2020's most lopsided round was still an enjoyable one. Richmond, Port, St Kilda, and Brisbane all flexed their muscles whilst the Bulldogs, Essendon, Melbourne, and Collingwood ended the round looking like frauds. Whilst only two games produced interesting finishes, they added nicely to a round that saw premiership favourites produce quality football.
Richmond defeated Western Bulldogs by 41 points
It took the Tigers just one week to get back on track. Returning to their winning ways after last week's loss to GWS, Richmond thumped the Bulldogs all over the park. Unsurprisingly, it was the famed Richmond pressure that tamed the Bulldogs. Barely hanging on against a ferocious Gold Coast outfit a week prior, the Dogs were unable to produce a second great escape in as many weeks.
Port Adelaide defeated Melbourne by 51 points
Insipid, uninspired, and pathetic. Just some of the words thrown at the Melbourne side after this display. It was the same old story for the Demons with the ball. Looking like an AFLQ Divison Three team at times, they missed targets on simple kicks time and time again. Defensively, it was a horrendous showing. Their transition defence was unheard of as Port moved the ball coast to coast like it was a captain's run.
Port Adelaide - who topped up their percentage once again - will spend another week atop the league. It's hard to say much more about them. With Melbourne offering so little, Port just has to keep their wits about them.
Hawthorn defeated Carlton by 31 points
Trailing by 5 goals midway through the opening stanza, Alistair Clarkson's reign almost felt over. 14 goals to four later and the Hawks sit a game outside the eight. Tom Mitchell - his best game since that horrendous broke leg - took a step towards his best form, collecting 28 highly effective touches. Premiership stars Gustant, Breust, Shiels, and Smith all contributed with multiple goals as the Hawks lowered the Blues colours.
Carlton - despite Patrick Cripps' best game of the season - showed it still has a little ways to go. Whilst not the first team to surrender a five-goal lead, the Blues may have gotten a little too assured here.
Brisbane defeated Essendon by 63 points
Teams continued to let others off the hook in round nine. Following on from Melbourne bailing out the Bulldogs, Essendon did their best to ease the pressure on Simon Goodwin and his Demons. Take nothing away from the Lions, however. They were superb. While Essendon's intensity ebbed and flowed, Brisbane controlled themselves with real purpose. At times, they moved the ball with breathtaking speed, at other times they slowed things down. This is a team ready to win a premiership.
North Melbourne defeated Adelaide by 69 points
North Melbourne snapped their six-week losing run with a brilliant win over an insipid Adelaide. Dropping stars Ben Brown and Jarrod Polec for the 17th Vs 18th matchup, the Kangaroo's showed the form which saw them jump out to a 2-0 start. Taking full advantage of the bruise free football served up by Adelaide, Luke McDonald and Jed Anderson both racked up effective possessions at will. Meanwhile, Majak Daw provided a fairytale style to return to football.
Adelaide - so promising over the last two weeks - forgot to turn up to what was one of their most winnable games of the season. 0-17 grows more likely each week.
St Kilda defeated Sydney by 53 points
There's nothing better than seeing the growth of sporting teams through a season. St Kilda - who moved to 6-3 on the season - provided a fine example of this. Agonisingly poor after the last time they recorded an impressive win, the Saints got the job done this time. Whilst far from perfect, this is a team that will have a large say in 2020.
Sydney will rue their missed opportunities throughout the second and third quarters. Kicking 1.5 and 2.4 respectively, the 20 point three-quarter margin should have been much tighter. Having spent their pennies keeping in it, the young Swans ran out of legs, the margin being a little unfair on the Sydney-siders.
West Coast defeated Geelong by 9 points
What a game of footy. Whilst the Eagles got the job done, the plaudits ought to go to Geelong. On the road, living in the hub on the other side of the country, they did what the West Coast could not when it was their turn. They were competitive. They wanted to be there. For the first time, 2020 almost seems unfair.
At times, the Eagles frequently looked like they didn't care for hub life on the Gold Coast. Now it's there turn at home, and they can win when at 90% of their best. You have to feel for Geelong, they were terrific. Could the Eagles become 2020's villians?
GWS defeated Gold Coast by 26 points
It wasn't pretty; not that the Giants would care. Finally, they have pieced together back-to-back wins again. Against their fellow expansion team, the Gold Coast Suns, Giants ground out a deserved four points. Whilst far from pretty - the GWS Ferrari seemingly still stuck in second - this Giants team might just be learning how to win ugly.
Fremantle defeated Collingwood by 12 points
Maybe Eddie should have been a man of his word and sent Nathan Buckley home. Hyperbole this is no doubt, yet, Collingwood - with four wins from nine games - appear to have very little in the way of a plan B. Rushing out of the backline, right into a spare Fremantle defender all day, the Pies leaked goals on the rebound. Whilst Steele Sidebottom - who owes the club a win or two - singlehandedly tried to bring the Pies back from the brink, the Dockers would hold steady for a famous victory.