The A-Z of round 13: Who felt the heat? Who froze?

Photos of Round 13
The photos that captured round 13 (Source: @melbournefc/Twitter, @CollingwoodFC/Twitter @WestCoastEagles)

It was another action-packed, round of football. Fans had plenty to celebrate, lament and ponder on as round 13 comes to a close. The footy community united to support Neale Daniher and FightMND, Collingwood farewelled a club legend and numerous matches went down to the wire. What more could you want?

The Inner Sanctum takes you through the A-Z – the defining highs, lows, and controversies surrounding round 13 of the 2021 AFL Premiership season.

A is for A round of upsets. To say that round 13 brought a few surprises to footy fans is an understatement. With many footy fans left stunned after several games this round, the Hawks took the chocolates over Sydney on the Swans home turf, Collingwood knocking off the ladder leaders in the Dees, and North Melbourne spoiling the Giants run for finals just to name a few.

B is for Big Cohuna. Docker Josh Treacy was a big factor in the third quarter at Optus Stadium against the Suns on Saturday afternoon. The ‘Big Cohuna’ booted two goals and a behind in the third quarter to re-ignite the contest, following up his three-goal performance in round 12 with two goals and three behinds from 15 disposals and seven marks. Treacy looks to have been a great rookie pickup for the Dockers and has stepped up in recent weeks in Matt Taberner’s absence.

C is for Cranky Chris’ Crowd Conflict. With your team leading in a close game with top-four implications on the line in hostile territory, we reckon Chris Scott’s mind should be on the job – not worrying about what the general punters are saying.

D is for Dramatic Tempo Shift. The opening half between Fremantle and the Gold Coast Suns was one of the less attractive in recent memory, the half-time score 3.4 (22) to 1.8 (14) the way of the Dockers.

Freo kicked the first and only goal of the second quarter just two minutes into the quarter before the Suns kicked five consecutive behinds. However, both sides fired after half time, with the two sides kicking 10 goals and seven behind them in the third quarter and breathing some life back into the game.

E is for Elect to bump? Adelaide midfielder David Mackay has come under MRO scrutiny after a bump in the second quarter that left St Kilda defender Hunter Clark subbed out of the game with a broken jaw. With Mackay being sent straight to the Tribunal for the incident and head trauma is a major issue in the AFL in recent years the Tribunal will be looking to make a statement come Thursday night.

F is for Frenetic Final Terms. Impartial footy fans got to enjoy close contests the two times Port Adelaide hosted the 2020 Grand Finalists. The Power were able to deliver a magical last quarter to topple the Tigers earlier in the year, but couldn’t finish off the fast-finishing felines after booting the opening three goals of the fourth.

G is for Grundy who? When the annual Queen’s Birthday match rolls around, eyes are always on the battle between Max Gawn v Brodie Grundy as two of the best ruckmen in the game. But with Grundy out of the team at the moment due to a neck injury, the job on Gawn was left to Magpies 22-year-old Max Lynch, who arguably held his own in just his third AFL game to win the hit-out count 23-20. Gawn was still relatively influential on the game, kicking a goal in the third quarter to go with his 19 disposals to keep the Demons in it, but Lynch stood up very well against tough opposition to give Collingwood fans something to be excited about in the future.

H is for Haynes’ one wood. Giants defender Nick Haynes has forged a career for being one of the best intercept defenders in the game. The reigning All – Australian defender hauled in 14 intercept marks against the Kangaroos in round 13.

I is for Ice Ice baby – Stop! Collaborate and listen! The Big Freeze is back for 2021! Australians donned their beanies and rallied around Neale Daniher’s work across every game this weekend, but especially the Queen’s Birthday clash between Melbourne and Collingwood. One of the biggest events on the AFL calendar found a new home at the SCG this year as AFL big names took the plunge to raise funds for FightMND. Over $2 million has been raised, which is a remarkable achievement and will go a long way to fight the beast. 

J is for “Jetlagged” Tigers? There’s been a bit of conversation this week about the kilometres that the Tigers have traveled in the last four weeks, with their most recent trek a self-inflicted trip back to Sydney after beating Essendon at Optus Stadium in Round 12, only to then return to Perth for their round 13 clash against West Coast. With the game against the Eagles being a loss, coach Damien Hardwick lamented a lack of composure in the final quarter that he believes was a contributing factor, though the question of Richmond being possibly jetlagged was raised in the pre-game discussions.

K is for King Kennedy. In what was probably the match of the round, Richmond was handed a four-point loss to West Coast in a thriller at Optus Stadium that would have had even the most neutral of AFL fans out of their seats. But it was the heart-stopping performance from key forward Josh Kennedy that sealed the deal, kicking his fourth goal of the game in the last minute of the fourth quarter to put the Eagles back in front. Kennedy’s four majors came off the back of 15 disposals, 12 kicks, and seven marks.

L is for Lucky Lukes – Round 13 was a great time to be an emerging player named Luke. Without spoiling a later letter, Luke Jackson was a highlight for the Dees in the Queen’s Birthday clash, doing everything he could to get his team over the line. 

In the west, Luke Edwards (27 disposals, six score involvements, four inside 50s) in his second game delivered a mature, classy performance against the reigning premiers. As one of the best on ground, his exceptional final was a key part of the Eagles’ victory. Down back, Luke Foley (22 disposals, five rebound 50s, seven marks) played his best game yet and is becoming more confident on the big stage.

Although not an emerging player, Luke Ryan (29 disposals, 10 marks, six rebound 50s) also played a fantastic game against the Suns on Saturday. 

M is for Marvellous Mid-Season Draftee. Playing a pivotal role in Hawthorn’s upset victory over Sydney was their 19-year-old Mid Season Draftee, Jai Newcombe. The former Box Hill player set a standard of relentless attack on the ball for the Hawks, laying 14 tackles and adding a further 21 pressure acts.

N is for Next Chapter awaits. As the Queen’s Birthday match drew to a close, so did Nathan Buckley’s time at Collingwood. It was a perfect send-off for the Magpies legend with Collingwood causing an upset to ladder-leaders in Melbourne. Collingwood’s next chapter begins with caretaker coach Robert Harvey while Buckley looks to focus on family. 

O is for Out with the yips. St Kilda forward Max King has been out of form in recent weeks. Being left goalless in three of the past four games, the young forward proved he can be valuable at ground level as well as in the air and overhead. King finished the game with 2 goals, the first time since round seven that King has kicked multiple goals.

P is for Piling on Plenty of Pressure. In a week where Alastair Clarkson’s name was seemingly linked to Collingwood at every turn, his young Hawthorn team reminded the footy world of why their coach is so highly regarded in round 13. The Hawks performance was reminiscent of the club’s premiership sides of the last decade, attacking the ball at a ferocious pace and willingly throwing themselves into the coalface. In total, they laid 78 tackles, almost 20 more than their season average of 59, and were positive 26 in the contested possession count against the Swans.

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Q is for Quivering Demons The Demons were left quivering after a loss to Collingwood in the Queen’s Birthday match.  The Demons went into quarter time with the lead but they were on the back foot from there. The round 13 loss will be a learning curve for the Demons who go into the bye next week.

R is for Roses for Rozee. It’s been a difficult year for the young gun but a four-goal opening quarter set the Adelaide Oval alight. Rozee finished the game with five majors and looked to be back to his absolute best.

S is for Superher-Yeo. Elliot Yeo was arguably the difference in the Eagles’ four-point thrilling win against the Tigers, with half of his 20 disposals, at 70% efficiency, coming in the fourth quarter to see his team home at home. Yeo is still on managed minutes, with the amount of time on ground since his return from osteitis pubis has been quite the discussion topic, but he finished the match having played almost 88 minutes by the final siren and seems well on his way to being back at his best.

T is for Touch of Frost. In a round characterised by ‘The Big Freeze’, it is only appropriate that a player named Frost stood out. After a bright start from Sydney’s Lance Franklin who hit the scoreboard early, Hawthorn defender Sam Frost was able to seriously quell his influence after quarter time. The champion forward would go goalless and amass only six disposals for the remainder of the game. Alongside excellent reinforcements in Jiath and Scrimshaw, Frost played a true general’s game for the Hawks, leading their back six with class.

U is for Unwavering Consistency. Gold Coast midfielder Touk Miller was once again among the Suns’ best on Saturday afternoon against the Dockers, gathering an equal game-high 31 possessions, to go alongside seven clearances and seven inside 50s. Miller has undoubtedly been the Suns’ best player this season, and would likely be heavily in Brownlow contention if not ineligible through suspension. Since a 20-disposal game in round one, Miller has recorded 27 or more disposals in all but one game, highlighting his consistency for the Suns in 2021.

V is for Vintage Josh Kelly. While the honours were ultimately even at the end of the day, Josh Kelly was far and away the most damaging and influential player on the ground, producing a vintage performance. Kelly recorded 15 disposals alone in the second quarter, on the way to 39 total for the game including 12 score involvements, eight inside 50s, and two goals. His second goal, a snap on the boundary on his non-preferred foot early in the final quarter to spark the Giants’ comeback.

W is for We have a Draw! It was a topsy turvy afternoon on Sunday at Bellerive Oval, which resulted in the first Draw of season 2021. It was the Giants’ fourth draw in 5 years, whereas for North Melbourne, it was their first draw since 2009. Daniel Lloyd, after kicking the last 2 goals of the game to level the scores, had the chance to kick the winning score with seconds to go in the game but sprayed the kick out of bounds.

X is for Xavier Duursma injury watch.  Are we scraping the bottom of the barrel? No, we are not. Xavier Duursma is one of the best young players in the competition and many will be hoping to see him out on the field again soon. The Port Adelaide young gun is reportedly set to return in 3-4 weeks from his knee injury sustained in late April, giving the Power a much-needed midfield boost.

Y is for Young Ruckman stands up. Melbourne Ruckman Luke Jackson was a highlight for the Dees. The up-and-comer led the goal-kicking tally for his side desperately trying to help get the Demons over the line. From his time spent in the ruck, he was able to get six hit-outs two of which were to advantage. One thing for sure is that he’ll play an important role in Melbourne’s challenge for the ultimate success. 

Z is for Zero to hero. The Crows didn’t start the game as they would have liked. The Saints brought the pressure with Adelaide only managing six inside 50s in the first term but weren’t able to capitalise on opportunities leaving them scoreless going into quarter time. It didn’t come until the 16-minute mark in the second term when Shane McAdam was able to get the Crows on the board with a behind. That didn’t deter the Crows from sparking a comeback in the third term. Come the final two minutes of the game, the Crows were one point behind until first-year player Riley Thilthorpe kicked the goal which put the Crows in front.

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