Fremantle finally ended a run of eleven straight Western Derby losses and boosted their chances of playing finals while denting arch-rivals West Coast’s, in the process, as they held out for a famous victory in front of a crowd of 51,692 at Optus Stadium.
Both sides will go into the final round of the regular season knowing, to have any chance, that they have to win their own matches and hope other results go their way.
Dockers coach Justin Longmuir insists that his side must remain focused; he said “We always dare to dream but we need to look after our own business. We have sometimes been distracted by outcomes and finals positions, outside noise and that has taken us away from our preparation. We got the mix right this week and we need to do the same next week.”
Greater Western Sydney took a giant step towards being involved next month and have it firmly in their own hands after knocking over current Premiers Richmond.
Forward Tim Taranto stepped up in the absence of Toby Greene, who lost his appeal against a one-match suspension on Thursday, by booting four snags.
Josh Kelly put pen to paper on a mega eight-year deal, which will tie him at the club to the end of the decade, and he was excellent in the midfield for the Giants.
As for the Tigers, this result officially confirms that there will be no historic third consecutive flag although coach Damien Hardwick was bullish that his side, with a good pre-season behind them, can bounce back and be in contention in 2022.
Bayley Fritsch had a big night out by bagging seven majors for leaders a Melbourne outfit that is now just one game away from a first minor premiership since 1964.
It was a career-best effort by the 24-year-old as the Demons finished strongly to eventually see off the challenge of Adelaide. Key defender Steven May was a late withdrawal, ruled out with soreness, but hopefully will return to the side next week.
At an empty GMBHA Stadium, Geelong needed to overcome yet another slow start before recovering and then going on to get over the line against a plucky St.Kilda.
They welcomed back Jeremy Cameron, following his six-week lay-off with a hamstring issue, and the 28-year-old made an immediate impact with four goals.
There will be no finals for the Saints that will be disappointed to have let this one get away and indeed at their inconsistent form over the campaign which has cost them.
Port Adelaide kept their outside chance of finishing top alive with a monster, percentage boosting 95-point triumph by putting Carlton to the sword at the Oval.
They didn’t have it all their own way in a competitive opening but stepped it up after the main break with no fewer than twelve different scorers getting in on the act.
Not the way that Blues midfielder Marc Murphy would have wanted to sign off in his 300th and final game; earlier in the week, he announced his retirement from AFL.
On the Apple Isle, the Tasmanian public came out in force to show their respect, appreciation and see off Hawthorn outgoing coach Alistair Clarkson in style.
It proved to be the perfect day for the four-time Premiership winner as he watched his players recorded their third straight success and upset the Western Bulldogs.
A damaging result for the Doggies as they now go into the final round knowing they have to get a positive result or else could drop out of the double-chance top four.
That is because they could still be caught by a Brisbane side that kicked their biggest score and victory margin of the year in hammering a disappointing Collingwood.
Charlie Cameron scored an equal career-high six goals for the Lions that seized control of the contest, in the second and never looked back in romping home.
Speaking in the post-match presser, coach Chris Fagan said “I know everyone will be excited we kicked 142 points, but from the coaching group’s perspective our defensive effort tonight was tremendous, particularly after quarter-time.”
He continued “Despite the fact we’ve finished second on the ladder the previous two years, I think our best football this year has been the best football I’ve seen the Lions play over the course of the last three years. If we can reproduce it on a consistent basis, we’re going to give teams a lot of trouble and that’s what’s heartening.”
Sydney might have led for the whole evening but were certainly made to work hard for their 14-point success over a North Melbourne side at the Marvel Stadium.
It might have come at a cost though as they lost both Nick Blakey (ankle) and Josh Kennedy (hamstring) to injury during the game. They will be desperately waiting to see how the duo pulls up over the next few days at such a crucial stage of the year.
Despite a much improved second half of the home and away campaign, this defeat verifies that the Kangaroos will be wooden spooners for the first time since 1972.
Jake Stringer booted five majors as Essendon did what they had to do to move into that all-important top-eight spot after hammering a poor Gold Coast by 68 points.
Speaking post-game to Fox Footy, ‘The Package’ said “It was a great effort. There is a lot to play out over the next couple of weeks but the way this young group just turned up here and got the job done, I was really proud of the effort from the boys.”
On his own form, he added “There is a fair bit of freedom for me which Truck (the coach) and Blako have given me which has got me in a good little period, at the moment, which is nice.”
Round 22 Results
GWS 16.10 (106)
Richmond 10.7 (67)
Hawthorn 9.10 (64)
Western Bulldogs 5.7 (37)
Geelong 13.7 (85)
St.Kilda 11.5 (71)
Port Adelaide 21.14 (140)
Carlton 5.15 (45)
Brisbane 22.10 (142)
Collingwood 8.9 (57)
North Melbourne 12.5 (77)
Sydney 13.13 (91)
Melbourne 16.8 (104)
Adelaide 9.9 (63)
Gold Coast 4.6 (30)
Essendon 14.14 (98)
Fremantle 12.7 (79)
West Coast 9.10 (64)
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