Here are the big talking points from what has been an action-packed Round 17.
Lions claim another interstate scalp
It’s fair to say Brisbane are the real deal this season.
The Lions backed up last week’s win over GWS with another brilliant performance on the road against a Port Adelaide side fresh off a stirring Showdown victory.
Victory over the Power has seen Chris Fagan’s men climb to third, unchartered waters for a club who hasn’t played finals football since 2009.
With four of their last six games at home, Brisbane will be eyeing off a top four finish and the all-important double chance come September.
Giant blow as star succumbs to injury
GWS’ third straight loss to Richmond was compounded by the knee injury to gun midfielder Stephen Coniglio.
Having entered the game with his left knee heavily strapped, the star Giant hobbled from the field early in the first quarter following an innocuous incident when looking to change direction.
Coniglio was unable to put any weight on his troublesome knee as he was helped from the MCG in the hands of the trainers.
— AFL (@AFL) July 14, 2019
He suffered the initial injury in last week’s loss to Brisbane, but scans cleared him any serious damage.
It could be another major blow for the Giants who are already without Josh Kelly for up to a month with a calf.
Suns crisis deepens after latest thrashing
Doom and gloom continues to rapidly descend over the embattled Gold Coast Suns.
Saturday night’s 95-point mauling to Adelaide was their second consecutive 90-plus point loss and their 12th straight defeat overall after an encouraging 3-1 start to the season.
Three-time All-Australian Nick Dal Santo described Gold Coast’s performance against the Crows as “non-AFL” standard while SEN Afternoons host Andy Maher labelled the club “soulless”.
Dal Santo on the Gold Coast: "They are showing serious cracks. I don't think it's in any doubt that they need help. You rarely see two drubbings like that in a row. That was so far off the mark – it was non-AFL."
— SEN 1116 (@1116sen) July 14, 2019
Andy: "I wonder how many AFL commissioners sit down each week and watch the Gold Coast Suns play footy. It's an arm of the AFL's expansion plans. It has taken football there because of its strategic value, not because there's 500,000 screaming out for football. It is soulless."
— SEN 1116 (@1116sen) July 14, 2019
This latest hammering will only spark further discussion surrounding the demise of the expansion club and whether the AFL needs to intervene.
Suns chairman Tony Cochrane confirmed the club will be requesting for a priority draft pick, something coach Stuart Dew doesn’t believe will immediately arrest the club’s on-field woes.
Walla’s clincher sends Dons flying into the eight
A sensational late goal from Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti helped Essendon record a crucial five-point win over North Melbourne to boost its finals hopes.
With seconds ticking away, McDonald-Tipungwuti snapped truly to fire the Bombers into the eight and halt the Kangaroos’ momentum under interim coach Rhyce Shaw.
John Worsfold’s side prevailed in a vital eight-point match to notch their third straight win in one of the games of the season.
McDonald-Tipungwuti wins it! 😱
— AFL (@AFL) July 13, 2019
Are floundering Freo the competition's second worst team?
Fremantle’s horror month is likely to have dashed their finals chances.
The Dockers’ 31-point loss to Hawthorn was their fourth on the bounce and comes after their 91-point belting to rivals West Coast in last week’s Derby.
Ross Lyon’s side are averaging a paltry 57.5 points over the last month prompting stinging criticism from Port Adelaide great Kane Cornes.
Cornes believes Freo are “the second worst team in the competition” and were guilty of getting ahead of themselves after their last victory over the Power in Round 13.
Carlton’s resurgence under Teague continues
Carlton’s revival under caretaker coach David Teague has continued after claiming his third win from five games in charge.
The Blues defeated Sydney by seven points on Saturday – their first win in the Harbour City in eight years, to go with their recent victories over Fremantle and Brisbane.
Teague’s two losses have been by less than a goal, highlighting just how competitive Carlton has become since the departure of former coach Brendon Bolton.
Despite football director Chris Judd declaring they “don’t want someone with training wheels on”, Teague is doing everything in his power to land the senior job in 2020.
Pies win soured by Pendlebury injury
Collingwood’s magnificent one-point win over West Coast has come at a cost.
Skipper Scott Pendlebury underwent surgery on a broken finger he sustained against the Eagles and could miss a considerable chunk of the run home.
The five-time Best and Fairest winner will meet a surgeon this week to determine a timeline, but it is hoped he will available for the opening week of the finals.