Just eight teams remain. In one of the tightest finishes in AFL history, the final regular season round had footy fans reaching for their calculators until the last few minutes of the final game of the year between the Adelaide Crows and the West Coast Eagles. Incredibly, the 29 point Eagles victory was enough to see them through to the final eight, while Melbourne, sitting a game and percentage inside the final eight prior to the round, saw their finals dreams shattered on the back of a shock loss to Collingwood and the Eagles win.
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)
by Boris Kilpatrick, special to AFANA from Australia
1. Adelaide Crows (Last Week - 1)
The Crows keep top spot after obliterating Essendon by 65 points in front of a rabid Adelaide Oval home crowd. No Josh Jenkins, no Mitch McGovern, no problems for the Crows who are on fire right now.
2. Greater Western Sydney Giants (2)
The Giants didn’t have it all their own way against a feisty Port Adelaide at Spotless Stadium. Despite trailing by four points at three quarter time, the Giants stormed home to win by 31 points, keeping the Power goalless in the final quarter.
Troy Thompson for AFANA from the Melbourne Cricket Ground, Melbourne.
It was a cool night in Melbourne for this clash of traditional rivals. At ground level there was a noticeable breeze that is not necessarily consistent in any direction due to the stadium configuration. It is hard to know how much credit to give the breeze and how much contempt to throw on the players for poor kicking execution, but at any rate poor kicking dominated the night.
Despite an almighty scare against the lowly ranked Tigers, the Western Bulldogs ran out 10 point winners in a stirring contest at Etihad Stadium on Saturday night. Fielding a young team with one eye firmly on the future, the Tigers almost pulled off a massive upset as they led deep into the final quarter. In the end it was the class of the enigmatic Jake Stringer and young gun Marcus Bontempelli that helped the Bulldogs to victory and kept their top-four hopes alive.
by Lisa Albergo reporting for AFANA from Chicago
THE FALLOUTFor the immediate present, the two biggest issues facing Essendon are replacing the suspended players and whether or not Jobe Watson keeps his 2012 Brownlow Medal. The league has already put provisions in place for replacement players for Essendon as well as Melbourne, Port Adelaide, St Kilda and the Western Bulldogs. For the latter four, they can upgrade rookies to their a rookie to their respective senior lists to replace the suspended players.
Of course, it is a bit more complicated for Essendon. However, the AFL had held meetings with Essendon and the AFLPA and came up with several resolutions:
What a difference a week makes. Richmond players and coaches traveled to Adelaide on a high after defeating premiership favorite Hawthorn, confident they could defeat an Adelaide Crows team that had been demoralized by the Sydney Swans just a week earlier. The Crows knew they had to win to keep their Finals hopes alive, while the Tigers' Top Four chances depended on a victory over the Crows in front of a sell-out Adelaide crowd.
Richmond received bad news on the eve of the big clash with the news that Brett Deledio - their four-goal hero against Hawthorn - would not take his place in the team due to a bad case of influenza. With Deledio missing, the onus was on Jack Riewoldt and Ty Vickery to produce enough goals to win against the hard running Crows.
Just days after one of Australia’s largest online betting sites paid out on Hawthorn winning the 2015 Premiership - more than two months before the Grand Final is to be played - the raging favorites have been upset by Richmond in front of a massive MCG crowd.