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Round 15 of the AFL saw some exciting matchups, including two top-eight clashes, which didn’t fail to deliver. It proved that the race for the premiership is still wide open and anyone can beat anyone in this league on their day. The was plenty of action all around the country and a big upset down at Etihad Stadium.
We start with the most anticipated game of the round at Spotless Stadium, where we saw the first draw of the season. The GWS Giants 10.8 (68) and the Geelong Cats 10.8 (68) had to share the spoils in what was an extremely tight affair. The Cats had the chance to take all four points with an after-the-siren kick, but unfortunately for Geelong’s Tom Hawkins, it went for a behind, leveling the scores at 68-all. It was a tight angle but close enough to think that he probably should have got it between the sticks. GWS would have been pleased to take something from the game after going into the final quarter trailing by 20. The Giants still maintain their grip at the top of the table, with a number of bookmakers, per Oddschecker, still finding them as 4.75 favourites to take the title.
The big upset of the round happened down in Melbourne, with the Brisbane Lions 13.12 (90) defeating the Essendon Bombers 11.16 (82) in front of a shocked crowd at Etihad Stadium. It was the Lions’ third win of the year and a well-earned victory indeed. They didn’t do it the easy way, however, and came from a 20-point deficit in the final quarter to leave the Bombers absolutely shellshocked. The Bombers’ sloppy play ended up being their downfall and they will see that as a massive four points dropped against last place.
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The other top-eight clash saw fourth-placed Port Adelaide Power take on the Richmond Tigers, who were sitting down in sixth. Both teams have been in good form recently and this was a highly anticipated match. The Tigers 11.10 (76) proved too strong for the Power 8.15 (63) and took the points as well as overtaking them on the ladder. This sees Port once again go down to a finals-challenging team and are still yet to get a victory in any of their top-eight matches this season. It was a big loss for the Power and they definitely squandered a great opportunity to cement their place in the top four. Adelaide’s coach Ken Hinkley said after the match: “Our conversion tonight was our biggest issue.”
The Sydney Swans have continued their impressive run of form, taking their fourth win in a row after overcoming the Melbourne Demons on Friday night. The Swans 11.19 (85) were too good for the Demons 7.8 (50) in what was a fairly easy victory for the Sydney team. The win saw them jump into the top eight and it appears that the Swans have finally got their season back on track after starting the year with six straight losses. There was also an ugly behind-play hit on Callum Mills from Melbourne’s Tomas Bugg, which left the young Sydney midfielder with a concussion. Bugg was referred to the tribunal where he copped a 6 week suspension.
At the MCG, we saw the Carlton Blues taking on the Adelaide Crows in what was a tightly contested affair. The gutsy Crows 13.11 (89) eventually proved too good for the Blues 12.5 (77) in a match that the Melbourne outfit will be disappointed to not have taken anything from. The final quarter was heartbreak for the Blues after they came from 17 points behind to take the lead and then fall short so close to the final buzzer. Adelaide getting two quick goals right at the death saw them snatch the victory from a gallant Blues outfit and leave the dedicated Carlton supporters wondering what might have been.
In other matches, the West Coast Eagles 12.15 (87) were too good for the Western Bulldogs 11.14 (80), Hawthorn 18.10 (118) defeated Collingwood 14.10 (94), and St Kilda 12.17 (89) outclassed the Fremantle Dockers 12.8 (80) over in Perth.
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