Round 9 Review/Round 10 Preview: Some big wins done; straight onto another telling week



With the festival of footy underway, cast your eyes over the talking points from Round 9 before jumping to tonight’s opening match of Round 10.




Western Bulldogs 7.7 (49) defeated by Richmond 13.12 (90)


The Dogs went into the match as favourites, but were left outclassed by a Richmond side proving they can re-invent themselves and still stumble upon a winning formula.


Is Dusty back for a Brownlow?


He may not be the favourite for the Brownlow Medal, but with performances like this one Dustin Martin could shoot up the leader board.


Dusty was everywhere, kicking three goals to go with his 26 disposals. Alongside Marlion Pickett, Trent Cotchin and Shai Bolton, Martin has created a midfield that is quick and sleek while still competitive in contested situations. If they can do the job against a tough Bulldogs midfield, why can’t they do it against anyone else?


Verdict: The Tigers are back in a frightening new way, while the Dogs need to work to settle into the top eight.


Melbourne 4.8 (32) defeated by Port Adelaide 12.11 (83)


The Demons had been in a good run of form, but it all came crashing to a halt when they fell to the Power.


Depth powers Port to a dominant win


Melbourne didn’t have an answer for the Power.


Despite playing good footy recently, they couldn’t match Port Adelaide’s around-the-ground dominance.


With Travis Boak returning to form in the middle and Karl Amon controlling everything along half-back, the emergence of third-gamer Mitch Georgiades with three majors only added more excitement for Ken Hinkley’s men. They are being undervalued despite leading the ladder – should we be more complimentary towards Port Adelaide and their incredible depth?


Verdict: Melbourne faced a horrible setback. Port Adelaide are fast becoming a top four lock.


Carlton 9.4 (58) defeated by Hawthorn 14.5 (89)


The Blues were expected to win and clean up the suffering Hawks, but it all went awry out west.


A clicking midfield does the trick


Carlton were all over the Hawks early, booting the first five goals to continue their good run of form. They looked set to win again. Then Hawthorn bounced back.


The brown and gold emerged out of a slump, with the experienced hands of Jack Gunston, Liam Shiels and Luke Breust all becoming lively inside forward 50. When James Worpel and Tom Mitchell combined to create a midfield that was way too strong for Carlton’s, the match was over.


In the space of ten minutes, the match flipped on its head. In the minutes following half time, Hawthorn solidified the result and were able to hold off Carlton’s late efforts. What a win.


Verdict: The Blues are currently too inconsistent to be a finals side. Never write the Hawks off. Never.


Essendon 3.10 (28) defeated by Brisbane 14.7 (91)


The Bombers, like the Blues, crumbled horribly to slip to a horrendous loss.


Depth and youth prevails


Yes, Essendon have plenty of injuries. But their midfield and defence hasn’t been hit too hard, making this loss unacceptable.


The Bombers midfield refused to tag Lachie Neale, and it paid disastrous consequences. No good match-up could be found for Charlie Cameron, giving the forward plenty of chances to boot his four goals. Up forward, the young forward line had no answers for Alex Witherden, while Jarryd Lyons and Jarrod Berry also provided trademark toughness around the footy. What should please Chris Fagan most is the depth and spread of talent between many young players.


Verdict: Essendon are struggling and need a win. Brisbane have a great run – could this be their year?


North Melbourne 19.5 (119) defeated Adelaide 7.8 (50)


The winless Crows will have to keep waiting for some points, as they were no match for a rebounding Roos side.


Strong clearance work replaces big omissions


Roos coach Rhyce Shaw pulled the trigger with selection after dropping Jared Polec and Ben Brown. It paid off, as the evenness of contribution led to a centre dominance that inspired a great win.


Todd Goldstein is the leading clearance player in the league, and had his way with Reilly O’Brien. Jed Anderson and Trent Dumont were typically strong around the ball, while Luke McDonald directed all traffic off half-back and in the middle. Missing Brown up forward, Cam Zurhaar stood up and booted three majors to show there is plenty of versatility to the Roos’ attacking set up.


Verdict: Adelaide slipped just as they looked ready to win. North needed this shot of confidence; where can it take them?


St Kilda 15.11 (101) defeated Sydney 6.12 (48)


With so many players out, Sydney were never a match for a St Kilda side entrenched in the top four.


Do the Saints have the best forward line?


It’s a massive call, but St Kilda just might have the most potent attacking group. Much of it can be attributed to Jarryd Roughead’s introduction to St Kilda, but the depth of personnel also helps.


Nick Hind took his chance to star with three goals, while Dan Butler and Max King also continued their consistent seasons with two and three majors respectively. Jade Gresham wasn’t required up forward, so he dominated in the midfield. There’s a lot to like at St Kilda – is there a defence that can stop them?


Verdict: The Saints are becoming better by the week. Sydney have plenty of talent, but need time to develop it.


West Coast 11.7 (73) defeated Geelong 10.4 (64)


The Eagles had to fight back in a wonderful encounter, edging past the accurate Cats late to secure a great win.


Father-time Kennedy can’t be stopped


Who would’ve thought that at the start of the season Josh Kennedy would go on such a run of hot form?


The older tall stood up, booting three of his four goals in the last quarter to lead his runaway Eagles to victory. With Nic Naitanui launching an assault as the best ruckman in the competition, the powerful midfield snatched the momentum and launched to a win. With Kennedy up forward, he may just prove the difference come finals.


Verdict: Plenty to like for Geelong – they were only beaten by a red-hot Kennedy who is taking the Eagles to another flag.


Gold Coast 4.11 (35) defeated by GWS 9.7 (61)


The two newest clubs in the competition were expected to produce a close game, but the Giants were too good in the clutch moments to run away with an easy win.


A spread of players cover injuries


It wasn’t an ideal day for GWS.


Yes, they won again, but they have lost star player Toby Greene and reliable tagger Matt De Boer to suspected hamstring injuries.


Luckily for them, on the day their loss was covered by Zac Williams, Jacob Hopper, Lachie Whitfield and Josh Kelly. With Tim Taranto and Stephen Coniglio also chalking up at least 20 touches, an even spread contribution from many Giants made light work of the Suns. It’s an ominous sign from a team capable of blasting away from the rest of the competition.


Verdict: The Suns are still on a steep learning curve, but the Giants are headed back to finals football.


Fremantle 10.1 (61) defeated Collingwood 7.7 (49)


In arguably the upset of the round, Fremantle produced a straight-shooting display full of discipline to out-grunt the Magpies and snatch the four points.


Youngsters show up the Pies


Collingwood were big favourites to win, yet failed to turn up.


Many players had quiet nights, allowing Fremantle’s growing midfield to find their feet. Caleb Serong was one of the best players on the ground, outshining Brownlow Medal-winning teammate Nat Fyfe in the centre bounces. Luke Ryan was outstanding down back, while Matt Taberner shone up forward with four goals. For Collingwood, their younger players had little impact as Freo stormed away to victory.


Verdict: The Dockers are better than their ladder position. Collingwood’s season is in terrible danger.




Monday 7.10PM

Port Adelaide v Western Bulldogs

Adelaide Oval


Can the Power continue their form? It’s the question on everyone’s lips as they sit atop the league. The Bulldogs have had a setback, and need an upset to launch their way up the ladder. Expect the Dogs to give a better showing, but it shouldn’t challenge the Power in front of their rowdy home fans.


Tip: Power by 25.


Tuesday 7.10PM

Richmond v Brisbane

Metricon Stadium


This could well be the game of the round, as an in-form Richmond plays ‘host’ to Brisbane. The Lions have a golden chance to launch for a premiership; to do so, the likes of Neale and Lyons will have to quell Dusty while Harris Andrews and Darcy Gardiner have a tantalising match-up against the resurging Jack Riewoldt and Tom Lynch. Also – will Dylan Grimes get the gig on Cameron?


Tip: Incredibly tough. It’s always hard to tip against the Tigers, but this may just be Brisbane’s time. Lions by 10.


Wednesday 5.40PM

Geelong v North Melbourne

The Gabba


The Cats need to bounce back, but to do so they’ll have to travel across the country and face the Roos after their win. It’ll be an intriguing battle – will we see Brown and Polec back? How will Robbie Tarrant go against Tom Hawkins? Can North Melbourne’s midfield stand up against Geelong’s seasoned on-ballers? All will be answered in a clash that will show the footy world how much the shortened break impacts players.


Tip: Who knows. I could easily see North Melbourne pouncing on a tired Geelong. But the Cats nearly beat the Eagles over there, surely they have enough to win. Cats by 16.


Wednesday 8.10PM

Adelaide v Melbourne

Adelaide Oval


Which Adelaide turns up? It’s an important question – if the Adelaide that matched sides in contested ball from recent weeks shows up, they have a chance of causing an upset. If Taylor Walker returns, their opportunity widens. But if they are off, Melbourne should be good enough to get the win. It’ll be tough, but the class of Christian Petracca and Max Gawn could be sufficient to get the points.


Tip: It’s tight, but Melbourne by 19.


Thursday 5.40PM

Collingwood v Sydney

The Gabba


Sydney get to stay and play at the same ground twice in two weeks when they face the Pies. Collingwood should be too classy, with the likes of Steele Sidebottom and Travis Varcoe making returns on the weekend. The key battle should be between Brayden Maynard and Tom Papley – if the Pie defender can nullify his influence, the game is over. But Collingwood must give a much better showing than last week if they are to leave the Gabba victorious.


Tip: Sydney always do well against Collingwood, but they most likely won’t have enough depth to challenge them this year. Pies by 27.


Thursday 8.10PM

Gold Coast v St Kilda

Metricon Stadium


It’s another home game for the lucky Suns as they get to relax and host the Saints. But this won’t be an easy fixture; the Saints have experience at Metricon Stadium and are in sparkling touch. The two King brothers will collide at opposite ends of the ground, giving us a wonderful exhibition into how good they can be. With all of their great recruits, St Kilda should prove too good when it matters – a stumble here would send them spiralling down the ladder.


Tip: St Kilda by 34.


Friday 7.50PM

Essendon v GWS

Metricon Stadium


The Bombers, rested up after their horror effort against the Lions, must prove themselves here. GWS are firming as one of the big contenders, and need a win here to continue improving. Essendon are a handy side, but their midfield will be sorely tested by GWS’ stacked on-ballers. Expect Nick Haynes to dominate down back unless Jacob Townsend can perform and take away his intercept marking power.


Tip: Essendon do like to upset the Giants, but they’ll have to produce a miracle here. GWS by 38.


Byes: Carlton, Fremantle, Hawthorn, West Coast.



This piece is also on Sean’s personal sports writing website (amongst other articles) – check it out here



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