Round sixteen of the 2021 AFL season saw veteran utility Shaun Burgoyne become just the 5th player in the history of the league to play his 400th game. The four time premiership player started his career in 2002 with Port Adelaide, winning All Australian honours in 2006. He was traded to Hawthorn at the end of the 2009 campaign as knee injuries started to take their toll.

Instead of playing out the string for a couple of years, the Hawks medical staff managed to restore his knees and Burgoyne has thrived, playing in his 12 campaign as a Hawk and his 20th overall.

As for the games themselves, we saw a pair of high profile upsets, a new entrant into the top eight, and two teams reassert their premiership credentials, including one regaining their place at the top of the ladder.

Here at Vendetta Sports Media we’ll be covering the entire AFL season for you. In case you missed it, all our team previews, and this writers ladder predictions, are located here.

Match of the Week: Gold Coast Suns vs Richmond Tigers

A match against the Gold Coast in Melbourne was supposed to be the tonic for an ailing Richmond. The reigning premiers were coming off an evisceration at the hands of the lowly Saints and a heartbreaking late loss to the Eagles, leaving them clinging to their spot in the top eight.

For their part, the Suns hit a nadir last week in a disheartening loss to the foot of the table Kangaroos, following on from a pasting by the Dockers and a tight home loss to the Power.

Despite their form, the Tigers were expected to roll the lowly Suns. On this night, the football Gods decided to keep us all on our toes.

Gold Coast came out breathing fire in the early stages, pressuring the Tigers all over the field and peppering their goal. Touk Miller was prolific early for the Suns, picking up seven disposals inside the first four minutes. Josh Corbett kicked truly for the Suns after a trio of misses from his teammates, before former Sun star Tom Lynch got the Tigers moving with a booming goal from over 50 metres out. Tiger Patrick Naish and Lynch’s replacement as the Suns full forward Ben King kicked goals in the opening term, as the Suns lead by six points. Only inaccurate kicking – the Suns kicks 7 behinds for the quarter – stopped the underdog from opening up a more significant lead.

King kicked his 2nd major early in the 2nd period before the Tigers finally started to click into gear. First Jack Riewoldt then Shai Bolton and Dustin Martin all hit the scoreboard to see the Tigers take a lead that they barely deserved.

At that point, it looked as though the Suns had not taken their gold plated chance to take down the premiers and with the Tigers in the ascendancy, the opportunity for a famous upset win looked lost.

But the Suns responded bravely, and Ben Ainsworth’s goal on the stroke of halftime saw the Suns take a lead into the main break.

Alex Sexton and King both kicked truly to extend the Suns lead to 19 points in the 3rd quarter before Lynch took over. The controversial former Sun kicked the contests next three goals, taking his personal tally to four and reducing the margin to just three points.

Exciting Suns youngster Izak Rankine kicked his first goal of the night to push the three quarter time margin out to nine points, which was no more than the Suns deserved. Their pressure was reminiscent of the Tigers best, but for continued inaccuracy in front of the sticks, could have been just about out of site.

Suitably stung into action, the champs upped the ante in the final term, Jack Graham kicking the first of the quarter from long range after a free flowing move.

Lynch’s fifth for the night put the Tigers back in front, and, once again, it looked as though the Suns gallant resistance was about to be broken.

Jeremy Sharp, who had missed a pair of gilt edged chances earlier in the match, ran onto Rankine’s long kick to slot his 1st goal at AFL level to restore the Suns lead not more than three minutes later, as the Suns had to absorb immense Richmond pressure.

Finally, Gold Coast was able to break clear and, with so many players pushing forward for the Tigers, found an open forward line that allowed King to snap his 4th and seal a huge win for the Suns.

Whilst Gold Coast’s 10 point win was one of the upsets of the season. It was just as much their win as it was a Richmond loss. This was a win earned through graft and hard work that forced the Tigers into messy, stilted possessions whilst blunting the physical advantage that Richmond usually enjoys.

The star was undoubtedly Miller. The halfback-cum-midfielder picked up 36 possessions, nine clearances, seven tackles, and seven marks. When Miller had his 30th possession, no other player on the ground had reached 20 touches! In a career year, he’s now had nine straight games of 30+ disposals and must be a shoo-in for All Australian honours.

Miller wasn’t a one man band, though. King continued his rise with four goals, striking the football sweetly. Only consistency in front of goal is stopping him from being a truly elite forward at the ripe old age of 20 (he turns 21 the Wednesday – happy birthday, big fella!).

Former Tiger Brandon Ellis picked up 28 crisp possessions, and Jack Lukosius continued his career best campaign with another 24 precise possessions off half back.

Lynch was a lone hand for the Tigers, at times. His burst in the 3rd term almost turned the tide in Richmond’s favour. Veteran half back Bachar Houli was playing well with 24 possessions before succumbing to an ankle injury that will likely see him miss the remainder of the season.

Gold Coast will play the Giants next week and the Tigers should be able to rebound against the lowly Magpies.

Though, it must be said, they were supposed to rebound this week against the lowly Suns.

Gold Coast Suns: 10 goals, 17 behinds (77)

Richmond Tigers: 10 goals, 7 behinds (67)

Goals

Gold Coast: King 4, Ainsworth, Corbett, Rankine, Sexton, Sharp, Swallow

Richmond: Lynch 5, Bolton, Graham, Martin, Naish, Riewoldt

Best

Gold Coast: Miller, Ballard, Lukosius, Swallow, King, Ellis, Ainsworth

Richmond: Houli, Lynch, Baker, Bolton, Chol

Onto the other games of round sixteen of the AFL season.

Geelong Cats 15 goals, 8 behinds (98) defeated Essendon Bombers 8 goals, 9 behinds (57)

Goals

Geelong: Hawkins 6, Cameron 3, Miers 2, Rohan, Tuohy, Dangerfield, Smith

Essendon: Stringer 3, McDonald-Tipungwuti 2, Jones, Merrett, Parish

Best

Geelong: Dangerfield, Hawkins, Selwood, Atkins, Tuohy, Smith

Essendon: Parish, Merrett, Stringer, Ridley, Hind, Heppell

The Bombers recent strong form had many tipping them to take a rare win in Geelong, a view only strengthened when Essendon kicked the opening four goals of the contest. When Jeremy Cameron finally opened the Cats account half an hour into the game, it started a run of seven straight goals and nine of the next ten. Cameron kicked three of the opening four but watched on from the bench after that with a hamstring strain. A Bombers revival at the beginning of the 3rd term was short lived as the Cats kicked five of the last six goals to run out comfortable 41 point victors. Darcy Parish continued his career year for the Bombers with 43 disposals, ably supported by Zach Merrett with 36 of his own. Veteran Cats superstar Patrick Dangerfield played his best match of 2021 with 37 disposals and 11 marks. Tom Hawkins stepped up once Cameron went down, kicking all six of his goals after his teammate left the field.

Melbourne Demons 7 goals, 13 behinds (55) lost to GWS Giants 9 goals, 10 behinds (64)

Goals

Melbourne: Fritsch 3, Pickett, Sparrow, Neal-Bullen, Salem

GWS: Greene 3, Taranto, Ward, Kelly, Reid, Himmelberg, Whitfield

Best

Melbourne: Salem, Petracca, Fritsch, Langdon, Rivers, Gawn

GWS: Greene, Kelly, Ward, Taranto, Perryman, Hopper, Whitfield

A wasteful Demons outfit continued their trend of not quite bringing 100% intensity against lesser sides. Richmond’s loss opened the door for GWS to move into the top eight – they played like they knew what was at stake. The Giants opened with four of the first five goals to put the Demons under early pressure. Despite Christian Salem owning the football across half back and Bayley Fritsch providing a strong forward option, the Demons didn’t have any other winners over the first three quarters as Josh Kelly and Tim Taranto controlled the play for GWS. Melbourne finally awoke in the final quarter, throwing everything at GWS, but the Giants remained resilient and did enough to resist their more credentialed opposition. As well as Kelly and Taranto, Toby Greene sacrificed his body to keep the ball in the Giants forward line and was rewarded with three goals. Christian Petracca had a lot of the ball for Melbourne but was ineffective until the final quarter push.

Adelaide Crows 8 goals, 11 behinds (59) lost to Brisbane Lions 17 goals, 9 behinds (111)

Goals

Adelaide: Seedsman 2, Walker, Thilthorpe, Mackay, Schoenberg, Doedee, Sloane

Brisbane: McCarthy 4, Bailey 3, Cameron 3, Daniher 2, Zorko 2, McStay 2, McCluggage

Best

Adelaide: Laird, Seedsman, Keays, Sloane, Schoenberg

Brisbane: Lyons, McCarthy, Bailey, Zorko, Robinson

The Lions led from start to finish in this one, though they didn’t assert their dominance until after half time. Brisbane applied enormous pressure to the Adelaide back line early, though the Crows were able to stand tall. David McKay’s late goal saw the Crows close to just eight points at the half, and after a tight opening to the 3rd term, Brisbane kicked away with seven straight goals on either side of the final break. The Lions had a host of strong contributors. Zac Bailey kicked three goals and had six disposals with nine clearances. Jarryd Lyons had 31 possessions and 10 tackles. Mitch Robinson had 27 touches, and Joe Daniher provided a few reminders of the magic he’s capable of. Defensive towers Marcus Adams and Harris Andrews were immense. Rory Laird was Adelaide’s best with 37 possessions.

https://twitter.com/AFL/status/1411232031648849923

Fremantle Dockers 8 goals, 16 behinds (64) lost to Carlton 12 goals, 8 behinds (80)

Goals

Fremantle: Brayshaw 2, Darcy, Henry, Lobb, Switkowski, Treacy, Walters

Carlton: McKay 3, Betts 2, Silvagni 2, Walsh, De Koning, Dow, Kennedy, Owies

Best

Fremantle: Darcy, Brayshaw, Mundy, Ryan, Cerra, Pearce

Carlton: Dow, Walsh, McKay, Weitering, Kennedy, Silvagni, Newman, Saad

With the chance to win three straight for the first time this year and with it the potential to move into the top eight, a wasteful Fremantle blew a golden opportunity against a Blues outfit that are starting to round into something approaching their best form. Carlton kicked away early, leading 26 to four at the opening break, though the Dockers continued their trend of missing very gettable chances in what was a far more even game than the scoreboard suggested. The 2nd term was a genuine arm wrestle as both teams traded majors. The Dockers finally started to make inroads through late goals to Sean Darcy and Liam Henry to trail by 12 at the half. Andy Brayshaw (28 possessions) led the Dockers fightback in the 3rd quarter, kicking a pair of goals to see the scores tied at the final change, though Fremantle’s resistance faded from that point on as goals to Eddie Betts and Sam Walsh secured the win for the Blues.

Hawthorn Hawks 7 goals, 11 behinds (53) lost to Port Adelaide 13 goals, 9 behinds (87)

Goals

Hawthorn: Breust 2, Howe, O’Brien, O’Meara, Koschitzke

Port Adelaide: Dixon 4, Bergman 2, Marshall 2, Mayes 2, Frederick, Georgiades, Rozee

Best

Hawthorn: Worpel, Hardwick, Mitchell, Bramble, O’Meara

Port Adelaide: Wines, Byrne-Jones, Boak, Amon, Jonas, Dixon

A celebration as much as a football match as Hawk Shaun Burgoyne became just the 5th player – and first indigenous player – in league history to reach the 400 game milestone. In a lovely piece of synergy, he celebrated against his former club. It was the Power, however, that spoiled the party. After Luke Breust opened the scoring for the Hawks, the Power kicked the remaining eight goals of the opening half to lead comfortably. When Mitch Georgiades goaled early in the 3rd term, the Power led by 47 points. Hawthorn finally clicked into gear with goals to Daniel Howe, James Worpel, and a 2nd to Breust, cutting the deficit to a more respectable 29 points at the final change. The teams traded goals in the final term as attention turned to the man of the hour. Ollie Wines amassed a career high 43 disposals for the Power, alongside 13 clearances and seven tackles. For his part, the man known in football circles as ‘Silk’ had 11 disposals on the night, the 38 chaired off to a standing ovation at the conclusion of the game.

https://twitter.com/AFL/status/1411311768039694347

Sydney Swans 18 goals, 10 behinds (118) defeated West Coast Eagles 3 goals, 8 behinds (26)

Goals

Sydney: Franklin 3, Heeney 3, Hayward 2, Wicks 2, Amartey 2, Gulden 2, Dawson 2, Papley 2

West Coast: Yeo, Kennedy, Darling

Best

Sydney: Mills, Hewitt, Papley, Hickey, Florent, Dawson, Franklin

West Coast: Sheed, Duggan, Darling, Yeo, Hurn

Due to Sydney’s COVID outbreak, this game was moved to Kardinia Park in Geelong, a narrow ground where the Eagles – used to the vast expanses of Optus Stadium – traditionally struggle. This match proved no different, as the Swans utterly destroyed the Eagles from the opening bounce. Elliott Yeo scored the Eagles only 1st half goal and the Eagles, in fact, failed to score at all in the 2nd term. By contrast, Sydney amasses 58 straight points in response to blow the game apart. The only fight the Eagles showed to that point was a pointless display of ‘handbags-at-10-paces’ after the half time siren. The Swans took it easy on West Coast in the 3rd term, only outscoring them by two points, before putting their foot back on the gas in the final term to obliterate the Eagles by 92 points. Frankly, it was a margin that flattered West Coast. Callum Mills, with 35 disposals, was the best of a number of big winners for the Swans. In a rare loss for Eagles star Nic Naitanui in the rucking matchup, his former backup Tom Hickey comprehensively outplayed him around the ground.

Collingwood Magpies 8 goals, 13 behinds (61) lost to St Kilda Saints 10 goals, 10 behinds (70)

Goals

Collingwood: Mihocek 2, Cox, Daicos, Elliott, De Goey, Hoskin-Elliott, Thomas

St Kilda: King 2, Membrey 2, Ryder 2, Butler, Higgins, Marshall McKenzie

Best

Collingwood: Adams, De Goey, Pendlebury, Daicos, Quaynor

St Kilda: Steele, Dunstan, Hill, Crouch, Sinclair, Membrey

In a disastrous season that has seen them lose their long serving president and coach, Collingwood showed exactly what they were capable of in this game. Unfortunately, they only did it for one quarter, after an invisible first three. Over 67 minutes of play elapsed between Jamie Elliott’s opening term goal and Jordan De Goey’s 3rd period major for the Magpies. Over that span, the Saints slammed on eight goals of their own. When veteran ruckman Paddy Ryder goaled late in the 3rd, St Kilda led by 49 points. From that point on, however, the Saints stopped dead, scoring only two more points as the Magpies came home with a wet sail, kicking six goals. Collingwood may have even taken the lead but for inaccuracy in front of goal in that late run. Ultimately a much needed win for a resurgent Saints; a day of frustration for the Magpie Army. Taylor Adams (34 possessions) and De Goey (32) were the best for a Collingwood side that was awful for most of the match, dynamic late on. Saints captain Jack Steele was his usual brilliant self with 36 disposals, 14 tackles, and eight clearances in a best on ground display. Half back Brad Hill continued his good form with 30 disposals.

Western Bulldogs 16 goals, 12 behinds (108) defeated North Melbourne Kangaroos 11 goals, 13 behinds (79)

Goals

Western Bulldogs: Weightman 4, Wallis 3, Bruce 2, Dale 2, Liberatore 2, Garcia, Hannan, Williams

North Melbourne: Zurhaar 4, Cunnington 2, Goldstein, Davies-Unaicke, Scott, Thomas

Best

Western Bulldogs: Bontompelli, Weightman, Dale, Liberatore, Macrae, Williams

North Melbourne: Zurhaar, Tarrant, Cunnington, McDonald, Hall, Thomas

The last time these two sides met, the Bulldogs ground the Kangaroos into the dirt to the tune of a 128 point margin. This time around, the Roos were far more competitive. Cody Weightman provided the early spark, kicking three of his four goals in the 1st term, though the Kangaroos stayed close through a late Todd Goldstein goal. A tight 2nd quarter was marred by a concussion to star Dogs forward Aaron Naughton. North Melbourne pushed in the 2nd half, though every time they threatened, the Dogs were able to flex their muscles and keep their opponent at bay. Despite the Kangaroos best efforts, the Bulldogs ran out 298 winners, in the process returning to the top of the AFL ladder. The Bulldogs big midfield trio of Marcus Bontompelli (27 touches), Jack Macrae (31), and Tom Liberatore (25) were as prolific as ever. Aaron Hall had 31 possessions for North Melbourne, feeding Cam Zurhaar, who was a menace up forward.

Coleman Medal leader board

Harry McKay (Carlton) – 46 (3 goals this week)

Taylor Walker (Adelaide) – 41 goals (1)

Josh Bruce (Bulldogs) – 39 (2)

Ben King (Suns) – 38 (4)

Tom Hawkins (Geelong) – 37 (6)

Jack Riewoldt (Richmond) – 35 (1)

Aaron Naughton (Bulldogs) – 33 (0)

Lance Franklin (Swans) – 32 (3)

Toby Greene (Giants) – 32 (3)

Bayley Fritsch (Demons) – 31 (3)

Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti (Bombers) – 31 (2)

#ClubMPts%ForAgtThis WeekProjectedNext
1W Bulldogs1548147.6 %1469995Won vs N.M.
108 â€“ 79
1st: 68 pts, 144 %Saturday
vs Syd
2Melbourne1548128.5 %1273991Lost vs GWS
55 â€“ 64
3rd: 64 pts, 124 %Saturday
@ P.A.
3Brisbane1544134.7 %13971037Won @ Adel
111 â€“ 59
2nd: 64 pts, 135 %Saturday
vs St.K
4Port Adel1544124.4 %12971043Won @ Haw
87 â€“ 53
5th: 60 pts, 119 %Saturday
vs Melb
5Geelong1544123.4 %12911046Won vs Ess
98 â€“ 57
4th: 64– pts, 122 %Saturday
@ Carl
6Sydney1536114.5 %13111145Won vs WCE
118 â€“ 26
6th: 48 pts, 108 %Saturday
@ W.B.
7WC Eagles153295.3 %12411302Lost @ Syd
26 â€“ 118
8th: 44 pts, 93 %Saturday
vs N.M.
8GWS Giants153097.1 %12141250Won @ Melb
64 â€“ 55
9th: 42 pts, 96 %Saturday
vs G.C.
9Richmond1528100.6 %12191212Lost @ G.C.
67 â€“ 77
7th: 44 pts, 104 %Saturday
vs Coll
10Fremantle152892.2 %11441241Lost vs Carl
64 â€“ 80
12th: 40 pts, 92 %Saturday
@ Haw
11St Kilda152883.7 %10501255Won @ Coll
70 â€“ 61
13th: 40 pts, 86 %Saturday
@ B.L.
12Essendon152498.7 %13251342Lost @ Geel
57 â€“ 98
10th: 40 pts, 101 %Saturday
vs Adel
13Carlton152493.0 %12451338Won @ Freo
80 â€“ 64
11th: 40 pts, 98 %Saturday
vs Geel
14Gold Coast152088.0 %10301170Won vs Rich
77 â€“ 67
14th: 32– pts, 87 %Saturday
@ GWS
15Adelaide152084.2 %11691388Lost vs B.L.
59 â€“ 111
15th: 32 pts, 86 %Saturday
@ Ess
16Collingwood151689.5 %10501173Lost vs St.K
61 â€“ 70
16th: 28 pts, 89 %Saturday
@ Rich
17Hawthorn151680.7 %10851345Lost vs P.A.
53 â€“ 87
17th: 24 pts, 82 %Saturday
vs Freo
18North Melb151064.3 %9691506Lost @ W.B.
79 â€“ 108
18th: 18– pts, 67 %Saturday
@ WCE