Is Betts and Jenkins the most exciting duo in the AFL?
Remarkably, Eddie Betts is on track to better the 63 goals he kicked in 2015 after booting six against Fremantle, while Josh Jenkins has already sailed past the 46 he bagged last year. There certainly hasn’t been a better combination in recent years, especially when you put them alongside the strong-marking Taylor Walker and add Charlie Cameron into the mix. The goalkicking abilities of Betts and Jenkins were on show on Sunday and would have reminded the competition’s other premiership contenders of the challenge facing their backlines in any matchup with Adelaide. IF Eddie doesn’t get them, then Jenkins will. Or Walker. Or Cameron.
Alex Silvagni deserves another contract
He’s been much maligned at Fremantle, but Alex Silvagni has done enough in the past two weeks to show he still has something to offer. Against West Coast, he was one of the Dockers’ better players and was then handed the unenviable task of playing on Walker. Silvagni opted to play Walker from behind, but read the ball well and was one of the few Fremantle players who was able to kickstart a breakaway from defence. With both Alex Pearce and Michael Johnson expected to return the Dockers side next year, while the developing Sam Collins will also be looking for a regular spot, Silvagni’s opportunities may be somewhat limited, but he’s done his chances of earning a new contract no harm.
What got up Pav’s nose?
It was nearing the end of the second term and Freo wasn’t travelling too well when something snapped in the usually unflappable Matthew Pavlich. A bit of push-and-shove turned into a couple of rib ticklers as Fremantle’s greatest ever player let the Crows defenders know he wasn’t retired just yet. At one point, it threatened to boil over as players came from all directions to join what looked like a developing melee. Pavlich, using all his experience, disappeared out the back of the pack and ran back towards the goals, ensuring he wouldn’t risk a suspension that would have been an unfitting end to such a sterling career. He then delivered another tap to the guts of Kyle Hartigan and mocked the Crows defender when he grabbed his midriff in pain. Beware the Bulldogs defenders who mark Pavlich in his final AFL game.
Percentage was always going to be crucial for the Crows
Going into the game, the top eight couldn’t have been much closer and it was clear that those teams playing against lesser clubs would need to look for both a victory and a percentage boost. Adelaide was one of those sides, coming into the game in third position with the healthy-sounding percentage of 141.15. But they were more than five per cent behind the Swans in second and four per cent ahead of Geelong. The Crows would have been happy with their efforts in the first half, but it was in the second half they gave themselves a shot of catching the Swans. Though they gave up a couple of cheap goals to the Dockers, the Crows ended the day with a percentage of 143.85 and a realistic chance of catching the Swans in the final weeks.
The serial pest was on the nose with his own fans early
During the week, it was revealed Hayden Ballantyne was keen to explore the possibility of a trade from Fremantle to cross-town rival West Coast. After what’s been a horror season for the Dockers’ faithful, it was all too much to bear. Ballantyne struggled to get into the game while wearing a helmet in the first half, but when he finally ditched the lid and gathered the ball on the right centre wing, there were some audible sounds of discontent among the supporters and even the odd “boo”. But, as it became clear that he was still giving it his all for Freo, those boos dissipated. His last-quarter goal from an acute angle was reminiscent of the Ballantyne of old.