AFL leaders Carlton leave Collingwood's season in tatters
COLLINGWOOD'S Australian Football League finals' hopes plummeted with a 22-point hiding from leaders Carlton at the MCG yesterday. The Magpies - one game plus percentage outside the top eight - must win four of their last six games to contest the finals but face a horror run home with matches against leading contenders Geelong, West Coast, Essendon and Richmond. The Blues' masterful full-back Stephen Silvagni shut down Collingwood's burly scoring machine Saverio Rocca to win the all-important encounter, 12.18 (90) to 10.8 (68) in front of 79,000 fans. While the league leaders struggled to kick goals in the absence of champion skipper Stephen Kernahan, Silvagni's fine job on Rocca left the Magpies with even fewer options.
Rocca, the league's second leading goalkicker this season with 67 before the game, took only five marks.
Brisbane staged a Lazarus-like comeback at home yesterday to further damage the September prospects of perennial finalists Hawthorn.
Trailing by 45 points at the last change, the Bears powered home with a strong wind at their back to win 14.20 (104) to 14.13 (97).
After trailing for most of the match Richmond clawed back for an unimpressive seven-point win over Fremantle at Subiaco.
The Tigers won 10.14 (74) to 9.13 (69) to reclaim second position.
Superstar Geelong full-forward Gary Ablett is poised to kick his 100th goal when he plays at home next weekend.
The brilliant veteran kicked 6.9 in the Cats 15.21 (111) to 12.10 (82) win over Melbourne at Princes Park to remain on track to break Bob Pratt's 51-year-old season's record of 150 goals.
Ablett looked set to notch his 100 with ease, effortlessly kicking five before half-time, as the Cats raced to a 52-point lead. However, a combination of blustery conditions and a gritty Melbourne fightback allowed him only one more major.
West Coast returned to the winning list with a runaway 19.8 (122) to 9.10 (64) win over St Kilda at Waverley.
The reigning premiers, who hadn't won since scraping in by one point against Sydney on June 25, dominated from the start, kicking the first six goals. The win puts the Eagles in fifth place.
A dazzling 10-goal third term swept Footscray to a 55-point win over home side Sydney who have been in good form.
After an absorbing goal-for-goal first half, the Bulldogs snatched control at half-time and blitzed the forward line from every avenue. The Bulldogs ran out worthy 21.8 (134) to 12.7 (79) winners.
Adelaide finally gave their parochial fans something to smile about with an 11-point win over North Melbourne.
The Crows, who hadn't won since June 24, took the critical third quarter honors to win 9.11 (65) to 7.12 (54). Elegant Essendon half-forward James Hird turned in another best-on-ground performance in the Bombers' demolition of struggling Fitzroy.
Hird, who has increasingly been compared to Richmond legend Royce Hart amassed 28 possessions, eight marks and four goals to be a 'shortener' in betting for the AFL's fairest and best award, the Brownlow Medal. The Bombes banged on nine goals in the first term to cruise to an easy 22.18 (150) to 12.7 (7) win.