Bombers give Vics a lift in AFL - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Bombers give Vics a lift in AFL

By Chris Lines 02/06/2003 06:30:42 AM Comments (0)

Winter - the season of hibernation - only officially began today, but having gained a headstart in the big snooze, Victorian AFL clubs again slept comfortably through round ten.

The gap between the top teams in the league and the rest is now measured not in premiership points but kilometres as the six non-Victorian teams monopolise the top six berths on the ladder.

Essendon did provide a rare ray of wintry light for the Big V on Sunday by beating West Coast without late withdrawals James Hird, Dustin Fletcher, Joe Misiti and Damien Peverill.

But even Bombers coach Kevin Sheedy admitted after the game that Victorian clubs still "have the challenge ahead of us" in usurping their dominant rivals.

That was illustrated best perhaps by the bottom end of the ladder than the top, as one by one the struggling clubs are falling out of finals contention.

Further losses for Carlton, Hawthorn and Melbourne in round ten meant they could now join Geelong and the Western Bulldogs in preparing for 2004, leaving just 11 clubs alive this season.

Carlton suffered another of those gallant defeats that had short-circuited its season when losing by five goals to Fremantle in Perth, and had now sunk to a 3-7 record, as had the Hawks and Demons.

The unrelenting pressure on Hawthorn coach Peter Schwab builds after losing to St Kilda, while at least Melbourne had a reputed $250,000 in the bank for selling a home game and the four premiership points to Brisbane.

The Lions remain atop the ladder and on track for an extraordinary third straight premiership, but could be forgiven a glance over their shoulder to Port Adelaide.

With key players still to return from injury, the Power was laughing loudest after overcoming Collingwood on Friday night and the bluster of Magpies president Eddie McGuire about his club's right to wear a clashing away strip.

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