A-Z of Round 13

There was plenty of spectacles on a special weekend. Pictures @AFL @EssendonFC @GWSGIANTS

Queen's birthday and a 150th milestone ensured that the second bye round kept the fans interested, as did the action on the field.

Queen’s birthday and a 150th milestone ensured that the second bye round kept the fans interested, as did the action on the field.

The Inner Sanctum takes you through Round 13, complete from A-Z. The defining highs, lows, and controversies surrounding Round 13 of the 2022 AFL Premiership season.

A is For Almost Out of the Running? Port Adelaide was coming into the game hoping to continue its season revival against Richmond. Despite strong games from Karl Amon (29 disposals, 10 marks, and a goal) and Ryan Burton (25 disposals, eight marks), the Power was ultimately unable to topple the Tigers at the G, leaving them three games out of the eight, with a tough draw to follow.

B is For Bunch of Injuries: St Kilda had two fit players on the bench at the end of its loss to Brisbane on Saturday night. Mitch Owens and Dan McKenzie were ruled out due to concussions during the game while Zak Jones had a hamstring injury.

C is For Carnage and Courage: Port Adelaide’s ability to push Richmond all the way was all the more impressive with it walking wounded for most of the last quarter. First Trent Dumont was subbed out with an ankle injury, and then Zak Butters and Tom Jonas collided heavily in the last quarter, forcing the pair from the field. Incredibly, both managed to return to the field to finish the match.

D is For Down at Halftime, Up at Full Time: Brisbane overcame a slow start in its game against the St Kilda to win by 21 points. The injury toll by the Saints helped the Lions to get on top after halftime in which they were behind by 12 points. Despite some inaccuracy in front of goal, the Lions were able to secure their 10th win of the season.

E is For Essendon’s Pressure Back? After being criticised for most of the season for applying minimal pressure to their opposition, the Bombers comprehensively won the tackle count by 20 on Friday night. Leading the way was Dylan Shiel, who responded to his poor form with 10 tackles, 27 disposals, eight clearances, five score involvements, and a goal.

F is For Forget the Formline: It may be four and nine going into its bye, but Hawthorn continues to remain competitive against the top teams. 61 inside 50s is the most the Dockers have conceded for the year so far, and the Hawks will rue letting a winning position slip in the last quarter when the game was in the balance.

G is For Guess Who’s Back? After nearly three full years on the sidelines, Carlton’s Caleb Marchbank made his return in navy blue on Friday night. The popular defender overcame neck injuries before tearing his ACL in his VFL return early last season, playing just his 42nd game for Carlton after six years on the list.

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H is For Harry the Defensive Superstar: Since interim coach Mark McVeigh took over, Harry Himmelberg has been moved to full-back, a move that has worked a treat to date. His game against the Kangaroos was arguably the best performance of his career: 37 disposals, 16 marks, and a goal made him almost impassable for the Roos heading forward.

I is For Ice Ice Baby! Alright, stop. Collaborate and listen. Freeze is back with some brand new sliders. The Big Freeze returned to the MCG for the eighth time and for the first time in two years in front of a big crowd. A sea of blue beanies greeted the inspirational Neale Daniher as celebrities, sports stars and public figures alike took the icy plunge for a cause that all of Australia has rallied behind.

J is For Just Judson: Judson Clarke won’t likely forget his first game in a hurry. Not only did the Tigers topple a plucky Port side, but he kicked his first two goals from his first two kicks in the first quarter. Finishing with 11 disposals as well, Clarke may have plenty more opportunities to come in the near future.

K is For Key Forwards at Both Ends: On Saturday night there were eyes on two of the best key forwards in the game taking part for either team. For St Kilda, there was young gun Max King and for Brisbane, there was Joe Daniher. After missing six weeks with a shoulder injury, Daniher kicked three goals to help settle his side while King kicked the game’s two first goals.

L is For Leading By Example: In the absence of Ben McEvoy, stand-in captain Jaeger O’Meara has really stood up. Leading the way, O’Meara collected a team-high 30 disposals and nine clearances, another complete performance by one of the Hawks’ best this year.

M is For Milestone Men: Both Richmond and Port Adelaide had reasons to celebrate tonight. Robbie Gray and Travis Boak notched up their 250th game as teammates, with Boak his usual prolific self with 25 touches, though Gray was quiet with just six. But it was Richmond co-captain Dylan Grimes, with eight intercepts, 10 touches and the win in game 200.

N is For Not Playing WAFL Again: After a stint in the WAFL last week, Nat Fyfe made his return to AFL level for the first time in more than 10 months. The dual Brownlow medallist collected 22 disposals and had 10 score involvements, but it was his goal in the third quarter that had the crowd roaring.

O is For One-Fifty and Counting: While fans couldn’t celebrate the occasion with a win, Essendon put on a pre-game spectacle honouring the club’s history for its 150th-year anniversary celebrations against old rivals Carlton. Hosted by rap artist Senator Briggs, the club paid tribute to all its greats, with a special focus on the Bombers’ vast Indigenous history by the proud Yorta Yorta man.

P is for Pulsating Starts: Since Mark McVeigh took over, the Giants’ new game plan has led to some fast starts. Seven-goal opening terms against the Eagles and Lions were backed up with another great start this week, the five-goal to none first quarter, pretty much putting the game to bed.

Q is For Quarters Don’t Get Shorter: After a tense third term which saw the Blues consolidate their lead over the Bombers, neither side scored another goal. With two behinds to four and little stoppage time, the final quarter ran for just 24 minutes and 46 seconds, the third shortest in the 18-team era. It also marked Essendon’s second scoreless final quarter in a row.

R is For Rejuvenated Skipper: The new coach has put Stephen Coniglio into the midfield, and to say he has been rejuvenated is an understatement. His game against North Melbourne saw him collect 34 disposals, six marks and kick 3.2 in a best-on-ground (with Himmelberg) performance.

S is For Shai’s (Not) Straight Kicking: Some goal-kicking practice may be on the cards for Shai Bolton this week, after going 0.5 against the Power. Bolton’s misses were ultimately not costly, but with the game in the balance until the end, there was every chance they would have been, and composure will be high on the agenda going forward to ensure it is not a recurring issue.

T is For Tone with Heat-Set Early: They couldn’t make it count on the scoreboard when they won the ball back, but the early pressure from the Magpies was evident as it bothered the Demons. While the ball was predominantly in its back half, the pressure that was applied to the Melbourne forwards meant that there were no easy possessions to get scores for Melbourne early in proceedings.

U is For Unstoppable Force: Lachie Neale was a prolific force in the Lions’ win against the Saints. He had 37 disposals, six marks, three tackles and seven clearances to pull his side over the line as he usually does.

V is For Very Much a Top-Eight Team: It’s starting to get real tight as the winter months hit and ladder positions become a premium for teams that think they are good enough. As it stands, there are multiple capable and potential finals quality teams. Make no mistake Collingwood is one of them. In their first year under Craig McRae, the Pies are one of the most watchable teams in the competition and while they may be missing the A-List superstars, the Pies have all the tools to play finals football in Fly’s first season at the helm.

W is For Wonderful Walters: A wonderful moment for a fan favourite at Fremantle, as Michael Walters notched up a milestone against the Hawks. The man they call “Sonny” kicked two goals, the second one bringing his career goal tally to 300. Walters also collected 22 disposals, as the Dockers took the win.

X is For Xtra Special Milestone(s): The Giants vs Kangaroos game saw three milestones, with Aaron Hall and Luke McDonald both recording game 150. But the most special milestone of the game went to Callan Ward, who became the first GWS player to play 200 games for the club. A great effort for the inaugural captain and best and fairest winner.

Y is For You Say Curtis, but Which one? On a largely highlight-less day for the Kangaroos, the efforts of Paul Curtis and Curtis Taylor would give supporters hope for the future. Paul Curtis made great decisions, put great pressure on and snagged a goal, whilst Curtis Taylor had 18 disposals, kicked a goal and took an amazing grab. This effort is needed from more Roos to ensure a better overall performance.

Z Is For Zinger Cox: He saves his best for the big stage the big Texan. After bobbing up for two missed set shots in the second quarter, Mason Cox stamped his influence on the game in the third quarter. Taking two big intercept marks in defensive 50 before bringing the house down as he called for the handball before slotting a brilliant goal on the run.

Despite collecting 16 possessions and a goal in the second half, Cox missed out on the Neale Daniher Trophy for best on ground by a solitary vote, losing out to Clayton Oliver who had 43 possessions on the day.

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