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The Fifth Quarter – Round 20

A resurgent Collingwood and an outstanding performance by Rory Sloane feature in Riley Beveridge's weekly wrap-up of all the weekend's AFL action.

Blues wiped out by plucky Dogs

Carlton’s finals chances for season 2013 are all but over, after a demoralising 28-point loss to a young Bulldogs side.

The Blues sit two games below Port Adelaide, and must now rely on the Power losing its final three games to stand a chance of progressing into September.

Mick Malthouse’s side will have to face tricky tests against Richmond and Essendon in the next fortnight, with a potential mini-final against Port Adelaide in round 23. Meanwhile the Power takes on Gold Coast and Fremantle, before its final match against Carlton.

Rubbing salt into the wounds was a season-ending knee injury to Blues champion Chris Judd and further injury woes, with Matthew Watson and Jeff Garlett also going down.

Here come the Pies

The sleeping giant of the AFL may just be starting to grumble. Written off midway through 2013, Collingwood is starting to find some form.

The Pies comprehensively outworked and outplayed their highly-fancied opponents in Sydney on Saturday night, running out 29-point winners to move within striking distance of the top-four.

Led by more midfield heroics from Scott Pendlebury, Collingwood solidified its premiership credentials with a performance reminiscent of its 2010 form.

Even a six-goal haul from Sydney forward Kurt Tippett couldn’t slow the Pies down, as they made Sydney’s workrate and intensity levels look second-rate. With September only three weeks away, they might just be peaking at the perfect time.


Hitting the wall

For the fourth year in a row, it looks as if Essendon is beginning to hit its end-of-season wall. A severely disappointing 53-point loss to West Coast left the Dons battered and bruised and virtually killed off their top-four hopes.

With the AFL’s verdict on the ASADA findings set to be announced sometime this week, it’s easy to assume that Essendon may have had its mind elsewhere.

Rumours abounded midweek that coach James Hird and his coaching staff were doing more legal work than on-field planning, and those rumours seemed legitimised somewhat by an extremely poor outing.

Essendon looked hopelessly out of ideas entering the forward 50 and lacked a definitive target up forward. However, sadly, that could be the least of its problems by the end of this week.

Roos drop a golden chance

With its finals chances on the line, North Melbourne dropped yet another brilliant opportunity to make up ground on the likes of Port Adelaide, Carlton and West Coast.

After a short burst that gave them the lead late in the third term, the Roos couldn’t hold off a fast-finishing Adelaide which deserved the victory after controlling the majority of the match.

North’s defeat was its ninth by under 16 points this season, and drops it to eleventh on the ladder. However it remains just a game behind Carlton in ninth, which may just get September action this season pending the Essendon investigation.

Player of the Week – Rory Sloane

With the game on the line on Sunday afternoon, Rory Sloane was there to stand up and be counted. The 23-year-old Crows midfielder ran himself into the ground in helping the Crows get over the line against the Kangaroos in a truly superb individual performance.

Sloane racked up 28 disposals (15 contested), eight tackles, eight inside 50s and kicked two goals in a very impressive performance at AAMI Stadium. Time and time again he willed himself to the contest and it ultimately paid dividends, with the Crows winning by nine points.

The youngster also took a ripping contested grab late in the match, which helped stunt North Melbourne’s momentum.

With Patrick Dangerfield having issues with a sore shoulder recently, Sloane has stepped up and deserves the accolade of Player of the Week.


Riley Beveridge is a second-year Bachelor of Sports Journalism student at La Trobe University. You can follow him on Twitter: @RileyBev


(Photo: Twitter – @WLudbey)


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