AFL Round 19 Wrap
A snapshot of round 19 in the AFL, where the Western Bulldogs and Geelong underlined their flag credentials with big wins and Sydney continued to impress.
THEY SAID IT:
"Our belief hasn't wavered. We still feel really confident in our game, but tonight we just got beaten in the efficiency side of things."
- Simon Goodwin is keeping the faith despite Melbourne losing their grip on top spot with a defeat to the flag-favourite Western Bulldogs.
STATS THAT MATTER: 860,000km is the estimated distance travelled by Fremantle veteran David Mundy in a career that has now reached 350 AFL games. The 36-year-old is just the second WA-based player to reach that milestone, behind former Dockers teammate Matthew Pavlich, and is set to play on next season after signing a fresh one-year contract. Unfortunately for Mundy, Fremantle lost to Sydney in a big blow to their finals hopes.
PLAYER OF THE ROUND: Playing as a key forward in a developing team can be tough but North Melbourne's Nick Larkey has put together a standout season. He went to another level in the Kangaroos' thumping win over Carlton by kicking a career-best seven goals and forcing the Blues to move star defender Jacob Weitering further up the ground.
KEY MOMENT: Melbourne had closed to within four points during the final quarter of Saturday night's top of the table clash when Marcus Bontempelli pounced at a stoppage to snap his second goal and give the Bulldogs breathing space. The Dogs' skipper won the next centre clearance and hit Jamarra Ugle-Hagan lace-out inside 50 metres, with the No.1 draft pick adding another goal with an ice-cool set shot.
TALKING POINT: Have Melbourne lost their lustre? The Demons have won just two and drawn one of their last six matches and have failed to kick more than nine goals in four of those outings. Big tests against West Coast and Geelong away from home loom in the final four rounds of the regular season.
INJURIES: Zac Williams (Carl, hamstring), Eddie Betts (Carl, ankle), Will Phillips (NM, nose), Liam Ryan (WC, hamstring), Alex Keath (WB, hamstring) Ed Richards (WB, concussion), Lachlan Murphy (Adel, ankle), James Cousins (Haw, hamstring), Nat Fyfe (Frem, shoulder), Michael Walters (Frem, hamstring), Joel Selwood (Geel, corked quad), Stephen Coniglio (GWS, toe - missed game), Phil Davis (GWS, back)
TRIBUNAL WATCH: Sydney superstar Lance Franklin will come under scrutiny from the match review officer for catching Luke Ryan with a high elbow as he was attempting to shrug the Fremantle defender's tackle.
WHAT'S NEXT: Essendon-Sydney looms as the game of a round that faces the prospect of being reshuffled because of coronavirus issues - with that clash expected to take place in Queensland. Questions remain over where the North Melbourne-Geelong clash will be played, with the Kangaroos holding out hope for exemptions to allow both teams to travel to Hobart. GWS-Port Adelaide is also up in the air, though the Giants hope the game can be played in Canberra, while Richmond is set to spend a week in quarantine in Perth ahead of their meeting with Fremantle.