HAS there ever been a better NRL grand final?
The Brisbane Broncos and North Queensland Cowboys have played out one of the great deciders in the competition’s history just hours ago.
In the first ever NRL grand final decided via golden point, the Cowboys prevailed, 17-16 in a thriller, aptly finished off by a field goal from quadruple Dally M Trophy winner Johnathan Thurston, the little master winning the Clive Churchill Medal to seal his status as on of the game’s all time greats.
And, with the scoreline so tight, the team at CrownBet.com.au has the two teams joining the Sydney Roosters as a trio of favourites for next year’s NRL title.
They are all $7 and impossible to split.
Our friends over at Sportsbet.com.au could not split the two grand finalists in the betting for next year.
But they’ve wound the two teams in a lot tighter than the CrownBet team, leaving the Roosters at the same quote.
Spokesman Ben Hawes said the bookie had installed the Broncos and Cowboys as joint $5.50 favourites for the 2016 premiership.
Minor premiers the Roosters are on the second line of betting at $7, despite being bundled out of the finals by the Broncos in the prelim.
Hawes said the other chances in the market were the South Sydney Rabbitohs ($10), Canterbury Bulldogs ($10), New Zealand Warriors ($11), Melbourne Storm ($11), Manly Sea Eagles ($15), Cronulla Sharks ($15) and Penrith Panthers ($15).
He said the Gold Coast Titans were the $51 outsiders.
“The odds tell us we will be having repeat all Queensland team grand finals,’’ Hawes said.
Last night’s match started at a break neck pace, with the first points coming from a Corey Parker field goal, in what many thought was a let off for the Broncos – the commentators felt the Cowboys would have been relieved that they didn’t have to face a set of six.
Parker slotted from 40m out to make it 2-0 and then The Broncos turned it into a 95m sprint for the line to make it 8-0, after Corey Oates finished off a beautiful chain of passes in a classic grand final try.
The Cowboys looked under pressure, but Matt Gillett put the ball down in a tackle and that gave Justin O’Neill the chance to cross, thanks to some slick work out of dummy half from Jake Granville.
The latter was involved again in the next try, helping put James Tamou over from close range after breaking through Sam Thaiday’s tackle.
Thurston finished that try off to give the Cowboys a 12-8 lead.
But Thurston proved he was human, dropping the ball and allowing the English international Jack Reed to barrel his way over the line.
Jordan Kahu’s conversion gave the Broncos a 14-12 half time lead with both teams looking tired and really needing the break.
The game tightened up after half time, turning into a defensive struggle that featured only a Kahu penalty goal that made it 16-12.
The Broncos looked home for all money as the final siren sounded, but Kyle Feldt crossed on the last play of the game to tie up the scores.
Thurston had a chance to win it, but his effort from the sideline missed and the match went to golden point.
Poor old Ben Hunt.
The Broncos man is a good player.
But he will forever be remembered for dropping that ball in the grand final.
He spilled it from the kick off, reminiscent of Herschelle Gibbs ‘dropping the World Cup’ when he spilled Steve Waugh’s chance in the cricket and Fremantle’s Tommy Sheridan spilling that mark in front of Cyril Rioli in last weekend’s AFL preliminary final up against Hawthorn.
All those single plays had dire circumstances for their respective teams.
And so it was that Hunt set the stage for Thurston’s fairy tale.
It gave him the second chance he needed to win it and he made no mistake, coolly slotting a field goal from 15 metres out to give the Cowboys their first ever NRL premiership after they used up their set.
“I’m speechless, I can’t believe it,” Thurston said after the game.
“I can’t believe it. I can’t believe what we’ve just done.
“I love these boys. They’ve worked so hard. I see it every day. The sacrifices they make. I love the club. Wow, I can’t believe it.”
Cowboys coach Paul Green said the win was a long time coming and heaped praise on his Thurston.
“This means so much to everyone up there,” Green said.
“We’ve been trying for 20 years to take a premiership up there and we have finally done it.
“The ice that Thurston showed there was incredible.”
On the Broncos side of things, it was the first time they had ever lost an NRL decider in seven attempts, and it was master coach Wayne Bennett’s first loss in eight tries in a grand final, but it meant a sad end to the career of retiring captain Justin Hodges, who obviously leaves a huge hole to fill.
“The Cowboys have been a quality side — you are led by one of the greats players of all-time,” Hodges said.
“To my boys, I love youse like brothers, keep your heads up and you will be back here with that ring, I promise you.
“To the Broncos fans back home, we are sorry but this group of men will get it done for you.”
The crew at Sportsbet is also running a special on the little master.
The bookie has opened market on whether or not Thurston will win another Dally M award for the NRL’s best player.
The bookie has him at $4 to win a fifth Dally M, with him to never be the number one player again a very short $1.22.
He won the game’s most coveted individual award this year, adding it to the three previous ones in 2005, 2007 and 2014.
But, even at 32, it’s hard to bet against a guy who appears to be at the peak of his powers winning it for a third year in a row.
It’s hard to find words to describe the North Queensland co-captain.
Before he arrived, the Cowboys made one finals series in their first 10 seasons.
He’s played 11 years since then and they’ve made it to the finals seven times, including a grand final loss to the Wests Tigers in that time.
For Queensland, he has never missed a State of Origin match since his debut, winning best on ground five times. He is the only player to appear in every one of Queensland’s eight straight Origin series wins and owns the record for most goals in an Origin match with nine. He is also Origin’s all time leading scorer.
The premiership medallion was the missing piece to his career.
But his legacy is now surely sealed, adding the flag and Clive Churchill Medal to his already bursting NRL resume.
Speaking of Origin, our mates over at WilliamHill.com.au have installed New South Wales as $1.80 favourite to win the 2016 series, despite the fact they were defeated by Queensland this year, two games to one.
Thurston, incidentally, was the top scorer in that series too, with 26 points.
You just can’t keep that guy down.
Here’s hoping he plays forever.
2016 NRL Premiership market
Brisbane Broncos ($5.50)
North Queensland Cowboys ($5.50)
Sydney Roosters ($7)
South Sydney Rabbitohs ($10)
Canterbury Bulldogs ($10)
New Zealand Warriors ($11)
Melbourne Storm ($11)
Manly Sea Eagles ($15)
Penrith Panthers ($15)
Cronulla Sharks ($15)
Parramatta Eels ($21)
St. George Illawarra Dragons ($23)
Canberra Raiders ($23)
Newcastle Knights ($34)
Wests Tigers ($34)
Gold Coast Titans ($51)
WITH Hawthorn and West Coast set to strut their stuff on the AFL’s biggest stage at the Melbourne Cricket ground on Saturday, we’ve taken a look back at some of the greatest grand finals of all time.
These are the games that make Australian Rules one of nation’s favourite sport and add to the AFL/VFL legend.
1989 – Hawthorn Hawks 21.18 (144) def. Geelong Cats 21.12 (138)
This is not just the best grand final of all time. Some say it’s the best match of all time, period.
More of an all out battle than a game of Aussie Rules, no one will ever forget Geelong hard man Mark Yeates coming off the square and destroying Dermot Brereton.
Well, he wished he destroyed him. The image of Brereton shaking off the high impact hit and throwing up as he made his way to the forward line, sporting a set of broken ribs and a bruised kidney, is one of the game’s most iconic.
Coach Malcolm Blight’s plan to iron out the Hawthorn champ didn’t quite work out. He set about dismantling them with three goals in the first half.
But there were stories every where.
The Cats were ruthless on the man, reportedly leaving the Hawks with only 13 fit men by the end of it. Midfield genius John Platten was hit that hard he can’t remember anything about the day and Hawks’ champ Robert Dipierdomenico nearly died after suffering a punctured lung in a hit from the legendary Gary Ablett.
Speaking of Ablett, he booted a grand final record nine goals and almost dragged his boys over the line, after facing a 36 point three quarter time deficit. They kicked eight goals to three.
But it wasn’t to be and the wounded Hawks got home by a single goal in a thriller that will never be forgotten.
Superstar Hawks full forward Jason Dunstall booted four goals, as did Dean Anderson, while gun wing man Darren Pritchard was the best Hawk on the park.
Ablett was awarded the Norm Smith Medal in a losing effort. His record still stands today.
2010 – St Kilda Saints 10.8 (68) drew with Collingwood Magpies 9.14 (68)
This game is a reference point for any thriller.
Continuing the trend of low scoring deciders, this pressure cooker featured the game’s biggest club and a team on the cusp of greatness that never was.
The Pies managed to make a grand final, after they’d been bundled out of the prelim in two of the past three years and they were determined not to let it slide, enjoying a four goal lead at quarter time.
Errant kicking hurt them in the second term, but they still kicked three goals to one to extend the lead.
But the talented Saints were not done with.
They held the Pies goal less in the third term and with Norm Smith Medallist Lenny Hayes and Brendon Goddard firing, mounted a comeback.
Eight points down at three quarter time, the Saints kicked three of the first four goals and looked like they would run over the top of the Pies.
Travis Cloke’s goal at the 29 minute mark gave the Pies a one point lead, but a Lenny Hayes bouncing behind levelled the scores at 68 and that’s how it would stay.
Cloke was the Pies only multiple goal scorer with two, while the Saints got two each from Nick Reiwoldt, Stevie Milne and Goddard. Heath Shaw was the Pies’ best.
There would be no fairy tale for the Saints, who were smashed by 56 points in the replay the very next week, giving the Maggies their first flag since 1990.
2005 – Sydney Swans 8.10 (58) def. West Coast Eagles 7.12 (54)
“LEO Barry you star!”
The great call from commentator Stephen Quartermain made the dogged Sydney back man a legend after he rose above the pack as time dwindled.
It was as iconic a mark as that of Alex Jesaulenko years earlier and preserved a one point lead that would ultimately be the Swans final winning margin.
In search of its first flag in 72 years, the dour match was a game of hard, contested footy, perfect for the purists who like it tight in the clinches.
There weren’t many goals kicked, but there was plenty of rough and tumble.
And, when Barry rose to mark the ball booted into the Eagles’ forward line by ruckman Dean Cox at the 32 minute mark, the game was sealed.
Big bustling Barry Hall was the only multiple goal kicker for the Swans, with two, while unheralded backman Adam Hunter bobbed up with two for the Eagles.
Superstar Chris Judd won the Norm Smith Medal, while Lewis Roberts-Thomson was the Swans’ best.
It was the Swans first flag since 1933, when they were based in South Melbourne, and also featured an iconic catch phrase from coach Paul Roos: “Here it is.”
The match was part of a three year rivalry between the two sides that saw just 13 points separate them over six matches, including the 2006 grand final, which is next on our list.
2006 – West Coast Eagles 12.13 (85) def. Sydney Swans 12.12 (84)
It was the interstate rematch that captured the imagination of the Victorian football public.
Another packed house watched the two sides from last year’s thriller go at it again for premiership glory.
And what a match it was. While it lacked the iconic Barry mark moment, it made up for it with some of the toughest footy ever seen on the MCG.
The Swans looked home when they jumped out to a five goal lead in the opening term, but the dogged Eagles wrenched it back.
Tackle, after tackle, after stoppage was played out as neither side could gain the ascendancy after the Swans early burst.
The final quarter was as tense as it’s ever been as both sides went goal for goal, until the final siren blew, with the Eagles scraping through by a solitary point, reversing last year’s result.
Silky Eagles running machine Andrew Embley was the Norm Smith Medallist with two goals, while West Coast was led in front of goal by the Q Stick Quentin Lynch, who booted three.
The losing Swans got three goals each from Michael O’Loughlin and Nick Davis, while the unheralded Nick Fosdike was adjudged best on ground.
2009 – Geelong Cats 12.8 (80) def. St Kilda Saints 9.14 (68)
The mid to late 2000s were blessed with a number of supreme grand finals.
This one was no exception.
The poor old Saints just can’t take a trick, this being the first of two grand finals in a row that they would be on the losing end of.
The Cats were back in it after losing to the Hawks in 2008 and they were never going to let this one slip.
It was a battle field, with 214 tackles laid between the two teams, which is the second highest total every registered in an AFL game.
The Saints didn’t kick straight and it killed them in the end.
It looked like they just might pull it off, leading at every change and going in with a seven point buffer in the final term.
But the Cats refused to give in and after 21 minutes of goal less footy, the scores were left tied.
Enter the Saints’ toe poke from hell.
A spoiled kick to Geelong great Gary Ablett Jr fell at the feet of legendary defender Matthew Scarlett, who toe poked the ball ahead. Ablett ran onto it, booting the ball deep into the Cats forward line and, after a quick string of handballs, Paul Chapman kicked truly to give the Cats a lead they would not surrender.
The highlight went global, making ESPN’s top plays in America.
Warrior Goddard, who would be among the side’s best against Collingwood the next year, broke his nose and collarbone, but kept playing in one of the most courageous acts ever witnessed on a football field.
Paul Chapman had a blinder with three goals and 26 touches for the Cats, netting himself the Norm Smith Medal, while Jason Gram was the Saints’ best. Adam Schneider was the only multiple goal kicker for St Kilda, with two, while Cam Mooney, Tom Hawkins and Max Rooke all emulated that figure.
Saturday, October 23, 2015, 2.30pm AEST, Melbourne Cricket Ground, Watch on Seven Network
Hawthorn Hawks: Third
West Coast Eagles: Second
Hawthorn Hawks: 16-6-0
West Coast Eagles: 16-5-1
Last five games
Hawthorn Hawks: WWLWW
West Coast Eagles: WLWWW
THE AFL season comes to a thrilling close with a grand final clash of two of season 2015’s titans.
The peerless Hawthorn Hawks ($1.60 with CrownBet.com.au) are hunting a historic three peat after winning the last two premierships.
Their hunters the West Coast Eagles ($2.40 with WilliamHill.com.au) are in search of their fourth flag and first since 2006.
It’s an awesome clash between two clubs sporting birds of prey.
The Hawks are on the cusp of becoming perhaps the most dominant team of all time.
They sport a midfield led by the peerless extraction talents of little bull Sam Mitchell and hard nosed veteran Jordan Lewis and featuring a revolving door of supporters from the diminutive Paul Puopulo to the giant Jarryd Roughead.
Roughead, when not having the odd squirt through the midfield, is the centrepiece of a three-pronged attack that features tall small Luke Breust and the club’s leading goal kicker Jack Gunston, who is expected to play despite missing the last two finals with a knee injury that he suffered against the Eagles in their unhappy qualifying final trip to Perth.
The bookends at the other end are a trio of powerhouses in Brian Lake, Josh Gibson and James Frawley.
Lake is a past Norm Smith Medalist and may just be playing his last game of AFL footy. He will be out for blood and will be looking to smother whichever West Coast tall is unfortunate enough to cop the combative ex-Western Bulldog.
The Hawks have seven men – captain courageous Luke Hodge, Mitchell, Roughead, the mercurial Cyril Rioli, Lewis and rebounding half back Grant Birchall – playing for an incredible fourth flag in their career at the one club, while gun utility Shaun Burgoyne could also claim a fourth, after he won his first with Port Adelaide, before crossing to Hawthorn.
It’s a side that has been compared to the invincible Brisbane Lions three peat sides of the early 2000s and one that will be seriously difficult to defeat on a home deck that it rarely loses on.
But, if any one can do it, it is the Eagles, who claimed the scalp of the back to back defending champions in the qualifying final just last month.
Much will rest on 2014 Brownlow Medalist Matt Priddis in the guts, a guy who is coming off a second place finish in this year’s Brownlow to Fremantle superstar Nat Fyfe.
Priddis did not play against the Hawks in week one and he adds another dimension to the Eagles.
He has the hardness of Luke Shuey backing him up, with support on the outside from gun running wingman Andrew Gaff, who has enjoyed a career year.
Up front, the Eagles might be the only team that can match the collective talents of the Hawks. They have the most dangerous forward in the AFL in Coleman Medallist Josh Kennedy. At his feet is the French man Mark LeCras, who was the match turner against the Hawks in the qualifier. Throw in the man mountain Jack Darling and little wonder Josh Hill and you have a front line as good as any.
They also have perhaps the most unique back line group ever assembled, led by the young, but super solid Jeremy McGovern, with support from veteran hard man Shannon Hurn and runners Sharrod Wellingham, Brad Sheppard and perhaps the competition’s most improved player Elliott Yeo.
They only have three premiership players, meaning they give up plenty of finals experience against the battle hardened Hawks.
The ruck is a place where the Eagles hold the cards, with Nic Naitanui enjoying aerial supremacy over Hawks’ big men Ben McEvoy and David Hale.
The Hawks midfield has plenty of expertise in roving off opposition ruck men.
But the Eagles, should they get a run on, have the potential to really bust this game open. The Hawks only recognised pace men are Bradley Hill and Isaac Smith, who played injured in the qualifier. Take your pick of the Eagles’ athletes. They all run like whippets and hold a significant pace advantage.
Match result: Hawthorn Hawks win ($1.60 with CrownBet.com.au)
Line: Hawthorn Hawks -8.5 ($1.91 with WilliamHill.com.au)
We think there are two big extraneous factors that could have a huge influence on this game. With temperatures tipped to top 30 degrees, could that hurt the Hawks and favour the Eagles, who train in those sort of temperatures just about every day. Meanwhile, the Eagles have played on the home of footy just once this season, while the Hawks players know every nook and cranny of the MCG as well as their childhood homes.
This is set up to be an intriguing battle. They’ve played each other twice this season, splitting it 50 50, both in Perth. The Hawks know the Eagles best is good enough to beat them if they are off the ball. But, by contrast, the Eagles know they simply cannot match the Hawks’ best and this match could be a fait accompli.
Did the Eagles play their grand final in week one of the finals? They blitzed the Hawks with the type of pressure usually seen coming from the brown and gold and beat them at their own game with efficient kicking and rabid tackling. But then they came out with a first half effort that was less than desirable against a North Melbourne side that made up for what it lacked in talent with a fierce attack on the ball and man.
If that happens against the Hawks, this one will be over real quick. Finals are often won on the performances of the bottom five or six players for each team. Do the Hawks even have a bottom six? Look, we’re not saying the Eagles aren’t without a chance, but Hawthorn has a date with destiny. For all the Eagles’ achievements this season, there weren’t many tipping them to be here on the last day of the season. They have had a marvellous year, but they lack the experience, muscle and know how to perform in a big game like this. Their only chance to win this is to use their pace to out run and out hustle the Hawks. And the big fella Josh Kennedy might have a big say. This one will be tight for the majority, but watch the Hawks turn on the jets at the end and grab themselves a four to five goal win.
First goal scorer tips
Luke Breust ($11 with sportsbet.com.au)
The star forward busted out against Adelaide with six goals after going three weeks without a major. he was woeful against the Eagles in the qualifier and will be keen to atone for that sub par effort. He kicked the Hawks’ second goal of the game in last year’s big game. While he hasn’t been a dominant figure in the Hawks’ grand final wins, he does have the ability to bust a game open and will be one that will have to make the most of early opportunities if the Hawks are to settle. With Roughy likely to be taken by the number one defender and potentially Gunston the second defender, Breust gets the chance to fly under the rader, despite being one of the best small forwards in the game. Expect him to pop up and take any chance to get the ball rolling for the Hawks.
Luke Hodge ($21 with sportsbet)
Seems to be making a habit of kicking the Hawks’ first goal. The veteran has been bobbing up in the forward line and making his opponents pay, booting four goals twice in the past month. He is the Hawks’ barometer and his under rated fitness gives him the ability impact the game all over the park. Tries hard to get forward and make his opponent accountable. If they’re not, he makes them look like fools. Hell, he makes them look like fools even if they are accountable. The guy is talent personified and he is the bloke the Hawks would love to see making a scoreboard impact. Booted two goals against Sydney last year and he thrives on the big stage. The man is very hard to stop.
West Coast Eagles
Josh Kennedy ($8 with sportsbet.com.au)
We seem to pick him every week, but you simply can’t go past the Eagles powerhouse to kick the first goal. The Coleman Medalist is one of the Eagles’ most important players and will probably find himself double teamed at times as the Hawks try to work out a way to stop him. Has had plenty of impact on this finals series, while not going overboard on the scoring. He only has five goals in the two games, but is always a target for the West Coast midfielders. He will play deep early and when West Coast look to play their quick brand of footy to break down the Hawks’ zones you can expect him to be on the end of it. Not at great odds but there is a reason for that: he is a monster and a better chance than any one at West Coast to snag the first.
Marc LeCras ($12 with sportsbet.com.au)
The French man is one of the most under rated players in the competition. How he didn’t make the All Australian side after the year he has had is beyond us. You can’t help but feel if this bloke was in a Victorian side he would be a household name. LeCras greatest talent is his ability to be so elusive around goal. He’s near impossible to play on because of his ability to find space and hit the score board, particularly early on in games. Would be disappointed with his output last week after having four shots on goal and only converting one. This is something he will know he can’t afford to do this week. He pushes deep and loses his opponent like few others playing this weekend. A huge threat if respect isn’t paid.
One of the biggest weeks on the Australian sporting calendar got off to the start many predicted with Nat Fyfe winning the 2015 Brownlow Medal for the best and fairest player in the AFL.
Now the attention turns to the main event, West Coast versus Hawthorn for the Premiership Cup at the MCG on Saturday afternoon.
The Hawks, who overcame all sorts of hurdles throughout the year, were always expected to be there towards the tail end of the season, eventually getting to the grand final after a qualifying final hiccup.
West Coast, barely tipped to feature in the finals, has been the big improver in 2015, overcoming the loss of several key defenders to be in contention for its first flag since 2006.
Fyfe’s became the youngest winner of the Brownlow Medal since Adam Cooney claimed the iconic league best and fairest, while he was representing the Western Bulldogs in 2008.
Brownlow medal review – Fyfe’s fast start hands the Dockers their maiden gong
Dynamic Docker Nat Fyfe became the first player in the club’s history to win a Brownlow medal, beating out fellow Western Australian Matt Priddis by four votes on Monday night.
Fyfe polled an incredible 26 votes in the opening 13 rounds of the season, handing the 24-year old the Brownlow medal in a thrilling count at Melbourne’s Crown Palladium.
Fyfe also set a Brownlow record, polling 17 votes in the first eight rounds; superseding retiring Blue Chris Judd’s record from 2010 when he managed 16 votes in the first eight games.
Fyfe’s last set of votes came in the form a two vote effort against the Tigers in round 17, giving him 31 overall, enough to ensure Charlie would be traveling west for the second consecutive year.
Last year’s winner Priddis was within striking distance right up until the final Eagles’ match of the season, but could not poll enough votes to topple Fyfe.
Punters who followed the Brownlow guides will have cleaned up on the night, with our experts predicting the Western Australian quinella finish.
Another prediction that rang true was betting on Josh Kennedy to poll the most votes in the final 10 rounds of the season.
The Swan midfielder amassed an amazing 19 of his 25 votes in the final 10 weeks of football, which included polling 11 of a possible 12 votes in the final month of the home and away season.
But the night belonged to the woolly-haired Fyfe, who saluted his parents and home town of Lake Grace during his acceptance speech, and in an ominous warning to the rest of the competition, he says he is yet to reach his full potential.
“I do think I’ve got improvement [left] in my game.” he said.
“The number one thing for me clearly is getting my body to a position where I can play a full season of footy.”
Fyfe is the early favourite with the bookies to go back-to-back and take out the 2016 Brownlow medal.
Fyfe is at $5, with Gold Coast captain Gary Ablett junior also in single figures at $6, with Collingwood captain Scott Pendlebury also getting some interest.
Hawks edge out Dockers, Eagles eclipse Roos, set up battle of the birds
Hawthorn booked its shot at a third straight AFL premiership and a place in football folklore with the 27-point win over a mistake riddled Fremantle.
For Ross Lyon’s Dockers it continues their run of finals bomb outs with the club yet to taste its inaugural premiership, but it wasn’t through a lack of effort. The Dockers jumped out to a quick two goal lead and looked to be in control of the contest early, but a missed set shot from the normally reliable Chris Mayne was an omen for what was to come.
Docker antagonist Hayden Ballantyne gave away an off the ball free kick, which resulted in a goal to Isaac Smith, then more ill-discipline handed David Hale a 50m penalty that took him to the goal line.
The Hawks never conceded the lead again, with their incredibly accurate goal kicking (15 goals, four behinds) ensuring they had the ascendancy for the remainder of the contest.
Despite a late surge from the Dockers, two diabolical defensive 50 errors, including an elementary dropped mark by young on-baller Tom Sheridan handed the Hawks vital goals and ultimately the win.
Sam Mitchell’s 35 possession game against the Dockers has seen him installed a $6 favourite for the Norm Smith Medal.
The Hawks, who are chasing their third successive flag, are $1.65 favourite to defeat the Eagles at Crownbet, with their finals experience (this will be their fourth successive grand final) proving decisive with the bookmakers.
The Eagles have played very few finals since their 2006 premiership, but proved a class above the Kangaroos with a 25-point win at Domain Stadium on Saturday night.
The Kangaroos jumped out to an early 22-point lead, restricting the high scoring Eagles to just two points in the first quarter.
The visitors were unable to capitalise on their dominance in the second quarter, with 1.3 for the term allowing the Eagles to draw within five points at the main change.
The Eagles came out after half time and kicked five goals to one to set up the victory, with inaccuracy again haunting the Roos; with 1.4 for the quarter handing North Melbourne the task of overhauling the surging home side in the final term.
It was not to be for the Roos, who, for the second year in a row have made the preliminary final but failed to make the big one.
Born again defender Sharrod Wellingham, who was superb against the Roos, is a $21 outsider with Crownbet to replicate his preliminary final heroics on the big stage at the MCG and take home the North Smith medal.
Injury update: Schoenmakers in the gun as Jack eyes his return:
Hawthorn: A few niggles came out of the clash against the Roos, but the big question is: will Jack Gunston be available to play on Saturday?
Gunston was running freely at Hawthorn’s training session on Monday and if he is cleared to play by the club’s medical staff, he is a certainty to come back in to stretch the Eagles’ already under-sized backline.
Versatile swingman Ryan Schoenmakers – despite playing a vital role in the victory against the Dockers with two goals – looks set to be the man to make way if Gunston is fit.
The other concern for the Hawks is Luke Hodge, who finished the match against the Roos gingerly, but it would take more than a niggle to stop the inspirational captain from taking his place in the line-up.
West Coast: There are no new injury concerns coming out of the Eagles’ win over the Roos, with both Matt Priddis and Chris Masten getting through the game unscathed.
If there are no fresh injuries to come this week for the Eagles, it looks like vice-captain Scott Selwood will have played his last game for the club, with a move to Geelong mooted for the 25-year old.
Best markets to bet on for the AFL grand final
With a huge array of markets already set up for the 2015 Grand Final, money can be made by getting in early before the market is flooded by punters chasing big wins.
The best bet of the Grand Final looks to be Eagles’ spearhead Josh Kennedy for most goals with Crownbet, with the 2015 Coleman medallist at $4.00 to boot the most majors.
Kennedy was the leading goal scorer in the qualifying final against the Hawks and looms as the key to West Coast’s premiership chances.
Kennedy is also favourite to kick the first goal of the match at $8.00.
Hawthorn forward Jarryd Roughead is next best in the market at $9.00 to boot the first major of the 2015 Grand Final.
Mitchell, as mentioned previously, is the favourite for the Norm Smith Medal, awarded to the best player on the ground in the grand final, with Hodge only marginally adrift at $6.50.
2014 Brownlow medallist Priddis is the Eagles’ best hope with the bookies, sitting alongside Hodge at the $6.50 mark.
Due to the overwhelming popularity of betting on Grand Final day, Crownbet has extended their most possessions groups market to three.
Early favourites to take out the most disposals markets are:
Group A – Sam Mitchell (Haw) $3.25, Matt Priddis (WCE) $3.75
Group B – Isaac Smith (Haw) $4.25, Matt Rosa (WCE) $6.00
Group C – Josh Gibson (Haw) $4.75, Elliot Yeo (WCE) $6.50
Of course, an odds preview would not be complete without the head-to-head betting market, with the Hawks overwhelming favourites to win their third consecutive Grand Final with Crownbet.
Hawthorn is $1.60 favourite, while the Eagles $2.40 price is generous given they finished higher on the ladder than the Hawks and played one less final than their counterpart.
AND then there were two.
Will it be the almighty Hawthorn Hawks ($1.60 with Sportsbet.com.au) taking home their third AFL premiership in as many years or can the upstart West Coast Eagles ($2.40 with Sportsbet.com.au) cause an upset on the Melbourne Cricket Ground in Saturday’s grand final?
The Eagles have already dealt with the Hawks once, albeit in Perth, and they will be riding high on that win, giving them the confidence to get the job done against a side many are saying is invincible.
And punters with sportsbet.com.au have jumped on board the Eagles bandwagon, smashing them in early betting.
“Hawthorn are rightly favourites in our book, they’re a class act and West Coast have a tough task on their hands,’’ sportsbet.com.au’s Christian Jantzen said.
“But punters still have West Coast’s dominant win over the Hawks from week one of the finals in their minds.
“We expect the Eagles’ price to shorten if the current rate of money continues.
“Punters are taking advantage of the juicy price of $2.40 for West Coast
“Fifteen per cent more has been wagered on the Eagles compared to the Hawks, who are the $1.60 favourites.”
Punters who backed the Hawks in earlier this season are already laughing, with the bookie paying out more than $1 million in July on a pre emptive hit at them to win the flag.
If you’re hunting up a bonus, you’ll get your cash back, up to $100, if your team loses, but leads at any break in the match on all head to head bets with sportsbet.com.au.
If you’re looking for the best price on the favourite on the day of the grand final, then WilliamHill.com.au has cut out the need for research, providing the top odds on the head to head market, when compared to Sportsbet, TAB, CrownBet, Ubet (Tatts) and Ladbrokes.
They also have a bonus for those who take advantage of their in play feature, with losing bets using that medium on teams who score the last point of the match, but get rolled, returning money back of up to $50.
While the Eagles hammered the Hawks in the qualifier, 14.12 (96) to 9.0 (64), they did it tough early against North Melbourne in Saturday night’s preliminary final, 10.20 (80) to 7.13 (55).
Poor kicking marred the match for both sides, but it could have been disaster for the Eagles, as the wasteful Roos booted 3.4 to 0.2 to open up a 20 point quarter time lead. But they whittled away at it after the first break, then booted five goals in the third quarter to take the lead back, never surrendering it again.
Sharrod Wellingham played perhaps his best game, providing sturdy defence, coupled with flair and rebound out of defence, collecting 27 disposals with three marks and a goal.
At the other end, monster Josh Kennedy only kicked two goals, but his influence was telling, with 20 disposals, nine marks and six frees for. He was too hot to handle for the North defence.
Tonight’s Brownlow Medal runner up Matthew Priddis had 26 disposals and seven tackles and, after missing the game against the Hawks through injury, he was a match winner.
The Eagles had the backing of a rabid packed out home crowd to help get them over the line and it was just the tonic, Wellingham said after the match.
“The crowd was enormous,” Wellingham said.
“You could feel them out there.
“We knew they were right behind us.
“It’s awesome. The feeling after the game was amazing. The crowd were unbelievable.
“It was a great team effort. Being able to fight back was fantastic. To dig deep was great.”
Wellingham is one of just three West Coast men to win a flag, which he did with Collingwood in 2010, early in his career.
“I just always tried to enjoy the week and just make the most of the situation we’re in,” Wellingham said.
“It’s not every year you get yourself into a grand final so it’s always good to just soak up the week and then get your mind right come game day.
“Knowing that we can take it up to them is a big factor. But they’ve been the benchmark for so long.
“We’ll get our meetings underway to work out how to approach the game.
“It’s about getting your mind right but also being able to enjoy the week.
“We’ve known for a long time that we had a talented group and our best footy was pretty good.”
Meanwhile, the loss to the Eagles in week one of the finals might have been the motivation the Hawks needed to kickstart their post season.
They trounced Adelaide by 74 points in the semi final, 21.19 (135) to 8.13 (61), and then dealt with minor premier Fremantle on Friday night, 15.4 (94) to 10.7 (67).
Hawks superstar Sam Mitchell, as he so often does, led the way with 35 disposals, while Taylor Duryea played perhaps his best match for the club, with 26 touches to go along with 10 marks. Cyril Rioli led the way up forward with three goals and 18 disposals, to go with eight marks.
Both sides have a near-clean bill of health, with gun forward Jack Gunston passed fit for the Hawks, after missing the clashes with Adelaide and Fremantle.
It leaves the Hawks with a selection conundrum, with Ryan Shoenmakers expected to make way for the club’s leading goal kicker.
Captain courageous Hodge hurt his leg late on the weekend, but Mr September would have to be in a wheelchair to miss this one, while little man Duryea copped a knock on the shoulder, but should be fit to play.
Priddis is the best backed to win the Norm Smith Medal, but he’s on the second line of betting at $7 alongside two-time winner Hodge. Mitchell is the $6 favourite.
One guy who won’t be playing in the grand final, but still has plenty of reason to celebrate, is Dockers’ superstar Nat Fyfe, who has just won the Brownlow Medal tonight.
Fyfe, who amazingly racked up 24 disposals against the Hawks, despite breaking his leg in the first contest he was involved in, racked up the third most Brownlow votes in the modern era with 31, three ahead of Priddis.
“I’m a bit blown away to be honest,” Fyfe said.
“It’s greater than me, it’s the Fremantle footy club and all our members and fans and supporters.
“We can take this home and really celebrate it as a club and as a community.”
“The last few days have been a whirlwind … until I really sat down and the vote got under way, I didn’t really put much thought into it, to be honest.
“But the nerves started to come late.”
Fyfe is the first Docker to win the award and the victory vindicated CrownBet.com.au’s decision to pay out on him in August.
In other AFL punting news, former West Coast Eagles premiership coach John Worsfold is the very short priced favourite to be Essendon’s coach next season.
Sportsbet.com.au has trimmed Worsfold’s price in from $1.18 to $1.10 after news emerged that he’s leaving the Adelaide Crows.
“Nearly half of all the money wagered on the market has gone on Worsfold, and punters have backed him in from as much as $14,” Jantzen said.
And, if you’re not happy with the Hawks or Eagles making the grand final, you can already get a punt on next year’s AFL premiers.
And it appears punters are on the Geelong band wagon, with Adelaide superstar Patrick Dangerfield expected to do all he can to make his way to the Cats this off season.
Jantzen said the Cats had their price trimmed in from $31 into $17 on the back of a $6100 bet on them to win next year’s Grand Final at the juicy price of $23.
Another punter has also put their confidence in Dangerfield, by placing a $4000 bet when the Cats were at $28.
“Geelong is the only side that’s been backed to win next year’s flag and clearly punters aren’t waiting around for official confirmation of Dangerfield’s move,” he said.
AFL grand final markets
West Coast Eagles ($2.40) vs. Hawthorn Hawks ($1.60)
West Coast Eagles 1-39 ($2.95)
West Coast Eagles 40+ ($9.50)
Hawthorn Hawks 1-39 ($2.25)
Hawthorn Hawks 40+ ($4.40)
Norm Smith Medal
Sam Mitchell ($6 @ Sportsbet.com.au)
Luke Hodge ($7)
Matt Priddis ($7)
Jordan Lewis ($9)
Josh Kennedy ($12)
Andrew Gaff ($13)
Nic Natanui ($13)
Cyril Rioli ($15)
Jarryd Roughead ($17)
Next Essendon coach
John Worsfold ($1.10, in from $1.18 @ Sportsbet.com.au)
Simon Lloyd ($11)
Brendan McCartney ($17)
Stewart Dew ($17)
Blake Caracella ($21)
Mark Harvey ($21)
Matthew Egan ($21)
Brett Ratten ($26)
John Longmire ($26)
Mark Williams ($26)
Robert Harvey ($26)
Scott Camporeale ($26)
2016 AFL Premiers
Hawthorn Hawks ($4)
West Coast Eagles ($5)
Fremantle Dockers ($8)
Sydney Swans ($10)
Port Adelaide Power ($11)
Richmond Tigers ($13)
North Melbourne Kangaroos ($15)
Geelong Cats ($17, in from $31 @ Sportsbet)
Adelaide Crows ($18)
Western Bulldogs ($18)
Collingwood Magpies ($23)
Greater Western Sydney Giants ($23)
Gold Coast Suns ($41)
Essendon Bombers ($67)
Melbourne Demons ($101)
St Kilda Saints ($101)
Brisbane Lions ($151)
Carlton Blues ($251)
The Clive Churchill Medal is awarded to the best player in Sunday’s NRL grand final between the Brisbane Broncos and the North Queensland Cowboys.
There has been relief for the Broncos, with captain Justin Hodges surviving the judiciary on Tuesday night, and considering he is playing his final NRL game, the $17 price on him being best on ground is very attractive.
There are three Clive Churchill Medal markets to bet on, giving punters a variety of ways to make money. Dally M Medal winner Johnathan Thurston has been installed the $3 favourite with Sportsbet.com.au, with Brisbane counterpart Ben Hunt on the second line of betting at $6.50.
Sportsbet are offering ‘Clive Churchill Double Chance’ odds where they pair two players together. It just so happens that JT and Hunt are paired together which has attracted plenty of money at a short price.
The unglamorous forwards aren’t without their chances at big odds. The likes of Broncos Kodi Nikorima could come off the bench to provide sudden impact, and his odds of $151 wouldn’t turn anyone off.
Look for big games from Adam Blair ($23), Gavin Cooper ($29) and James Tamou at $29. All three forwards have been in devastating form this season and the Medal wouldn’t go amiss with either player.
2015 Clive Churchill Medal winner market
Johnathan Thurston – $3
Ben Hunt – $6.50
Anthony Milford – $7
Michael Morgan – $10
Corey Parker – $10
Matthew Scott – $13
Justin Hodges – $17
Jake Granville – $17
Sam Thaiday – $21
Jason Taumalolo – $23
Matt Gillett – $23
Adam Blair – $23
Darius Boyd – $23
Lachlan Coote – $26
James Tamou – $29
Gavin Cooper – $29
Andrew McCullough – $34
Ethan Lowe – $51
Alex Glenn – $51
Jack Reed – $81
Corey Oates – $101
Kane Linnett – $101
Justin O’Neill – $101
Kyle Feldt – $151
Jordan Kahu – $151
Ben Hannant – $151
Antonio Winterstein – $151
Kodi Nikorima – $151
Mitchell Dodds – $251
John Asiata – $251
Jarrod Wallace – $251
Rory Kostjasyn – $251
Scott Bolton – $251
Jo Ofahengahue – $251
We have highlighted Brisbane Bronco Anthony Milford at $7 as that price provides great value. The dynamic player can turn a game on its head and he has provided the attacking flair for Brisbane this season.
Milford is a prime candidate to win the Clive Churchill Medal and his moments of brilliance could see him get the nod.
At longer odds, Lachlan Coote at $26 provides some outsider value. The North Queensland Cowboys fullback has battled his way back from injury his entire career and he has been very solid for the Cowboys this season.
He hasn’t had a break out game this season where he has showed his real ability, but Coote has always had the potential to score multiple tries in one game and if he does, just give him the Clive Churchill Medal now.
Clive Churchill Double Chance
If you can’t decide between two players, Sportsbet has done the hard work for you and paired off some of Sunday’s best grand final players.
The most popular option has been Hunt/Thurston at $2.10. The Clive Churchill Medal is often won by the playmakers and these two have been in sublime form throughout the finals this season.
On the second line of betting at $4.25 is the pairing of Michael Morgan and Anthony Milford. Both players are second in command for their offense and that usually gives them more freedom with the ball. If either player has a standout game, they could win the medal.
Double Chance market:
Hunt/Thurston – $2.10
Milford/Morgan – $4.25
Parker/Taumalolo – $6.50
McCullough/Granville – $12
Boyd/Coote – $13
Blair/Tamou – $13
Gillett/Lowe – $16
Hodges/Linnett – $19
Glenn/Cooper – $19
Reed/O’Neill – $41
Oates/Feldt – $61
Kahu/Winterstein – $61
Most multi-bet punters will like their chances of either Hunt or Thurston winning the Clive Churchill Medal. Adding $2.10 to your multi-bet increases the payout significantly and over the past few years there have been plenty of halves be the difference in a decider.
Scott Prince, Cooper Cronk and Daly-Cherry Evans have all won in recent years and that should give the punters confidence.
Two locks have won in the last four years so those including Corey Parker and Jason Taumalolo should also be confident and their odds are much more appealing at $6.50 with Sportsbet.
THAT last Saturday in September has now become the first Saturday in October and while we’re excited for the massive AFL grand final clash between Hawthorn and West Coast the punters who love a little individual flutter will be focussed on the best player on the ground.
The Norm Smith Medal is awarded to the player deemed best on ground in the grand final.
And there’s a star-studded cast lining up for this year’s medal, led in the betting race by Hawthorn accumulator Sam Mitchell.
2014 Brownlow Medal winner Matt Priddis – who backed that effort up with a runner up gong in this year’s count – is the favourite West Coast Eagle, the midfield dynamo best value at $8 with WilliamHill.com.au.
Sportsbet’s Christian Jantzen said Priddis was the best backed to win the Norm Smith Medal with the bookie.
And it appears Christian and his mates at sportsbet.com.au are offering best value on the Norm Smith Medal markets, the bookie’s odds scooping the pool in comparison to others.
Hawks hard man Jordan Lewis is $12 with sportsbet – he’s only $7.50 at CrownBet.
And you’ll get $18 about Jarryd Roughead there, compared to $13 at WilliamHill.com.au.
That bookie and CrownBet covered Sportsbet with popular pick Cyril Rioli quoted at $7.
Any way, we’ve run the rule over the options and tried to come up with a few surefire bets, a couple of hopefuls and a rank outsider who is not without his claims.
Let us hope we can find you a good tip and make you a little cash.
2015 Norm Smith Medal predictions
The extractor. Only four men have more Brownlow votes than this bloke after his third place finish on Monday night. Has had a mammoth season, collecting 30 or more disposals 15 times. But did you know his record in grand finals hasn’t been great? Apart from a big 33 disposal effort against Sydney last year, Mitchell was shut down by Ryan Crowley in the 2013 win over Fremantle, with just 12 touches. He had a modest 24 in the loss to Sydney in 2012 and just 13 against the Cats in 2008. That’s a little bit of history for you, but it’s impossible to ignore the form he has going into this game. His three finals have been 35, 33 and 35 and, should he emulate those numbers, he will be right in the hunt for Norm.
Luke Hodge ($8 with sportsbet.com.au)
Mr September. This guy knows no fear. And he plays some pretty good footy. His 35 disposal 12 mark two goal four tackle effort against Sydney last year is about as good as it gets. That was his second Norm Smith Medal. His first came against the Cats in 2008 was packed with courage and ended with a 26 disposal nine mark performance. This guy bleeds brown and gold, is tough as nails and he simply knows how to win. Another thing this guy does know is how harsh the media can be. Copped an absolute bake for a poor first half against the West Coast Eagles in the Hawks’ qualifying loss in Perth – even though he rattled up 20 possessions after the half time break. The Hawks’ captain rolled out a four goal, 24 disposal effort in the shellacking of the Crows and then found himself in everything with 25 against the Dockers. The form is good. The voters love him. Get on board the Hodge train.
Matt Priddis ($8)
West Coast’s answer to Sam Mitchell. But he has one thing the Hawk gun doesn’t – a Brownlow Medal. He missed the win over the Hawks as a late withdrawal with injury, but came back with 26 touches and a goal against North Melbourne in the Eagles preliminary final win over North Melbourne. This guy has gone from being criticised for not being able to kick it over a witch’s hat to, in the blink of an eye, being one of the most heralded midfielders in the game. He’s hard to miss with that shock of curly hair and, if he finds plenty of the footy – as he did this season with 11 games over 30 and a stack of 28 and 29 possession games – and the Eagles win the match, he will be first cab off the rank for the best on ground medal.
Not without a chance
Luke Shuey ($21)
It felt like Shuey was well held by Liam Shiels early in the qualifying final, but the bullish midfielder with pace to burn still ended up with 25, with plenty of clearances and hard ball, kicking a key goal that helped the Eagles get over the line. Shuey gets plenty of the footy, but also has a bit of x-factor and looks very juicy odds at $21 with CrownBet.com.au. Shuey is in the club’s tip five players and, if he plays like that, he will set himself up for a red hot crack at the medal. His uncompromising effort, pace and attack on the ball catch the eye and make him hard not to like.
Josh Kennedy ($16 with sportsbet.com.au)
This man could shape the result of the final. When he kicks bags, the Eagles win. Has been criticised in the past for being a bit of a flat track bully, beating up on the weaker sides and not delivering against the top end teams. That’s all changed this year. He won the Coleman Medal by a mile, booting 75 goals for the season. But his returns have been modest on the goal front in the finals. Kicked 3.2 against the Hawks and 2.3 against North. But it’s been his impact away from the scoreboard that has been telling for the Eagles. Has ripped down 18 marks in two games and drew six free kicks against a North side that simply couldn’t handle him. The Hawks have more defensive size and talent to throw at him, but if the big fella gets going, it won’t matter who is on him
James Frawley ($126 with CrownBet.com.au)
We just spoke about Josh Kennedy and his chances of winning Norm. This is the guy who will stand in his way. Remember Brian Lake’s massive performance against the Dockers in 2013? We’re getting all nostalgic here, but if Frawley does a number on Kennedy, he is a massive chance to emulate his elder defender and take home Norm. Frawley played perhaps his worst game of AFL football against West Coast in the qualifier. Couldn’t mark anything, couldn’t hit a target, couldn’t stick a tackle. He backed that up with a pair of performances that could well be best on ground in both wins over Adelaide and Fremantle. He had 15 touches and shut down Crows’ captain Taylor Walker and then did a number of retiring Fremantle legend Matthew Pavlich, while collecting 18 touches with eight marks. Is a long shot, but that’s what can happen in these kind of games. Remember Lake, Brian.
WITH Round 15 done and dusted the top four is starting to solidify, yet we are still no closer to knowing who will be making up the rest of the top eight.
Collingwood and Adelaide continue to slide down, the Bulldogs and the Giants recorded important wins and the Kangaroos are finally starting to make a legitimate push for the final spots inside the eight.
How did the betting shape up in Round 15?
Round 15 began on Thursday night with a pulsating contest between the Power and the Pies that ended up going down to the wire, with Port prevailing by three points.
Port Adelaide skipped out to a huge lead in the opening quarter, and kept its opponents at arm’s length for the majority of the contest, but a fourth quarter surge by the Pies kept the game in the balance right up until the final siren.
Livewire forward Jamie Elliot had a chance to mark the ball at the top of the 50 with less than a second remaining on the clock but was unable to complete the tough opportunity he had.
The loss sees Collingwood slide down towards the bottom half of the top eight with serious question marks over whether their spot is assured heading into September.
The Pies have lost three matches on the trot, and are currently $2.90 with Sportsbet to finish the season outside of finals contention.
The win reignites the small flicking flame of finals football for Port Adelaide, with the Power sitting two games and percentage outside the top eight.
Sportsbet have the Power as $3.95 outsiders to force their way back into finals contention.
Saturday afternoon in Cairns saw the Bulldogs pull off a miraculous come-from-behind victory over the Suns, with the Western Bulldogs taking the win home with a 22-point victory.
The Dogs trailed the Suns from the outset and looked like the mastery of Gary Ablett junior would see the Suns record back-to-back wins for the first time this season.
It was the Bulldogs who would find the extra something to produce the win late in the match, with the Dogs kicking an incredible 10 goals in the final term, overcoming a 37-point third quarter deficit.
It was the win the Dogs needed to keep their finals hopes alive.
Currently they sit inside the top six, and are $1.68 favourites with WilliamHill.com.au to retain their finials position come the end of the season.
The loss leaves the Gold Coast down towards the bottom of the ladder, with Sportsbet offering an enticing $3 for the Suns to finish 2015 with the least amount of wins.
It was a do-or-die clash on Saturday night at Etihad Stadium, with North Melbourne hosting the Cats.
With the chance of an unlikely finals berth hinging on the outcome, it was North Melbourne who stood up when it mattered, battering the Cats from the outset to run out 41 point winners.
The Cats found it hard to get their game going after a long layoff due to the unfortunate circumstances surrounding their cancelled match against Adelaide, which left Chris Scott’s men almost three weeks removed from playing a competitive AFL match.
The game was close throughout the first quarter, but it was the Roos who were able to seize momentum and blow the Cats off the park.
The win places the Roos right back into the finals race, with Crownbet’s $1.40 quote for North to finish inside the top eight the best of any team outside the eight.
The lacklustre performance from the Cats all but rules out their September ambitions, with William Hill’s offer of $3.00 for Geelong to feature in the finals this season highlighting just how unlikely a late push for September action is for Chris Scott’s team.
Sunday afternoon saw what many believe to be an early Grand Final preview, with the Hawks hosting the Dockers down in Tasmania.
Fremantle were blown off the park early in the game and never recovered, with Hawthorn showing why they are premiership favourites in 2015 with a resounding 72 point victory.
The Hawks have come in even further with the bookmakers to complete the three-peat, with Crownbet installing the reigning premiers as $2.75 favourites to win the 2015 flag – the shortest any team has been this year.
Despite still sitting atop the AFL ladder, the defeat has battered punters’ confidence in the Dockers, with Sportsbet slipping Fremantle to third favourite for the flag, at $4.50.
Even with a quieter game from Nat Fyfe, the superstar Docker is still the overwhelming favourite to take home the Brownlow medal at $1.50 with Sportsbet.
There is a risk going with Fyfe, as one more guilty tribunal verdict, even if it is a mere fine will cost the Docker a week of football and make him ineligible for the prestigious medal.
A rough weekend of football for the Carlton football club, with the loss to Richmond compounded by injuries to star on-baller Bryce Gibbs and utility Dennis Armfield.
Gibbs is set to miss the remainder of the season after sustaining a pectoral injury that will require surgery.
The reigning Carlton best and fairest winner will not play again this season but will be ready to go at the start of pre-season training.
Dennis Armfield suffered a broken arm in the loss to Richmond, and will miss the next month of football after having a steel plate inserted into his arm.
Star GWS midfielder Dylan Shiel’s season is potentially over with the strongly built on-baller requiring surgery on his right knee, which was injured in Sunday’s victory over the Saints.
Shiel will miss at least 12 weeks of football and will be in a race against time to be fit at the end of the season.
Emerging Suns’ forward Charlie Dixon will miss at least a week of football after being substituted out of the game during Saturday’s loss to the Western Bulldogs.
The injury is different to the ankle injury that sidelined the big Sun for an extended period, but he is still expected to miss at least a week.