AFL Round 18 wrap
Geelong continued their winning ways with victory over Carlton, but Melbourne are still nipping at their heels following their victory over Port Adelaide.
THEY SAID IT:
"It's almost the thrill of the chase. I hate saying that because it means that you're behind, but this group has got a real will to win"
- Collingwood coach Craig McRae after his club's eighth consecutive win - five of them by single-digit margins.
PLAYER OF THE ROUND: The stunning debut season of Collingwood's Nick Daicos continues, inspiring his side to a five-point win over Adelaide. Daicos' 40 disposals included three goals, 10 intercept possessions, five inside 50s and eight rebound 50s. A special mention goes to Melbourne's Kysaiah Pickett for his stunning six-goal haul in the victory over Port Adelaide.
THE MOMENT: Richmond had the chance to secure a thrilling come-from-behind victory against North Melbourne when the ball was pumped forward and medical substitute Jake Aarts marked about 40m out from goal with 44 seconds remaining. But his inexplicable decision to play on came back to haunt him, with Aarts immediately tackled. Aarts managed to get the ball back after firing a panicked handball to a teammate, but his rushed shot on goal went through for a behind. It proved to be Richmond's last chance, with the Kangaroos holding on for a special four-point victory.
TALKING POINT: How did St Kilda dish up their worst performance of the season with a finals spot on the line? The Saints lost against the Western Bulldogs by 28 points, but the scoreboard completely flattered them. The intensity during the first three quarters was not up to AFL standard, let alone a club with finals ambitions. After starting the season 8-3, St Kilda look set for a second straight year not playing in September.
STATS THAT MATTER: 49. That was the amount of uncontested marks Sydney racked up in the third quarter alone in their 17-point win over Fremantle. Sydney's chip-mark game proved crucial in the victory, with Sydney ending the match with 127 uncontested marks.
TRIBUNAL WATCH: The report placed against Richmond big man Toby Nankervis for kneeing North Melbourne's Flynn Perez was thrown out. But Carlton's Will Hayes received a two-match ban for his dangerous tackle that concussed Geelong's Sam Menegola.
INJURIES: S Menegola (Geel, concussion), R Lobb (Frem, shoulder), J Amartey (Syd, shoulder), N Larkey (NM, heel), J Gibcus (Rich, shoulder), P Ryder (SK, achilles), J Lever (Melb, shoulder)
WHAT'S NEXT: Fremantle and Richmond will be aiming to make up for disappointing losses when they lock horns in a crunch Friday night clash at Marvel Stadium. Port Adelaide's season will be on the line when they host ladder leaders Geelong on Saturday, while Brisbane and Gold Coast face off at the Gabba. The biggest game of the weekend will be on Saturday night when the Western Bulldogs host Melbourne in the grand final rematch.