FROM young stars to winning streaks, upsets to throwbacks, it was a weekend to remember in so many ways for football fans.
Nation’s best juniors hit Geelong
The top draft prospects around the country ran out on GMHBA Stadium last Friday, with South Australia, Western Australia and the Allies all arriving in Geelong for the fourth round of National Under 18 Championships action. The first game went as expected with South Australia remaining unbeaten against the Allies, courtesy of an Izak Rankine show, while Western Australia toppled Vic Country to keep the latter winless for the tournament while the Black Swans face the Allies today for third spot. Despite the loss, the Allies looked impressive with Nick Blakey up forward and Chayce Jones, Fraser Turner and Connor McFadyen through the midfield.
Walsh lives up to expectations by winning MVP
Geelong Falcons’ star midfielder Sam Walsh was red hot favourite to take out Vic Country’s Most Valuable Player (MVP), but he still had to do it and he didn’t disappoint. Despite four losses, Walsh was the clear standout across the tournament, causing headaches for opponents and living up to every bit of his top five credentials. Gippsland Power’s Kyle Reid took home the Vic Country Richard Embleton ‘Spirit Award’.
Bulldogs’ winning streak continues
The Western Bulldogs were the second last team to register a win in the Victorian Football League (VFL) Women’s, but now they have a taste for it, stringing three wins together. They have knocked off Williamstown, Casey Demons and now the previously unbeaten Geelong Cats, knocking them from top spot on the ladder. They now sit eighth with a clash against eleventh placed Melbourne University, and victory could mean leapfrogging Richmond into seventh.
Brisbane fire up out west
Travelling to Perth has not been a pleasant experience for the Lions of late, and in fact after breaking their eight-year hoodoo against Fremantle last year, they managed to break a nine-year curse in the west against the Dockers. To show the upheaval of the Lions over the past nine years, Daniel Rich was the only player who had beaten the Dockers in Perth – playing in the Round 16, 2009 victory. On the weekend though it happened, with Brisbane romping to a massive 55-point win – their best of the season. Stefan Martin and Dayne Beams were unsurprisingly the best once again, while young star Cam Rayner won the Rising Star Award for his 19 disposals, six marks and two goals.
Party like it’s the 70s
It is not a sight you particularly enjoy if you’re a Carlton, Melbourne or Essendon fan, but the AFL Ladder after 15 rounds was a throwback to the 1970s with Richmond and Collingwood holding the top two positions on the ladder. Richmond sits a game ahead of the Magpies, while Collingwood has just a 0.9 per cent lead over West Coast and 1.1 per cent lead of Sydney in third and fourth respectively. The last time the two Victorian giants occupied the top two spots was 1977, and given they play in Round 19, the MCG is likely to be pumping if they keep up their form.