AFL Round 21: Five things you may have missed

From a Brownlow scare for Nat Fyfe to a career best Taylor Walker, here is what you may have missed during Round 21 of the 2015 AFL season. 

Adelaide captain Taylor Walker celebrates a goal with fellow forward Eddie Betts against Birsbane on Saturday. Source: www.abc.net.au

Adelaide captain Taylor Walker celebrates a goal with fellow forward Eddie Betts against Birsbane on Saturday.
Source: www.abc.net.au

1. Brownlow scare for Fyfe

For the third time this season, Brownlow favourite Nat Fyfe was reported and this time for high contact on North Melbourne’s Ben Jacobs.

 

Luckily Fyfe was cleared by the match review panel on Monday night and is still eligible to take home the competition’s most prestigious individual award.

 

Up until the midway point of the season, Fyfe had been the standout as the Brownlow favourite for 2015, but putting your money on him was always a risk.

 

Not saying he is careless, but his hard attack on the ball and big, athletic frame sometimes get the better of him as he attacks the football.

 

Fyfe’s elbow collected Jacobs’s head while in a low contest and Fyfe’s action was the least dangerous of many options he could have taken.

 

Fyfe had previously been found guilty twice this season meaning any guilty verdict would have resulted in an automatic suspension and ineligibility of winning the Brownlow.

 

Even though Fyfe is still eligible for the Brownlow, his second half of his season has not been as dominant as his first.

 

The Brownlow race may not be as open as many may expect with the likes of Todd Goldstein and Patrick Dangerfield finishing their seasons strongly.

 

2. Hodge in hot water

Luke Hodge was not as lucky as Fyfe copping a two-match ban for head-high contact on Power forward Chad Wingard.

 

Wingard was left sprawled out behind the goals after his head was sandwiched between the point post and Hodge’s hip and shoulder.

Hawthorn skipper Luke Hodge has been handed a two-week suspension on this hit on Power forward Chad Wingard. Source: www.theaustralian.com.au

Hawthorn skipper Luke Hodge has been handed a two-week suspension for this hit on Power forward Chad Wingard.
Source: www.theaustralian.com.au

 

 

The two-match suspension means Hodge will be available for the Hawks’s qualifying final but will miss the final two matches of the minor round.

 

3. Crows peaking at perfect time

The Adelaide Crows have not qualified for finals yet and a Round 23 match against Geelong at Simmonds Stadium may determine their fate.

 

The way they have been playing in recent weeks gives Crows fans every right to be excited, with punters backing them for a win against second-placed West Coast this week.

 

A win against the Eagles at Adelaide Oval would give the Crows a finals birth after an extremely challenging year.

 

Skipper Taylor Walker booted a career-high seven goals against Brisbane on Saturday, propelling his side towards finals.

 

The week before Eddie Betts slotted five straight showing the forward line is coming together again.

 

Probably the biggest story of them all is Dangerfield who is showing no signs that he wants away from West Lakes after his dominating displays in recent weeks.

 

In the past two weeks the Crows have destroyed two bottom-eight teams by 112 and 87 points while building some form before finals.

 

4. Hawks don’t have hands on the cup yet

It was reported a few months back by Fiasco Sports that Hawthorn would have a challenging run home to a premiership that some had already given them.

 

Fiasco Sports said their next few games would determine if they were the real deal and sure enough they seemed to be it after demolishing all other contenders.

 

However since then some have worked out how to beat the premiership favourites and that could be their downfall come finals.

 

Even Port Adelaide, which has missed out on finals action for 2015, defeated the Hawks over the weekend for the second time this year.

 

The Power played as they did up until the preliminary final in 2014 where they lost to the Hawks by less than a kick.

 

Port attacked with pace down the centre of the ground and took risks – a game plan that has always worried the reigning premiers.

 

A few weeks earlier Richmond used their own game plan to defeat the Hawks with patient ball use and keeping possession.

 

Now the side’s been exposed in two different ways, is Hawthorn’s premiership defence still a sure thing?

 

5. Eagles versus Bulldogs

It was that late Sunday timeslot that may have caused many to miss the Eagles-Bulldogs match but what an important match it was for top four credentials.

 

The Western Bulldogs, who had been sending messages to other finals contenders, were sent crashing back down to earth with a 77-point defeat to West Coast.

 

The Eagles led by 16 points at half time, setting up a thrilling second half, but the home team piled on 14 goals after the main break to send the rest of the competition a stern message.

 

Coleman Medal leader Josh Kennedy booted seven goals in the win while Matt Priddis and Andrew Gaff had 37 and 35 touches respectively.

 

The Bulldogs had been on a stellar run and jumped into the top four over the past few weeks, but the Eagles’ win all but sealed them a top two position come finals.

 

Written by Michael Lorenzoni

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