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Just give Tigers a little more time

Richmond coach Damien Hardwick.

Richmond coach Damien Hardwick. Photo: Sebastian Costanzo

YOU HAD only to see coach Damien Hardwick with his head in his hands a good couple of minutes after the siren at the MCG on Saturday night to know how shattering yet another narrow loss was for Richmond.

Thirteen points up on Carlton with a tick over seven minutes to play, and with the conditions making scoring difficult, the Tigers should have had it done and dusted. But a skill error here, a poor decision there and the nightmare was played out again.

Nine losses in 2012 by 21 points or less, the past three by a total of just 10, is enough to rip morale to pieces in even the most resilient unit. And perhaps now, with the finals flame extinguished, that might happen.

But it doesn't take too much logic, or research, to find case studies echoing the Tigers', and evidence that in the longer term, this year's excruciating frustration might even be the making of them.

Take one of their rivals right now, North Melbourne. The Kangaroos last year lost seven games by 17 points or less. This season, they've lost a couple more by a kick. But they've also won four narrow scapes, again by 17 points or fewer, and are more likely than not to turn a frustrating finish of ninth in the past two years into a finals appearance in 2012.

Going back further, Essendon in 1980 lost nine games by 14 points or fewer, finishing more than four games out of finals contention with 10 wins. In 1981, the Bombers, with more or less the same list, won 16, and on the eve of that season's finals series was a joint flag favourite.

In 1978, Fitzroy managed to lose eight games by 11 points or less, seven of those defeats coming within the first 11 rounds, a finish of ninth in a 12-team competition the consequence. The following season, the Roys exorcised those demons with some thumping victories and nearly doubled their win tally to 15, winning an elimination final besides.

Those Richmond sceptics heartily sick of the talk of the future will point out those latter two examples also changed coaches. That's not on in this case. Hardwick has a very solid foundation with which to work.

The Tigers could certainly use another key forward, another defender and perhaps even another midfielder. But what they need most is simply a little more time - to develop, hone further their skills and iron out the remaining chinks.

Twelve or 13 more goals spread across nine games and we'd be talking about a team close to the top of the ladder. And however painful this year has proved for the Tiger army, it also should be tangible proof they're within touching distance of something a lot more substantial.

THE WRAP

ADELAIDE
Crows left too much to too few and may lose one of them (Thompson) for a couple of weeks.
RUN HOME: Ess (AS), Frem (AS), BL (Gabba), Melb (MCG), GC (AS)

BRISBANE
Lions turned it up in the second half, last quarter a cakewalk for home side. No positives.
RUN HOME: Rich (G), Carl (ES), Adel (G), PA (AS), WB (G)

CARLTON
Gritty stuff by the weakened Blues, still finals chance, but huge test looming against Sydney.
RUN HOME: Syd (ES), BL (ES), Ess (MCG), GC (MS), StK (ES)

COLLINGWOOD
Good confidence-builder for out-of-sorts Cloke, good percentage builder for side which needs it.
RUN HOME: StK (MCG), Syd (ANZ), NM (ES), WC (PS), Ess (MCG)

ESSENDON
All falling apart for the Bombers, more injuries, confidence shot and horror run still looming.
RUN HOME: Adel (AS), NM (ES), Carl (MCG), Rich (MCG), Coll (MCG)

FREMANTLE
Impressive record on road continues, important return from Fyfe, Dockers right back in finals hunt.
RUN HOME: WC (PS), Adel (AS), Rich (PS), NM (ES), Mel (PS)

GEELONG
Cats clawing back to a lot nearer their best, but real acid test coming on Friday against red-hot Hawks.
RUN HOME: Haw (MCG), WC (PS), StK (ES), WB (SS), Syd (SS)

GOLD COAST
Held the fort in the first half, ran up the white flag in the second, Ablett again with too much on plate.
RUN HOME: Melb (MCG), GWS (MS), Haw (MCG), Carl (MS), Adel (AS)

GREATER WESTERN SYDNEY
Youngsters' inability to match it with senior company for four quarters becoming painful to watch.
RUN HOME: PA (SK), GC (MS), Melb (MO), StK (ES), NM (SK)

HAWTHORN
Becoming a juggernaut with great pressure, superb skills and plenty of scoring power. Running hot.
RUN HOME: Geel (MCG), PA (AU), GC (MCG), Syd (SCG), WC (MCG)

MELBOURNE
Never in it, usual suspects left to do the work, poor effort for veteran Green's milestone match.
RUN HOME: GC (MCG), StK (MCG), GWS (MO), Adel (MCG), Frem (PS)

NORTH MELBOURNE
Efficient enough win over also-ran, skipper Swallow particularly impressive, forward line potent.
RUN HOME: WB (ES), Ess (ES), Coll (ES), Frem (ES), GWS (SK)

PORT ADELAIDE

Pathetic effort from Power on home soil, two goals to three-quarter time a dismal return from disinterested team.
RUN HOME: GWS (SK), Haw (AU), WC (AS), BL (AS), Rich (MCG)

RICHMOND
Finals flame officially extinguished after another heart-breaking loss, paid price for late errors.
RUN HOME: BL (G), WB (MCG), Frem (PS), Ess (MCG), PA (MCG)

ST KILDA
A feast for the Saints' veterans in Goddard's 200th. Sloppy conversion, but fundamentals very sound.
RUN HOME: Coll (MCG), Melb (MCG), Geel (ES), GWS (ES), Carl (ES)

SYDNEY
Few injury issues emerging, but Swans continued to get job done without fuss and plenty of efficiency.
RUN HOME: Carl (ES), Coll (ANZ), WB (ES), Haw (SCG), Geel (SS)

WEST COAST
Wonderful last term did plenty to restore Eagles' confidence, and build all-important percentage.
RUN HOME: Frem (PS), Geel (PS), PA (AS), Coll (PS), Haw (MCG)

WESTERN BULLDOGS
Turning into a dismal season for Dogs, can't score and consistently running out of gas come finish.
RUN HOME: NM (ES), Rich (MCG), Syd (ES), Geel (SS), BL (G)

14 comments

  • Oh well, at least we get an easy one, we play Esserdon soon.

    Commenter
    manny
    Location
    willowgrove sth
    Date and time
    July 30, 2012, 11:48AM
    • The Gold Coast was an "easy one" too, and Carlton are much worse of than Essendon... I don't think easy games are what you need, you need some tougher ones so the foot never lifts from the pedal.

      Commenter
      Jessica
      Date and time
      July 30, 2012, 12:17PM
  • I have been a tiger supporter since 1955 and except for a short period in the late sixties early seventies they have always been crap' I could never understand how they could be so unskillfull so inept such fumblers,their recruiting is the worst any sporting team in the world has ever had and their coaches are pathetic.They got so bad in the eighties that i stopped watching or attending any games at all and over the past 30 years have virtually ignored AFL,and from this article it is clear that the Richmond football club has not changed one bit but i guess that the ladder needs someone to hold it up and richmond has proven they are very capable of doing that year after year.

    Commenter
    greden
    Date and time
    July 30, 2012, 12:24PM
    • I know nothing about football but I can say, as an ex Richmond suppporter I am stoked I converted to Carlton. Go Blues 2012 and beyond. CJ is hot!

      Commenter
      Ian Hay of Newcastle
      Date and time
      July 30, 2012, 12:32PM
      • Sigh 30 years, now going to 31.

        Commenter
        Sad tiger
        Date and time
        July 30, 2012, 12:32PM
        • Just give the tigers more time Rohan? I was 6 years old in 1980. Thats enough time don't you think? I wish I had have been born a few years later and followed Hawthorn, or even Essendon.

          Commenter
          GT
          Location
          Melbourne
          Date and time
          July 30, 2012, 12:38PM
          • Here we go, the media mugs who bought into the pre-season Richmond delusion are now making excuses for their totally incorrect predictions.

            A few of us pointed out that Richmond would only improve incrementally this year - and virtually ALL of the 2012 improvement has been on the back of 3 recruits, Maric, Morris & Ellis, so the rest of the list has basically done nothing extra this season.

            Face the facts that a club that is so deluded that they continually sign up totally unnecessary contract extensions on the basis of what *might* happen is long odds to ever really improve - and the excuses served up when the failure cycle reoccurs are just worthless.

            Commenter
            DC
            Location
            Melbourne
            Date and time
            July 30, 2012, 12:58PM
            • Just for the record, DC, I had Richmond 14th on my pre-season ladder, so hardly think that constitutes delusional!

              Commenter
              Rohan Connolly
              Date and time
              July 30, 2012, 5:52PM
          • The problem with Richmond is that they reward mediocrity. The same players make the same mistakes week in, week out but are guaranteed a game. What other job -- maybe politics or investment banking (?) -- is incompetence rewarded? The Richmond game plan is a high possession one yet they don't have the skills to implement it -- and whatever ball handling ability they have totally disappears as soon as it gets a bit slippery. But the club persists in this game plan and persists in playing blokes who have shown for years they don't have the ability to implement it.

            In addition to the generally poor skills, is their any other club that has more players that fall over in a contest? Rule number one -- keep your feet in a contest if at all possible. We have blokes who seem to figure that to show how desperate they are they will fall over -- at times, maybe 1 out of 5, it is warranted (e.g. Martin to force an out of bounds) -- but most of the time it give the opposition an advantage.

            The game plan to beat Richmond is simple: 1) heavy tag on Cotchin and Deledio; 2) get in Reiwoldt's ear and have the full back engage him in wrestling; 3) try to make Richmond use Rance or Dea to clear the ball out of defense because you know they'll make poor decisions or poor execution and the ball will be turned over. Game over.

            The best example of where Richmond is at is that Jackson is part of the leadership group: a serial offender for undisciplined acts and at best a mediocre ball user.

            Commenter
            yellow & black
            Date and time
            July 30, 2012, 1:05PM
            • I agree Rohan, its been a noticable improvement on last year which was a niticable improvement from the week before. It's been a tough year for me as a supporter because we've been in EVERY single game and I've gone home disappointing more than half the time. Instead of the occasional heartbrake, it's every single week. I remember in years gone by we'd have 1/3 of our matches where we are completely uncompetitive and never a chance of wining all day. It sucked, but it wasn't so painful. Our best 22 is quality but the cupboard is bare after that. We need time for guys like conca, ellis, batchelor, elton etc to really come good, pick up a few more role players like morris and Maric, and turnover some deadwood who don't deserve to wear the jumper. As much as I'm hurting, we're on the right track.

              Commenter
              Mick
              Location
              Melb
              Date and time
              July 30, 2012, 1:11PM

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              Comments are now closed

              AFL 2015

              Round 1
              Thu, 02 AprTimes shown AEDT
              CAR 78vs RIC 105 Report Stats
              Sat, 04 AprTimes shown AEDT
              MEL 115vs GCF 89 Stats
              SYD 72vs ESS 60 Stats
              BRI 74vs COL 86 Stats
              WBU 97vs WCE 87 Stats
              Sun, 05 AprTimes shown AEST
              STK 78vs GWS 87 Stats
              ADE 140vs NTH 63 Stats
              FRE 75vs PTA 68 Stats
              Mon, 06 AprTimes shown AEST
              HAW 123vs GEE 61 Stats
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              Round 2
              Fri, 10 AprTimes shown AEST
              WCE 131vs CAR 62 Stats
              Sat, 11 AprTimes shown AEST
              RIC 66vs WBU 85 Report Stats
              GWS 101vs MEL 56 Stats
              COL 63vs ADE 90 Report Stats
              GCF 76vs STK 104 Stats
              PTA 44vs SYD 92 Stats
              Sun, 12 AprTimes shown AEST
              GEE 60vs FRE 104 Stats
              ESS 78vs HAW 76 Stats
              NTH 133vs BRI 51 Stats
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              Round 3
              Fri, 17 AprTimes shown AEST
              COL 140vs STK 66 Stats
              Sat, 18 AprTimes shown AEST
              CAR 84vs ESS 105 Stats
              ADE 80vs MEL 55 Stats
              SYD 111vs GWS 90 Report Stats
              NTH 105vs PTA 113 Stats
              BRI 58vs RIC 137 Stats
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              HAW 127vs WBU 57 Stats
              GEE 105vs GCF 96 Stats
              WCE 81vs FRE 111 Stats
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              Fri, 24 AprTimes shown AEST
              RIC 51vs MEL 83 Stats
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              STK 81vs CAR 121 Report Report Stats
              ESS 49vs COL 69 Report Stats
              GWS 119vs GCF 53 Stats
              PTA 99vs HAW 91 Stats
              FRE 74vs SYD 60 Stats
              Sun, 26 AprTimes shown AEST
              BRI 65vs WCE 118 Stats
              GEE 67vs NTH 83 Stats
              WBU 125vs ADE 68 Stats
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              Round 5
              Fri, 01 MayTimes shown AEST
              CAR 45vs COL 120 Stats
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              RIC 76vs GEE 85 Stats
              SYD 73vs WBU 77 Stats
              GCF 118vs BRI 54 Stats
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              WCE 120vs GWS 33 Stats
              Sun, 03 MayTimes shown AEST
              MEL 50vs FRE 118 Stats
              STK 80vs ESS 82 Stats
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              Fri, 08 MayTimes shown AEST
              COL 59vs GEE 100 Stats
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              NTH 109vs RIC 74 Stats
              WBU 87vs STK 94 Stats
              GWS 108vs HAW 98 Stats
              GCF 78vs ADE 119 Stats
              MEL 50vs SYD 88 Stats
              FRE 80vs ESS 52 Stats
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              CAR 75vs BRI 84 Report Stats
              PTA 68vs WCE 78 Stats
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              Round 7
              Fri, 15 MayTimes shown AEST
              ESS 82vs NTH 93 Stats
              Sat, 16 MayTimes shown AEST
              ADE 119vs STK 73 Stats
              HAW 155vs MEL 50 Stats
              CAR 57vs GWS 135 Stats
              SYD 120vs GEE 77 Stats
              WCE 135vs GCF 43 Stats
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              WBU 88vs FRE 101 Stats
              RIC 105vs COL 100 Stats
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              Round 8
              Fri, 22 MayTimes shown AEST
              GEE 140vs CAR 63 Report Stats
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              STK 78vs WCE 131 Report Stats
              GWS 108vs ADE 84 Report Stats
              GCF 63vs COL 132 Report Stats
              HAW 69vs SYD 73 Report Stats
              FRE 115vs NTH 42 Report Stats
              Sun, 24 MayTimes shown AEST
              ESS 136vs BRI 78 Report Stats
              MEL 103vs WBU 64 Report Stats
              PTA 43vs RIC 76 Report Stats
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              Round 9
              Fri, 29 MayTimes shown AEST
              SYD 122vs CAR 62 Report Stats
              Sat, 30 MayTimes shown AEST
              HAW 93vs GCF 40 Report Stats
              MEL 54vs PTA 115 Report Stats
              WBU 113vs GWS 68 Report Stats
              RIC 72vs ESS 59 Report Stats
              ADE 57vs FRE 68 Report Stats
              Sun, 31 MayTimes shown AEST
              BRI 86vs STK 108 Report Stats
              COL 112vs NTH 95 Report Stats
              WCE 120vs GEE 64 Report Stats
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              Round 10
              Fri, 05 JunTimes shown AEST
              FRE 70vs RIC 97 Report Stats
              Sat, 06 JunTimes shown AEST
              CAR 90vs ADE 99 Report Stats
              GCF 41vs SYD 93 Report Stats
              ESS 53vs GEE 122 Report Stats
              PTA 100vs WBU 62 Report Stats
              Sun, 07 JunTimes shown AEST
              GWS 97vs BRI 67 Report Stats
              NTH 85vs WCE 75 Report Stats
              STK 69vs HAW 132 Report Stats
              Mon, 08 JunTimes shown AEST
              MEL 85vs COL 110 Report Stats
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              Round 11
              Fri, 12 JunTimes shown AEST
              PTA 69vs GEE 92 Report Stats
              Sat, 13 JunTimes shown AEST
              GCF 46vs FRE 53 Report Stats
              WCE 96vs ESS 46 Report Stats
              NTH 75vs SYD 91 Report Report Stats
              Sun, 14 JunTimes shown AEST
              COL 119vs GWS 77 Report Stats
              STK 85vs MEL 83 Report Stats
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              Round 12
              Thu, 18 JunTimes shown AEST
              ADE 85vs HAW 114 Report Stats
              Fri, 19 JunTimes shown AEST
              RIC 70vs WCE 90 Report Stats
              Sat, 20 JunTimes shown AEST
              CAR 110vs PTA 106 Report Stats
              GWS 61vs NTH 117 Report Stats
              WBU 146vs BRI 74 Report Stats
              Sun, 21 JunTimes shown AEST
              GEE 89vs MEL 113 Report Stats
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              Round 13
              Thu, 25 JunTimes shown AEST
              FRE 80vs COL 73 Report Stats
              Fri, 26 JunTimes shown AEST
              SYD 77vs RIC 95 Report Stats
              Sat, 27 JunTimes shown AEST
              HAW 114vs ESS 76 Report Stats
              BRI 69vs ADE 82 Report Stats
              STK 56vs WBU 62 Report Stats
              Sun, 28 JunTimes shown AEST
              CAR 103vs GCF 69 Report Stats
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              Round 14
              Thu, 02 JulTimes shown AEST
              SYD 94vs PTA 84 Report Stats
              Fri, 03 JulTimes shown AEST
              COL 91vs HAW 101 Report Stats
              Sat, 04 JulTimes shown AEST
              RIC 78vs GWS 69 Report Stats
              GCF 125vs NTH 70 Report Stats
              WBU 64vs CAR 53 Report Stats
              MEL 60vs WCE 114 Report Stats
              Sun, 05 JulTimes shown AEST
              ESS 52vs STK 162 Stats
              ADE vs GEE 15:20Adelaide Oval
              FRE 84vs BRI 48 Report Stats
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              Round 15
              Thu, 09 JulTimes shown AEST
              PTA 66vs COL 63 Report Stats
              Fri, 10 JulTimes shown AEST
              RIC 71vs CAR 41 Report Stats
              Sat, 11 JulTimes shown AEST
              ESS 69vs MEL 60 Report Stats
              WBU 95vs GCF 73 Report Stats
              NTH 120vs GEE 79 Report Stats
              WCE 147vs ADE 91 Report Stats
              Sun, 12 JulTimes shown AEST
              GWS 84vs STK 49 Report Stats
              HAW 115vs FRE 43 Report Stats
              BRI 49vs SYD 70 Report Stats
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              Round 16
              Fri, 17 JulTimes shown AEST
              NTH 93vs ESS 68 Report Stats
              Sat, 18 JulTimes shown AEST
              GEE 72vs WBU 64 Report Stats
              GCF 79vs GWS 94 Report Stats
              COL 56vs WCE 87 Report Stats
              SYD 57vs HAW 146 Report Stats
              FRE 95vs CAR 53 Report Stats
              Sun, 19 JulTimes shown AEST
              MEL 60vs BRI 36 Report Stats
              PTA 113vs ADE 116 Report Stats
              STK 73vs RIC 89 Report Stats
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              Round 17
              Fri, 24 JulTimes shown AEST
              CAR 35vs HAW 173 Report Stats
              Sat, 25 JulTimes shown AEST
              GWS 42vs GEE 69 Stats
              ADE 125vs GCF 80 Stats
              RIC 78vs FRE 82 Stats
              ESS 116vs PTA 129 Stats
              BRI 38vs NTH 110 Report Stats
              Sun, 26 JulTimes shown AEST
              WBU 104vs COL 86 Report Stats
              MEL 46vs STK 83 Report Stats
              WCE 103vs SYD 51 Report Stats
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              Round 18
              Fri, 31 JulTimes shown AEST
              HAW 53vs RIC 71 Report Stats
              Sat, 01 AugTimes shown AEST
              GEE 113vs BRI 57 Stats
              COL 54vs MEL 91 Report Stats
              SYD 117vs ADE 65 Report Stats
              CAR 54vs NTH 118 Report Stats
              GCF 83vs WCE 83 Report Stats
              Sun, 02 AugTimes shown AEST
              PTA 112vs STK 49 Report Stats
              ESS 40vs WBU 127 Report Stats
              FRE 84vs GWS 63 Report Stats
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              Round 19
              Fri, 07 AugTimes shown AEST
              ADE ($2.15)vs RIC ($1.70) 19:50Adelaide Oval
              Sat, 08 AugTimes shown AEST
              COL ($1.22)vs CAR ($4.35) 13:45MCG
              WBU ($1.73)vs PTA ($2.10) 14:10ES
              BRI ($2.45)vs GCF ($1.55) 16:35G
              GEE ($2.15)vs SYD ($1.70) 19:20SS
              WCE ($2.20)vs HAW ($1.67) 19:40Domain Stadium
              Sun, 09 AugTimes shown AEST
              MEL ($3.80)vs NTH ($1.27) 13:10MCG
              GWS ($1.33)vs ESS ($3.35) 15:20Spotless Stadium
              STK ($3.70)vs FRE ($1.28) 16:40ES
              View All Fixtures
              Round 20
              Fri, 14 AugTimes shown AEST
              SYD ($1.25)vs COL ($3.70) 19:50SCG
              Sat, 15 AugTimes shown AEST
              ESS ($2.50)vs ADE ($1.50) 13:45ES
              NTH ($1.28)vs STK ($3.50) 14:10BA
              PTA ($1.25)vs GWS ($3.70) 16:35Adelaide Oval
              GEE ($4.30)vs HAW ($1.20) 19:20MCG
              BRI ($1.70)vs CAR ($2.10) 19:20G
              Sun, 16 AugTimes shown AEST
              RIC ($1.15)vs GCF ($5.00) 13:10MCG
              WBU ($1.33)vs MEL ($3.15) 15:20ES
              FRE ($1.87)vs WCE ($1.87) 16:40Domain Stadium
              View All Fixtures
              Round 21
              Fri, 21 AugTimes shown AEST
              HAW ($1.18)vs PTA ($4.60) 19:50ES
              Sat, 22 AugTimes shown AEST
              COL ($2.35)vs RIC ($1.55) 13:45MCG
              GWS ($3.50)vs SYD ($1.28) 14:10Spotless Stadium
              GCF ($1.40)vs ESS ($2.95) 16:35MS
              STK ($2.80)vs GEE ($1.40) 19:20ES
              ADE ($1.08)vs BRI ($6.75) 19:40Adelaide Oval
              Sun, 23 AugTimes shown AEST
              NTH ($2.00)vs FRE ($1.75) 13:10ES
              CAR ($2.25)vs MEL ($1.60) 15:20MCG
              WCE ($1.18)vs WBU ($4.60) 16:40Domain Stadium
              View All Fixtures
              Round 22
              Fri, 28 AugTimes shown AEST
              GEE ($1.50)vs COL ($2.50) 19:50MCG
              Sat, 29 AugTimes shown AEST
              GWS ($1.22)vs CAR ($3.70) 13:45Spotless Stadium
              HAW ($1.01)vs BRI ($13.00) 14:10AS
              NTH ($1.70)vs WBU ($2.10) 16:35ES
              ESS ($5.00)vs RIC ($1.15) 19:20MCG
              GCF ($2.50)vs PTA ($1.50) 19:20MS
              Sun, 30 AugTimes shown AEST
              ADE ($2.95)vs WCE ($1.38) 13:10Adelaide Oval
              STK ($3.80)vs SYD ($1.25) 15:20ES
              FRE ($1.07)vs MEL ($7.50) 16:40Domain Stadium
              View All Fixtures
              Round 23
              Fri, 04 SepTimes shown AEST
              COL ($1.50)vs ESS ($2.50) 00:00MCG
              RIC ($1.70)vs NTH ($2.10) 00:00ES
              HAW ($1.01)vs CAR ($13.00) 00:00MCG
              GEE ($1.50)vs ADE ($2.50) 00:00SS
              SYD ($1.05)vs GCF ($8.00) 00:00SCG
              MEL ($1.87)vs GWS ($1.87) 00:00ES
              BRI ($3.05)vs WBU ($1.35) 00:00G
              PTA ($2.15)vs FRE ($1.65) 00:30Adelaide Oval
              WCE ($1.06)vs STK ($8.00) 02:00Domain Stadium
              View All Fixtures
              AFL 2015
              Overall standings
              Team P W L D % Pts
              Fremantle 17 15 2 0 127.06 60
              West Coast Eagles 17 13 3 1 154.43 54
              Hawthorn 17 12 5 0 164.23 48
              Sydney Swans 17 12 5 0 115.86 48
              Western Bulldogs 17 11 6 0 113.12 44
              Richmond 17 11 6 0 112.43 44
              North Melbourne 17 10 7 0 107.19 40
              Geelong Cats 16 9 7 0 102.42 38
              View all
               

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