AFL H&V Round 11: 'World's best practice'? Don't think so, AFL

Round 11 saw Rhyce Shaw make an immediate impact for the Roos, Michael Walters snatch another win at the death, a key forward land in MRO trouble and the third installment of football in China.

Here are this week's Heroes & Villains.


North's forwards: They'd had a so-so start to the year, but over the past few weeks the Kangaroos' forwards have started to click and on Friday night they proved far too good for a Richmond defence which was made to look second rate.

Big Ben Brown kicked an impressive five goals straight and was deadly from all parts of the ground, while hot-and-cold talent Mason Wood backed up last week's haul of three majors with another bag of four.

Wood has actually scored more goals in his past two outings than in his previous nine matches, while Brown is once again kicking with the accuracy we'd come to expect from him. Between rounds one and five he had kicked 12.10, but since then he's piled on a near perfect 18.2 to storm back into Coleman Medal calculations.

We're hesitant to call it a Rhyce Shaw masterstroke, as both Brown and Wood had impressive outings in Brad Scott's last game as coach, but the Roos forwards have definitely been building in recent weeks.

The question we should now be asking: can they keep it up and make a late finals charge?

On the canvas Lions: At quarter-time at the Gabba on Saturday night, Brisbane looked as though they were about to slip back into the pack.

The Hawks had kicked the first five goals of the game and led 32-7 at the first change, but the response which came from Chris Fagan's side was one that proved they have what it takes to play finals football.

In the following three quarters, Brisbane kicked 12 goals to Hawthorn's five, overcoming the early deficit to run out 19-point winners and improve to an overall record of 7-4.

The game was reminiscent of Round 1's win over reigning premier West Coast, where the Lions trailed by 27 points early before turning it around for a stunning seven goal win.

On Saturday, the midfield brigade of Jarrod Lyons (33 disposals, eight clearances), Lachie Neale (30 disposals, six clearances) and Lewis Taylor (28 disposals, one goal) led the way, but the even contribution from the front six proved the difference.

Eric Hipwood, Charlie Cameron, Cam Raynor and Rhys Mathieson all kicked two majors in the win, while skipper Dayne Zorko, Mitch Robinson and Stefan Martin also hit the scoreboard from the midfield.

Deadly accurate Power: It's amazing the sort of results you can get from kicking accurately.

In front of a reasonably disappointing crowd in Shanghai, Port Adelaide put on a goal kicking clinic -- one the rest of the AFL, particularly Melbourne, should have been paying attention to -- as they thrashed an undermanned St Kilda outfit by 70 points.

The Power finished up with 22 goals and seven behinds in what was the most accurate we've seen any team in front of goal all season. At one point, from early in the first term until midway through the final quarter, Ken Hinkley's side kicked an almost unheard of 19 goals and just two behinds.

Compare that to the Saints who couldn't buy a major for large parts of the contest and finished up with nine goals and 15 behinds in their first game above the equator.

The most pleasing aspect for Power fans was the fact they had 13 different goalkickers in the game, the most they've had in any match this season. The win has also seen Port climb into the top eight once again with a record of 6-5.

Oh, and a special mention to the Eagles who also had an accurate day in front of the big sticks, kicking 21.7 in a big win over the Dogs.


The AFL's goal review system: Another week, another goal review controversy.

In a mistake that helped secure a thrilling upset win for Fremantle against Collingwood at the MCG, a Michael Walters goal in the third quarter was called all-clear despite being clearly touched off the boot by Chris Mayne.

Replays showed the ball bending the former Docker's fingers back, something Mayne matter-of-factly confirmed afterwards.

"I definitely touched it. I was a bit shocked," Mayne said. "[Dockers forward] Jesse Hogan was saying it was touched, funnily enough ... but there are moments throughout a whole game that come and go."

Collingwood coach Nathan Buckley was magnanimous after Saturday's last-minute loss, saying his team "didn't deserve to win" but did go on to admit his confusion at the application of the technology.

"There didn't seem to be a thorough review of it [the goal in question] so the umpires were either really clear that it wasn't touched or it wasn't looked at externally," Buckley said. "I'm not sure why it wasn't looked at closer."

On Sunday the AFL released a statement saying: "Due to technical reasons, the vision shown by the broadcaster was unavailable to the score review officer at the time of review. The AFL acknowledges that based on the additional broadcast vision the ball was touched."

Goal review technology was introduced to minimise howlers, but a lack of investment in the best technology available and questionable decision-making by off-field officials means it has been blighted by inconsistency. For an organisation that spruiks 'world's best practice' ad nauseam, the AFL really needs to step up.

You can only blame yourselves, Dees: In a game with stark similarities to the Round 9 clash against West Coast, Melbourne kicked themselves out of what could have been a famous victory against Adelaide in Darwin on Saturday night.

The focus will of course be on late inclusion Sam Weideman, who, in the last minute of the game, pulled his set shot from 35 metres out directly in front to the left, allowing the Crows to escape with the four points.

It capped off a horrific final term for the Demons, who booted a woeful 1.8 while Adelaide managed 5.2. Melbourne also had far more scoring shots for the night, kicking 12.16 (88) to the Crows' impressive 14.6 (90).

The Demons dominated the inside-50s (62-45) and contested possessions (148-133) as well as enjoying a staggering advantage in marks inside 50 (18-7) but couldn't finish off the most important skill in footy -- kicking the ball straight through the big sticks.

And while Dees fans will rightfully curse Saturday night's result, Blues fans will also be miffed. It not only snuffs out the Demons' slim finals hopes and boosts Adelaide's top-four aspirations, it also has ramifications for the Crows' controversial trade with Carlton at last year's AFL Draft.

Tom Hawkins: Sometimes you've just got to shake your head at Tom Hawkins.

The Geelong spearhead has been in ripping form over the past four weeks, kicking 16 goals and firming as an All-Australian lock, but an undisciplined action late in Saturday afternoon's win over Sydney could see him miss some important football.

After young Swan Jordan Dawson had taken a mark in defence, Hawkins raised his forearm and elbow and struck him in the head with force. The contact sent Dawson straight to the ground and gave the umpires no choice but to pay a 50m penalty.

While Dawson was able to get up, take his kick and continue in the game, Hawkins is still going to be sweating the verdict of Match Review Officer Michael Christian who has surprised with some of his decisions in 2019.

The Cats have a blockbuster match against Richmond next Friday night and despite sitting at the top of the ladder with a two game buffer, the loss of Hawkins would be a huge blow.

Whether he gets a week or not, there's no doubt it was stupid from the big Cat.