HIGHLIGHTS FROM ROUND 18 IN THE AFL
THEY SAID IT: “It is a devastating night for many reasons … It’s a traumatic night and it’ll test us,” Western Bulldogs coach Luke Beveridge talks about how upset his players are after Mitch Wallis suffered a broken leg during Saturday’s loss to St Kilda.
STATS THAT MATTER: 66-37. That was the inside-50 count won by Melbourne, who dominated all the key statistics but fell six points short of West Coast in Perth. It is just the fourth time since 1998 that a side has been belted so comprehensively in inside-50s but won.
MAN OF THE ROUND: Sam Menegola. Tallied 26 possessions on debut to help Geelong record a 30-point win over Adelaide. The 24-year-old was forced to wait a long time for his chance, having previously been on the rookie list of Hawthorn and Fremantle.
KEY MOMENT: Callum Mills claims an intercept mark in the final minute of a tight clash at the SCG. The youngster helps run down the clock – something Sydney haven’t excelled at this year – to ensure the Swans record a six-point win and survive an almighty scare from Carlton.
TALKING POINT: Hawthorn’s homesick speedster Brad Hill flew to Perth and had a meeting with Fremantle coach Ross Lyon last week. The Hawks were aware and had no issue, which was in sharp contrast with Lin Jong’s visit to Collingwood earlier this year. How much AFL culture has changed when it comes to players seeking a change of clubs.
TRIBUNAL WATCH: The match review panel will closely examine a feisty Friday night clash between Collingwood and North Melbourne. Travis Varcoe could be in trouble for a jumper punch, while Jesse White could be in trouble for an off-the-ball hit on Jack Ziebell.
KEY INJURIES: B Sinclair (Collingwood, concussion), M Rosa (Gold Coast, hamstring), C Curnow (Carlton, knee), N Jetta (Melbourne, knee), C Cameron (Adelaide, knee), D Talia (Adelaide, hip), T Walker (Adelaide, ankle), D Morris (Western Bulldogs, hamstring), J Redpath (Western Bulldogs, knee), M Wallis (Western Bulldogs, broken leg), J Daniher (Essendon, teeth).
WHAT’S NEXT: Two matches in round 19 will be more meaningful than the rest. Geelong host the Bulldogs on Friday night, while St Kilda’s bid to snatch a spot in the finals will be significantly bolstered if they can defeat North Melbourne on Saturday. Plenty of players will celebrate milestones, none more astonishing than the AFL games record that will be claimed by Brent Harvey.