Round 15 opened with the Demons being back to the form they displayed in season 2021 and proved they may still be the team to beat.
The positive of Round 15 was that four out of nine games had a margin of 11 points or fewer.
The Eagles won their second game of the season. The Demons won in Round 15, after losing three in a row!
The negative of Round 15 was that the other five games had a margin of at least 31 points. The Saints and Lions had no answers for their opposition, while the Kangaroos fell away yet again.
The coaches of the Round were Michael Voss and Damien Hardwick.
Coach under the pump following the round: Brett Ratten.
The most improved team were the Demons, as they obliterated the Lions without their captain in Max Gawn.
Most outstanding performance by a team for the Round: Blues.
Worst performance by a team for the Round: Saints.
Player of the round: Sam Walsh and Jack Viney.
Game of the round: Cats versus Tigers.
Adelaide Crows: Their display will hold them in good stead
The Crows could’ve been forgiven for taking the game against the Kangaroos lightly, but instead the Crows did the opposite. It was great to see Taylor Walker and Darcy Fogarty kick 10 goals between them, but they still had a total of eight goal kickers. The solid performances of Rory Laird, Ben Keays and Jordan Dawson also deserved a mention.
Brisbane Lions: A car crash after quarter time
The Lions were obliterated by the Demons after quarter time. They relied heavily on Lachie Neale in the first quarter. From then on Chris Fagan was outcoached by Simon Goodwin.
Brisbane continually went down the line instead of taking risks by switching the play or moving the ball through the corridor. They didn’t have any real positives after quarter time!
Carlton Blues: Unrelenting
The Blues all played their part in what may prove to be a watershed win for the club. Their endeavour was there for all to see and they implemented the game plan well. Harry McKay didn’t have his best game, but he had five tackles and still hit the scoreboard with two goals, which epitomised the team as a whole.
After conceding 76 inside 50s in Round 14, their midfielders went to work as they won the ball in the midfield as they had had 14 more clearances than the Dockers, which showed that they can match it with the best, despite being without Jacob Weitering and Marc Pittonet, just to name a couple.
Collingwood Magpies: Their best footy stacks up
The Magpies clearly had some off-field issues from during the week to deal with, but you would be oblivious to that for the majority of the game.
They allowed the Giants within two goals near the end of the game, which can be attributed to the Magpies’ goal kicking issues; they won by 11 points, despite having 33 scoring shots to the Giants’ 17. That would be the main concern for Fly.
They played a great brand of footy and there was a good balance between attack and defence. The pleasing part is that Darcy Cameron was a revelation as he took some pivotal marks!
Brayden Maynard worked his guts out and played a great game in defence, in his 150th game for the club. They restricted the Giants to their lowest score under Mark McVeigh – 77 points, with their previous worst being 96 points.
Essendon Bombers: They never gave up
The Bombers led by 14 points at quarter time, but lost the game narrowly. The difference between the Bombers leading after quarter time was their lack of goal kicking accuracy; they had 20 scoring shots to the Eagles’ 14, yet the Bombers trailed by five points midway through the third quarter.
They kept in touch and showed great endeavour, but they’ll be disappointed that they didn’t get the four points. If Peter Wright had kicked straighter, they would’ve won as he kicked four goals and four behinds in a narrow 10-point loss!
(Photo by Michael Willson/AFL Photos via Getty Images)
Despite the defensive side of their game being a concern, there were positives; Dylan Shiel and Zach Merrett were superb, while Nic Martin keeps on improving.
Fremantle Dockers: Their system didn’t stack up
The Dockers were outplayed, and the most concerning aspect was that only had 40 inside 50s against a Blues team that conceded 76 inside 50s in Round 14 against the Tigers.
The Dockers may have had 17 more hit-outs than the Blues, but they had nine fewer centre clearances than the Blues. It’s also difficult to find a role that suits Nat Fyfe; they have been the team to beat, but it only takes one part of the jigsaw puzzle to not be in place for a domino effect to occur.
Geelong Cats: An attacking brand of footy
The Cats took advantage of the Tigers being without their main midfielder in Dion Prestia as they led the Tigers by nearly six goals in the second quarter.
Tom Stewart and Tyson Stengle were instrumental at either end of the ground in getting the Cats over the line, even though they trailed by 17 points in the fourth quarter, but they threw caution to the wind.
The move of Jack Henry going forward paid dividends as he kicked what proved to be the winning goal in Jeremy Cameron’s 200th AFL game. Cameron kicked three goals!
Gold Coast Suns: They fought back and had a red hot crack!
The Suns played a game where they left everything out there. There’s no doubt the endeavour was there for all to see.
They implemented the game plan almost to perfection after trailing by three goals at quarter time, but just couldn’t get over the line. Their co-captains in Jarrod Witts and Touk Miller led from the front, but in the end, it wasn’t quite enough!
GWS Giants: Character and grit, but lacked the final bit
The Giants kicked the first two goals of the game, then the Magpies kicked the next five goals. From then on it was mostly one-way traffic. That was until early in the fourth quarter when the Giants pegged back a 37-point deficit to nearly pinch a game that they no right to be in on the scoreboard through a tenacious will to win.
They were led well by Stephen Coniglio and Josh Kelly, while Harry Himmelberg continued to be a revelation as he finished with 30 disposals and 710 metres gained, which was the most of any player on the ground!
Hawthorn Hawks: Exposed defensively, but still positives to draw upon
The Hawks played a fantastic brand of footy in the first quarter. They led the Bulldogs by 19 points at quarter time.
Their game is very much risk and reward. There’s no disputing that they need to improve defensively, but the method in which they approached in the first and fourth quarter of the game shows there’s light at the end of the tunnel.
The only positives would be that Mitch Lewis kicked four goals for the game and that they kicked 11 goals in the first and fourth quarter combined.
Melbourne Demons: Back to their best
The Demons excelled after quarter time, as their system was far too good; they trailed by a goal at quarter time and they controlled the contest from then on.
They looked unbeatable after quarter time with everyone in the team playing their role. The most pivotal move after quarter time was negating Lachie Neale of the Lions. Luke Jackson excelled as the number one ruck, while Jack Viney, Clayton Oliver and Jake Lever excelled too, along with Angus Brayshaw.
(Photo by Michael Willson/AFL Photos via Getty Images)
They were unpredictable and simply too good.
North Melbourne Kangaroos: Work to do
The Kangaroos characteristically fell away, which would be disappointing for everyone involved in the footy club. Despite that, there was a father-son debutant in Jackson Archer.
David Noble spun a magnet around with Ben McKay, who was moved forward and kicked a goal in the first quarter, so that was a positive, but the structure looks better with Nick Larkey at full forward not centre half forward. Despite only trailing by nine points at quarter time, they lost the last three quarters collectively by eight goals!
Port Adelaide Power: Showed resilience
The Power would’ve been forgiven for giving up as the Suns outplayed them after quarter time. The Power played at their optimum level, but only won the game by two points! It was an incredible display of resilience by a Port Adelaide team that lost the first five games of the season!
It appears as if they are more unpredictable without a genuine ruckman as they went with the makeshift ruck pair of Charlie Dixon and Jeremy Finlayson. Todd Marshall continues to be a revelation and one of the best set shots in the game as he kicked four goals.
Richmond Tigers: The definition of an honourable loss
The Tigers trailed by 35 points in the second quarter, but fought back without their key midfielder Dion Prestia for the majority of the game, to lead by 17 points in the fourth quarter. The only thing missing was the four points, as they took the game on to get the lead, despite the contest appearing to be over in the second quarter.
The magnets were shifted, with Liam Baker moved into the midfield and Shai Bolton up forward.
St Kilda Saints: When the saints don’t go marching in
The Saints’ performance is difficult to put into words. They were thoroughly outplayed as it was Max King or bust. The magnets weren’t spun around and therefore too predictable.
They were obliterated by the Swans in every aspect of the game, which means they have plenty to ponder. The Saints should have risked losing by a bigger margin than 57 points and taken the game on, through switching the play and going through the corridor!
Sydney Swans: It was a team-first effort
The Swans had all hands on deck, with even CEO Tom Harley on the bench. It was clear that they played with a viable system that should see them feature in September.
They weren’t challenged, which makes their win even more admirable, as they could’ve taken the foot off the accelerator. Unlike the Saints who are King or bust, the Swans have multiple forward options and had three multiple goal kickers, with none of them Lance Franklin!
West Coast Eagles: A win that should lift their morale
The Eagles had 19 scoring shots from 31 inside 50s at three quarter time. They broke a streak of 26 games without scoring 100 points and of nine losses in a row. The difference between them and the Bombers was that the Eagles took their chances.
It was good to see Josh J. Kennedy in form, with five goals straight. They showed great character to stay in the game and get a win, due to their forward entries being efficient.
The move of Elliot Yeo back was a masterstroke.
Western Bulldogs: Can match it with the best
The Bulldogs were outstanding after trailing at quarter time. They kicked 13 goals in a row, the most of any team in season 2022. When they play to their optimum level, their game style is capable of meaning that they are contenders.
It was an even contribution, as they had 12 separate goal kickers. They did so without Tim English and Bailey Smith. It’s tough to get a spot in the team!
It was a breakout game for Rhylee West, who kicked three goals. Jack Macrae had 30 disposals or more for the 100th time in his AFL career!