By Liam Melrose and Ollie Nash
Western Bulldogs forward Aaron Naughton kicked a career best six goals against the Crows. Photo: AAP/Dave Hunt.
Naughton the important Pup
With fellow key forward Josh Bruce rested, Aaron Naughton was given the Bulldogs forward 50 to himself against Adelaide, and he made the most of it kicking a career best six goals. While the Crows are without a win in 2020, Naughton reminded us of how good he can be when he is at his best, in just his second game back from an ankle injury. It’s often forgotten he’s still only 20 years of age
Kicking 6.1 he looked extremely comfortable being the number one target in the Bulldogs attacking 50, looking dangerous all afternoon kicking goals from everywhere, as the Dogs smashed the Crows by 57 points.
If Naughton can remain injury free for the rest of the year, there is no reason why the Dogs can’t sneak into the top eight and challenge the competition’s best.
The unpredictability of this season is unbelievable
The unpredictability of this season has been one of the most entertaining aspects of 2020.
Excluding Adelaide, every game feels as though it could go either way. Round 12 kicked off with Sydney smashing GWS by 41-points, North Melbourne nearly pulled off a miraculous win against Brisbane, Melbourne beat down on Collingwood by 56-points, and the Suns challenged Richmond deep into the last quarter.
It’s been one of the more entertaining seasons ever for me, and I can’t wait to see what the rest of the year and finals bring us.
James Rowbottom of the Sydney Swans is improving week by week. Photo: Sydney Swans
The AFL is in good hands
If round 12 showed us anything, it’s that the array of young talent throughout the league is very good.
James Rowbottom, Lachie Ash, Zak Butters, Adam Cerra, Andrew Brayshaw, Sam Walsh, Aaron Naughton, Bailey Smith and Noah Anderson, just to name a few that have been great for their teams this season, and that’s not even half of them. There’s an abundance of other young players around the league that are proving their worth.
The league and a host of its clubs are in good hands for the future.
The Cats are stalking … but will they time their pounce perfectly?
Geelong are flying right now, they’re playing the best footy they have all year. However, there is one thing Geelong have struggled with in recent years, and that’s performing in big finals.
They’ve been knocked out in straight sets, they’ve lost home preliminary finals, it seems to be a common trend that Geelong have failed on the big stage since their last premiership in 2011. The tables can turn in 2020, with the Cats arguably playing the best football in the league right now, and once again they’ll have an opportunity in finals.
With Tom Hawkins playing the most consistently he has in years, as well as the Cats being able to win strongly without Patrick Dangerfield and Joel Selwood having massive games, there’s no reason they can’t make the Grand Final in 2020, as long as they haven’t timed their pounce too early.
Jack Newnes with ice running through his veins as he kicked the match winning goal after the siren. Photo: Weekly Times
Footy karma is real
Fremantle fans were left fuming at some late umpiring calls in their four-point loss to Carlton on Saturday night. A goal after the siren from Jack Newnes broke their hearts, and possibly the Dockers finals chances too.
It was footy karma coming back to bite them though. In the first quarter, Fremantle were gifted two free kicks that simply were not there, which led to two goals. A holding free kick against Carlton defender Jacob Weitering, and a push in the back against Liam Jones gave them a handy little buffer in a low scoring, wet game.
That last 30 seconds in the fourth quarter were the footy gods looking down and returning what was taken from the Blues earlier in the game. Either way, all footy fans can agree that it was one of the craziest finishes to a game we have seen in a long time.
Optus Stadium Swan Highway
Sydney and their brigade of Cygnets were in the fast lane on Thursday night. It was the most exciting brand of footy we’ve seen from the Swans in a while. While they’ve been looking to attack the corridor, and take the game on a lot more in 2020, they got a lot right against the Giants.
The injection of youth into Sydney’s lineup has made for a faster more attacking game plan, as coach John Longmire has looked to play to the strengths of his players. On Thursday night, the Cygnets were flying, making Optus Stadium their highway, getting the ball into open space and simply making the Giants look slow.
In a year where the Swans are rebuilding and will likely miss finals, there are extremely positive signs for the future, especially if they can maintain this level of pace, these Cygnets have some serious talent.
Cover Photo: Sydney Swans