The second part of week two is finished and it may well have surpassed the lofty expectations set by the first part.
On Friday night at Subiaco, Richmond continued to save some face with a win over West Coast in a scrappy contest in torrential rains. Friday night made it four wins on the trot now for the Tigers with a likely fifth coming up next week against GWS.
It was an uphill battle waiting until 4:40 on Saturday for the day’s footy to kick off but once it did it delivered in spades. The Lions, who for so much of the season sat 18th on the ladder, gave the faithful Brisbane supporters something to cheer about with a big win against rivals Gold Coast, putting a sizeable dent in the Suns’ finals hopes.
Saturday night’s clash between Sydney and Hawthorn hados much hype it didn’t seem likely that the game would live up to expectations, yet it did. In arguably the best game of the year the Hawks provided a timely reminder that on their day the reigning premiers can beat anyone. Hawthorn’s win is also a win for the rest of the league, as it leaves three teams on 13 wins with Fremantle and Port hot on their heels with 12.
While the race for top spot heated up on Saturday night, Sunday evening may just have provided the end to the race for eighth spot. Adelaide topped Collingwood and look to be in good enough form to hold onto the last finals spot while the Pies and Gold Coast are suffering a form slump at the worst possible time.
Here’s the second Team of the Week for round 18.
B: Ryan Schoenmakers, Alex Rance
HB: Pearce Hanley (C), Brodie Smith
C: Jordan Lewis, Dayne Beams, Nathan Foley
HF: Dayne Zorko, Adam Goodes
F: Jarryd Roughead, Ben McGlynn
Foll: Ivan Maric, Tom Rockliff, Matt Priddis
Int: Sam Mitchell, Stefan Martin
Sub: Mitch Grigg
Ryan Schoenmakers: He has often been criticised over his career but the fact of the matter is he is a handy defender. On Saturday night he manned up on Kurt Tippett and despite giving up 10 centimetres and a few kilograms on his opponent held his ground and kept Tippett to nine touches and two goals.
Alex Rance: There can be no doubt Rance was aided in his task by the rain that hit Subiaco hard on Friday night with Josh Kennedy struggling yet some of the credit for Kennedy only grabbing three marks and kicking one goal must go to Rance who consistently beat the West Coast forward in marking contests.
Pearce Hanley (C): Hanley is the player of the round and there’s no question about it. In addition to his 45 touches, nine marks, nine clearances, 11 inside 50s, two goals and three score assists he also gained over 1000 metres for the Lions – a truly remarkable feat.
Brodie Smith: Every one of Smith’s disposals on Sunday evening found an Adelaide player including three inside 50s, and seven rebound 50s. He also kicked two valuable goals.
Jordan Lewis: Saturday night was as big as the stage gets during the home and away season and Lewis came through in spades with 35 disposals, seven inside 50s and three score assists.
Dayne Beams: Beams did everything in his powers to pick up the slack with Dane Swan out by picking up a handy 29 disposals – 15 of which were contested – and having seven clearances.
Nathan Foley: Foley looked at home in the rain, he kept his feet where others were slipping and found targets with most of his 25 disposals, as well as laying 10 tackles and having seven clearances.
Dayne Zorko: Another who was absolutely superb for Brisbane on Saturday evening, Zorko’s 32 disposals may have been dwarfed by the 45+ hauls of his teammates but in addition to seven tackles, 10 clearances, seven inside 50s and two goals it’s not too shabby.
Adam Goodes: Goodes has taken something of a back seat this year and allowed his younger teammates to take their place in the spotlight while doing his job week in, week out in an unremarkable fashion. Saturday night was something of a different story though with Goodes providing his best game of 2014 with 16 touches and four goals.
Jarryd Roughead: 2014 has been something of a down year for the 2013 Coleman Medallist but in his 200th game against his former partner in crime Lance Franklin Roughead was back to his best with four goals and four behinds from 18 touches.
Ben McGlynn: His game against Hawthorn was arguably the best of his year also with only the round 11 game against Geelong coming close. The defensive role he played on Sam Mitchell wasn’t a success with Mitchell collecting 32 possessions but otherwise he was great with 23 touches, nine tackles, eight inside 50s and three goals.
Ivan Maric: Maric played one his finest games for the year on Friday night with 14 disposals – 11 contested – seven clearances and 29 hitouts.
Tom Rockliff: It isn’t often you will see a player who had 47 touches, 10 tackles and 11 clearances not be the best player on the ground. Saturday was one of the rare instances though with Rockliff’s superhuman game bettered by that of the aforementioned Hanley.
Matt Priddis: He played like a man possessed on Friday night on his way to 30 disposals, 18 tackles nine clearances and eight inside 50s.
Sam Mitchell: His disposal efficiency of 47% (including eight clangers) left plenty to be desired but otherwise Mitchell had a really good game on Saturday with 32 touches.
Stefan Martin: Gold Coast’s ruck woes in 2014 have been well documented and on Saturday Martin made the most of facing off against the side which has recorded the fewest hitouts in 2014 with 19 possessions and 37 hitouts.
Mitch Grigg (sub): It was not a stellar week for subs by any means, but Grigg’s nine disposals and three tackles in 26% game time in a tight contest was extremely valuable.