Demons, Port suffer crucial AFL losses
Posted on 09/13/18 6:51 PM
Melbourne are yet to beat another AFL side currently in the top eight.Melbourne have joined Port Adelaide in late-season crisis, with their AFL finals hopes hinging on a massive fortnight.
The Demons and Power joined North Melbourne as the big losers in round 21.
Melbourne and Port look vulnerable at the foot of the top eight and ninth-placed Geelong is poised to pounce.
North Melbourne’s upset loss to the Western Bulldogs on Sunday is also a killer blow to their finals chances.
Sydney added to their Bloods legend on Sunday with an outstanding nine-point win over Melbourne at the MCG.
Despite losing luckless Alex Johnson to another knee injury and Nick Smith (glute) in the first quarter, the Swans held off the Demons’s last quarter comeback and won 13.9 (87) to 10.18 (78).
Melbourne are yet to beat another side currently in the top eight and Sunday was their fifth loss this season by 10 points or less as they try to break their 12-year finals drought.
After their agonising near-miss last season, they close out the regular season with second-placed West Coast in Perth and then third-placed GWS at home.
Demons coach Simon Goodwin calls the loss “incredibly disappointing” but is defiant.
“We’re not sitting here and wallowing. We want to get on with it,” Goodwin said.
He’s adamant this isn’t another case of “here we go again” with Melbourne’s finals hopes.
“This group is slowly maturing … they’re relishing these types of games more,” he said.
“We’ll get better at them … we’ll get over that hurdle and I’m looking forward to that day.”
Sixth-placed Sydney are not quite guaranteed of a finals berth and they also face a tough run home against GWS and Hawthorn.
However, unlike Melbourne and Port, they have momentum.
Earlier on Sunday, the Kangaroos fell a game plus percentage outside the top eight with their 13.14 (92) to 12.13 (75) loss at Etihad Stadium.
For the second week in a row, Port shot themselves in the foot with a narrow loss at home.
Jeremy McGovern’s kick after the siren on Saturday is looming as the most important goal of the year, given the Eagles beat the Power by four points.
Port play Collingwood at the MCG next weekend and then host in-form Essendon.
In the other Sunday game, Fremantle beat Carlton at home 15.11 (101) to 10.12 (72).
Surging Hawthorn had a massive 11-point win over arch-rivals Geelong on Saturday to move into the top four for the first time since round seven.
GWS suffered more injuries – Heath Shaw (knee) could miss the rest of the season – but they ended Adelaide’s finals push with a 14-point win in Canberra.
A 10-goal haul for Jack Riewoldt highlighted Richmond’s 74-point win over Gold Coast, while Collingwood confirmed they will play in the finals for the first time since 2013 thanks to their 31-point win over Brisbane.
Essendon kept their faints finals hopes alive on Friday night, beating St Kilda by 43 points.