Melbourne rolled to a 29-point win over a hapless Geelong on the back of a scintillating first quarter at the MCG on Friday night. Long suffering Demons fans celebrated wildly as their team broke a decade long finals drought and the party might not stop here. The dominant performance would have resulted in a much larger winning margin had the Demon forwards brought their kicking boots, with Melbourne managing just 1 goal, 10 behinds in two quarters of football to give Geelong a sniff of a comeback after halftime.
Melbourne Demons vs Geelong Cats (MCG)
State of Play:
This is a battle between two differing line-ups: the finals hardened Cats and the young enthusiastic Demons. After a disastrous end to 2017, Melbourne finished strongly this season to book their finals berth for the first time in 12 years. By contrast, Geelong has missed the finals only once in the same 12 year period. The contrast continues with the Cats playing two easy beats in Gold Coast and Fremantle to complete the minor round, winning both games by over 100 points each.
Apparently no one had read the script to the Melbourne Demons. They hadn’t beaten a team in the top eight all season and it was a West Coast Eagles home game, Optus Stadium is a fortress and at 75 degrees, it was supposed to be too hot for Melbourne teams to last four full quarters. All that mattered little when the siren sounded and the Demons put on a display worthy of finalists when they ran over the Eagles in an upset in the West.
From the very first moments it was clear that Melbourne had come to play. They were ferocious in their tackling and hunted the Eagles down in packs all over the ground. West Coast were rattled and started to make disposal errors that played right into Melbourne’s hands.
The Giants just hold off a rampaging Adelaide Crows this week in top spot due to a gutsy road win over in Perth against the West Coast Eagles. The Crows crushed Fremantle to stay firmly on the Giants heels in the race for number one in the AFANA AFL power poll.
1. Greater Western Sydney Giants (Last Week - 1)
Fremantle secured the Minor Premiership (top position on the Ladder) for the first time in club history with a relatively easy win over the Melbourne Demons in the penultimate round of the home and away (regular) season.
by Lisa Albergo reporting for AFANA from Chicago
After a recent survey and discussions between the AFLPA and players, a "Players and the Game Committee" will be formed to allow players a greater voice on the game and its future. The committee will consist of eight players - one from each state and four from Melbourne based clubs - who have strong and respected voices within the AFL industry and well-developed views on the game.
It was supposed to be a celebration of the life of Tommy Hafey, Richmond’s iconic four time Premiership coach who sadly passed away during the week. Instead, for Richmond, it was a disaster of far-reaching proportions. Coming into the contest with a precarious 2-5 record, the Tigers simply had to win. Not just to keep their Finals hopes alive, not just to honor the memory of Hafey, but to give their fans some hope that their 15 win season in 2013 wasn’t a fluke. The answer to the latter is one that Tiger supporters will not want to accept and will certainly struggle to understand. Melbourne mounted a spirited effort to grind out a hard-fought win – the Demons' second in a row and third for the season. The Demon players were simply better when it counted, their masterful new coach Paul Roos earning every cent of his high-priced contract.
by Lisa Albergo reporting for AFANA from Chicago
Milestones for Round 16 include:
200 games: Justin Koschitzke (StK) and Luke Ball (COL)
150 games: Colin Sylvia (MELB), Joel Selwood (GEEL) and Nathan Jones (MELB)
100 games: Steele Sidebottom (COLL), Matthew Kreuzer (CARL), Craig Bird (SYD), Trent Cotchin (RICH), Stephen Hill (FREM) and Liam Picken (WB)
50 games: Jordan Roughead (WB), Jeremy Howe (MELB), Levi Greenwood (NM) and Trent McKenzie (GC)
50 club games: Jarrod Harbrow and Jared Brennan (GC)
Rick Browner reporting for AFANA from Patersons Stadium, Perth
Fremantle moved into the Top Four with a comprehensive thrashing of a demoralized Melbourne in their Round Nine clash at Patersons Stadium. Melbourne’s Jack Watts scored the first goal and for a brief time it looked as though there might be a bit of spirit in the visitors. Unfortunately it was short lived and Melbourne soon crumbled under a relentless and clinical onslaught by the Dockers.
Rick Browner reporting for AFANA from Patersons Stadium in Perth
With the Top Eight determined the previous round, all that was left was the shuffling of the deck chairs to find out which teams would play against each other in the Finals. It was down to percentage for the Fremantle Dockers as to where they finished, with the possibility that they could meet the West Coast Eagles in an Elimination Final if they finished in eighth position. Coach Ross Lyon talked about “managing” the result, a veiled reference some took as meaning not playing to their best to achieve that result.