Kysaiah Pickett made AFL history by becoming the first player to boot six majors in the Northern Territory state as reigning Premiers Melbourne defeated Port Adelaide.
Without doubt his best match in a Dees Guernsey, ‘Kozzy’ (pictured below) was easily best on ground as he put on a real masterclass and proved to be a big factor in them getting the win.
On ground, post-game, talking to Demons TV, he said “It is good to be back in form, like the team. It is good seeing all the crowd out here, we love coming up to Alice Springs every year. It was good to come here and get the win.”
He added “I’ve been down for a few months, so it was good to bounce back and find some form. Now I am looking at building on that and hopefully have a good year.”
Billed as the battle between the two best strike partnerships in the competition, it was ladders leaders Geelong coming away with the chocolates after beating Carlton.
Cats forward duo Jeremy Cameron and Tom Hawkins (pictured above), who became a father for the third time with wife Emma giving birth to Henry Fredrick on Wednesday, combined for five snags.
At the other end, Blues’ twin towers Charlie Curnow, current leader in the Coleman Medal table, scored three but Harry McKay was unable to hit the scoreboard as he was well marshalled throughout the evening by Sam De Koning.
Sydney headed west, where a powerful final-term saw them come from behind to pick up their first ever triumph over high-flying Fremantle at Optus Stadium.
WA native Chad Warner (career-best 35 disposals) continues to impress while there were also fine performances, in the midfield, from Callum Mills and Luke Parker as the Swans have now put themselves back in contention for a top four spot.
Collingwood maintained their fine form by making it eight straight wins, their best run since 2012, as they withheld a late Adelaide surge to get home in another close one.
During that sequence the Mapgies have won five of those by a single figure margin, which has not only put their fans through it emotionally, but just shows the heart and resilience in the group led by Scott Pendlebury in his 350th appearance for the club; he becomes only the 20th player in AFL/VFL history to complete the achievement.
In the rooms, talking to the media, he said “It feels amazing; to come away with a win like today. The way the game was panning out, our ability to fight through that and find a way to get in front, then we look like we are sort of home and they kick a two quick ones and it is back on again. So super proud of the guys, our effort, our fight, it is there for everyone to see.”
On his milestone, he replied “It is something that you never dream of doing, getting to this amount of games. I just feel incredibly privileged and humbled to have spent all of my time here at this club and made some lifelong friends. It was a special day.”
Western Bulldogs’ Marcus Bontempelli led by example with a real captain’s performance as he guided his side to a comfortable victory over a sub-par St.Kilda.
The Bont (34 disposals, 17 contested possessions, 12 score involvements and two goals) was sensational and ran the show; the result keeps the Whitten Oval outfit in the finals hunt while, at the same time, dealing a blow to the Saints’ aspirations.
There was further good news for the Bulldogs with Josh Bruce coming through unscathed, on his return to the team, having spent 342 days on the sidelines.
Up in Canberra, Brisbane’s first experience of playing at the Manuka Oval ended in a rousing success as they put away Greater Western Sydney in convincing fashion.
The Lions, welcoming back a number of players from injury as well as Covid protocols, proving far too strong; Hugh McCluggage booted an equal career-best four majors while Charlie Cameron and Cam Rayner scored three apiece.
Leigh Adams reign as North Melbourne caretaker coach got off to a fairy-tale start as he watched his side get over the line against Richmond in a thrilling encounter.
The 34-year-old (pictured below), who made 104 appearances for the Roos (2007 – 2015), taking over following the sacking of David Noble as part of the on-going internal review.
It looked like it could all end in heartache as they coughed up a 35-point lead at one stage. However, having then fallen behind, there was to be a final twist as Cam Zurhaar, out of contract at the end of the year, scored the winner, part of a career-high six goal haul, to finally end a run of 14 straight losses that dates back to March.
Speaking in the presser, the new man at the helm said “I started work on Monday as a development coach getting ready to coach the VFL team and by the end of the week I’m sitting here after a great win. I actually don’t know what to think at the moment. It’s been a really busy, enjoyable week that’s finished off really well.”
He added “That’s by far better than any playing moment that I’ve had. I always said coaching the South Croydon flag was right up there, but sorry South Croydon boys, this might’ve gone past it!”
Luke Bruest enjoyed an afternoon out, kicking an equal career-high six majors, as Hawthorn got up over West Coast in the Dare to Hope Match, an opportunity to raise much-needed awareness and money for the Paul Dear Pancreatic Cancer Fund.
This latest bag from the key forward (pictured below) taking his tally to 475 goals which puts him level with club legend, former captain and 3× Coleman Medallist John Peck (1963–1965).
During the half-time interval, supporters finally got a chance to say a proper farewell to the quartet of Ben Stratton, Jordan Lewis, Paul Puopolo and Grant Birchall, who left the club during the Covid period, as they did a lap of honour with their children.
Essendon continued their recent post-bye resurgence, making it four from their last five, by chalking up their biggest winning margin of the campaign over Gold Coast.
The Bombers, playing with plenty of confidence, blew the contest wide open as they dominated the second and third quarters against a disappointing Suns outfit that simply had no answers and this now leaves their finals hopes firmly in the balance.
Round 18 Results
Western Bulldogs 13.6 (84)
St.Kilda 7.14 (56)
Adelaide 13.8 (86)
Collingwood 14.7 (91)
GWS 9.5 (59)
Brisbane 15.9 (99)
North Melbourne 14.8 (92)
Richmond 11.22 (88)
Carlton 8.7 (55)
Geelong 12.13 (85)
Fremantle 9.11 (65)
Sydney 11.16 (82)
Hawthorn 15.12 (102)
West Coast 12.5 (77)
Melbourne 12.11 (83)
Port Adelaide 10.9 (69)
Essendon 14.19 (103)
Gold Coast 8.7 (55)
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