Tag: Football

Where we stand. Post-Round 4

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.

 

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Where we stand. Post-Round 3.

 

It is round 3. The competition sits poised after 3 weeks of competition with an unlikely and unpredictable landscape. As we look at the ladder a few things leap out to the average punter.afl

Gary Ablett – sorry, I mean the Gold Coast Suns, had their first win of the season, against the Dynasty of Hawthorn which seems all too much like it is at it’s end. After what was a tumultuous week of speculation and talk regarding where the club is at and what has gone wrong, it was a pleasure to see the side go out and stun the Hawks early with the opening 3 goals. More importantly than that, Ablett struck back with 36 disposals and two goals to leave a lasting mark on the media as he aided his side to the win. The other notables are Matera with six goals, Jack Martin 23 disposals and three goals, Touk Miller, Aaron Hall and Adam Saad who basically took the game away from them on the back of some fantastic tap work from the Collingwood import, Jarrod Witts. The flip-side of that, is the Hawks.

It is territory virtually unheard of for a club which has won four Premierships in ten years. The axe was swung by the Suns and the aggressive and fast-paced nature with which the game was played, was all too intense for the men of brown and gold. The contested possession debate has raged on with Hawthorn for a number of years, that the stat isn’t of key interest for them due to the way they set up behind the ball and effectively counter through their elite foot skills. Sunday was one for the books, 62 contested possessions less than the Gold Coast Suns and to go with it 25 more clearances on the back of a stellar performance from Jarrod Witts. They were slow, and fragile at the cold-face, and had trouble converting their D50 ball into attacking options in transition. Outscored by 42 from turnovers to round out being 0-3 staring down the barrel of Geelong – unbeaten – on Easter Monday.

Sydney, less of a hole at 0-3 when you can reel off the names – and they’re all out – Tippett, Heeney, Papley, McVeigh, Rohan, Rampe. That is an injury list reminiscent of the Gold Coast Suns of a few years ago, where more than 6 first team selection players were unavailable. They’ve fought gallantly though, being runover by Port in week one, edged out by the Dogs last week and then beaten by one point against Collingwood, where if they had an extra minute were on the verge of coming out on top. The young players they have in now getting experience is vital as their stars sit out, and I believe it will hold them in good stead for the future. Names which we will become all too familiar with in the coming months and years to follow; Will Hayward, Robbie Fox, Oliver Florent, Nic Newman (a personal favourite of mine being a huge Seinfeld buff), Jordan Foote, Harrison Marsh. Bright future, but they will be more than likely falling deeper as they face West Coast in Perth this week, followed by GWS in a fortnight for the ‘Battle of the Bridge’.

Richmond have three wins… Let that sink in for a moment. THREE WINS. Truly, an emphatic start for them this year, and it comes down to several things but the main one being, they’re moving the ball a lot faster. The chip, chip, chip garbage has been thrown out it seems, as Richmond are averaging over 100 points per week. I don’t think anyone at the start of the year would have had them in this type of position. Comfortable against the Blues, weathered the storm against Collingwood early to come out on top, and made West Coast look slow running the other way as the Eagles continued a run of missing opportunities at early stages at the ‘G. Dustin Martin has been nothing short of electrifying, 40 disposals on the weekend and two goals with 15 clearances including 5 from the centre bounce. Daniel Rioli is showing shades of Cyril every week, not impacting the stats sheet heavily with touches, but having a few strokes of genius each game, he finished with two goals as Richmond ride out to 3-0 in, unheard of this century, and will face Brisbane in Brisbane this week.