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Hyundai Highlight Key Takeaways: Round 17

If there was such a thing as an AFL ladder that took in only matches from Rounds 15-17, it would make for brilliantly sweet reading for Brisbane Lions fans.

Not only would the Lions sit on top as the only unbeaten side but they’d have easily the highest percentage. And if they had they scored one more point and conceded one less goal they would have topped both points for and points against categories.

The Round 15-17 ladder is:

Team                L For Agst %
Brisbane           0 337      184      183.2
Melbourne        2 1 338        236      143.2
Richmond       2 1 273           202  135.2
Port Adelaide   2 1 226  178 127
Essendon           2 1 282  237 119
West Coast      2 1 266   230 115.7
St.Kilda   2 1 285     255 111.8
Collingwood  2 1 244    224 108.9
GWS   2 1 249    247 100.8
Adelaide  2 1 256 278 92.1
Hawthorn  1 2 261    252 103.6
North Melb 1 2 301   287 104.9
Geelong 1 2 269      274 98.2
Sydney 1 2 230 262 87.8
W/Bulldogs 1 2 231  332 69.6
Fremantle  1 2 171  271 63.1
Gold Coast  0 3 169   289 58.5
Carlton 0   3 176 326 54

Of course this ladder doesn't exist, but it is a remarkable transformation for a side that at Round 14 sat 17th on the ladder with a 1-12 win/loss record, ahead of bottom side Carlton on percentage only.

It seems a lifetime ago when last the Lions, then led by Club legend Jonathan Brown, won three in a row, coincidentally in Rounds 15-16-17 in 2013.

From the 26 players who played in the 2013 hat-trick only Dayne Zorko, Daniel Rich and Ryan Lester backed up in the 2018 hat-trick.

And only Stefan Martin, Sam Mayes, Claye Beams and Rowan Bewick of the 2013 playing list are still playing at the Club.

Jed Adcock, who shared the captaincy with Brown in 2013, is now on the AFL coaching staff at the Lions, Dan Merrett is a part-time Coach and match day runner, although he missed Saturday’s visit to Launceston. And Brett Staker is on the Club’s AFLW coaching staff.

There is a strong argument on the travel factor alone to suggest the 2018 hat-trick is better than the 2013 hat-trick.

Five years ago, when the Lions were 14th on the ladder with a 4-9 record, the three wins came over 13th-placed Gold Coast at the Gabba by 33 points, 11th-placed North Melbourne at the Gabba by 12 points, and 17th-placed Melbourne in Darwin by 19 points.

This year the wins have been over 13th placed Fremantle by 55 points in Perth, 18th placed Carlton by 65 points at the Gabba, and eighth-placed Hawthorn by 33 points in Launceston, where the Hawks had won 24 of their previous 26 matches.

It was certainly a day to remember as for the first time the public caught a glimpse of a new pre-game ritual in which the players were caught by TV cameras standing in a circle to put their jumpers on together.

It was the first hat-trick in Brisbane colours for all but Zorko, Rich and Lester after Dayne Beams, Allen Christensen, Mitch Robinson and Josh Walker had enjoyed three wins in a row at previous clubs.

And how about Jake Barrett? Having been unable to break into the side for the first 14 rounds, he’s gone three for three since getting his chance at AFL level.

Also on Saturday as the Lions beat Hawthorn twice in the same season for the first time since 2006, Walker had three career-bests: 20 possessions, 13 contested possessions and 13 one-percenters.

Hugh McCluggage had a career-best 29 possessions, Jarrod Berry a career-best 15 contested possessions, and Barrett a career-best three goal assists.

Eric Hipwood, with three goals, took his season tally to 30 – the same number in 16 games this year as he kicked in 20 games last year. Significantly, too, no player in the competition has kicked more goals than Hipwood in Rounds 15-16-17.

Sydney’s Lance Franklin matched the Hipwood effort with 11 goals, while North Melbourne’s Ben Brown, who leads the Coleman Medal, has kicked 10, and Melbourne’s Jesse Hogan, Geelong’s Tom Hawkins, Hawthorn’s Luke Breust and Collingwood’s Jordan de Goey kicked nine.

Beams, with 33 possessions against Hawthorn, has had 106 possessions through the hat-trick games. Only three players in the competition have had more in the same period – Hawthorn’s Tom Mitchell (120), Adelaide’s Rory Laird (110) and West Coast’s Andrew Gaff (118).

Zorko, with one goal assist, also became the fourth player in Club history to 100 goal assists behind Simon Black (173), Luke Power (151) and Jonathan Brown (144).

Stefan Martin, with 142 Champion Data ranking points, posted his 10th Champion Data century, while Beams (111) had his ninth, McCluggage (111) his second, and Walker (100) his first.


The views in this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of the AFL or its clubs