Thursday night football continues, with round 14 of the AFL seeing Port Adelaide produce a potent display against reigning premier, Geelong, winning an eleventh successive match and further propelling their credentials at a true premiership contender in 2023.
The Power were tested by the Cats in the third quarter, then rose to the challenge, winning by 38 points.
Dan Houston, “the Bull” Sam Powell-Pepper, Connor Rozee and Zak Butter were electrifying, while up forward Todd Marshall (three) and Jeremy Finlayson (four) kicked seven goals between them in Port 16.10 (106) to 11.6 (72) win.
Gary Rohan was spectacular at times for the visitors, with former Crow and now Cats skipper Patrick Dangerfield going to hospital post game with a cracked rib, and lung issues.
Not as emphatic as expected, grinding out a 16-point win over Sydney at the Gabba on Friday night, the Brisbane Lions got up 13.19 (97) to 12.9 (81) in the end, despite problems with accuracy, especially in the second half.
Northern Territory product and Adelaide educated Zac Bailey kicked 2.3 from his 26 disposals to add some dash to a contest that was often tight and congested.
Other Lions who took the eye included Lachie Neale and Josh Dunkley around the ball, while Keidean Coleman rebounded strong from defence.
Luke Parker worked hard in the traditional Bloods’ spirit, finishing with 26 disposals and 11 tackles, while Nick Blakey is following in his father footsteps, becoming an accomplished AFL player. Sydney small forward Sam Wicks will come under scrutiny for a second-quarter incident.
In the first of the Saturday games, Greater Western Sydney delivered a 70 points shellacking to Fremantle at Giants stadium.
Already five goals up at half time, the Giants inflicted a 16.10 (106) to 5.6 (36) hiding. Jake Riccardi stood up with five goals, while mercurial captain Toby Greene chimed in with four, and running machine Josh Kelly was best on ground with 33 disposals and three goals after a couple of weeks on the sidelines with injury.
Of the Fremantle players, Caleb Serong was gallant with 32 possessions, while Jordan Clark and Andrew Brayshaw had their moments.
Saturday night was all about Richmond’s sixth person to reach 300 VFL/AFL games, Trent Cotchin. He joined Jack Dyer, Kevin Bartlett, Francis Bourke, Jack Riewoldt and Shane Edwards in that club and his team mates didn’t let him down in his milestone match, defeating St Kilda at the MCG.
Cotchin was impressive, having 19 of his 29 touches in the first half, while Tim Taranto was relentless and triple Norm Smith Medallist Dusty Martin returned to career best form.
Jack Sinclair and former Crow Brad Crouch found plenty of the ball for the Saints, while Dan Butler equaled Shai Bolton’s match high effort of three goals.
Seen as slight underdogs going into their match with the Gold Coast Suns, Carlton, coming off a horror two months, engineered their second biggest victory for the season (they’ve only beaten West Coast by more), defeated their more fancied opponents by large 59-point margin.
The MCG scoreboard on Sunday afternoon read after the final siren Carlton 18.12 (120) to Gold Coast 8.13 (61). This was after the Blues could only manage six goals in each of their past three games. Carlton were already seven and a half goals up at half time.
Both the much-maligned Harry McKay and skipper Jason Cripps kicked three goals each for the winners, while Adam Cerra, resolute and rebounding defender Jacob Weitering, along with Sam Docherty, were all key components in the win.
Just when Gold Coast looked like they were going to be in the finals mix, they produced a modest performance like this. Ben Ainsworth, Noah Anderson and Charlie Ballard in defence were the better performers for the Suns.
In the final game of the weekend, the Western Bulldogs fought off a spirited North Melbourne effort, winning by 21 points, 15.15 (105) to 13.6 (84).
The Roos started well, leading at quarter time by 14 points and there was only a goal in the game at half time. Sprightly small forward, jack-in-the-box Cody Weightman celebrated his fiftieth game with a huge mark and a five-goal haul, while Adam Treloar, Marcus Bontempelli (three goals) and Tom Liberatore were all productive in the victory.
Rookie Harry Sheezel was again a stand out for the young Kangaroos, while Will Phillips, veteran big man Todd Goldstein and Ben McKay were strong in this game.
Adelaide, Collingwood, Essendon, Hawthorn, Melbourne and West Coast all had byes.