GWS 8.6 (54)
WERRIBEE 16.11 (107)

WERRIBEE champion Matt Hanson made a starring return to action as the Tigers breathed life back into their stuttering Smithy’s VFL season with an impressive 53-point thrashing of top-four team GWS at Giants Stadium on Sunday.

The Tigers risked falling three matches out of the top eight after losses to talent-stacked Carlton, Gold Coast and Sydney leading into the bye, but finally drew a bit of luck with the Giants fielding just seven AFL-listed players.

And Hanson took full toll after missing those losses to the Suns and Swans with a knee injury suffered against the Blues, setting the tone with two first-quarter goals on his way to a best-on-ground performance that also yielded a season-best 34 disposals, 10 marks, eight clearances and five tackles.

Werribee dominated the opening term, racing to a 28-0 lead after 24 minutes and pushing 39 points clear midway through the second as Hanson, co-captain Tom Gribble and Jack Henderson fired in the midfield and …. Nick Coughlan, Keegan Gray and Bior Malual turned back most GWS attacks.

01:18 Mins
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The Giants aren’t in the top four for nothing and they hit back with four goals in 11 minutes, including two in a row to Harry Grintell, to cut the margin to 17 at the main break.

But the visitors were able to reset and kicked six goals to two in the third and three to one in the last to not only end a month-long malaise but give themselves an important percentage boost in the process.

Werribee enjoyed a one-sided advantage in the ruck after Kieren Briggs was a late withdrawal, with Sam Conway (204cm, 27 hitouts) and returning former Giant Jack Driscoll (202cm, 25, one goal) giving their midfielders a 61-13 armchair ride against makeshift opponents Josh Boag (194cm, seven) and Josh Green (191cm, six).

Hanson, Gribble (30 disposals, eight marks, five clearances), Henderson (26, six marks) and Shaun Mannagh (24, six tackles, one goal) cashed in as the Tigers earned a stunning +120 in disposals (403-283) and +63 in marks (148-85), while Dom Brew (13 tackles) heaped on the pressure whenever GWS won the ball, feeding it out to the excellent Kye Declase (26, 13 marks, five inside-50s, two goals), while Hudson Garoni (five marks, three goals), Josh Porter (eight marks, one goal) and Jay Dahlhaus (six marks, two goals) caused headaches up forward.

At the other end, Coughlan starred in his first game of the year with 22 touches, seven marks and five rebounds, while Malual (22, 13 marks, one goal), Gray (19, 11 marks, four rebounds) and Louis Pinnuck (18, 10 marks) provided plenty of run and carry.

Ryan Angwin impressed for GWS with 24 touches, nine clearances and a goal and Bailey Stewart had 20, five marks, and six tackles, while Green (18, five clerances), Leyton Chisholm (17, five marks, eight tackles, one goal), captain Ryan Hebron (16, 11 marks, five inside-50s) and Harry Grintell (three goals from limited opportunities) stuck at their tasks well.

12:54 Mins
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VFL Mini-Match, R9: GWS v Werribee

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Northern Bullant Jack Boyd takes a strong mark against Geelong. Picture: Kelly Defina/AFL Photos

CARLTON 9.11 (65)
SANDRINGHAM 9.15 (69)

SANDRINGHAM continued its impressive start to the year, moving to within percentage of the top four with a thrilling four-point win over Carlton at Ikon Park on Sunday.

The Blues entered the clash in fourth spot and looked like continuing on their merry way when they banged on four unanswered goals in the opening 16 minutes – including two to Paddy Dow – before the Zebras gradually started to turn things around.

The visitors kicked four goals to two in the second term to get within five points at half-time and took the lead 12 minutes into the third through Mitch Owens’ second goal before ekeing out a 16-point gap early in the last and holding on with a dogged defensive effort.

Hunter Clark again impressed in his second game back with 31 touches and seven clearances, while Ryan Byrnes produced a terrific 30 possessions, eight marks and five tackles after flying back in from Adelaide, where he had served as St Kilda’s medi-sub on Saturday night.

Jack Bytel (26, five clearances, eight tackles), Owens (24, two goals) and ruckman Tom Campbell (17, six marks, 32 hitouts) and Max Heath (three goals) were others to shine for Sandringham, but it was the back six led by a marvellous 17-mark 26-disposal display Tom Highmore and supported by Jarrod Lienert (24, seven marks, five inside-50s, five rebounds), Jarryn Geary (21, six marks) and Darragh Joyce (18, nine marks) conceding just five goals in 3½ quarters that was the catalyst for the win.

Dow was again Carlton’s most prolific performer with 31 disposals, eight clearances and those two early goals, with Tom Williamson (26, five marks, one goal), Jordan Boyd (24, five inside-50s, six rebounds, one goal), Lachie Fogarty (23, six clearances, seven inside-50s), Alex Cincotta (23, five inside-50s, six rebounds), Will Setterfield (21, five marks, five tackles) and Joel Trudgeon (19, six clearances, seven tackles, one goal) also impressing.

Brodie Kemp and Stefan Radovanovic lifted to finish with 13 marks between them down back after Caleb Marchbank (16, seven marks) was forced off at half-time with a fresh injury to his good knee.

10:22 Mins
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VFL Mini-Match, R9: Carlton v Sandringham

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Geelong's Flynn Kroeger tries to break clear of Northern Bullant Sean Martin. Picture: Kelly Defina/AFL Photos

BRISBANE LIONS 6.8 (44)
WILLIAMSTOWN 5.12 (42)

BRISBANE Lions escaped with a thrilling two-point win over a gutsy Williamstown in wet conditions at Moreton Bay Sports Complex on Saturday.

The Lions went in as strong favourites but found themselves pushed all the way by an opponent that usually revels in such weather.

The Seagulls booted four goals in a row from the 28-minute mark of the first term to 24 minutes into the second to lead by as much as 20 points before the Lions crucially rallied with two goals in three minutes in the shadows of the main break.

The home team added two more inside the first five minutes of the third quarter to take the lead, with no more goals kicked until Blake Coleman grabbed a crucial 11-point lead five minutes into the last.

Williamstown peppered the goals without reward until Teia Miles kicked truly entering time-on, but it proved to be the last score as the Lions clung on for their fourth win in a row.

00:58 Mins
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The Lions were +52 in disposals and +21 in clearances while laying a huge 112 tackles to 97, but Wlliamstown had its chances with a 47-46 inside-50 count.

Rhys Mathieson had 13 disposals and seven clearances in the first quarter on his way to 31 and 15 (plus six tackles) to be the difference for the home team, with Mitch Cox (26, seven marks) producing his best game as a Lion against the team he had joined before his SSP AFL signing.

Thomas Berry (26, six clearances, 12 tackles), Carter Michael (24, five inside-50s, five rebounds, seven tackles), Toby Triffett (22, five clearances, 11 tackles, one goal) and Will Fletcher (18, 10 tackls) also performed well after the early loss of Nakia Cockatoo.

Darby Henderson was exceptional for Williamstown with a team-high 22 touches and two goals and Tom Downie used his bulk to win 45 hitouts against Wylie Buzza and Kalin Lane (22 each), while Liam Hunt (21, seven clearances, nine clearances), Miles (20, one goal) and Jake Greiser (15, six rebounds, seven tackles) gave it their all.

00:00 Mins
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VFL Mini-Match, R9: Brisbane v Williamstown

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Northern Bullant Liam Mackie is tackled by Geelong's Benjamin Worme and Jackson McLachlan. Picture: Kelly Defina/AFL Photos

FOOTSCRAY 11.6 (72)
GOLD COAST 14.13 (97)

GOLD Coast left Footscray’s finals hopes all-but in tatters when it overran the Bulldogs by 25 points at Victoria University Whitten Oval on Saturday.

The Suns were sparked into action after Footscray kicked three late goals to lead by 11 points at quarter-time, winning each subsequent quarter and showing character to answer three Bulldog last-term goals within two minutes on their way to a six-goal finish that also featured a spectacular mark from Chris Burgess and a special banana goal from Darcy Macpherson after two bounces.

Fielding 19 AFL-listed players to the Bulldogs’ eight, Gold Coast won disposals 412- 347, hitouts 53-18, clearances 38-35, inside-50s 59-37, marks 115-85 and tackles 59-42 in a comprehensive display.

With Ned Moyle cleaning up undersized Bulldog Josh Patullo 46-15 in the ruck, the Suns’ midfielders cut a swathe through their opposition, led by Charlie Constable (35 disposals, six marks, five clearances), Jeremy Sharp (33, 14 marks, six inside-50s, one goal) and Sam Flanders (33, eight marks).

01:17 Mins
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2020 No.7 draft pick Elijah Hollands is building an irresistible case for an AFL debut with another 27 touches, five marks, five inside-50s, eight tackles and two goals, while SSP signing James Tsitas (27, five marks, five inside-50s), Jack Bowes (27, five rebounds), Alex Davies (24, seven clearances, 10 tackles) and Rory Atkins (26, six marks) are also banging the door down.

Papua New Guinean livewire Hewago Paul Oea was also spectacular, picking up 20 touches, seven marks and five tackles (including three rundowns) and could have had a huge day but for kicking 2.2 from six shots at goal, with Macpherson (20, eight marks, two goals), Sam Day (seven marks, four goals) and Burgess (2.3) also causing plenty of headaches for Footscray coach Stewart Edge.

Captain Lachie Sullivan was again best for the Bulldogs with 33 possessions, seven clearances and seven tackles, while Hayden Crozier (25, eight marks, six rebounds) and Charlie Parker (21, 10 rebounds, one goal) worked hard in defence, Jamarra Ugle-Hagan was solid with six marks and three goals and Sam Darcy took seven marks in defence and showed elite kicking skills for a big man.

10:44 Mins
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VFL Mini-Match, R9: Footscray v Gold Coast

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Geelong's Scott Carlin marks under pressure from Northern Bullant Nathan Honey. Picture: Kelly Defina/AFL Photos

NORTHERN BULLANTS 13.7 (85)
GEELONG 15.8 (98)

GEELONG was forced to fight all the way to see off a committed but undermanned Northern Bullants by 13 points at Genis Steel Oval on Sunday.

The Bullants went in without key players Billy Murphy, Mutaz El Nour and Tynan Smith among others but stuck it to the Cats, leading for most of the first term and spending most of the game less than three goals in arrears without being able to regain the upper hand.

Coming off a bye, Geelong’s cleaner ball use ultimately proved the difference as it won the first three quarters, but the Bullants were coming home hard in the last term, getting within six points at the 15-minute mark before five-goal hero Shannon Neale and debutant ruckman Toby Conway saved the day with late majors.

Neale only took four marks and had nine disposals, but his five goals included four in the second half as the home team was throwing everything including the kitchen sink at the Cats.

Luke Dahlhaus was magnificent for Geelong with 28 disposals, six marks, eight inside-50s, 11 tackles and a goal, while youngsters Scott Carlin (26, six marks, one goal), Jye Chalcraft (28, nine clearances), Oliver Dempsey (24, five clearances, two goals), Ben Lloyd (20, seven marks) and debutant Oskar Faulkhead (16, five marks, six inside-50s, six tackles, one goal), also shone and veteran Oliver Tate (21, nine marks) showed his vast experience.

Northern stars Tom Wilson (36 disposals, eight marks, eight clearances, five inside-50s) and Will Mitchell (31, eight marks, nine clearances, six tackles, one goal) had strong claims to being the best two players on the ground, with support from Jackson Barling (20, five clearances, seven tackles, one goal) and Tim Jones (23), while Jean-Luc Velissaris (23, six marks, five inside-50s, three goals) shone up forward and Doug Lawrence (21, 10 marks, six rebounds) was a tower of strength in defence.

13:59 Mins
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VFL Mini-Match, R9: Northern Bullants v Geelong

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Geelong's Shannon Neale kicks his match-sealing fifth goal in front of Northern Bullant Doug Lawrence. Picture: Kelly Defina/AFL Photos

COBURG 13.8 (86)
SYDNEY 17.13 (115)

SYDNEY is four from four in Victoria after seeing off Coburg by 31 points at Piranha Park on Saturday, but it had to fight a lot harder than it looked early on.

The Swans exploded out of the blocks with six goals to one in the first 17 minutes of the game as forwards Callum Sinclair, Sam Reid, Joel Amartey and Hayden McLean provided a tall order that would have been tough for any defence to deal with, especially with Lewis Taylor (14 disposals), Matt Roberts and Dylan Stephens being untouchable in the middle.

But after trailing eight goals to three at the first break, the Lions lifted their workrate, with Braedyn Gillard moving onto Taylor and shutting him down for two quarters as speedsters Flynn Gentile, Nathan Boucher and Josh D’Intinosante got their skates on, skipper Peter McEvoy and fellow talls Jack Maibaum and Mitch Podhajski worked their way into the game.

Coburg slowly hauled in a deficit that had grown to 43 points in the second term, and when McEvoy exploded with three goals in a row midway through the third it was 13 points the difference and the Swans were on the ropes.

01:32 Mins
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But holding off 17 AFL-listed players was always going to be tough for the Lions, and Gillard moving onto Taylor let Ryan Clarke off the leash, and he took over to rack up 36 disposals, eight marks, seven clearances and seven inside-50s in a best-on-ground performance as Sydney steadied with 5.7 to 0.2 in the next 40 minutes before conceding the last three goals to a never-say-die opponent.

Stephens showed his ability to finish with 30 possessions, six marks, six inside-50s and a goal, Roberts was terrific in the middle with 26, six marks and six clearances and Robbie Fox showed himself ready for an AFL recall with 30 touches, five marks including a screamer on the wing and five rebounds against his former club.

Taylor worked his way back into it to finish with 28, seven clearances and a goal, while the class of Ben Ronke (21, six marks, two goals) was also on display.

Amartey (20 disposals, 11 marks, four goals) and Reid (19 touches, 14 marks, 2.5) dominated the air all day with a remarkable 25 grabs between them, while Sinclair (18, six marks, 17 hitouts, six inside-50s, two goals), was also a handful up forward and Lewis Melican and Will Gould shared 12 marks and about 20 golden fists in defence.

Gentile produced his best game at VFL level to be Coburg’s best player with 25 disposals, 10 clearances, five inside-50s, nine tackles and two goals, while D’Intinosante is also back to his pre-elbow injury best after gathering 15 touches and kicking three goals – all of which wouldn’t be out of place in the league’s six goals of the week – McEvoy ended with eight marks and four goals in a real captain’s knock, Boucher was lively on the outer wing with 20 touches and Alex Lukic showed promising signs with two goals.

12:51 Mins
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VFL Mini-Match, R9: Coburg v Sydney

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Northern Bullants captain Tom Wilson handballs against Geelong's Jackson McLachlan. Picture: Kelly Defina/AFL Photos

RICHMOND 10.19 (79)
ESSENDON 6.10 (46)

RICHMOND moved back into the top eight with a comfortable 33-point win over winless Essendon in their Dreamtime at the G curtain raiser at the MCG on Saturday afternoon.

The Tigers kicked 4.5 to 1.1 and were never seriously threatened despite the Bombers getting within 13 points when former Tiger Garrett McDonagh goalled 17 minutes into the second term and their profligacy in front of goal that saw them kick just 10 majors from 29 scoring shots.

Hugo Ralphsmith won the Sir Doug Nicholls Award for best-on-ground after earning a game-high 28 disposals and seven inside-50s, but it was second-gamer Massimo D’Ambrosio who really turned heads.

The Western Jets’ breakout star was in the best two on the ground for the Colgate Young Guns in their two wins over Vic Metro and Vic Country earlier this month and backed it up at the home of football with a stunning 25 disposals, four marks and four inside-50s as his NAB AFL Mid-Season Draft prospects received another huge boost.

Matthew Parker (24, nine marks, six rebounds) put his name firmly back in the selectors’ thoughts with an excellent display down back, while Thomson Dow (23), Will Martyn (19, six marks, six rebounds, five tackles), Ben Miller (18, seven marks), Sydney Stack and Noah Cumberland (three goals each) also displayed Richmond’s depth.

Cody Brand was Essendon’s best in defence, picking up 24 disposals, taking nine marks and delivering eight rebounds, supported by Brandon Zerk-Thatcher (18, nine marks, five rebounds), while Cian McBride (20, 11 marks, nine clearances) enjoyed a run on the ball and former Coburg player Brad Bernacki (20 disposals, nine marks) impressed on club debut.

Dylan Landt (21, five marks, five rebounds), Brayden Ham (20, seven marks, one goal), Joel Fitzgerald (20, eight marks), McDonagh (20, five inside-50s, five rebounds, one goal) and Bruno Laguda (17 touches in his first game since 2019) also put in strong efforts for the Bombers.

10:39 Mins
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VFL Mini-Match, R9: Richmond v Essendon

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Northern Bullant Ben De Bolfo sends the ball forward against Geelong. Picture: Kelly Defina/AFL Photos

PORT MELBOURNE 7.14 (56)
SOUTHPORT 18.11 (119)

SOUTHPORT climbed to third on the ladder after cruising to a 63-point victory over Port Melbourne at ETU Stadium on Saturday.

The Borough held the Sharks well early, being within a point at quarter-time and grabbing the lead early in the second quarter, but the Queenslanders flexed their muscles with the next eight goals to put the result to bed before the midway point of the third.

Port fought back with two of the next three goals before three quarter-time, but the Sharks powered away again with another seven goals to three in the last despite star midfielder Jacob Dawson being blunted at the stoppages by fellow Queenslanders Corey Wagner in the first half and Cody Stackelberg in the second, with his 18 disposals and six clearances easily being quieter than his previous lowest output of 25 touches against Williamstown in Round 2.

Port Adelaide recruit Boyd Woodcock, however, continued his fine season for Southport with 28 disposals, six marks, six clearances, eight inside-50s, five tackles and a goal, while co-captain Mike Manteit stepped up with 24 and seven marks, Billy Gowers played on the ball and had 22 touches, seven clearances, nine inside-50s and a goal, Jay Foon (21, six marks), Rhys Clark (20, six rebounds) and Fraser Thurlow (five marks, 30 hitouts, one goal) were important and Tom Fields filled Jacob Townsend’s output with four goals.

Wagner was outstanding running both ways for Port Melbourne, stopping Dawson early and going on to win 28 disposals, five marks, five clearances and 10 rebounds and five tackles, while fellow mids Marcus Lentini (29, five marks, five clearances), Tom O’Sullivan (26, eight marks, six clearances, five inside-50s), Eli Templeton (26, eight marks, eight inside-50s, eight tackles) and Harvey Hooper (25, six marks, one goal) all performed well.

Ethan Phillips’ mid-season draft stocks continue to rise with 17 possessions and nine marks, while experienced small forward Anthony Anastasio also did well with 20 touches, five marks, seven inside-50s and two goals.

12:29 Mins
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VFL Mini-Match, R9: Port Melbourne vs. Southport

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Geelong's Luke Dahlhaus and Northern Bullant Zac Hart compete for the ball. Picture: Kelly Defina/AFL Photos

BYE: Box Hill Hawks, Casey Demons, Collingwood, Frankston, North Melbourne.

Geelong debutant Oskar Faulkhead is tackled by Northern Bullant Zac Hart. Picture: Kelly Defina/AFL Photos

SMITHY’S VFL LADDER, ROUND 9 – click here

Northern Bullants' Doug Lawrence stretches to pull in a mark in front of Geelong's Shannon Neale. Picture: AFL Photos

THIS WEEK

ROUND 10: Friday, May 27: Sydney v Richmond (Lakeside Oval, 2.05pm). Saturday, May 28: Southport v Brisbane Lions (Austworld Centre, 12.05pm); Williamstown v Footscray (Williamstown, 2.05pm); Gold Coast v Box Hill Hawks (Metricon Stadium, 3.05pm). Sunday, May 29: Essendon v Coburg (Windy Hill, 11.35am); Werribee v Collingwood (Avalon Airport Oval, 12.01pm); Geelong v GWS (GMHBA Stadium, 12.05pm); Northern Bullants v Carlton (Preston City Oval, 1.05pm); Frankston v Casey Demons (Skybus Stadium, 2.05pm); Sandringham v North Melbourne (Wilson Storage Trevor Barker Beach Oval, 2.15pm). Bye: Port Melbourne.

NEXT WEEK: ROUND 11: Friday, June 3: Brisbane Lions v Northern Bullants (Moreton Bay Sports Complex, 3.35pm); Footscray v Geelong (Victoria University Whitten Oval, 4.05pm). Saturday, June 4: Casey Demons v Sydney (MCG, 3.45pm). Sunday, June 5: Collingwood v Gold Coast (AIA Centre, 11.05am); Coburg v Frankston (Piranha Park, 12.35pm); North Melbourne v Box Hill Hawks (Aegis Park, 1.05pm); Port Melbourne v Williamstown (ETU Stadium, 2.10pm). Bye: Carlton, Essendon, GWS, Richmond, Sandringham, Southport, Werribee.

THEN: ROUND 12: Wednesday, June 8: Richmond v Werribee (Swinburne Centre, 7.35pm). Friday, June 10: Frankston v Brisbane Lions (Skybus Stadium, 7.35pm). Saturday, June 11: Essendon v Carlton (Windy Hill, 11.35am); Southport v Sandringham (Fankhauser Reserve, 12.05pm); Box Hill Hawks v Port Melbourne (Box Hill City Oval, 1.35pm). Sunday, June 12: GWS v North Melbourne (Blacktown International Sports Park, 1.05pm); Casey Demons v Collingwood (Casey Fields, 2.10pm). Bye: Coburg, Footscray, Geelong, Gold Coast, Northern Bullants, Sydney, Williamstown.

Twitter: @BRhodesVFL

Geelong's Toby Conway and Northern Bullant Andrew Courtney compete for the ball. Picture: Kelly Defina/AFL Photos

All VFL matches in 2022 are live-streamed free. The match of the round can be viewed on Channel 7, while all remaining games are streamed live and on demand via www.afl.com.au and the AFL Live and VFL apps. Radio 3WBC is again broadcasting Box Hill Hawks matches.
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