By Liam Melrose, Ollie Nash and Josh Farrell.
The Adelaide Crows round 15 win over Hawthorn was their first victory in over a year. Photo: Getty Images
One year between wins makes this one all the more sweet
Adelaide is the pride of South Australia once again after breaking through for their first win of the season over the Hawks. The Crows have been under immense pressure all season, each week it seems a new player wants out, from the Crouch brothers to Rory Atkins. Matt and Brad Crouch put all of the outside noise aside against the Hawks, and carried their team to a win with 32 and 27 disposals, respectively.
On Tuesday night it was clear the Crows did not want to hold the record for the longest period between wins. Rory Laird re-discovered his best form, and Taylor Walker was back kicking the big goals in front of the raucous Adelaide fans.
The future appears bright for the Crows following in the footsteps of Sam Jacobs, Reilly O’Brien collected 19 disposals and finished with 26 hit-outs. The big man has come a long way after his notes on superstar Nic Naitanui were leaked. Young midfielder Ben Keays is continuing to show the Adelaide faithful that the midfield is full of potential. The ecstasy from the players was obvious after the game, along with the coach as they belted out the song. That first win in over a year may point to signs the Adelaide culture is slowly beginning to improve.
“I’m not angry, just disappointed,” says every Tigers fan
Sydney Stack and Callum Coleman-Jones getting in an altercation after being in a Gold Coast strip club, breaching COVID-19 protocols, is just the thing Richmond didn’t need. After a year full of headlines, this is an avoidable situation that has bought further unwanted attention on the club.
As a Tigers fan for over 21 years now, I’ve seen the club have its fair share of ups and downs on and off the field. In the public eye, we were a laughing-stock when we were down the bottom of the ladder, and now everyone wants to bring us down after recent success. No problems there, it’s the cycle of being a good team.
This is a bad down though. One that is easily avoided, but happened due to two players blatantly breaking the rules and putting their club and the league in danger. Every young man has made mistakes, me included, my parents can attest to that. I’m not angry, just disappointed in their decision making.
Liam Ryan was at his best against the Bombers, kicking a career best four-goals. Photo: Getty Images
Flyin’ Ryan helps fly Eagles home
After losing to Richmond in round 14 by 27 points, West Coast entered their round 15 encounter with Essendon in what was a must win game to keep their top four hopes alive.
The Eagles were without superstar key forward Josh Kennedy (concussion), meaning someone had to step up and help Jack Darling carry the load up forward. Enter Liam Ryan. In a year where small forwards have been strong, Ryan continued the trend, playing out of the goal square to kick a career best four-goals, as the Eagles defeated the Bombers by 15-points.
With Kennedy expected to return for Sunday’s game against the Western Bulldogs, it’s something Bulldogs coach Luke Beveridge will seriously be thinking about. With Liam Ryan showing us just how strong he can be if left one out inside 50, suddenly the dynamic Eagles forward line got even more unpredictable.
Giants young guns quietly building
Much of the conversation surrounding GWS in 2020 has been the fall from grace after they made the Grand Final last season. Unlike Adelaide from 2017, the Giants have endeavoured to do a partial reset of the list, to go again in a couple of seasons and attempt to win a premiership.
The average age of the Giants team that played Carlton on Thursday night was 23, whilst the blues had an average age of 24. Two 20 year olds in Bobby Hill and Jake Riccardi played extremely well in the forward line kicking one and two goals respectively, with Riccardi showing that if Cameron were to leave the Giants, they have plenty of players to fill the void.
Throughout the season players such as Brent Daniels and Jacob Hopper have grown in leaps and bounds to become vital members of the Giants midfield. Tim Taranto and Harry Himmelberg continue to show that they have the potential to become star players, and are of the utmost importance to the Giants moving forward. All that can be said is, do not think of the Giants as just another Adelaide Crows.
Justin McInerney was amongst Sydney's best on Thursday night in just his seventh AFL game. Photo: AFL Photos
If you’re going to re-build, be like Sydney
Sydney were competing for premierships for a long time. 2016 was their last appearance in a grand final and even as recently as 2018 they were in the finals. Fast forward to 2020 and they’re in a genuine re-build.
As a long-time Richmond fan, I know the pain involved with this process. All you want is competitiveness, to be consistently hard to beat, bring effort and show growth. If you do those things, wins like their round 15 victory over Melbourne come along, and there’s some reward for your efforts.
There are a few outliers, as there always is with young sides. But for the majority of the season, they’ve made themselves hard to beat. As a Swans fan, that’s all you can ask for, and if you’re a team re-building, that’s the mould you have to follow.
Dockers reminding us the importance of the Draft
While Fremantle will miss the finals in 2020 the youthful Dockers have improved immensely, setting the club up for a big future.
The young Dockers brigade consisting of Andrew Brayshaw, Adam Cerra, Caleb Serong and Luke Ryan all continued their strong seasons on Wednesday night, taking it up to one of the competitions best in Richmond. Three of those players are under 21 and would each be in Fremantle’s best 10 players right now.
Under new coach Justin Longmuir, the Dockers are thriving with a new system that's full of youth. With another year of development under their belt, expect this team to climb up the ladder in 2021 and contend for finals for the first time since 2015, as their young core continues to grow.
Cover Photo: Getty Images