With just seven weeks of home and away football to come, we round the proverbial bend and head out onto the straight of what many would term the ‘business end’ of the 2014 AFL season. Teams sitting on the cusp of the top eight are making their run towards the finals, whilst those inside the top four are trying to consolidate their positions in order to secure the double-chance that comes with such a lofty finish.
In Brownlow terms, now is also the time of year that outside contenders turn on the afterburners and sprint towards the finish. However, with Gary Ablett showing no signs of stopping, it’s going to prove a tougher task.
Whilst Ablett played another outstanding game on the weekend, there were quite a few standout performers in the Gold Coast/Hawthorn match, so there is a slight chance this could be one match where he surprises and polls the minor vote, or completely misses out on votes altogether. But if he does indeed poll how I think he should, he will stretch his lead to an almost unassailable nine votes and set a near impossible task for the rest of his competition to nab him at the finish.
Nonetheless, mark this round down as one to watch come Brownlow night, as it could that which makes or breaks Ablett’s back-to-back Brownlow aspirations.
Geelong vs. Essendon
3. D. Heppell
2. J. Selwood
1. S. Motlop
Essendon’s Dyson Heppell was immense for his side and almost helped will the Bombers across the line with 40 disposals (14 contested), six marks, four clearances, five rebound 50s, seven tackles and three inside 50s.
Geelong skipper Joel Selwood led from the front and was crucial in the win, finishing with 26 disposals (13 contested), seven marks, five clearances, nine tackles, five inside 50s and two goals.
Steven Motlop proved the difference in the end, kicking two crucial goals in the final quarter. He also finished with 21 disposals, five marks and four inside 50s.
Others in contention: M. Duncan, J. Bartel.
Hawthorn vs. Gold Coast
Luke Hodge was brilliant around the ground, and proved more than handy when he found himself in the forward-half, kicking three goals to go with 26 disposals (12 contested), two marks, five clearances, six tackles and four inside 50s.
Ablett keeps on keeping on with his blistering form, finishing with an impressive 45 disposals (24 contested), two marks, eight clearances, five rebound 50s, six tackles, five inside 50s and two goals.
Jordan Lewis’ game style was well-suited to the scrappy conditions and it showed with his performance consisting of 28 disposals (12 contested), two marks, five clearances, five tackles, four inside 50s and two goals.
3. L. Hodge
2. G. Ablett
1. J. Lewis
Others in contention: I. Smith.
St Kilda vs. Richmond
After much being said about Trent Cotchin’s form in recent weeks, the Richmond captain put on a masterclass both in the middle, and particularly up forward where he was very damaging. He finished with 31 disposals (10 contested), six marks, four clearances, two rebound 50s, two tackles and 5.1.
Brandon Ellis also caught the eye with an outstanding performance consisting of 36 disposals (six contested), six marks, five rebound 50s, four inside 50s and 1.2.
Brett Deledio could also find himself in the votes with 30 disposals, 11 marks, three clearances, two rebound 50s, three tackles, four inside 50s and 1.1.
3. T. Cotchin
2. B. Ellis
1. B. Deledio
Others in contention: D. Martin.
Fremantle vs. West Coast
Winning the Ross Glendinning Medal, Stephen Hill looked in fine touch, finishing with 32 disposals (10 contested), five marks, three rebound 50s, five tackles, five inside 50s and 3.1.
Nathan Fyfe was also at his damaging best for Fremantle, accumulating 31 disposals (14 contested), four marks, three clearances, seven tackles, five inside 50s, one goal and even four hitouts.
For West Coast, Mark LeCras was among the best as the driving force up forward, kicking 2.2 and picking up 22 disposals, six marks, six clearances, five tackles and six inside 50s.
3. S. Hill
2. N. Fyfe
1. M. LeCras
Others in contention: M. Priddis, P. Duffield.
Sydney vs. GWS
Kieren Jack’s ferocity and tenacious will for the hard ball was a standout, putting him front and centre for full votes, as he accumulated 32 disposals (10 contested), three marks, seven clearances, three rebound 50s, four tackles, six inside 50s and 1.1.
It appeared as though it was another instalment of the ‘Buddy Show’, with Lance Franklin monopolising the ball whenever it was kicking into the Swans’ forward-line. He finished with 18 disposals (11 contested), seven marks, four tackles, five inside 50s and 5.3.
Josh Kennedy also continued his hot run of form, racking up 29 disposals (17 contested), five marks, five clearances, 10 tackles, five inside 50s and 2.1.
3. K. Jack
2. L. Franklin
1. J. Kennedy
Others in contention: N. Malceski.
Brisbane vs. North Melbourne
Running off half-back and with stints in the middle, Pearce Hanley was menacing and proved a handful for North Melbourne who let him run loose. He finished with 34 disposals (10 contested), six marks, six clearances, six rebound 50s, five tackles, six inside 50s and a behind.
James Aish played one of his best games in his debut season for the Lions, running amok in the middle with 23 disposals, nine marks, four clearances, three rebound 50s, nine tackles, two inside 50s and two goals.
For North Melbourne, Andrew Swallow looked the most damaging with 23 disposals (13 contested), six clearances, two rebound 50s, nine tackles, seven inside 50s and two goals.
3. P. Hanley
2. J. Aish
1. A. Swallow
Others in contention: N. Dal Santo, T. Rockliff.
Western Bulldogs vs. Melbourne
Boyd was back to his dominant best upon return from injury, accumulating 32 disposals (20 contested), one mark, nine clearances, two rebound 50s, eight tackles, three inside 50s and a goal.
Mark Jamar made easy work of Will Minson, giving his midfielders first use of the ball by completely controlling the ruck contests with 43 hitouts. He also finished with 13 disposals, three marks, two clearances, two tackles, two inside 50s and 3.1.
Playing at both ends of the ground with great effect, Jake Stringer was a standout for the Dogs as he went on to finish with 13 disposals, five marks, three tackles, two inside 50s and 4.2.
3. M. Boyd
2. M. Jamar
1. J. Stringer
Others in contention: M. Bontempelli.
Adelaide vs. Port Adelaide
Sam Jacobs put in an scintillating performance, and was rightfully awarded the Showdown Medal for best-on-ground. He finished with 19 disposals (14 contested), three marks, 36 hitouts, six clearances, two inside 50s and three goals.
Scott Thompson was close to winning the medal himself, as he tore the game wide open in the third quarter to help give his side the ascendency. He racked up 34 disposals (10 contested), seven marks, seven clearances, seven tackles, four inside 50s and one goal.
Patrick Dangerfield, whilst quiet during the early stages, came to life as the match drew on to finish with 32 disposals (22 contested), two marks, seven clearances, four tackles, eight inside 50s and 1.2.
3. S. Jacobs
2. S. Thompson
1. P. Dangerfield
Others in contention: R. Sloane, T. Boak.
Collingwood vs. Carlton
Steele Sidebottom made a strong return from suspension with an incredibly strong performance with 33 disposals (16 contested), six marks, seven clearances, three rebound 50s, nine tackles, three inside 50s and two goals.
Chris Yarran was one of the few shining lights for Carlton, with pin-point skills and having a hand in setting up a number of goal scoring opportunities. He finished up on 23 disposals (nine contested), two marks, five rebound 50s, two tackles and five inside 50s.
Scott Pendlebury also caught the eye with 24 disposals (11 contested), four marks, four clearances, three rebound 50s, 11 tackles and two goals.
3. S. Sidebottom
2. C. Yarran
1. S. Pendlebury
Others in contention: C. Judd.
BFGN Brownlow Leaderboard:
25 G. Ablett
16 S. Pendlebury
15 J. Selwood
15 J. Kennedy
15 N. Fyfe*
15 S. Thompson
13 R. Gray
13 B. Harvey
11 D. Beams
11 T. Boak