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  • Writer's pictureFlow Australia

Snapshot of round 18 in the AFL 2023 season

Charlie Curnow celebrates a goal as Carlton halted Port's win streak. Picture: James Ross.

A look at round 18 of the AFL season, where Jake Melksham was the unlikely hero in Melbourne's one-point win over Brisbane at the MCG.

THEY SAID IT: "In the end you're trying to pull a rabbit out of your hat and give it a silver bullet" - St Kilda coach Ross Lyon pulls out a classic line after his team's disappointing 26-point loss to Gold Coast. 

PLAYER OF THE ROUND: A shared effort between Carlton duo Charlie Curnow and Jack Silvagni. Curnow took 11 marks - five of which were contested - on the way to three goals in the shock 50-point win over Port Adelaide. Silvagni was just as impressive with a career-high four goals to go with 19 disposals and 10 hitouts.

THE MOMENT: Jake Melksham was the unlikely hero in Melbourne's even more unlikely one-point victory over the Brisbane Lions. Down by 25 points midway through the final quarter, the Demons pulled off one of the biggest heists in recent AFL history. Melksham nailed a set shot with 30 seconds remaining to put Melbourne in front in arguably the game of the season.

TALKING POINT: Wasn't Carlton's season shot a month ago? And that's a bad way for Port's club-record winning streak to end. Curiously, there wasn't much difference in the key stats and Port even won the inside 50s 62-59. But they never looked like being able to overhaul Carlton's strong start. Even more impressively for the resurgent Blues was the fact they won so easily without Harry McKay, who hobbled off in the first term.

STATS THAT MATTER: There were 61,157 fans were on hand to witness Collingwood's 46-point thumping of Fremantle - the largest home-and-away crowd the Dockers have ever played in front of. The previous seven highest attendances at Fremantle home-and-away matches had all been Western Derby encounters at the 60,000-seat Optus Stadium.

TRIBUNAL WATCH: Carlton's Jordan Boyd is facing a ban of at least three matches after being sent directly to the AFL Tribunal for his dump tackle on Port Adelaide's Darcy Byrne-Jones. Adelaide forward Josh Rachele was slapped with a two-match ban for striking GWS forward Jack Buckley. Essendon captain Zach Merrett was fined $1500 for staging for a free kick. Richmond's Dustin Martin could be in trouble for an off-the-ball elbow to the mid-riff of West Coast's Alex Witherden.  Sydney co-captain Dane Rampe copped a two-match ban for an off-the-ball bump on Lachlan McNeil.

INJURIES: S Darcy (Frem, ankle), B Walker (Frem, knee), B Frampton (Coll, corked thigh), J Laverde (Ess, ankle), H McKay (Carl, knee), Z Butters (PA, groin), D Byrne-Jones (PA, concussion), L Melican (Syd, hamstring), J O'Donnell (WB, concussion), C Zurhaar (NM, ankle), C Coleman-Jones (NM, concussion), G Wardlaw (NM, hamstring), J Archer (NM, hamstring), F Greene (Haw, knee), R Ginbey (WC, hamstring).

WHAT'S NEXT: The biggest match of round 19 will be in Adelaide on Saturday night when Collingwood and Port face off in a top-of-the-table clash. Essendon and the Bulldogs kick things off on Friday night, with both sides desperate to bounce back from losses. Carlton will be banking on a big percentage booster when they host West Coast on Saturday. Brisbane and Geelong will meet at the Gabba later that day in a match that the Cats need to win to stay in touch with the top four. GWS' unlikely charge to the finals will receive a test when they host Gold Coast on Sunday. 


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