‘I’m scared that people are going to keep talking smack every week to get a new phone!’
It was a mixed final round of the AFL season featuring a couple of disappointing blowouts that were difficult to watch.
Despite that, however, there were two cracking games on Saturday – one between the Tigers and the Bulldogs and the other one between the Dockers and the Magpies. The Bombers and Bulldogs in particular gave their fans something to look forward to in 2019 with good performances to finish off the season.
As for September, it should be interesting to see how the week off impacts the top eight teams. Maybe we could see a surprise premiership team, like Richmond in 2017 or the Western Bulldogs the year before.
Top five coaches of Round 23
Port Adelaide Power vs Essendon Bombers
This match was a contrast of performances. Port Adelaide showed little for their fans, while Essendon’s display gave their supporters plenty to cheer about. The Bombers victory will give them a lot to look forward to as far as the level that they are capable of playing at. This will give the, confidence into the offseason, and it appears as if the future looks bright for them, whereas it looks gloomy for the Power.
Power team lifter: Justin Westhoff
Bombers team lifter: Devon Smith
Geelong Cats vs Gold Coast Suns
The Cats won a one-sided game for the second week in a row. Geelong performed at a high level for the second game in succession, but it’s difficult to decipher whether they were that good or it was the Suns that were poor. The Cats have finals to look forward to, whereas there is a great deal of work that needs to be done by the Gold Coast in the upcoming preseason.
Cats team lifter: Patrick Dangerfield
Suns team lifter: Michael Barlow
Richmond Tigers vs Western Bulldogs
The Dogs were gallant in defeat. The Bulldogs were outstanding despite losing to the Tigers, and even Damien Hardwick admitted that the Bulldogs deserved to win the game. It was the game of the round. Jack Riewoldt sealed the Coleman Medal with five goals.
Tigers team lifters: Jack Riewoldt and Dustin Martin
Bulldogs team lifter: Jack Macrae
Fremantle Dockers vs Collingwood Magpies
The Magpies sealed a top-four spot in a close contest against the Dockers. The fact it was such a tight game is proof that a week is a long time in football. The Dockers followed up a shellacking at the hands of the Cats with an extremely competitive display.
Dockers team lifters: Joel Hamling, Lachie Neale, Bradley Hill and Ed Langdon
Magpies team lifters: Brodie Grundy, Steele Sidebottom
Carlton Blues vs Adelaide Crows
This match was a boring blowout. The Crows dominated the game from start to finish. Patrick Cripps was once again a shining light for the Blues. It’s a case of what could have been for the Crows in terms of missing out on featuring in finals in 2018.
Blues team lifter: Patrick Cripps
Crows team lifters: Rory Laird, Matt Crouch and Josh Jenkins
Sydney Swans vs Hawthorn Hawks
Hawthorn sewed up a top-four spot with their sixth victory in a row. They finished in the top four despite being in a fairly precarious position six weeks ago.
Swans team lifters: Jake Lloyd and Heath Grundy
Hawks team lifter: Tom Mitchell
Brisbane Lions vs West Coast Eagles
The West Coast Eagles sealed a home final by cementing their place in the top two. They had an important morale-lifting victory interstate against the Lions. The Lions made the margin reasonably respectable by winning the last quarter and therefore prevented the margin blowing out into a shellacking. It will be interesting to see how the Eagles go in the finals without key midfielder Andrew Gaff.
Lions team lifter: Tom Cutler
Eagles team lifter: Jamie Cripps
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Melbourne Demons vs Greater Western Sydney Giants
The Demons recorded a comfortable victory over the Giants by controlling the game. Melbourne should be a force to be reckoned with in September and are now a contender for the premiership.
Demons team lifter: James Harmes
Giants team lifter: Stephen Coniglio
St Kilda Saints vs North Melbourne Kangaroos
The Kangaroos finished their season on a high. Jack Ziebell, Ben Brown and Jarrad Waite kicked nine goals between them. It was a bittersweet end to the season for North Melbourne, who missed out on the top eight, and for Waite, who managed to kick three goals in the final game of his career.
Saints team lifter: Jack Steven
Kangaroos team lifter: Trent Dumont