The first three games of the truncated six-game round showed us that the Tigers need all their guns back to be a serious contender, Geelong are really good, a change of coach can do wonders, there is still some doubt about Brisbane and Adelaide are coming but Greater Western Sydney are still in the mix.
Geelong put Richmond to the sword in a display that justified their favouritism for the flag. In a display where four of their five elite current-day goal scorers added to their tallies and all seven of their elite game players took to the field, they provided a sharp contrast to Richmond who had three of their current ten elite game players missing and only one of their six elite goal scorers salute the judge.
Dustin Martin’s one goal took him to level with former tough man and current day official Neil Balme in 14th position on the Tiger’s all-time top 100 goal scorers.
For Geelong, Tom Hawkins’ four goals took him to within striking distance of the legendary John Coleman on the AFL list, Gary Ablett’s two goals gave him a total of 300 goals for the Cats and the underrated Mitch Duncan’s one goal saw him equal Bruce Linder and Cameron Ling.
Ablett’s gift goal to Patrick Dangerfield saw Dangerfield move up one notch to equal with Tom ‘Tobler’ Brownlees on 106 goals for the Cats. Brownlees and his brother Rupe both played over 100 games for Geelong and Tom was the player who interrupted Percy Martini’s run of nine leading goalkicker awards when he outscored him in the middle of the run in 1915.
None of Carlton’s few elite goal scorers figured among the goals in their come from behind win against Brisbane, but I strongly predict that two future elite players did: Charlie Curnow is now just over 20 goals away from joining the top 100 goal kickers and Patrick Cripps is almost halfway there already.
Brisbane let a chance to consolidate a finals position slip by, but are definitely still in the mix. Daniel McStay kicked two goals to edge ahead of journeyman Martin Pike’s efforts for the Lions. The other seven goals were shared around seven different players including Eric Hipwood who is now within three of becoming a centurion and Dayne Zorko who is already an elite top 10 goal scorer.
North Melbourne’s win against the Gold Coast was expected and welcome as it kept them in finals contention and rewarded the 200th game of their inspiring captain Jack Ziebell who kicked two valuable goals of his own to bring up 150 goals in the blue and white.
In doing so, he passed Ian Fairley and drew level with Kerry Good, Mark Roberts and current injured Magpie Daniel Wells and made it into the top three of the top 100 goalkickers at the club. Mason Wood kicked two goals and – as a result – became an elite goal kicker at the Kangaroos, joining Darrell Sutton in the hot seat.
Ben Brown also kicked two and his total is now 247 goals, so a milestone of 250 goals beckons.