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Aussie Rules: What did we learn from the weekend

It was another exciting week of action in the AFL as both Geelong and Melbourne moved clear at the top of the ladder, while Collingwood put themselves right in the mix for a place in the top four.

Geelong, Melbourne, Brisbane and Collingwood all picked up important wins, but Fremantle’s hopes of making the top two suffered a big setback as they lost to the Sydney Swans at Optus Stadium.

Carlton were also among the losers, along with Richmond, who are playing like a team that do not want a place in the top eight.

The Tigers slipped to defeat against a North Melbourne side who picked up just their second win of the 2022 AFL campaign.

Essendon continue to go from strength-to-strength with a win over the Gold Coast, while the Western Bulldogs beat St Kilda and Hawthorn defeated the West Coast Eagles.

It was another exciting round of AFL action but as the dust settles, what did we learn?
 

The Richmond Tigers have forgotten how to win

It is worrying times in Tigerland as Damien Hardwick’s side slipped to another defeat, this time against North Melbourne.

The week before they lost to the Gold Coast Suns and on both occasions the Tigers had put themselves into a winning situation, only to throw it away.

It is a worrying trend for the Tigers as it is not the first time it has happened this season. Indeed on six occasions the Tigers have been leading heading into the final quarter but have gone on to lose.

They sit eighth on the ladder right now and are in real danger of missing out on the top eight. But they would be pushing for the minor premiership had they been able to hang on to at least half of those winning situations.

Next up is a huge clash against Fremantle on Friday night and the Tigers need to rediscover that winning feeling again sooner rather than later. They are priced at 4/5 to make the eight.
 

Essendon are back on track

It has been a season to forget for the Bombers but they are at least giving the members something to smile about and coach Ben Rutten deserves some credit for hanging in there and turning things around in recent weeks.

Expectations were high after they made finals last season and the knives were out for Rutten following an alarming slide down the ladder that had them looking more like wooden spoon contenders.

There have been calls for Rutten to go but the Bombers are flying again after winning four of the past five games.

They thrashed the Gold Coast at the weekend and have also seen off top eight sides, Sydney and Brisbane in recent weeks.

The run has come a little too late to make the top eight and play finals again but at least Essendon are giving the fans something be optimistic about and Rutten looks to have saved his job.
 

Sydney Swans showed everyone how to beat Fremantle

The Swans put in one of the performances of the round to beat Fremantle in Perth on Saturday night.

The 17-point win not only showed that Sydney are going to be a real threat heading into finals, they are 10/3 to reach the grand final, but it also gave the rest of the competition a good idea how to beat the Dockers.

It was just Fremantle’s third defeat at Optus Stadium this season and came after the Swans changed their game plan to focus on controlling possession and taking uncontested marks.

The Swans took 88 uncontested marks compared to Fremantle’s 30 in the second half and it proved to be the difference as they turned the game around to take the win.

Even so Dockers coach Justin Longmuir was not too concerned and does not expect the opposition to attempt similar tactics over the rest of the season.

He says his players were just too slow to respond to the change in tactics and it will not happen again in the future.

Luke Breust is still one of the best in the AFL

Hawthorn may be having a tough campaign as they continue to go through a rebuild but sharp-shooter Luke Breust still knows how to boot the goals.

He kicked six in the win over the West Coast Eagles at the weekend to make it 34 for the season.

Only Charlie Cameron, Isaac Heeney and Bayley Fritsch have kicked more this season. Breust has been Mr Consistency throughout his career when booting over 30 goals in 11 out of 12 seasons and he is showing no signs of slowing down.

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