While Hawthorn’s defeat of Carlton was a mild surprise, which showed the Blues are not quite there yet, the other three games were won by top teams in such a way to whet our appetite for the finals in eight rounds’ time.
Port Adelaide and Brisbane have shown that they will not be dislodged from the top of the ladder easily, and the Tigers showed the extent of their awesome depth. For the losers, the Bulldogs, Bombers and Blues are all B teams still with aspirations to be finalists whereas Melbourne appear to have dropped out of the race.
The remaining five games over the weekend will possibly confirm West Coast and Collingwood as two more of the finalists, leaving only three positions up for grabs. The Saints are leading a bunch including the B teams above plus the Suns, Giants and Hawks but any slip ups in the eight rounds left will almost certainly be fatal.
The shorter games and closer scores led to some interesting percentage calculations after Round 8. Before their total capitulation this round, Melbourne’s percentage was exactly 100 as their points for and against were both 421.
Greater Western Sydney has scored one point less than they had conceded, and Essendon one point more than they had conceded.
Even the Western Bulldogs (+5) and Carlton (+16) were close to par. There were other stats to amuse supporters of that ilk: Mitch Robinson’s 200th game was made up of exactly 100 with the Blues and 100 with the Lions.
Luke Breust scored his 400th, goal making him the 97th player to do so, or was he the 98th? Both statisticians whose tables I use and trust say that Geelong’s Cliff Rankin finished his career in 1928 on 399 goals but the two publications I also reference say 400! The year in question was 1926. Did he kick 48 or 49 goals that year? Who knows, and I hear a lot of you saying who cares!
In any event, Breust either caught or passed Rankin and now sits in 97th place on the AFL’s top 100 goal scorers list.
Mitch Robinson’s 200 was the biggest traditional milestone, but Jack Macrae (150), Caleb Daniel (100), Adam Saad (100), Jaeger O’Meara (100), Sam Frost (100) and Bailey Williams (50) have already achieved milestones in the first four games of Round 9.
The three Western Bulldogs were the only three able to celebrate the achievement at their original club while Sam Frost achieved it at his third club (Hawthorn).
Max Gawn claimed outright 100th position on Melbourne’s top 100 game players list, while Tom Bellchambers joined the Bombers’ list.
Multiple goal scorers Mitch Wallis (Bulldogs), Jason Castagna (Richmond), Tom Lynch (Richmond), Liam Shiels (Hawthorn), Isaac Smith (Hawthorn) and Levi Casboult (Carlton) all moved up their clubs’ respective top 100 goal kickers lists while Lachie Neale’s two goals saw him reach the top 100 goal scorers list at Brisbane.
For Jake Melksham (Melbourne), Ollie Wines (Port Adelaide) and Cam Rayner (Brisbane), one goal was enough to see them advance and for Sam Mayes (Port Adelaide), Will Day (Hawthorn) and Connor Ballenden (in his first game for Brisbane), goal number one in the big time hopefully signals the start of a great career.