From flyin’ Ryan’s contract extension to Hamish Brayshaw’s Debut, we’re analysing all the goings-on in Round 17 in the AFL.
It’s been a big week in the AFL, with finals week just around the corner, and the Eagles looking to break into the top four, there’s a lot to talk about.
Here’s our 5 talking points from this week in the AFL.
Flyin’ into 2022.
The Eagles have secured the services of flyin’ Liam Ryan for another two years, keeping the elusive forward at the club until 2022.
Ryan has seriously impressed this year, playing 16 games and notching up 23 goals, one of which resulted from him taking what could be a big contender for mark of the year.
His aerial acrobatics have caused our jaws to hit the ground on numerous occasions with fans across WA shouting at their TV screens “how the heck did he do that!” He seriously is a constant threat in the air but this weekend showed he could also do a job in midfield, recovering the ball well, and navigating what was a heavily congested pitch of Saints players to dispose safely to Andrew Gaff and Liam Ryan, who were both also on flying form on Thursday night.
This is certainly a just reward for Ryan who has put his body on the line for the Eagles this year and scoring some very important goals and keeping us all guessing in excitement at what he’s going to do next.
Jeremy McGovern – Hamstring nightmare.
Gov has been in the wars lately. Suffering a thumb injury against the Bulldogs in Round 16, taking a nasty knock to the face in the first quarter of the match against the Saints, and then limping off with a hamstring injury at the second quarter.
It was a worrying sight for everyone on the touchline. Gov has been imperious at the back for the Eagles this season, linking with Tom Barrass well to keep attackers out of the Eagles half, taking some truly impressive marks that even Liam Ryan would be proud of.
The Eagles backroom staff have confirmed the injury is not as bad as first thought and it’s likely Gov could make a comeback for the first round of finals. Till then, the defensive line duties are safe in the hands of Barrass who has also stepped forward to command the backline this year, leading from the front for the Eagles this season racking up intercepted 35 marks in 16 games.
Liam Duggan: Versatility Personified.
Plus while we’re talking about defenders, in a time where the Eagles are struggling with a whole heap of injuries in midfield, it’s all-rounders like Liam Duggan who are stepping up to the plate to help the Eagles push through this crammed run of fixtures.
Duggan has been played out of position a lot this year but is holding his own in midfield and in defence, providing a crucial layer of support for the Eagles midfielders in the win against the Saints.
Plus congratulations to Duggo who was ‘chaired’ off-field by his teammates as he celebrated his 100th appearance for the club on Thursday night.
Light on their feet in the middle of the park, the Eagles still showed they’ve got strength in numbers despite missing multiple midfield superstars.
With Tim Kelly stepping up as the MOTM on Thursday, Andrew Gaff running the Saint’s midfield ragged, and Tom Cole continuing a fine run of form, Adam Simpson will be proud of his leaders and younger players stepping up to bring home an important win during this congested fixture list.
Credit has to go specifically to Gaff who played through the whole game last week, setting up multiple goals, having 5 score involvements, kicking one for himself and ultimately pushing the team on to grab the win late in the game. He has been immense this season and hopefully will be activating his 4-year contract extension for the Eagles at the end of this season.
But with new talent constantly coming into the side it is an exciting time to be an Eagles fan as we watched Hamish Brayshaw make his debut on the let flank for the Eagles.
The Cats Couldn’t Quite Do It.
In what was a ripper of a contest, Geelong couldn’t quite take their opportunities against a Richmond, who showed the grit of a Premiership winning team, to grind out a win.
Geelong’s loss on Friday night puts even more doubt into the Eagles chances of breaking into the top four, with both teams being joint on 44 points the Eagles still trail the Cats in fifth place on goal difference. It now looks ever more likely that the Eagles will be playing a home elimination final against any one of Collingwood, the Bulldogs, or St Kilda.
But there is still some hope, although farfetched, that if the Eagles defeat the Kangaroo’s by a large margin on Friday, and the Cats either lose against the Swans or win, but by only a small points difference, the Eagles could just scrape the 4th spot.
And with the Kangaroos looking weak, sat second from bottom, and losing by a 65 point margin to the Dockers this weekend, the Eagles could record a big win this weekend, putting them on the front foot to securing a qualifying final spot.
With one game left in the minor season, it’s still all to play for!