THE HANGOVER: DRAFTSTARS WEEKLY WRAP
With five and seven rounds remain in the AFL and NRL regular seasons respectively, the cauldron of oval ball sport in Australia is beginning to simmer, with boiling point just around the corner.
While the Cricket World cup has been run and won, Draftstars fans were encouraged to feast on full rounds of the aforementioned AFL and NRL as well as casting an eye over the Open Championship in Northern Ireland.
<b>Quadsquad</b> was the victorious winner of the Open contest, selecting winner, Shane Lowry (-15, 124.5 DS points) and runner-up, Tommy Fleetwood (-9, 95.5 DS points).
Despite the finals being just around the corner, the AFL top eight is as uncertain as ever. Just when Collingwood looked to becoming good, they were obliterated by an undermanned GWS outfit, and the same can be said for Geelong who were hapless against the Hawks.
Really, the form sides of the competition are Brisbane, Richmond and Essendon. The Lions climbed into the top two with a gritty comeback win against the Roos, the Tigers drew equal on wins with the Pies (who are fourth) and the bombers jumped into the eight, leapfrogging the Adelaide side they dismantled.
The case can even be made for Carlton being a form side. In winning three of their last five, including back-to-back wins, they have jumped from last to 16th and given their long suffering fans some home.
The NRL ladder takes a similar shape, other than the all-conquering Storm sitting dominantly at the top. On the back of solid form, Parramatta and Penrith are now two games clear of missing finals.
However, Newcastle remain just one win ahead of the chasing pack after being thumped by the Roosters. And that chasing pack consists of five teams all ready to grasp an opportunity for finals footy, particularly the Warriors who have gone 3-1 over their past four and look poised to jump ahead of the flailing Knights.
AFL ROUND 18
Friday night saw Essendon consolidate their finals credentials with a spirited victory over Adelaide. Speaking of Adelaide, despite a win over Gold Coast, they have been bitterly disappointing in losing two games after leading by almost five goals before half time. Mitch Brown inspired a Bombers comeback with four goals from 23 disposals and 113 DS points. But the best pick was Brodie Smith, who sported number 26, and racked up 133 DS points for his 31 disposal, three goal game.
The Tigers almost snuck into the top four, but did send a message to the competition, with a powerful victory over Port. Tom Lynch had one of his best games in the yellow and black with three majors and 100 DS points. He could have really had a day out had he converted some of his four behinds.
Ask any Carlton fan and they will tell you they are back. In reality, they beat a Gold Coast team that has lost by 90+ the last two weeks by just 24. But we will let them have it for the time being. Again, Ed Curnow was prolific, thriving under the tutelage of David Teague. He has 125 DS points. Touk Miller was the best pick of the game, though, for his 143 DS points, 27 touches and 11 tackles.
GWS made a mockery of pundits, punters and injury lists as they dismantled the highly favoured Pies. Eight goals to one in the first game had it sewn up within 30 minutes. Tim Taranto (145 DS points) continued his sublime season and Jeremy Cameron regained form with six majors and 115 DS points. Interestingly, Brodie Grundy had another enormous game with a staggering 181 DS points.
Can the Lions win the flag? They are second. They have won five straight since losing to Carlton. And their stars are shining as bright as any. The Roos tested their resilience on Saturday and the Lions answered. Jarryd Lions was incredible, as his 30 disposals, two majors and 107 DS points suggests. Shaun Higgins seamlessly returned after a long layoff with 27 touches, a goal and 116 DS points.
A thriller between Freo and Sydney rounded out the Saturday contest as the Dockers emerged with a one-point win in an arm wrestle. A typical Ross Lyon/John Longmire dour showing saw just six players, Luke Ryan, Reece Conca, Andrew Brayshaw, Jake Lloyd, Luke Parker and Dane Rampe top the 100 DS point mark. Andrew Brayshaw was the pick of the bunch with 101 DS points at a salary of just over $9k.
Geelong and Hawthorn renewed rivalries in the early Sunday game. Ladder positions count for naught in these encounters, as the Hawks proved once again. By stifling the Cats, Hawthorn led for most of the game. Liam Shiels, in his 200th game, was their prime mover with 29 touches, eight tackles, two goals and 133 DS points.
West Coast downed a plucky Demons outfit in the red centre. Without their captain, West Coast were made to work for the victory (maybe because the Demons were trying not to drop to 17th on the ladder). Surprisingly, the Dees had three of the top four DS players. Bayley Fritsch continued his form as a forward, booting four goals, taking 14 marks and chalking up 134 DS points.
The curse of the sacked coach again claimed the Doggies as a victim. After losing to the Blues after Brendan Bolton was sacked, the Dogs fell to the Saints on Sunday, just days after Alan Richardson resigned. Typically, Jack Macrae (34 disposals, 132 DS points) and Josh Dunkley (38 disposals, 123 DS points) were prolific. But Jack Lonie (three goals, 114 DS points) and Jack Billings (27 disposals, two goals, 110 DS points) were the match winners.
NRL ROUND 18
The Broncos opened the round with a thrashing of the toothless Canterbury and gave themselves more than a glimmer of finals hope. Payne Haas had a day out with 70 DS points from his 218 run metres.
The Warriors are back in town after a thrilling victory over Cronulla. Andrew Fifita’s shoulder charge got him sin binned for 10 minutes and made his side lose. Despite the loss, Briton Nikora was the highest scoring DS player with 75 points.
Penrith made easy work of the Dragons, running out 40-18 victorss. And Brian To’o scored his sixth try in six games. He managed two for the game, to go with 152 run metres and 55 DS points.
Sydney kept touch with the top three, cruising to victory over the Knights. James Tedesco has been freakish this year and really is a must pick in your DS line-ups. He managed 93 DS points this week after running for 287 metres and picking up a try.
The Radiers did not let the Roosters slip away, though, with a win of their own over Wests. They were made to work for the victory but it was the industriousness of Josh Hodgson (62 DS points) and the brilliance of Josh Papalii (202 metres, 57 DS points) that got them over the line.
Again, the Rabbitohs had to win to retain their spot in the top two after the Roosters won the earlier game. Again, the Rabbitohs proved their mettle with a cruisy 12-point victory. Cameron Murray had a monster game with 82 DS points, 105 metres, 51 tackles and a try.
Sunday saw the Storm hit, thrashing the titans 38 to 18. Can anyone stop this juggernaut? Ryan Papenhuyzen started and was unstoppable as he racked up 288 run metres and ran in a try on his way to 84 DS points.
The final game of the round saw Manly edge Parra to keep touch with the top four. It was fifth against six and the match lived up to its billing with Manly holding of somewhat of a late Eels charge. DS points were flying around like the tries in this game. DCE had 66, as did Reuben Garrick. Tom Trbojevic was not to be lef tout with 64 and Parra guns Mitchell Moses and Manu Ma’u combined for 125.
Written by Brin DugganAFL, AFLW, Latest, NRL