Rundown of Round 23 of the AFL Season

Julian Miller
By:
Julian Miller
22/08/2023
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Storylines from AFL Round 23

Let’s look at round 23 of the AFL season as we prepare for a dramatic final week of regular season play. 

News Insights

  • Adelaide’s finals hopes disappear in heartbreaking fashion.
  • Collingwood falls for the third time in four weeks.
  • GWS crushes Essendon as the Giants fate now lays in their own hands.
  • Western loses a shocker to the Eagles.

Round 23 of the AFL season has created numerous storylines around the league as we move into the final week of the regular season and beyond into the finals. Top teams fell, bottom feeders played spoiler, and two teams remain in the battle for the eighth seed going into round 24. 

Adelaide’s Season Ends Thanks to Incorrect Goal Umpire Call

Adelaide was sitting on 40 points heading into their round 23 matchup with Sydney and needed a win to keep their finals hopes alive. 

Unfortunately for the Crows, an incorrect decision made by the goal umpire took that chance away from them. 

Down by two with 71 seconds remaining Ben Keays booted in what seemed to be a goal to give the Crows the lead with just a minute to play. Then came the controversy.

The goal umpire deemed that the ball hit the post and therefore declared it a behind. Multiple angles of the play however show that the ball crossed the goal-line without contacting the post and should have been a goal. 

Shockingly, given how close the ball was to the post, the play was not reviewed by the ARC and the decision stood. Adelaide would lose the match 74-73 and with that, are now eliminated from finals contention. 

After the match, the AFL added salt to the Crows’ wound releasing a statement admitting that calling a behind was an error and the Crows should have been awarded a goal. 

The incident has led many to question the review system that the AFL has in place as most believe that any goal call that close should be automatically reviewed by the ARC to eliminate human error and prevent more situations like this one from taking place. 

Nonetheless, Adelaide’s season is now over in large part due to this blunder, and any changes to the system will be too little too late as it pertains to this outcome. 

Ladder Leading Collingwood Stumbling to the Finish Line

Collingwood has a top-two spot locked up and are the favourites to finish the regular season atop the ladder as they are four points clear of Brisbane and Port Adelaide. 

However, the once seemingly invincible Magpies have struggled mightily in the final stretch of the season having lost three of their past four games. This includes their round 23 loss to Brisbane in which they gave up 124 points. 

Still without Darcy Moore, it was the third week in a row Collingwood gave up 100+ points, a concerning trend for the typically stout defensive side. 

Essendon and Geelong Fall from Finals Contention

Both Essendon and Geelong came into round 23 needing victories to keep their seasons alive. Neither were able to succeed as both of their season’s came to an end.

Geelong fell 88-55 to St Kilda in what was their fourth defeat in the past five weeks.

Meanwhile, Essendon was embarrassingly dispatched by GWS 162-36. The margin of defeat was the fifth biggest in Essendon history and an extremely disappointing showing from a team fighting for their season. 

Battle for Eight Seed Will Come Down to Round 24

The last spot in the finals now comes down to GWS and Western. 

GWS is sitting at 48 points thanks to their drubbing of Essendon while the Bulldogs are on 44. 

Western shockingly fell to the lowly West Coast Eagles and now face an uphill battle to reach the finals. 

The Bulldogs must first take care of business against Geelong and then hope that Carlton can knock off GWS.

GWS’s fate is in their own hands with a win against Carlton all they need to advance. 

The AFL’s round 23 was full of drama with multiple teams clinching their finals berths and others seeing their seasons come to an end. As we head into the final week of the season, GWS and Western are the only two teams whose fates are not yet sealed with the eight seed up for grabs.