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29 Aug

Irish Experiment – AFL Round 22 – Drug Bust

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Posted by Colm Duffy in The Irish Experiment | Aug 2013

Colm Duffy rounds up all the action from Down Under in AFL Round 22, with a lot of the most interesting action happening away from the pitches and training grounds this week.

The Irish Experiment – AFL Round 22

Cat Amongst the Pigeons as Bombers Kicked Out of Finals

The AFL season enters its final home and away round of 2013 this weekend and the unprecedented events of the last number of days have meant that both Pearce Hanley and Zach Tuohy are playing for finals places, which seemed impossible just a few short days ago.

When the Chairman of the AFL Commission Mike Fitzpatrick finally revealed the punishments meted out to Essendon for their unauthorised supplements programs over the past two seasons, the repercussions were far-reaching. Perhaps the penalty with the most immediate impact for the club and the competition as a whole is the removal of the Bombers from the finals and confirmation that their final position in the table would be ninth, irrespective of the team’s ultimate points total. Consequently Essendon must now be replaced in the September’s finals series by the actual ninth placed club.

Tuohy & Carlton Right in the Mix

Tuohy’s Carlton currently occupies that coveted position, despite losing to the embattled Bombers in a thriller on Saturday night. Tuohy put another solid defensive shift on the night and kicked yet another outstanding goal from long range, although he will be disappointed that his usual accuracy otherwise deserted him as he also kicked three behinds.

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In what would have been billed as a battle for eighth on the ladder had Carlton defeated Essendon, the Blues face Port Adelaide on Saturday in what now remains a must-win for Tuohy’s side if they want to extend their season at least another week.

Big Ask for Hanley’s Brisbane

The permutations are such that as many as five different clubs could sneak into that last finals spot should the weekends results roll in their favour. This includes Hanley’s Brisbane Lions who currently sit behind just Carlton on points difference. Unfortunately for the Lions, they face perhaps the most daunting trip in the AFL on Saturday afternoon as they head for Geelong to take on the Cats in their backyard at Simonds Stadium, where the home side has lost just one of their last 43 contests.

Nevertheless, the Lions will enter the game high on confidence on the back of another hard-fought but deserving victory against the Western Bulldogs on Sunday. Hanley was heavily tagged by Bulldogs veteran Daniel Cross who remarkably managed to prevent Hanley taking a single mark in the game – he had averaged over 5 marks per game for the season before the game.

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It is a mark of the Mayo man’s evolution over the course of the year that he managed to exert his influence on the contest in spite of Cross’s attentions, accumulating 22 possessions, 11 of which were contested (his second highest count of contested possessions per game for the season). He also won a couple of vital final quarter possessions from centre bounces which helped the Lions thwart the Bulldogs’ rousing comeback.

Mooney Impresses for Reserves

Tuohy and Hanley won’t be the only Irishmen playing for their seasons on Saturday. Caolan Mooney kicked two inspirational final quarter goals, including the sealer, as the Collingwood reserves overcame the Werribee Tigers last Saturday to secure their spot in the VFL knock-out stages. Mooney also laid five tackles in a performance that drew praise from Collingwood assistant coach Anthony Rocca for both its offensive and defensive aspects.

They now face Port Melbourne in an Elimination Final and while, at this late stage of the season, it is unlikely that Mooney will be able to force his way into contention for a senior spot, another good performance will at least ensure he is in the coaches thoughts should injuries arise to any of the senior stars in the club’s concluding game prior to finals against North Melbourne on Sunday.

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