The West Coast Eagles ended a club record losing streak of nine consecutive losses by beating the Essendon Bombers at Optus Stadium. It was the Eagles' first victory at their home stadium in eleven months and the lively home crowd enjoyed the ride in a game where the lead changed nine times. The Bombers pushed away to an early lead in the first quarter with Jake Stringer finding plenty of space and booting the first goal. The Eagles' first goal came three minutes later when they worked the ball out of defense to Josh Kennedy, who marked and kicked truly. From there the Bombers took control and produced three goals. The first, a good snap by Matt Guelfi from a stoppage near the goals. The second by Stringer after a turnover in the center and the third by Peter Wright after the Bombers had transitioned from defense. The Bombers were running and the Eagles had lead boots. The first quarter was played mostly in the Bombers' half of the ground. A rare change of play saw Jack Darling complete a clever one-handed mark (catch) and convert, which inspired the home team.
West Coast's Willie Rioli was found guilty in 2019 of having traces of marijuana in his system during a routine ASADA check. In August and September of 2019, he was caught attempting to tamper with the boldly fluid sample required by ASADA. He has been serving a provisional suspension since August of 2019. The Anti-Doping Tribunal found him guilty and gave him a two year suspension. However, that suspension has been backdated to August 20, 2019 - the date of the first sample collection - so he will be allowed to return to training in June.
Richmond won the 2020 the Grand Final, giving Daniel Rioli his third premiership medal. The Rioli name could be considered football royalty, up there with the Abletts, Danihers and Shaws. The family created their own history in the Northern Territory Football League on the Saturday night after the AFL Grand Final. Ben Rioli, Shannon Rioli and Maurice Rioli Jr all ran out for St Mary's for their own Grand Final. That gave the Rioli family a combined 1001 games.
West Coast Eagles vs Collingwood Magpies (Optus Stadium)
STATE OF PLAY:
The Saturday clash between West Coast and Collingwood is a top four battle of two teams that have been hit hard by injury during the season but have come through in pretty good shape nonetheless.
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.
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.
Chris Kowald reporting for AFANA from Optus Stadium, Perth
The West Coast Eagles won contested possessions and used their height advantage in attack and defeated the Port Adelaide Power to record their sixth consecutive victory. Port offered little challenge, except briefly during the third quarter. Port’s coach, Ken Hinkley, was obviously disappointed with his players’ lack of hardness and desire to compete.