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In the three Sunday games of Round 18, Hawthorn and the West Coast Eagles would be expected to win against their lowly rivals, but the final game of the round – Port Adelaide versus Greater Western Sydney, should be a cracker, and possibly the most impactful on the top eight of any game this round.
Carlton will have their two most experienced current day players – Kade Simpson and Marc Murphy – on display but will be missing Matthew Kreuzer. Simpson will wear the No. 6 jumper for the 302nd time, matching the performance of Luke Power (second all-time) who wore the jumper with distinction for Brisbane and the Giants.
For Murphy, it will be another rung up the ladder when he joins Andrew McKay (the recently resigned football manager at the club) in 15th position on the Blues’ all-time games played list. Ed Curnow will also get into the act, passing Joe Kelly, Jack Howell and Ollie Grieve.
Jarryd Roughead is the big mover at the Hawks, passing Gary Ayres and Jason Dunstall to claim outright ninth place on the club’s all-time games played list. Lower down the list, Liam Shiels will equal Nick Holland, Isaac Smith will equal Terry Wallace and Ben Stratton will equal both Rayden Tallis and Joel Smith.
For the second week running, Marcus Bontempelli missed through injury – sharing his 100th AFL game with a fellow Bulldog. This week, it was Lachie Hunter who achieved the milestone.
Luke Dahlhaus moved closer to being a top 50 game player at the Bulldogs and, this week, joins three former star forwards in Jack Collins, Jim Edmond and Simon Beasley in 52nd position. Jordan Roughead will also equal David Darcy’s career games.
For the West Coast Eagles, captain Shannon Hurn becomes a top ten game player, matching the game total of Matt Priddis. Priddis – who retired at the end of 2017 – had a trophy cupboard to admire; a Brownlow Medal, a Simpson Medal, a Subiaco best and fairest, a Sandover Medal, two Ross Glendinning Medals, a John Worsfold Medal, two Geoff Christian Medals and two premierships with Subiaco!
Other achievers at West Coast are Brad Sheppard, who will equal Chad Morrison, and Jamie Cripps, who will equal Beau Waters.
In the final game of the round at Adelaide Oval, Port Adelaide will start as a warm favourite over Greater Western Sydney despite GWS’s meritorious win over Richmond last week and Port Adelaide’s failure to overcome Fremantle in the West.
No doubt the whole football community will be focused on this game which – surprisingly – offers few games milestones.
Jasper Pittard will equal Steven Salopek and Jacob Surjan at Port Adelaide. Salopek (from Narre Warren) and Surjan (from South Fremantle) both missed many games through injury and – as a consequence – both sit just inside the Power’s top 40 for games played.
The only game milestone of any consequence for the visitors is that Aiden Corr will join teammate Zac Williams on 76 games. Williams has not played a game this year due to an achilles injury and has been sorely missed by the Giants.