A bumper Saturday program saw three games played across metro and regional South Australia on day three of Gather Round.
Brisbane v North Melbourne
The first ever AFL match was played at Summit Sport and Recreation Park, home of the Mount Barker Roos, but the blue-and-white Roos that took the field did not have a home ground advantage.
A sold-out crowd of more than 7300 people from around the country descended on Summit to see Brisbane take on North Melbourne in changing conditions.
The first quarter showed a promising battle as both teams were tied on 31 each at the first break, but the Lions began to pull away in the second quarter.
By half time, Lions forwards Joe Daniher and Eric Hipwood had seven goals between them and the score was Brisbane 10.6 (66) to North Melbourne 7.1 (43).
A seven-goal to two third quarter all but sealed the deal for the Lions, and the Kangaroos could not stop the dynamic attack of the Lions.
The final score was Brisbane 22.10 (152) to North Melbourne 12.5 (77).
Leading goal kickers for the Lions were Daniher with five, and Hipwood and Charlie Cameron with four each, while for the Kangaroos it was Jaidyn Stephenson with four and Charlie Comben with two.
Highest possession-getters for Brisbane were Lachie Neale with 37 and Josh Dunkley with 25, while for North Melbourne it was Harry Sheezel with 31 and Jack Ziebell with 24.
Essendon v Melbourne
Teams and fans at Adelaide Oval for the Saturday double header copped a drenching in the first game, between Essendon and Melbourne.
The Bombers held an eight-point lead at quarter time and by half time they had pushed it out to 17 points, 9.10 (64) to 7.5 (47), with Sam Draper proving to be the difference with three goals to his name.
Alex Neal-Bullen got the Demons back on track in the third quarter after slotting a goal after just one minute and 30 seconds.
But as the rain teemed down, the Bombers responded strongly, kicking three consecutive goals to end the third quarter. Heading into the last quarter, Essendon held a 36-point lead, which felt more like a 60-point lead thanks to the on-field conditions.
Substitute Nick Hind had an immediate impact for the Bombers, kicking a goal five minutes into the last quarter.
Melbourne won the quarter but it wasn’t enough to win the game, with a final score of Essendon 15.14 (104) to Melbourne 11.11 (77).
Draper was the top goal kicker for Essendon, slotting three majors, while Andrew Phillips, Nic Martin, Kyle Langford, and Hind all had two each. For Melbourne, leading the goal kicking were Kysaiah Pickett, Jake Melksham, and Bayley Fritsch with two apiece.
Demons’ Clayton Oliver was the game’s highest possession-getter with a huge 41, and his next-best teammate was Jack Viney with 28.
The Bomber ball magnets were Zach Merrett and Darcy Parish with 35 and 34 disposals respectively.
Port Adelaide v Western Bulldogs
Brave fans weathered the cold and wet Saturday night to see their teams face off at Adelaide Oval.
A total of four goals were kicked in the first quarter as the rain poured - possibly brought down after Bulldogs’ Cody Weightman rose to the skies, taking a potential mark of the year.
The Bulldogs pegged back the 15-point lead the Power had set by quarter time to trail by just nine points at half time, 5.8 (38) to 4.5 (29).
A break in the weather during half time was short-lived as the heavens opened once again, resulting in a total of three goals kicked in quarter three.
Port Adelaide managed to kick away in the trying conditions to take a 24-point win, 10.10 (70) to 8.8 (56). It was a disappointing result particularly for the Western Bulldogs’ Tom Liberatore, who was playing his 200th game.
Todd Marshall and Darcy Byrne-Jones stood tall in Port’s forward line to kick two goals each, while Weightman was the Bulldogs’ only multiple goal kicker with four.
Western Bulldogs’ Adam Treloar notched up the game’s most disposals with 35, and teammate Jason Johannison collected 28, while Port Adelaide’s Zak Butters had 32 possessions and teammates Ollie Wines and Connor Rozee had 26 each.
The last day of Gather Round sees Geelong face West Coast at Adelaide Oval at 12.40pm, then GWS Giants take on Hawthorn at Norwood Oval at 2.50pm, before Collingwood hosts St Kilda at Adelaide Oval at 4.20pm.
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