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Overreactions, positives, negatives & undroppables for all 18 AFL teams in Round 24


What are the key takeaways and observations relating to your club in Round 24?

We have dissected each of the matches and offered a number of talking points for all 18 clubs.

The following will not apply to each club every week but form the basis of our views.

The Key Takeaway
The Undroppables
The Overreaction
The Positive
The Negative
What no one is talking about
What they need to tweak for next week

ADELAIDE club banner

The Key Takeaway: What could have been

Eventually, Adelaide ran away from West Coast to record a comfortable victory on Saturday night. But with Sydney losing again, it was hard not to think of what could have been for the Crows in 2023 if not for the drama in Round 23.

With the correct goal-line call, Adelaide would now be eighth on 48 points, two clear of Sydney on 46. They’d be preparing to play Carlton in two weeks' time.

Crows fans would hope their club has worked out some sort of agreement with head office on what compensation should look like for missed finals revenue and the lot.

But the reality could be far different.

The Negative: No Coleman for Tex

Nine goals wasn’t enough for Taylor Walker to overcome a huge deficit in the Coleman Medal race, with Charlie Curnow eventually locking up the award on Sunday night.

But Walker excited plenty with his antics against the Eagles that also played a big role in his side winning the game.

At 33 years of age, Walker gave Jeremy McGovern a bath and even took the Coleman Medal lead.

But Curnow took just one quarter to reel him back in. Nevertheless, it’s hard to remember anyone enjoying a career resurgence to the level that Walker has this year.

A maiden All-Australian blazer beckons.

Seb Mottram

BRISBANE club banner

The Key Takeaway: The real stuff starts now for the Lions

This is the best opportunity the Lions will get to win a flag with this list.

They’ve banked a home final against Port Adelaide at a venue they haven’t lost at all year, and if they do what’s needed against the Power, they’ll have locked in a home Preliminary Final.

This is Chris Fagan’s greatest chance to become a premiership-winning coach.

Saturday’s win over the Saints wasn’t their best for the year, but it was one they had to have. They ground out a win against a plucky side.

The Lions are under the most pressure heading into this finals series, it’s just set up so perfectly for them.

The Overreaction: The Lions will be too good for Port Adelaide

As soon as this fixture was announced, all the talk has been about Brisbane and how this is their time (just read above).

It feels like everyone is just expecting them to do the job over Port Adelaide at home.

But are we sleeping on Ken Hinkley and the Power?

Port Adelaide have been one of the most consistent teams all year and will give themselves every chance of heading up to Brisbane and causing an upset.

The midfield quartet of Zak Butters, Connor Rozee, Jason Horne-Francis and Ollie Wines is made for finals footy and they’ll back themselves in against the Lions midfielders.

This game will be a cracker.

What they need to tweak for next week: They need more flare in the guts

The loss of Will Ashcroft is having a big impact on Chris Fagan’s midfield group.

Lachie Neale, Josh Dunkley and Hugh McCluggage are jets, but it stops there in terms of their midfield quality.

They need a fire starter in there and they’ve got a few in the form of Dayne Zorko, Cam Rayner and Zac Bailey.

Now whether or not those guys are fit enough to play 70+ per cent midfield time in a crunch final is the big question for the Lions.

But they need someone in there that can break the lines and drive their legs out of the centre.

Could all three share the load and play impact minutes in the middle?

Hugh Fitzpatrick

CARLTON club banner

The Key Takeaway: Getting an important run into returning players

Given the VFL team crashed out of finals, Carlton had no choice but to play Sam Walsh, Adam Cerra, Mitch McGovern and Corey Durdin in the AFL side as the quartet returned from injury.

Naturally, they were a little scratchy, but getting the run in their legs before finals will be hugely important.

Walsh and Cerra were arguably both in career best form before their respective hamstring injuries and the Blues will be hoping both can get back to that level for the Elimination Final.

Harry McKay now also has two games under his belt leading into the Elimination Final against Sydney on September 8.

The Positive: Charlie Curnow wins a second straight Coleman

After playing 15 games between 2019 and 2022, Charlie Curnow has played 44 out of a possible 44 games, won consecutive Coleman Medals and kicked 142 goals.

It is a remarkable story, with Curnow ascending from a young player full of potential, to someone stuck on the sidelines, and now potentially the AFL’s most valuable player.

He will now play in his first final – can he rise on the biggest stage?

Nic Negrepontis

COLLINGWOOD club banner

The Key Takeaway: Much-needed pre-finals performance

Yes, it was only against Essendon, but you get the feeling Collingwood will take plenty out of their performance on Friday night.

The Magpies felt that they got their DNA back with intense pressure and tough defending as they out-tackled the Bombers despite dominating the game.

With their defence in better shape, the Magpies were able to use the ball with elite speed and class and that showed early on as they kicked the first 11 goals of the match.

It’s a good confidence booster after a tough final stretch and they still enter finals with a reasonable 2-1 record from their last three games.

With the likes of Darcy Moore, Nathan Murphy and Beau McCreery all looking like likely ins, this side will be hard to beat if they continue playing with the power they displayed against the Dons.

The Positive: Jordan De Goey’s performance

After being rested in the Round 23 loss to Brisbane with a glute complaint, Jordan De Goey got some much-needed form under his belt ahead of finals.

The star midfielder was cruising to an All-Australian berth midway through the year until he was suspended for his bump on West Coast’s Elijah Hewett.

Since returning in Round 17, De Goey hasn’t been at his best, but he certainly recaptured that against the Dons with one goal, 27 disposals and eight inside 50s.

A proven finals performer, De Goey will be crucial to Collingwood’s premiership hopes and he could be the catalyst in their September push if this sort of form holds up.

The Undroppables: Jack Ginnivan

After bursting onto the scene last season, Jack Ginnivan has failed to recapture those heights in 2023.

The small forward was out of the side completely from Round 12 to Round 21 before earning a reprieve as a sub in the Round 22 win over Geelong.

After impressing in that game, Ginnivan earned a place in the starting 22 last weekend against Brisbane but truly solidified his spot with a strong performance against Essendon.

The small forward kicked three goals, had three goal assists and got plenty of footy up the ground with 17 disposals and five marks.

It might be the 20-year-old’s most mature performance since making his debut and he genuinely looks a more complete player for having spent time in the reserves this season.

He’s a fan favourite and should absolutely start for the Magpies in their first final on September 7.

Lachlan Geleit

ESSENDON club banner

The Key Takeaway: What to take out of the last fortnight?

The curious case of Essendon’s last few weeks probably needs a further examination in the weeks and months ahead, with their season coming to a limp close after a 70-point smashing at the hands of their nemesis Collingwood.

Right from the opening bounce, it was evident the patched-up Bombers – who were missing some of their most important players – were nowhere near it as Collingwood took full advantage to kick the first 11 goals.

It’s hard to pinpoint exactly what has brought about such a sudden drop-off in form at Essendon, having started the season so well.

It promises to be a long and arduous off-season at The Hangar as Brad Scott continues to re-shape his side.

They remain as one of the key watches heading into 2024.

The Overreaction: This was a failure of a year for the Bombers

Heading into season 2023, expectations at Essendon were modest at best as Scott prepared to take charge of his first season at the club.

After a strong start which had the Dons sitting in the top eight for much of the season, expectations in-season were raised but were ultimately dashed as their form took a turn in the last six weeks.

But was the campaign a failure? Absolutely not. The hard work at the Bombers begins now the season is over.

The football world will be watching how they present at pre-season training.

Laurence Rosen

FREMANTLE club banner

The Key Takeaway: Strong finish to a disappointing season

The Dockers defeated the Hawks by 37 points at the MCG to make it 10 wins in season 2023.

A scrappy start to the match with both teams out of finals contention, Freo led by 10 points at the first break which was extended to 29 by half-time.

Despite being beaten at the contest, losing the overall clearances 37 to 24, it was their efficiency going forward (53.3 per cent) and 14 marks inside 50 that gave the Dockers the upper hand in the match.

Andrew Brayshaw led from the front and showed his class, finishing the game with 33 disposals, eight tackles and a goal.

Justin Longmuir’s side was ultimately disappointing in 2023, but their decent finish of a 101-point derby win over West Coast, a gritty 16-point loss to top four side Port Adelaide and this win over the Hawks will at least be fresh in their minds when pre-season begins.

The Positive: Amiss boots 41 in 2023

It may have been an underwhelming season, but there is massive excitement for Freo fans following 20-year-old forward Jye Amiss’ first 40-goal season.

Amiss kicked another three majors on Saturday afternoon taking his overall tally to 41 goals, finishing equal 15th overall in the league.

Averaging 1.86 goals a game in his second season at AFL level is fantastic and he’ll continue to build on that in years to come.

The promising youngster looks to be one of the crucial components in Freo’s pursuit of ultimate success in the next decade.

The Negative: Serong being ineligible

Caleb Serong continued his superb form with 32 disposals, nine clearances and five tackles.

It’s unfortunate that he’s ineligible for the Brownlow due to a suspension in Round 17 because he will be the highest vote-getter at the Dockers this season.

He could sneak into the top handful in the count but his ineligibility makes it somewhat null and void.

The 22-year-old has put together a career campaign and is now the club’s prime mover in the middle.

Ethan Daffey

GEELONG club banner

The Positive: The youth gets a run

Decimated on the injury front and with the season over, Chris Scott treated Saturday’s clash as a celebration of departing veterans Isaac Smith and Sam Menegola.

But he did opt to blood some youth as well.

The Cats had the six least experienced players on the ground, with Toby Conway and Ted Clohesy making their debuts.

Conway especially looked to have a future in the ruck, while Ollie Dempsey impressed with 15 touches and a goal.

Shannon Neale, Mitch Knevitt and Oisin Mullin all showed enough to suggest there’s optimism for the future.

All in all, Geelong saw just about everything it needed to in its last game of the year.

What no one is talking about: The hold-up in contracts for Tuohy and Hawkins

Why haven’t Tom Hawkins and Zach Tuohy put pen to paper for next year yet?

Hawkins at least is understood to want to play on, while Tuohy’s situation is unclear. But given they have both been part of Geelong’s best 22 this season, it would have been expected the duo would have re-signed already.

The same can be said for Rhys Stanley. This situation will be watched closely by Cats fans over the coming weeks.

Seb Mottram

GOLD COAST club banner

The Positive: The only way is up

The Gold Coast Suns cannot go any lower, not even if they tried. Which they didn’t against North Melbourne on Saturday afternoon.

You can only hope Damien Hardwick wasn’t watching that. And if he was, club powerbrokers would hope he doesn’t have an early get-out clause.

With nothing on the line, the Suns were all on different pages at Blundstone Arena and were comprehensively beaten by a team on a 20-game losing streak.

In a year that started with Stuart Dew explaining his hopes to take Gold Coast to its first finals series, it ended with another wasted season capped off by an embarrassing loss.

The Overreaction: Dimma’s premiership claim

Early last week incoming coach Hardwick told reporters that 80 per cent of the Suns’ first premiership side was already at the club.

If that’s the case, it’ll be a meteoric rise from where they find themselves now. Plenty of Suns looked as if they’d checked out in Round 24, an attitude that doesn’t bode well in a push for a flag.

Hardwick can make all the claims he likes and heap pressure on his side in doing so. But it has to start with some serious attitude changes that don’t happen overnight, as well as a few more decent players.

Seb Mottram

GWS GIANTS club banner

The Key Takeaway: The Giants deserve their spot in the finals

It was a poor start to the year for the Giants but it was expected under new coach Adam Kingsley. However, the Giants are going into the 2023 AFL Finals series having won nine of their last 11 matches.

During that stretch of consecutive wins, the Giants were exciting to watch and several role players including Jack Buckley, Lachie Ash, Xavier O'Halloran and Connor Idun, Callum Brown, Brent Daniels and Toby Bedford, among others, were contributing weekly.

The game against Carlton was in the balance at half-time and at stages during the third term but GWS pulled away thanks to consecutive goals to Jake Riccardi.

The Giants were able to punch their ticket into the finals series.

The Overreaction: The Giants will beat St Kilda in the Elimination Final

The Saints had done enough at the start of the season to bank some wins and finished strong late to book a home final. However, they were unable to defeat a Brisbane Lions team who gave them plenty of chances to pull off a final-round upset. St Kilda have only scored 100 or more points twice in the home and away season.

The Giants enter the finals filled with plenty of confidence and will be buoyed by the fact they have made a deep finals run from outside the top four before.

The Giants back six will also fancy their chances against St Kilda’s forward line, but Ross Lyon sides are difficult to beat in finals.

The Negative: Narrowly missed a home final

At stages during their win over Carlton, the Giants were leading by just enough to sit in sixth spot over St Kilda and be in line to host a finals match.

But the Blues had four of the last five scores including two goals. This meant the Saints edged the Giants on by 0.7 per cent and secured the all-important home final.

Charles Goodsir

HAWTHORN club banner

The Key Takeaway: The Hawks need more quality key position players

Mitch Lewis is by far Hawthorn’s best key forward. When he doesn’t play, the Hawks struggle to kick a winning score.

Since being drafted with pick 76 in the 2016 National Draft, Lewis has failed to play more than 16 games in a season. That is not just bad luck. The way he plays the game often results in injury and missed games.

The Hawks must do all they can in the next couple of years to acquire a quality key forward in free agency.

The Hawks also have the same issue down back.

James Blanck is currently the only quality key defender, with Sam Frost looking like his time is up.

Unfortunately, Denver Grainger-Barrass, who the Hawks took with pick 6 in the 2020 draft, has struggled to cement his spot down back.

There has been talk the Hawks are after Esava Ratugolea and Ben McKay. Perhaps the North Melbourne defender would be the better option.

The Overreaction: Did the Hawks get ahead of themselves?

This was spoken about in the media on Sunday.

After a really strong last month, the Hawks went into their clash against Fremantle high with confidence and played like they rocked up to the game thinking they would just win.

Their performance against the Dockers was incredibly poor but can definitely be excused after a fairly positive overall season despite a few downs.

The Positive: Season is over at the right time

Despite finishing 16th and winning seven games, season 2023 was a big tick for Sam Mitchell’s Hawks.

After culling over 1000 games of experience at the end of 2022, the Hawks were unfairly criticised and were accused of 'tanking' by some in the media.

In 2023 they beat Collingwood and Brisbane and lost three games by under a goal. Their midfield went from the worst in the competition to one of the best. They also found some quality young players in Josh Weddle, Seamus Mitchell, Cam Mackenzie and Henry Hustwaite.

But it’s now time to go away over the off-season and start planning for a massive 2024.

The Negative: The Hawks did not come to play

After an excellent month, the Hawks rocked up to the game against the Dockers expecting to just win. And it showed.

From the opening quarter the entire team looked flat.

This happened a few times in season 2023 - as it can to young teams - but needs to be addressed heading into 2024 and beyond.

Brad Klibansky

MELBOURNE club banner

The Key Takeaway: Gritty win shows genuine backbone

The Demons didn’t have to win on Sunday which made their performance against Sydney at the SCG all the more impressive.

The 21-point win was the result of a big finish as they trailed a Sydney side that was hunting a home final by 17 points midway through the third term.

The Demons simply outhunted their opponents when they so easily could have taken the foot off the gas knowing they were locked into fourth position.

They could have gone even easier after both Jake Melksham (knee) and Bayley Fritsch went off injured, but the Demons simply refused to lose.

Their win showed off their defensive structure, pressure and contested footy and they’re all aspects of their game which should stand up in September.

The Positive: They’ve set themselves up for a finals assault

Melbourne finished fourth but it’s as good as finishing first given they’ll face Collingwood at the MCG.

Finishing fourth also means they escape travelling to Brisbane in week one of finals and they will almost certainly become outright premiership favourites if they can win in week one.

If the Demons beat the Magpies and the Lions continue to win at home, Melbourne will play a home Preliminary Final against one of Port Adelaide, St Kilda or GWS.

The draw will absolutely open up for the winner of Collingwood v Melbourne and that’s not usually an opportunity you get for finishing as the lowest ranked team in the top four.

All eyes will be on their performance on Thursday week.

The Negative: Melksham’s injury

Melbourne unfortunately looks like they’ll be without Jake Melksham for the rest of the season and potentially much of next season as he suffered a torn ACL in Sunday’s win.

The injury comes at a cruel time for the veteran who turns 32 on Tuesday as he looked like he was on the verge of being a big finals contributor for Melbourne.

Melbourne now enters September without Melksham and Harrison Petty.

They’ll still have the likes of Fritsch and Kysaiah Pickett in their front half, but taking out Melksham and Petty certainly reduces their ability to be as potent inside 50 as the club would have hoped a month ago.

Lachlan Geleit


The Positive: The losing streak is over

North Melbourne’s time on the bottom of the ladder lasted a week in the end.

Their dominant win over Gold Coast in Tasmania capped off a month of ultra-competitive performances and really, when you factor in the shenanigans of the Sydney loss earlier in the season, they never deserved to win the wooden spoon.

They now go into the off-season with the hope that comes with a win, even if it has potentially cost them access to Harley Reid.

What they need to tweak for next year: Find a way to get the three top draft talents

The Roos will enter the draft with pick two. They will now hope Ben McKay’s free agency deal is sufficient enough to earn them pick three as compensation.

On top of that, they have applied for Academy zone access to Tasmanian Sandringham Dragons midfielder Ryley Sanders, who is seen as a first-round talent.

If North Melbourne can navigate the off-season and leave with all three assets – all without requiring a priority pick from the AFL – it will be a significant success.

Nic Negrepontis

PORT ADELAIDE club banner

The Key Takeaway: Eventually ironed out the kinks

The Power got the chocolates over Richmond on Sunday afternoon despite being outplayed in the first half.

Ken Hinkley’s side had a two-point advantage at the main break, but the scoreboard didn’t reflect a half controlled by Richmond who could have been four or five goals up had they taken their chances.

They eventually got up and going, back to their brutal best running over the top in the last term, winning by 31 points.

Connor Rozee was tremendous in the win, finishing with 33 disposals, six tackles, five clearances and a goal.

His partner in crime, Zak Butters had another stand-out performance in a career-best season with 30 disposals, nine clearances and seven marks.

The Undroppable: Francis Evans

An intriguing player for Port Adelaide heading into their 2023 finals campaign is Francis Evans.

Evans continued his goal-kicking form with another three majors and is making a serious case for a spot in the first final against the Lions.

The 22-year-old forward has been the Power's leading goal kicker in two games since Round 20.

In Round 14, Evans kicked four goals in the Showdown and was dropped the week after. If he were to be dropped for the first final, it would be incredibly harsh.

What they need to tweak for next week: Increase intensity around the ball

An area that needs to be fixed for Port Adelaide heading into their finals clash against Brisbane at the Gabba is their intensity around the ball.

They conceded 58 inside 50s and allowed the Tigers to move the ball way too freely.

It may have been a Round 24 clash with not much on the line, but Hinkley’s side can’t afford to concede 58 inside 50s when they face the Lions at the Gabba in the Qualifying Final, because they will likely be punished more on the scoreboard than they were against the Tigers.

Ethan Daffey

RICHMOND club banner

The Key Takeaway: A disappointing 2023

Overall it was a disappointing season for Richmond.

Having recruited heavily last trade period, it was expected that the Tigers would at least play finals again.

Fast forward to today and they have ended 2023 in 13th with just 10 wins.

Damien Hardwick up and left, Tom Lynch could barely grace the turf, while Trent Cotchin and Jack Riewoldt opted to call time as the club begins to look to the future.

In the end it was an unfulfilling year which at one stage had promised so much.

The Positive: Youngsters looked good at the elite level

Debutants James Trezise and Tom Brown looked solid at the elite level in their AFL debuts.

Mid-season recruit Trezise appeared at ease across half-back, picking up 17 disposals with 13 kicks, six intercept possessions, five tackles, five rebound 50s and 405 metres gained - only Jayden Short and Dustin Martin had more metres.

Brown played a little deeper in defence than his fellow debutant, but was also decent. He had 16 touches including 12 kicks at 88 per cent efficiency, along with six intercepts, six marks and four rebound 50s.

Throw in another assured performance from Sam Banks, who had 13 disposals and kicked his first AFL goal, and there are a few potential gems set to shine through at Tigerland.

The Negative: Frustrating Shai

Shai Bolton could be absolutely anything with his freakish ability and all the tricks required to be a superstar.

However, he just makes some errors unbecoming of a player of his ilk.

Yes, he is a star of the game who is a two-time premiership player and an All-Australian, but there are some things he needs to get better at.

One of those is having more care in front of goal. He could have kicked five or six on Sunday, but was a bit lackadaisical in his approach.

He’s still only 24 so he has plenty of time to iron out these kinks, but until he does, he needs to find a way to limit his glaring blues.

What no one is talking about: Maurice Rioli Jnr

After a promising 2022 season, Maurice Rioli Jnr somewhat regressed in 2023.

He played just 10 games, kicked only two goals and could only muster six disposals per game.

The 20-year-old sustained another hamstring injury in the weekend’s loss to Port Adelaide to bring to an end a subpar season.

The talented youngster needs a massive pre-season to get himself as fit as possible in order to go some way to fulfilling his massive potential.

What they need to tweak for next year: Make the right coaching call

A mammoth off-season is set to ensue at Richmond.

The era of success is well and truly over now that Hardwick, Cotchin and Riewoldt are gone.

First is making the right appointment with the new head coach, whether that be Andrew McQualter or someone else, and then making the appropriate adjustments with the list.

The majority of Tigers are hoping former club captain Chris Newman is the man to step into the gaping hole left by Hardwick.

The Tigers will hope not to bottom out again but rebuild on the run so they can be in contention again sooner rather later.

It all starts this summer.

Andrew Slevison

ST KILDA club banner

The Overreaction: The bookies

Despite sitting in the top eight for the whole year and locking in a home final, the Saints are continuing to be overlooked and this time it was by the bookmakers.

Now, I’m not saying the Saints are complete morals to beat the Giants, but surely they’re the favourites?

Well guess what, they aren’t and I’m wrong.

Are the bookies overreacting to GWS’ win over the Blues on Sunday? Carlton put the cue in the rack after quarter time, allowing the Giants to lock down their place in the finals with an easy 32-point win at Marvel Stadium.

Star defender Sam Taylor didn’t play on the weekend and the vibe coming from the Giants around his hamstring isn’t great.

If I were a punter, I’d be having a few clams on the $2 on offer for a Ross Lyon-coached side in the finals.

Gamble responsibly of course.

The Positive: The Saints walk away from Brisbane relatively unscathed

Every time Jack Sinclair, Rowan Marshall, Callum Wilkie and Jack Steele went near the ball, Saints fans would’ve had their hearts in their mouth fearing a potential injury.

Round 24 injuries for a side playing finals is so heartbreaking and luckily for the Saints, that wasn’t the case on Saturday.

Defender Josh Battle was subbed out with concussion but luckily for the 25-year-old, he’ll be out of concussion protocols in time for their date with the Giants.

Max King would have enjoyed the week off and will be feeling cherry-ripe for his first final at the home of football, the MCG.

The Key Takeaway: The Saints aren’t just making up the numbers in September

Is anyone giving the Saints a chance to do some damage this September?

It doesn’t sound like it.

Even if the Saints beat the Giants in the first final, they’ll have to head to either Adelaide to face Port Adelaide or Brisbane to face the Lions.

That will be a seriously tough ask, but it’s not impossible.

Ross Lyon-coached sides in finals are a seriously tough opposition, his ability to turn the game into an arm wrestle is what makes tipping against his teams so hard.

The small forwards from the Giants were able to do as they pleased on the weekend, constantly getting out the back in an open 50.

That won’t be the case against the Saints at the MCG in a fortnight’s time.

Full credit to Andrew Bassat for making the brave call to bring Lyon back to Moorabbin.

Hugh Fitzpatrick

SYDNEY club banner

The Overreaction: The Swans are making up the numbers

If it weren’t for the incorrect behind call during the Swans’ clash with Adelaide, the Crows would be taking their spot in the 2023 finals series and you could argue that Adelaide would have more of a chance of causing a finals upset than Sydney.

With a home final up for grabs and an opponent who had already locked in their spot in fourth, the Swans were incredibly poor in front of a sell-out SCG. Aside from a brilliant five minutes to open the third term, the Swans were uninspiring and consistently turned the ball over whilst wasting plenty of opportunities.

Carlton should win comfortably in the Elimination Final on September 8.

But does John Longmire have something up his sleeve?

The Positive: Gulden’s golden year

Errol Gulden was easily the best player on the ground in Round 24 despite his side being soundly beaten. Gulden had 42 disposals with nine score involvements, six intercept possessions, four clearances, four inside 50s and two spectacular goals.

Gulden has been one of the most consistent players across the competition and has averaged 27 touches, five tackles, four clearances, six score involvements, six inside 50’s and a goal per game.

He thoroughly deserves his expected first All-Australian blazer later this week.

The negative: Poor goal kicking form returns

During their run of consecutive wins, the Swans had rectified their goal kicking woes.

It reared its ugly head on Sunday with 7.14. The Swans had one less scoring shot yet went down by 21 points.

Logan McDonald was the worst offender with 1.3 whilst co-captain Luke Parker (0.2) and Isaac Heeney (0.2) also contributed to the poor scoreline.

Charles Goodsir

WEST COAST club banner

The Key Takeaway: Pick 1 is BACK!

It was essentially the perfect way for the Eagles to finish off the season.

They were competitive, taking the fight to a legitimately talented Adelaide side and holding the lead on multiple occasions.

Yet they weren’t excessively competitive, taking the foot completely off the accelerator in the final term to ensure the loss and subsequently the wooden spoon.

While it’s not exactly a desirable outcome to finish last, the first overall draft pick - likely Harley Reid - that accompanies it is the best possible justification for the year West Coast has had.

The Eagles can now put this season behind them entirely, instead focusing on completely revamping their list and club over the off-season.

Things are looking up for West Coast.

The Negative: Tex Walker's dominance

Walker kicked 9.4 on the weekend. No side should be happy to concede that much to a single player.

Admittedly, the Crows were targeting Tex at every single opportunity, however, that doesn’t make up for the fact that the Eagles couldn’t stop it.

The ability to adjust in-game is one that West Coast simply doesn’t have currently, and it’s something else that they should work on ahead of next year.

The Positive: Tim Kelly

Have yourself a season Tim Kelly!

He has easily been West Coast’s most consistent player this year, rising to the occasion whenever the ball came his way, all while missing just one game.

Kelly capped off this season with another stellar showing, collecting 35 touches as he was leading West Coast’s charge in the earlier stages.

He will look even better in an improved Eagles side next year.

Jack Makeham


The Key Takeaway: Disappointing

That’s the only word to describe the Bulldogs’ season.

They got the job done against the Cats, giving themselves a chance to keep their spot in the top eight, but it just wasn’t to be.

GWS mustered an excellent display against Carlton, leaping from ninth up to seventh in the final game of the season, booting the Dogs out of finals in the process.

In isolation that may seem unlucky, however they only have themselves to blame.

Luke Beveridge’s men dropped two games against teams in the bottom four in the lead-up to Round 24, with a win in either of which almost guaranteeing the Dogs a finals berth.

Looking at the season in full, there are almost too many missed opportunities to keep track of, with the Bulldogs’ inability to hold onto a lead coming back to bite them week after week.

This list certainly has the talent to contend at a high level, but this year has made it clear that something must change at Whitten Oval.

2023 should serve as a wake-up call for the club.

The Overreaction: The Bulldogs stole the Brownlow from Bontempelli

Marcus Bontempelli was excellent on Saturday night, collecting 31 touches in a performance that should have placed him in the votes.

Yet there’s a strong chance he misses out, largely due to the strong showings from his teammates.

Adam Treloar was excellent, racking up 33 possessions and two goals, while Tom Liberatore had 32 disposals and a goal of his own.

Head up forward and you can see another potential vote-getter, with Rory Lobb booting three goals and swinging the game in the Dogs’ favour.

This doesn’t even account for Geelong’s side of things, with Isaac Smith’s 36 possessions and a goal almost certain to warrant attention.

With the Brownlow race as close as it currently is, Bontempelli needs every vote he can get to secure the honour for the first time.

It will be interesting to see whether this game sees him miss out by the smallest of margins.

Jack Makeham

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