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AFL Round 20: Learned, Liked & Disliked

We are in the home stretch of the 2017 AFL Season, what did we Learn, Like and Dislike from a riveting Round 20?

  1. 1 Learned: Geelong can't win the flag

    After Geelong defeated Adelaide in Round 11, it appeared that the Cats had announced themselves as a serious contender for the 2017 Premiership. Since that night at Simonds Stadium, with four wins from eight games, the team have seen their grip on a Top 4 position seriously weaken.

    On Friday night they faced a red hot Sydney team hell bent on becoming the first team to qualify for the finals after starting the season 0-6. What was expected to be a mouth watering contesting, quickly became one-way traffic as the Swans punished a Dangerfield-less Geelong side.

    With as many as 10 of their best 22 watching from the Grandstand, the depth of the team is being seriously tested. We are learning from their struggles though, that no matter how strong a list, players of the calibre of Joel Selwood, Mark Blicavs, Tom Hawkins and Daniel Menzel are incredibly difficult to cover.

    This week they welcome Richmond to The Cattery and will be hoping that with the return of Patrick Dangerfield, they can rediscover some of their early season form. If they can't, a defeat will leave them with no more room for error if they are to have a double chance come September.

  2. 2 Liked: Jack Billings stands tall

    With his side leading by two points, and with a minute on the clock, Jack Billings was confronted with a tight angle to overcome if he was to secure victory for his team. After another outstanding performance, it was befitting that Billings was afforded the opportunity to be the hero. 

    Having been selected ahead of Marcus Bontempelli in the 2013 Draft, comparisons have been unkind on the 21-year-old. His form in 2017 has gone a long way to silencing the doubters, but having kicked 17.26 this year it doesn’t take much imagination to understand the pressure he was under as he took his shot. 

    Having the presence of mind to milk the clock as long as possible his shot was never in doubt as it sailed over the goal umpires head. After 25 disposals, three marks inside 50, five goal assists and two goals, it was an exclamation mark on another classy performance.

    Honourable Mention 1 - GWS' Orange Wave

    The Giants entered their match against Melbourne, without their 3 leading goal kickers and serious question marks on their premiership credentials. After a slow start to the first quarter, the Giants finished it with a withering burst. In an announcement that the rest of the competition would have received loud and clear, GWS finished the quarter with 8.4 from 16 Inside 50's to set UNSW Canberra Oval alight on chilly day in the nation's capital.

    Honourable Mention 2 - The race for the eight heats up

    The results of the weekend mean that teams five through 11 are separated by just 4 premiership points. This means 5th placed Port Adelaide, could finish in the Top 4 or miss the Eight completely. The way this season has ebbed and flowed, we aren't going to make any kind of prediction as to how it will play out, all we can say is bring on the last three rounds.

    Honourable Mention 3 - Swans Surge

    The Sydney Swans were ominous on the weekend in their demolition of Geelong at Simonds Stadium. After beginning the season at 0-6, they have been nothing short of outstanding. As a result, they have positioned themselves for a serious tilt at the flag and perhaps writing one of the greatest comeback stories in the history of the game.

  3. 3 Disliked - Power Outage

    Port Adelaide have sat in or on the edge of the Top 4 throughout the 2017 season. Faced with an opportunity to test themselves against a quality opponent, in cross-town rival Adelaide, the Power again came up short.

    As awesome as the Crows were, the Power were equally woeful. After consistently coming up short against the stronger teams in the competition, it can be confidently said that their position owes itself more to the quality of the fixture than of their play.

    Dishonourable Mention 1 - Tackle Outrage

    Brodie Grundy's tackle on Ben Brown has again brought the spotlight onto what constitutes an acceptable tackle in today's game. A week after Patrick Dangerfield was suspended for a dangerous tackle, the football world is again joined in outrage over the seeming 'war on the tackle'. With the line in the sand drawn now, let's hope that we can see some consistency from the MRP and the debate can come to an end.

    Dishonourable Mention 2 - Jumper Punches

    After being caught in the initial crackdown on jumper punches a few weeks ago, Tom Hawkins again put himself at the MRP's mercy once again. While we can argue about the severity of Hawkins' strikes till the cows come home, why don't players just stop doing it?

    Dishonourable Mention 3 - Eade the scapegoat

    The glitter strip club has frittered away the same concessions that were afforded fellow expansion team GWS and for this reason they have parted ways with a coach for the second time. The club's inability to maximise the advantages granted to it and a mounting injury list, not enough to save the veteran coach from the guillotine. With the scalps of two coaches already, in less than a decade of existence, it has not been the most stable foundations upon which to build a successful club.

  1. Can Geelong win the flag?

    1. Yes. With 'Dangerwood' anything is possible.
    2. No. Their injury woes have made it impossible.
    5 votes
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Matthew Boyle

For Matthew, a childhood spent in the backyard trying match the exploits of Tony Lockett, Dean Jones, and Peter Sterling has led to a lifelong love affair with sport.

A fan of sports of all kinds, Matthew is at his happiest watching, talking or writing about the events on taking place on the sporting fields around the world.

When Matthew isn't sharing his views on AFL and NRL with the RealSport101.com readership, you can read his weekly Parra Post Mortem or Saints Summary on The Sportress (www.sportress.wordpress.com), or you can hear him as one-half of the podcast The Pinch Hitters with Boz and Pav.

AFL Round 20: Learned, Liked & Disliked

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