Hawthorn has given itself a chance of making the AFL finals after a stunning 38-point upset against the West Coast Eagles in Perth.
The Eagles’ loss means the reigning premiers have dropped out of the top-four, and will stay there if Richmond win against the Brisbane Lions on Sunday.
Hawthorn will be hoping the Adelaide Crows have a close win against the Western Bulldogs in Ballarat on Sunday to smooth a path into the final eight.
The Eagles were jumped early by the Hawks and despite closing the gap several times during the match were outmatched in the last quarter.
Issac Smith, who notched his 200th game in the match, said Hawthorn had decided just to have fun in the final weeks of the season.
“It was brilliant,” he told Channel Seven. “We came over here probably under the pump a bit, boys came out with a good attitude, everyone was having fun, taking the piss. It was brilliant.
“Probably been doing it the last five or six weeks. We are here to enjoy our footy. It’s hard sometimes but you’ve got to have fun and when you have fun you seem to do well.
Smith said it was rare he’d be barracking for the Crows.
“Cheering for Adelaide, not by 60 points or something, I’m not sure what it is. It was a good win tonight, hopefully we sneak it.” said Smith.
Hawks coach Alastair Clarkson paid tribute to Smith, saying his good humour was infectious.
“He brings so much energy to our club, always got a smile on his face,” Clarkson told Channel Seven. “Us coaches can be grumpy sometimes, he keeps us happy.”
Swans farewell greats, hail Buddy, look to trading period
Sydney ended an era on Saturday, with the retirement of star players and the beginning of the end for Lance Frankin who notched 300 games likely marking the final chapter of his career.
Franklin kicked four goals as the Swans farewelled some of their 2012 premiership heroes with a 45-point win over St Kilda at the SCG.
The Swans kicked 11 goals to three in Saturday afternoon’s second half to punish the wayward Saints, winning 17.7 (109) to 8.16 (64).
Retiring Jarrad McVeigh and Kieren Jack each kicked a goal in the final quarter of their last games before retiring.
Swans coach John Longmire said the salary cap and player availability will determine how active the club is at the trade table.
“You’ve got things like the salary cap to manage and because we’ve got players exiting it doesn’t necessarily mean we’re going to be extremely active,” said Longmire.
You’d like to get a little bit more experience here and there, we’re pretty young this year but it depends on what’s available and what we can afford.”
Longmire will work out a pre-season schedule as Sydney contemplate their first September in a decade without a finals game.
Giant Jeremy Cameron snares Coleman medal
A career-best nine goals in his 150th AFL match has secured GWS forward Jeremy Cameron the 2019 Coleman Medal.
The 26-year-old’s haul in the Giants’ 20.7 (127) to 7.13 (55) win over Gold Coast on Saturday night at Metricon Stadium means he ends the regular season with 67.
Having started the match six behind North Melbourne’s Ben Brown after the Kangaroo booted two goals in a five-point win over Melbourne to move to 64, Cameron kicked five in the third quarter alone to become the Giants’ first Coleman Medallist.
Only a remarkable display by Richmond’s Tom Lynch (53) or Brisbane’s Charlie Cameron (52) at the MCG on Sunday can deny Cameron the honour.
Cameron kicked the first goal of the match and added another before the first change but it wasn’t until the third term that overhauling Brown became a possibility.
With his teammates feeding him chance after chance, Cameron kicked three goals in three minutes, missed a couple of set shots, and then booted another from the pocket to draw level with Brown.
He took the lead with a set shot after the third-quarter siren before being mobbed by his teammates.
Two more goals in the final quarter iced the cake as Cameron went past his previous career high of seven majors and ended the match with 9.5.
Kangaroos edge out Demons
North Melbourne has finished a disappointing AFL season on a high note, Shaun Higgins kicking a last-gasp winner to break Melbourne hearts in a five-point thriller in Hobart.
Alex Neal-Bullen had the chance to draw scores level in a frantic finish, but his running shot from just inside 50 hit the post with nine seconds remaining, the Roos prevailing 13.10 (88) to 12.11 (83) at Blundstone Arena on Saturday.
Ben Brown was held to two goals to lead GWS star Jeremy Cameron by six goals in the race for the Coleman Medal, with the Giants to face Gold Coast on Saturday night.
The match was the final farewell for North’s Scott Thompson and Melbourne’s Jordan Lewis, both prominent in their AFL swan song.
Higgins starred for the Roos with 34 possessions and two goals, with Jared Polec (29 touches and two goals) also eye-catching as North improved their win-loss record to 10-12, with seven wins and five losses under Rhyce Shaw.
The gut-wrenching result was in some ways a fitting end to a horrendous season for Melbourne, who finish 17th with a 5-17 record after making last year’s preliminary final.
Cats tune up for finals with big win over Blues
Big guns Patrick Dangerfield and Gary Ablett have tuned up for the AFL finals in style as Geelong locked in a guaranteed top-two finish with a commanding 68-point win over Carlton at GMHBA Stadium.
Dangerfield booted a game-high four goals to go with 34 possessions, Ablett had three goals and 28 disposals and youngster Quinton Narkle (27 possessions) was almost as good as the headline duo as the Cats won 19.15 (129) to 8. 13 (61).
Despite heavy rain falling for much of Saturday’s match, Geelong’s winning score was its biggest since they kicked 21.7 (133) in a 44-point win over the Western Bulldogs back in nine.
The Cats will claim the minor premiership if Richmond beat Brisbane on Sunday.