Mitchell’s magic inspires Hawthorn to prelim

HAWTHORN            4.6    9.10    15.13    20.15 (135)
COLLINGWOOD     2.3    7.4     12.7      15.7 (97)

Hawthorn have taken yet another step closer to a second premiership in five years with yet another comfortable victory over Collingwood at the MCG.

It was a physical contest on a cold night, and a tense one early on with five behinds the total score early on, but Hawthorn’s coherence and skill allowed them to break the shackles more efficiently.

While Collingwood were nudging ahead in the inside 50 count, Hawthorn’s defense, led by Josh Gibson with 16 spoils for the game, was immense in spoiling and neutralising every attempt to score.

The Collingwood backline, on the other hand, weren’t so coordinated and fluent and it allowed more scoring shots Hawthorn’s way, which in time were duly converted.

And, once they got on a roll, they’re hard to stop. However, in saying that, Collingwood somehow did.

Midway through the second quarter, Collingwood were much smoother in transition forward and it allowed them to turn a deficit into a lead, albeit by one point, through an Andrew Krakouer goal, who kicked four for the night.

They played much more contested footy and for a brief yet effective period, they were damaging. Heath Shaw pushed forward in an attempt to make the Hawthorn defenders more accountable and, with one of the three goals his, it proved successful.

However, it was short-lived, as Hawthorn slammed home three late responses in succession to drain nearly all confidence from the surge, including Lance Franklin’s first after the half-time siren, which received the applause of the entire team.

And that ended up being the momentum that swung through to the second half, with Franklin starting to better Chris Tarrant, who was highly influential on him, and players such as Sam Mitchell and Brad Sewell’s hard work in the contest pivotal to a constant flux of goals from their outside players.

David Hale and Jarryd Roughead, despite being overwhelmed by Darren Jolly’s 49 hitouts, started to work their way into the contest on the scoreboard, kicking three goals between them; they came from everywhere.

Dane Swan, Dayne Beams and Scott Pendlebury all played well and found plenty of it but Hawthorn just had so many more that ended up finding it and providing outside run to complement the good contested work.

And with Alan Toovey and Harry O’Brien having disappointing games, under the extended pressure, it allowed them to pile goals on.

On top of that, captain Nick Maxwell looks set to miss next week after striking Paul Puopolo, and coming up against either West Coast or North Melbourne, both with dangerous forward lines, it leaves sizeable shoes to fill.

Likewise for Hawthorn, who will go into the two-week break without midfielder/forward Brendan Whitecross, who tore his anterior cruciate ligament early in the match.

GOALS
Hawthorn: Franklin 4, Savage 2, Hale 2, Breust 2, Rioli 2, Gunston 2, Hodge 2, Smith, Puopolo, Ellis, Roughead
Collingwood: Cloke 6, Krakouer 4, Wellingham 2, Sinclair, Shaw, Dawes

BEST 
Hawthorn: Sewell, Mitchell, Gibson, Breust, Franklin, Ellis
Collingwood: Pendlebury, Swan, Krakouer, Cloke, Sinclair

INJURIES 
Hawthorn: Lewis (hamstring) replaced in selected side by Savage, Whitecross (knee), Puopolo (nose)
Collingwood: Nil

SUBSTITUTES
Hawthorn: Brendan Whitecross (right knee) replaced by Shane Savage in the first quarter
Collingwood: Nathan Brown replaced by Alan Didak in the third quarter

Reports: Nick Maxwell (Collingwood) by umpire McInerney for rough conduct on Paul Puopolo (Hawthorn) during the third quarter.

Umpires: Nicholls, Meredith, McInerney

Official crowd: 85,625 at the MCG

Buddy blitz locks Hawks on top

HAWTHORN        7.1    10.6    11.10    14.11 (95)
WEST COAST     1.3     4.4     5.7        10.10 (70)

It only took one quarter for Lance Franklin to have his influence, but it was one of his best, and it played a large role in ensuring Hawthorn’s vice on the minor premiership with a comfortable 25-point win over West Coast at the MCG.

Franklin kicked four goals in the first quarter to bring back the eerie feeling of sublime dominance of his 13-goal haul against North Melbourne earlier in the year, such was his ability to slot set shots from anywhere, and it left the Eagles’ defence, and Mitch Brown especially, rattled.

In fact, it looked like a last-minute burst for a Coleman Medal, which would have almost proved incredible had he not gone goalless in the next three quarters to leave him still behind the leaders.

And, in the process of securing top spot, it all but ended West Coast’s chances of a top-four spot and a double chance come finals, with a likely Collingwood win set to push them into fifth and an elimination final in Perth against North Melbourne or Fremantle – but for now, they sit fourth and with a Collingwood loss, comes a rematch between these two sides.

The Eagles wouldn’t mind that, and would be desperate to make up for what was in the end only three quarters of footy, and for the most part of those three, not the high standard they’ve set.

With Andrew Gaff tagged – he had 15 disposals for the match and a fair portion of those in the last term – they lacked the run and class which didn’t allow them to move the ball with typical structure and preparation through the midfield.

The Hawks, on the other hand, were moving the ball forward with more intelligence and coupled with some defensive errors, allowed Franklin to thrive.

They also allowed three goals to in-form forward Jack Gunston in three quarters, and while he wasn’t a large presence as a key forward or genuine marking target, his scoreboard impact held Hawthorn in good stead until an ankle niggle led to his a substitution.

The West Coast camp will all hope for a similar outcome for key forward Josh Kennedy who, midway through the last quarter, rolled his ankle underneath a contest and looked in pain. Capping off a dismal night for him – he kicked one behind – his form will be vital for the Eagles and West Coast will hope there is nothing seriously damaged.

The same can’t be said for Brent Guerra. The nuggetty defender is missing his 2008 premiership medallion after a mid-week robbery and if Hawthorn’s form continues, he may miss another.

Leaping for a spoil late in the game, the standard clutch at the upper hamstring was seen and if his frustration and hobble on and towards the bench was any sign, it may very well be a player down for finals.

But with Grant Birchall effective and in the thick of it as always in the back half, Sam Mitchell leading from the front with another 28 disposals and Brad Sewell’s contested work again not unnoticed, it was the all-round team performance that Alastair Clarkson will be praising.

West Coast will take a late surge away as something to note, but with admirable yet not successful or consistent performances against top sides this year at the MCG, they’ll need to string four quarters together of their best footy to push deep into September, and after tonight, it’s not out of the question.

Scott Selwood, with 35 disposals (2o contested) and eight clearances, was comfortably West Coast’s best.

VOTES
3 – 
Sam Mitchell (Hawthorn)
2 – Scott Selwood (West Coast)
1 – Brad Sewell (Hawthorn)

GOALS
Hawthorn: Franklin 4, Gunston 3, Breust, Burgoyne, Hale, Hodge, Puopolo, Rioli, Smith
West Coast: Darling 3, McGinnity 2, Schofield 2, Gaff, Hill, Waters

BEST 
Hawthorn: Mitchell, Sewell, Birchall, Roughead, Franklin, Suckling
West Coast: S.Selwood, Priddis, Waters, Darling, Masten, Embley

INJURIES 
Hawthorn: Gunston (ankle), Guerra (left hamstring)
West Coast: Kennedy (left foot)

SUBSTITUTES
Hawthorn: Cyril Rioli replaced Jack Gunston (knee) in the third quarter
West Coast: Jacob Brennan replaced Andrew Strijk in the third quarter
Reports: Nil

Umpires: Stevic, Nicholls, McInerney

Official crowd:
 50,023 at the MCG

Dons done by rampant Tigers

RICHMOND    5.5     8.11    12.16  13.24 (102)
ESSENDON    3.2     4.6     7.9               8.9 (57)

Richmond has put the final nail in the coffin that once was Essendon’s finals aspirations, overwhelming them to win by 45 points at the MCG.

It was nothing more than a high-quality, dominant and sublime display from the Tigers, although it is as much of an indictment on Essendon as it is a praise for Richmond.

Although the game started off relatively even on the scoreboard, with a classy goal to Brett Deledio and an opportunistic soccer to hard-working debutant Nick O’Brien, Richmond were simply winning too much of the footy and kicking it long too often inside 50 for Essendon to competently tolerate, and the floodgates, albeit slowly, were opening.

Even with superstar and Brownlow Medal favourite Trent Cotchin’s two first-quarter disposals, Brett Deledio and Shane Tuck were pivotal in the midield, and Jack Riewoldt and Shane Edwards were dangerous up forward.

They thrived on the heap of opportunity, and Essendon collapsed. With 42 inside 50s in the first half alone, Richmond were completely overrunning an Essendon not even in second gear, and only accuracy held them to a 29-point lead at the half.

The Dons did come out of the long break with a bit more composure and intensity, kicking three of the first four goals and in doing so drew the margin back to a very reachable 18 points.

And, had their next three shots on goal in the third quarter been goals, rather than three Stewart Crameri behinds, then they may have come a lot closer.

But the same could be said for Richmond, finished the quarter with four goals and five behinds, including Trent Cotchin’s third and Jack Riewoldt’s fourth.

In fact, it seemed like their conversion was the only thing holding back an absolute thumping, and the fourth quarter went on to exemplify that.

Super sub Brett O’Hanlon kicked the only goal for Richmond in the last, from nine scoring shots, taking them to 13.24 from 12.16.

With that, conversion and goal kicking essentially became the one facet of the game in which they weren’t truly on top.

GOALS
Richmond: Riewoldt 3, Edwards 2, McGuane 2, Astbury, Deledio, Grigg, Martin, Nahas, O’Hanlon
Essendon: Monfries 3, Browne, Gumbleton, Hurley, Jetta, O’Brien

BEST
Richmond: Tuck, Cotchin, Deledio, Martin, Riewoldt, Houli
Essendon: Monfries, Heppell, Hibberd, Bellchambers, Watson, Crameri

INJURIES
Richmond: White (hamstring)
Essendon: Davey (hamstring), Crameri (shoulder)

SUBSTITUTES
Richmond: Brett O’Hanlon replaced Matt White in the second quarter
Essendon: Jake Melksham replaced Alwyn Davey in the second quarter

Reports: Shane Edwards (Richmond) reported for striking Angus Monfries in the third quarter.

Umpires: Nicholls, McInerney, Mollison

Official crowd: 47,590 at the MCG

Blue blitz spells Dons disaster

ESSENDON       2.5    6.6    7.8    8.12   (60)
CARLTON         5.3   15.4   20.9  24.12  (156)          

A stunning second quarter, dominant displays across the board and another couple of Essendon injuries were the major stories from Carlton’s demolition of a 96-point victory over Essendon.

It had the atmosphere of a final, and just like the last one these two teams battled in, the scoreboard followed a similar trend.

Chris Judd returned to lead his Blues to a massive victory – http://www.flickr.com/photos/launceston_lad/

But a final currently looks unlikely for Essendon as a result of Carlton’s supreme performance.

It was tight early on, with both sides kicking early goals, giving the impression that with a spot in the eight on the line, this was going to be a hard-fought contest.

However, to define it as a contest after the 15-minute mark of the first quarter, which was approximately when Dustin Fletcher re-injured his adductor spoiling a ball in the backline, was difficult to say the least, as the Blues slammed home four goals in eight minutes to lead at quarter time.

And from there, the navy blue wave completely swamped the Bombers. Despite them kicking four goals for the quarter, Carlton bettered it with ten – their best second quarter for the year.

Jarrad Waite had kicked two, Levi Casboult had kicked two, Kade Simpson, Marc Murphy and Brock McLean chipped in from the midfield and the Blues were ruthless in their attack.

The Dons’ prime movers in Jobe Watson, Brent Stanton and David Zaharakis were being well and truly restricted – although Watson finished with 29 possessions – which allowed just about all of the attack to go Carlton’s way.

Although captain Chris Judd wasn’t as influential as normal, Murphy, Simpson, McLean and Bryce Gibbs were all dominant through the midfield, and with Jake Carlisle joining Fletcher on the injury list, Essendon’s backline simply couldn’t stand up to the constant flux and pressure.

It allowed Jarrad Waite to kick five goals, something not seen by Carlton fans for a while, in what becomes a real boost for their still-genuine finals aspirations.

With the discovery of another target in Levi Casboult’s three goals, Jeff Garlett and Andrew Walker’s form with three each, and three goals also from both Simpson and McLean, Carlton ran riot.

It was easily enough and more to inflict Essendon’s fifth loss in a row and now sees Carlton leapfrog them on the ladder, and in a much better position to push for a spot in the top eight, all but ending Essendon’s once-guaranteed finals hopes.

Votes

3 Murphy

Waite

Gibbs

GOALS

Essendon: Crameri 2, Ryder 2, Watson, Lonergan, Stanton, Hurley
Carlton: Waite 5, McLean 3, Simpson 3, Walker 3, Garlett 3, Casboult 3, Betts 2, Murphy 2

BEST
Essendon: 
Watson, Hocking, Heppell, Stanton, Lee, Hibberd
Carlton: Murphy, Waite, McLean, Simpson, Gibbs, Yarran

INJURIES
Essendon: 
Fletcher (adductor), Carlisle (ankle)
Carlton: Nil

SUBSTITUTES
Essendo
n: Leroy Jetta replaced Dustin Fletcher in the first quarter
Carlton: Tom Bell replaced Andrew Carrazzo in the final quarter

Reports: 
Nil

Umpires: McBurney, Farmer, Schmitt

Official crowd: 59,381 at the MCG

Dockers to close the gap

Where and When: Patersons Stadium, Saturday August 18, 2.40 pm

Both teams currently sit outside the eight, but with both teams around the mark the twilight contest at Patersons Stadium becomes interesting.

Fremantle are outside the eight on percentage only, while Richmond’s is superior yet are two games behind in a game that has serious repercussions for either team’s aspirations should they lose.

That alone is a reason to watch, but a potentially better one is that it’s very likely that it will be close, off this year’s form.

Fremantle

Fremantle are very much in contention for a position in the top eight, currently sitting ninth, and will need to continue winning to ensure that they can slot in.

And with their ins this week – being Luke McPharlin and Nathan Fyfe – they have a much bolstered side.

They’ll come in with good form behind them, having won five in a row prior to their loss to Adelaide last weekend, and it is mostly inspired by the form of Matthew Pavlich, who has kicked 46 goals in his last ten games.

With a strong midfield, with Michael Barlow, David Mundy and Clancee Pearce standing out, a performing defense – the Dockers have conceded the second-least points this year – and a dangerous forward line, Fremantle have all the tools to win this one.

Richmond

The Tigers will travel to Perth with the intent of reversing their fortunes, having lost to Fremantle in Round 11 by twelve points, and with every loss bar one being 21 points or less so far this season, they will not want another.

That competitiveness, in fact, sees them with a percentage greater than that of Fremantle, and with scoring potential as well comes a few advantages over them.

Jack Riewoldt gets scrutinised for his demonstrative ways, but with 54 goals for the season and five last week, if he can topple the tight defence of Fremantle, it will go a long way to ensuring a victory.

He’ll have healthy delivery as always from the standard midfield of Trent Cotchin, Brett Deledio, Dustin Martin and Shane Tuck.

As long as Richmond’s defence, held by Alex Rance, can nullify Fremantle’s scoring power, thus creating their own, then they have a great chance.

Players to Watch

Matthew Pavlich: He was kept relatively quiet by young gun Daniel Talia last week, but “Pav” has arguably a more difficult task in Alex Rance this week. If he can come out victorious in that battle, then Fremantle will be difficult to stop.

Jack Riewoldt: It’s almost the same scenario as Pavlich versus Rance – Riewoldt vs McPharlin will be enthralling. Riewoldt can burst out of the blocks, yet be kept quiet; whichever path he follows might just determine the outcome of the match itself.

Prediction

On paper, I think both teams are very much even, but with the home ground advantage and finals more so on the line, I’ll back Fremantle.

Fremantle by 15

Squads:

Fremantle

B: Adam McPhee, Luke McPharlin, Zac Dawson
HB: Clancee Pearce, Michael Johnson, David Mundy
C: Michael Barlow, Ryan Crowley, Tendai Mzungu
HF: Michael Walters, Kepler Bradley, Stephen Hill
F: Hayden Ballantyne, Matthew Pavlich, Christopher Mayne
Foll: Jonathon Griffin, Nathan Fyfe, Matthew de Boer
I/C: Paul Duffield, Garrick Ibbotson, Lee Spurr, Nicholas Suban
Emg: Aaron Sandilands, Dylan Roberton, Thomas Sheridan

In: Luke McPharlin, Nathan Fyfe
Out: Dylan Roberton, Lachie Neale (quad)

Richmond

B: Steven Morris, Alex Rance, Jayden Post
HB: Brandon Ellis, Chris Newman, Bachar Houli
C: Shaun Grigg, Trent Cotchin, Brett Deledio
HF: Jake King, Shane Edwards, Daniel Jackson
F: Luke McGuane, Jack Riewoldt, Robin Nahas
Foll: Ivan Maric, Dustin Martin, Shane Tuck
I/C: Matthew White, Ben Griffiths, Bradley Helbig, Brett O’Hanlon
Emg: Matt Dea, Jake Batchelor, Tom Derickx

In: Brett O’Hanlon
Out: Reece Conca (toe)

 

Saints Marching But Riewoldt Aching

ST KILDA             4.2    5.5    12.11    16.11 (107)
MELBOURNE      0.3    2.7    4.9        12.10 (82)

St Kilda has recorded a comfortable 25-point victory in a scrappy affair at the MCG to keep its slim finals hopes alive, but it has come at a cost with captain and leading goalkicker Nick Riewoldt injured in the first quarter.

Riewoldt led and bent down to gather a footy in the forward line, but appeared to hyperextend his knee as it pivoted into the ground and went down in a lot of pain.

He was substituted off at quarter time, and had scans after the second quarter to clear structural damage and allow the Saints to breathe a sight of relief for their skipper.

It was later reported that he had a slight tear in a knee tendon, but it didn’t fuss the Saints’ forwards on the day.

Beau Wilkes bettered his best bag of three goals – also against Melbourne, earlier in the year – with five amongst 13 marks in an impressive display to spearhead the forward line.

He was one of five multiple goalkickers for the Saints as they proved too much to handle for Melbourne’s backline, especially in James Frawley’s absence.

With the delivery from classy midfielders Nick Dal Santo and Leigh Montagna, as well as Brendon Goddard as the utility roaming the wings and forward line, it was the experience that allowed them to break free.

It truly took them until the third quarter, however, when they kicked 7.5 to just one behind in a relentless display in a period of twenty minutes going into the fourth.

That came after Melbourne clawed back a small St Kilda lead after the first half, in what was a clumsy display with a poor overall skill level.

They also clawed the lead back in the last quarter, kicking eight last-term goals, including five to young gun Sam Blease in a personal best effort. However, it was all too late, attempting to reduce the margin from 56 points.

Amongst the others in Melbourne’s best were co-captain Jack Grimes and top midfielder Nathan Jones, who both kept on keeping on in what has been fantastic seasons for the duo.

It wasn’t pretty, but it was four premiership points for St Kilda, and they’ll be looking towards the last few weeks to earn enough to push for what still remains an unlikely shot at another finals series.

GOALS
St Kilda:
 Wilkes 5, Milne 2, Koschitzke 2, Cripps 2, Saad 2, Riewoldt, Steven, Goddard
Melbourne: Blease 5, Sellar 2, Howe, Dunn, Jetta, Green, Sylvia

BEST
St Kilda:
 Wilkes, Dal Santo, Armitage, Dempster, Hayes, Montagna, Geary
Melbourne: Blease, Jones, Grimes, Rivers, MacDonald

INJURIES
St Kilda:
 Farren Ray (back, replaced by Tom Ledger), Clint Jones (unknown, replaced by Jamie Cripps). Nick Riewoldt (knee)
Melbourne: James Frawley (quad, replaced by Matthew Bate), Colin Sylvia (ankle).

SUBSTITUTES

St Kilda: Nick Riewoldt replaced by Tom Ledger at quarter-time.  
Melbourne:
 Brent Moloney replaced by James Magner at three-quarter time.

Reports:
 Nil

Umpires: Stewart, Hosking, Kamolins

Official crowd: 23,464 at MCG

Late McLean Sinks Tigers

CARLTON      4.2    7.5   10.11  14.11   (95)                 

RICHMOND   5.2   5.7    8.11    13.13  (91)         

It was almost accidental, but a goal to Brock McLean late in the game sealed a four-point victory to the Blues and yet another heartbreaking loss for the Tigers.

With 53 seconds remaining in the match McLean marked just outside 50, near the boundary line. Knowing there wasn’t long let, he swung around and kicked it in the direction of forward Levi Casboult.

Jayden Post was able to nudge Casboult out of the contest, but the ball had drifted over their heads anyway, as it bounced through for the unlikeliest of goals and the most disappointing of losses.

Third time unlucky, it could be said, as the contest twisted and turned all night with countless lead changes.

The Tigers were more impressive early on, kicking five goals to lead by quarter time; all five came from midfielders Trent Cotchin (24 disposals, five clearances, three goals) and Dustin Martin (19 disposals, seven clearances, three goals) who couldn’t be stopped pushing forward.

It was undoubtedly a battle of the midfields, as best on ground could have gone to either of Shane Tuck (31 disposals, 23 contested, nine clearances) and Marc Murphy (36 disposals, 22 contested, nine clearances), who both played fantastic matches.

Providing noble support for Murphy was milestone man Andrew Carrazzo (27 disposals, 17 contested, eight tackles, eight clearances) in 150th game and of course McLean (27 disposals, 18 contested, nine clearances, 11 tackles), with the absence of a lot of key players.

Their impressive performances allowed them to hold Richmond to an inaccurate 0.5 in the second quarter, allowing them to gain an advantage rarely lost throughout the course of the night.

With the midfield performers stepping up and the ability to hit the scoreboard enough – Eddie Betts kicked four goals – Carlton were able to maintain their lead, but Richmond slowly clawed back.

It was their style of footy: desperate, intense and, despite trailing by 12 at three quarter time, it allowed them to compete in a goal-for-goal shootout in the very latter stages of the match.

However, their third loss in a row by under a goal rules them out of finals contention, while it keeps Carlton’s surge alive.

GOALS

Carlton: Betts 4, Thornton 2, Armfield 2, Murphy,  Carrazzo, Bell, Garlett, Casboult, McLean

Richmond: Martin 3, Cotchin 3, Tuck 2, Nahas 2, McGuane, Newman, Grigg

BEST

Carlton: Murphy, McLean, Carrazzo, Curnow, Betts, Scotland

Richmond: Tuck, Maric, Cotchin, Deledio, Martin, Edwards

INJURIES

Carlton: Nil

Richmond: Morris (shoulder)

SUBSTITUTES

Carlton: Frazer Dale replaced Nick Duigan early in the final quarter

Richmond: Addam Maric replaced Daniel Jackson in the third quarter

Reports: Nil

Umpires: Margetts, Rosebury, Hay

Official crowd: 46,013 at the MCG

Power out to Prevent Freo’s Push

Where and When: AAMI Stadium, Sunday 29 July, 12:40 pm

It’s another game set to shape up the bottom half of top eight and those below it, as Fremantle continue their push for finals with a trip to South Australia to play Port Adelaide.

While the Power cannot make finals, there’s no doubt they’ll be instilling the mindset to win every game they can, which could pose problems for Fremantle who need to do the same to hurdle those above them in the top eight.

Either way, this one seems to be an interestingly even contest.

Port Adelaide

The Power have made ground this year with their improvement and development overall, despite only winning five games and sitting 14th, and will no doubt take a lot from their victory last week over Melbourne in Darwin.

Despite the long-term Travis Boak controversy, who was arguably best on ground last week, Port Adelaide have unveiled some great talent over the course of the season.

Boak, Danyle Pearce and Kane Cornes, as some of the more senior players, keep trucking along, as does Domenic Cassisi, but new faces such as Brad Ebert, Paul Stewart and Matthew Broadbent are all leading the way in what is a good year overall for their younger contingent.

A fair few of them can hit the scoreboard, as they are slowly starting to prove with Jay Schulz out and including Justin Westhoff – Stewart kicked five goals last week – and provided they can get it forward effectively, they may have the firepower to damage.

Given that they should have a ruck advantage – Jonathon Griffin will line up on his own against Matthew Lobbe and Daniel Stewart – and the home ground advantage, it’s perfectly feasible to see a Port Adelaide win, especially since they have the habit of knocking off teams around Fremantle’s mark, with wins against North Melbourne, Carlton and St Kilda at AAMI this year.

Fremantle

Fremantle will look for their tenth win of the season in their surge for finals, and even then seem to fly under the radar. David Mundy hit good form last week and now their midfield is starting to look damaging.

With the returning Nat Fyfe, who has overcome his shoulder injury, amongst names such as Michael Barlow, Matt de Boer, Stephen Hill and Clancee Pearce, their midfield has a bit of variety and, while not elite, is a great group of both inside and outside players who can harm sides with ease.

They’ll need to give all they can to the captain back in his home state, Matthew Pavlich. He’s in ripping form and whether’s he on or not should have a fair say in which way the result swings.

They also feature the returning set shot star Chris Mayne and also Hayden Ballantyne, Michael Walters and Kepler Bradley up forward – a diverse forward line featuring a number of players that can kick many goals on any given day.

If the Dockers can get on a roll, with the overall skill level and performance to date, they should win.

Players to Watch

Matthew Broadbent: In his 50th game, the young midfielder’s been impressive this year, racking up enough ball and hitting the scoreboard frequently enough to have an important impact for Port Adelaide. He’s got the confidence of a good game behind him and he’s that sort of striking player who could very well hurt given the chance.

Nat Fyfe: He will arguably be underdone, slotting straight into the seniors after a long layoff with a shoulder injury. The young star has the talent, everybody knows that, but it will be very interesting to watch his return to see whether he can have the impact he normally can.

Prediction

Fremantle continue to pinch games, and with a host of players in good form, they can easily win if Port Adelaide lose touch.

In saying that, the Power know they can beat sides of Fremantle’s calibre in Adelaide, and I reckon they can do it again.

Port Adelaide by 5

Squads

Port Adelaide

B: Tom Logan, Alipate Carlile, Jackson Trengove

HB: Tom Jonas, Troy Chaplin, Domenic Cassisi

C: Matthew Broadbent, Travis Boak, Kane Cornes

HF: Danyle Pearce, Justin Westhoff, Andrew Moore

F: Paul Stewart, Daniel Stewart, Brett Ebert

Foll: Matthew Lobbe, Matt Thomas, Brad Ebert

I/C: Jarrad Redden,Aaron Young, Chad Wingard, Darren Pfeiffer, John McCarthy

Emg: Cameron Hitchcock, Ben Jacobs, Jarrad Redden

In: Darren Pfeiffer

Out: Jasper Pittard (ribs)

Milestones: Matthew Broadbent – 50 games, Tom Logan – 100 games

 

Fremantle

B: Lee Spurr, Luke McPharlin, Adam McPhee

HB: Garrick Ibbotson, Michael Johnson, David Mundy

C: Paul Duffield, Ryan Crowley, Dylan Roberton

HF: Michael Walters, Kepler Bradley, Stephen Hill

F: Hayden Ballantyne, Matthew Pavlich, Clancee Pearce

Foll: Jonathon Griffin, Michael Barlow, Nathan Fyfe

I/C: Chris Mayne, Matt de Boer, Tendai Mzungu, Cam Sutcliffe

Emg: Nick Suban, Lachie Neale, Zac Dawson

In: Chris Mayne, Nat Fyfe

Out: Zac Clarke, Nick Suban

Pies Pounded by Hawks

COLLINGWOOD             3.2    6.7         8.8      13.13 (91)
HAWTHORN                     5.6    9.8        17.9     21.12 (138)

Hawthorn have ruthlessly torn apart a lacklustre Collingwood to the tune of 47 points in a vital, top-four-defining clash at the MCG.

Such was the extent of the even contribution that Dane Swan, with 49 disposals – his personal best – and two goals, and Dayne Beams, with 34 and four, were two of the best players on the ground, yet Collingwood were still completely blown away.

Hawthorn’s pressure as a side was incredible, forcing turnovers and causing goals their way.

It allowed a massive contribution from a large group of players, with Jordan Lewis and Luke Breust kicking five goals each, and Jack Gunston and Jarryd Roughead with kicked three, as they overwhelmed the Pies all over the ground.

It was to the point where Hawthorn had 14 players rack up 70 or more Champion Data points in comparison to Collingwood’s six.

Lewis’ impact in the forward line was as important as anyone else on the ground, with his five goals coming from 20 disposals.

The pink-booted forward, in an initiative supporting breast cancer, also negated Heath Shaw’s impact, which impacted Collingwood going forward.

Jarryd Roughead as a forward and ruck proved his versatility: in his 151st game, he recorded 20 disposals, five clearances and three goals, a really impressive feat for a man his size.

The pressure of Cyril Rioli may have just been the most important of all of them.

While statistically it was not his best ever game, his will to do anything and everything to cause turnovers and scores in Hawthorn’s favour was huge, and his second quarter really did harm the Pies.

VOTES
3 –
Sam Mitchell (Hawthorn)
2 – Dayne Beams (Collingwood)
1 –
Jordan Lewis (Hawthorn)

GOALS
Collingwood: 
Beams 4, Swan 2, Jolly 2, Sidebottom, Dawes, Tarrant, Thomas, Cloke
Hawthorn: Lewis 5, Breust 5, Roughead 3, Gunston 3, Sewell, Murphy, Young, Puopolo, Rioli

BEST
Collingwood: 
Beams, Swan, Pendlebury, Sidebottom, Fasolo, Shaw
Hawthorn: Mitchell, Lewis, Sewell, Roughead, Breust, Rioli

INJURIES
Collingwood: 
Ben Sinclair replaced in the side by Caolan Mooney.
Hawthorn: Stephen Gilham replaced in the side by Shane Savage.

SUBSTITUTES
Collingwood:
 Nathan Brown replaced by Caolan Mooney in the third quarter
Hawthorn: Paul Puopolo replaced by Shane Savage in the final quarter.

Reports: Nil

Umpires: Margetts, Stevic, Bannister

Official crowd: 83,714 at MCG

Brisbane’s Season on the Line

Where and When: The Gabba, Saturday 14 July, 7:40 pm

brisbane lions logo st kilda logoThe Saints travel to the Gabba for what is set to be a very interesting and very much a season-defining clash with the Brisbane Lions on Saturday night.

Both teams sit just outside the eight and with a host of other teams looking to hurdle each other for spots in the finals, every game and every bit of ascendancy will be pivotal.

This game will be no exception, and with both teams in good form, it will be an equally significant clash for both sides.

Brisbane

The Lions come into the game in good form despite a heavy loss to Sydney last weekend.

With a large amount of players in impressive touch, their push up the ladder grows in confidence every week.

Their midfield is arguably underrated and very damaging, with Pearce Hanley and Dayne Zorko both stepping up to become prime figures amongst the standard class of Simon Black, Jack Redden, Tom Rockliff, Daniel Rich and others.

With the inclusions of Todd Banfield and Aaron Cornelius, both known goalkickers, they boast a potentially lethal offensive line-up.

If they can contain the Saints when they push forward and use it effectively in the other direction, with the home ground advantage, they will win this one.

St Kilda

The Saints come in as the favourites, as on paper they still have the stars that made them once so  great, but with their omissions it may not appear that they have the edge.

With Brendon Goddard already missing due to suspension, Jack Steven will join him on the sidelines after a club-enforced one-week omission due to a drink-driving offence.

With the usual names such as Nick Dal Santo, Lenny Hayes, Leigh Montagna and David Armitage all there, they still have a strong midfield, but whether it is as good as Brisbane’s this week is a larger debate than normal.

Regardless, if they can win the battle through the centre they have the forward line to stretch any defence – Nick Riewoldt is in great form while Justin Koschitzke and Beau Wilkes provide extra tall service.

Adam Schneider, Stephen Milne, Arryn Siposs and Ahmed Saad on the other end of the spectrum as small forwards can all damage as well, and if they do you’d think the Saints would leave Brisbane with the four points.

Players to Watch

Ryan Harwood: After a fantastic game against the Demons, Harwood really does need to back it up with another good performance this Saturday. Against a potent forward line, as one of few small defenders, he has a big task and his output will be vital.

Ben McEvoy: Against an arguably lesser ruckman in Ben Hudson, McEvoy needs to prove his worth by dominating the ruck battle. With a weakened midfield, he needs to give them all the help he can muster.

Prediction

The Saints will go in as favourites, and understandably, given their track record over the season.

However, Brisbane’s line-up impresses me more, and at home and in good form, they should sneak home.

Brisbane by 15 points

Squads:

Brisbane

B: Josh Drummond, Joel Patfull, Ryan Harwood
HB: Elliot Yeo, Matt Maguire, Jed Adcock
C: Pearce Hanley, Daniel Rich, Jack Redden
HF: Jack Crisp, Jonathan Brown, Dayne Zorko
F: James Polkinghorne, Daniel Merrett, Aaron Cornelius
Foll: Ben Hudson, Tom Rockliff, Andrew Raines
I/C: Simon Black, Todd Banfield, Patrick Karnezis, Rohan Bewick
Emg: Amon Buchanan, Claye Beams, Ryan Lester

In: Simon Black, Todd Banfield, Aaron Cornelius, Matt Maguire, Elliot Yeo
Out: Cheynee Stiller, Niall McKeever, Claye Beams, Ryan Lester, Joshua Green

St Kilda

B: Jarryn Geary, Tom Simpkin, James Gwilt
HB: Sean Dempster, Sam Fisher, Sam Gilbert
C: Nick Dal Santo, David Armitage, Beau Wilkes
HF: Ahmed Saad, Nick Riewoldt, Jason Gram
F: Stephen Milne, Justin Koschitzke, Arryn Siposs
Foll: Ben McEvoy, Lenny Hayes, Leigh Montagna
I/C: Clinton Jones, Adam Schneider, Farren Ray, Sam Dunell
Emg: Brett Peake, Jamie Cripps, Daniel Markworth

In: Sam Dunell
Out: Jack Steven (Club Suspension)
New: Sam Dunell (Bendigo Bombers/Old Melburnians)
Milestones: Jason Gram – 150 games