Imagine my disappointment when I discovered over the weekend that this – not Tigers-Lions, as I’d previously thought – would be the final Friday night game of the home-and-away season.
Round 9 started with an exciting game in Perth where a gallant Melbourne were eventually overrun by an Eagles unit that is beginning to look a very good chance to make back-to-back grand finals, if not premierships.
Josh Kennedy was the stand-out forward, kicking four goals and raising the No.1 goal-kicker bar at the Eagles to an impressive 569.
At the same time, Kennedy built a lead of two goals over Eddie Betts in their battle to topple former glamour full forward Tony Modra from 35th place on the AFL elite top 100 goal-scorers list. He also scored at least one goal in a game for the 64th time in succession – another impressive achievement.
Kennedy wasn’t the only multiple goal-scorer for the Eagles. Luke Shuey’s two goals helped him past David Wirrpanda and Willie Rioli’s two took him to equal with Stephen Malaxos.
Liam Ryan took a candidate for mark of the year as well as a great leap up the goal-kicking ladder as well, drawing level with Adrian Barich, Steven Armstrong and Brendon Fewster.
Dom Sheed’s goal took him to level with John Annear and Don Holmes, and Jack Darling’s one goal took him to 335, remaining fifth on the Eagles’ all-time top 100 goal-scorers.
In the goal-scoring battle between Luke Shuey and Melbourne’s Jeff Garlett, who both started the game on 130 goals, Garlett won the day with three and looks likely to overtake Nathan Jones as the Demons’ No.1 active goal-kicker. Jones’ one major means he’s only three ahead of Garlett now.
The Dees’ only other elite goal-scorer playing, Tom McDonald, failed to score despite a number of opportunities but Christian Petracca’s two suggested he would join the elite group well before the end of the season. He now needs only three to join Bryan Kenneally and Andrew Moir in 100th place on Melbourne’s all-time top 100 goal-scorers list.
Collingwood’s win over St Kilda was reminiscent of last week’s victory over Carlton in that it took a brilliant display of goal-scoring well into the last quarter to shake off a dogged opponent.
Collingwood had six multiple goal-kickers with the only elite one amongst them being Steele Sidebottom, who – in another outstanding game – kicked two to climb up the top 100 goal-scorers ladder past Neil Mann and level with Josh Fraser.
The array of multiple goal-scorers among the rest of the team hints that the Pies will have many more inductees onto the elite list over the next three seasons.
The twin towers’ tussle at St Kilda tightened up with Tim Membrey kicking four goals to Josh Bruce’s one, drawing level with him on 143 goals.
Membrey passed Nick Dal Santo and Bill Stephenson. Other highlights in the game for the Saints were Shane Savage’s 150th goal and Josh Bruce’s 100th game, while Robbie Young kicked two goals on debut.