Historical random fact of the week – Tomorrow will mark 15 years since the chaos of Sirengate between Fremantle and St Kilda at York Park, also remembered for Fraser Gehrig giving away a 150m penalty for belting David Mundy and Antoni Grover
With Fremantle successfully having the result overturned at the AFL Commission later that week, Sirengate was the first time in 106 years that a result had been overturned on appeal, and funnily enough, both games involved St Kilda.
The original overturned result was in Round 1, 1900, in which St Kilda drew 68 apiece with Melbourne, but the Saints successfully protested that Melbourne had scored a behind after the umpire didn’t correctly signal for 3/4 time when the bell rang, giving the Saints a 1-point win.
That also happened to go down in history as St Kilda’s first win in the VFL, after losing their first 48 games…. They promptly lost their next 27 straight games, and ended up winning just 2 of their first 100 games in the VFL.
As we can tell by this season, not much has changed since.
Richmond (7th) vs Western Bulldogs (1st) at the MCG, Friday 7:50pm AEST
For the first time since the end of 2016, Richmond have lost consecutive games at the MCG, and the last time the Tigers lost more than three games in a row at the home of footy was at the start of the same season, when they lost 4 in a row, until Sam Lloyd kicked a goal after the siren against Sydney in Round 8 to end the drought.
The last time the Tigers played the Dogs at the MCG was the final round of 2018, when the Tigers won a gripping contest by only 3 points, as Bulldog Brad Lynch hit the post from a snap with 23 seconds to go…. He never played for the Dogs again.
This will be only be the ninth time since 2010 that Richmond has played a game without Dustin Martin – The Tigers have a 4-4 record without the 3-time Norm Smith Medalist.
The Bulldogs’ 6-0 start matches their longest winning streak during Luke Beveridge’s tenure as coach, alongside the run from the 2016 Elimination Final through to Round 2 of 2017.
In addition to maintaining top spot on the ladder, the Dogs’ percentage of 175.28% is also the best by any club after 6 games since Collingwood in 2011, who were also undefeated, and had a percentage of 178.11%.
And finally, the Dogs have one of the best recent records of any team against the Tigers, winning 5 of the 7 meetings since 2014, although the Tiges did towel them up in Round 9 at Carrara last season, thanks to Dusty’s usual masterclass.
Collingwood (17th) vs Gold Coast (11th) at the MCG, Saturday 1:45pm AEST
With their defeat to Essendon on Anzac Day, Round 6 marked the first time Collingwood have sat 17th on the ladder after a round since Round 1 of 2016, and 2021 also marks the first year the Magpies have started a season 1-5 since 2005, when they won just 5 games and finished 15th, avoiding the wooden spoon by half-a-game to Carlton.
This is the Gold Coast’s first game at the MCG since Round 20 of 2019 – Coincidentally, that game was also against Collingwood, and the Suns have only won 3 times at The ‘G from 14 visits in their history.
They defeated Melbourne in both Round 7 2013 and Round 5 2014, plus Hawthorn in Round 12 of 2017, and an unsurprising fact is that in all 3 of those wins, Gary Ablett was voted best afield.
Keeping this train going, the last time the Suns defeated Collingwood was back in Round 16 of 2014 at Carrara, the very same game when Gazza dislocated his shoulder and missed the rest of the season, changing the entire course of history for the Suns, who were on track for their maiden finals appearance.
The win over the Swans was the first time in 65 games that the Suns have scored over 100 points in a game – Their last 3-figure score prior to that was against Carlton in Round 2 of 2018.
Adelaide (9th) vs GWS Giants (14th) at the Adelaide Oval, Saturday 1:40pm ACST
The Giants have only defeated the Crows in Adelaide once from 8 attempts, which came in Round 11 of 2018 at the Adelaide Oval, which was the Giants’ first visit to the City of Churches since they soundly defeated in a Qualifying Final the previous season.
Last week, even in defeat to Hawthorn, Adelaide did make history on a number of fronts:
Most notably, the Crows produced the most accurate start to a game in league history, kicking 14.0 in the 1st Half, and 15 goals straight before Lachie Murphy registered their first behind 5 minutes into the 3rd term.
After some 15,830 games in VFL/AFL history, they became the first team to score exactly 16.3-99.
2020’s No.2 overall pick Riley Thilthorpe became the first player to kick 5 goals on debut since Martin McGrath for Richmond in Round 17 of 2003 – McGrath played only 3 more games, kicked 1 more goal, and was delisted at the end of 2003.
The obvious downside was the Crows kicked only 2 goals in the 2nd Half and blew a 32-point lead to lose by 3 points, becoming the 20th team in history to lose despite kicking 10+ goals in a quarter, and the first since Port Adelaide against Brisbane in Round 21 of 2009, when the Power kicked 10 goals in the 1st Quarter and lost by 15 points.
And finally, former Giants captain Callan Ward equals Jeremy Cameron’s record of 171 games for the club – Ward was also the first Giant to reach the 100 game milestone back in Round 18 of 2016, in a game that was also played at the Adelaide Oval.
St Kilda (16th) vs Hawthorn (15th) at Marvel Stadium, Saturday 4:35pm AEST
The 22nd annual Blue Ribbon Foundation Cup between the Saints and Hawks, established in 1999 after the murders of Sergeant Gary Silk and Senior Constable Rodney Miller in Moorabbin in August of 1998, with the match now used to commemorate fallen police officers on the line of duty.
The story goes that the teams were chosen because Sgt Silk was a Hawthorn member, with St Kilda featuring due to the location of the incident, but perhaps it was fitting that Hawthorn and St Kilda are playing a game recognising police officers, considering the great Allan ‘Yabby’ Jeans, who coached both clubs to premierships, served in the Victoria Police for 28 years.
The game is the only meeting between St Kilda and Hawthorn in 2021, an odd piece of fixturing from the AFL, considering this year marks 50 years since the Hawks and Saints met in the classic 1971 Grand Final, the third-highest attended game in league history, a game in which both clubs were trying to win their 2nd premiership, which ultimately went to the Hawks after coming from 20 points down at 3/4 time, and a concussed Peter Hudson had multiple attempts to kick his 151st goal and pass Bob Pratt’s record….. Only to fluff them all.
Now to the present, and the Saints have won only 5 quarters (Out of 24) through the opening 6 rounds of the season, the fewest of any team thus far in 2021, and the fewest quarters won by a Saints team through 6 rounds since 1995.
For Hawthorn, the win against the Crows marked the second time this year that the Hawks came from 30+ points down in a game to win by under a kick, making 2021 the first season in Alastair Clarkson’s tenure (That we know of) in which the Hawks have recorded multiple 30+ point comebacks.
And, both teams comfortably rank in the Bottom 4 for time spent in the lead of games; Hawthorn are 16th (2h 20m 13s) and St Kilda are 17th (2h 2m 32s), with both at least 2 hours behind 15th-placed GWS (4h 31m 58s) although both teams are both almost an hour clear of last-placed North Melbourne.
Brisbane Lions (8th) vs Port Adelaide (3rd) at the Gabba, Saturday 7:25pm AEST
The winner of this game will take the lead in the head-to-head to between the clubs, which currently sits at 18-2-18 through 38 games, with the Lions having the chance to match their longest winning streak against the Power, which is 4 wins between 2009 and 2012.
Due to his ankle injury and subsequent surgery, Lachie Neale won’t play for the first time since he was traded to the Lions from Fremantle at the end of 2018 – The last time the reigning Brownlow Medalist missed a game was Round 22 of 2017, ending a 72-game streak that was tied for 7th (With Tim Kelly) among active players.
Evening their ledger at 3-3 against Carlton last weekend, the Lions lost a final quarter for the first time in 2021, and managed to take the 4 points despite only winning the 2nd Quarter – Coincidentally, in their two most recent wins against the Blues (Round 18 last season being the other), the only quarter they’ve won has been the 2nd Quarter.
Another uncanny stat is that the Lions have conceded an aggregate score of 11.15-81 through their first 6 final quarters…. They’d conceded the exact same total in final quarters after Round 6 of 2020.
For Port Adelaide, currently embroiled in a black & white war with the AFL, Sunday’s win against St Kilda was the 300th game that Port have played in South Australia since they joined the AFL in 1997.
The Power have won 181 of those games (A 60.3% win rate), and the result (14.9-93 to 5.9-39) was also the second time in 6 rounds this year that the Power have won by exactly 9 goals at home, alongside Round 2 against Essendon, 18.11-119 to 9.11-65.
Finally, The Lions are one of only two teams that the Power haven’t defeated in their most recent match-up… The other team is the West Coast Eagles, who defeated the Power in Round 3.
Sydney Swans (5th) vs Geelong (4th) at the SCG, Saturday 7:25pm AEST
Here’s a few history lessons, involving the Swans and Cats at the SCG:
Gary Ablett Snr still holds the record for the most goals in a game at the SCG, kicking 14 goals in Round 8 of 1994 in a 94 point win to the Cats…. No other player in the game kicked more than 2.
The Swans and Cats twice set the SCG crowd record for an AFL game, first of all in Round 14 of 1996, when 44,047 people came to witness the Plugger vs God game between Tony Lockett and Gary Ablett Snr, in which the Swans won easily thanks to 6 goals from Plugger, as Gazza kicked 2, stranding him on 999 league goals.
The next year, 46,168 fans attended the Round 22 meeting, which Geelong won by 10 points, with that crowd standing as an SCG record for 20 years, until it was bettered by the 46,323 strong crowd from the Sydney-Essendon Elimination Final in 2017.
South Melbourne’s first league game at the SCG (Prior to them relocating to Sydney) was against Geelong in Round 12 of 1980, when the Cats defeated the Swans by 63 points.
On the other hand, Geelong’s first game at the SCG was against Carlton in 1903.
In a completely boring story, the game was set to be played in Round 2 (May 9), but a railway strike meant the Blues couldn’t travel down to Sleepy Hollow, and eventually the VFL decided to bring the game to Sydney, scheduling it at the SCG on Saturday August 1, at a time when rugbaleeg was still 3 years away from being formed at Bateman’s Hotel.
However, due to heavy rain, it was postponed until the Monday (August 3), when the ‘Pivotonians’ finally won by 10 points, and thus, after 3 months, Round 2 of 1903 was completed.
Moving on to more modern times, this game will be the Swans co-captain Josh Kennedy’s 100th game at the SCG, with his old teammate Adam Goodes holding the record for most appearances at the ground, with 143.
North Melbourne (18th) vs Melbourne (2nd) at Blundstone Arena, Sunday 1:10pm AEST
After last weekend’s Hawthorn-Adelaide contest in Launceston marked the return of the AFL to Tasmania after an 18-month hiatus, the Roos have been given the all-clear by the Tasmanian government to play the first AFL game in Hobart since Round 23 of 2019 – Coincidentally, that was also North Melbourne against Melbourne, with the Roos winning by 5 points after Alex Neal-Bullen hit the post in the dying seconds, when a goal would’ve seen the game end in a draw.
But, the main random fact out of this game – As if it were akin to conquering the Final Frontier, Melbourne have never won a game for premiership points in Tasmania.
The Demons are yet to play a game against Hawthorn at York Park (Although they have played pre-season games in Lonny), they played once at North Hobart Oval in Round 8 of 1991, when they lost to Fizroy by 20 points, and they’ve lost all 3 games at Bellerive Oval, each time by under a goal to the Kangas.
5 points in Round 3 of 2016, 4 points in Round 19 of 2017, and the aforementioned 2019 game by 5 points.
If the Dees do win on Sunday, they’ll join Fremantle (2019), Port Adelaide (2014), West Coast (2015) and the Western Bulldogs (2008) as the only clubs to complete the full set of a win for premiership points of all the major States & Territory of Australia.
Essendon (12th) vs Carlton (13th) at the MCG, Sunday 3:20pm AEST
This is the 250th meeting between the age old rivals Essendon and Carlton, including their 20 finals meetings, among them 6 Grand Finals.
Carlton vs Collingwood is the only other matchup to have recorded at least 250 games, so consider this a milestone.
The Bluebaggers head the ledger 125-6-118 through the first 249 meetings, with the Blues also leading the For-Against by only 67 points (19,776 to the Dons’ 19,709) after 124 years, and the teams’ 6 draws are tied with Carlton and South Melbourne/Sydney for the most drawn games between two teams in league history.
Speaking of milestones, fresh off winning the Anzac Medal, Darcy Parish will play his 100th game for the Bombers….
And finally, neither team has won consecutive games against the other since Essendon did so in 2013-14, with Carlton winning last year’s game in Round 4 by a solitary point at the MCG, after Jacob Townsend had a set shot from outside 50 to win the game, only for Liam Jones to falcon through a rushed behind with 6 seconds to go.
It was the first 1 point result between the teams since the rather memorable 1999 Preliminary Final, so on that note, we can probably pencil the Bombers in for a win.
West Coast Eagles (10th) vs Fremantle (6th) at Optus Stadium, Sunday 2:40pm AWST
Full crowd, half crowd or no crowd, it’s time for Western Derby 52 between the big brother and little brother of WA football, and it’s a big occasion for West Coast as Shannon Hurn returns from injury to assume the outright record of games played for the Eagles, in what will be his 291st game, breaking the tie with Dean Cox on 290.
As many Freo fans are painfully aware, the Eagles have won the last 10 Derbies dating back to 2015 by an average of 37 points, which bested the previous record of the Eagles winning the first 9 Western Derbies between 1995 and 1999.
The Dockers’ longest winning run against the Eagles is 7 games between 2007 and 2010, and it should be remembered that Freo did get within a game of tying the Derby ledger for the first time in 2015, when it stood at 21-20 after the Dockers won in Round 3, only for the current Eagles run to begin in Round 20 of that year, when Chris Masten and Alex Silvagni both got sent to the Tribunal for separate incidents.
This Derby is the 72nd VFL/AFL game to be played at Optus Stadium, which matches the number of VFL/AFL games played at the WACA Ground between 1987 and 2000.
Coming into the game, the Eagles were annihilated by 97 points by Geelong at Kardinia Park, narrowly avoiding their first 100-point defeat since Round 13 of 2018, when the Cats defeated them by 135 points at Subiaco, which remains the Eagles’ biggest home defeat in their history.
Still, it was the Eagles’ worst defeat since St Kilda defeated them by 97 points at Docklands in Round 3 of 2009, and means that for the third consecutive year, the Eagles have started a season 3-3.
Enjoying his late career renaissance, David Mundy took the outright lead in the AFLCA Coaches’ Votes with another perfect 10 votes against North Melbourne, and at 35 years of age, he’s now the oldest player to lead the Coaches’ Votes after a round:
It was also the fourth time this season the player known as Barra polled the maximum 10 votes in a game… No other player has more than 2.
And, Matt Taberner is one of only 3 players to kick multiple goals in all 6 games so far – Aaron Naughton and Taylor Walker are the other two players.