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  • Writer's pictureJack Turner

AFL - Round Fifteen

What started as a chore at work, and became a weekly hobby; It's The Weekly Turnaround!

Richmond vs Sydney Swans

This last year has been a weird time to be alive. Not only are Richmond not a joke of a football club, but they're the reigning premiers, and don't look like being beaten in Melbourne. I'm not sure it's a world I'm comfortable living in. I much prefer the Richmond that lost a final to a team that finished 9th. This was, like many games against Richmond this year, a very close encounter until the last quarter, and when Buddy Franklin kicked a goal within the first minute of the last quarter, it looked like it could be anyone's game. However that was Sydney's swan song, as the Tigers kicked the only three goals of the game after that, to put it beyond doubt and to cement themselves atop the ladder. Possibly the most interesting thing to come out of this game was the terrible decisions by the Match Review Officer, especially with Franklin and Cotchin not even getting a week. It seems the only thing certain this year is the inconsistency of Michael Christian.

Western Bulldogs vs Geelong Cats

"Tell me where it hurts," says my doctor, as I blink back tears.

"Right here," I say, pointing at a photo of Harry Taylor, "It hurts really bad right here,"

It may not have been raining Cats and Dogs under the roof of Etihad Stadium, but it certainly was raining goals, with Geelong conceding 100 points for the first time since round two. And here I was hoping to get through the weekend without having a beer, but oh no, Harry Taylor just had to miss a relatively simple shot after the siren for the doggies to cling onto the win.

If the last two weeks are anything to go by, the bulldogs seem to have suddenly gotten over their hangover and are back to work. I know the feeling, however for me it happens sometime around midday on a Sunday, and not almost two years later. After this result, I may be hungover for the next two years.

Carlton vs Port Adelaide

The Carlton football club seem to have a superhuman ability to play three good quarters against quality opposition, and then totally phone it in against the poorer teams. Coming fresh off pushing Collingwood all the way last week, Carlton almost gave Port a bad case of the Blues, wrestling their way back to just two points down at the final change, even fighting back after two in a minute from Robbie Gray seemed to give Port the ascendancy. However four goals straight to start the final term sealed the game for the more experienced Port Adelaide team, with unfortunately no fairy tale for Kade Simpson, one of the true Gentlemen of the game. The win puts Port within striking distance of the top four, giving us possibilities of Port, West Coast and Collingwood all making it, which would be somewhat bizarre.

Adelaide Crows vs West Coast Eagles

Just when you thought we were watching an incredibly exciting round of high quality football, Adelaide and West Coast came along to remind us just how poor quality football can be, with each team seemingly fighting to see who could be the worse of the two in the first half. The game seemed to be over in the third quarter, with the Eagles blasting out to a 27 point lead, and looking to improve their great record at Adelaide Oval, however they proved that an Eagles side without Kennedy or Darling can lose from any position, relinquishing that lead, and allowing the Crows to escape with a ten point win, remarkably keeping them in touch with the final 8, with some important players coming back from injury just at the right time of year. This season is strange and I won't pretend to understand it.

Gold Coast Suns vs Collingwood

If you watched this game you clearly hate yourself as much as I do. There was another perfectly good game of football on, and you had no reason to watch the replay if you saw the scores. I however suffered, so that you don't have to. Gold Coast, much like last week, did a pretty good impression of an AFL team in the first quarter, leading for most of it, and only trailing by one at the first change, but then Collingwood remembered who they were playing, and powered on, kicking nine goals to one across a quarter and a bit. Gold Coast, to their credit, showed some fight from there on, but that could possibly have been attributed to Collingwood's realising they had the game well and truly won. While they now sit in second, which is a terrifying concept, they still have only beaten one top 8 team, and that was Melbourne, who themselves have not beaten a current top 8 team. I've opened the bunker, but I'm not ready to climb in yet. All may be okay.

GWS Giants vs Hawthorn

This game was such a coin toss, that I watched the first quarter believing that I had tipped Hawthorn, before checking and realising that I had picked the Giants, which made me much calmer, considering at the time the Giants had kicked five goals to the Hawks one. Greatly missing Jeremy Cameron's elbow in their forward line, the Giants kept Hawthorn in the game with errant kicking with the final eleven point margin actually being the eleven more behinds they had kicked. A scary thought for Victorian media, and a wet dream for AFL HQ is that the Giants are starting to look good at the right time of year, and are back in the top 8, as they start to get players back from injury. Luckily for them Jake Carlisle dropped that mark back in round five, meaning the draw they were gifted makes up for the percentage they don't have. Luckily for everyone else, this game makes it much harder for Hawthorn to make the top 8.

Melbourne vs St Kilda

I'm still not sure I've recovered from the outcome of this game. I need to send St Kilda a bouquet of roses for keeping Geelong in touch with the 8. On paper, this looked like a surefire big Melbourne win. If there's anything they've been good at this year, it's kicking very high scores against teams with no hope of making the finals - which, to their credit, they did, they just allowed St Kilda to kick an even higher one, which I'm told is never a very good game plan. This was an enthralling, fast paced game of football, which remarkably took no rule changes from the AFL to occur. St Kilda seemed to have the game all wrapped up at three quarter time, before the Demons made one late charge, falling just two points short. It was very nice to see it happen to another team this week too. Melbourne, after being touted as a flag fancy just weeks ago are now in threat of dropping out of the eight - a feeling that must be all too familiar for Dees fans.

Essendon vs North Melbourne

I don't know how many teams I can afford to send gifts on behalf of Geelong, so maybe this time I'll just send my thanks. This game was again a very high scoring affair in the highest scoring weekend of footy this year, and it looked like it was going to be one for the ages, before Essendon kicked seven unanswered goals. The Kangaroos mounted a solid response, but this game finished much like it seems their season is going to - just short. The terrifying thing here is it seems like since losing to Carlton, Essendon are capable of beating anyone other than Richmond. They have a speed and pressure that rivals almost anyone in the competition. For North Melbourne, with every passing week, it looks like they should start finding something to do in September that doesn't involve football, because there's a good chance they won't be there.

Fremantle vs Brisbane Lions

With Sandilands missing, and Fyfe ruled out with a hamstring injury by half time, this was never going to be easy, but I still don't believe just how badly it went. Now Brisbane, who I openly admit my love for, played their typical brand of exciting footy, but even the negative Ross Lyon, and the usual Perth umpiring couldn't find a way to stop them from kicking almost twenty goals. The Lions have now moved themselves away from Carlton, who now dwell alone at the bottom of the ladder, and it's probably only fair that they had another win, and they can now join Sydney, Essendon and North Melbourne in saying that they are undefeated at Optus Stadium, which is looking like less of a fortress as the season goes on.

The ladder now sits with only three games between second and twelfth in what has been a remarkable season, and realistically the bottom six are the only sides that can be written off entirely. God I love football

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