• Nine things we learned from round 21
• Finals crystal ball: Old foes meet, and who'll finish eighth?
• Forecast the final eight with the 2014 ladder predictor
• Around the state leagues: Bulldog stars as Hogan returns
IT IS fair to say that round 21 will be remembered for all of the wrong reasons by most NAB AFL Fantasy coaches.
Thursday night team selection wasn’t kind with popular selections Steve Johnson, Jimmy Bartel and Ben McGlynn not lining up in the Fantasy semi-finals weekend. Not only did these outs cause forced trades for coaches in their do-or-die matches, it was the start of a nightmare weekend of injury, late outs and sub-par performances.
Carlton v Geelong, Etihad StadiumThe opening game saw a tight tussle with the Cats winning by six points. It was a low scoring Fantasy game with just three players recording triple figure scores.
Josh Caddy (108) found plenty of the ball to top score for the night. The FWD/MID was a very popular selection early in the season until a foot injury kept him out for 10 weeks.
It appeared that after a 40-point first quarter, Joel Selwood (104) was in for a big night. Tagger Andrew Carrazzo (106) had the job on the Cats’ captain and held him to 21 disposals but also gained 64 points himself in the second half.
Geelong midfielder Allen Christensen (99) kicked two goals while Mark Blicavs (99) kicked the opening goal and supported Hamish McIntosh (95) in the ruck.
The Blues’ were down to one fit player on the bench in the last quarter as injury ended the night for Troy Menzel (68), David Ellard (29) and Dale Thomas (21).
Hawks United top scored in Match Day with 748 points to take home the $250 and AFL Live Pass subscription, but the best possible team consisted of Chris Yarran, Harry Taylor, Carrazzo, Selwood, Blicavs, Caddy as captain and McIntosh. If you had this combination of players, you would have finished on 801 points.
Sydney Swans v St Kilda, SCGThe Buddy Show was the hottest ticket in Sydney as the Swans put on a clinic at the SCG.
Lance Franklin (157) booted nine goals from his 19 kicks and 13 marks. The champion forward was on-song right from the start of the game kicking three in the first quarter, and as a unique player could have been the difference between winning and losing this weekend.
WATCH: Showreel - Franklin piles on nine in milestone gameOn the other hand, the 43,020 coaches with Josh Kennedy (16), who was substituted early in the second term, were playing catch up early on. Kennedy came off the ground with hamstring tightness.
DEF/MID Jarrad McVeigh (129) gathered 28 disposals and 10 marks while FWD/MID Luke Parker (112) racked up 33 disposals. First-year player Jake Lloyd (121) appears on more than 6000 Fantasy benches and would have provided excellent cover for those needing it.
For the Saints, Nick Riewoldt (113) kicked three goals to add some respectability to the scoreboard. Midfielders Farren Ray (107), Jack Steven (104), Leigh Montagna (101) and Jack Newnes (101) battled admirably all day.
Gold Coast v Port Adelaide, Metricon StadiumLast week it was too hot in Queensland for one South Australian team; this week it bucketed down with rain for the other. The Power were able to take the points in the scrappy, low scoring match.
As the rain poured, there were plenty of stoppages and ruckman Matthew Lobbe’s (145) Fantasy scoring was boosted winning 56 hit-outs. He also went on to lay 12 tackles and collect 16 disposals.
For the Suns, FWD/MID Harley Bennell (122) kicked two goals to go with his 27 disposals and seven tackles and Dion Prestia (105) laid nine tackles and gathered 26 disposals to be only players to join Lobbe scoring over the Fantasy ton.
The weather conditions on the Gold Coast weren’t conducive to huge scoring but Robbie Gray (97) owners will be happy with his game as plenty of players scored below their average. Unfortunately for my team Brad Ebert (52) wasn’t able to post his fourth ton on the trot. Travis Boak (64) looked like a smokey for this week after 144 last round and 116 and 152 in his last two against the Suns, but it wasn’t to be.
Essendon v West Coast, Etihad StadiumCaptain Jobe Watson (98) kicked the opening goal of the match after eight weeks on the sidelines. The midfielder went on to rack up 30 disposals and five marks after major surgery due to his hip tendon injury.
Fellow midfielder, Dyson Heppell (120), is in sensational form finishing with 38 disposals. Mark Baguley (112) took nine marks in defence and posted his best score of the season.
Moving to the forward line after the first quarter, Jason Winderlich (93) kicked three goals to help the Bombers win by three points and keep their finals chances alive.
Midfielder Luke Shuey (119) was the best of the Eagles with 27 disposals and eight tackles. Defender Shannon Hurn (106) started like a house on fire with 73 points in the first half while Chris Masten (105) enjoyed the first and third quarter collecting 87 points compared to 18 in the second and fourth.
Concussion and the red vest ended defender Sam Butler’s (77) game before three-quarter time after being on track for another great score.
Collingwood v Brisbane Lions, MCGFantasy coaches experienced agony and ecstasy in the first ever ‘Battle of the Fantasy Pigs’ at the MCG. That’s right, this was the first time since 100-gamer Tom Rockliff (165) was awarded Fantasy Pig status that he took on the original swine king, Dane Swan (96).
‘Rocky’ took the honours with another huge game that saw him rack up 43 touches, nine marks and nine tackles, but ‘Swanny’ was still Collingwood’s highest scoring player as his side went down by 67 points.
Pearce Hanley (147) was able to shake the Brent Macaffer (91) tag, finding the ball 34 times while Dayne Zorko (130) had one of his up games in his rollercoaster season. Once again, Stefan Martin (123) dominated the ruck with 27 hit-outs and was able to add 32 possessions and seven marks to his stat line. The RUC/FWD is without a doubt the best Fantasy pick of the second half of the season.
That was the ecstasy, now here comes the agony.
Before the match, Jamie Elliott was withdrawn with a hamstring injury. He was joined in the crowd by Scott Pendlebury, who pulled out just minutes before the match with a corked thigh in the warm up. Collingwood are hopeful the two will play next week.
WATCH: Magpies lose three in MCG nightmareDEF/FWD Ben Reid (0) was substituted with a hamstring injury without troubling the statisticians. Travis Cloke (41), after kicking the first goal, injured his ankle in the first half and spent the remainder of the game on the bench. Already having a quiet night due to the Lions’ dominance, Dayne Beams (46) went down with a knee injury that has ended the midfielder’s season.
Adelaide v Richmond, Adelaide OvalA 10-point win for the Tigers on the round has shot them into the oh-so-familiar ninth position on the ladder.
Tonning-up in eight of his last nine games, Trent Cotchin (118) once again played an impressive captain's game, laying 10 tackles and collecting 28 disposals. He was supported by fellow midfielder Brett Deledio (110), who kicked two goals (and four behinds) to go with his 29 touches.
Top scoring Crow Sam Jacobs (107) was the pick of the ruckmen with 46 hit-outs. Ten tackles was the highlight for Richard Douglas (104) as he ran with Cotchin.
This match was the second Match Day game for the round. Con’s Allstars managed 814 points, just one point shy of the perfect team for the game. A side consisting of Alex Rance, Nick Vlastuin, Cotchin as captain, Deledio, Jacobs, Patrick Dangerfield and Ricky Petterd would have amassed 815 points and $250 and an AFL Live Pass.
North Melbourne v Western Bulldogs, Etihad StadiumBefore the bounce, we experienced more carnage with popular breakout player Jack Macrae withdrawn due to soreness. Most of the 20,290 coaches would have copped a donut after already using their emergency on Pendlebury's late withdrawal the night before.
Andrew Swallow (129) was best afield laying 11 tackles and gathering 29 disposals in his side's 50-point win
Ball-magnet Sam Gibson (126) finished with 31 possessions, seven marks, five marks and one goal. Fellow midfielder Ben Cunnington (116) enjoyed an outstanding all-round game kicking four goals, while key-forward Drew Petrie (109) booted two.
Star first-year player Marcus Bontempelli (108) kicked two goals for the Bulldogs, adding to his 23 disposals, two marks and eight tackles. Midfielders Tom Liberatore (97), Adam Cooney (93) and Ryan Griffen (89), playing his 200th and copping the Levi Greenwood (98) tag, were the best performers for the Dogs.
DEF/MID Nick Dal Santo (65) was a bit busier than his 30 points last week, but scored well below his season average to hurt more coaches on Sunday.
Melbourne v Greater Western Sydney, MCGThis one wasn't going to be a huge game in the context of the season or for Fantasy finals, but the Giants were thrilled to win their first game at the MCG
Injuries to Callan Ward (46), Phil Davis (8) and Jonathon Patton (3) soured the victory. Patton's knee injury is likely to keep him out for some time. Ward, who injured his calf, may cause headaches for his owners heading into the preliminary final. Davis was substituted in the second quarter due to concussion.
WATCH: ACL agony for Patton at the MCGIn some positive news, nine Giants cracked the Fantasy ton with Devon Smith (147) and Josh Kelly (140) kicking two goals each. Roy talked up Toby Greene’s (126) recent form this week and the midfielder delivered. Twenty-nine possessions, nine marks and seven tackles helped him to his fourth score over 110 in his last five games.
Nathan Jones (112) was the best of the Demons but they didn't escape the carnage. Jack Grimes (37) finished in the red vest because of an injury to his hamstring.
Fremantle v Hawthorn, Patersons StadiumIn what is sure to be a preview of at least one of the finals matches this September, the Dockers were too good for the Hawks, winning by 19 points.
Mr Consistent, Michael Barlow (128) stepped up when his coaches need it most gathering the Sherrin at will. The midfielder collected 31 disposals, seven marks, five tackles and a goal thrown in there for good measure.
Matthew Pavlich (122) booted five goals to record his highest Fantasy score of the year while David Mundy (122) had 33 touches, the most of any Docker.
WATCH: Showreel - Super Pav reels 'em in against HawthornFor the Hawks, Jordan Lewis (156) worked tirelessly through the midfield. His score was his personal best Fantasy return and takes his season's average to 107.6, the first time he's averaged over 100 points in a single year.
Popular DEF/MID's Luke Hodge (126) and Sam Mitchell (105) gave their all to help coaches into the preliminary finals.
An ankle injury put Matt Suckling (35) into the red vest at three-quarter time.
How did the Traders go in round 21?To steal someone else's overused saying … oh boy, wowee.
My semi-final match up didn’t start well. Mitch Duncan scoring 48 on Friday night and then Brad Ebert giving me just 52 wasn't ideal, especially as my opponent’s first unique was Lance Franklin going berserk booting nine goals and adding 157 points to his score. Not one of my unique players scored a ton, in fact, they averaged just 64 between them! Yep, 64!
Some might call it luck, others will also probably call it luck as well but my opponent lost Josh Kennedy for 16 and had no cover for the late withdrawals of Jack Macrae and Scott Pendlebury. I got very lucky. That wasn’t the end of it though, I had Grant Birchall in the final game up against Aaron Sandilands. Birchall needed to get within five points for me to claim the unlikely victory. At three-quarter time, Sandilands was on 56 while Birchall was on just 21. It looked like it was over.
Birchall had a 38-point last quarter to Sandilands' four. It was a thrilling finish with a couple of late handballs awarding the Warne Dawgs a place in the preliminary final, 2140 to 2136. I’m off to buy a lotto ticket.
Roy had the week off but copped a lot of carnage as limped to 2146. It’ll be a big week at the trade table for destROY with injuries to Beams, Johnson and Kennedy to navigate. Calvin finished with 2051.
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