The AFL has announced their annual life members and the winners of the Jack Titus Award for service to the game. The life membership awards will officially be presented at the league AGM in March. Nine players and coaches qualified automatically by reaching the total of 300 games as either player or coach, including preseason games and international rules.
A commanding performance by the Carlton Blues’ skipper, Patrick Cripps, has left the Adelaide Crows exposed to attack from other teams, as the Crows struggle to maintain their position in the top eight. The Crows faced their D Day at the MCG, as they attempted to establish a beachhead for a finals campaign. Their attack on the Navy Blues failed and they are now hunkering down on the shoreline waiting to make their next move.
The Crows started the game with guns blazing. In the first five minutes ruckman Rory O’Brien had taken a strong mark and veteran Marc Murphy had passed to new recruit Tyson Stengle to goal; this was followed by Lachlan Murphy snapping accurately from the forward pocket to have the Crows two goals up.
Round fifteen has opened up the race for the top eight with some highly fancied teams dropping games they were expected to win. Geelong bounced back from defeat at the hands of Port Adelaide last week by taking care of the other Adelaide team (the Crows) at GMHBA Stadium, holding on to top spot on the AFANA AFL Power Poll in the process.
Collingwood drops down to third on the Power Poll courtesy of a shock loss at the hands of a resurgent North Melbourne which climbs all the way to eighth under the control of interim coach Rhyce Shaw. The Eagles once again used some last minute heroics to defeat an unlucky Hawthorn at the MCG, with Jamie Cripps providing the match winning goal on this occasion.
The reborn Carlton Blues shocked the Fremantle Dockers with a thrilling last gasp victory that left the Dockers vulnerable to dropping out of the top eight. The inspired Blues’ third win moved them from the bottom of the ladder and have now won two of their last three games. The Dockers have lost their last two games against teams sitting in the bottom three on the ladder and will rue their second quarter, where they allowed Carlton to dominate the game for long periods.
Round eighteen gave us some sensational football with Geelong stealing the limelight. Twenty nine points down in the final quarter to a steadfast Melbourne, the Cats conjured some more Kardinia Park magic to steal a two-point win on a goal after the siren to Zach Tuohy. The Giants won a hard fought away game against a suddenly struggling Port Adelaide, setting themselves up for a top eight finish in the process.
Boris Kilpatrick, special to AFANA from Australia
After a weekend of big wins, more injuries and the previously sole remaining undefeated team going down, there have been some big movers on the AFANA AFL Power Poll this week. Port Adelaide once again failed to handle Essendon on the fast deck at Etihad stadium, taking their first loss of the season in the process. Big wins to Richmond
by Troy Thompson, reporting for AFANA from Melbourne
After five goals in the first eleven minutes of the match by Carlton, Richmond worked their way back into the match before blowing the Blues away in the final quarter, running out winners by 26 points. It was a perfect night for football and the 90,151 fans saw a good contest with improvement by the Blues and a solid finish by the reigning premiers.
The West Coast Eagles overcame indifferent form to make use of the wind and fly past the Carlton Blues in the last quarter. In doing so, the Eagles kept their finals hopes alive for one more week. The Blues were brave and dashing in their play. Their players matched the Eagles as the home team pressed players towards the contest; and when the ball came loose, Carlton used pace to expose the Eagles with leg speed. If not for the heroics of Eagles forward Josh Kennedy, who kicked six goals, the Eagles’ season would have ended at the hands of a team some considered a candidate for the wooden spoon.
The Fremantle Dockers were favorites to beat a young Carlton Blues team, but somebody forgot to tell Carlton.
The AFL competition in 2017 has so far been littered with upset results. Perhaps, with the exception of Brisbane, any team is capable of beating any other team on their day; such is the closeness of the competition. The difference between a win and a loss is more often measured in ounces of desperation rather than bundles of skill.
by Boris Kilpatrick, special to AFANA from Australia
1. Western Bulldogs (Last Week - 1)
The Bulldogs retain top spot on the AFANA Power Poll after a stirring win over a gallant Sydney Swans. Marcus Bontempelli and Luke Dalhaus were once again magnificent for the Bulldogs who are showing no signs of a premiership hangover.
2. Adelaide Crows (2)
Another big tick for the Crows who came from behind to beat Hawthorn for the first time since 2011. Despite losing tall forward Josh Jenkins early, the Crows were simply too slick for a Hawthorn outfit that is yet to hit their straps in 2017.