Heroes & Villains, R14: Jeremy Cameron, what were you thinking?

For the second straight week a six game round has produced plenty of compelling storylines but none more significant than Jeremy Cameron and the hefty suspension likely coming his way.

GWS's six-time leading goalkicker was responsible for concussing Brisbane's Harris Andrews after striking the young defender in the side of the head with his elbow.

You can bet your last dollar that regret was running through Cameron's mind a split second after he had made contact and now the football world waits to see just how many weeks he will miss. Anyway, more on that later...

Round 14 got underway in stunning fashion with the Bombers opening up an astonishing 50-1 lead over West Coast in Perth and although the Eagles finished with more scoring shots, the attempted comeback wasn't enough as Adam Simpson's side slumped to back-to-back defeats.

Port Adelaide prevailed over Melbourne by 10 points in a thrilling finals-like game at Adelaide Oval. The result could prove vital come Round 23 with both sides in the mix for a top four finish.

Hawthorn and GWS had little trouble in recording wins on Saturday before North Melbourne and the Western Bulldogs produced one of the most memorable games of the season. A goal to skipper Jack Ziebell with less than a minute on the clock earning the Roos a two point win to keep their finals dream alive.

The round came to an end with traditional rivals Collingwood and Carlton meeting at the MCG and while the Blues were brave and competitive it was the Magpies who got the four points, extended their winning streak to five games and jumped inside the top four.


Sam Powell-Pepper: Friday night's epic Port Adelaide-Melbourne clash lived up to its heavyweight billing, with the midfield battle one of the most brutal and niggly of the season.

And while Ollie Wines, Travis Boak, Jack Viney and Clayton Oliver all put in powerhouse performances, perhaps the most significant was that from Power youngster Powell-Pepper. The 20-year-old and Viney were at each other for most of the evening but it was Powell-Pepper who had the last laugh, playing a key role as Port lifted late to snatch a thrilling win.

The Power's victory came despite losing the inside 50 count 39-68 and the clearances 38-54, with Hinkley's man standing up resolutely in the face of constant Melbourne pressure.

Powell-Pepper didn't rack up the stats -- the midfield bull only had 15 touches (seven contested) and three clearances -- but it was his defensive work which set the tone. In fact, his 17 tackles set a club record and his coach couldn't sing his praises highly enough after the victory.

"He had 94 pressure points - that's just off the charts," Ken Hinkley said. "That will be up there with the record books too, I'd imagine. When it's not your night, you just get your grunt going, and you keep hammering in and you keep whacking in."

It continues an impressive return for Powell-Pepper after a club-imposed suspension for making "inappropriate contact with a female" earlier in the season and his imposing presence around the footy has certainly added another layer to Port's midfield they steam towards September.

Billy Gowers: If you hadn't heard of Billy Gowers before 2018, we don't blame you. The now-staple of the Western Bulldogs' forward line has been a revelation this season, and in his first season on a senior list, he has snatched his second chance and hasn't looked back.

Yes, Gowers has been on an AFL list previously; rookie-listed by Carlton in 2015, the mid-sized forward spent an unfruitful two years at Princes Park before he was delisted -- something he has previously said fuelled the fire for him to get a second chance at AFL level.

In 2017, he was picked up by Footscray in the VFL and, now, midway through 2018, Gowers is the Dogs' leading goalkicker and one of the AFL's best feel-good stories.

While the Dogs may have suffered a heart-breaking last-minute loss to North Melbourne on Saturday night, it was Gowers who very nearly helped them to an unlikely victory by kicking a career-best haul of three goals including what looked to be the winner. Gowers contributed up the field as well with 22 disposals and 12 marks both of which were also career-best numbers.

Gowers might be the poster boy for all the cliches... hard work, determination and keeping the faith, he should also be considered a clear example of why raising the draft age to 20 or 21 could benefit both teams and draftees. But that's a debate for another day...

Bomber Blitz: Essendon coach John Worsfold and list manager Adrian Dodoro must have shed a tear of happiness in the early part of the Bombers' shock 28-point victory over the Eagles on Thursday night, as the club's offseason vision of adding speed and explosiveness came together in a destructive patch of 30 minutes which dislodged West Coast from a top-two spot.

In fact, all three of Essendon's marquee offseason recruits ran rampant at Optus Stadium, giving fans a glimpse of what the Bombers are truly capable of doing -- tearing apart matches in the blink of an eye.

Jake Stringer kicked three early snags to give the Bombers the momentum on their way to a 50-1 lead halfway through the second term, Devon Smith racked up 23 touches and kicked three of his own, while dashing halfback Adam Saad was damaging in breaking through West Coast's zone, amassing 26 touches and six running bounces in the 80-52 win.

Tellingly for the Bombers, they were able to play the game on their own terms -- something they haven't been able to do for meaningful periods of games in 2018 and a major reason why they're treading water in the bottom 10.

If the Bombers can continue to play their brand of footy, 2018 might not be lost, but if there has been one major criticism of Worsfold's men in 2018, it's their inconsistency from week-to-week.


Jeremy Cameron: What can you really say about Jeremy Cameron's sickly hit on Harris Andrews?

Early in the first quarter at the Gabba, Brisbane's gun defender was collected by Cameron's left elbow as he attempted to spoil a Tim Taranto entry inside the Giants' forward 50. The contact left Andrews concussed and forced a lengthy delay in the game as he was helped from the field in a stretcher all to a chorus of boos directed at the GWS spearhead.

Cameron, who is pivotal to the Giants' chances of playing finals in 2018, is all but certain to spend a lengthy stint on the sidelines for the incident with many predicting at least a four week suspension to be handed down.

If that is to be the penalty, Cameron would miss crunch games against Hawthorn, West Coast, Richmond and Port Adelaide which could prove to be super costly as GWS attempt to battle back into finals contention after a sluggish start to the season.

There's really not much you can say other than it was absolutely stupid.

Goalkicking in Tassie: As expected, the lowly Gold Coast Suns didn't put up too much of a fight against Hawthorn on Saturday with Alastair Clarkson's side running out 53 point winners but the talking point to come out of the game had to be the dreadful shooting for goal.

On a perfect day for football in Launceston, both sides struggled time and time again to convert in front of the big sticks and by the final siren had combined to kick a woeful 18 goals and 31 behinds. Had it not been for a few late Hawthorn junk-time goals, that number would have looked a whole lot worse.

Hawthorn sharpshooter (well, normally) Luke Breust had a rare off day in front of goal. He finished up with 2.3 while Ricky Henderson, Tim O'Brien, Taylor Duryea and Shaun Burgoyne all had multiple behinds to their name after a number of inexcusable misses. For the Suns, half of their team booted a behind in the game as they finished up 5.13 and failed to kick a goal in both the second and third quarters.

However, there was one highlight which came in front of goal when Hawks defender Duryea staked his claim for mark of the year with a huge clunk of the Sherrin 30m out from goal on the stroke of half time. Oh, but even the set shot which followed was wayward.

Big-game Dees: Anzac Eve, Queen's Birthday Monday, Adelaide Oval on a Friday night... why can't Melbourne win a big game?

With a top four spot potentially on the line on Friday night, the Demons headed to Adelaide Oval confident in both their form at the venue and their form in 2018, but an ugly trend again reared its head for the third time in 2018 -- the Demons couldn't snag a win on the big stage.

Shockingly, Melbourne fans couldn't bemoan the effort of the players in the 10 point loss; statistically, the Dees were all over Port, comfortably winning the possession count (357-336), clearances (54-38) and inside 50s (68-39).

But the tale of the tape lies in that last stat. While Melbourne peppered their forward line they could only convert an inside 50 into a goal 13 percent of the time. Port Adelaide, on the other hand, converted inside 50s into goals 28 percent of the time.

The good news for the Demons is that their next three games are all at home and against bottom ten teams St Kilda (16th), Fremantle (13th) and the Western Bulldogs (14th). The bad news is their run home home is a little harder; Melbourne play Round 18 at Geelong, Round 19 at Adelaide, Round 20 against Sydney at the MCG, Round 22 at West Coast and Round 23 against GWS at the MCG.