HIGHLIGHTS FROM ROUND NINE IN THE AFL
THEY SAID IT: “Yeah look I can believe it. It’s just our annus horribilis isn’t it? A terrible year.” – Fremantle coach Ross Lyon lamenting a horror injury list and a 0-9 start to the season.
STATS THAT MATTER: Thirty-nine possessions. A career-high tally for returning Richmond skipper Trent Cotchin, who was a dominant figure in the Tigers’ 38-point victory over the Dockers after two weeks out with a fractured cheekbone.
MAN OF THE ROUND: Collingwood had several heroes in their upset win over Geelong, but none played a bigger role than ball magnet Steele Sidebottom, now rightly ensconced among the AFL’s midfield elite.
KEY MOMENT: Goals were at a premium in Friday night’s heavyweight Hawthorn v Sydney showdown at the MCG which only made Lance Franklin’s two long-range bombs in the final term even more vital as the Swans got up by 14 points.
TALKING POINT: Fremantle’s Lee Spurr and Brisbane’s Pearce Hanley both conceded goals after being pinged for deliberately rushing a behind. Consider it a shot across the bows for defenders, as AFL football boss Mark Evans has already flagged the likelihood of the rule being tightened further next year.
TRIBUNAL WATCH: Port Adelaide defender Tom Jonas will almost certainly be sent straight to the tribunal and be slugged with a long ban for his crude elbow to the back of Andrew Gaff’s head. His Power teammate Robbie Gray has also been booked for tripping Mark Le Cras. Bulldogs midfielder Lin Jong was reported for a high bump which ended concussed GWS defender Matt Buntine’s involvement in Sunday’s match at Spotless Stadium.
KEY INJURIES: Ted Richards (Syd, concussion), Callum Ah Chee (GC, concussion) Darcy MacPherson (GC, knee), Andrew Gaff (WC, concussion), Hamish Hartlett (PA, shoulder, corked thigh), Alex Pearce (Fre, broken leg), David Mundy (Fre, calf), Matt Buntine (GWS, concussion), Tim Mohr (GWS, hamstring).
WHAT’S NEXT: Sydney host ladder leaders North Melbourne in a huge Friday night clash at the MCG, while Adelaide take on GWS in another top eight-shaping encounter at Adelaide Oval on Saturday night.