With just one round to be played before the finals series begins, the top eight is finally taking shape, but there is still plenty to be decided with some big match-ups in the final round. The big winner out of round 22 was Melbourne, which finished strongly against the West Coast Eagles in Perth to book their first finals appearance in 12 seasons, much to the relief of Coach Simon Goodwin. Last year the Demons crashed out of the race late in 2017. Collingwood strengthened its hold on a top four finish with a big win over Port Adelaide at the MCG, effectively ending Port’s finals campaign in the process.
Chris Kowald reporting for AFANA from Optus Stadium, Perth
The West Coast Eagles remain undefeated and have won their tenth consecutive game, but they left the ground to subdued celebrations after being pushed by a stubborn St Kilda team, who refused to be intimidated by the league leaders.
The cool windless evening suited open play and fast ball movement and West Coast started in hot form. The Eagles had three goals on the board by the eight-minute mark with big men Nic Naitanui, Jack Darling and Josh Kennedy all flying for big marks (catches). Naitanui out marked St Kilda’s Tom Hickey to kick the first goal.
Boris Kilpatrick, special to AFANA from Australia
The Eagles are still flying high, the Demons are red hot and the Kangaroos continue to defy the critics. These were the big stories of an enthralling round ten. The Giants once again couldn’t find a way to win while the Tigers, minus two of their playmakers who went off injured early, could. Collingwood won again to keep in touch with the pack while Adelaide had a shocker.
In a scrappy contest in front of just over 40,000 fans at Etihad Stadium on Saturday night, North Melbourne helped to celebrate Brent Harvey’s games record with a 23 point victory over St Kilda. Harvey’s 427th VFL/AFL game broke the record held by Hawthorn’s Michael Tuck, and with seemingly plenty left in the tank it would take a brave man to suggest he cannot reach the amazing milestone of 450 league games if he decides to play on next season.