Snapshot of AFL round eight

Ben McKay

WHAT HAPPENED IN ROUND EIGHT OF THE AFL SEASON:

THEY SAID IT: "When you lose by under a goal it's a bit like the old saying. Sometimes you're a bug and sometimes you're a windshield. And tonight we ended up being the bug." Adelaide coach Don Pyke sums up the feeling after Port Adelaide's comeback five-point win in Saturday's showdown. Steven Motlop was the hero with a go-ahead goal with 21 seconds remaining.

STAT THAT MATTERS: It had been 266 days since Carlton had last sung the club song after an AFL match, but after the worst start in the club's 122-season history, they finally earned a win on Saturday, against Essendon. Seven players enjoyed their first taste of success in a Blues guernsey.

MAN OF THE ROUND: With apologies to Showdown medallist Robbie Gray (six goals) and Ben Cunnington (a world-record 32 contested possessions), it can only be Ben Ronke. The third-gamer Sydney forward kicked 7.0 to down Hawthorn on Friday night at the MCG. The 20-year-old could play another 200 matches and not have a night like it.

KEY MOMENT: A week after taking down Sydney at the SCG, North Melbourne let an even bigger scalp out of their grasp on Sunday. The Kangaroos had the last three shots at goal against premiers Richmond - including two to dead-eye spearhead Ben Brown - but missed all three and lost by 10 points.

TALKING POINTS: The lack of interest in expansion AFL clubs Gold Coast and Greater Western Sydney continues to be appalling. A worst-ever Gabba crowd of 6060 turned up to see the Suns get thrashed by Melbourne, and a clash between top-five sides GWS and West Coast drew 9253, a number which many at Spotless Stadium saw as dubious. A shake-up is needed.

TRIBUNAL WATCH: Umpire-touching has proved contagious. A week after Tom Hawkins was given a week for the misdemeanour, Gold Coast captain Steven May and Carlton midfielder Ed Curnow also committed the offence. Sam Day earned a week off for striking Neville Jetta, while Luke McDonald could also join him after making high contact with Kane Lambert.

KEY INJURIES: J Carlisle (St K, concussion), P Davis (GWS, concussion), M de Boer (GWS, hamstring), M Wright (Carl, ankle), D Swallow (GC, knee), T Walker (Adel, glute), S Jacobs (Adel, back), A Naughton (WB, ankle), S Hill (quad - replaced in side), J Waite (NM, thigh), J Castagna (Rich, thigh).

WHAT'S NEXT: Unlikely table-toppers West Coast host fellow pace-setters Richmond on Sunday night in a battle to take charge of the AFL season. North Melbourne can inflict more pain on fallen flag hopefuls GWS in Hobart, while Port Adelaide can grow momentum against Gold Coast in China. Luke Hodge will also face Hawthorn for the first time in his storied career when his club Brisbane host the side he skippered to three premierships.