Round 8 kicked off in Adelaide – as the Crows hosted Geelong and, more importantly in the eyes of the media – Patrick Dangerfield. Much was made of the former Crow’s return to Adelaide – even though the Cats had played the Power in Adelaide in round 5 – a fact forgotten by a few amongst the media types. It was a successful return for Dangerfield, as the Cats kicked away late in the last quarter to secure a 26 point victory. The Cats had led the whole game, but couldn’t ever put the Crows away as Sloane, Atkins, and the Crouch brothers more than held their own against Dangerfield, Selwood, Guthrie, and Bartel. Steven Motlop kicked four for the Cats to be the leading goalkicker on the ground, and had more of his teammates kicked straight – it could have been a much bigger win. The Cats had almost double the Crows scoring opportunities – 33 to 17, and really should have won by more.
The Bombers and the Roos kicked off Saturday’s action – and Essendon supporters were left thinking “Here we go again” as the Roos kept the Bombers goal less in the first half – Essendon’s lowest half time score in 101 years. With a 50 point lead at half time, there was a real dread in the air that this match was going to turn in to a 100 point plus drubbing. Pre-game predictions that the Kangaroos would rack up a double ton however, were put to rest – as the Bombers came out firing after half time against a North side lacking ruthlessness. It’s this lack of ruthlessness that leaves many writers (this one included) doubting the Grand Final credentials of a side that is undefeated in 8 rounds. For the Roos, Boomer Harvey turned 38, and had nearly as many possessions, Swallow and Goldstein were good, as was Dal Santo, while Zach Merrett was again in Essendon’s best 3 players, Orazio Fantasia continued to impress, Adam Cooney played his best game in black and red, and skipper Goddard was near his best.
The Dockers started brightly down in Tasmania, keeping pace with the Hawks for the first half – and even holding a lead at half time. However, Hawthorn came out in the third quarter and completely blew the Dockers away with 8 goals to none. And it could have been more, as the Hawks kicked 7 behinds to go with their 8 goals. Fremantle simply had no answers, as the Hawks mids went to work, sharing the load and running rampant against a weakened Freo side. Liam Shiels had 15 tackles, to go with his 16 tackles last week, and has now earned the moniker “Tackling Specialist”, Lewis, Smith, and Mitchell were all amongst the Hawks better players, while Breust and Gunston kicked 3 apiece. For the Dockers, Lachie Neale had 38 possessions – 30 of them handballs, Michael Walters had 26 possessions and 2 goals, and Mundy was good as well.
The Giants put a flogging on the Suns, whose disappointing season continues to get worse. Jeremy Cameron kicked 7 goals for the Giants – a club record, Heath Shaw was dominant across half back, Williams, Kelly, and Shiel were all high ball getters, while debutante Jacob Hopper became the next of the GWS 1st round draft picks to show his talent with 32 possessions – including 17 contested, and 9 clearances. For the Suns, only Hall and Prestia could really lay claims to having played well, though Brandon Matera gave them something up forward with 3 goals.
PATTONWATCH: Big Jon had his best game for the year, presenting well up forward with 16 possessions, 5 marks, and 2 goals.
In the first of Saturday night’s games – the Lions made a mockery of my footy tipping, getting absolutely thumped by a resurgent Collingwood, who continue to beat up on the teams at the bottom of the ladder. The Lions were simply terrible – Collingwood had 21 shots on goal before Brisbane even scored, and it was 28 scoring shots to 3 at half time. Dayne Zorko was Brisbane’s sole contributor – with 4 goals and 5 inside 50’s, while the Pies simply ran riot – 4 goals to Mason Cox, and 3 to White, Treloar, and Crocker – with Pendlebury, Sidebottom, and Adams having a stack of the footy. Brisbane coach Justin Leppitsch put his hand up to take responsibility for the performance, despite saying he didn’t know how it happened – but I’m not buying it. There’s a real disconnect at that footy club at the moment – and I reckon it probably goes deeper than the coach. But that’s another story for another time…
RICHMOND WINS! Tigers fans everywhere have a reason to smile with a classic goal after the siren win. It was Sam Lloyd making himself a Tigers hero with a huge bomb from the paint (thanks Dwayne Russell…) to give the Tigers a one point win, and ease some of the pressure off Damien Hardwick’s shoulders. This was a pretty good game of footy to be honest, both teams played a hard,tough brand of footy, with the Tigers even beating the Swans in contested ball. Miles, Martin, Deledio, Brandon Ellis, and Alex Rance all had double figures for contested possession, while for the Swans – only Hanneberry and Jack could manage double figures. A lot of Tigers had season best games – and in Ben Griffiths case, career best – as he had 20 possessions, and kicked 5 goals. Jack Riewoldt had a good game as well – 19 posessions, including 9 contested and taking the ball inside 50 on six occasions. Just the one goal for Jack – but if he’d had his kicking boots on, it could have been 3 or 4. Buddy again kicked a handful – and at one point in the third quarter I thought he was going to take the game away from the Tigers and have a real big day at the office. Credit must go to Alex Rance though – he did a fine job fighting back and holding Buddy to just the 5 in the end – and halved some pretty important one on ones in the last quarter.
3 matches were played on Sunday – though only one of them really gave us anything resembling a contest – the Blues and Power went head to head at Etihad in the early game, and it was the Blues who prevailed in a tight one. Ruckman Matty Kreuzer snapped a goal late in the 4th quarter to give the Blues the lead after being in second place for the majority of the game, and they held on bravely from there. It was a pretty impressive win for Carlton, their 4th in a row, and it’s now just percentage keeping them out of the 8. In not so good news for the Navy Blues, Levi Casboult fractured his leg in just the 8th minute – though likely will miss just the 6-8 weeks and avoid surgery, which is better than it looked when he went down holding his knee. The Blues battled injury all game, with Cripps and Kreuzer also spending significant time on the pine with leg complaints. In many respects, this was a really important win for Carlton – they were almost down and out a couple of times, and with the injuries they were dealing with, when big Charlie Dixon put the Power 17 points ahead with 10 minutes to play – I thought the Power were home and hosed. But this Carlton outfit is not the same as it once was – as they dug the heels in, ate up the pressure, and snuck home for the win. It will be interesting to see which way the votes go on Brownlow night – as the Blues had a pretty even contribution across the board – though my 3,2,1 would go to Gibbs, Docherty, and Simpson. For Port – Wines and Hartlett were amongst the best, and I thought Brad Ebert played pretty well despite not having a lot of the footy.
The Dogs beat the Dees by 32 points at the MCG in what was a largely uneventful game of footy. The Man That Brian Taylor Calls The Package Jake Stringer kicked 5 for the Doggies, and Tom Liberatore equalled the AFL record for tackles – wrapping his arms around Melbourne players 19 times, to equal the record previously held by… (10 internet points if you can guess the record holders)*. I thought the Dogs might have struggled in their first game outdoors this season – but it wasn’t to be the case, as they continued on their mostly merry way, clinically disposing of Melbourne thanks to some big games from The Bont, Dahlhaus, Hunter, and Macrae. It was a pretty even performance again from the Bulldogs – and they’re starting to build a really deep midfield rotation. For Melbourne – Jack Viney was his typical self, and almost joined Little Libba in the tackle record, laying 16 of his own to go with 25 possessions, while Dom Tyson played possibly his best game for the Dees, with 32 possessions, including a team high 12 contested.
You would have been forgiven for turning off the last game of the round at quarter time. The Eagles flew (bird pun) out of the blocks, and piled on 9 first quarter goals (including 5 to Josh Kennedy) to the Saints 1. And, it didn’t get any better for the Saints – kicking just 3 goals for the match as they crashed to a 103 point drubbing by the best Flat Track Bullies (apparently…) in the business. It was a really stunning lack of performance from the Saints – they’ve been mostly impressive this season – and coach Alan Richardson was as surprised as anyone at the Saints failure to turn up for this one. Kennedy didn’t add to his first quarter haul; however Mark LeCras picked up the slack, and bagged himself half a dozen sausages, while the midfield quartet of Priddis, Shuey, Masten, and Gaff ran amok against a younger Saints outfit. For the Saints – it was pretty dismal, though Montagna and Riewoldt tried hard, as did Jack Steven and Seb Ross.
Cats 98 def Crows 72
Roos 74 def Dons 60
Hawks 116 def Freo 75
Giants 149 def Suns 58
Pies 143 def Lions 65
Tigers 101 def Swans 100
Blues 93 def Power 91
Dogs 114 def Dees 82
Eagles 132 def Saints 29
Friday May 20
Hawthorn v Sydney MCG 7:50pm
Saturday May 21
Collingwood v Geelong MCG 1:45pm
Gold Coast v Adelaide MS 2:10pm
Port Adelaide v West Coast AO 4:05pm
North Melbourne v Carlton ES 7:25pm
Fremantle v Richmond DS 5:40pm
Sunday May 22
Melbourne v Brisbane MCG 1:10pm
GWS Giants v Bulldogs SPO 3:20pm
St Kilda v Essendon ES 4:40 pm
*Previous Tackling Beast Record Holders: Jude Bolton and Jack Ziebell