The selection puzzle is far from solved for both Damien Hardwick and Leon Cameron ahead of Saturday’s AFL grand final.
Round 13 will be remembered for some non-footballing issues.
Unfortunately Ben Stratton pinching Orazio Fantasia, stomping on Shaun McKernan’s foot and making an obscene gesture to the crowd were completely unacceptable. Luckily no fights occurred and there wasn’t a punch up. The AFL should consider bringing in the send-off rule.
Another issue that arose was the over-policing of the crowds, but fortunately the weekend will be remembered for the high-quality footy that was played and all six games having a margin of under six goals – plus, once again, Michael Walters will be remembered for all the right reasons.
Top three coaches of Round 13
Although the Tigers led by 13 points at quarter-time, they had their depth tested due to injuries. The lead indicated the Crows may have been a bit complacent as they allowed the Tigers to take control of the tempo of the game. Fortunately for the Crows, they had control of the game after the first quarter.
Richmond kicked just one goal and five behinds in the last quarter, which proved costly as far as building up any momentum was concerned as well as any chance they had of winning the match.
The Crows win was soured by some injuries to Lachlan Murphy, Daniel Talia, Josh Jenkins and Jake Kelly. This game will be remembered as Dustin Martin’s first as captain and for Sydney Stack shaking the hand of opponent Eddie Betts in the fourth quarter after the latter kicked a freakish goal. His gesture has divided opinion.
Crows team lifters: Brad Crouch, Rory Sloane, Reilly O’Brien
Tigers team lifters: Dustin Martin
The Bombers were very good in the face of some criticism over the past few weeks, particularly of coach John Worsfold. Unfortunately the game will be remembered for the wrong reasons – for Ben Stratton pinching Orazio Fantasia. Stratton let down the Hawks with his unacceptable behaviour. Thankfully the footy that was played was of a good standard.
Zach Merrett worked well around the packs and Michael Hurley curtailed the influence of the Hawks forward line and provided run out of defence. In the third quarter the Bombers kicked five goals to two.
Hopefully the win gives them some momentum, as they have two tough games ahead of them: one against the Eagles and the other against the Giants.
Bombers team lifters: Zach Merrett, Michael Hurley
Hawks team lifters: James Worpel
It was yet another close contest between the Suns and the Saints, and once again the Suns were victorious. The Suns led the Saints five goals to two at half time and it appeared as if the Suns would claim the four points on this occasion. The Saints were too good in the end, but only slightly, as the Suns put up a good fight. Jack Billings was a standout for the Saints, while the Suns had a few good players.
The future looks bright for the Gold Coast – they have been competitive this season. It was great to see Sam Day back in the team and Corey Ellis get his first game for the club. Some commentators said the Saints had to win this game, and they did.
Suns team lifters: Lachie Weller
Saints team lifters: Jack Billings
The Power led at quarter-time five goals to three, but the Dockers fought back to lead at half-time. The story of the day was the Dockers’ accurate kicking for goal from the pocket, with Brennan Cox, Michael Walters and Brandon Matera snapping some freakish goals, which was probably the difference between the two sides in the end.
In a nutshell it was Michael Walters who won the game for the Dockers with six goals. It was a good game of footy, but unfortunately the Power failed to register a score in the final quarter. Sean Darcy is worth a special mention as he competed admirably in the ruck in his third game for the season.
Dockers team lifters: Michael Walters, Sean Darcy
Power team lifters: Ryan Burton
This was a game that ebbed and flowed; it was a contest that had shifts in momentum. It’s definitely one of the best games of footy I have watched, going right down to the wire. Once again, for the second week in a row, the Blues started poorly. On this occasion it ultimately cost them the game. It was five goals to two in the Bulldogs’ favour at quarter-time, but like last week the Blues fought their way back into the contest.
In the third quarter the Blues had the momentum but didn’t capitalise fully, kicking four goals and six behinds. In the final quarter the Bulldogs gained the momentum back and the game looked over, but the Blues came back and nearly won.
Charlie Curnow was outstanding with seven goals, but the Blues midfield was down from a possession perspective, with Josh Dunkley accumulating over 40 for the Bulldogs. Although the Blues didn’t win, it was clear that their morale and belief was high as they fought back into the game in the second and fourth quarters.
Blues team lifters: Charlie Curnow
Bulldogs team lifters: Josh Dunkley
The Kangaroos were competitive for the first half, but the Giants ran away with the contest in the third quarter. GWS tagged Ben Cunnington with Matt de Boer, probably the best tagger in the competition. The Kangaroos came into the game without Shaun Higgins, possibly their best player, due to injury, therefore it was a no-brainer for the Giants to tag Ben Cunnington.
Josh Kelly was outstanding, kicking an improbable goal from the pocket fairly late in the second quarter. The key to the Giants winning the game from an attacking perspective was the fact that they shared the goals around.
Kangaroos team lifters: Robbie Tarrant
Giants team lifters: Josh Kelly