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Friday night’s game between Western Bulldogs and Carlton was a scrappy affair, and on this form neither of them would be expected to make the finals.
For individual players inside the club’s (or the league’s) top 100 game players of goal scorers, it was a chance to improve their individual standing.
With only one of the three current top 100 at Carlton playing, opportunities to move up the list were limited, and that one player – Kade Simpson – remains in fifth position on the club list.
On the AFL list however, he moved up to join Matthew Boyd (Western Bulldogs) Darren Milburn (Geelong) and Anthony Stevens (North Melbourne) in 90th position.
From the goal-scorers’ list, Levi Casboult kicked two, which was enough to take him past Gerald Burke and Brian Quirk and draw level with Aaron Hamill.
None of the Dogs’ goal scorers featured in the club’s top 100, although the one goal scored by Mitch Wallis took him within ten of making the list. Wallis is also now only three games away from making the list, and teammate Jack Macrae only seven away.
Already on the list are Easton Wood – who on Friday night passed Herb Henderson and Mark Hunter and equalled Jim Miller and Paul Dimatinna – and Luke Dahlhaus, who equalled Len McCankie and Kelvin Templeton.
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The first game on Saturday, Cats vs Swans, saw only three Geelong top 100 game players take the field, and only Mitch Duncan’s position changed: he drew level with Fred Flanagan.
For Sydney, there were seven top 100s and five moved up the ladder: Nick Smith equalled the injured Dan Hannebury and Irishman Tadhg Kennelly, while Dane Rampe equalled Norm Goss, Graham Teasdale, Leon Higgins and current player Sam Reid. Luke Parker passed Peter Reville and David Murphy and equalled Ian Roberts, while Kieran Jack passed former captain and legend Paul Kelly.
Josh Kennedy returned to form to catch teammate Dan Hannebury and Tadhg Kennelly. Like Kade Simpson, Jarrod McVeigh did not advance up the club list, but in the AFL top 100, he moved to 306 games and joined the second-most popular game number on the list (well behind the most popular: 300).
From a top 100 goal-scoring viewpoint, Sydney had only Gary Rohan score a goal, and first-gamer Ben Ronke, who scored two goals.
For Geelong’s Tom Hawkins, on the all time AFL top 100 goal scorers, it was a big game, passing Jack Dyer and drawing level with Robert Walls, Malcolm Blight, Alex Jesalenko and Drew Petrie. Joel Selwood kicked one goal and moved past Jack Evans on the club’s list.
The third game saw Port Adelaide outplay North Melbourne and ten players from the Power feature among the goal kickers. The star was Sam Gray, with four goals, but the club’s three current top-ten goal scorers (Justin Westoff, Robbie Gray and Chad Wingard) also scored majors, with Westoff now only five goals adrift of No.2 on the club’s list, Jay Schultz.
For the Kangaroos, Ben Brown matched Sam Gray’s four goals but – as mentioned in a previous article – he is still a long way short of Tom Fitzmaurice, who sits one position above him.
Jarrad Waite’s three goals took him past Les Allen, Winston Abraham and Les Foote on North’s list and kept alive his slight hope of reaching the AFL top 100 list before the end of the 2018 season.
The other performance worth mentioning was Luke Davies-Uniacke’s effort on breaking his ‘duck’ and scoring his first goal for the Kanagaroos, in his fifth game.