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Premiership Season 2017 - Round 17 Review

Total Crowd 305,009 (Avg 33,890)

After another fascinating round, 11 clubs remain as what most would regard as legitimate finals contenders, with the 11th-placed Western Bulldogs - a game plus percentage out of the eight - the lowest of them. Of course, from 12th-placed Fremantle down there are several other sides that can mathematically make up the ground required - right down to 17th-placed North Melbourne - but with seven rounds to go, time is running out.

The round kicked off with an upset - just one more of so many this season - with St Kilda, which had six days earlier played what many said was the best half of footy in 2017 against Richmond, humbled by Essendon to the tune of 61 points. The result knocked the Saints out of the eight, and kept alive the finals hopes of the Bombers.

Saturday at the MCG saw Geelong and Hawthorn turn on yet another thriller. No matter where these two teams are on the ladder, they are almost guaranteed to produce something special. This time around, a hobbled Patrick Dangerfield spent much of the game stationed at full forward and wreaked havoc on the Hawk defence.

Despite his efforts, which reaped him 5 goals 6, Hawthorn kept pace with the Cats for the entire match and had a chance to win it after Luke Hodge, playing his 300th match goaled to cut the margin to four points with 18 seconds left. The Hawks streamed forward from the centre bounce, but a last-gasp shot from Isaac Smith just missed, and Geelong held on by three points.

At the Adelaide Oval, Port Adelaide made short work of North Melbourne, thrashing the Kangaroos by 70 points. The win keeps the Power inside the top four, with a strong percentage of 136.3, and they continue to make claims as a genuine premiership contender.

The twilight match at Carrara pitted against each other two coaches very much 'under the pump'. With Gold Coast and Collingwood having not lived up to expectations in 2017, Rodney Eade and Nathan Buckley have been feeling the pressure. In a see-sawing match played at times in heavy rain, the Pies prevailed by 15 points, and the heat remains very much on Eade.

Sydney's remarkable season renaissance continued at the Sydney Showground on Saturday night, with the Swans defeating the Giants by 13 points. Sydney has now won nine of 10 matches, an incredible turnaround after a 0-6 start, while GWS has now been victorious in only one of its last five matches, and has slipped to third. 

At Marrara Stadium on Darwin, the Crows turned the tables on Melbourne, defeating the Demons by 46 points. Earlier in the season, Melbourne had shocked Adelaide at the Adelaide Oval, but with top place on the ladder at stake, the Crows never looked like letting this game go.

None of the three Sunday matches really reached any great heights, but all three provided a vital four points for the victors. 

The first of those saw Richmond host Brisbane at the Docklands. It was a dour affair in the first half, with few highlights but Tiger Dustin Martin shook of his Brisbane tag in the third term to put his stamp on the game. The Tigers went from an eight-point lead at the long break to a 23-point advantage at the last change, and eventually cruised to a 31-point win.

Across town from the Docklands, another lacklustre affair was unfolding at the MCG between Carlton and the Western Bulldogs. The Blues flew out of the blocks with three goals in the first 10 minutes, but the Bulldogs had overtaken them by early in the second term, eventually prevailing by 20 points, with their debutant Lewis Young impressing with nine marks and 21 possessions.

West Coast and Fremantle rounded out the weekend with a match that might have been interesting had the Dockers kicked straight. Unfortunately they did not, and their lamentable three-quarter time score of 3.13 saw them trail by 29 points, West Coast in the end winning by 30. That win saw the Eagles climb back into the top eight, while the Tigers' and Bulldogs' wins kept them in touch with the top four and top eight respectively.

Round 19 promises more intrigue, with the opening game looming as the highlight, a first versus second clash between Adelaide and Geelong, with top spot on the ladder the prize for the winner.

Leading goalkickers after round 17

47 - Lance Franklin (Syd)
45 - Joe Daniher (Ess)
41 - Jeremy Cameron (GWS), Eddie Betts (Adel), Taylor Walker (Adel), Ben Brown (NM)
40 - Robbie Gray (Port), Jack Riewoldt (Rich)
37 - Tom Lynch (GCo), Josh Kennedy (WCo)

Footnotes

Videos sourced from YouTube, courtesy of the AFL.

R-17, Ladder

Team GP PTS %
ADEL 16 48 140.42
GEEL 16 46 118.07
GWS 16 44 115.65
PORT 16 40 136.25
RICH 16 40 107.40
SYD 16 36 113.41
MELB 16 36 106.69
WCE 16 36 102.10
STK 16 36 99.37
ESS 16 32 108.50
WBULL 16 32 94.16
FREO 16 28 80.60
HAW 16 26 84.36
COLL 16 24 95.98
SUNS 16 24 85.48
CARL 16 20 82.28
NTH 16 16 89.00
BRIS 16 12 69.06

Footnotes

* Behinds calculated from the 1965 season on.
+ Score at the end of extra time.