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AFL trade period gets key deal as Carlton secures Adam Saad from Essendon



The AFL trade period has picked up momentum, with speedy defender Adam Saad finally achieving a move from Essendon to Carlton.

The deal involves Essendon trading Saad and picks 48 and 78 to the Blues, in exchange for picks eight and 87.

The Bombers now have picks six, seven and eight in this year’s AFL draft.

Saad began his career at Gold Coast, and played three seasons for the Suns before being traded to Essendon at the end of 2017.

He has played 109 games and will now be at his third AFL club for the 2021 season.

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With 30 hours to go before the trade window closes, his deal to join Carlton could allow a series of trades between clubs.

Essendon could use one of its top picks to secure Western Bulldogs midfielder Josh Dunkley, with reports that the Bulldogs have their eye on Collingwood’s Adam Treloar.

Also on the list of potential deals to be completed are GWS forward Jeremy Cameron — who has declared Geelong as his chosen destination — and Demons forward Ben Brown, who wants to join North Melbourne.

Other deals done on Wednesday include Lachie Fogarty, who will move to Carlton from Geelong.

The Cats traded Fogarty and pick 38 in exchange for picks 30 and 51.

Geelong also traded Nakia Cockatoo to the Brisbane Lions in exchange for a future third-round pick.

Port Adelaide added defender Aliir Aliir in a trade with the Sydney Swans for a future second-round pick.

The trade period ends at 7:30pm AEDT tomorrow.

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Joe Daniher to leave Essendon to join Brisbane Lions ahead of 2021 AFL season


Joe Daniher will leave Essendon to join Brisbane after the Bombers chose not to match the Lions’ offer for the key forward.

The Bombers will receive a first-round draft selection as compensation, with the Lions currently holding pick seven.

Brisbane submitted its offer for restricted free agent Daniher late on Friday afternoon.

The Bombers had three days to decide whether they would match it and force a trade, however they decided not to stand in Daniher’s way, given what they are set to receive in return.

Daniher informed the Bombers earlier this month he wanted to leave the club, with the Lions his preferred destination.

Earlier on Friday, Hawthorn triple-premiership winger Isaac Smith departed the Hawks to join grand finalist Geelong as an unrestricted free agent on a two-year deal.

The Hawks confirmed Smith, 31, would depart after 210 senior matches with the club, a stint that included playing a crucial role in the 2013, 2014 and 2015 premierships.

Hawthorn was keen to keep Smith, while Melbourne was also in the race for his services before Geelong won out.

“It’s been a very difficult decision, incredibly hard and [I] probably had a few sleepless nights over the last three or four nights to be honest,” Smith said.

“The heart was certainly pulling me towards Hawthorn but in the end the head won and I’m up for a new challenge, a new journey and I’m very excited to be part of the Geelong Football Club.”

Isaac Smith celebrates a goal for the Hawks
Isaac Smith will no longer be wearing the brown and gold of Hawthorn.(AAP: Julian Smith)

Hawthorn and Geelong enjoyed a fierce rivalry for much of Smith’s time at the Hawks.

“Certainly coming up against them, there was a real dislike between the playing groups and the clubs, but the other thing was, there was a hell a lot of respect,” he said.

Smith infamously missed a set shot after the siren in a two-point loss to the Cats in the 2016 qualifying final, while he went wide with another seconds before the final siren in a three-point loss the following season.

“I guess I’ve already won them two games of footy, so I’m guessing the Cats fans will be happy,” Smith joked.

Greater Western Sydney’s Williams is one step closer to joining Carlton, with the Blues lodging paperwork for the restricted free agent with the AFL on Friday.

Williams, 26, expressed his desire to join the Blues in September after 113 matches for GWS.

The free agency window opened on Friday morning, with Gold Coast kicking off proceedings by lodging a contract offer to Adelaide’s Rory Atkins.

As an unrestricted free agent, Atkins can join the Suns immediately, with the AFL confirming the Crows will receive an end-of-second-round draft pick as compensation.

Atkins played 101 matches for Adelaide, including the 2017 grand final loss, but made just four AFL appearances this season.

AAP/ABC



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Joe Daniher tells Essendon he wants to join Brisbane Lions to continue AFL career



Key forward Joe Daniher has told Essendon he wants to leave the club to join the Brisbane Lions from next season.

Essendon list manager Adrian Dodoro said Daniher wanted to live a quieter life away from Victoria.

“We put forward a contract offer to Joe, but he has expressed his strong desire to live away from Melbourne,” Dodoro said in a club statement.

“We understand that free agency is part of our industry and he has a right to explore his options.”

The Lions released a statement saying they were “excited” Daniher had nominated the club as “his preferred new home”.

“The club will work its way through the process of free agency with the AFL during the free agency trade period,” a Lions statement said.

“As a club our number one priority at the moment is our finals campaign and focusing on our preparation toward this.”

It is the second year in a row that the injury plagued Daniher has requested a move away from the Bombers.

Daniher was set on joining Sydney last off-season, but the Bombers and Swans could not agree on a suitable trade.

The 26-year-old is a restricted free agent this year, so Essendon could choose to match any deal the Lions offer.

Daniher has been limited to 15 matches across the last three seasons after battling a range of injury problems.

In his most recent injury-free campaign — in 2017 — he kicked 65 goals and was named in the All-Australian side.

He also won Essendon’s best-and-fairest in the same season.

Daniher has kicked 191 goals in 108 matches for the Bombers since making his senior debut in 2013.

The Bombers’ confirmation of Daniher’s desire to leave the club comes a day after the club announced defender Adam Saad wanted to join Carlton.

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Joe Daniher’s return for Essendon should put a smile on the face of every AFL fan


Last Thursday evening I received and sent about 10 text messages all saying one word — Joe.

It has been easy to see this football frenzy season as a blur, but within it have been some amazing highs and incredible feats — real blink-and-you-miss-it moments.

The absolute highlight of my season came on Thursday evening.

The Bombers were down by 36 points at the half; they looked slow, sluggish and didn’t have an avenue to goal.

Enter Joe Daniher.

He leaped, he flew, he ran, he looked brilliant and he single-handedly led the Bombers to a famous victory over the Hawks.

His straightening up of the Bombers showed that with him in the side, anything is possible.

Thanks to him, they kept their finals hopes alive, only two points out of the top eight.

The impact Joe has on the footballing community is profound, and the joy that he brings to the wider community cannot be undersold.

Joe Daniher smiles while holding a football at training
Injury has kept Joe Daniher off the footy field for more than a year.(AAP: Scott Barbour)

He’s one of the few people to play football with a smile on his face, much in the same ilk as Eddie Betts.

It’s this attitude and demeanour that make watching football feel pure, and you find yourself cheering and marvelling as you watch someone do what he does in such an unbridled way.

The football community has missed Joe for the best part of the last two seasons, and the weekend was a reminder of just how good the man is.

He is a slightly less athletic Buddy Franklin, but with the ability to mark the ball high above his head and kick goals from almost any range.

Like Buddy he can do freakish acts, and yet frustrate sometimes with his approach to the simple things.

He’s flawed, in other words, and he’s human — and that’s why his play connects with people.

Only 10 months ago he wanted out of the Bombers, requesting a shock trade to the Swans.

This was vetoed by the Bombers and Joe came back ready to reset.

Unfortunately, one of football’s greatest talents has spent the last year on the sidelines with a persistent groin injury.

Our last glimpse of him before the weekend came all the way back in round nine last year against Fremantle.

It was his lack of action on the park and a few years of frustration that lead Joe down the path of seeking a trade.

He looked north to the Swans and as a selfish fan, I hoped the deal got done.

Joe Daniher holds onto a yellow football after leaping into the air with three other players scattered around him
At his best, Daniher is one of the most entertaining players in the game.(AAP: Mark Dadswell)

When you consider the Swans’ forward line there is definitely space for a player like Joe.

With an ageing Buddy — who can’t get on the park himself — alongside the young tyros in Nick Blakey and Tom McCartin, the move would make sense.

Joe could roam further up the ground and Buddy could stay closer to goal.

On the smaller SCG you can already see Joe banging them in from the centre square, or field kicking to a leading Buddy.

Only last week Joe was being written off.

The All Australian and club champion was being questioned about his longevity in the game.

Some former champions of the game were questioning just how many games he had left to give.

But what we saw last Thursday evening was a player who had his power back; running and jumping at the ball at its highest point.

Pleasingly he has been selected again for tonight, off a short turnaround too, so his body must be feeling alright.

Ironically, the man who has missed the entire season bar one game now becomes the man the Bombers will pin their finals hopes on.

Their run home isn’t easy playing West Coast, Geelong and the Power in the next three weeks; they are all tough games and they will go into each of them underdogs.

Regardless of what happens from a result perspective I just hope we see Big Joe out there smiling again.

Footy is better off when he is.



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Richmond ends West Coast’s AFL winning run, Essendon scores comeback victory over Hawthorn


Richmond has halted West Coast’s eight-match winning streak with a 27-point triumph on the Gold Coast.

Earlier on Thursday evening, Essendon remarkably fought back from a six-goal deficit at half-time to beat Hawthorn by 16 points, with Joe Daniher kicking three goals in his first AFL match in almost 15 months.

In Carrara, the Tigers flexed their muscle in the third quarter as a four-goal run blew apart a hard-fought contest, with the reigning premiers winning 14.4 (88) to 9.7 (61).

The win is the third-placed Tigers’ fifth from their past six matches. The loss saw the Eagles slip out of the coveted top four to be positioned fifth on the ladder.

Richmond forward Tom Lynch kicked three goals but it was a moment of inspiration by Dustin Martin that sparked a third-quarter surge.

The superstar midfielder kicked a remarkable banana from the pocket after West Coast youngster Jarrod Brander’s awful shank out on the full gave the Tigers possession.

After Martin’s goal, Richmond kicked three more unanswered to open up a 29-point lead.

Jack Darling’s three goals in the third quarter kept hope alive for the Eagles, with a kick after the siren reducing the Tigers’ lead to 14 points.

The Tigers, however, halted the Eagles momentum with the first two goals of the final term, which included a long bomb from Noah Balta from outside 50 to seal the battle of the winners of the past three grand finals.

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Liam Ryan also had three goals for the Eagles and claimed four marks inside 50 in somewhat of a lone hand in the forward line for West Coast.

Ryan’s performance was telling after key forward Josh Kennedy was ruled out in the first quarter with a concussion.

Richmond had its own injury concern, with Dylan Grimes limping out of the match in the second quarter with a hamstring problem.

Martin finished with two goals and 17 possessions, while Bachar Houli (23 possessions) and skipper Trent Cotchin (26 possessions) were busy for the Tigers.

Eagles midfielder Andrew Gaff topped the disposals tally with 32 touches and his captain Luke Shuey had 27 disposals.

Bombers complete stunning comeback

Daniher starred for the Bombers in their incredible 13.9 (87) to 10.11 (71) in Thursday’s twilight match at Adelaide Oval.

The lanky forward booted 3.3 and took several strong grabs as the Bombers revived their season by snapping a five-match winless streak to rise to ninth on the ladder.

Hawthorn’s loss was soured by luckless Jonathon Patton suffering another injury.

Patton’s season could be over after hobbling from the field in the opening quarter with a suspected right calf injury.

The former number one draft pick, who underwent three knee reconstruction operations while with Greater Western Sydney, will have scans on Friday.

Patton had only returned to action last Saturday after being sidelined for six matches by a hamstring strain.

Hawthorn led 7.10 to 2.4 at half-time after scoring from 17 of their 22 inside 50s in the half.

But Daniher, who has been cruelled by a groin injury since his last match in round nine last year, played an inspired second half.

The Bombers booted five goals to one to trail by nine points at three-quarter-time.

A group of Essendon AFL players celebrate a goal against Hawthorn.
Joe Daniher (second from right) and the Bombers had reason to celebrate in Adelaide.(AAP: David Mariuz)

Daniher’s purple patch began with a trademark high grab on the wing in the third stanza.

Minutes later, he marked low down, casually converted around his body and was mobbed by teammates.

Daniher soon added two more marks only to blaze set shots wide, but laced-out Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti for another major.

And in the tense last quarter, with his side four points up with less than four minutes remaining, Daniher goaled again.

He then capped his fairytale comeback by snapping the last major of the match to seal a remarkable win.

Essendon’s Zach Merrett was outstanding with 36 disposals, ably supported by Ashley McGrath (32 possessions), Kyle Langford (27 touches) and Dylan Shiel (25 disposals).

Bombers Jake Stringer, Cale Hooker and Dylan Clarke each booted two goals.

Hawthorn’s Brownlow medallist Tom Mitchell was his side’s chief ball-winner with 27 disposals, while teammates Tom Scully, Jack Gunston and Daniel Howe slotted two majors apiece.

AAP/ABC



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Essendon beats Hawthorn by 16 points in incredible AFL comeback win as Joe Daniher kicks three goals



Joe Daniher has sparked Essendon to a stunning 16-point comeback win over Hawthorn in his first AFL match in almost 15 months.

Daniher kicked three goals as the Bombers overturned a 36-point deficit at half-time to win 13.9 (87) to 10.11 (71) in Thursday’s twilight match at Adelaide Oval.

The lanky forward booted 3.3 and took several strong grabs as the Bombers revived their season by snapping a five-match winless streak to rise to ninth on the ladder.

Hawthorn’s loss was soured by luckless Jonathon Patton suffering another injury.

Patton’s season could be over after hobbling from the field in the opening quarter with a suspected right calf injury.

The former number one draft pick, who underwent three knee reconstruction operations while with Greater Western Sydney, will have scans on Friday.

Patton had only returned to action last Saturday after being sidelined for six matches by a hamstring strain.

Hawthorn led 7.10 to 2.4 at half-time after scoring from 17 of their 22 inside 50s in the half.

But Daniher, who has been cruelled by a groin injury since his last match in round nine last year, played an inspired second half.

The Bombers booted five goals to one to trail by nine points at three-quarter-time.

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Daniher’s purple patch began with a trademark high grab on the wing in the third stanza.

Minutes later, he marked low down, casually converted around his body and was mobbed by teammates.

Daniher soon added two more marks only to blaze set shots wide, but laced-out Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti for another major.

And in the tense last quarter, with his side four points up with less than four minutes remaining, Daniher goaled again.

He then capped his fairytale comeback by snapping the last major of the match to seal a remarkable win.

Essendon’s Zach Merrett was outstanding with 36 disposals, ably supported by Ashley McGrath (32 possessions), Kyle Langford (27 touches) and Dylan Shiel (25 disposals).

Bombers Jake Stringer, Cale Hooker and Dylan Clarke each booted two goals.

Hawthorn’s Brownlow medallist Tom Mitchell was his side’s chief ball-winner with 27 disposals, while teammates Tom Scully, Jack Gunston and Daniel Howe slotted two majors apiece.

The Hawks meet winless Adelaide at Adelaide Oval on Tuesday evening, with Essendon playing West Coast in Brisbane later that night.

AAP/ABC



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Joe Daniher to make AFL return for Essendon Bombers



Essendon forward Joe Daniher will make his long-awaited return to AFL football against Hawthorn at the Adelaide Oval on Thursday evening.

Bombers coach John Worsfold confirmed Daniher would play against the Hawks, provided he gets through a light training session on Wednesday morning.

Daniher, 26, hasn’t played since round nine, 2019 due to recurring groin issues and unsuccessfully sought a trade to Sydney at the end of last season.

“The good news is we are expecting him to play,” Worsfold told reporters on Wednesday.

“So we’ve obviously got a light session this morning but we’re really excited that Joe’s done the work to be available, ready to step back up and play some footy — which is great for Joe, great for us [and] great for footy.”

Given the limited nature of scratch matches this year, Essendon opted to bring Daniher straight back into their AFL side after building his loads through competitive training sessions.

Worsfold said Daniher would have been ready to play earlier, if not for a minor calf strain, and the forward was “comfortable and excited” for his return.

Daniher is out of contract and a restricted free agent at season’s end.

Worsfold said he hadn’t directly spoken to Daniher about re-signing but emphasised there was “no panic” at Essendon’s end, and contract discussions would happen “at the right time”.

“Obviously Joe knows the club wants him to stay. We’d love him to play out his whole career at the Essendon footy club,” he said.

“But there’s going to be a new coach next year, and those discussions are going to be more heavily involved with Ben [Rutten] and our list management group going forward.

“Obviously, it rests with Joe’s desires mainly.”

The Bombers are set for further injury relief, with Cale Hooker and Conor McKenna poised to return against Hawthorn, while Dyson Heppell is on the comeback trail.

Worsfold wouldn’t be drawn on whether those inclusions could bolster Essendon’s flagging finals hopes.

“Our first focus is to just go through the normal protocols of getting these guys back playing,” Worsfold said.

“They’re desperate to play — Joe’s been working his backside off to get himself back to reignite his footy career.

“So we’re just excited about that, and Dyson, he’s just itching to be back out there playing with the guys.

“So whether that’s [in] another two or three games we don’t know yet — we’ll just keep progressing him.”

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Richmond’s Dylan Grimes says he received death threats after controversial free kick against Essendon



Richmond defender Dylan Grimes has received death threats on social media after a controversial incident in his AFL club’s latest victory.

Grimes was accused by some of staging for a free kick which proved a game-turning moment during the Dreamtime clash when the Tigers scored a 12-point win over Essendon in Darwin.

“Death threats and suicide suggestions. Come on,” Grimes posted on his Instagram account.

“Reminding the Essendon fans that inboxed me that this is a game we play for fun.”

AFL Players Association boss Paul Marsh also came out to denounce the online abuse.

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Grimes was awarded a controversial free kick for a push in the back in the second quarter of Saturday night’s game.

The penalty came as Essendon’s Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti took a run into an open goal — his major would have put the Bombers 11 points up.

Instead, the score wasn’t allowed and Richmond proceeded to boot two goals in the next three minutes to take the lead, which they kept for the rest of the game.

“Massive impact,” Essendon coach John Worsfold said post-match of the controversial decision.

“Unfortunately, that is the way the umpires called it and we have to cop that. But it was a pretty critical part of the game.”

Grimes’ threats come two weeks after GWS stalwart Callan Ward also received death threats and abuse when accused of staging for a free kick, also in a match against Essendon.

Ward effectively kicked the match-winning goal, being awarded a free kick for high contact against Essendon’s Shaun McKernan.

Essendon issued a statement after the abuse Ward received, condemning the threats.

“As a club, we do not stand for this and we will continue to call out this toxic online behaviour,” the statement said.

AAP



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Richmond beats Essendon in AFL’s Dreamtime in Darwin encounter as Fremantle, Port Adelaide and Bulldogs post wins


Reigning premier Richmond has surged into the AFL’s top-four with a spirited 12-point victory against Essendon in the AFL’s Dreamtime in Darwin fixture.

The Tigers jumped from sixth to third on the ladder with a hard-fought 10.13 (73) to 10.1 (61) triumph in the marquee encounter of the AFL’s Sir Doug Nicholls round.

But spearhead Tom Lynch, days after being fined $2,000 for separate incidents, will again come under match review scrutiny for a behind-play forearm to the throat of Bomber Michael Hurley.

Also on Saturday night, Fremantle defeated a lacklustre Sydney by 31 points in Perth, while earlier Port Adelaide and the Western Bulldogs posted respective victories.

The annual Dreamtime match continued Essendon’s recent run of outs, with the Bombers having just one win from their past seven matches, while they lost luckless backman Aaron Francis to a hamstring injury.

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The Bombers unveiled a potential cult figure, with Indigenous debutant Irving Mosquito kicking two goals, including a stunner on the run.

But the Bombers were overpowered by Richmond’s big guns: Dustin Martin (29 disposals, one goal, nine inside 50s) and Shai Bolton (28 touches, one goal) ruled the midfield while Lynch and Jack Riewoldt slotted two majors each.

The Tigers’ defence, featuring Liam Baker (16 possessions) was stingy and Ivan Soldo had the better of the rucks.

Essendon’s Zach Merrett was superb with a match-high 34 disposals and a goal, Devon Smith (28 possessions) battled gamely while James Stewart matched Mosquito’s return of two goals.

The match turned amid controversy in the second term moments after Mosquito’s memorable highlight.

The 19-year-old from Halls Creek in northern Western Australia flashed through a pack, gathered the ball 65 metres from goal, took a bounce and threaded a left-footer from a challenging angle.

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Just 90 seconds after the act of brilliance, Bomber Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti took a chest mark and ran into an open goal.

But his teammate Jake Stringer was penalised for a push on Richmond’s Dylan Grimes and the score — which would have given Essendon an 11-point lead — did not count.

Instead, Richmond rallied with two goals in the next three minutes to take a seven-point half-time lead, which did not duly reflect the control of the match that the Tigers enjoyed.

But it took just 10 more minutes for the Tigers to finally cash in.

They made three rapid strikes with goals to Riewoldt, Martin and Kane Lambert creating a 25-point advantage.

The closest Essendon got thereafter was nine points early in the final quarter.

But Richmond killed off the challenge with the next three goals, before the Bombers belatedly scored the last three of the match to reduce the final margin.

Dockers restrict Swans to two goals

The Sydney Swans managed just two goals in clear conditions in their loss to Fremantle.

Fremantle forward Matt Taberner pulled down nine marks — four of which were contested — and booted two goals in the 7.8 (50) to 2.7 (19) win.

The result improved Fremantle’s win-loss record to 5-7, while Sydney (4-8) is officially out of the finals race.

Sydney’s score of 19 was its lowest ever total since South Melbourne became the Sydney Swans in 1982.

The club’s previous lowest tally recorded as the Swans was the 23 they posted against Collingwood in round 13, 1988.

A group of Sydney Swans AFL players stand looking disappointed after losing to Fremantle.
The Swans were left to do some soul searching after the defeat to the Dockers in Perth.(AAP: Gary Day)

Sydney booted the first goal of the match through Tom McCartin after just four minutes.

Their second goal did not come until six minutes into the final term when Sam Wicks kicked truly.

By that stage, the Swans trailed by 33 points and the contest was all but over.

Taberner’s strong marking and sharp leading proved too hard to contain, with the 27-year-old improving his season tally to 23 goals.

Luke Ryan (26 disposals) edged closer to a maiden All-Australian berth with another outstanding display in defence, while Andrew Brayshaw (27 disposals), and Nat Fyfe (22 disposals, six clearances) were prolific in the middle.

Jake Lloyd (28 disposals) led the way for Sydney, but the fact of the matter was the Swans managed just two goals despite winning the inside 50s count 43-34.

Power grind out win over plucky Hawks

AFL ladder leader Port Adelaide put a horror week behind the club by grinding out a 10-point win over Hawthorn.

The under-strength Hawks shocked the Power by kicking the opening three goals at Adelaide Oval and scores were level at three-quarter time.

But the home side prevailed, 9.14 (68) to 9.4 (58), after young star Zak Butters sliced through a forward-50 stoppage to collect Scott Lycett’s expert ruck tap and kick the sealer with two minutes left.

Milestone man Tom Rockliff (28 disposals) starred in his 200th AFL match and fellow veteran Travis Boak (33) continued his outstanding season.

The Power’s positive result came after an embarrassing last-start defeat to Geelong and costly COVID-19 protocol breaches by Peter Ladhams and Dan Houston, who were suspended on Thursday.

Charlie Dixon rebounded from a goalless showing against the Cats with two majors and Indigenous star Sam Powell-Pepper (21 disposals) was a constant threat for Port Adelaide in the competition’s feature Sir Doug Nicholls Round.

A Port Adelaide AFL player yells out as he pumps his right fist while celebrating a goal against Hawthorn.
Charlie Dixon celebrates one of his two goals against the Hawks.(AAP: David Mariuz)

Former Power players Chad Wingard, Shaun Burgoyne (two goals each) and Jarman Impey (one) were all prominent for Hawthorn, as were James Worpel (26 touches) and Tom Mitchell (25).

The Hawks’ early intensity and hot start saw the visitors kick the opening three goals, raising hopes of an upset.

Tempers flared during the second quarter as Stratton and Dixon clashed, with the Power forward eventually losing his jumper in the ensuing melee.

Dixon could also come under scrutiny from the match review officer for pushing his elbow into Stratton’s head as they wrestled on the ground.

Like Rockliff, Hawthorn captain Stratton was making his 200th senior appearance.

It looked like his side might help him celebrate by causing a major upset until Port Adelaide took control of general play in the final quarter, kicking 2.4 to 1.0 in the process to complete a hard-fought victory.

The Power will start favourites again when they meet Sydney on Saturday in the second of four straight matches against teams currently positioned outside the top eight.

Hawthorn has now lost seven of its last eight matches and tackle Essendon on Thursday night.

Bulldogs move inside top eight

A career-best day for Mitch Wallis helped Western Bulldogs into the AFL’s top eight, while Melbourne was left to rue a dismal third term in a 28-point loss.

Rocked by the 11th-hour withdrawal of Nathan Jones (quad injury), the Demons led by seven points at half-time in the round-13 encounter before the Bulldogs kicked six consecutive goals to set up the 12.8 (80) to 7.10 (52) win in Carrara.

The victory saw Luke Beveridge’s Bulldogs (7-6) take the Demons’ (6-6) spot inside the top eight with five rounds to play.

The Bulldogs have not been inside the eight since round nine.

Wallis dominated on goal for the Bulldogs with four majors, while Jack McRae, Bailey Smith, Lachie Hunter, Marcus Bontempelli and Tom Liberatore all had between 22 and 26 disposals.

Christian Petracca (26 disposals, eight clearances), Angus Brayshaw and Jack Viney were busy but helpless during the third-term onslaught from the Bulldogs that ultimately decided the contest.

A Western Bulldogs AFL player runs with the ball in two hands as he his chased by a Melbourne opponent.
Lachie Hunter has a busy day for the Bulldogs with 24 disposals.(AAP: Albert Perez)

The Bulldogs clicked into gear after the main break when they opted to handball through the midfield.

The ever-lurking Wallis benefited, kicking two of his majors in the third term, while Bailey Williams was gifted another when Jake Melksham gave away a 50-metre penalty.

Liberatore was efficient early in the match, with nine of his first 10 possessions contested. He also kicked a goal as the two sides traded majors in the first half.

Aside from losing Jones before the match, the Demons were struck down by an injury blow during the contest, with Tom Sparrow helped from the field with a suspected shoulder injury.

AAP/ABC



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Essendon, Gold Coast Suns share the points in dramatic AFL draw



Gold Coast young guns Ben King and Izak Rankine both missed potential match-winning chances as the Suns and Essendon played out an AFL draw in Carrara.

King kicked a point from a set shot to level scores, while Rankine could not find a score inside the final minute from outside 50 as the match finished 11.7 (73) to 11.7 (73).

The Bombers looked like winners after hitting the front in the final term following back-to-back goals by David Zaharakis, but a King goal with five minutes to go set up a blockbuster finish.

The result is the second draw of the season after Richmond and Collingwood could not be separated in the AFL restart back in June.

Zaharakis finished with three goals but also injured his quad kicking his final major to finish the match on the bench.

James Stewart, in his third match of the season, also kicked three goals for the Bombers.

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King had two goals for the Suns, as did Lachie Weller and Sam Day.

Kyle Langford kicked two majors for Essendon, including a fourth-quarter effort that put the Bombers ahead in the final term.

Zach Merrett topped the possession charts with 31 disposals with Andrew McGrath (26), Dylan Shiel (26), Jordan Ridley (23) and Darcy Parish (20) all getting more touches than the Suns’ highest possession winner in Hugh Greenwood (18).

Suns defender Charlie Ballard claimed 10 intercept marks, while Parish and William Snelling epitomised the Bombers’ pressure with eight and seven tackles respectively.

The result moves Essendon to ninth place on the ladder with 22 points from 10 matches.

The Suns, who had lost three straight matches heading into this match, sit 12th with 18 points from 11 matches.

The Bombers next face St Kilda on Sunday at the Gabba. The Suns take on Richmond at the same venue on Monday.

AAP/ABC



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