What a week of sport, particularly Australian Rules Football. The AFLW Grand Final was played out in front of 53,034 people. And that number set the attendance record for a stand-alone female sporting event in Australian history. To put it into perspective, the last AFL final played at Adelaide Oval, a prelim between Adelaide and Geelong, eclipsed that mark by less than 800.

And the crowd support propelled the Adelaide side to victory over their less fancied opponents, Carlton. In a bittersweet win, AFLW star, Erin Phillips suffered an ACL injury which left the stadium and wider footballing community in shock. Such was Phillips’ dominance, despite not playing the last quarter, she still claimed the best on ground medal.

But playing second fiddle this week was the second round of the men’s AFL. With a game, once again, played on Thursday night, the AFL world was privy to four days of action. Unpredictable action, but action none-the-less as the Saints, Doggies, Eagles and Suns all pulled off upsets, while Adelaide, Geelong and the Lions turned 50/50 contests into fairly easy victories.

Already, after just two rounds, only five teams remain undefeated while another five anchor the bottom of the ladder, failing to register a win in their first two games. Melbourne and Essendon can even make a case for being even lower than 17th and 18th position, though one of them will be granted a victory in round three when they face off in a season defining encounter.

Stateside, the NBA returned to its wacky ways with a week of tears, tanking and too many buckets. The league collectively mourned the loss of a rapper you have never heard of, the Lakers shut down LeBron for the season and then came out and pumped the Pelicans (who have also shut down their best player and put minute restrictions on the rest of their stars) and the Suns found a way to have the most explosive offensive player in the league not named James Harden but still lose.

All in all, it was a rudimentary week in a league as respected for its contributions to sport as it is questioned for its tendency to make the front page of a tabloid. This just in; The NBA is actually just a subsidiary of the WWE and Rey Mysterio is actually just Steph Curry with a mask on.


The most successful AFLW season so far provided inroads across all elements of sport. It open doors for women across Australia and slammed doors shut on attitudes not tolerated in Australian Rules. And, the best side all year won the Grand Final on the backs of their best players.

As mentioned, Erin Phillips exuded class to claim another honour, the best on ground medal, while Ebony Marinoff shrugged of a slow first half to drag her side to the finish line after her compatriot as felled. Phillips pencilled in her eighth game of 15+ disposals and 2+ goals as she claimed 83 DS points in just over two quarters. It was the eighth time she recorded such a stat line, six more times than the next player.

And it was no surprise when Phillips was awarded the league best MVP. Her 143 votes placed her 36 ahead of Freo’s Kiara Bowers and made her the first dual winner of the award.

As predicted Crows ruckwoman, Jess Foley, had a huge influence on the game, recording 18 disposals, 27 hit outs and 95 DS points. Had her two shots been goals rather than points she probably would have taken home Phillips’ BOG instead.

But the top ranked DS player on the field was Blues captain Bri Davey. She played the consummate skipper’s game, despite being unable to drag her team over the line. Her 22 disposals, six tackles and goal earned her 101 DS points. An impressive output in a team which had their score tripled.


Round two started off with a bang. As bang you would expect to hear from two foes, Richmond and Collingwood, facing off. With Tigers spirits high despite the loss of star defender, Alex Rance, it was a surprise to see the Pies run away with a comfortable win. Adam Treloar was proflic again but the best selection was Chris Mayne. After coming into his own in the back half of 2018, Mayne took it to another level with 33 disposals, a goal and 131 DS points.

A typically dour matchup involving Sydney was on show as they hosted the Crows. With both sides staring down the barrel of a dreaded 0-2 start to the season, it was Adelaide who pulled away after half time. Brad Crouch and Brodie Smith were the notable DS scorers. Both are returning from serious injuries but are sure to have fantasy impact in 2019 which their respective scores of 109 and 91 indicate.

The Bombers are in all sorts of trouble. Touted as a premiership fancy before the season, as much a media beat up as a legitimate chance, Essendon are clutching at a rope that is quickly sliding through their hands. The Saints, on the other hand, are undefeated and running on air. Their win came in large part to the performance of Jade Gresham who looks to be a viable DS forward in 2019. He had 25 disposals and kicked two majors on the weekend as he contributed 98 DS points to his selectors.

Port are the next undefeated side after they scraped home against a valiant Blues outfit. With just a goal between the sides at three-quarter-time, the experience of the Power’s senior players ensured a 16-point victory. For the second week running Travis Boak was insatiable and he looms as a real blue-chip selection in 2019, especially if he continues with his average of 141 DS points.

The Demons are haemorrhaging red and blue, rather than the traditional bleeding, after they were annihilated to the tune of 80-points by Geelong. The Cats took control after half time and surged away from the hapless Demons. Aside from the usual star DS performers, (Dangerfield, Oliver, Brayshaw) Charlie Constable looms as a necessity until his value balloons too far. He backed up a solid output in round one with 106 DS points in round two. Get him in.

West Coast shrugged off any concerns about 2019 as they trounced the fancied Giants by 52-points. After unfurling the premiership banner they set to work and were always in control of the game. Despite the loss, Lachie Whitfield was the highest scoring DS player of the game. He reaffirmed his standing as the best scoring defender option in the competition with 133 DS points.

Is there anything better than a youthful team playing a fast brand of footy and kicking big scores? I am definitely not referring to the dangerously poor Roos but, the Lions certainly fit the criteria. They are the only team to break 100-points in both games so far and their players’ DS scores have reflected their scoring dominance. Everybody knowns Lachie Neale is a ball magnet but keep an eye on the emergence of Jarrod Berry and Hugh McCluggage who combined for over 200 DS points on Sunday and are thriving in the Lions’ free-flowing system.

Perhaps there is something better… Watching Hawthorn lose, particularly at the hands of mistakes by serial pest, James Sicily. The Doggies snatched victory from the jaws of defeat in large part due to “Sic” having a bad reputation, but it was not all him. Josh Schache is hinting at being a player worthy of a number two pick and he played the best game of his career against the Hawks. His four goals contributed to his 87 DS points and got gums flapping about his fantasy potential. And he will be licking his lips at a match-up with the Suns in round three.

Speaking of the Suns, they tried hard to lose against Freo but captain, David Swallow, stood up and said, “enough is enough”, as he slotted home what would be the match winning goal. Although, the victory could have been sealed much earlier had star forward, Alex Sexton, converted at a better clip. Sexton had nine shots at goal but returned just four goals five. Still, it was good enough for 103 DS points and his liveliness gained him some of the recognition he deserves.


With under two weeks until the playoffs, teams out of contention are virtually in the offseason already. Like, forget about it. Completely.

And sides who have ensured their playoff appearance and are now just making sure they have home court advantage, yeah, forget about them too (in the most part). I mean, the entire West has been decided. But you can bet your bottom dollar the Thunder will be busting their butts to not play the Warriors in the first round.

The East is a little more convoluted. Three spots remain and five teams are in the hunt; focus your attention here. For example, the Hornets, who are the most unlikely to make it, are going to need otherworldly performances from Kemba Walker. And do not forget, this mad is nicknamed Cardiac Kemba, for his clutch college performances which led his UConn team to an unexpected NCAA tourney victory.

Over in Brooklyn, D’Angelo Russell is just nasty. He has embraced the “ice in my veins” slogan and looms as another clutch performer in this pre-playoffs-playoff period.

And pre-playoff-playoffs Blake Griffin is just on another level. His performances are just about single handedly guaranteeing the Pistons a playoff spot, despite him missing the Sunday contest with injury.

But we have to mention the heroics of Devin Booker. It’s like whoever the Suns’ coach is just threw the whiteboard to Booker and said, “you draw up the plays”. He has been unconscious over the past week. Two 50+ point games preceded a *disappointing* 48-point game on Sunday. In the first of his big three games, Booker scored 59 of his sides 92…

Written by Brin Duggan

By AFL, AFLW, Latest, NBA