St Kilda's Tom Ledger. Photo: Sebastian Costanzo
It won't get that much attention, but a really good news story out of round 22 had to be the selection and then performance of St Kilda little man Tom Ledger, a tribute to persistence. The continued overlooking of the talented Sandgroper this season, despite his obvious skill and prolific ball-winning at VFL level, has been a mystery to many. But after continuing to plug away with Sandringham, Ledger got his chance as a late inclusion against Gold Coast, and after coming on in the dying moments of the third quarter as substitute, he managed to pick up 11 possessions and kick a goal, after which he was mobbed by teammates.
Carlton might get into the finals by default, but there were more than a few Blues' fans openly wishing that wasn't the case after Saturday night's lame finish against Essendon. Poor finishing meant a game that should have been all sewn up was still up for grabs in the final term. And while mistakes by youngsters like Levi Casboult and Andrew McInnes didn't help, more culpable were the disappearing acts of skipper Marc Murphy, Bryce Gibbs, Eddie Betts and Chris Yarran, that quartet with just a dozen possessions between them in the last quarter, and the latter trio all fluffing or not taking opportunities to ice the game. Poor effort.
Has any popular premiership fancy stunk it up as badly as has West Coast in 2013? I was one of a score of people who fell for the lure of the Eagles' midfield depth and army of talls, and feeling suitably ripped off as a result. Yes, injuries haven't helped the cause, but all season the lack of intensity and commitment from those who have been fit and able has been palpable, and West Coast's last two efforts against Geelong and Collingwood have been little short of pathetic, delivering a total of 11 goals. West Coast hasn't just put the cue in the rack, it's already packed up the table and gone on summer vacation.
Some light at the end of an ordinary year. Thompson returned to best, more encouraging are six goals to Johnston and great games from rookies Crouch and Grigg.
Lions nearly blew the unloseable, all but surrendering a 57-point lead, kicking just two goals in second half. Rockliff strong, co-skipper Adcock steady.
Very ordinary effort from inaccurate Blues given what was at stake. Leaders particularly inconspicuous when Bombers threw down the gauntlet.
Efficient enough demolition of insipid Eagles launched with eight-goal first term. Pendlebury and Swan stars, Cloke and Reid effective.
Might not count for much in the end, but Bombers got their spirit back in great comeback. Watson, Goddard led charge, Zaharakis came good.
Dockers beginning to step on scoreboard gas, fourth 100 points plus return in four games. Pavlich and Ballantyne potent, Neale good midfield addition.
Ominous effort against quality opponent. Dominated from outset, Stokes, Selwood midfield drivers, Taylor outstanding in defence.
Disappointing effort in game which could have been won, running out of steam. Ablett held again, but Prestia in 50th game had a decent crack at it.
No contest after quarter-time, conceding 11 goals to zip in second term, beaten Cameron leaving little alternative up forward. Poor effort.
Beaten on the outside early, but cranked things up with seven-goal third term. Hodge terrific, Mitchell busy, Franklin and Roughead good finishers.
Another dismal second half after at least being competitive in first half. Nathan Jones good again and decent signs from Toumpas about all.
Made the early running, but lacked forward firepower, and beaten when Hawks closed game up. Wells terrific, Cunnington dogged.
Well off the pace with shocking one-goal first half, more competitive in second at least. Gray and Cornes had a crack, but not nearly enough helpers.
Glorified training run after quarter-time, Martin, Conca and Grigg the stars, Aaron Edwards pushing claims up forward with five-goal haul.
First win for two months driven by the veterans. Retiring Milne and perennial Riewoldt kicked eight, Montagna and Dal Santo very handy.
Withstood the barrage on scoreboard early, but rendered impotent and never threatened. McVeigh led well, Kennedy busy, not a lot else.
Shocking effort for second week in a row, game done and dusted by quarter time. Rosa prolific but ineffective, Priddis and Selwood at least triers.
Bulldogs shocking early but came home with a rush, with nine goals to two in the second half. Dahlhaus and Liberatore led the revival, but just too late.