Another interesting round of footy showed a widening of the race for finals positions and that ladder positions are not a good guide at this time of the season.
Port Adelaide were bought back to earth by a quality Brisbane side with a ‘Mack attack’ where the four Mc-somethings all contributed goals and Lincoln McCarthy’s two goals saw him break into Brisbane’s top 100 goal-scorers.
This was all achieved without captain Dayne Zorko and mainly without import Cameron Ellis-Yolmen, injured early in the game. The other significant achievement in this game was the 350th game of umpire Dean Margetts, the fifth most experienced current umpire and number 13 on the AFL’s top 100 umpires list.
Collingwood proved to be more vulnerable than most had thought, particularly in the wet where the skills that were displayed early in the game dissipated under heavy tackling from Essendon. With only one win since the break and a tough time interstate coming up, they will need to recapture the excellent form shown against what are now two worthy opponents (Bulldogs and Saints) if they are to remain in the hunt.
Essendon, yet to play their joker in the still-to-be-arranged match against Melbourne, did the job while missing two big names, Zach Merrett and Dyson Heppell, and still debuted two newbies so there were no excuses for the Pies.
Amid all the celebrations, Geelong got the job done and not many recognised Jack Henry’s milestone 50th game, which is fair enough, as although it is a significant achievement for the 21-year-old, it places him still more than 200 places (and four good years) below a top 100 position on the Cats’ top 100 game players list.
The Eagles eventually gained some traction after a slow start to the season but with no goals and only slightly more fantasy points and disposals that the injured Luke Shuey, Josh Kennedy may be a point of discussion this week.
Dom Sheed kicked his 50th career goal and Jake Waterman, in his first game for the year, kicked two. For Sydney, Isaac Heeney kicked his 112th goal, which took him to level with Ian Gillett, a 1950s player who won the club’s goal kicking in 1953 and the best and fairest in 1955, beating teammate Fred Goldsmith, who won the Brownlow, and captained the club in 1956. Gillett took up a coaching job at Coolamon in the Riverina in 1959 and coached the club to their first premiership for 37 years.
The Western Bulldogs continued their recent good form with an eight-goal victory over North Melbourne. Ex-Saint Josh Bruce proved that even with shortened quarters a good full forward can still kick a bag of six goals. Also in this game umpire Andrew Stephens matched the games tally of Heath Ryan, a fellow top 100 umpire.
Bulldog Mitch Wallis jumped up the club’s top 100 goal kickers list, passing David Thorpe and Test cricketer George Tribe and drawing level with Will Minson. For the Kangaroos, Todd Goldstein passed Aaron Edwards on North’s top 100 goal scorers list.
In all, three new rookies debuted with two of these playing in Sunday games. Andrew Phillips played his first game for his third club (Essendon).
The ho-hum game between the Crows and Dockers meant a lot to both coaches looking for their first win in the AFL, and it went the way of the Dockers by 20 points. Rory Lobb (two), Darcy Tucker (two) and Matt Taberner (one) all climbed up the Dockers’ top 100 goal kickers ladder while for Adelaide Tom Lynch’s one goal took him to level with Kurt Tippett just outside Adelaide’s all-time top ten goal kickers.
Sam Philp (Carlton) and Shane McAdam (Adelaide) had the thrill of kicking their first goal in AFL footy while Jack Steven slotted his first for Geelong.