gives them a six-point buffer at the head of the table, providing a great chance at finishing in first at the end of the minor round with the bonus of home finals. For the Swans, their big win over the Saints has them sitting 6th as the best performed team in the last two months.
The big loser over the weekend was the West Coast Eagles, whose final quarter capitulation against an undermanned Collingwood dropped them out of the top eight, leaving them with an uphill battle ahead to work their way back into finals contention.
1. Adelaide Crows (Last time - 1)