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What happened? AFL Round 21, 2019

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Roar Guru
12th August, 2019
8

What a strange yet thought-provoking round of AFL we’ve had.

In some instances there were major blowouts and in others there was excitement until the end, which is to be expected as the season draws to a close.

The standout teams were the Western Bulldogs, Geelong and Brisbane. There was snow, big margins, close games and a debutant from Hawthorn, with Changkuoth Jiath playing his first game of AFL footy.

Last but not least, Dan Hannebery and Jack Steven returned to action for St Kilda and made an instant impact.

The story of the round was the Western Bulldogs, who played one of the best games of any team as far as I can remember. If the AFL is serious about spreading the game throughout the world, that’s the type of game they need to show, although it was a one-sided contest!

Most of all, the AFL should consider bringing in a bonus point system, shortening the game and perhaps even putting in place a promotion and relegation system to make the game sellable globally.

Top five coaches of Round 21

  1. Luke Beveridge (Western Bulldogs)
  2. Chris Scott (Geelong Cats)
  3. Chris Fagan (Brisbane Lions)
  4. Alastair Clarkson (Hawthorn Hawks)
  5. Damien Hardwick (Richmond Tigers)
Luke Beveridge

(Adam Trafford/AFL Media/Getty Images)

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Coaches under the pump

Stuart Dew (Gold Coast Suns)
It was the same old story for Gold Coast – they were uncompetitive for the majority of their game against Brisbane.

Rhyce Shaw (North Melbourne Kangaroos)
Despite having just been given a three-year contract to be a senior coach, Shaw will be feeling the pressure after his team was taught a footballing lesson.

John Worsfold (Essendon Bombers)
When your team kicks one goal for the majority of the game, you need to go back to the drawing board.

Simon Goodwin (Melbourne Demons)
Melbourne’s skill execution was shocking; they may well not be in the race for the finals, but there are contracts at stake – though you wouldn’t know it.

John Longmire (Sydney Swans)
It was as if Sydney didn’t know what the game plan was after quarter-time.

Greater West Sydney Giants vs Hawthorn Hawks

The story of the game early was Hawthorn getting off to a solid start with the first three goals of the game, but that was overshadowed by the fact it snowed! The highlight of the game was coach Alastair Clarkson’s coaching; he made his players embrace the tough conditions.

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Magic moment
Jackson Hately kicked Greater West Sydney’s second goal of the game with a skilful snap.

Who stood out from the pack?
James Worpel was outstanding for Hawthorn for the entirety of the contest.

What went right?
The endeavour of the Hawks was impressive in the first half. Toby Greene and James Worpel had outstanding games for their respective teams in the first half in particular.

What went wrong?
Despite the conditions the skill level of both teams wasn’t typical of that of AFL level in the first half, and Greater Western Sydney continued that on in the second half, scoring no goals.

Alastair Clarkson

(Cameron Spencer/AFL Photos/via Getty Images)

Melbourne Demons vs Collingwood Magpies

Melbourne lost a game they could well have won, but they turned the ball over and were sloppy when in possession of the footy. Collingwood slacked off in the last quarter, allowing Melbourne to get within three goals; it wasn’t the ruthlessness of a contender.

Magic moment
Harrison Petty kicked the first goal of the game near quarter-time.

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Who stood out from the pack?
Adam Treloar Continued his good form and proved why he is such a good player.

What went right?
Collingwood played some reasonable footy in the third and fourth quarter, kicking five and four goals respectively in the two quarters.

What went wrong?
Both teams started the game poorly from a scoreboard perspective, with just one goal scored in the first quarter. Melbourne would be disappointed with their second quarter as they conceded the last five goals of the term.

Steele Sidebottom celebrates.

(Daniel Carson/AFL Photos via Getty Images)

Port Adelaide Power vs Sydney Swans

Sydney started reasonably to be within one goal of Port Adelaide at quarter-time, but after that it was all Port Adelaide. Port won consecutive games following their win in Round 20 with a fairly decent performance in Round 21, albeit against a fairly lacklustre Sydney side.

Magic moment
Ben Ronke superbly snapped the ball from the pocket in the first quarter for Sydney’s second goal of the game.

Who stood out from the pack?
Connor Rozee was outstanding for Port Adelaide with three goals.

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What went right?
Port Adelaide kicked a minimum of three goals in each quarter.

What went wrong?
Sydney kicked just four goals after quarter-time.

Charlie Dixon.

(Daniel Kalisz/Getty Images)

Brisbane Lions vs Gold Coast Suns

The Gold Coast Suns were competitive in the first and last quarters, but not when it mattered – they didn’t play well at all in the moments the game was there to be won, in the second and third quarter. Brisbane, on the other hand, were just about at their best.

Magic moment
Ben King handballed the ball around the corner and David Swallow kicked a clever goal from the pocket to notch Gold Coast’s first goal of the game.

Who stood out from the pack?
Charlie Cameron was the obvious one, finishing with six goals.

What went right?
Brisbane played some good footy – they kicked a minimum of four goals per quarter.

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What went wrong?
The Gold Coast Suns lost the premiership quarter seven goals to none.

Charlie Cameron

(Chris Hyde/Getty Images)

Essendon Bombers vs Western Bulldogs

The Western Bulldogs played well throughout the game apart from a small snippet. They put on an exhibition of how to play footy. They annihilated Essendon, manoeuvring the footy at will and converting inside 50 entries into goals on a regular basis.

Magic moment
Bailey Dale kicked the Western Bulldogs 13th goal in a row. He followed up his good work in the middle of the ground to kick a quality goal from the corridor.

Who stood out from the pack?
Josh Dunkley had notched up 30 possessions when the game was into the third quarter. What was more impressive was the fact that he went back with the flight of the ball and put his body on the line at one stage, which was indicative of the manner in which the Western Bulldogs played.

What went right?
The Western Bulldogs played an outstanding brand of football; they implemented the game plan put in place by Luke Beveridge pretty much to perfection.

What went wrong?
Essendon kicked just one goal for the majority of the game; they kicked their first goal in the opening minute and their last three goals late in the fourth quarter.

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Aaron Naughton

(Michael Willson/AFL Photos/Getty Images)

Geelong Cats vs North Melbourne Kangaroos

North Melbourne proved that they have a lot of work to do – every player should be on the trade table – while Geelong have just about ensured they will finish in the top four and therefore get the double chance.

Magic moment
Gryan Miers kicked an outstanding goal from the boundary line.

Who stood out from the pack?
Gryan Miers finished the game with three goals in tough conditions.

What went right?
Geelong worked well defensively – they conceded just one goal for the game in its entirety.

What went wrong?
The two teams kicked a total of ten goals and 23 behinds between them, which isn’t acceptable at AFL level.

Gryan Miers

(Mark Brake/Getty Images)

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St Kilda Saints vs Fremantle Dockers

Incredibly, both teams kicked six goals each in the first half and four goals apiece in the second half. There was the return of Jack Steven and Dan Hannebery – they proved St Kilda may well have been higher up the ladder and Alan Richardson may still have been coaching had they been available to play earlier in the season. But at the end of the day that’s all hypothetical, and aAfter winning three of his first four games as interim coach of St Kilda, Brett Ratten is surely a chance to get the St Kilda job.

Magic moment
Josh Bruce kicked the winning goal in the last minute. There must have been plenty of pressure on him when he took the kick, but he delivered.

Who stood out from the pack?
Nat Fyfe attempted to will his side to victory. He won plenty of the ball and kicked a couple of goals.

What went right?
It was an exciting contest, with the final margin under a goal. Jack Steven and Dan Hannebery kicked half of St Kilda’s ten goals for the game.

What went wrong?
Fremantle would regret the way they started, conceding the first three goals of the game.

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Richmond Tigers vs Carlton Blues

Richmond were the better team all day, but they did let Carlton back into the game in the last quarter. They may have been ruthless in the first half, conceding only one goal – and that’s without Alex Rance – but they allowed Carlton to get within three goals at one point in the last quarter.

Magic moment
Jack Graham snapped his fourth goal of the first half with his left foot.

Who stood out from the pack?
Dion Prestia was everywhere – the star Tiger accumulated 35 possessions.

What went right? Who would have picked Jack Graham to kick the most goals? Graham proved he could well be an imperative part of Richmond’s best 22 – he finished with four goals, all four kicked in the first half.

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The Tigers showed how much depth they have, with Dustin Martin and Trent Cotchin both out of the side. The question is: who will they replace? Whoever they are, there are some tough decisions to be made at match committee, as it’s tough to find anyone who deserves to be dropped for form. Everyone is playing their role.

What went wrong?
Carlton kicked just a solitary goal in the first half from their seven scoring shots and were thoroughly outplayed, with Jack Graham alone kicking four goals to Carlton’s one.

West Coast Eagles vs Adelaide Crows

Adelaide were extremely competitive all game. They brought their best footy with them on their travels to Optus Stadium. It was an enthralling contest, with the game in the balance until the final minute, which is always a good sign.

Magic moment
Taylor Walker kicked the ball off the ground brilliantly off the ground that eventually rolled through for a goal in the second quarter.

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Who stood out from the pack?
In a break out game for him, Darcy Fogarty kicked five goals for the visitors.

What went right?
The game was close all day, which made for great viewing. It was a contest of a relatively high standard, with the footy played at a fairly good intensity throughout its duration.

What went wrong?
The kicking for goal was horrendous from both teams in the first quarter – they kicked a combined total of four goals and eight behinds.