Port Adelaide swagger
You can tell when a team is in form and their confidence is high. I think it eventually becomes the criteria to be a good side. Richmond had it going in 2018, Geelong have carried it since 2007 and Brisbane made it famous in the early 2000s. Strong body language is a part of it and the freedom that teams play with is another. Port Adelaide seem to have that now.
They have confidence in the way they play and don’t seem phased by what’s happening in the contest. They missed so many opportunities in front of goal against Carlton on Sunday, but they persisted with their game-plan and never looked rattled, as if it was all going to come together eventually. By no means does it always amount to a premiership or finals success, but it’s a good way to carry yourself as a team for when the going gets tough in big games, as it did on Sunday.
Gold Coast the Dogs of 2016
Gold Coast did what they needed to on the weekend, taking down the Swans by 32 points at the SCG. It’s important for a young team to deliver when they are expected to and beat the teams around their level or below, which they have done this year beating Adelaide, Fremantle and now Sydney.
What I’ve enjoyed watching is their slick hands, eerily similar to the Bulldogs premiership winning side in 2016. Like the Dogs, the Suns have become elite at the contested side of their game and once the ball’s out, they spread and move the ball quickly by hand. With young fresh legs, it’s clear how coach Stuart Dew wants them to play and they’re producing it each week, meaning young guns Ben King and Izak Rankine are getting great delivery inside 50.
Photo: Gold Coast
The Richmond system is back
Going into round seven against the Kangaroos, Richmond were missing seven players from the 2019 Grand Final side. They were missing key players Trent Cotchin, Bachar Houli, Dion Prestia, Toby Nankervis and Shane Edwards who last played two weeks ago before the Tigers entered the hub. However, it was clear that their system of play was back. Lots of pressure, getting the ball back quickly, surging forward and scoring quickly.
North Melbourne aren’t a team in form, but it’s a good sign to be playing your own brand of footy, which is all fans want to see. With key players missing for the near future the Tigers need this system of play to be prevalent and it was there on Saturday night.
The wheels are starting to roll out west
West Coast notched their third straight win on Sunday night with a 5-goal victory over the Dockers. Superstar forward Josh Kennedy played his best game for 2020 to date kicking four majors in his 250th game. The Eagles were premiership favorites going into 2020 and its clear to see why, once the wheels of this midfield get rolling they’re incredibly hard to stop. They kicked three goals in under two minutes on Sunday night, with Nic Nat’s magical ruck-work combining with the elite West Coast engine room that was led by Elliot Yeo (20 disposals and six tackles) and Tim Kelly (18 disposals and six tackles).
With the Eagles expected to be rewarded with a large chunk of home games in Perth after their time spent in the Queensland hub, don’t be surprised to see them back in the top four within the next few weeks.
Photo: Gold Coast Bulletin
Bombers grounded after Bulldog bite
Going into round six Essendon had lost just the one game by a single point to Carlton. The Bombers were full of optimism being 4-1 with a game in hand going into their clash with the Western Bulldogs on Friday night. It was a hotly contested first half, however after half-time the Bulldogs went to another level, bringing the Bombers crashing back down to earth, on their way to a 42-point win.
The game was won in the middle of the ground with Bulldogs ruckman Tim English (22 disposals and six clearances) playing arguably the best game of his career to date. Essendon was torn apart by a Bulldogs midfield led by Jack Macrae (29 disposals and four clearances), Tom Liberatore (22 disposals and five clearances), and Marcus Bontempelli (23 disposals and five clearances).
While the Bombers were without superstar Dylan Shiel (suspension), their young midfield brigade led by Andrew McGrath and Zach Merrett will want to turn the tide against the winless Crows on Sunday, in a must-win game for Essendon if they want to still consider themselves a threat this season.
Saints tick another box in season 2020
While St Kilda faced a winless Adelaide Crows on Monday night the Saints had never won a game at Adelaide Oval in ten showings. It was a must-win game for them after their horror loss to the 15th placed Dockers last week, after leading by as much as 37 points early in the second quarter.
It was a spirited effort from the Crows in front of their first home crowd this year, with the Saints finding themselves in a similar position to what they faced last week against the Dockers. Adelaide came hard but the Saints resisted the fightback to win their first game at Adelaide Oval in eleven attempts, ticking another box in what is looking like a much-improved St Kilda in 2020.
Cover Photo: IMDB