WRITTEN BY ANTHONY OSBORN
Birch returns, Greenwood grows
Round 14 of the AFL was a big one for our Tasmanian contingent, as Hawthorn champ Grant Birchall returned from injury, Hugh Greenwood shone, Jesse Lonergan played his 50th match and an all-Tasmanian Jones and Riewoldt duel took place at the MCG. Here’s a wrap on how our Tasmanian stars fared in another unpredictable round of AFL action.
Adelaide v. Hawthorn – Adelaide Oval, Thursday 22/06/17
Hawthorn Hawks #14
After a horror run of injuries the four-time premiership hero was dominant in just his third match of the year. In a performance that oozed of class and experience, it was no coincidence that Hawthorn’s upset victory came off the back of Birchall being brought back into the side. 28 disposals at 89% efficiency, 10 intercept possessions, seven marks, 319 metres gained and 95 AFL Fantasy points emphatically reminded the football public as to just how important Birchall is to Alastair Clarkson’s side.
Adelaide Crows #20
Thursday night was disappointing for the Crows due to their shock loss to Hawthorn, but Hugh Greenwood’s performance only further enhanced his growing stature as one of the finds of the 2017 season. Greenwood was both battering and efficient, picking up 21 disposals (12 contested) at 95%, as well as six marks, 30 pressure acts, nine tackles, two goals and 122 AFL Fantasy points. Elite work from the new Crow fan favourite.
Sydney v. Essendon – SCG, Friday 23/06/17
Essendon Bombers #2
Bellchambers battled well against the duo of Sam Naismith and Callum Sinclair, finishing with 25 hit-outs, nine disposals at 100%, four marks, five score involvements and a goal.
Essendon Bomber #15
Green was lively inside the Bombers forward 50, despite managing just 0.3 from his opportunities in front of goal. Green picked up 13 disposals, took three marks and laid four tackles to create plenty of opportunities for his fellow forwards.
Collingwood v. Port Adelaide – MCG, Saturday 24/06/17
Collingwood Magpies #38
The high-flying Tasmanian was once again instrumental across halfback for the ‘Pies, picking up 27 disposals at 82%, 11 marks, 496 metres gained, seven rebound 50s and 118 AFL Fantasy points. Howe is a gun and a definite chance for All-Australian selection.
Western Bulldogs v. North Melbourne – Etihad Stadium, Saturday 24/06/17
North Melbourne Kangaroos #50
Big Ben was in the thick of the action in his side’s narrow loss to the reigning premiers, kicking 2.1 from 16 disposals, six marks and 82 AFL Fantasy points. Brown thought he had put North back in the lead late in the match, but a free-kick against Brown’s teammate Mason Wood prevented the Tasmanian from being the hero, however the big man was clearly one of North’s best.
Geelong v. Fremantle – Simonds Stadium, Sunday 25/06/17
Geelong Cats #8
Faced with the task of handling the dangerous Cam McCarthy, Kolodjashnij was impressive in restricting the Docker’s influence. The Tasmanian picked up 15 disposals at 87%, eight intercept possessions and four marks while keeping McCarthy to just one goal and seven disposals in a display that further underlined his versatility as a defender.
Fremantle Dockers #14
In a youthful Fremantle side, Weller stepped up into a midfield role and did so with aplomb. With 23 disposals, seven score involvements, six tackles, nine inside 50s, 91 AFL Fantasy points and a stunning 709 metres gained provided every indication that a permanent move into the midfield is not too far away for the young gun. Almost dragged his side over the line with a dashing run inside 50 in the dying seconds.
Richmond v. Carlton – MCG, Sunday 25/06/17
Carlton Blues #14
After two sensational matches as a rejuvenated key defender, Jones was tasked with the responsibility of manning fellow Tasmanian Jack Riewoldt on Sunday afternoon, and was again impressive. Jones had eight intercept possessions, three marks and 10 one-percenters in an enthralling duel with Riewoldt, and although Jack was influential in the Richmond victory, Jones did his reputation no harm.
Richmond Tigers #25
Nankervis had a fascinating duel with Matthew Kreuzer, and although the Carlton ruckman was exceptional, Nankervis was far from disgraced, finishing with 23 hit-outs, nine disposals and a last quarter goal that effectively sealed the must-win clash for the Tigers.
Richmond Tigers #8
Much was made during the week of Riewoldt being manned by the reinvigorated Liam Jones, and although Jones was again impressive, Jack had a busy day himself, finishing with 3.1 from 13 disposals and nine marks to launch into equal fourth in the Coleman Medal race.
St Kilda v. Gold Coast – Etihad Stadium, Sunday 25/06/17
Gold Coast Suns #7
In his 50th AFL match, Jesse Lonergan was again impressive for the Suns, finishing with 23 disposals at 87%, seven score involvements, 23 pressure acts, four clearances, five tackles and 74 AFL Fantasy points. After coming into Rodney Eade’s side as a late inclusion in round 12, Lonergan is putting together some very consistent football that should see him play senior football consistently for much of the remaining 2017 season.
St Kilda Saints #12
Saint Nick may have been brought down running into an open goal, a la Heath Shaw and the 2010 Grand Final, but he still had a productive day against the Suns, finishing with 13 disposals at 77%, eight marks, three goals and 84 AFL Fantasy points.
St Kilda Saints #29
After signing a two-year contract extension early last week, Webster was good again in the back half of the ground with 14 disposals at 79%, six intercept possessions, and three marks. St Kilda fans will be thrilled that Webster has resigned with the club, as this St Kilda side looks much better for having him in it.
St Kilda Saints #44
Playing as a defensive forward, Weller finished with one goal, 11 disposals and five marks in a solid outing. This wasn’t the Tasmanian’s most spectacular performance, but he was still a key contributor to the St Kilda victory.