Crows snap losing streak to heap more misery on West Coast, Collingwood goes second
Adelaide has kept its AFL finals hopes alive after captain Taylor Walker inspired his side to a 10-point, come-from-behind triumph over West Coast.
The Crows were staring at a fifth-straight defeat when they trailed by 27 points late in the third term before Walker (22 possessions, 10 marks) lifted the Crows to a 12.16 (88) to 12.6 (78) victory at Adelaide Oval.
Goalless and visibly frustrated as the Eagles' ascendancy grew, Walker slotted three captain's goals in quick succession — a soccer off the ground in the last minute of the third, a 60m bomb early in the fourth and another after soaring for a towering mark in front of Will Schofield.
Tom Doedee booted his first career goal on the back of an enormous tackle on Brendon Ah Chee before Hugh Greenwood, after outmarking Tom Cole, kicked a goal to give the Crows the lead, which they held despite Jamie Cripps' late major.
Adelaide convincingly had more inside 50s (66-34) and Matt Crouch (32 disposals) and Rory Laird (31) were prolific, but it all looked in vain before Walker's late-game heroics snatched the game away from the shell-shocked Eagles.
Without gun forward trio Josh Kennedy, Jack Darling and Mark LeCras — the Eagles' three leading goal-kickers each of the past three seasons — the visitors held sway by seven points at quarter-time and by nine points at halftime thanks to three quick goals late in the term and some inaccuracy (2.5) from the wayward Crows.
The Eagles smashed Adelaide in the middle in the third quarter while makeshift spearhead Jeremy McGovern showed his wares in the air and at ground level with a pair of fine goals as West Coast drew 27 points clear.
Andrew Gaff (37 touches) was at his play-making best and Luke Shuey was dynamic at the coalface for most of the afternoon but the Eagles wilted badly, outscored 7.7 to 2.0 as they inexplicably plummeted to their third successive loss.
Collingwood put sorry Suns to the sword
Collingwood has jumped into second spot on the AFL ladder, extending its winning run to six with a 39-point victory over Gold Coast.
But a scrappy final quarter meant the Magpies squandered a golden opportunity to boost their percentage, prevailing 14.15 (99) to 8.12 (60) at Carrara Stadium, when they should have won by much more.
The contest was over before halftime, with the visitors piling on eight unanswered goals across the first two quarters to snap the Suns' early resistance.
Among them was a goal-of-the-year contender from Josh Thomas, who beat Jarrod Harbrow to a loose ball, somehow kept it in as he slid towards the boundary, then snapped from a difficult angle with little room to manoeuvre as two Suns players closed in.
The Magpies coasted on and led by as much as 59 points in the third term but failed to put their lowly opponents to the sword.
Gold Coast took advantage with four straight goals and actually won the last quarter by a point, but a better side would have made more of the scoring opportunities they generated late and made a genuine game of it.
In the end, neither team will be overly happy with how they performed.
Thomas finished a game-high four goals and rookie Jaidyn Stephenson kicked three but ruckman Brodie Grundy was the outstanding player on the field.
The Suns went missing for the middle part of the match, slumping to their ninth consecutive defeat — now the third-worst losing streak in the expansion club's short history.
Port Adelaide turn it on in the fourth quarter
Port Adelaide has put a dampener on Kade Simpson's 300th AFL match celebrations with a 21-point win over Carlton at the MCG.
The brave Blues trailed by just two points at three-quarter time but the Power booted the first four goals of the final term to claim a hard-fought 13.12 (90) to 10.9 (69) victory.
In its first visit to the MCG this season, Port wasn't at its best but strengthened its claims on a top-four finish, improving to a 10-4 record in front of 26,562 fans.
Robbie Gray wasn't right at the top of his game but kicked three classy goals, Tom Rockliff amassed a team-high 28 possessions with Chad Wingard (24 touches and two goals) also influential.
Simpson became the fifth Blue to reach the 300-game mark and the 34-year-old starred with 37 disposals in his milestone match.
In his first game since suffering a foot injury in round nine, skipper Marc Murphy caught the eye with 27 possessions, with Patrick Cripps (32 possessions) typically strong at the stoppages.
Charlie Curnow enhanced his growing reputation as the next big thing in the AFL world with four goals and nine marks.
Giants win fourth straight to jump to sixth
Greater Western Sydney has stormed into the AFL's top eight for the first time in almost two months, edging Hawthorn by 11 points at the Sydney Showgrounds.
GWS key forward Jon Patton largely struggled, copping a painful blow to the knee during a ruck contest, registering three behinds and putting another set shot out on the full.
But the former number one draft pick stood up when it counted most, booting the sealer from a difficult position after he was awarded a free kick with a tick under four minutes remaining.
Hawthorn ball magnet Tom Mitchell had a game-high 36 disposals, while GWS co-captains Callan Ward and Phil Davis starred to help their side prevail 13.17 (95) to 13.6 (84).
The result rocketed the Giants, who slipped out of the top eight in early May during a four-match losing streak, to sixth on the ladder.
The expansion club has won four on the trot and next tackle West Coast, Richmond and Port Adelaide in a challenging stretch that has the potential to make or break its campaign.
GWS won clearances 51-28 and had 53 more contested possessions than Hawthorn but couldn't put the Hawks away until late in the final quarter.