Finals are just around the corner in both oval ball sports in Australia with less than a month until the AFL and NRL post-season begins.

Meanwhile, the first test of the Ashes, one of the most incredible results for Australia since Amazing Adelaide, reached its climax on August 6. Australia came from nowhere to win the first battle by 251 runs, an unexpected result considering the ledge they teetered on at 8/122 on day one.

In his first test back since sandpaper gate, Steve Smith was simply breath taking. His 286 runs in the test were the most he has ever scored. Remarkable after 16 months out of test cricket.

With the ball, Nathan Lyon and Pat Cummins were the stars. Lyon took nine wickets for the match and was integral in dismissing England for 146 in their second innings while Pat Cummins managed 7/116 for the match and was crucial in the first innings.

Since then, the top eight of the AFL has been thrown into uncertainty. Essendon were looking like contenders, then lost by a combined 163 points in two weeks. Freo knocked off Geelong, then lost to the Saints. Port staked their claims with back-to-back thumpings over the Dons and Swans respectively.

But perhaps the least likely finalist is in the best form? The Doggies looked every bit their 2016 premiership winners in a 104-point drubbing of Essendon at the weekend. All that being said, Richmond are very good, and so are Brisbane. Both sides are undefeated since the bye but play each other in the final round of the year in a potential Grand Final preview.

Similarly, the NRL ladder landscape has suffered a few tremors. While the Storm reign supreme, and probably will forever, the Rabbitohs are falling and now sit fourth while Parra, Penrith and Brissy have all climbed into the eight.

At the weekend, the Roosters jumped over the Raiders by knocking them off while the Storm reiterated the gap between them and everyone else by trouncing South Sydney. In that game, Cam Munster was at his best with 94 DS points coming from his try, 123 run metres and 28 tackles. He was the top scorer of the week.

Wests lock, Ryan Matterson, was not far behind with 82 DS points. His 272 run metres were huge in a losing side.


When the weather outside is frightful, the Hawks are so delightful. Coming in as underdogs, Hawthorn was coached perfectly to victory over the Giants. But it was Toby Greene who continued his insatiable form with another 142 DS points from 38 touches, eight marks and five tackles. Be wary though, as the Giants frontline midfield comes back into the side, his role may diminish.

Collingwood and Melbourne played out a typically dreary Demons game on Saturday. The Demons are not very good and the Pies are just sputtering into finals. Only one player in theis game, Adam Treloar, had more than 30 touches while Clayton Oliver was the top DS scorer with 130. Brodie Mihocek again proved his value with 12 touches, four goals and 100 DS points.

Port rolled into the eight through a dominant victory over Sydney, who look to be shot. Only six players topped the 100 DS point margin with Ollie Florent top scoring on 113. Keep an eye on Port youngster, Peter Ladhams, who has stepped up as a second ruck option and scored 100 DS points on Saturday.

Brisbane are the real deal. They can win the flag. Mark my words. They play Geelong and Richmond in the last two games and can win both. If they do, look out. They made light work of the Suns, winning by 91 at the weekend. Charlie Cameron kicked six goals but Jarryd Lyons sent a message to his former employer with 34 touches, seven tackles, two goals and 158 DS points.

Essendon were inspipid. If you are a Bombers fan, sorry. The Doggies were superb though, maybe even as good as the Dons were bad? 21 straight goals carried them to a 104-point victory. The win was set up in the first quarter by Josh Dunkley who managed 123 DS points and 39 touches. Jack Macrae was similarly impressive with 38 touches and 132 DS points.

In a comparable poor showing, the Kangaroos managed just one goal for the game in a 55-point loss to the Cats. Not a single Roo got to triple figues. For the Cats, Gryan Myers played one of his best games with three goals and 97 DS points, while Quinton Narkle returned to the sides with 21 touches, two majors and 93 DS points at supreme value.

St. Kilda absolutely snatched victory from the jaws of defeat against a Freo side that probably watched their finals chances slip through their fingers. Dan Hanneberry and Jack Steven returned to the Saints side after long breaks and played a huge part in the victory. Hanneberry finised with 23 touches, two goals and 117 DS points while Jack Steven popped through three majors and snared 105 DS points.

The Tigers were made to work in their victory over a continually spirited Blues side. If not for inaccuracy at the start of the final quarter, the Blues may have even pinched it. As it was, the Tigers did what they needed to do. Tigers midfield bull, Jack Graham, stepped up in Dustin Martin’s absence with 22 touches, 14 tackles, four majors (in a row) and a whopping 146 DS points.

And the final game of the round saw Adelaide hang around without any real right. West Coast dominated the game but the Crows just would not go away. In the end though, the Eagles showed why they are a red hot chance to go back-to-back as premiers. Despite the loss, Adelaide’s Matt Crouch was typically prolific with 43 touches and 151 DS points. Jack Darling was the Eagles best with 120 DS points and three majors.

Written by Brin Duggan

By AFL, AFLW, Latest, NRL