Finish Round 18 Up (Part 2)

As I mentioned in my round 18 preview, the main interest in Sunday’s first game was the performance of the four Top 100 AFL goal kickers who played.

Sadly, Jack Gunston didn’t play, after his father’s recent death. Unfortunately, he was also not mentioned in the injury list on the AFL website compiled by Josh Gablich, so this fact had eluded me.

However, it still left three of the AFL’s Top 100 goalscorers to show their stuff at the MCG on a wet and windy day: the oldest in age and goals scored was Josh Kennedy, who has already indicated he would rather retire at the end of the season.

Kennedy, who scored his 700th goal for the Eagles last week (his 711th overall courtesy of his 11 for Carlton for his well-publicized trade for Chris Judd in 2007), was already the West Coast Eagles’ all-time goalscorer and 23rd. biggest ever in the VFL/AFL.

Hot on his heels was Geelong’s Tom Hawkins, who trailed just three goals at the start of the round. Hawkins had played Saturday night but only scored 2 goals, so the round ended at 710, still adrift of Kennedy. Kennedy for his part scored 2 goals to keep his buffer of 3 goals for Hawkins.

Jack Darling, also on the losing side with two goals. passed Terry Daniher of Essendon and leveled with another former bomber, Scott Lucas.

However, an excellent play from Hawthorn’s Luke Breust saw him score 6 goals in the equal best attempt of Round 18.

Breust started the round level with Jack Darling, passing not only Darling, but Daniher and Lucas to level with the three former champions who finished their careers at 475: fellow Hawk John Peck (1954-1966), Kangaroo Jock Spencer and Keith Forbes who spent most of his career (1928-1937) in Essendon, then two years in North Melbourne and a final year with Fitzroy.

Also in this game, Jai Culley became the third debutante of the round when he went into the field for the Eagles and acquitted himself well.

Far from the wet and windy MCG, Melbourne faced Port Adelaide at Treagar Park in Alice Springs in a match that was essential to the last eight, and – for the first time in his coaching career – Melbourne coach Simon Goodwin had to prepare his game plan without the silky skills of Clayton Oliver.

Though a whopping 52 consecutive games behind Collingwood Marvel, Jack Crisp, Oliver has amassed an impressive 127 games in a row.

His series has now been broken and Todd Goldstein becomes number two on the list in 104 games in the same round in which Oliver’s teammate Christian Petracca plays his 100th consecutive game.

While Port Adelaide was competitive, Kysaiah Pickett’s brilliance with 6 goals was too many and Melbourne trailed out the winners by 14 points to remain in the top two on the ladder.

In the final game of the round, Essendon had easy winners against Gold Coast with Jake Stringer kicking 4 goals, and “two yards” Peter Wright kicking two against his old club.

Also in this match, David Swallow, who has played with the club since Round 1 in 2011, equaled Jarrod Harbrow’s match record of 192 matches.

When he plays next week, he will join an impressive roster of six other current game record holders: Scott Pendlebuuri (Collingwood), David Mundy (Fremantle). Joel Selwood (Geelong), Callan Ward (Greater Western Sydney), Travis Boak (Port Adelaide) and Shannon Hurn (West Coast).