West Coast Eagles claim AFL win over GWS, Collingwood defeats Essendon, North Melbourne beats Gold Coast
The Eagles got home in a cliffhanger against the Giants in the west, while the Magpies and Kangaroos enjoyed their respective victories over the Bombers and Suns.
West Coast downs GWS in Perth thriller
Nic Naitanui (L) and Dawson Simpson prepare for the contest during the Eagles versus Giants encounter. (AAP: Tony McDonough)
West Coast has weathered a strong GWS fight-back to secure a thrilling 11-point win in Perth on Sunday.
The Eagles led by 23 points in the third quarter, but found themselves down by one point midway through the final term after the Giants launched a fierce comeback.
But goals to Willie Rioli and Jeremy McGovern in the dying minutes helped lift the home side to the 13.8 (86) to 10.15 (75) win in front of 52,105 fans.
Nic Naitanui had copped plenty of criticism in recent weeks for his perceived lack of physicality and scarcity of marks.
But the 28-year-old sent the crowd wild when he soared over teammate Scott Lycett and 195-centimetre Irishman Aidan Corr to pull down a screamer in the third quarter.
Naitanui landed heavily after the mark, but he soldiered on to take another high-flying grab in the final term. He finished with 41 hit-outs, eight tackles, five clearances, and 15 disposals.
GWS was made to pay dearly for its inaccuracy in front of goal.
Not only did it cost the Giants victory in this match, but it could prove pivotal in their bid to snare a finals berth.
The Giants dropped from sixth to 10th on the back of the loss.
They are now half a win outside the top eight, with tough fixtures against Richmond and Port Adelaide to come in the next fortnight.
West Coast, who snapped a three-game losing run, is in third spot with an 11-4 record.
Eagles midfielder Andrew Gaff tallied 41 disposals and two goals, while Luke Shuey and Shannon Hurn were also crucial in the win.
Adam Tomlinson booted 3.0 for the visitors, but the rest of his teammates were not nearly as accurate.
Both sides entered the match missing an important chunk of their forward line.
West Coast was without Josh Kennedy (leg), Jack Darling (ankle) and Mark LeCras (wrist), while GWS was missing Jeremy Cameron (suspended), Jon Patton (knee) and Toby Greene (foot).
Magpies beat Bombers for seventh-straight win
Collingwood captain Scott Pendlebury has starred in the last quarter and led his team to a gritty 16-point win over Essendon at the MCG.
Popular Magpie Steele Sidebottom celebrated his 200th game with two goals in Sunday’s 12.6 (78) to 9.8 (62) win.
It is Collingwood’s seventh-straight win and the Magpies retained second spot on the ladder, while the Bombers are two games plus percentage outside the eight.
Jordan De Goey kicked three goals, two of them in the last term.
After Bombers forward Mitch Brown kicked the opening goal of the last quarter, Mark Baguley had another set shot that would have put Essendon 12 points up.
But he missed and De Goey kicked a goal moments later.
Brendon Goddard gave away a free and a 50-metre penalty to Sidebottom, who kicked a booming goal to put the Magpies back in front – the eighth lead change of the match.
Collingwood kicked two of the next three goals to seal the win.
Pendlebury took the game by the scruff of the neck in the last term and racked up 14 possessions.
While the Magpies took out a pulsating game, their heavy injury toll continued as Flynn Appleby did a hamstring in the last quarter and Will Hoskin-Elliott played out the game despite an early knee injury.
Essendon’s Patrick Ambrose also suffered a hamstring injury in the bleak, wet conditions.
The Bombers suffered a major pre-game blow when small forward Orazio Fantasia was ruled out with a sore groin.
Collingwood had a four-goal run in the opening quarter to lead by 18 points and put the Bombers under early pressure.
But Essendon steadied, with Dyson Heppell and Andrew McGrath on top in the midfield, while Michael Hurley and Cale Hooker were solid in defence.
The Bombers kicked 3.3 to three behinds in the second term and when they posted two of the opening three goals in the third term, were looking dangerous.
But Collingwood hit back with two goals, before Essendon pounced on a midfield turnover to go up by a point at three-quarter time – the sixth lead change of the match.
Essendon could have kicked another goal at the end of the quarter, but Shaun McKernan took too long having his shot.
He passed off to Devon Smith, whose long-range kick was blocked on the goal line and Collingwood defended grimly to stop any score before the siren sounded.
Kangaroos bounce lacklustre Suns
Majak Daw outruns Callum Ah Chee during the Kangaroos’ big win over the Suns. (AAP: Hamish Blair)
A late fadeout has cost struggling Gold Coast yet again, with North Melbourne cruising home to a 37-point victory at Docklands.
The Suns were within two goals at half-time on Sunday but could not stay with the polished Kangaroos, whose 14.11 (95) to 8.10 (58) victory puts them back within breathing distance of the top eight.
Key defenders Scott Thompson (31 disposals, nine marks) and Robbie Tarrant (26 and 10) took full advantage of the Suns’ wayward ball movement, while Ben Brown booted four goals to extend his lead in the Coleman Medal count.
Dynamic big man Majak Daw switched roles in the second half and caused all sorts of headaches up forward, snaring two majors.
A dire crowd of just 14,389 was on hand to witness a game where Gold Coast managed just three goals after half-time.
Gold Coast’s inability to run out games has been the story of its season and it again proved the case in just their second trip to Melbourne for the year.
The Suns started slowly but lifted their pressure around the ball and went to the main break down 11 points, having won the second quarter.
It predictably could not last. North Melbourne outscored Gold Coast five goals to one in the third quarter and when Daw flew high for a mark and kicked his second major early in the final term, the Suns were effectively down for the count.
Adding to the Suns’ woes, co-captain Steven May faces a likely suspension for laying out Shaun Higgins with a punch to his stomach.
May also struggled with hip soreness after landing heavily in a marking contest, adding to the likelihood of the Suns again being without both their leaders.
Free agent Tom Lynch is done for the season with a knee injury and looks likely to have played his final game for the Suns.
North midfielder Cameron Zurhaar (ankle) finished the game on the sidelines while Higgins withstood a battering from the Suns to finish with 26 disposals and a goal.