Snapshot for round nine of the AFL season
THEY SAID IT: "I've certainly got a lot of belief and I think the playing group is starting to feel that little heartbeat coming back." - Richmond coach Damien Hardwick enjoyed seeing his side silence some of their critics with a 24-point upset of Geelong.
PLAYER OF THE ROUND: Joe Daniher took advantage of former side Essendon's undermanned defence, booting six goals from 16 disposals and nine marks in the Brisbane Lions' 42-point win. The haul equalled Daniher's career-best mark, which he had reached just twice in 159 previous games with the Lions and Bombers. The 29-year-old now has 24 goals in nine games.
THE MOMENT: With Carlton leading the Bulldogs in the fourth quarter, Jamarra Ugle-Hagan and Cody Weightman forced the ball to ground at a marking contest and Artie Jones pounced. The young forward coolly took possession and, under pressure, restored the Bulldogs' lead with a lovely snap. His side never looked back.
TALKING POINT: Carlton were under pressure all week, with fans becoming increasingly disgruntled with the Blues' start to the season. But they were insipid in the first-half against the Bulldogs, managing 1.4, and were booed off by supporters at the main break. They came alive after halftime, almost pinching a win, but their late comeback proved in vain. They're now out of the top eight and the heat will again be on leading into their round-10 clash with bitter rivals Collingwood.
STATS THAT MATTER: Adelaide's 19.7 (121) in a 52-point win over St Kilda was their highest score in 69 games under Matthew Nicks. It was the Crows' fourth triple-figure tally of 2023. More impressive was the fact it came against the team that ranked No.1 for fewest points conceded over the first eight rounds of the season, the Saints giving up an average of 59 points a game through that period.
TRIBUNAL WATCH: North Melbourne defender Aidan Corr copped a one-game suspension for striking Port Adelaide's Ollie Lord while Melbourne midfielder Tom Sparrow received a one-game rough conduct suspension for a tackle on Hawthorn's Will Day. Carlton skipper Patrick Cripps earned a $1000 misconduct fine for pulling the mullet of Bulldog Bailey Smith.
INJURIES: J Hopper (Rich, calf), J Darling (WC, arm), J Jones (WC, broken nose), C Mills (Syd, calf) L McDonald (Syd, ankle), C Dixon (PA, quad), T Marshall (PA, concussion), L Davies-Uniacke (NM, hamstring), D Tucker (NM, hamstring), F Perez (NM, concussion), J Mahony (NM, shoulder), T Membrey (StK, concussion), J Steele (StK, knee).
WHAT'S NEXT: Red-hot Port Adelaide and Melbourne open round 10 with a Friday night blockbuster at Adelaide Oval. Sydney will look to snap a four-game losing streak when they face North Melbourne, the Western Bulldogs and Adelaide both take strong form into Saturday's clash in Ballarat, and Fremantle will hope to even their win-loss record for the season when they host Geelong. Bottom sides Hawthorn and West Coast meet in Launceston on Sunday as both chase their second win of the season. Carlton face another tough ask against high-flying rivals Collingwood.