1. Eagles overcome MCG hoodoo
The Eagles overcame an atrocious recent record at the MCG to defeat the Tigers on Friday night, moving to second on the ladder. Before this round, the Eagles had played 17 games at the MCG since winning the 2006 Grand Final and won just four of them. Three of those wins were against lowly Melbourne teams, with the other coming against – you guessed it – Richmond in round five, 2007. The Eagles won't get another chance this home and away season to improve their record at the home of the Grand Final, with Friday night's game their only one at the iconic venue in 2015. Richmond, on the other hand, has now played seven games at the MCG this year and will have played there 14 times before the finals start.
2. Rance v Kennedy
The Josh Kennedy-Alex Rance match-up pitted the competition's leading goalscorer against one of its very best key defenders. It loomed as a heavyweight contest and it was an absorbing battle, even if it failed to deliver a knockout blow. Kennedy made a fast start, creating the crumbs for Mark LeCras to kick the Eagles' first goal at the two-minute mark of the opening quarter. A minute later, he goaled after Rance flew third man up in an attempt to spoil Callum Sinclair and the resultant crumbs landed in his lap close to the goal-line. Thereafter, Rance played Kennedy very tightly, spoiling strongly in most of their marking contests. Kennedy got off the leash in the third term to kick two goals in two minutes in the middle of a five-goal run by the Eagles that set up their 20-point win. The Eagles spearhead did not add to his tally in the final term and finished with 3.3 and five marks. It came down to a points decision, and we gave it to Rance narrowly.
3. Dustin checks his kick
Players are now more and more willing to go with a banana shot on goal rather than using their non-preferred foot. But few have done it better than Richmond bull Dustin Martin did late in the second term of Friday night's game. Taking the ball inside the centre square, he burst past Eagle Chris Masten, and from just outside the 50-metre line went with a banana on his trusty right foot. His kick landed at the top of the Tigers' goalsquare and bounced truly through an unguarded goal. The Tiger tried the same trick from the same range late in the third term, but his kick was marked by Jeremy McGovern at the top of the goalsquare. It was a rare lowlight on a night when Martin did more than any Tiger to get his team over the line. He finished with 31 possessions and three goals.
4. New ducking interpretation continues to confuse
AFL umpires boss Wayne Campbell said at the outset that the new zero-tolerance policy against players ducking into tackles would make the grey area between holding the ball and high contact even greyer. Two free kicks awarded in the second quarter of Friday night's game suggest that grey area is alive and well. First, Rance received a free kick for high contact when he took the ball standing up and ducked into a front-on tackle by Kennedy. Minutes later, LeCras was pinged for holding the ball after he bent over to pick up the ball and, as he was rising, was immediately claimed in a tackle by Shaun Grigg. The latter decision moved Collingwood captain Scott Pendlebury to tweet his confusion.
Why was that a free kick against Lecras ? He picked the ball up n was tackled high. All the Bali locals are confused— Scott Pendlebury (@SP_10) June 19, 2015
5. Eagles backline tames tall Tigers
West Coast's defence has stood up well in the absence of injured key defenders Mitch Brown and Eric Mackenzie this season, but Jeremy McGovern and Will Schofield faced a tall task going up against a three-pronged Richmond forward line consisting of Jack Riewoldt, Ben Griffiths and Ty Vickery. There were times on Friday night when the Tigers were able to get mismatches in their forward line. Midway through the first quarter, Griffiths was able to mark one-out against Eagles midfielder Matt Rosa and goal, while Vickery did the same on medium defender Brad Sheppard late in the second term. But, with support from their fellow defenders, McGovern and Schofield were able to keep the Tiger talls to a total of four goals. It was a telling contribution to the Eagles' victory.