Round eight. Another week, another wrap up.
As the players took the field in another thrilling round of AFL, fans were kept on the edge of their seats as the players went to new heights, teams made their way back on the winners list and another chapter of the Prison Bar Saga was written.
The Inner Sanctum takes you through A-Zs of the round – the defining highs, lows, and controversies surrounding round eight of the 2021 AFL Premiership season.
A is for Archie Perkins: Perkins finally got on the board with his first AFL goal, and fought hard again, as the Bombers went down in a thriller to the Giants.
B is for Bontempelli’s Brilliance: The Bulldogs captain reminded everyone why he is one of the best players in the game with a masterful performance to drag the Bulldogs over the line against the Blues. Critically, Bontempelli found the goals in the fourth quarter to get the Bulldogs within 3 points, as they ran over the top of the Blues.
C is for Come from behind: The Cats (63 point winners), Saints (nine points) and Bulldogs (16 points) finished their games with barnstorming, come from behind victories. The Cats and Saints looked down and out, and the Bulldogs in trouble, before all finishing with strong wins in the end.
D is for Darcy Moore going back: Darcy Moore returned to the Collingwood backline and immediately showed the form that made him an All-Australian last week, with 28 disposals and 19 marks.
E is for End to End: Jarryd Lyons ran all over the ground in collecting 29 disposals. six of which started in defensive 50, and he had nine inside 50s as he racked up over 400m gained for the afternoon. His run and carry was a big part of the Lions victory over the Dockers.
F is for Fyfe’s Fatal Flaw: Nat Fyfe’s tough start to the season continued with an additional one goal and three behinds taking his season tally to 2.15 for the year. The Dockers have struggled to convert inside 50s to goals, and Fyfe having the yips hasn’t helped.
G is for Gawn: Max Gawn’s ruckwork was key to the Demons, as they overcame the fighting Swans. Gawn had a game-high 43 hitouts, as the Demons dominated the ruck battle, and eventually, the Swans to grab the four points.
H is for Hugh McCluggage: The Brisbane Lions midfielder is continuing to put together an outstanding season and might find himself near the pointy end of the leaderboard come Brownlow Medal night if he continues his impressive form. The 23 year old picked up 27 disposals on his way to a big win for the Lions at home.
I is for Insufficient Intent: The contentious rule is sure to come under the microscope this week after Cameron Zurhaar was penalised after a skill error having a shot for goal resulted in the ball rolling out of bounds. The umpire awarded a free kick to Collingwood after deeming Zurhaar had insufficient intent to keep the ball in play. Kangaroos coach David Noble flagged post game that it was one of a few things he would bring up in a call to the AFL mid week, but didn’t cite the call as the reason the game was lost.
J is for Jack Henry: The young Cat came of age, marking up, and keeping his opponent Jack Riewoldt in check. Henry finished with 14 touches, six intercepts, with Riewoldt having four disposals and just one goal.
K is for King Twins: Max King moved to 2-0 over his twin brother as the King twins combined for four goals and were the main targets inside 50 as the Saints and the Suns played out another thriller at Metricon Stadium.
L is for Lone Hand: The Rorys (Laird and Sloane) fought hard for the Crows as they went down in the Showdown. Laird finished with 36 touches and 21 contested possessions, and Sloane had 20 disposals and 10 tackles. The Crows went down to the Power by 49 points, but both Rorys can hold their heads high after a fighting performance.
M is for Milestone Men: Jake Lever (100 games), Callum Mills (100 games), Zach Merrett (150 games) and Steele Sidebottom (250 games) all showed out with strong performances, and showed why they have become champions of the game.
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N is for Noble: Family members have regularly come up against each other across the competition with siblings playing across different clubs, but rarely do we see a father coaching against his own son like David and John Noble did on Saturday afternoon. David would have been thinking to send someone to his son as the afternoon wore on as John collected 31 disposals off half-back and was one of the architects of Collingwood’s win.
O is for Off the Losers List: The Magpies returned to the winner’s list after a five game losing streak. Darcy Cameron and Jordan de Goey combined for nine goals to give the Magpies the victory over the Kangaroos.
P is for Prison Bars: Port Adelaide made a statement (and raised eyebrows in the media) by changing into its heritage strip to sing the team song after victory in the round eight’s Showdown.
Q is for Quiet Quarter: The Hawks and Eagles started in underwhelming fashion, with neither side able to score in the first quarter. Despite that, the game went on to be high scoring, as the Eagles ran away with the win. Brendon Ah Chee eventually broke the drought in the second quarter with two goals in 40 seconds.
R is for Ron Rejoices: Ron Barassi singing in the grandstand was one of the more wholesome moments of round eight as he watched his beloved Demons stay undefeated.
S is for Shai Bolton Soars: Despite Brody Mihocek and Joe Daniher’s best efforts, Bolton likely sewed up mark of the year with a mark as spectacular as any over the past few years.
T is for Taranto Time: Tim Taranto has stepped up to the plate since the injuries to Stephen Coniglio and Matt De Boer in the GWS engine room. In the first quarter the 23-year-old blitzed Essendon with 11 disposals, three marks and four tackles, and finished the game as one of the Giants’ best with 29 touches and an important goal. Taranto has been in sensational form after an extended injury lay-off last season, and the Giants are a much better side with him fit and firing.
U is for Unheralded star: A common throwaway line is ‘if player X played for a Melbourne based club he’d be a star of the competition’. That is exactly what young Giant Sam Taylor is. The 22-year-old key defender was ice cool under pressure in the last quarter to help his side post a win against a surging Essendon side.
V is for Victories that keep coming: The Demons were pushed by the Swans, but came away nine-point winners. They showed strong credentials, and made it eight victories in eight starts to sit atop the table for another week.
W is for Winding back the clock: Eddie Betts showed that he can still provide the magic of past years. The pockets at Marvel Stadium were full of life for Eddie as he kicked five goals in a classic performance.
X is for XX: The Saints and Suns have been separated by just 20 points over their last fives clashes, with the Saints prevailing by four, four, two and one point margins before this weekend’s ‘blowout’, where the Saints won by nine points after Brad Crouch kicked the sealer.
Y is for Youthful Eaglets fly high: With several leaders out for the Eagles, fifteen players with less than 100 games experience (ten with less than 50) were relied upon to secure their first win on the road. Some standout performances include Jarrod Brander (19 disposals, nine marks), Jamaine Jones (six tackles, 24 pressure acts) and Bailey Williams who competed well in the ruck.
Z is for Zero wins: The loss to Collingwood leaves North Melbourne still yet to record its first win for 2021. However strong form in recent weeks suggests that this may not be far off, with a golden opportunity to come against Hawthorn next round.
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