Football

AFL round-up: Conor McKenna stars as Brisbane Lions extend winning streak

After a poor start to the season and with many pundits having written off their finals hopes weeks ago, last year’s Grand Final runners-up are now up to seventh.

ADELAIDE, AUSTRALIA - JUNE 22: Conor McKenna of the Lions during the 2024 AFL Round 15 match between the Port Adelaide Power and the Brisbane Lions at Adelaide Oval on June 22, 2024 in Adelaide, Australia. (Photo by Sarah Reed/AFL Photos via Getty Images)
ADELAIDE, AUSTRALIA - JUNE 22: Conor McKenna of the Lions during the 2024 AFL Round 15 match between the Port Adelaide Power and the Brisbane Lions at Adelaide Oval on June 22, 2024 in Adelaide, Australia. (Photo by Sarah Reed/AFL Photos via Getty Images) (Sarah Reed/AFL Photos/AFL Photos via Getty Images)

Conor McKenna’s Brisbane Lions notched their fourth consecutive victory of the season after defeating the Adelaide Crows 97-86 at the Gabba in round 17 of the AFL season on Sunday.

After a poor start to the season and with many pundits having written off their finals hopes weeks ago, last year’s Grand Final runners-up are now up to seventh on the season ladder, just one win outside of the top four places, following six wins and a draw in their past eight matches.

Since 1997 only two teams have won the premiership after finishing outside of the top four-the Adelaide Crows in 1997 and the Western Bulldogs in 2016-which underscores the importance of finishing in the top four to secure a double chance of becoming premiers on the last Saturday in September.

McKenna collected 15 disposals (13 kicks & 2 handballs), and 6 marks off the halfback flank.

On Saturday, Geelong boosted their top four hopes after defeating Hawthorn 110-59 at GMHBA stadium. Given the congested top eight ladder, every game is a must-win and notching consecutive victories underlines Geelong’s potential to be a serious finals force.

Portloaise veteran Zach Tuohy collected 15 disposals (10 kicks & 5 handballs) and 5 marks for the hosts, whilst Meath midfielder Conor Nash finished with 17 disposals (6 kicks & 11 handballs), 4 marks, and 3 tackles for the Hawks.

Geelong remains in fifth on the season ladder, just one win off Carlton in second. Hawthorn in thirteenth spot is one win outside of the top eight with seven rounds of the home and away season remaining.

Also on Saturday, Tyrone-born Aidan Corr finished on the winning side for only the second time this season when the North Melbourne Kangaroos defeated the Gold Coast Suns 87-83 at Marvel Stadium in Melbourne.

Corr collected 15 disposals (11 kicks & 4 handballs), 3 marks, and 2 tackles in defence. The Kangaroos remain second bottom on the ladder.

Relegated to the reserves, former Derry underage footballer Callum Brown celebrated in the Greater Western Sydney Giants changing rooms post-match on Saturday after they came from 39 points down (6 points for a goal) to defeat Carlton 116-104 at Engie Stadium in Sydney.

The Giants were out of the top eight having previously lost six of their past eight matches but defeating Carlton lifts them to eighth on the ladder. The Orange Tsunami is a win and a draw outside of the top four.