Top AFL eight almost finalised - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Top AFL eight almost finalised

By John Salvado 10/08/2003 08:59:11 PM Comments (0)

A record goal haul by Essendon spearhead Matthew Lloyd and the most important point of Fremantle recruit Des Headland's career have gone a long way towards finalising the AFL top eight.

With three rounds remaining, the ninth-placed Kangaroos are a game and a half adrift of the resurgent eighth-ranked Bombers.

The two WA clubs and Essendon will start next week's matches as raging favourites against teams wallowing in the bottom third of the ladder.

If they all win, the worst fears of the Victorian old guard will be realised, with the six interstate teams to contest the finals for the first time.

Port Adelaide took three quarters to see off a persistent Carlton challenge before powering away to a 18.17 (125) to 12.9 (81) victory, all but sewing up the minor premiership.

But the real drama was happening elsewhere.

Lloyd's 11 goals in the 22.15 (147) to 12.8 (80) demolition of the Western Bulldogs at Telstra Dome was the biggest individual return in an AFL match since then-West Coast spearhead Scott Cummings booted 14 against Adelaide three years ago.

Lloyd's eighth goal also took him past Simon Madden as the Bombers' greatest-ever goalkicker.

Essendon will need more of the same if it is to progress far in September, but with only eight points separating second-ranked Adelaide and the Bombers, they can still improve their position considerably in the next three weeks.

Across town at the MCG, Headland was the hero as the Dockers reeled in a four-goal deficit late in the third quarter to beat the Kangaroos by a point.

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