AFL H&V Round 10: Third time's the charm for 'clumsy' Ablett

A coach was moved on, the Tigers continued their resurgence up the ladder, the Giants broke their MCG hoodoo and some of the nation's most talented artists had their visions come to life in a colourful display of Indigneous culture.

It's fair to say Round 10 was a big one. Here are this week's Heroes & Villains.


Jack Gunston: His side was 11th on the ladder, below the Port Adelaide team they were set to play and seemingly out of contention for finals, but Jack Gunston might have single-handedly helped keep the Hawks in touch.

With no Mitch Lewis, no Jarryd Roughead and no Ben McEvoy to worry Port's defence, responsibility fell onto the 27-year-old who had started 2019 in uncharacteristically inaccurate form; after never having a year in which he kicked more behinds than goals, Gunston had managed just 10.12 up until Saturday's masterclass.

Gunston piled on a perfect 6.0 on the day (Port Adelaide kicked six goals overall), and proved to be the difference in the 31-point win. His efforts lifted the Hawks from 11th on the ladder up to eighth (before other results), and suddenly the Hawks' season isn't done-and-dusted as some had predicted.

As for Port Adelaide, Saturday's loss was an opportunity to entrench themselves within the eight gone begging. An inaccurate 6.13 tells the story, as does registering their first goal at just the 11 minute mark of the second term - a term in which they had a three-to-four goal breeze behind them.

The comeback Eagles: They were on the road, down 33 points early in the third term and had given up a run of six straight goals, but the reigning premiers never looked panicked against the Crows.

There was plenty of motivation for the Crows to knock off the Eagles, who were a game ahead on the ladder heading into Saturday's crucial clash, and when they opened up the better part of a six goal lead, Adelaide fans would have been starting to believe that a return to finals was on the cards.

But a gritty comeback in difficult conditions -- led by prime movers Luke Shuey (21 second half disposals) and Andrew Gaff -- propelled the Eagles to a fourth straight win; they now sit 7-3 and face the underwhelming Bulldogs and Swans before the bye.

Like Richmond, the Eagles have been sneaky-good in recent weeks. They've perhaps put together one convincing four-quarter performance (against the Giants in Round 2) but are finding ways to grind out important, close wins.

When it comes to the pointy end, it's the experienced, hard-edged teams that find a way, and Adam Simpson has his well-drilled side in a good position looking towards the back end of the season.

Michael Walters: It's the question that fans ponder all the time: which player would you want kicking for goal -- for your life -- after the siren?

No doubt for Fremantle fans in the stands on Sunday evening, Michael Walters would have been pretty high up on the list of players they would love to have taking that shot.

As it turned out, with scores tied and time expiring against the Lions, it was "Sonny" who took the last mark of the match - 40 metres out on a 45 degree angle ... and with the responsibility of winning the game on his shoulders.

His shot was a beauty, thought it didn't go through for a goal. Instead, it clipped the post - enough to gift the Dockers a one point win which sent fans into raptures and propelled Fremantle into eighth spot on the ladder.


Dane Rampe: With three minutes on the clock and Collingwood's lead cut to just two points, the Swans had a genuine chance of knocking over the flag favourites and winning a third straight game.

But a Rampe brain fade after Chris Mayne had marked inside 50 cost them the opportunity to fight for it.

As Mayne lined up the shot from 40m out, Rampe ran around on the mark and tried his best to put him off. But just as Mayne went to kick the ball, Rampe leaped forward, blatantly over the mark, giving the umpires no choice but to pay a 50m penalty.

Mayne kicked truly from the goal square and it proved enough for the Pies who ran out seven point winners at the SCG as Rampe was left scratching his head.

It's the second time in as many home games Rampe has been at the centre of a match-deciding moment. Two weeks ago, against the Bombers, he bizarrely climbed a goalpost as Essendon's David Myers was lining up a shot after the siren.

Amazingly, he got away with that one (despite what the AFL's rule book says). He wasn't so lucky this time around.

Gary Ablett: It's almost as if the Little Master is trying to get suspended after bringing up a trifecta of reckless, high hits in the past month.

The Cats champion will again be looked at closely by Match Review Officer Michael Christian after appearing to punch Gold Coast's Anthony Miles to the jaw, off the ball, in the third quarter of Geelong's hard-fought win on Saturday night.

The impact was forceful -- although a long, long way from the Barry Hall-Brent Staker incident -- but was obviously high and may be severe enough to warrant a suspension.

It comes soon after two other high hits to opponents, when Ablett used his forearm/elbow in collecting Essendon's Dylan Shiel and North Melbourne's Sam Wright in rounds 7 and 8. He escaped suspension both times, much to the bewilderment of the majority of the footy public.

Ablett spoke about the incident when interviewed by Fox Footy after the win against Gold Coast and said he believed it was just "a little bit clumsy".

"It was just undisciplined. Obviously I'm disappointed with it, but just a free kick," he said.

Clumsy? Hmmm...

Whatever the definition, if Michael Christian lets Ablett off again, maybe it's time for Chris Scott's long-planned rest for Ablett, to see if he can rid his star forward of his newfound 'clumsiness'.

Dismal Dees: Perhaps Melbourne thought Sunday afternoon's game against the Giants began at 2:30pm. It's one of the only logical explanations for the Dees' complete lack of intensity in what was an abhorrent first half of football.

Not only was Melbourne's first half score of 1.3 (9) the league's equal lowest half time score for the year, but the half time margin of 39 points flattered the Dees significantly; the Giants' inaccuracy kept Simon Goodwin's side in the match for much longer than they should have been.

The second half was much better from the Demons, but it was too little too late; the the final margin of 26 points was in no way indicative of how easily the Giants cruised, despite Melbourne outscoring them 9.5 (59) to 8.2 (50) after half time.

Adding insult to injury (for those who are this way inclined), Melbourne's seven goal final term lifted their percentage marginally above that of Gold Coast, who moved one spot up the midseason draft order as a result.