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Sunday, July 25, 2021

Takeaways from the AFL Festival of Footy part 1

Monday night’s match between the Richmond Tigers and Gold Coast Suns brought an end the to the first Festival of Footy this season that ran non-stop from Wednesday 29 July to Monday 17 August.

The festivities saw 33 games played in 20 days, giving fans plenty of entertainment as we continue to deal with restrictions. Particularly for Victorians who are doing it extremely tough, hopefully the footy on every night brought at least a little bit of joy.

There was footy on every single night of the week. Had a tough day at work on a Wednesday? No problem, there’s a double-header of AFL to look forward to.

While it was enjoyable for the fans at home to sit there and be able to watch footy every night of the week, the season has now rocketed along and there are just six rounds left until finals.

The Festival of Footy saw some teams emerge as premiership contenders while other teams have fallen to the wayside. So, let’s have a look at how the first nine teams faired in the Festival of Footy. Check out the other nine teams here.

ADELAIDE CROWS 18th 0 wins 12 losses 54.7%

The Crows lost all four games during this period and are almost certain to pick up the club’s first ever wooden spoon. In fact, the Crows have never finished below 14th in their history. The once proud club has fallen from great heights since 2017 and there may still be more pain for fans to endure yet. The main positive for the Crows has been getting some game time into some of their young players. With limited supply, both Elliott Himmelberg and Tyson Stengle have shown glimpses of their potential up forward.

adelaide crows players
The Crows are enduring a horror season and face the real possibility of finishing the season without a win.

BRISBANE LIONS 2nd 9 wins 3 losses 118.3%

The Brisbane Lions and Gold Coast Suns have been the most fortunate sides this season with the competition basically relocating to Queensland. The biggest journey the Lions have had to make for a while has been heading down to the Gold Coast. They sit second on the ladder and had a 3-1 record during the festival, but they didn’t escape without some troubles. Their loss was an ugly one, going down to the Tigers by 41 points and, in their last game, they limped over the line to defeat the 17th placed North Melbourne Kangaroos by just 1 point. The Lions are perfectly positioned to mount a premiership challenge, but they will need to improve on their recent performances to beat the best sides come finals.

brisbane lions players celebrating a goal
The Brisbane Lions are well placed for an assault on the finals.

CARLTON BLUES 12th 5 wins 6 losses 95.5%

The Blues only played three matches during this period and it was full of highs and lows. They started on fire in their first game against the Hawks, building a 31-0 lead but ultimately fell apart to lose by 31. They then travelled to Perth and stuck with the West Coast Eagles for three quarters before falling by 22 points. Their third game was against the Fremantle Dockers and it ended in exceptional fashion. After trailing all night, Jack Newnes had a shot after the siren from the boundary to win the game for the Blues and he delivered a magnificent kick. It went straight through the middle and the Blues won to keep their finals hopes alive. The Blues are just a game outside the top 8 with a relatively easy run home so finals are definitely a chance.

jack newnes kicking
Jack Newnes of the Blues scores a goal after the siren to win the match.

COLLINGWOOD MAGPIES 7th 6 wins 5 losses 1 draw 104.9%

The Magpies are still in the top 8 but their recent performances have raised many questions about their future. Once premiership favourites, the Magpies had unconvincing wins against the lowly Sydney Swans and Crows while losing to the Dockers and Melbourne Demons. The Demons loss was by 56 points and has seen many rule them out of the premiership race. The Magpies have had to deal with several injury issues, but the reality is they are a long way off the best teams right now.

collingwood players walking
The Magpies season seems to be derailing and they will need to fix things quickly.

ESSENDON BOMBERS 11th 5 wins 5 losses 1 draw 86.1%

The Bombers’ Festival was full of disappointment as they recorded one draw and three losses in their four matches. They suffered large defeats to the Lions and St Kilda Saints which shows they are a long way off the best teams. Their other loss was a close defeat at the hands of the battling GWS Giants while they escaped with a draw against the Suns. The Bombers have long been a side that promises plenty early in the season but fails to deliver when it matters most and 2020 seems like another wasted year for the Bombers.

Another season ending in disappointment is looming for the Bombers if they can’t turn things around quickly.

FREMANTLE DOCKERS 14th 4 wins 7 losses 88.3%

The Dockers suffered a cruel loss to the Blues to ruin their perfect record in the Festival, but some young stars have shown their future could be very bright. Andy Brayshaw and Adam Cerra were high draft picks in 2017 and are now starting to show their star potential. Luke Ryan has also become a star for the Dockers side down back and could be a smokey for an All-Australian spot. The Dockers may sit 14th on the ladder but there’s enough young talent for the club to be successful in the coming years.

adam cerra and andy brayshaw
Adam Cerra (left) and Andy Brayshaw (middle) look set to play a big part in the future of the Dockers.

GEELONG CATS 3rd 8 wins 4 losses 138.5%

The Cats were the most impressive side during the Festival with a close loss to the Eagles in Perth followed by convincing wins over the Kangaroos, Saints and Port Adelaide Power. The Cats dominated the fifth-placed Saints and first-placed Power to show their best is good enough to match it with anyone. The MVP of the Festival was Tom Hawkins who kicked 16 goals in the four games including a stunning display against the Power. Hawkins kicked six goals and took seven contested marks in a power performance that saw him rocket to the top of the Coleman Medal leaderboard. The Cats have often been bridesmaids since their 2011 premiership, but they look like serious contenders this year.

tom hawkins celebrating a goal
Tom Hawkins may be the hottest player in the competition after kicking 16 goals in the past 4 weeks.

GOLD COAST SUNS 13th 4 wins 7 losses 1 draw

The Suns could only manage one draw and three losses during this period but competitive performances against the Saints and Tigers have shown how far this side has come since last season. The positive for the Suns has been the performances of some of their young talent. Jack Lukosius and Noah Anderson have been outstanding all season while guys like Ben King, Will Powell and Ben Ainsworth continue to improve. The next step for the Suns will be to start converting some of these competitive losses against good sides into wins.

gold coast suns players celebrating
The Suns may only have four wins this season, but their abundance of emerging talent is something to watch out for.

GWS GIANTS 9th 6 wins 5 losses 98.2%

The Giants had two wins and one loss during the Festival, but the loss was so disastrous it forced Nick Riewoldt to rule them out of the premiership race. They lost to the bottom four Swans by 41 points and only managed three goals for the match with all of them coming from fortunate free kicks. For a team that made a Grand Final last season and with so much talent, it seems impossible to think they may miss finals. If they want any chance of featuring deep into the finals, they need to put in a huge effort against the Eagles this weekend.

harry perryman kneeling in disappointment
The Giants recorded a disastrous loss to the Swans last round and look a shell of the side that won three finals last year.

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