The A-Z of Round 14: Who delivered? Who’s under siege?

The moments that mattered in round 14
The moments that mattered in round 14. Images: @NMFCOfficial, @PAFC, @GeelongCats. Twitter

Fans were only treated to 5 games in Round 14 but as with every week that passes, there is plenty of action, as we cross the halfway point of the home and away season. Gary Rohan lived the childhood dream for a second time, the Bombers keep on plotting the most unlikely of campaigns and the pressure keeps on coming for the struggling Blues.

The Inner Sanctum takes you through the A-Z – the defining highs, lows, and controversies surrounding round 14 of the 2021 AFL Premiership season.

A is for the Accumulator: Ollie Wines was just that for Port Adelaide against Gold Coast as he came two shy of the Power disposals record held by Peter Burgoyne. Wines registered 43 disposals for Port Adelaide, the second time this season he set a personal best for disposals, and with eight marks and six tackles, he’s a good chance to take the three Brownlow votes as well.

B is for Battling away: Touk Miller did all he could. Another 31 disposals, another nine tackles, another seven clearances, and another performance saw him leading from the front in another disappointing performance from Gold Coast. 

Hugh Greenwood continues to perform as well, with 14 tackles, including five inside 50, and 10 contested possessions (out of 16) to be in the Suns’ best. 

C is for Close Call for the Lions: Brisbane are looking to solidify their place at the top but it hasn’t come without a scare from the bottom-of-the-ladder Roos, who took it to the Lions for three quarters before they opened up the game. 

D is for Draper’s back with a bang: Out of action since round 2 with an ankle injury, Essendon ruckman Sam Draper returned with a bang against the Hawks, winning 18 hit-outs, 15 disposals, and hauling in 6 marks on return to the senior side

E is for Elite Efficiency: Tom Stewart’s work in defence for his Geelong team is nothing short of exciting to watch. His 27 disposals against the Western Bulldogs went at 78% efficiency, which makes his season average currently at 20.5 and in elite territory. 15 of his touches were intercept possessions, making him crucial to the Cats’ rebound out of defensive 50.  

F is for Four goals only: The expansion side is back in the headlines for the wrong reasons after another bitterly disappointing afternoon. The Gold Coast Suns were only able to manage 4.7 for the entire match against Port Adelaide. Ben King kicked two of them from limited opportunities, but otherwise, chances were few and far between, and the Gold Coast slumped to a big loss at home.

G is for Gray Skies for Port Adelaide: It wasn’t the milestone game that Robbie Gray would have wanted, with the Port Adelaide star going down with a medial strain in the second term. Depending on the severity of the injury, it could keep Gray out from between two-six weeks. 

H is for Harry’s sticky hands: Harrison Jones is a key position player for the future making a big impact on Sunday. The young Bombers forward has particularly impressed this season with his one-grab marking and sticky hands. A real aerial presence in the Bombers attacking 50 for many years to come.

I is for insufficient intent: When it came to free kicks in the Lions V Kangaroos, insufficient intent seemed to be a common call, with six calls for insufficient intent being called in the 3rd quarter alone. 

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J is for Jeremy’s bunnies: Jeremy Finlayson starred on Saturday night against Carlton, booting a third career-high, five-goal haul. It was also his second five-goal bag against the Blues, who are fast becoming a bunny team for the key forward. Finlayson’s performance of five goals straight and ten marks was undoubtedly key to the Giants’ convincing win, as they capitalized on an accurate goalkicking performance to bury the Blues. 

K is for Kennedy the shining light: On a dirty night for the Blues, Matthew Kennedy returned after playing just one full game and two as the medical sub in 2021, Matthew Kennedy was a shining light against his former team on Saturday night. Gathering an equal game-high 27 disposals, five clearances, and 541 metres gained, Kennedy was undoubtedly the Blues’ best in a disappointing loss to the Giants. Having played just the three games in 2021 and after a performance like this, it perhaps leaves Blues fans wondering why Kennedy hasn’t played more senior games so far this season. 

L is for Loving it in the box: For one reason or another, Chris Scott is one of the more polarising figures in football. But one thing that Scott has become known for is his universal passion for the game and his club. Jumping and screaming for joy when the camera panned to the Geelong coaches box after Gary Rohan’s matchwinner on Friday night.

M is for Misery for Mitch: Geelong is set to be without superstar midfielder Mitch Duncan for an extended time with a serious knee injury. Duncan went down early in the first quarter of his team’s clash with the Dogs and was subbed out almost immediately, with scans revealing that Duncan has suffered a PCL injury, the second one in the AFL in many weeks. 

N is for Nice Gary!: Most footy-obsessed kids grow up dreaming of being the one to kick the winning goal after the final siren, but very few actually get the chance. Unless you’re Gary Rohan, it seems. On the weekend, Rohan became just the second AFL player to have kicked a goal after the siren twice and won, for two separate teams. Both of these moments came in round 14 of their respective years, marking the round as a favourite for Rohan.

The scores were 77-78 between Geelong and the Western Bulldogs when, in the dying moments of the final term, Rohan took a contested grab in the Cats’ forward 50. He walked back for his set shot with the seconds ticking down, the siren sounding as he got to the top of his mark. All eyes were on Rohan as he sunk Doggies hearts and was mobbed by his teammates to the soundtrack of We Are Geelong playing around GMHBA Stadium.

O is for On the board: The Lions’ clash against North Melbourne in round 14 was the first time that Brisbane has played in Hobart. Although the win didn’t come easy, they were able to claim the four points in the Tassie capital. 

P is for Package delivering: Jake Stringer is putting together some year. He’s having his best season since the Finals and Premiership year at the Bulldogs and put on another clinic in Launceston with 29 possessions, 6 clearances, 7 tackles, 10 inside 50s, and 4 goals. still yet to re-sign with the Bombers but on his efforts in round 14, they’d be foolish not to ramp up discussions significantly in the coming weeks.

Q is for Quiet Quarter: Friday night’s game in Geelong was set to be another blockbuster clash, especially given the byes and there being limited games, but while it turned out to be another classic, heart-stopper between two top 4 teams, it didn’t start that way. Heading into the first break, both the Western Bulldogs and Geelong were both sitting at 1.4. Tom Liberatore got the Dogs on the board early, while Jeremy Cameron scored the only major for the Cats in a term full of back-and-forth footy.

R is for the Running man: Nick Hind continues to solidify the position of bargain recruit of the year with another strong performance against the Hawks in round 14. The running man of halfback was prolific once again, collecting 25 disposals and kicking a fantastic third-quarter goal to wrestle momentum back Essendon’s way.

S is for the Same old story: Coming off the bye and with plenty of talk surrounding its first half of the season, Carlton’s fans would have been hoping for a strong response against the Giants on Saturday night. But what they received was quite the opposite, as the Blues dished up another uninspiring, inaccurate performance. Carlton lost the disposal count to GWS by just 38 but was smashed in the tackle count, finishing with 37 less than the Giants, and while finishing with just one less scoring shot than its opponents, ultimately lost the game by 36 points. 

T is for Toby’s tremendous torp: Star Giant Toby Greene put the Blues to the sword on Saturday night at GIANTS Stadium, booting 4.2 from 20 disposals and eight marks. Greene capped off a dominant first quarter for the Giants with an enormous torpedo goal after the siren, which continued his side’s momentum as they turned a 20-point quarter-time lead into a 30-point half time lead. 

U is for Under Siege: The natives are at breaking point and the heat is at fever pitch at Princes Park and for coach David Teague. Overseeing his third consecutive loss and despite it being Carlton’s heaviest defeat in a couple of years, only 36 points, the patterns that continually emerged throughout all Carlton’s losses this year have seemingly not been fixed since the start of the year. Turning the pressure gauge right up. 

V is for Vitriol crackdown online: As reported this week, there are set to be fresh rules coming into place online that crackdown on vitriol, vilification, and abuse towards athletes. While it isn’t going to solve everything, it is certainly going to make people accountable is an important step into creating a safer environment online.

W is for Watchable Dons: Essendon has emerged as one of the most exciting teams in the competition to watch this season, with each game bringing excitement and flair to each of their contests with high scoring, exciting youngsters and an attractive brand of football which is easy on the eye for footy purists.

X is for Xerri slow burn: in his second game for the season after some consistent VFL form, young Kangaroos ruckman Tristian Xerri is slowly building into his AFL career. A potential long-term replacement for the evergreen and reliable Todd Goldstein, Xerri won 9 hit-outs and spent a lot of time up forward as he builds consistency in the AFL side.

Y is for York Park at capacity: It was a big weekend for footy in Tasmania with two games in the Apple Isle during round 14. On Sunday afternoon, Essendon made their first trip down south since 1993 to play the Hawks at their adopted home in Launceston, and the locals voted with their feet, packing the stadium out.

Z is for Ziebell standing tall again: Kangaroos captain Jack Ziebell once again led from the front in his performance against the Brisbane Lions. The skipper once again was a rock in the Roos defence. Finishing the game with 32 disposals and 71 per cent efficiency.

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