After another gripping, action-packed round of AFL, several moments stood out across the weekend, as premiership favourites re-emerged, stars rose and fell and fans were locked out of a much anticipated match.
The Inner Sanctum takes you through A-Z of the round that was. the defining highs, lows, and controversies surrounding round seven of the 2021 AFL Premiership season.
A is for Adaptable Allen: Oscar Allen has been all around the ground in the first 44 games of his career. After finding his niche up forward, injuries to Tom Barrass and Jeremy McGovern sent him to the backline where he took six marks, applied nine pressure acts, and had one rebound 50.
B is for Bayley Fritsch’s personal best: Fritsch scored a career-high six goals as he led the charge in Melbourne’s comeback win over North Melbourne.
C is for Crowds and COVID: The 52nd Western Derby and the biggest event in the WA footy calendar proceeded without a crowd after a last-minute call from the State Government. With only hours to bouncedown, Premier Mark McGowan scrapped plans to have 45,000 fans in the stands.
D is for Daicos: Josh Daicos was one of the shining lights for Collingwood as they were thoroughly beaten by Gold Coast. Daicos had 27 touches and ran hard all day, and could hold his head up high despite his side’s struggles
E is for Eddie: After a week where his place in the side and if the game had passed him by was questioned, Eddie Betts proved he still has the magic, booting 3 straight goals in Carlton’s win over Essendon.
F is for Firsts: First games, first goals, first losses for the season. A notable first this round was the Bulldogs’ first defeat of the season, losing to a hungry Richmond side with plenty to prove.
G is for Gabbatior: Port Adelaide struggled again at the Gabba against the roaring Lions. A concerning trend as they may need to travel there come September.
H is for Hill: Bradley Hill shrugged off the criticism of his defensive efforts and led the Saints with 28 pressure acts, and fives tackles for good measure, as the Saints crushed the Hawks.
I is for Injuries: Fremantle could add another two players to their ever-growing injury list as first-year Heath Chapman and Ethan Hughes both had shoulder complaints, which hindered their already depleted backline. Luke Ryan, Joel Hamling, and Alex Pearce are three more star defenders who are sidelined for the Dockers.
J is for Jumping Jones: Essendon’s Harrison Jones demonstrated his aerial capabilities in the loss against Carlton. The second-year forward enjoyed a breakout game taking eight marks, five of which were contested, and kicked three goals.
K is for Kicking straight: The old coaching adage of bad kicking is bad football proved true, as Geelong and Collingwood both had more scoring shots than their opponents, but their conversion rates cost them, particularly Geelong, who could have put the Swans away in the final term but kicked 2.6 to the Swans 4 straight goals.
L is for Lachie Whitfield: He made a successful return and slotted straight back into the GWS side that looked like the 2019 edition, as they thumped Adelaide.
M is for Momentum: Early momentum is great, but the middle of the season is an ideal time to make your presence felt. Richmond did that and Collingwood isn’t.
N is for ‘Not 15’: The controversial call which cost Geelong star recruit, Jeremy Cameron, a shot after the siren to win the game for his new side has already been crushed by the AFL.
O is for Overshadowed Patrick Cripps: The Carlton captain has long been the lone superstar for his side, but in recently seen the young superstar in Sam Walsh go past him. The young midfielder has stepped up in a major way for the Blues and is the new number one man in the Blues midfield
P is for Papley: What a moment and what a time for the star Sydney small forward. Wrong footing four Geelong defenders to snatch the winner.
Q is for Quick starters: St. Kilda started with a bang against Hawthorn, kicking five first-quarter goals and keeping its opposition scoreless. The depleted Hawks couldn’t recover after quarter time.
MORE AUSSIE RULES STORIES:
R is for Redemption: The West Coast Eagles redeemed themselves after last week’s abysmal performance at the Cattery, defeating a firing Fremantle outfit by 10 goals. One Eagle in particular who lifted after a quiet outing against the Cats was Tim Kelly, who took out the Glendinning Allan Medal
S is for Shining Suns: The Suns built on their victory over the Swans last week with a dominant performance over the Pies, as they showed that they are taking steps forward and are no longer the easy beats of the competition.
T is for Tomlinson’s tears: The star Melbourne defender looked shattered on the sidelines as he faces a potentially lengthy stint on the sidelines with a knee injury in the first quarter against North Melbourne.
U is for Undefeated Demons: Melbourne has started its 2021 campaign with seven wins straight and sits on top of the AFL ladder. The club has finished a round on top of the ladder for the first time since 2005.
V is for VFL: Round seven of the AFL kicked off with another chapter of the prison bars debacle. Port Adelaide’s request to wear the historically significant jumper in the round 8 showdown was denied by the AFL, causing widespread frustration for Port fans.
W is for Write the Tigers off at your peril: The Tigers proved they are still the team everyone is chasing as they handed the Western Bulldogs their first loss of season 2021 in one of their better Home and Away victories in recent years.
X is for Xavier O’Halloran: The young giant was underrated in the domination of Adelaide with 16 disposals and a goal in a handy performance.
Y is for Young Swans: The young Swans showed greater mettle in a close game, and put the lessons from the loss to GWS behind them, as they held on in a close thriller at the SCG.
Z is for Ziebell’s leadership: The North Melbourne captain showed endless fight and led his team gallantly, pushing the challenge to Melbourne for most of Sunday afternoon.
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