The Melbourne Demons remain the only unbeaten team in the AFL after a tough win over the Sydney Swans at the MCG.
- Melbourne stayed unbeaten after eight rounds for the first time since 1955 with a tough win over Sydney at the MCG
- Port Adelaide consolidated a spot in the top four with a win over the Crows, while the Giants and Saints also scored victories
- Collingwood eased some of the pressure on coach Nathan Buckley with a win over North Melbourne
In the Showdown at Adelaide Oval, Port Adelaide were convincing winners over cross-town rivals Adelaide by 49 points.
Earlier, Collingwood comfortably defeated North Melbourne at Docklands, and GWS and St Kilda earned narrow wins over Essendon and Gold Coast respectively.
It was not pretty but Melbourne have kept their unbeaten start to the AFL season alive, grinding their way past a determined Sydney at the MCG.
Demons on-baller Clayton Oliver won a game-high 35 disposals and 10 clearances in the dour slugfest, as new key forward pairing Ben Brown (three) and Tom McDonald (four) combined for seven goals.
The 10.7 (67) to 8.10 (58) win on Saturday night ensured the Dees moved to an 8-0 record for the first time in 56 years and maintained top spot on the ladder.
Christian Petracca (28 disposals), Christian Salem (27) and James Harmes (30) were all important contributors for Simon Goodwin’s side.
Sydney veteran Lance Franklin returned earlier than initially expected from a knee injury and set foot on the MCG for the first time in almost three years, but did not look his usual self.
The star forward lacked his trademark explosive power and was held goalless by All-Australian candidate Steven May from six just disposals after an early set shot from 52m fell short.
May led a resolute Demons defence but will be scrutinised for a bump on Franklin in the first term, when his elbow hit the Swan’s shoulder and slid up to make high contact.
Franklin hit the turf but did not appear seriously troubled by the glancing blow.
Sydney’s interrupted preparation due to coronavirus issues in their home city did not seem to have much of an effect as they kicked the opening two goals of the match.
They got the first through Justin McInerney inside a minute, but lacked a reliable key target close to goal with Franklin blanketed by May.
Both sides were guilty of slow ball movement as Oliver’s 18 disposals and five clearances helped Melbourne head to the main break with an 11-point lead.
Three times Sydney got within a goal during a second half of swinging momentum before McDonald’s huge pack mark and fourth goal in the final term gave the Demons breathing space once and for all.
Callum Mills (33 disposals) was one of the Swans’ best in his 100th game with Luke Parker (32) and Jake Lloyd (28) also busy.
Melbourne can extend their winning streak to nine matches against Carlton at the MCG next week, while Sydney host Collingwood at the SCG.
Port Adelaide vs Adelaide Crows
Port Adelaide ruckman Scott Lycett faces suspension for a sling tackle in his AFL side’s 49-point trouncing of an injury-hit Adelaide.
Forward Todd Marshall booted three goals in Port’s 12.15 (87) to 5.8 (38) win in Saturday night’s grudge match at Adelaide Oval.
But Lycett is in tribunal trouble for a dangerous sling tackle which concussed Adelaide’s Ned McHenry in the first quarter.
The Crows lost McHenry and fellow small forward Lachlan Murphy (ankle) inside 22 minutes of the game.
And Port’s prolific ball-winner Dan Houston was subbed out with a shoulder injury in the third term.
Premiership fancies Port were largely untroubled by last year’s wooden-spooners, with Marshall’s scoring supported by two goals each to Charlie Dixon and Mitch Georgiades.
Celebrated Port trio Travis Boak, Robbie Gray and Ollie Wines and winger Karl Amon were all influential in slippery conditions.
Boak gathered 28 disposals and six clearances while Gray (26 touches), Wines (24) and Amon (27) found plenty of the ball.
Port’s defence ruled supreme with recruit Aliir Aliir (nine marks) and Todd Clurey blanketing a goal-less Taylor Walker for the Crows, whose only multiple goal-scorer was third-gamer Riley Thilthorpe (two goals).
Adelaide’s Paul Seedsman (29 disposals, nine inside 50s) and Rory Laird (36 touches) battled against the tide after Adelaide’s two early injuries.
McHenry wobbled off in the 12th minute after being slung by Lycett and just 10 minutes later Murphy’s right ankle horribly twisted in a marking contest.
Four minutes on, Crows captain Rory Sloane, making his comeback from a four-game absence following surgery to fix a detached retina in his left eye, departed the field with a nasty cut above the same eye – but he returned to action.
Port led 2.4 to 1.0 at quarter-time and created a 21-point lead midway through the second stanza before Adelaide rallied, only to be cruelled by missing three late goal chances.
The Power were 20 points up at half-time with the Crows scoring just one goal – from a first-term free kick to Jimmy Rowe – in the half.
Adelaide showed some pluck to sneak within 13 points some 10 minutes into the third term but it was the closest they got thereafter.
Port overcame Houston’s injury to score four of the last five goals for the term to hold a defining 35-point lead at three-quarter-time.
The Power then booted three goals to one in the last term while restricting the Crows to their second-lowest score against Port, just surpassing their 5.5 (35) when beaten by 75 points last year.
Win over North a relief for Magpies
Collingwood has snapped a five-game AFL losing streak, downing winless North Melbourne by 18 points to take some heat off under-pressure coach Nathan Buckley.
Only a victory at Docklands on Saturday was going to suffice, and despite a productive burst from North early in the third quarter, the Magpies never looked in danger of losing.
Talismanic forward Jordan De Goey recaptured his best form, setting the tone for the Magpies’ second win of the season with four first-half goals to finish with a career-best 6.3.
Collingwood’s four-goal run late in the second quarter, which set-up a 30-point half-time lead, was the difference as the Magpies did enough to win 14.10 (94) to 11.10 (76).
North won the inside-50 count 55-52, even dominating possession in the final quarter, but let the Magpies off the hook with numerous wasted opportunities in front of goal.
After three games up forward, Darcy Moore was thrown back and the All-Australian defender had a field day bringing down a career-high 19 marks and gathering 28 disposals.
Darcy Cameron (three goals) and Brody Mihocek (two), as well as a two-goal cameo from captain Scott Pendlebury, ensured the Magpies still had enough forward threats to win the game.
Former Collingwood forward Jaidyn Stephenson kicked 2.2 in his first game against his old club but also produced a diabolical turnover that resulted in a crucial Magpies goal in the third term.
North coach David Noble was upstaged by his son — Magpies defender John — with the pair becoming only the third father-son duo in VFL/AFL history to compete against each other.
Both sides experienced injury concerns, with Kangaroos defender Aiden Bonar subbed out in the third quarter with an ankle injury, while Magpies full-back Jordan Roughead was assessed for concussion.
North captain Jack Ziebell headed down to the rooms in the last quarter with a suspected shoulder injury.
The Kangaroos have now lost 16 games in a row, dating back to round 10 last year — their worst winless streak since 1971-72.
The result sees Collingwood jump ahead of Hawthorn on the ladder into 16th, while North sit in 18th, two games and significant percentage behind the Hawks.
Giants keep climbing with narrow Dons win
GWS has pipped Essendon by two points at Giants Stadium, where Kyle Langford threatened to snatch victory after kicking two goals in the final two minutes of a dramatic AFL clash.
The Giants started strongly, steadied after a second-quarter slump then held on during a frantic goal-laden finish to triumph 16.11 (107) to 16.9 (105), making it four wins in five weeks for Leon Cameron’s side.
Essendon led briefly after Peter Wright booted an opening-minute goal then conceded six consecutive majors as they struggled to deal with the home side’s rapid ball movement.
The Bombers, having woken up at dawn to ensure they could fly in and out of Sydney on the same day because of the city’s recent COVID-19 cases, responded with multiple epic comebacks.
The visitors, who were forced to substitute star Jake Stringer in the third quarter because of a leg injury, finished strongly and kicked four of the game’s final five goals.
But they ran out of time, with Langford’s third of the game coming with just four seconds remaining in the match.
A contentious umpiring call to not award key forward Cale Hooker a free kick in the final stages is already being hotly debated among pundits.
Langford also trimmed GWS’s buffer to two points with two minutes remaining, only for GWS midfielder Jacob Hopper to nail a snapped goal that effectively secured the four competition points.
Jeremy Finlayson proved sinner and saviour for the home side.
He supplied two steadying goals in a dominant third term, stepping up alongside Toby Greene.
Finalyson’s composed third quarter was in sharp contrast to his undisciplined elbow in the first quarter.
The key forward was reported for felling Zach Merrett after the midfielder kicked the ball, meaning he is at risk of missing the Giants’ round-nine clash with Richmond at Docklands.
“One week for dumbness,” Gerard Healy quipped in the Fox Sports commentary box.
Stand-in skipper Greene had a hand or foot in the majority of his side’s most impressive moments, teeing up a couple of goals and kicking two himself.
Veteran Callan Ward also starred on the day he became GWS’s all-time games record holder, while defender Sam Taylor’s game-high 12 intercepts were also decisive.
GWS midfielders Ward, Tim Taranto, Josh Kelly and Tom Green tallied a combined 110 disposals, while Essendon on-ballers Merrett and Darcy Parish were also dominant.
Saints late run eclipses Suns at Carrara
St Kilda have extended their dominance over Gold Coast Suns with a gutsy nine-point AFL win at Carrara, launching a final term comeback after a half-time melee.
The Saints sealed back-to -back wins with the 8.15 (63) to 7.12 (54) result, registering their fifth straight victory over the Suns to maintain a winning run that stretches back to 2016.
The visitors outlasted the Suns, reeling in a 15-point final-term deficit to keep themselves in touch with the top eight with a 4-4 record.
After holding a three-point lead in the third term, the Saints did not get in front again until Paddy Ryder kicked truly midway through the final quarter to give the visitors a 57-53 advantage and set the stage for a thrilling finish.
In the end the Saints held on after launching a final-term resurgence with goals by Jack Billings, Jack Higgins, Ryder and Brad Crouch.
It was a memorable end to a game marred by a fracas after the half-time siren.
As the dust settled on a scrappy first half, frustrations appeared to boil over when Saints ruckman Ryder floored Sam Collins.
It escalated quickly after Gold Coast’s 100-game milestone man Sean Lemmens crash tackled Dan Butler, with every player except Saint Jack Higgins at one stage involved in the resulting fracas.
Both teams face a nervous wait to see whether they will cop fines for the drama, in which Collins and Saints’ Zac Jones featured heavily.
It was yet another nail-biter between the two sides with St Kilda notching their fifth successive victory by nine points or fewer against the Queensland club.
St Kilda would have been backing themselves to extend their dominance over the Suns after making just one change to the line-up that thrashed Hawthorn last round, with Mason Wood coming in for Seb Ross who was a late withdrawal after his wife gave birth to twins on Friday.
However they appeared on the back foot from the outset in a scrappy first term in which Ben King kicked the only major to give the hosts a 10-3 buffer at the opening interval.
The game was locked up at 3.7 (25) to 3.7 (25) at the main break before the visitors grabbed the lead early in the third 35-32.
However, Gold Coast hit back with goals by Josh Corbett, Nick Holman and Lachie Weller to grab a 7.9 (51) to 4.12 (36) buffer at the final interval.
For St Kilda, Crouch and Jones had 30 touches each while Billings kicked two goals and had 25 disposals.
For Gold Coast (3-5 record), King won the family battle with his twin — Saints forward Max — scoring three goals to his brother’s one in only his second game against his sibling.
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