The AFL free agency period has officially begun, with Adelaide Crows defender Jake Kelly and Richmond Tigers tall Mabior Chol the first players to find new homes for 2022.
An interesting round of AFL football has been wrapped up. There are ten teams still in the hunt for a top eight berth. I’ll review the round and show you my tips.
Did North Melbourne pull one out of the bag?
Yes. An eventful game that was high-paced, high-scoring and high in drama ended in a spectacular 20-point win to the Roos. The underdogs started off well before unleashing a withering burst that only North Melbourne can produce in the third quarter.
They showed that when they play their best footy they are the top team in the competition. Even the reigning premiers in Hawthorn crumbled under the extensive pressure that the running Roos accumulated.
Hawthorn still sit in the top four though, as Port Adelaide losing helped them to stay in second. The Hawks take on Adelaide next week in what is sure to be a Friday night thriller.
After that loss, I think that the Hawks will finish in the bottom two of the top four, as they have a tough run home and will surely be without Lake for a few weeks. The Roos are now equal sixth with Collingwood and Gold Coast, and will look to boost their percentage and not succumb to a poor and inconsistent performance once again as they take on a dismal Saints team.
If North can run into some good and consistent form in September, watch out.
Who proved themselves up at Metricon?
The Suns did. An epic and see-sawing battle concluded with Gold Coast holding on to win by five points as a fading and inaccurate Collingwood side couldn’t overrun an undermanned Suns outfit that had no players on the bench in the last quarter.
Their star player, Gary Ablett and three others were injured. Gold Coast now have to try and survive for several weeks as Ablett will be out with a dislocated shoulder. If they can just hang on and stay in the top eight then they will make the finals. Collingwood now are in trouble of falling out of the top eight as their great early season form has fallen dramatically over the past few weeks.
They should have won up at Metricon, as they led comfortably throughout the first half before kicking a lot of points and missing a few chances to take the lead late in the game. They now face a hard task in taking on an Essendon outfit which is fresh off beating Port at Adelaide Oval. If they win, they will make the finals. If not, then they have a hard fight ahead of them. The Suns take on the Bulldogs in an interesting clash, as the Suns need to win matches like these if they are going to make the finals for their first time.
Did Port regain that winning feeling at home?
No. For the second consecutive week, Port fell at what used to be their unconquerable base. After last week’s disappointing showdown loss, they arrived at Adelaide Oval ready to right their wrongs. They even started a new ‘tradition’, by copying Liverpool’s chant, but using an INXS song. That didn’t aid them though as the Bombers managed to scrape the win in a low-scoring affair.
Port Adelaide just couldn’t produce their free flowing football that they have produced before that this season. After that loss, I think that Port will be lucky to make the bottom two of the top four.
They take on the Tigers in what should be an easy win, as the Bombers face a season-defining match against the Pies. If they win then they may scrape into the top eight, but if they lose then it will be extremely difficult for them to make the finals this year.
I tipped 6/9 correct, with the games I got wrong being Hawthorn-North Melbourne, Collingwood-Gold Coast and Essendon-Port Adelaide.
Sidenote: I was five points off the margin for the Sydney-West Coast game and fourteen off for the Richmond-Brisbane game.