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Mid-winter blues for Port and Pies

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Upset losses have plunged Port Adelaide and Collingwood deeper into crisis, only five weeks after their AFL seasons seemed so full of promise.

After round 12, Port were two games clear on top of the ladder and Collingwood were fourth.

But since then they have lost four out of their five games.

The Magpies were a rabble on Sunday at the MCG as Essendon took them apart and scored a 64-point win.

The 16.7 (103) to 5.9 (39) win put the Bombers in the top eight for the first time since round four.

They are seventh, one spot above Collingwood.

Earlier in the day at Etihad Stadium, Richmond took their first big scalp in a disappointing season when they held off the Power to win by 20 points.

The 19.12 (126) to 16.10 (106) result meant Port dropped out of the top four, with Geelong taking their place.

Also on Sunday, Fremantle took second place from Hawthorn on percentage with a 21.10 (136) to 9.6 (60) pummelling of Greater Western Sydney in Perth.

Asked where Collingwood lost the game, angry coach Nathan Buckley said “everywhere”.

It rivalled the 70-point loss to Fremantle in round one as the Magpies’ worst performance of the season.

The most damning feature of the game is that Essendon, who started underdogs, simply outworked them.

Maligned Bombers key position player Jake Carlisle had his best game of the season, taking 19 marks and kicking four goals.

“We couldn’t get enough blokes behind the ball to defend when they went forward – we couldn’t get enough blokes in front of the ball when we had it,” Buckley said.

“So we were outworked, out-hustled through the contest.

“We were particularly disappointed with our inability to match contested ball.”

And when Collingwood managed to win possession, they often butchered the ball.

Buckley said that had been a problem over the last few weeks.

“That’s like water dripping on a stone – it gets you,” Buckley said.

By contrast, the sky is the limit for the Bombers.

Asked what his team might be capable of this season, coach Mark Thompson said “who knows?”.

Gold Coast were the other big losers this weekend, dropping out of the top eight for the first time since round five.

Their surprise 28-point loss to the Western Bulldogs in Cairns raises the obvious speculation of “no Gaz, no Gold Coast”.

Captain Gary Ablett had a shoulder reconstruction last week, ending his season.

Hawthorn started the round on Friday night with an outstanding two-goal win in Adelaide against the Crows.

Next up for the Hawks is an enthralling clash on July 26 in the split round against top side Sydney.

The Swans equalled the club’s winning streak record of 12 on Saturday night when they belted Carlton at the SCG by 71 points.

North Melbourne improved by one place to sixth thanks to a 59-point win in Hobart over St Kilda, while West Coast beat Brisbane by 12 points at the Gabba and Geelong belted Melbourne by 66 points at the MCG.

Snapshot of the round

THEY SAID IT: “We apologise, he apologises, and it was a very bad moment last night on TV.” – Channel Seven’s AFL Game Day host Hamish McLachlan comments on Sunday following co-commentator Brian Taylor’s outburst on Saturday night, when Taylor labelled Geelong defender Harry Taylor a “poofter”.

STATS THAT MATTER: 29. Sydney’s Josh Kennedy broke the AFL record for most contested possessions in a match with 29 in Saturday night’s win over Carlton at the SCG. Hawthorn’s Luke Breust equalled Tony Lockett’s AFL record of most consecutive goals – also 29 – before missing a shot at goal in Friday’s win over Adelaide.

KEY MOMENT: Seven points ahead at halftime, Sydney snapped into top gear with a 10-goal third term at the SCG against Carlton. It was a devastating display, as the Swans racked up their 12th consecutive win, equalling a club record.

TALKING POINT: When umpire Ray Chamberlain blew time for the end of the third quarter in Friday night’s Adelaide-Hawthorn game at Adelaide Oval, he was immediately informed three seconds still remained on the clock. Chamberlain exclaimed “Holy geez!” then called for a ball up. The umpire told Hawthorn player Sam Mitchell he’d heard a chime in his earpiece which usually is linked to the siren. Hawthorn players felt the call might have cost them a goal, but the Hawks won anyway by 12 points.

TRIBUNAL WATCH: S Dunnell (StK) reported for striking S Wright (NM). H Ballantyne (Fre) reported for a behind-the-play hit to the stomach of tagger Tomas Bugg.

KEY INJURIES: J Jenkins (Adel, ankle), S Thompson (Adel, hamstring), L McDonald (NM, illness), L Hansen (NM, concussion), R Griffen (WB, illness), K Kolodjashnij (GC, hamstring), R Conca (Rich, concussion), R Gray (Port, concussion), B Sheppard (WC, leg), C Beams (Bris, knee), N Maxwell (Col, ankle).

UNDER PRESSURE: Former ladder leaders Port Adelaide, with four losses in their past five matches, have slipped outside the top four. That’s after winning 10 of their first 11 games.

 

Pos Club C P W L D F A % Form Next Pts
1 Sydney Swans No Change 16 13 3 0 1547 1078 143.5 WWWWW HAW 52
2 Fremantle Up 16 12 4 0 1486 1043 142.5 WWWWW STK 48
3 Hawthorn Down 16 12 4 0 1826 1305 139.9 WWWLW SYD 48
4 Geelong Cats Up 16 12 4 0 1451 1291 112.4 WLWWW GWS 48
5 Port Adelaide Down 16 11 5 0 1687 1260 133.9 LWLLL MELB 44
6 North Melbourne Up 16 10 6 0 1400 1212 115.5 LWLWW CARL 40
7 Essendon Up 16 9 7 0 1318 1198 110 LWLWW WB 36
8 Collingwood Down 16 9 7 0 1355 1271 106.6 LLWLL ADEL 36
9 Gold Coast Suns Down 16 9 7 0 1451 1459 99.5 LWLWL BL 36
10 Adelaide Crows Down 16 8 8 0 1500 1384 108.4 WLWWL COLL 32
11 West Coast Eagles No Change 16 7 9 0 1397 1291 108.2 WWLLW RICH 28
12 Richmond No Change 16 6 10 0 1399 1397 100.1 LLWWW WCE 24
13 Western Bulldogs Up 16 6 10 0 1286 1514 84.9 WLWLW ESS 24
14 Carlton Down 16 5 11 0 1404 1568 89.5 LLLWL NMFC 20
15 GWS Giants No Change 16 4 12 0 1300 1793 72.5 WWLLL GEEL 16
16 Melbourne No Change 16 4 12 0 971 1353 71.8 WLLLL PORT 16
17 BL Brisbane Lions No Change 16 4 12 0 1033 1632 63.3 LLWLL GCFC 16
18 St Kilda No Change 16 3 13 0 1009 1771 57 LLLLL FRE 12

 

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