By Liam Melrose and Ollie Nash.
The Saints let one slip against the Cats on Friday night. Photo: AFL
Saints blow golden chance under the roof
St Kilda were all over Geelong in the first half on Friday night, however they went into halftime with just a one-point lead. The Saints kicked 3.11 in the first half to the Cats’ 4.2. They had more than double Geelong’s scoring shots and were all over them across the ground, however they succumbed to woeful accuracy in front of goal eventually losing by 21 points. If they had've kicked straight early the match could've been over by quarter time. It was a golden opportunity blown by the Saints against arguably the most in form team in the competition. There is a long way to go in 2021, however this is a game they should’ve and needed to win. Going into this season the Saints were one of the most hyped up teams in the league, after the loss to the Cats they sit in 11th position on the ladder with a record of 4-5, however more alarmingly they have a percentage of just 81.5.
Are we letting Hawthorn off too easy?
Here are some of the names that played for Hawthorn on the weekend. Blake Hardwick, Kyle Hartigan, Sam Frost, Jarman Impey, Liam Shiels, James Worpel, Tom Phillips, Luke Breust, Chad Wingard, Ben McEvoy, Tom Mitchell and Jaeger O’Meara. Three premiership players, a Brownlow medalist, a best and fairest winner and three multiple All-Australians … and they lost to North Melbourne. The only players for the Kangaroos that I would put in a similar category to those I just mentioned would be Ben Cunnington, Jack Ziebell, Jy Simpkin and Todd Goldstein. That’s an embarrassing loss in what has been an embarrassing season to date. Alistair Clarkson deserves the right to never be sacked given his unbelievable record, but he has to cop some flack for the season they’ve had. Their list is simply too good to be 17th on the ladder, with a 2-7 record and a percentage of 75.4.
The Western Bulldogs continued their impressive start to the season with a 19 point win over Port Adelaide in Adelaide on Saturday night. Photo: Getty Images
I’m on the Dogs’ and Dees’ train
When teams that have been down for a while begin a season strongly and look like contenders, I’m usually of the believe that you need to win a final for me to jump on board. I’m making an excuse for Melbourne and the Western Bulldogs, however. It’s for a few reasons. Both teams have beaten legitimate contenders this season, on multiple occasions. Both sides have stacked midfields full of star power that also defend, which is a necessity in the competition. Lastly, both have key position stocks at either end that are really strong. The Dog’s backline not so much, however, given the way their midfielders defend up the ground, they don’t need key defenders, their team defence does the job. Melbourne have three legitimate key forwards and two of the best defenders in the league. That’s hard to stop and that’s why both sides are contenders in my eyes now.
Are Port Adelaide really as good as we think?
After the loss to the Western Bulldogs the Power find themselves 1-3 against the current top eight teams. They’ve lost to the West Coast Eagles by 37 points, the Brisbane Lions by 44 points and the Western Bulldogs by 19 points. The only team in the top eight they have beaten is Richmond. Are the Power flat track bullies? Personally, I don’t think so. The stats are alarming considering how badly they’ve been beaten in two of those games, however I think as the season goes on they'll level that stat out against the fellow top eight teams. They are too good of a team not to, however with the Power currently looking dim against the best teams in the league the pressure is on to flick the switch.
GWS had no answers for superstar Tiger Dustin Martin. Photo: Getty Images
What were the Giants thinking?
It’s beyond me that GWS didn’t have someone running with Dustin Martin throughout their clash with Richmond on Saturday night. It’s well known if you stop Dusty you’re well on your way to stopping the Tigers. In every Richmond loss this season Martin has struggled to have a strong influence on the game as he has been heavily tagged, whilst in every win he’s been arguably the best player on the ground as he's been let off the chain. Against the Giants he had 28 disposals and four goals. While Martin hasn’t played poorly in the matches where he has been ‘shut down’ it is a long way from his game breaking best. The Giants only lost to the Tigers by four points, it only makes me wonder if someone went to Dusty and even kept him to just one or two goals … GWS win the game.
Are the finals teams locked in?
We’re nine rounds in, but are the finals sides locked in already? As the ladder stands it’s Melbourne (36), Western Bulldogs (32), Geelong (24), Brisbane (24), Port Adelaide (24), Sydney (24), West Coast (24) and Richmond (20). GWS, Fremantle and St Kilda sit a game behind the Tigers, however, I just don’t see them finding a way in. Inconsistency has and will continue to let them down and plain and simply they won’t beat the teams inside the top eight to give it a shake-up. St Kilda and GWS had chances at the weekend and butchered it, as did Fremantle against Essendon. Unless there’s a bunch of injuries for one of the current top eight teams, I think they’re locked in.
Cover Photo: AFL Photos