AFL Hot Topics: Carlton spoils Leon’s party as Gold Coast does the unthinkable
Gold Coast were the surprise package of the round, beating a Fremantle side who had lost just one game for the season.
In a miserable day at Metricon Stadium, the Suns made the most of the Dockers’ day and won by 36 points.
The Blues ruined Leon Cameron’s starting gift by beating the Giants by five goals. Michael Voss’ men have now established themselves as a true top four side and look set for a great second half of the year.
As reigning premiers and leaders in the standings, Melbourne handled a decimated West Coast lineup in the west, beating the struggling side by 74 points.
Suns shock Fremantle
In what was to be one-sided with 2nd-placed Fremantle coming against 13th-placed Gold Coast at Metricon Stadium, some bettors had an idea the Suns might be up to the job.
However, what happened on Sunday afternoon, no one predicted. In a wet weather affair, Gold Coast stunned the footballing world with their six-goal thrashing of Dockers, and perhaps established themselves as genuine contenders for the final.
Led by co-captains Touk Miller and Jarrod Witts, the Suns were flawless against the purple haze, limiting the dangerous team to four goals while racking up 10 themselves.
Since their introduction to the AFL, Gold Coast have been attracting spectators, with hopes that the first of two expansion clubs will progress to the final, after GWS rose through the ranks in quick succession.
The Suns have faced the top six teams through the first nine rounds, sitting 3-3 in those games and look set to have a chance in September 2022.
Dominate Docker in vain
Gold Coast’s stunning victory over Dockers left their jaws wide open, with the second team disappointed in their efforts.
However, in many key stats, Fremantle was well ahead, but would fall short where it mattered most.
The Dockers had 65 balls in 50-for-36, as they had 40 more possessions and more tackles for the game against their opponent.
Justin Longmuir’s men also went to 32.3% efficiency inside 50, well below their average for the season so far.
It now seems clear that Fremantle can become complacent, with their forward line looking lackluster. Their front six combined for three goals and struggled to close to their best, in what was a tough day for the footy.
The Dockers have Melbourne and Brisbane in the next three weeks and can’t afford to play the way they did against the Suns.
Carlton doesn’t need McKay yet
Starting the game as underdogs, the Blues traveled to Giants Stadium hoping to ruin Leon Cameron’s going away party and keep their season on track.
In a forward line without McKay, Charlie Curnow and Jack Silvagni were expected to step in and fill the void, as medalist Coleman will be out for the next five weeks.
The duo kicked twice each while combining for 14 scoring appearances, which proved too much for the Giants defense to handle.
The attacking pair were also aided by eight other goal kickers, indicating Carlton’s ability to find different avenues to score in an impressive game.
The Blues come up against Sydney and rivals Collingwood before heading for the afterlife, and will see both games as an opportunity to place themselves just below Melbourne and Brisbane.
The Giants couldn’t do it for Leon
Starting out as the Giants’ head coach, Leon Cameron informed the AFL world that his last game would be against the Blues.
Attempting to appeal to the romantic side of football and send Cameron off with a win, the Giants were in the competition until three-quarters of the time, trailing by six points.
Unfortunately, they weren’t able to claw back the margin and snatch victory from an impressive Carlton side.
In many ways it was disappointing to see, with many giant stars not at their best, including Lachie Whitfield and Toby Greene.
The Blues dominated in all key aspects of the game, including possession, contested possession, 50 seconds and clearances, in what was ultimately a one-sided affair.
Melbourne still in second gear
Going 9-0 to start 2022, the Demons took care of the West Coast in the west, beating the struggling team by 74 points.
In a flawless start to the season, Melbourne didn’t skimp on second gear, doing enough to beat teams and put them away, leaving no hope of a comeback.
The Demons limited the Eagles to just one goal in the first half, while racking up seven and it could have been worse.
Led by Christian Petracca, who threw 2.4, Melbourne crushed the West Coast in every way imaginable, scoring 32 times at 13 and topping all the stats.
The Demons have struck fear into the competition, with their system in place and stars all over the field, making the tough proposition of defeating them that much harder.
Looks like it’s gonna get worse before it gets better for the Eagles
2022 is not the year of the Eagle, with the West Coast being treated and the wrong hand of injuries and the implications of COVID-19 seeing most of their top 22 sit out each week.
Captain Luke Shuey is the tip of the iceberg of players currently missing, with Elliot Yeo, Nic Naitanui and Shannon Hurn among the long list of valuable withdrawals for the club.
The Eagles were forced to turn to WAFL players who desperately needed extra players while Adam Simpson’s patience could run out with the team showing little to no improvement.
Since their audacious and impressive win over Collingwood in the fourth round, the West Coast have dropped an average of 81 points and look almost defeated at the start of the game.
Admittedly a tough season for the Eagles, they just have to put in the effort in the games because for the rest of the year they are not expected to win.