AFL Round 8: Rolling scores, stats and news out of this week’s games

Brisbane has received X-rays on Dan McStay’s ankle but the flag contender now faces a new dilemma over how to restructure an injury-hit forward line.

Brisbane Lions forward Daniel McStay has been cleared of a bone break but the club is still waiting on scans to determine the extent of damage to his injured ankle.

The week after losing key forward Joe Daniher for four to six weeks with a shoulder injury, Brisbane’s attack was dealt another blow when McStay injured his ankle in the 75-point win over West Coast at the Gabba on Saturday night.

But McStay’s injury comes as the Lions weigh up a potential AFL comeback for tall forward Eric Hipwood from an ACL injury this week.

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McStay was taken to hospital to assess the injury on Saturday night after his left ankle was trapped in a marking contest in the first quarter.

X-rays revealed there was no fracture, but the Lions said McStay would have more scans on Monday to determine how much other damage to the ankle has been done.

Lions coach Chris Fagan admitted the injury did not “look great”.

“I’ve got my fingers crossed that it’s not too bad. It didn’t look great so we’ll just have to wait and see,” Fagan said.

“When it rains, it pours. If you are going to have injuries, you’d like them to be spread a little bit across the team and not have two of your best tall forwards out.”

Daniel McStay hurt his ankle in the big win over the Eagles. Picture: Russell Freeman/AFL Photos
Daniel McStay hurt his ankle in the big win over the Eagles. Picture: Russell Freeman/AFL Photos

McStay has kicked 10 goals so far this season for the Lions, who face the Crows at Adelaide Oval on Saturday.

Fagan said Hipwood, who has not played since Round 17 last year, was now available to play – the only question was whether he came straight back into the AFL team or returned via the VFL.

“I’m sitting on the fence still but I’ll be guided a little bit by our medical people. The medical people do such a great job with rehabbing players from injury that, if they are really high-quality players, you don’t necessarily have to bring them back through the reserves,” Fagan said.

“He’s playing this week, that was always the plan. So, he’s available, it’s just a matter of whether we pick him.

“There will be a scratch match next week for our reserves but he’s been doing match practice at training for a month now, he’s been doing competitive work for the same period of time and been running big kilometres so we’ve got a decision to make there but he’s in great nick.”

Charlie Cameron flies for a mark against the Eagles on Saturday night. Picture: Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images
Charlie Cameron flies for a mark against the Eagles on Saturday night. Picture: Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images

The last time that Brisbane started a season 7-1 was in 1996.

The Eagles slumped to 1-7 but with just 21 listed players available due mainly to a spate of injuries, senior coach Adam Simpson sidelined with Covid and two WAFL players drafted into the line-up, they have been dealt a savage hand in 2022.

Prediction of records tumbling off the shelf were off the mark as the dogged West Coast were so intent on defending it was to the detriment of any attacking aspirations.

They simply did not look like scoring as most of their energy went into keeping the game tight and contested. Two rapid-fire goals to Liam Ryan in the third term was an all-too-brief flurry before Brisbane took a 41-point cushion into three-quarter time and kicked away in the final term.

The Eagles had just the one goal by halftime when Brisbane enjoyed a 29-point lead after having a 15-point buffer at the first break with the drizzle making conditions slippery which aided West Coast’s bid to mitigate the damage.

After kicking 2.6 against North Melbourne at the Gabba in Round 3, Cameron booted 14.0 with his next 15 shots at goal. Lachie Neale was outstanding with 30 disposals, 10 clearances and six tackles.

More pain for Eagles

The AFL navigated the Covid-ravaged 2020 and 2021 seasons by being agile and flexible. The contrasting hard stance on ploughing through the fixture regardless of how the pandemic will hurt teams has savaged West Coast. But HQ can’t possibly postpone any games now no matter how dire the club’s campaign becomes with Covid added to a horror injury toll. They’ll likely get a top-two draft pick, at least, as compensation. The fixture is already compromised by the fact that not all teams play each other twice.

The silver lining

West Coast top-up player Jake Florenca had a very solid start to his AFL career with an equal game-high nine disposals in the first quarter. The in-form South Fremantle midfielder told his Mum that he was making his AFL debut mid-week and she was almost more excited about the prospect of him meeting star forward Josh Kennedy. The cabinet marker came into the match after collecting 38 disposals in the WAFL last week and finished with 19 touches, seven tackles and four clearances against Brisbane.

Brisbane livewire Cam Rayner is building. Picture: Russell Freeman/AFL Photos
Brisbane livewire Cam Rayner is building. Picture: Russell Freeman/AFL Photos

Rayner starting to shine

Cam Rayner is tapping into a vein of form. After missing all of 2021 with an ACL injury, the former No.1 draft pick got off a sluggish start this season. However, a promising performance against the Gold Coast in the QClash and three goals in the statement victory over Sydney was undeniable evidence that the livewire is back to near his best. He was dangerous again against the Eagles and missed out on a goal on the halftime siren after stepping off the mark.

Tough crowd

West Coast have never drawn great crowds in Brisbane with the Sunshine State not being home to many members of the Eagles fanbase. But with West Coast having a horror 2022 campaign, this was always going to be a hard ask at the box office. The Lions were emailing families of Brisbane juniors almost two weeks ago offering four-ticket family passes for the clash with the Eagles. With a giant mismatch in the offing, 19,331 spectators showed up.

Tim Kelly and Lachie Neale go head-to-head. Picture: Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images
Tim Kelly and Lachie Neale go head-to-head. Picture: Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images

Scoreboard

LIONS 3.3 5.6 9.7 16.9 (105)

EAGLES 1.0 1.1 3.2 4.6 (30)

GOALS:

LIONS: Cameron 4, McCluggage 4, Rayner 2, Payne, Coleman, McInerney, T Berry, J Berry, Bailey

EAGLES: Ryan 3, Darling

BEST:

LIONS: McCluggage, Neale, Cameron, McInerney, Rayner, Zorko

EAGLES: Hurn, McGovern, Ryan, Redden, Jones

INJURIES:

LIONS: McStay (ankle)

EAGLES:

VOTES:

3: H. McCluggage

2: L. Neale

1: C. Cameron

Ex-Blue the hero as Suns cause upset of the year

- Daniel Garb

The Gold Coast Suns caused arguably the upset of the AFL season to date with a spectacular defensive display to emerge victorious at the SCG over top-four candidates Sydney by 14 points.

In a win that was inspired by two late Levi Casboult goals, it provides a massive boost to under pressure coach Stuart Dew and places the Suns just a game outside of the eight.

For the Swans, the loss is their second in a row and is not only a dent to their top four hopes but was a dampener on what was meant to be a day of celebration as they marked the 10-year anniversary of their 2012 premiership triumph.

“It’s more about the reality of how hard the competition is. It’s tough. There are no quarters given. It’s a tough game and you can’t afford to sit back and wait and see what the opposition have got,” Swans coach John Longmire said.

Brandon Ellis and Touk Miller celebrate the win over Sydney. Picture: Matt King/AFL Photos
Brandon Ellis and Touk Miller celebrate the win over Sydney. Picture: Matt King/AFL Photos

The victory is Gold Coast’s fourth in their last six games against Sydney with three of them now coming at the SCG as they punished the Swans’ notorious slow starts by jumping out to a 14-point lead at quarter time and then hanging onto that margin at the final siren.

“Proud of the fight obviously, our belief has never wavered internally,” Suns coach Stuart Dew said.

“It’s a bit of a shot of confidence and it’s really good to get that one, clearly,” he continued.

With scores level at three quarter time, it was former Blue Casboult who was the hero with two final quarter majors, which were the only goals of the last term.

But it was in defence that the Suns shone with their excellent forward pressure coming to the fore again, while little known Connor Budarick starred at half back in just his 20th game as he accumulated 20 disposals and took 11 marks, many of which were contested.

Levi Casboult booted two crucial late goals in the win. Picture: Cameron Spencer/Getty Images
Levi Casboult booted two crucial late goals in the win. Picture: Cameron Spencer/Getty Images

Sam Collins was stellar in defence as well in an absorbing battle with Buddy Franklin as he kept the Swans superstar to just one goal coming off the six he kicked last week against Brisbane.

“He’s putting together an All-Australian year. As our vice-captain that’s what you’re after and he did a great job,” Dew said.

Making the win even more memorable for the Suns was that in came following the late omission of gun midfielder Noah Anderson but the likes of Brayden Fiorini and Brandon Ellis managed to pick up that slack with 30 and 26 disposals respectively.

Justin McInerney breaks away at the SCG on Saturday. Picture: Matt King/AFL Photos
Justin McInerney breaks away at the SCG on Saturday. Picture: Matt King/AFL Photos

Reunion downer

It was a wonderful sight to see Adam Goodes, man bun and all, back at the SCG and mingling with the Swans faithful after his traumatic fracturing of relationships with the AFL in recent times. But not even his presence along with the rest of the 2012 premiership side from 10 years ago could inspire the Swans as they failed to wrestle back control of the contest for long enough periods

Witts about him

Jarrod Witts led the competition for hitouts to advantage coming into the game and he proved why he’s so dominant in that area with a masterful ruck display from the co-captain against Peter Ladhams that was the hallmark of a memorable Sun win.

Return of Rory

On a day of positives for the Suns, another was the return of Rory Thompson into the Gold Coast line-up after four years away from AFL football due to a horrible injury run. The key position defender went close to kicking his first AFL goal in nine years as well in the first quarter in what was an assured comeback into the senior side.

Lance Franklin fends off Gold Coast’s Charlie Ballard. Picture: Phil Hillyard
Lance Franklin fends off Gold Coast’s Charlie Ballard. Picture: Phil Hillyard

Scoreboard

Sydney: 1.4, 4.7, 8.11, 8.13 (61)

Gold Coast: 3.6, 7.6, 8.11, 10.15 (75)

Goals:

Syd: Franklin, McInerney, Parker, Kennedy, Warner, Papley, McDonald, McLean

Gold Coast: Casboult 2, Rankine 2, Chol, Ainsworth, Lukosius, Swallow, Weller, Miller

Best:

Syd: Parker, Mills, Lloyd, McInerney, P.McCartin

GC: Witts, Ellis, Fiorini, Casboult, Collins, Swallow, Budarick, Ainsworth

Injuries:

Syd: Ladhams (lower leg)

GC: Lukosius (knee) subbed out for McPherson

Daniel Garb’s votes:

3 – Witts (Gold Coast)

2 – Ellis (Gold Coast)

1 – Budarick (Gold Coast)

CATS HEAP MORE PRESSURE ON CAMERON, GIANTS

— Dylan Bolch

A typical cold night in Canberra has seen Geelong redeem itself after last week’s tight loss at home to Fremantle.

The Cats remain in touch with the top four after they got the job done against a depleted Giants outfit 12.16 (88) to 4.11 (35).

Ex-Giant Jeremy Cameron lit up Manuka Oval in the first term with three goals but conservative ball movement from both sides meant that neither team could accelerate.

Geelong’s ability to score once they got inside 50 allowed them to take the lead heading into the first change and the experience of the Cats side gave them that extra edge over the Giants.

Mitch Duncan (33 disposals, 12 marks) roamed wherever he pleased in the opening half, notching 16 disposals in the first term, before GWS coach Leon Cameron called on tagger Lachie Ash to curtail his influence.

Matt Flynn and Lachie Ash show their frustration after another loss.
Matt Flynn and Lachie Ash show their frustration after another loss.
Tom Hawkins flies in a contested with Lachlan Keeffe.
Tom Hawkins flies in a contested with Lachlan Keeffe.

Cameron was also forced to move star defender Sam Taylor onto the dangerous Jeremy Cameron, which freed up Tom Hawkins to get involved as well.

The two-pronged Geelong attack continues to cause severe headaches for opposition coaches with a combined 47 goals now in eight matches.

Excluding the mercurial Toby Greene, the Giants struggled to find avenues to goal and only kicked two goals after quarter time.

GWS did not kick a single goal after Greene’s major five minutes into the second term until Harry Himmelberg kicked truly from range early in the fourth term.

The Giants were unable to unlock the Cats well drilled defence, even in the absence of experienced Geelong players in Joel Selwood, Shaun Higgins and Luke Dahlhaus.

While it was a pleasing win for Chris Scott and his Cats, Leon Cameron must be asking serious questions now of his group as they languish in the bottom four with just two wins to show from eight matches.

Jeremy Cameron and Zach Guthrie were two of Geelong’s standouts.
Jeremy Cameron and Zach Guthrie were two of Geelong’s standouts.

GEELONG RUCK WOES

With Rhys Stanley ruled out pre match, the Cats looked to utility Mark Blicavs to shoulder the bulk of the ruck load.

The ruck line has been perceived as the ‘missing piece’ for Geelong for several years and that problem has hampered their premiership aspirations to date.

The Cats traded for former Hawk Jonathon Ceglar last season, but he is yet to feature in the blue and white hoops due to a foot injury.

Braydon Preuss dominated the ruck battle amassing 17 touches and 31 hit outs, which set the Giants up for centre clearance ascendancy.

But Blicavs made his impact known around the ground, finishing with 26 disposals, eight marks and eight tackles.

THE YOUTH GOES ALL RIGHT

It’s no secret that Geelong have adjusted their list management strategy in order to try to secure the ultimate prize in football.

But it seems as though their kids can perform when called upon too.

Both Cooper Stephens and Mitch Knevitt looked comfortable in their debuts at the top level, giving Cats fans something to smile about.

Stephens racked up 19 possessions while Knevitt (16 touches) entered the game as the medical sub in the second quarter after Jed Bews was ruled out with concussion.

A local Geelong Falcons graduate, Knevitt’s endeavour and youthful exuberance added another dimension to the Geelong outfit.

Zach Guthrie, Sam De Koning and Francis Evans also showed glimpses that they can be key cogs in Geelong’s future.

Mitch Knevitt showed impressive signs after being subbed on for his debut.
Mitch Knevitt showed impressive signs after being subbed on for his debut.

GREEN MACHINE

Tom Green was forced to bide his time in the reserves after being drafted to the Giants, but he has well and truly had a breakout season in 2022.

Green has been the number six ranked midfielder by Ranking Points so far this season and he continued his rich vein of form against the Cats.

Green amassed 26 disposals and eight tackles and is quickly becoming one of the best young midfielders in the competition.

SCOREBOARD

GIANTS 2.2 3.5 3.9 4.11 35

CATS 4.3 6.7 8.11 12.16 88

BOLCH’S BEST

GIANTS: Cumming, Perryman, Green, Preuss.

CATS: Cameron, Duncan, Dangerfield, C. Guthrie, Stengle, O’Connor.

GOALS

GIANTS: Greene 2, Hogan, Himmelberg.

CATS: Cameron 5, Stengle 3, Hawkins, Close, Z. Guthrie, Narkle.

INJURIES

GIANTS: nil.

CATS: Bews (concussion).

UMPIRES Brown, Gavine, Heffernan.

VENUE Manuka Oval, Canberra

PLAYER OF THE YEAR

DYLAN BOLCH’S VOTES

3 J. Cameron (GEEL)

2 M. Duncan (GEEL)

1 P. Dangerfield (GEEL)

Lack of the draw: Top sides feasting on Roos

- Brad Elborough

The AFL fixtures have dealt North Melbourne a cruel hand in 2022.

As the Kangaroos work to learn their systems and perfect their structures in a bid to push up the ladder, they are continually being faced with teams much more advanced in their plans.

They aren’t really getting a chance to work on what they need to in a game without being under immense pressure.

Coach David Noble knows that the fixtures are what they are and won’t change. But he admits that facing the most in-form sides, week-after-week, is costing the Kangaroos their best chance of working on their plans.

Five of the past six opponents that the Kangaroos have played have shown some outstanding form in the early stages of this season. The sixth of those sides is the Western Bulldogs, last season’s runners-up.

Jack Ziebell leads the Kangaroos from the field after being defeated by the Fremantle Dockers and the North Melbourne Kangaroos at Optus Stadium on May 06, 2022 in Perth, Australia. (Photo by Paul Kane/Getty Images)
Jack Ziebell leads the Kangaroos from the field after being defeated by the Fremantle Dockers and the North Melbourne Kangaroos at Optus Stadium on May 06, 2022 in Perth, Australia. (Photo by Paul Kane/Getty Images)

Since beating West Coast in Round 2, Norths have played Brisbane, Sydney, the Bulldogs, Geelong, Carlton and Fremantle.

They lost their sixth consecutive game on Friday night, to the Dockers by 78 points. It was their seventh loss in eight games.

Noble said while he can’t do anything about the draw, it hasn’t helped.

“The draw is what it is. We’ve got to be better than what we have been,” he said.

“We’ve got to bring more energy and effort.

“You get challenged each week by teams that are ready to go.

“Teams are going to try and that take advantage of where you sit. They probably sweat on you a bit; they create that perceived pressure, and we get a bit hedgy with the ball.

Jed Anderson of the Kangaroos is swamped by Dockers opponents. Picture: Will Russell/AFL Photos via Getty Images
Jed Anderson of the Kangaroos is swamped by Dockers opponents. Picture: Will Russell/AFL Photos via Getty Images

“At the end of the day, it’s about how much we learn from this period, going forward.

“It’s not about the fails, the failure of where we’re at the moment.

“It’s about what we learn; it’s about how we address that going forward to keep the players bubbling along and understanding exactly where we’re at.”

Of the other teams among the bottom eight on the ladder, North Melbourne has played only the injury and COVID-19-hit Eagles (15-point win) and Hawthorn (20-point loss).

And it’s not about to get any easier for them, with an in-form Port Adelaide waiting for them in Tasmania next week, before they face reigning premier Melbourne, St Kilda, the Gold Coast and Greater Western Sydney before the bye.

There is no cavalry coming either. Norths will play around six players in the VFL this weekend, while Aaron Hall (hamstring) and Jared Polec (foot) are a few weeks from being available.

Jye Amiss of the Dockers marks the ball. Picture: Paul Kane/Getty Images
Jye Amiss of the Dockers marks the ball. Picture: Paul Kane/Getty Images

Nick Larky (suspension) is available to meet the Power in Round 9.

Ben McKay is likely to be added to that injury list for a few weeks. The key defender was providing a strong last-line of defence against the Dockers before injuring a knee in the third term. He was finally subbed out of the game in the last quarter.

Noble admits he may need to get more out of their experienced players.

“It’s a fair question; we’ll certainly be going away and having a look at it and seeing if there’s areas of their games we can improve,” Noble said.

“I thought Todd (Goldstein) has been solid in the ruck in the last couple of weeks. He’s done a pretty reasonable job.

“I’d have to reassess where we are with Jack (Ziebell). Sometimes your structure doesn’t allow some of those guys to get into the game either.”

Ziebell didn’t touch the ball in the opening quarter on Friday night, as the Dockers piled on five goals to nil. He finished the game with 12 possessions against the Dockers, which is what he has averaged in the past three weeks.

NORTH PLUNGES TO NEW DEPTHS AT HANDS OF DOCKERS

As bad as West Coast is at the moment, there should be greater concerns about the performances North Melbourne is putting up.

On Friday night, they lost to a Fremantle side that has been hit during the week by COVID-19 by 78 points.

The Dockers were missing six players to AFL health and safety protocols, with two others returning to the side for the clash after watching their side’s amazing win over Geelong in Round 7.

In winning 15.12 (102) to 3.6 (24), Fremantle became the fifth side in six weeks to score 100-points against the Kangaroos.

North Melbourne was comprehensively beaten by Fremantle. Picture: AFL Photos/Getty Images
North Melbourne was comprehensively beaten by Fremantle. Picture: AFL Photos/Getty Images

If it wasn’t for Ben McKay at halfback, the Dockers would have kicked a lot more.

McKay took eight marks in defence, stopping a lot of Fremantle attacking moves and there were a lot of them. The inside attacking 50 count was 67 to 32 in favour of the Dockers.

McKay injured his ankle midway through the third term and was subbed out of the game early in the final term. But he’ll be in doubt for the Kangaroos clash against the in-form Port Adelaide in Tasmania next week.

So North have now lost six consecutive games, the past four by an average margin of 64 points.

Michael Walters was one of 11 individual goal kickers for he Dockers. Picture: AFL Photos/Getty Images
Michael Walters was one of 11 individual goal kickers for he Dockers. Picture: AFL Photos/Getty Images

Believe in omens

Dockers fans will be heading to the history books after their side won their sixth game in a row.

The last time they did that was in 2015 when they won nine games on the trot to end the season on top of the AFL ladder.

They fell one game short of making the grand final that season, beaten by eventual premier Hawthorn by 27 points in the preliminary final.

Despite being so undermanned, the Dockers kept the Kangaroos to their lowest score in a game between the two sides. The previous lowest was the 4.5 (29) Norths managed in Round 13 of 2013, the year the Dockers made a grand final (again losing to Hawthorn).

Sean Darcy returned from concussion to lead the ruck and midfielders Andrew Brayshaw, Caleb Serong and Will Brodie made the most of his work.

With Matt Taberner and Rory Lobb missing the Dockers found 10 goal scorers to share the load.

It blew up between the Roos and Dockers at three-quarter time. Picture: AFL Photos/Getty Images
It blew up between the Roos and Dockers at three-quarter time. Picture: AFL Photos/Getty Images

Just don’t have the goods

On paper, North Melbourne should have been much closer to Fremantle.

Round one is the only game the Roos have put an older team than their opposition on the ground – until Friday night.

The only game this season they have had an advantage in experience (games played) over their opponent was in their Round 2 win over the Eagles – until Friday night.

North Melbourne’s team off 23 (including the med-sub) was, on average, more than one year per player older than Fremantle’s 23. And the Roos had almost 300 games more experience, an average of 12.5 games per player, than the Dockers on the ground.

And Fremantle had 36-year-old David Mundy playing, who was making his 360th AFL appearance.

The Dockers lost 454 games of experience from their squad due to COVID-19 and injury after beating Geelong last week. They replaced it with 118 games, spread over six players.

Debutant Jye Amiss joined the first kick, first goal club. Picture: AFL Photos/Getty Images
Debutant Jye Amiss joined the first kick, first goal club. Picture: AFL Photos/Getty Images

Welcome to the club

With key forwards Lobb and Taberner unavailable, 196cm teenager Jye Amiss made his debut.

The top 10 pick from last year’s Draft (number 8) repaid the faith in the opening term when he joined the growing list of players to kick a goal with their first kick.

He might have been taller than his opponent Aidan Corr, but was giving up more than 10kg in weight. You’d never have known the way he got rid of the Kangaroo, playing in his first 107th AFL game, to earn his shot at goal.

Amiss kicked one of five goals for the Dockers in the opening term; Bailey Banfield kicking two.

The scoreline of 5.1 to 0.2 at the first break was the Dockers best first term of the season and the 29-point margin their biggest quarter-time advantage.

The Roos have now been playing catch up after the opening term for the past month.

They have averaged a quarter-time deficit over the past four rounds of 27 points.

But Friday night was the their first goalless quarter of the season.

SCOREBOARD

FREMANTLE DOCKERS 5.1 8.5 12.9 15.12 (102)

def

NORTH MELBOURNE KANGAROOS 0.2 2.3 2.5 3.6 (24)

BRAD ELBOROUGH’S BEST

Dockers: Brayshaw, Serong, Darcy, Treacy, Brodie, Chapman

Kangaroos: McDonald, Thomas, Horne-Francis, McKay, Davies-Uniacke.

GOALS

Dockers: Dockers: Banfield 2, Amiss 2, Switkowski 2, Walters 2, Clark, Cox, Darcy, O’Driscoll, Young, Mundy, Schultz

Kangaroos: Zurhaar 2; Coleman-Jones.

INJURIES

Dockers: Pearce (ankle), Switkowski (head) replaced by sub Erasmus

Kangaroos: McKay (knee) replaced by sub Mahony.

Umpires: Johanson, Williamson, Harris.

Crowd: 37,040 @ Optus Stadium

BRAD ELBOROUGH’S VOTES

3 — Brayshaw (DOCKERS)

2 — Serong (DOCKERS)

1 — Darcy (DOCKERS)

Originally published as AFL Round 8: Rolling scores, stats and news out of this week’s games

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