Read my match report on the Western Bulldogs v Sydney game at The Footy Almanac.
Sporting rivalries are the most passionate and driven contest between two teams. Always certain to draw a large crowd despite form or ladder positions,
We’ve seen it in the Ashes over in England. The Ashes contest is widely regarded as one of sports greatest rivalry. And what exactly has caused this rivalry? History. The simply notion that both sides are willing to play for, the ‘body of the death of cricket’, since the bails were burnt by the English in their first defeat in 1882, is remarkable. Check out my Ashes infographic!
Typically, AFL rivalries exist from either two ways. A history of ‘Great’ games between the pair, or geographical location of the club. Arguably, the second factor is a lot less meaningful, but that wasn’t the case with this week’s clash between Adelaide and Port, Showdown XXXV…
But more on that later…
Scroll down to see Cobba’s Round 19 Footy Graph…
In other news…
Once upon a time, North Melbourne were the pioneers of Friday Night Football, but in the past 5 seasons they have only played in 9 games on Friday Night, 20 less than league leaders Geelong and Collingwood.
It was only fitting that they faced the Cats at the Docklands last Friday Night and produced an extraordinary display of talent and grit that won them the game by 10 points.
It was sweet revenge for the last time the teams met, in round 2 earlier this year, when Geelong stormed home to win by 4 points.
With Brent Harvey, the smallest player to play 358 AFL games (See my round 10 Footy Graph on the little blokes!), having a game-high 37 disposals and Daniel Wells kicking 4 goals, it was the Kangas 3rd win this year against a team 5 or more places above them on the ladder.
North’s great disposal efficiency was a big difference in the game, winning 76% to Geelong’s 69%. The Roos are the league leaders in this category, with an average of 73.7%. Geelong is equal 4th on 72.1%.
According to Rogers Results, the Kangaroos have a comparatively good record against Geelong at Etihad Stadium, winning 5 of their 9 matches played there.
Unfortunately for North, they still remain in 10th spot on the ladder, with only 4 games remaining for 2013. For them to play in the finals, they require at least 3 wins against Adelaide, Essendon, Hawthorn or Collingwood, whilst Port Adelaide needs to lose at least 3 against Geelong, Gold Coast, Fremantle or Carlton. Carlton also cannot win more than 2 games against Western Bulldogs, Richmond, Essendon or Port Adelaide. A tough ask indeed.
Geelong relinquished their 2nd spot on the ladder, falling to 3rd behind Sydney, who they face in round 22.
It’s incredibly rare that a team that has yet to win a game for the season, heads into the weekends match expecting to win. But that is what the AFL world saw when the GWS Giants hosted Melbourne on Saturday afternoon.
GWS started pre-game betting favourites for the first time in their 40 game history, starting at roughly $1.85.
Down by 13 points early in the 1st quarter, GWS then led at every change and kicked 7 goals to 3 in the final quarter to record their 1st win of 2013.
Since World War 2, only Hawthorn in 1950 & Fitzroy in 1964 have gone through the season without a win. Sides to have won just one game in that time include Melbourne (1951), St Kilda (1955), Fitzroy (1963 & 1966), Nth Melbourne (1972), Melbourne (1981), Sydney Swans (1993) and Fitzroy (1996).
After 21 straight defeats – dating back to round 19 v Port Adelaide last year, the Giants sung the song for the 3rd time in their history. During that time the Giants have scored 209.184-1438 (ave: 68.5) to 411.324-2790 (ave: 132.9).
In the landmark game, GWS established a new club high score (19.10-124), new greatest winning margin (37 pts) and new high score for any quarter (4th – 7.3-45).
Their run of consecutive losses finishes at 21, equal to Gold Coasts run of losses between round 18, 2011 to round 15, 2012.
The loss was Melbourne’s 21st in 25 matches.
If the Giants win another game before the end of the season, they would lift off the bottom of the ladder and hand the wooden spoon over to Melbourne, who has won only twice in 2013.
Just as the team sitting at two on the ladder lost, so did first.
Richmond’s 12 year finals drought looks to be broken as they ran away under late heavy rain against Hawthorn on Saturday afternoon at the G by 41 points.
They became the 1st team other than Geelong to beat the Hawks this season and made it 2 in a row against Hawthorn, having thrashed them by 62 points in round nine last year.
It was a huge scalp by the Tiges, they haven’t defeated a team that was in 1st position since Adelaide in round 8, 2006.
The wet conditions made Hawthorn’s disposal efficiency suffer – something they are ranked 2nd this year for (73.1%) and it was only the 5th time this year they have kicked more behinds than goals (9.12), below their 2013 goal accuracy of 54.6%.
Richmond fans would be thankful for anther convincing win, their 6th by 40 points or more this year, their most since 8 in 1996.
The game also drew the highest ever crowd between these teams, 64 324. (Previous was 57 572 in round 12, 1980 at the MCG)
Even though Richmond pipped the top team, Collingwood’s 79 point thrashing of Essendon meant that the Tigers slid down to 7th spot – how unlucky! Richmond hasn’t finished as high as 7th, since they came 4th in 2001.
Hawthorn are still looking like minor premiers, but are on thin ice, only half a win in front of Sydney on 58 points. They face the Swans at ANZ stadium in round 23.
But it was the rivalry between the South Australian teams that produced one of the most exciting games of round 19.
Since Port Adelaide’s entry into the AFL back in 1997, they have matched up against the Adelaide Crows on 35 occasions in the twice annual, ‘Showdown’.
For the final time at Football Park on Sunday Evening, it was an up and down game where the Crows held a 22 point lead with 8 minutes remaining in the final term. But 4 unanswered goals, including a lucky off-break bounce from Angus Monfries’ snap, saw the Power steal bragging rights from the Crows, and win by 4 points, the narrowest margin ever between the pair.
The name ‘Chad’ has been synonymous with the Showdown, and on the weekend it was Wingard’s time to shine. With 24 disposals and match-winning 5 goals, he was awarded the Showdown Medal for best afield.
Adelaide’s great 3rd quarter, which they won by 33 points, was the largest they have recorded in which they lost the game (Previous: 26 v North in R6, 1998).
Adelaide’s Mitchell Grigg came on as the substitute 19 minutes into the 3rd quarter and had an immediate impact, racking up 15 disposals, a goal and 96 Supercoach points.
‘Showdown’ matches have always been intriguing, passionate games, that has seen fairly even match-ups over the years. 14 times, margin has been two goals or under, with Port taking 9 of those close ones.
Overall, Port Adelaide has won 19 of the clashes, despite Adelaide having a greater winning margin between the two.
Here is some stats on the famous rivalry, known as the ‘Showdown’…