Justin Koschitzke, Stephen Milne and Jason Blake leave the ground for the last time after retiring. Photo: Joe ArmaoTHE GOOD
Few players have racked up more than 200 games with as little fuss or fanfare as St Kilda’s Jason Blake. Even his retirement was overshadowed by similar announcements from higher-profile teammates Stephen Milne and Justin Koschitzke. Which made the last few minutes of Blake’s last AFL game a great moment, the unsung consummate team man creeping forward to kick only his fifth goal in the past five seasons, an effort met with rapturous applause from the Saints’ faithful. For 14 seasons, Blake has always sacrificed his own game for St Kilda’s. And he was far from the only person overjoyed by his farewell cameo on the goalkickers’ list.
Jackson Merrett is a talented youngster who has shown some good signs for Essendon this season. But his clanger early in Saturday night’s game against Richmond was so spectacularly awful it would have had the likes of Percy Jones and Malcolm Blight thinking about welcoming him to the ”goalkicking howlers” club. Alone and unattended, Merrett marked, ran into an open goal, for some reason decided to let go from just beyond the tip of the goal square, and somehow missed the target. Six months to dwell on the blunder won’t hurt, but we’re confident Merrett will be making completely sure of things next time.
Security men, Part II. Yes, the bloke who ran onto the MCG 45 minutes after the end of Saturday night’s game was a nong. Yes, his mate didn’t need to step onto the turf to check on his welfare after he’d been pounced upon. But neither, once the second man had been pointed in the right direction and was stepping through the open gate and off the arena, did he need to be body slammed into the hard artificial grass next to the fence. Not condoning ground invasions, but does someone not presenting a threat or escaping the scene really deserve a move from the Hulk Hogan playbook?
ADELAIDE Disappointing year ended positively with a third win in last four. Dangerfield great, youngsters Crouch and Grigg impressive. BRISBANE Tremendous and brave effort nearly stole second win from Cats. Six goals to McGrath, Rockliff and Redden to the fore again. Future should be bright.
CARLTON Great comeback to secure last finals spot. Murphy’s best game as skipper, Gibbs came good and big second half from Walker.
COLLINGWOOD Hard to assess Pies given lack of pressure in game for no stakes, but will have to tighten defensively. Ten goals for key forwards Cloke and Reid, Pendlebury all class.
ESSENDON Looked flat and emotionally drained after events of the week. Hibberd good in defence, Watson, Goddard and Stanton busy enough without inspiring.
FREMANTLE Game was given away when Dockers selected half their reserves. Limp performance ensued with little to gain, three debutants at least getting some game time.
GEELONG Cats coasted and nearly paid ultimate price. More luck than good management that they hung on, Bartel and Stokes Geelong’s saviours.
GOLD COAST Good finish to a much better season, eight wins two more than first two years combined. Ablett back to best, Prestia and O’Meara the future.
GWS Giants couldn’t do it for legendary coach Sheedy’s farewell, spearhead Cameron held to two goals. Will improve.
HAWTHORN Powerful finish after Hawks had hung in most of the night. Roughead clinched Coleman with four goals, Mitchell important as ever. Now for rematch.
MELBOURNE Fighting second half, what Demon fans have been looking for. Good efforts from Watts up forward, Grimes and Garland.
NORTH MELBOURNE Encouraging finish, managed to win a close one. Ziebell and Bastinac keys to future, evergreen Harvey too, on this showing.
PORT ADELAIDE Should have been even further ahead early and didn’t have same motivation as opponent at finish. Cornes and Ebert clear standouts for the Power.
RICHMOND Did what they needed to do without fully extending themselves. Ellis exciting, Jackson solid, Edwards becoming a real target up forward.
ST KILDA Fitting send-off for retiring trio Milne, Koschitzke and Blake. Montagna and Steven nearly 100 touches between them, Curren impressive again.
SYDNEY Battled hard to lead most of night but couldn’t put Hawks away and ran out of gas. Mumford strong, Kennedy prolific, but Swans still some way from best.
WEST COAST Stinker of a season ended in appropriate fashion with another belting at home. Retirees Embley and Selwood deserved better send-off.
WESTERN BULLDOGS Nine-goal second term from Dogs, then grounded to a halt. Four wins in last six good finish to season, though, plenty of light on horizon for young side.
The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Hangzhou Night Net.