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AFL Review Round 9
Geelong and St. Kilda survive close encounters
Michael Clough (clough)     Print Article 
Published 2009-05-26 02:17 (KST)   
Round 9 of the Australian Football League carried the theme of 쏧ndigenous Round in honor of the enthusiasm for and contribution made to the sport of Australian Rules by the nation's Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population.

On the field, the frontrunners of the competition in St. Kilda and Geelong kept their 100% wining records in tact but both faced their biggest challenges of the season so far.

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Geelong Cats 17.14.116 defeated Western Bulldogs 17.12.114
Geelong's unbeaten start to 2009 has continued just with the Cats recording a two point win over the Western Bulldogs in a Friday night thriller at Etihad Stadium that went down to the very last kick.

Brad Johnson had the chance to steal victory for the Bulldogs with a mark deep in the forward pocket with only seconds left on the clock. Nothing short of a goal would suffice for the Bulldogs but Johnson's attempt at a banana kick from a tight angle off target giving Geelong what can be considered a lucky reprieve.

Bar for a brief period in the second quarter Geelong had led throughout but could never really bust the game open with a determined Bulldogs constantly nagging at the Cats heels before coming home strongly in the final term to nearly snatch a surprise win.

In his 300th AFL game, Bulldogs veteran Jason Akermanis put in a vintage display which helped spark the Bulldogs in the second half, the former Brownlow Medalist and triple premiership player with Brisbane collecting 25 possessions and kicking four goals.

Geelong burst out of the blocks in the first quarter, quickly racing to a 19 point lead after 13 minutes and a blowout was already on the cards. The Bulldogs quarter time deficit was 20 points thanks in part to a late Akermanis goal. The Bulldogs would finally get out of first gear in the second term with Johnson giving his side an early spark with two quick goals. Further goals to Daniel Giansiracusa and Josh Hill meant that the Bulldogs had kicked five goals on the trot and had taken the lead.

As fast as the Bulldogs had taken control the Cats regained the ascendancy with three goals of their own to lead 13 points at half time.

Geelong against resumed control of the game in the third term, opening the quarter with four quick goals to extend their lead to 37 points but the Bulldogs started to chip away at the Cats lead and two late goals to Akermanis narrowed the gap to 22 points at the final change.

The Bulldogs stormed back into contention with three of the first four goals of the final term to narrow the gap to eight point midway through the quarter. A goal to Jimmy Bartel in the 20 minute steadied Geelong but the Bulldogs continued their push the Cats and with goals to Johnson and Akermanis there was less than a kick in it. Travis Varcoe gave the Cats some breathing space with his first goal in the 27th minute before Liam Picken brought the Bulldogs back within three points.

North Melbourne Kangaroos 14.14.98 defeated Fremantle Dockers 12.13.85
North Melbourne have recorded their fourth win for the season after staging a come from behind 13 point win over Fremantle at Etihad Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

David Hale led the way for the Kangaroos with five goals, while Paul Haselby (26 possessions) and Matthew Pavlich (three goals) were among the best for the Dockers.

After North Melbourne kicked the opening goal off the boot of Leigh Harding, it would be the Dockers who would dominate the first quarter with the visitors kicking six goals to two to hold a 26 point lead a quarter time.

Like the Bulldogs the night before the Kangaroos belatedly hit their straps in the second quarter by kicking the opening three goals of the quarter. North Melbourne levelled the scores after Benjamin Warren goaled in the 16th minute but Fremantle steadied and at half time led by five points.

The match remained tight for most of the third quarter with the Dockers holding the lead for the most part until the Kangaroos grabbed the game by the horns to kick three straight goals late in the term to hold what would be a match-winning 13 point lead at the final change.

North's lead became 19 points after Hale kicked his fourth in the opening minute of the final term, two goals to the Dockers had the visited six points behind late in to game before Hale secured victory for the Kangaroos with his fifth in the 24th minute.

Adelaide Crows 15.14.104 defeated Carlton Blues 8.12.60
Adelaide are back on the winners circle after a crushing 44 point win over an inept Carlton at AAMI Stadium.

Not only does the win get the Crows season back on track but was also the perfect way to celebrate Andrew McLeod's 313th AFL game, a new club record with the 1997 & 1998 Norm Smith Medalist (MVP in the grand final) taking the mantle from former premiership teammate Mark Ricciuto.

To rub salt into Carlton's wounds, key utility Jarrad Waite's season might be over after suffering a knee injury in the first quarter.

The game as a contest was all but over by half time with the ruthless Crows punishing an abysmal Carlton for their plentiful skill errors. Kicking against the wind in the opening quarter the home side kick three goals and made the most of the breeze in the second quarter, adding another five goals to their tally while Carlton failed to kick a goal in the first half.

Adelaide led by 49 points at half time and continued the Blues misery early in the third term after Kurt Tippett kicked his second goal of the game to extend the Crows advantage to 55 points.

Carlton finally broke through in the sixth minute of the third after Eddie Betts swooped on a Bret Thornton tap on to score from the goal square. This sparked something of a Blues revival with the visitors having the better of play in the third term and with a run of five unanswered goals had a small sniff of victory with the deficit only 27 points at three quarter time but a Brent Reilly goal in the opening minute of the final quarter would dash the Blues hopes with Adelaide running out comfortable winners.

Essendon Bombers 19.11.125 defeated Richmond Tigers 12.13.85
A traumatic week for the Richmond Football Club had an equally painful end with the Tigers being overrun in the second half to suffer a 40 point loss at the hands of Essendon in the 쏡reamtime at the 'G match at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on Saturday.

The win sees the Bombers sit in fourth spot on the AFL ladder with five wins from nine games.

It had been a tough week off the field for the Tigers with rumour circulating around the Melbourne media that coach Terry Wallace would be sacked and an internal player revolt coming to the fore and at least on the field it appeared to give Richmond the spark they needed with the Tigers playing some excellent football in the first half.

Richmond kicked the first two goals of the game to Mitch Morton and Dean Polo before the Bombers hit back with two of their own to David Zaharakis and Jobe Watson. While Richmond were having the better of general play they couldn't take full toll on the scoreboard but still led by 16 points at quarter time.

Again Richmond were dominating the clearances in the second term but failed to convert it where it counts, on the scoreboard as Essendon managed to find a response to every challenge laid down by the Tigers. Both sides kicked four goals for the quarter and as it was at quarter time, the margin was 16 points Richmond's way at the main break.

The Tigers had work would all come undone in the third quarter as Essendon started to take control. The Tigers were still 14 points up when Morton scored his third goal midway through the third term but the Bombers finished the quarter with a wet sail, kicking four goals in a five minute burst to lead by 12 points at three quarter time.

Much to the despair of their long suffering fans, Richmond put up the white flag in the final quarter, the Bombers starting the quarter with another four straight goals to end the Tigers hopes before cruising to victory.

Collingwood Magpies 12.1.6.88 defeated West Coast Eagles 9.12.66
Collingwood have put an ordinary fortnight of football behind them with the still well understrength Magpies making a successful journey across the continent to Perth, defeat West Coast by 22 points at Subiaco on Saturday night.

Collingwood overcame a slow start but then controlled what was a dour, low scoring affair which has entrenched the Eagles in the bottom four of the AFL ladder.

For the Magpies, Leon Davis was outstanding with 32 possessions and three goals, Scott Pendlebury was a ball magnet with 38 possessions with 200-gamer Taryn Lockyer also a key contributor with 25 possessions and two goals.

Scoring chances were hard to come at the start of the game and it took 12 minutes for the opening goal to the Magpies John Anthony. From there it would be the Eagles that would have the better of the opening term, the home side kicking the next three goals to lead by 12 points at quarter time.

From there though Collingwood started to slowly grind down the Eagles. West Coast were held goalless in the second quarter while Collingwood kicked three and the Magpies could've been further in front than the eight points they were at half time and they made the most of some late scoring shots, the visitors round out the second quarter with five behinds.

Collingwood burst out of the blocks in the third quarter with the opening three goals of the quarter to race to a 27 point lead and from there West Coast could not make any major inroads into the Magpies lead, with both side kicking four goals in the final quarter.

Sydney Swans 18.15.123 defeated Port Adelaide Power 10.8.68
Sydney have won back-to-back games for the first time this season after demolishing Port Adelaide by 55 points in Sunday's game at the Sydney Cricket Ground.

The result sees Sydney move up to fifth on the AFL ladder while Port Adelaide slip to eighth.

The Swans had the four premiership points effectively wrapped up by quarter time after a brilliant opening quarter goal blitz. It did not take Sydney long to open the floodgates with two goals in the opening two minutes of the game but it would get worse for the Power as the home side slammed home eight goals before quarter time.

Sydney already had seven goals from seven different scorers on the board before Port Adelaide could break their duck through rookie Hamish Hartlett in the 25th minute.

The Power trailed by 49 points at the first change and while not managing to make any major inroads in the second quarter at least manged to stem the flow of goals before half time. Sydney were kept to three goals for the quarter while Port Adelaide kicked two as the home side still held a commanding 51 point lead at the main change.

While Port Adelaide narrowly won the third quarter they never looked like mounting a serious challenge in the second half with the Swans cruising to victory with five goals to four in the final quarter.

St. Kilda Saints 14.13.97 defeated Brisbane Lions 13.3.81
St. Kilda, like Geelong remain undefeated in season 2009 but faced their sternest test of the campaign so far in their 16 point win over a dogged Brisbane in Sunday clash at Etihad Stadium.

The game went right down to the wire with the Lions leading for a large part of the final quarter but ultimately the extra depth and class of the Saints shone through with the home find an extra gear to power home with five of the last six goals for the game.

For St. Kilda, Leigh Montagna was outstanding with 33 possessions, Lenny Hayes in his 200th AFL game collected 31 possessions, Michael Gardiner was mighty in the ruck with 31 hit-outs while tall forward Nick Riewoldt and Justin Koschitzke were the dominate forward with four goals each.

Simon Black was once again a key contributor for the Lions with 27 possessions, Jared Brennan collected 26 possessions while Justin Sherman was a key player in the second half finishing with 26 possessions and two goals.

The match seemed to be following the expected script in the first quarter as the Saints took control of the game early and led by 20 points at quarter time. Riewoldt wasted little getting the home side on the board with the opening goal in less than two minutes but the Lions manage to absorb the Saints early pressure and opened their account in the 12th minute through captain Jonathon Brown.

From there the rest of the quarter belonged to St. Kilda who kicked the last three goals of the term.

While it was St. Kilda that was applying all the pressure in the first quarter it was Brisbane who was putting their opponents on the back foot in the second. Despite of all their hard work the Lions still trailed by 18 points deep into time-on but the visitors breathed new life into the contest thanks to late goals to Matt Austin and James Polkinghorne to cut the gap to eight points at half time.

Both side exchanged goals early in the third quarter but Brisbane were starting to get control of the contest and were making it count on the scoreboard, the Lions grabbing the lead thanks to a run of four straight goals. A late goal to Koschitzke was not enough to put the Saints ahead at final change with the Lions holding a slender three point lead.

Sherman extended the visitors lead to nine points with the opening goal of the final term but Koschitzke kept the Saints in the hunt with his fourth. When Sherman scored his second in the 14th minute an upset was on the cards but the home side lifted and the game turned with a stunning three goal blitz from the Saints in as many minutes with the ladder leaders converting quick centre clearances into quick goals.

St. Kilda now led by nine points but Brown would cut the margin back down to three points with his third goal but that would be as close as Brisbane would get with St. Kilda kicking the last two goals of the game.

Hawthorn Hawks 17.12.114 defeated Melbourne Demons 13.14.92
As expected reigning premier Hawthorn had little trouble overpowering last year's wooden spooners in Melbourne with the Hawks posting a 22 point win in the final game of Round 9 at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.

Despite the final margin being relatively close, Hawthorn were never seriously challenged and led from start to finish to record a comfortable win.

The good news story to come out of the game was the successful debut of Hawthorn's Beau Muston who has had to overcome three knee reconstructions since being drafted to the Hawks at the end of the 2205 season and Muston made the most of his belated opportunity to be one of the best on ground with 31 possessions.

Hawthorn laid the foundations of their victory in the first quarter with the Hawks quickly racing to a 28 point lead after kicking six of the first seven goals of the game.

The Hawks held a 21 point buffer at the first change but this soon became 40 points as the rampaging Hawks opened the second quarter with goals to Chance Bateman, Michael Osborne and Jarryd Roughead. Melbourne responded with the next two but it did not stop Hawthorn from holding a 43 point lead at half time.

Hawthorn kicked the first two goals after half time to extend the margin to 55 points before Melbourne's Colin Sylvia enjoyed a personal purple patch kicking three goals in the space of five minutes. Hawthorn led by 47 points at three quarter time and took their foot off the accelerator in the final term with the Demons outscoring them five goals to one.
©2009 OhmyNews
Other articles by reporter Michael Clough

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