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AFL Round 7 Review: Lions and Suns lighting up 2020

Brisbane Lions AFL news

It’s taken seven rounds, but the goals are starting to flow a little more freely now in the 2020 AFL Premiership season. Let’s take a look back at the highs, lows and major talking points of the week just gone in footy.

Robbie Gray is still one of the best in the business

Saturday’s football action started on the highest possible note, as the clash between the Carlton Blues and Port Adelaide Power was one of the season’s best to date.

We always had a feeling the Blues were going to put up a fight against the Power, but we didn’t expect them to lead with seconds remaining on the clock.

An outstanding individual effort from Port debutante Sam Mayes saw the former Lion hit Robbie Gray lace-out deep in the pocket as time expired, giving the former AFL Player’s MVP the chance to ice the game.

A minute earlier, Gray had given off a shot in the goal square to his younger teammate Todd Marshall, who somehow missed from point-blank range and left Port down by three points.

That blunder counted for nought in the end, however, as the Power champion delivered a clutch finish after the siren to take the league leaders to 6-1 on the season.

Queensland teams shining bright in 2020

Seven weeks into this 17-round campaign, the Brisbane Lions and Gold Coast Suns both sit inside the top eight and have been two of the most exciting teams in the competition.

Chris Fagan’s Lions are second on the ladder with Brownlow Medal favourite Lachie Neale dominating the midfield and Coleman Medal hopeful Charlie Cameron kicking goals for fun.

After beating the Sydney Swans at the SCG, the Suns sit seventh on the ladder and might be the most watchable team in the AFL right now.

Even with Matt Rowell sidelined with his shoulder injury, the Suns have unearthed another Rising Star favourite in Izak Rankine, who kicks goals from everywhere and looks like a future superstar of the league.

The second pick in the 2019 draft was Noah Anderson, who is starting to flourish in his mate’s absence and now sits third in the Rising Star betting market behind Rankine and St Kilda’s Max King.

Hawks and Roos are very hard to watch

We feel for the frustrated fans of the Hawthorn Hawks and North Melbourne Kangaroos, as these two teams have lost their way in 2020 and become almost unwatchable.

The Hawks were once dominant with their immaculate kicking, which allowed them to build attacks from all over the ground, but now they look uninspired and afraid to take the game on.

Scoring just 76 points in the last fortnight, the Kangaroo forwards have lost their functionality and synergy, leaving the luckless and out-of-touch Ben Brown to shoulder the blame.

North Melbourne does not mind attacking through the guts and taking risks, but the players’ skills do not match their ambition, leading to constant turnovers in critical positions.

The Roos and Hawks sit 17th and 14th respectively on the ladder, and time is running out for both teams to make a finals charge in this shortened season.

The ruck is the most important position on the ground

Ruckmen were once regarded as those big dumb blokes that hung around with the real footballers, but in recent years they have developed into the one of the game’s most valuable commodities.

You can link the improvement of the Collingwood Magpies to the rise of Brodie Grundy, who has polled 40 Brownlow Medal votes in the past two seasons and looms as a strong contender for this year’s award at $15 with Sportsbet.

Not far behind Grundy in the Brownlow market is Melbourne captain Max Gawn at $23, who has been a colossus for the Demons and a big part of their revival in recent weeks.

Tim English recorded the highest individual fantasy footy score of the season in his best-on-ground performance as the Western Bulldogs pummelled the Essendon Bombers, whose lack of a dominant ruckman could be their undoing in 2020.

Todd Goldstein is in career-best form at North Melbourne, while West Coast’s Nic Naitanui and Gold Coast’s Jarrod Witts are also valuable contributors for their respective teams.

Reilly O’Brien has been one of precious few positives for the Adelaide Crows this season, which is why St Kilda coach Brett Ratten opted to field both Rowan Marshall and Paddy Ryder to double team him on Monday night.

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