AFL Round 9 wrap
West Coast Eagles urge fans to stick with their club after copping a Sunday slam from ladder leaders Melbourne at Optus Stadium, as the Gold Coast Suns stamp their top 8 credentials with a crucial home win against resurgent Fremantle.
THEY SAID IT:
"I don't feel like it has (taken a toll). I had great support from the players. A lot of people externally, ringing in and checking in which was great. It's part of the business. To be honest, I was probably surprised a bit with the extent of it."
- Kangaroos coach David Noble responds to questions about his apology to the player group after giving a fiery post-match spray in round three.
PLAYER OF THE ROUND: Paddy Ryder had just 10 disposals against Geelong but was by far the most influential player on the ground. The St Kilda veteran's ruck work was sublime and he capped off his display with three goals. Two of those came as crucial steadiers for the Saints during the final term when Geelong were pushing hard.
KEY MOMENT: Paddy Ryder's deft flick over his head at a boundary throw-in was a work of art that found teammate Jack Billings, who snapped a goal from the set play. It put St Kilda in front against Geelong and was part of a seven-goal blitz in the third quarter that turned the match the Saints' way.
TALKING POINT: What do we make of Fremantle now? The Dockers were being talked up as a genuine premiership threat following their stunning 7-1 start to the season. But Sunday's shock 36-point loss to Gold Coast in the wet has brought them crashing back to earth. It's also killed the argument that Fremantle would be better off without two-time Brownlow medallist Nat Fyfe in the midfield.
STATS THAT MATTER: Is the golden era over for Richmond, or isn't it? Dustin Martin looks like he never left, their injuries are easing, and the Tigers have won three in a row for the first time since 2020-21. That was when they won three straight finals games to snare the premiership and then came up trumps in the opening two games of the next season.
TRIBUNAL WATCH: West Coast's Liam Ryan is set to be suspended for his high bump on Melbourne's Jake Bowey. Demon Kade Chandler will also be in strife for his pin-the-arms tackle that concussed Luke Foley. Richmond's Marlion Pickett received a one-match ban for his shepherd that dazed Dylan Moore and forced him off the ground briefly for a concussion assessment. Sydney's James Rowbottom was also handed a one-match ban for a high bump.
INJURIES: J Gunston (Haw, ankle) N Balta (Rich, hamstring), J Steele (StK, shoulder) J Higgins (StK, concussion), Jy Simpkin (NM, hamstring). Zac Williams (Carl, Achilles), L Ryan (WC, hamstring), L Foley (WC, concussion), J Harmes (Melb, hamstring), J Caldwell (Ess, shoulder), J Magden (Coll, shoulder)
WHAT'S NEXT: Port Adelaide's resurgence will be put to the test when they take on Geelong at GMHBA Stadium on Saturday. Carlton and Sydney will lock horns in what shapes as an intriguing Friday night clash, while the Bulldogs will be aiming to make it two wins on the trot when they take on the unpredictable Suns. GWS will start the post-Leon Cameron era with an easy home fixture against West Coast on Sunday. Tom Lynch has been cleared of wrongdoing over a high fend off in his side's win over Hawthorn and will play in Saturday's dreamtime clash against Essendon.