Kicking Balls: Round 20 AFL results – And then there were 11

20 08 2007

Kicking BallsA fantastic round of football at the weekend. Lots of close games, a draw, no blowouts and some great individual performances. This weekend had it all.

Collingwood vs Melbourne
Well, the Pies tried to lose it. Tried pretty hard actually. The Demons were left with one fit man on the bench… but still got within 4 points late in the game before Collingwood kicked a late sealer. Ben Johnson faces an anxious wait as it appears he will be suspended for a hit that saw Daniel Bell stretchered off, and could face up to 6 weeks off. Collingwood kicked only 2 goals after half time. Nathan Buckley looks set to come back into the line-up next week, which may just steady a rather shaky unit as it’s finals berth is still not totally assured. Melbourne will rue it’s bad luck, but again showed signs that they will once again, injuries permitting, be up in the mix again next year. Tip: Pies by 10. Result: Pies by 11.

Essendon vs Carlton
Talk of tanking will continue unabated this week after Carlton let a handy lead slip, and conceded the last 3 goals to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. They battled gamely and played well, but got over-run in the end. For Essendon, it keeps their slim finals hopes alive, lead admirably by Matthew Lloyd who kicked 6 goals, and Scott Camporeale who played his best game in red and black – against his old club – racked up 35 touches. The Blues lost Fevola, and will now miss him for the rest of the year, and Essendon may suffer a similar fate with Lloyd set to front the tribunal too for a late hit… but the difference between the 2 sides was class. Essendon had it, Carlton didn’t. Tip: Essendon by 6 points. Result: Essendon by 10 points.

St Kilda vs Fremantle
Freo’s season is over. Done and dusted. They came up against a resurgent Fraser Gehrig who finally put them out of their misery with 8 goals. St Kilda won the match in the 3rd term – the ‘premiership quarter’, with a 6 goals to 3 term to lead by 35 points going into the last change and effectively end the contest. The G-train was good, and was well supported by Brett Voss and Stephen ‘Hungry’ Milne (Does he ever not take a shot at goal when within 100 yards of goal?), but it was the midfield that won the day. Hayes and Montagna were fantastic, and even though Riewoldt was quiet. Both the Clarke brothers and Aaron Fiora were good supports and helped push the Saints towards September. Steven Baker seems set to escape punishment for a behind the play incident that left Jeff Farmer bleeding and concussed, but karma seems to be paying them back for that, with Hudghton, Harvey and possibly Ball unlikely to play next week with injury. For Freo, it simply wasn’t good enough and didn’t look like a finals contender, nor a team looking to please and impress a new coach. Tip: Saints by 24 points. Result: Saints by 30 points.

Brisbane vs Sydney
I had the absolute pleasure of watching the game from first bounce right through to final siren. It was rather a bizarre game of football. Sydney seemed all over the young Lions, then suddenly the tables turned and the Swans seemed to be hanging on for dear life. Both teams made poor skill errors, but two of the fiercest tackling and pressuring teams can cause errors like that. Both teams missed easy shots at goal: Barry Hall a serial offender with 1 goal 5. There are positives for both sides tho’… Sydney uncovered Ed Barlow, playing his first game the young lad had 18 touches and looks a likely sort. He made a couple of errors but these were far outnumbered by telling contributions. For the Lions, they uncovered a future ruck superstar. With Jamie Charman injured early, the rucking duties fell on the skinny shoulders of Matthew Leuenberger, 19 years old, against the might of Peter Everitt and Darren Jolly, arguably the best rucking combo in the AFL. It was in part his ability to influence the stoppages that got Adcock, Lappin and the rest of the Lions midfield into the game. The third term was dreadful. At one stage the combined scores were 1 goal 11, before the Swans kicked the last 2 goals to sneak out to a 17 point lead right on 3 quarter time. Enter Jonathon Brown. 2 goals from the master, with assistance from Chris Johnson and Robert Copeland in the final quarter had scores level. Brett Kirk looked to have stolen the game with a snap with 3 minutes remaining, but the Lions weren’t done. As the had all night, they zoned beautifully. And when Sydney tried to ice the clock, forced the error. The much-maligned Jared Brennan laid the match winning tackle, when Paul Bevan tried to be a little too cute at centre wing. Brennan laid a text book tackle, watching the hips when Bevan tried to shimmy past. Had the swans gone forward from there the game may have been over. But the turnover kept the ball in the middle of the ground, and with seconds remaining the ball landed in Browns big hands, 55 from goal, on the boundary. He was never going to miss. Tip: Swans by 18 points. Result: Draw.

West Coast vs Richmond
Not as easy as the Eagles would have liked, they really had to work for this one. The Tigers are resurgent, Brown and Richo kicked goals, but also gathered touches and kept them in the game. Lynch and Kerr were great for West Coast, Kerr with 30+ touches and the big Q kicking 7 goals, and Hunter at either end of the ground showing his versatility kept the lead just out of reach of the gallant tigers. Richo had a chance to exert some serious pressure on the premiers in the final quarter as he had Darren Glass beaten on several occasions, but his inability to convert those chances let the Eagles off the hook. John Worsfold would have sighed with relief to himself after the game. A potential disaster was averted and they are now a game clear in 3rd – top 4 seems assured now. A special mention to Mark LeCras. 4 Goals again on saturday night, he has been a revelation this year… another avenue to goal that the Eagles desperately needed. Tip: West Coast by 35 points. Result: West Coast by 31 points.

Hawthorn vs Port Adelaide
Opportunity lost, those words would be ringing in the Hawks ears today. They had the game on toast but managed to lose it at the death and hand over 2nd spot to Port. They conceded 5 last quarter goals, and the final 2 without touching the ball after Jordan Lewis missed from 30 metres out. Daniel Motlop buried the demons of last year when he had a chance to win a game at Aurora – but missed an easy shot, and by kicking truly late in the term with 47 seconds remaining giving the Power a faint sniff. From the bounce again no Hawks hand got near the ball as it landed with Brett Ebert, who kicked truly and snatched the win. Port looks set to finish top 4, but Hawthorn must now win one of it’s remaining games to remain in the 8. For Port Kane Cornes was superb, 38 touches, 14 marks, 3 goals, was as fine an individual performance as you would hope to see. Danyle Pearce and Chad Cornes were very good too, whilst for the Hawks Chance Bateman was their star performer. A golden opportunity has escaped the Hawks, and they assure us the lesson had been learned. For their fans sakes, I hope so. Tip: Hawks by 15 points. Result: Port by 5 points.

Kangaroos vs Geelong
Geelong marched onwards, notching up the equal 7th longest winning run in AFL history in the process. Kangaroos battled hard, as they always do… but in reality were no match for Cats who, although were flat from the previous week, were far too good on the day. The Cats kicked away in the 3rd term to lead by 37 points at the final change. The Kangaroos came hard in the final term to cut the margin to 15 points, but the cats steadied and kicked away. For Geelong the list of winners on the day was long. Mooney, Ablett, Bartel, Corey, Harley, Ottens/King, Johnson, Chapman, Ling all won their battles, and decisive wins they were. That’s not to say the Kangas had no winners, certainly Archer was their best, and Grant and Harris were very good, but Simpson, Harvey, McIntosh, Smith and Jones, who have been fantastic all year, were beaten in their contests – and now the Kangas have lost 3 straight. They must win 1 of their last 2 to confirm their place in the finals, whilst the Cats march inexorably forward. Tip: Cats by 30 points. Result: Cats by 27 points.

Adelaide vs Western Bulldogs
In a game closer than the scoreboard shows, the Crows were able to keep their finals dream alive, but effectively ended the Doggies’ season. 8 goals to 4 after half-time was enough for Adelaide, with Scott Welsh kicking 4. Luke Darcy was handy for the Doggies with 3 goals, and their midfield some regained of it’s run, but Adelaide had too many winners on the day. The Western Bulldogs made too many skill errors that let Adelaide off the hook after it had itself made some poor errors with shots for goal. Honestly, on the evidence from this game, neither side really deserves a place in the 8 but Adelaide might sneak it over the next couple of weeks. Tip: Crows by 15 points. Result: Crows by 34 points.

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3 responses

20 08 2007

Nicely done there. I would love to have had your crystal ball earlier in the season!

20 08 2007

Nice summary isc.

I missed a few games over the 2 days but by your sheer football understanding and command of the written language you have enlightened me to what went on in the games I missed.

I think the Lions have used up their feline 9 lives by now … it’s good to see that the comp is getting stronger and the game is soughta progressing nicely.

Looking forward to your next column.

21 08 2007

The Lions are not done yet thank you.

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