Permutations of a months-worth of football may not be entirely indicative of where the competition is at but individual clubs are shining and there are serious questions being asked of others. This, is football as it stands, after the long weekend, and after the Easter Bunny has graced the AFL with a few delicious eggs over 9 games played.
Adelaide, Richmond and Geelong remain unbeaten after a month. They all posted prosaic victories over the long weekend. Of the three, Adelaide has the most complete offensive game. They have scored 513 points in the first round and have the most lethal forward line in the modern era of the game. Rivalling the combinations thrown around by the Brisbane lions in the early 2000’s. This week we were again shown how either, through lead up forward presence in Tex Walker, or the brilliance of Eddie Betts from the sharking ground game that Adelaide are deserving of being Flag favourites at this stage. With 11 goals kicked between the two, and a supporting cast of marking and ground level players, you can easily see them kicking scores more than 130 points consistently this year against sides who aren’t prepared to run both ways. Geelong, remain the stewards of the midfield game. You can almost guarantee Dangerwood to have 25 disposals each and kick a goal each game, and the second-tier players are all beginning to be assured games and have the confidence to be able to stand alongside and support the midfield duo. With Motlop playing outstanding today against Hawthorn and other notable performers such as Cam Guthrie, Menegola, Duncan, and the newcomers in Persons and Parfitt performing well, the Geelong side power towards a meeting with St Kilda this Sunday. Richmond are the kings of defence, conceding the lease amount of points – 301 – in the first 4 games. Alongside Rance, who is thriving now without having a direct opponent – most games as Astbury is now taking on the lead defending role – with the rest of the defensive unit especially Ellis and Grimes having career best starts to the year. It is no surprise that we find ourselves looking at the top and seeing these clubs, but its a different kettle of fish as you begin to look down the ladder.
Hawthorn have fallen off a cliff. Sydney are injury ridden. And North Melbourne cannot seem to put together a performance to see them over the line. All these sides are without a win. As i watched Hawthorn today, their best on ground was Hodge. He was incredible, doing everything he possibly could – and then some, to get his side over the line. The issue with this is, at this stage of his career, he should not be a standout performer, rather a contributor. Players such as Gunston, Smith, Mitchell, Breust should be shouldering the load and allowing the elder statesman to be less relied upon to keep them in games. Sydney are yet to play Rohan, Heeney and McVeigh, with Papely coming back into the side on the weekend, prior to which they had played 3 weeks with 500 games-worth of experience lost from the side. Of the clubs at the bottom, Sydney can make a charge to the finals with a full list and a few results going in their favour. Finally, North Melbourne, are just hanging around waiting to see when their side will be able to put together a four-quarter performance worthy of 4 points. It appears they have been within striking distance in each of their games and have let a couple slip to become blowouts and not been willing and up for the fight. The signs are positive with over a ridiculous amount of experience lost from the side after the exodus of their stars at the end of last season. North fans should not be disheartened by their position on the ladder, they could easily finish just outside of the eight from this current position. The younger brigade of players now are showing their potential, with Cunnington and Zeibell providing leadership through hardness and determination at the coldface of the contest.
Thats, Round 4. That’s how it stands.