North Melbourne coach Brad Scott has heaped praise on GWS captain Phil Davis for his blanketing job on Lance Franklin.
Analysing the first week of finals on SEN’s Whateley, Scott said Davis’ success one-on-one with Franklin, which held the Sydney champion goalless, gave GWS a significant midfield advantage.
“People will ask what’s the link between Davis and plus 30 in contested possession, but Davis doing the job on Franklin allowed GWS to keep their numbers around the ball,” he told SEN’s Whateley.
“If Franklin starts to get on top, GWS really has no choice other than to drop back and help Davis, which means they lose their advantage around the contest.
“As a coach, players who can play those roles like Davis did on Franklin are just invaluable and I’m sure that when Leon (Cameron) looks back and says great effort around the contest, he should then follow that up and say Davis enabled that to happen.”
Garry Lyon was equally impressed with Davis, brushing aside any excuse people may give Buddy for the poor performance.
“Phil Davis did a magnificent job. A lot of people here are saying, look at the way the ball was delivered in, I’m not buying that and others are saying the groin injury, that’s rubbish,” Lyon told SEN Breakfast.
“I’m not buying that either. He’s playing in a big, big final, he’s standing toe-to-toe with arguably the best forward of the last whatever and he beat him, I reckon, 12 times.”
GWS will now travel to Melbourne to take on Collingwood at the MCG in a must-win Semi-Final on Saturday night.