Bulldogs pip Demons in tense finish, Lions defeat Suns in QClash

A Geelong Cats AFL player stands with his arms outstretched as he celebrates a goal.

The Western Bulldogs are back inside the top eight after edging Melbourne by 10 points in a pulsating encounter, while the Brisbane Lions beat the Gold Coast Suns, and Geelong sneaks past Port Adelaide.

In the early matches, Hawthorn made light work of North Melbourne, and Sydney claimed a valuable win over Adelaide.

More to come.

Bulldogs vs Demons

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Lions vs Suns

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Cats prevail against Power

Geelong’s Tom Hawkins booted two last-gasp goals to sink Port Adelaide and keep the Cats top of the ladder.

The Cats trailed by seven points at three quarter-time but triumphed 16.10 (106) to 14.10 (94) in a wildly swinging affair.

The defeat leaves the Power in 11th place on the ladder, six premiership points behind eighth-placed Richmond with four matches remaining before the finals.

The Cats retain top spot after Hawkins scored two clutch goals — with four and three minutes remaining respectively – as the final two scores of a thrilling match.

Geelong defender Zac Tuohy collected a match-high 27 disposals, his teammates Tom Atkins and Cam Guthrie both had 24 touches and Jeremy Cameron kicked three goals.

A Geelong Cats AFL player stands with his arms outstretched as he celebrates a goal.
Isaac Smith was among the Cats’ goal kickers in their win over the Power.(Getty Images/AFL Photos: James Elsby)

The visitors led by 34 points at half-time but the Power’s Charlie Dixon triggered an astonishing third-term comeback as the hosts booted eight goals to one.

Dixon scored two goals and took five marks in the quarter to revive the Power, who were well-served by Mitch Georgiades (three goals), Sam Powell-Pepper (19 disposals, two goals) and Karl Amon (25 disposals, one goal).

But the Cats rallied with four goals to one in a tense last term. Scores were tied in the 16th minute when the Power’s Amon goaled, before Hawkins’s late heroics.

Earlier, Geelong edged to a four-point lead after a fast-paced opening quarter and then accelerated in a second-term blitz, booting six goals to one.

The Cats lost ruckman Rhys Stanley to a knee injury but led 11.3 to 5.5 at half-time.

Dixon inspired a Power comeback as the home side scored eight goals to one in a stunning third quarter.

The Power led by seven points at three quarter-time after Dixon’s brilliant quarter. He booted two goals from 11 disposals, took five marks, had two score assists and two inside 50s in the term.

But Geelong spearhead Cameron slotted his third goal just 13 seconds into the last quarter and the Cats finished with a Hawkins flourish to bank their 14th win of the season.

Swans keep touch with top four

Fast-starting Sydney held off a gallant Adelaide to continue their push for a top-four finish with a 33-point triumph at the SCG.

The Swans stormed to an eight-goal lead early in the second term but had to withstand a brave Crows comeback until steadying late to finish with a 17.16 (118) to 12.13 (85) victory on Saturday.

Lance Franklin and Will Hayward hug each otherLance Franklin and Will Hayward hug each other
Lance Franklin moved further up the list of all-time VFL/AFL goalkickers.(Getty Images: Cameron Spencer)

The Crows seemed to be stuck on Central Australia time as they allowed the Swans to kick 10 of the opening 12 goals before waking up to give the premiership fancies a second-half scare.

Small forward Ned McHenry had an opportunity to cut the margin to 15 points when the Crows had all the momentum in the third term as he sprinted toward an open goal with ball in hand, but Nick Blakey dived to smother the kick and rush it through for a behind.

Blakey’s desperate effort helped turn the contest back in his team’s favour although the Crows continued to fight hard through a final term that included a 70m goal to Taylor Walker (three goals) and a brilliant banana kick from Jake Soligo until the Swans settled it with the last two goals.

The in-form Swans (12-6) have now won three consecutive matches for just the second time this season and with a favourable run home are well-placed to claim a double chance in the finals.

Co-captains Luke Parker (29 disposals) and Callum Mills (27, one goal) joined young gun Chad Warner (25, one goal) to ensure the Swans had too much midfield firepower, while Dylan Stephens (25, one goal) had arguably his best game at senior level.

Lance Franklin booted three majors to reach 1033 career goals and pass Gary Ablett Snr as fifth on the list of all-time leading goalkickers in VFL/AFL history, while Will Hayward also finished with three.

Rory Laird (game-high 38 disposals, one goal) and the emerging Sam Berry (24 touches, 14 tackles, two goals) battled hard around the stoppages but the Crows were often found wanting once the ball got on the outside.

Adelaide’s ball movement was partly restricted by Swans stopper Ryan Clarke limiting the influence of Jordan Dawson who was playing against his former club for the first time.

The Crows lost Shane McAdam in the first term after the high-flying forward bravely attacked the ball in the air but received a heavy knock on the thigh that forced him to be subbed out of the match.

Despite the better performance after quarter-time, the struggling Crows (5-13) have lost four in a row and are all but set for a third consecutive bottom-four finish.

They face another tough test against a top-four contender when they meet Carlton at home on Saturday night.

Sydney have won their past five matches on home turf by an average of 35 points and will look to extend that streak when they clash with crosstown rivals GWS at the SCG on Saturday.

Hawks dominate North

A blistering start and five goals from an inspired Jack Gunston has propelled Hawthorn to a 46-point AFL victory over battlers North Melbourne.

The Hawks slotted eight unanswered goals in the first quarter at Hobart’s Bellerive Oval on Saturday, with the Kangaroos failing to back up last round’s upset over Richmond under caretaker coach Leigh Adams.

Jack Gunston's boot is hugh as he follows through after a shot on goalJack Gunston's boot is hugh as he follows through after a shot on goal
Jack Gunston performed strongly on an emotional day for the Hawks veteran.(Getty Images: Dylan Burns)

Playing his first match following two weeks off after the sudden death of his father, three-time premiership winner Gunston was a shining light in the 19.7 (121) to 11.9 (75) result.

The 30-year-old fittingly opened the scoring and pointed to the heavens to pay tribute to his father Ray, who was a former executive at the AFL.

Gunston’s best came in the fourth quarter from a set shot from the boundary line, as the Hawks registered their third win on the trot.

Busy Hawthorn midfielder Jai Newcombe picked up two goals, 30 disposals and nine clearances.

North Melbourne, who parted ways with coach David Noble less than a fortnight ago, were dealt a late blow when key forward Nick Larkey was ruled out with a heel problem.

Larkey had been under an injury cloud after being subbed out in their drought-breaking win over Richmond but made the trip south to Hobart.

His replacement Aaron Hall picked up an equal team-high 30 disposals.

Tempers flared in the fourth quarter when several Hawthorn players objected to North Melbourne’s Jy Simpkin flinging one of their teammates to the ground.

Hawthorn racked up a 49-3 lead at the end of the first quarter, but the Kangaroos clawed back some momentum by winning the second term with two goals to the Hawks’ single major.

However the Hawks got rolling again in the third, with Gunston contributing two goals.

North Melbourne fans had something to cheer about when 20-year-old Phoenix Spicer kicked his maiden goal in the third quarter.

Skipper Jack Ziebell booted three in front of a crowd of 9,713.

The Kangaroos remain anchored to the foot of the ladder with two wins for the season and next meet Essendon, while Hawthorn play top-eight hopefuls St Kilda.





Author: Ivan Robinson