AFL H&V Round 9: Flyin' Ryan and a far Crow from Adelaide's best

Frontrunners Geelong and Collingwood won again in Round 9 while GWS responded from last week's shocker in dominant style. Oh, and how about Brisbane's stunning one-point win over Adelaide at the Gabba!?

Here are this week's Heroes & Villains.


Flyin' Ryan: Not many AFL players could claim they've taken a speccy over Max Gawn, but West Coast Eagles livewire Liam Ryan provided one of the highlights of the season in Friday night's 16-point win over Melbourne.

His grab over the 208cm Gawn in the goalsquare was reminiscent -- though not on the same level -- as that taken by Gary Moorcroft back in 2001 against the Western Bulldogs. Ryan tracked down the wing after being involved in a contest up the ground, before circling around the back of the pack and leaping onto Gawn's shoulders, pulling down a screamer that will no doubt earn him Mark of the Week honours.

In isolation, it was a great moment, but in the broader context of the game, it was so much more.

Scores were tied at 67 with just under 10 minutes remaining in the match. The Dees led the Eagles by two straight kicks at three-quarter time, but Ryan's effort lifted the crowd and may well have sealed his side's victory. West Coast went on to kick two more majors, securing a third straight win and consigning the Dees to a loss which puts their finals hopes in serious jeopardy.

Carbon copy Collingwood: Did anyone else get a sense of déjà vu watching the Pies' last quarter against the Saints?

A beautiful Saturday afternoon at he 'G? Check. A tight contest with their opposition taking the lead in the third quarter? Check.

In the final 10 minutes of last week's win over the Blues, Collingwood kicked five goals in a hurry and had a pressure factor of 268 -- far above the unofficial competition target of 200. This week, they piled on forward half pressure yet again and kicked six unanswered goals to sink St Kilda.

This second straight final-quarter masterclass should have the rest of the competition worried. In addition to being the best first-quarter outfit in the league, the Magpies are now adding strong fourth quarters to their repertoire; they were 3-4 in last terms heading into their win over Carlton and now sit 5-4 having won their past six matches.

Tom Papley: He kicked four goals straight and was a huge presence in Sydney's forward line, but Tom Papley's biggest contribution in his best-on-ground performance was in the dying seconds of his side's five-point win.

With just 10 seconds remaining in the match, George Hewett blasted a ball blindly out of the back pocket, straight into the path of an oncoming Jasper Pittard. Papley, running under the flight of the ball, stretched to punch the ball out of Pittard's reach and, importantly, far away enough from any North player to send the ball back inside 50 before time expired.

Papley is putting together a solid 2019. Two weeks ago he kicked another bag of four goals against the Lions. He now has 14 on the season and is averaging the most disposals per game of his career. He is contracted to the end of 2020 but is drawing plenty of interest from other clubs. Watch this space.


Adelaide's missed opportunity: They were third on the ladder, on track to swap their pick 15 (and what ended up being Liam Stocker) for Carlton's pick No. 1 at this year's draft, and after a decidedly average start to 2019, the Crows were starting to look like the team many expected this season.

But travelling to the Gabba for a massive clash with the Luke Hodge-less Lions, the Crows blew a massive chance to send a message to the competition.

They kicked the last four goals of the game, but falling short by one point could cost Don Pyke's troops come season's end. Those four premiership points could mean the difference between making the eight (or top four) and could also be the difference between 'winning' and losing the trade with Carlton.

In his post-match press conference, Pyke said the Crows were "a little bit off" across the board, citing a lack of pressure as one of the factors in the loss. Teams like Geelong don't have "off" games in winnable matches, nor do the Pies. Perhaps the Crows have a little way to go before we take them seriously in 2019.

Saturday night snoozefest: Did either Fremantle or Essendon want to win on Saturday night? In the lead-up to this primetime showdown at Marvel Stadium, we said it was the battle of the AFL's two biggest "Jekyll and Hyde" teams, as you just don't know whether the good or bad Bombers and Dockers will show up.

In the end, both sides dished up some pretty average football, but it was the Bombers who were marginally better down the stretch.

Not only was Essendon's 60 points the third-lowest winning score at Marvel Stadium since its opening, but the skills were horrendous. Players were fumbly and inaccuracy was rife among both sides -- all under the roof in perfect conditions.

Jesse Hogan finished with 0.4 for the Dockers, while Bombers Joe Daniher and Josh Begley combined for 0.8 - kicking four behinds each. Grim stuff, but those misses were the difference for the Bombers who secured a seven-point win.

Diabolical Blues: Attention Carlton: When you say you're going to respond from a shocker, it can't last for just one game.

For the second time in three weeks, the Blues were absolutely blown off the park, going down to the Giants in Western Sydney by a mammoth 93 points.

Inspirational skipper Patrick Cripps was well held by Giants tagger Matt de Boer and, unfortunately for Brendon Bolton, no other Blues really stood up and filled the void.

The stat sheet come full time made for horrific reading if you're a Blues fan. The Giants finished up +188 in disposals, +30 in contested possessions, +19 in clearances, +30 in inside 50s, +28 in scoring shots.

Nic Newman was the only Blue to rack up 20 disposals on the day, while there were 12 Giants who reached that mark.

It certainly was a nice response last week against the Magpies, but if you turn in a game like this the very next week, then what's the point?