The highlight of round 15 was certainly the clash at the MCG between ladder leaders Collingwood and the Adelaide Crows in the early Sunday afternoon time slot.
At the half time break, the visitors were 27 points down, before an amazing seven-goal run gave the Crows a 13-point lead at lemons.
The final quarter gave the contest a thrilling climax, with Collingwood holding on for yet another heart stopping victory, 12.10 (82) to 11.14 (80).
Siblings Nick and Josh Daicos with an amazing 70 possessions between them were again outstanding for the Magpies as were the senior pros, Tom Mitchell and Scott Pendlebury.
Broken Hill’s own Taylor Walker sprang to life with five second-half goals, while Crows’ captain Jordan Dawson was inspirational in his one hundredth AFL game. Rory Laird was busy as usual.
Stewart Dew and the Gold Coast Suns returned to the winners list and quelled media speculation, defeating the developing Hawthorn side by over 11 goals. Having 31 scoring shots and kicking 14.17 (101) to 5.4 (34), this was after conceding the first three goals of the contest.
Second generation AFL player Noah Anderson was potent with 28 disposals and two goals, with Brayden Fiorini, Ben Ainsworth and Wil Powell all standing up for the hosts at Heritage Bank Stadium. Small forward Malcolm Rosas Junior led the way on the scoreboard with three goals in the win.
Lean and lissom SA lad Will Day was the Hawks’ best, followed by Blake Hardwick, who garnered a match high 38 possessions, and Jarman Impey.
In the Thursday night fixture, Geelong served notice they are capable of shaking up the competition, with a come-from-behind 15 points win over 2021 premiers Melbourne.
Minus superstar Jeremy Cameron, who was taken out by ‘friendly fire’ early in the game, the Cats kicked 6.2 in the final quarter to win 11.12 (78) to 8.15 (63).
The culprit of Cameron’s demise, Gary Rowan, kicked three goals and was high in the best players in the win, along with Tom Stewart, Brad Close and Tanner Bruhn.
Melbourne has the four leading possession winners on the ground, starting with their best player Christian Petracca, who secured 33 touches. Jack Viney, Trent Rivers and Angus Bradshaw also captured 25 disposals.
On Friday night at Marvel Stadium the Brisbane Lions showed they are contenders, with a 28-point win over the Saints
After Danny Frawley was remembered in an emotional pre-game tribute, the Lions went to work, leading at each break and winning 12.12 (84) to 8.8 (56).
Harris Andrews was a rock in defence, while Eric Hipwood was a key target in attack with four goals. Around the ball the ‘Kid from Kybybolite’ Lachie Neale, and Andrew Dunkley, racked up 55 possessions between them.
For the Saints, who are still currently fifth, Jack Sinclair had a game high 36 disposals, Mason Wood was productive and Nasiah Wanganeen-Milera continues his stellar second year form.
In the first game of Saturday, the middle of the road Sydney Swans delivered a 171-point thrashing to the West Coast Eagles, the fourth highest losing margin in VFL/AFL history.
Kicking 31.19 (205) to 5.4 (34), Sydney had 12 separate goal kickers with Isaac Heeney leading the way with five, while Logan McDonald and Joel Amartey both slotted through four. Chad Warner led the possession count with 33, while Errol Gulden was just behind on 32.
Luke Shuey and Tim Kelly were gallant for the hapless Eagles.
At home on Saturday evening the Fremantle Dockers had an important win over Essendon, which keeps them in touch, only percentage outside the top eight. They defeated the Bombers 14.9 (93) to 9.7 (61), taking control of the game in the second term.
Caleb Serong continues his great season, while athletic big man Luke Jackson added to his personal effort with three goals. Skipper Alex Pearce who was strong defensively, with Andrew Brayshaw and Liam Henry were noteworthy as well.
Better players for the men with the red sash were Josh Merrett, Nic Martin and Ben Hobbs.
Another six teams had byes on the weekend – Carlton, North Melbourne, Western Bulldogs, Port Adelaide, the GWS Giants, and Richmond.