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What they got right and wrong: Each club’s wins and woes from Round 3


What did your club get right and what did your club get wrong in Round 3?

We had eight matches across the weekend with Gold Coast and GWS both having a bye.

See our assessments below:

ADELAIDE club banner

What they got right

Mark Keane’s career day

Injuries have created opportunities in the Crows’ backline and Mark Keane grabbed it with both hands.

On a dirty day for Adelaide, the 24-year-old picked up 26 disposals at 92 per cent disposal efficiency and took 11 marks.

Adelaide is desperate to solidify their back six, particularly key defenders, and Keane is one worth persisting with.

What they got wrong

Forward connection is broken

It’s fair to say when you have 44 inside 50s and score 34 points, something has gone very wrong.

It’s been an issue for Adelaide across 2024 so far, with an inside 50 efficiency of 34.8% on average across three games.

Taylor Walker, Josh Rachele, Izak Rankine, Darcy Fogarty… great names on paper no doubt, but they combined for 0 goals on Friday night.

What’s going on with Jordan Dawson?

Jordan Dawson had eight effective kicks on Friday night. It might be time for the Crows to do something differently with the skipper.

Whether that’s putting him back to the wing or pushing him to half back, Adelaide needs to get their captain some easier ball.

Sydney has built their midfield structure around getting the ball in Errol Gulden’s hands. Brisbane does the same with Dayne Zorko.

It’s time for the Crows to do similarly with Dawson, who is doing far too much inside grunt work and not utilising his best asset, which is his ball-use.

Nic Negrepontis

BRISBANE club banner

What they got right

Showed some fight

Brisbane started poorly in the must-win Collingwood clash last Thursday, finding themselves 24 points down at the first break.

The Lions could have gone into their shells but they opted yo stand up and show some fight, dominating the second quarter to take a five-point lead into the main break.

While overall it was a subpar display from Chris Fagan’s men, they were able to at least save some face by playing quality footy in patches and taking it right up to the Pies for portions.

Enough ball forward

It has been the story of the season so far.

Fagan’s side enjoyed the lion’s share of attacking play, finishing with +13 inside 50s (56-43), yet could only return 10.12.(72).

They also had more inside 50s against Fremantle (56-48) in Round 1 and Carlton (62-49) in Opening Round which indicates they are producing enough ball forward and generating ample scoring chances.

From there they just need to straighten up and actually generate the opportunities they’ve been creating.

What they got wrong

Started slowly

After brilliant first quarters in their first two matches, the Lions were poor in the opening term against the Pies.

Fagan bemoaned that exact fact as the Lions entered the first break four goals in arrears.

They would go on to lose the game by 20 points which highlights just how costly their tardy beginning really was.

Forward connection not quite working

Brisbane’s inside 50 entries weren’t low, as mentioned previously, but they just couldn’t hit the scoreboard.

Joe Daniher, Charlie Cameron and Eric Hipwood were all down on form, combining for two goals (four behinds) from 27 disposals and 12 marks.

At one stage they had a point for each inside 50 entry which is certainly not efficient.

The Lions selected a taller forward line but it didn’t quite work as there were a lot of dropped marks and near misses.

They get the chance to start rectifying this glaring issue when they meet North Melbourne in Gather Round.

Lost at home again

The Lions went 13-0 at the Gabba last year.

In 2024, they already find themselves 0-2 at a venue which is normally seen as a major advantage to them.

What has been a fortress in recent times is again a thorn in their side which they’ll be intent on righting when they return against Geelong, but not until Round 6.

Andrew Slevison

CARLTON club banner

What they got right

Forward half pressure

Carlton averages 16 tackles inside 50 per game so far in 2024 – no other team averages more than 13.

The Blues have brought the heat so far in 2024, something coach Michael Voss would be incredibly happy about.

Lachie Fogarty is the key cog in this, averaging 3.3 per game – ranked first in the AFL. Ollie Hollands also averages two per game from the wing, while Harry McKay sits at 1.7 per game.

Offensive consistency is the hallmark of a good team

While Carlton made the run to a Prelim last year and started 2024 with wins over Richmond and Brisbane, one thing they’ve generally struggled with is a four-quarter performance.

On Good Friday, they kicked at least five goals in each quarter and answered the challenge from a gallant North Melbourne at every opportunity.

Part of this maturity comes from being comfortable in winning situations. Something this Carlton team has learned the hard way across the last two years.

What they got wrong

Not much, but some injury luck would be great

Any chance of Caleb Marchbank getting some continuity? The poor guy missed nearly two full years with neck, knee and back injuries before returning and playing some consistent footy to close 2023.

He then got his most consistent summer of training in – before being derailed right at the buzzer by COVID.

Now, in his first game back from that, he cops a concussion from friendly fire.

Just feels unfair at this point.

Nic Negrepontis

COLLINGWOOD club banner

What they got right

Out of the blocks quickly

After three below-par showings, Collingwood needed to start well in the Grand Final rematch against Brisbane.

The five-goal-to-one opening term was exactly what the doctor ordere, providing them with the foundation they needed to secure their first win of their premiership defence.

While they were quelled in a rare scoreless second term, they picked things back up with another five in the third before eventually holding onto a precious 20-point win.

But it was that rapid beginning which set the scene.

Daicos to half-back

Nick Daicos was well held by St Kilda in Round 2 when gathering just 22 disposals.

He is far too good a player to have two quiet games in a row and it was a clever move by Craig McRae to send him to half-back.

The Pies looked much more assured with the ball in Daicos’ hands coming out of defensive 50.

While he still attended seven centre bounces and clearly has a big future as a midfielder, at times he will provide more spark behind the ball and McRae sensed that.

Daicos finished with 30 touches and 650 metres gained in an important display.

Tackling and pressure

Collingwood’s tacking went up a few notches last Thursday night.

The Pies were tackling in packs and delivered massive numbers by registering a game total of 85 tackles, some 25 more than their previous best in 2024.

Their overall pressure, which was buoyed by their tackling, set the scene for their big away win.

They were over the Lions players like a rash and ensuring there were few easy kicks out of congestion.

What they got wrong

Scoreless quarter

The Pies aren’t often held scoreless for a quarter.

It last happened against Geelong in the 2020 Semi Final and has only happened twice more since 1999. It certainly is a rare occurrence.

This was the first scoreless quarter under McRae and a situation they wouldn’t be too keen on revisiting anytime soon.

Gave up territory

Brisbane were dominant in the second quarter, enjoying 21 inside 50s to Collingwood’s two.

While the proof was in the pudding in terms of the result, they did lose the overall inside 50 count 56-43.

Generally when a team has more inside 50s they go on to win the game so the Pies won’t want to make a habit of being on the negative side of that stat line.

They were good enough to win, but generating more opportunities to score by virtue of gaining territory will be something McRae will no doubt be looking to implement as he continues to iron out some post-premiership creases.

Andrew Slevison

ESSENDON club banner

What they got right

Got going in the final term

Essendon arguably never looked like winning Saturday’s contest against St Kilda, but some of the stats from the last term suggest the result was never in doubt.

As the Bombers tried to overcome a seven-point deficit they dominated the Saints in the fourth term. +13 contested possessions, +37 disposals, +17 marks while also enjoying nine more clearances.

They’re staggering numbers that are of particular credit to Zach Merrett, who finished like a house on fire and was Essendon’s best player.

The Bombers will hold no fears if they’re down at three quarter time again this year.

The half-back trio

Nic Martin, Andrew McGrath and Dyson Heppell were simply superb against St Kilda and played a tremendous role in the win.

What’s more, they all impacted in different ways in a testament to Brad Scott’s coaching. Martin had a whopping 44 possessions and 781 metres gained, while McGrath pushed further up the ground to enjoy a game-high eight inside 50s from his 30 touches, while also booting a goal.

Heppell was the glue in the middle, taking 12 marks while having 23 kicks. He kicked the footy at a stunning 91.3 per cent.

If it’s a prototype for the roles each will play through 2024, opposition coaches will have to put some thought into how to break it down.

What they got wrong

The ruck duo

Sam Draper and Todd Goldstein were only playing their second game in the same team on Saturday, so understandably haven’t yet developed the best chemistry.

But the duo was soundly beaten by sole St Kilda ruckman Rowan Marshall and couldn’t influence the contest individually.

Goldstein played only 57 per cent of the clash, with Draper taking the majority of centre bounces.

No scoreboard impact, only four marks and four clearances isn’t the image that was sold to Bombers fans when they went and recruited a second ruckman in Goldstein to partner fan favourite Draper.

Seb Mottram

FREMANTLE club banner

What they got right

Defensive decision making

The Dockers’ back half was superb against last season’s best scoring side.

Alex Pearce was phenomenal in holding Taylor Walker goalless while also leaving his man and winning the contest on several occasions.

Luke Ryan managed 10 marks with nine intercept possessions while Jordan Clark collected 26 touches off the back flank.

It was a brilliant effort from Fremantle’s defensive unit who kept the Crows to just 4.10.(34).

Midfield balance

Despite losing the centre clearances and only narrowly winning the total clearances, Fremantle’s midfield core was very strong again.

Hayden Young put together his best performance of the year since moving into the middle, collecting 32 touches and seven tackles from 12 centre bounce attendances.

Caleb Serong and Luke Jackson carried on their elite form with strong performances around the ground, cementing their position as genuine stars of the competition.

Won the plaudits of a premiership coach

It is a very early call… but Leigh Matthews believes that Fremantle could be in contention to win it all this season IF Nat Fyfe can hit form.

The four-time premiership Coach has advocated for this year’s Fremantle side despite a far-from-perfect game against the Crows.

There are things to work on, but it’s safe to say their Gather Round clash with Carlton will be very telling of the level the Dockers can reach in 2024.

What they got wrong

Goal-kicking accuracy

Fremantle’s inability to capitalise on opportunities kept Adelaide in the game.

Five goals and 12 behinds up to three-quarter time meant the lead was just 10 points despite the visible dominance.

Michael Walters (two goals) with four behinds, Amiss (two goals) with two, Frederick (one goal) with two were several opportunities squandered for the Dockers.

They will have to lift against better sides if they want to put teams away during periods of dominance.

Jaiden Sciberras

GEELONG club banner

What they got right

They’ve got the bottom six right

The knock on Geelong in recent times has always been the worst six players in Chris Scott’s best 22. Despite boasting some of the best star talent in the league, in big games, the bottom six players stood out like a sore thumb.

Say the Cats play finals in 2024, who will be one of those bottom six players? Oisin Mullin played one of his best games for Geelong on Monday and will only get better as he’s exposed to more senior footy. Oliver Dempsey’s career trajectory through just 10 games is incredible and can contribute with minimal touches. Brandan Parfitt is in career best form and Jhye Clark is clearly in Geelong’s best side so far. Tanner Bruhn’s not even in the conversation anymore, such has been his jump in 2024.

Shrewd drafting and an elite development program have seen the Cats turn one of their biggest weaknesses into a key strength, one you can expect to see come out on the big stage.

Winning their way

They lost inside 50s by nine, clearances by 14 and contested possession by 13. How did Geelong win and win so easily? Chris Scott’s genius.

Scott and his coaching panel engineered a game plan on the weekend that didn’t need territory, even in the wet, and saw quick ball movement and hard running rewarded.

Geelong won’t return 17.4 every week but 106 is a big score, especially in the wet. Space in the forward 50 is a clear ally for the Cats forward and they found a way to get it in spades on Monday.

It’s a good time of the year to be learning to win in different ways and Scott has his side humming.

What they got wrong

What happened in that second term?

Faults for Geelong’s Round 3 performance were few and far between, but Chris Scott will be asking his midfielders what on earth happened during the second term.

The Cats lost contested possession by -19 in that quarter alone, a big number for an entire a game, let alone one term. Geelong also lost groundballs by seven in the second quarter.

James Worpel and Connor Nash started to seize the ascendancy and the Cats were in desperate need of half-time.

Contested footy won’t be a strength of the Cats given they’re missing Guthrie and Dangerfield, but they can’t afford for it to be that big of a weakness, either.

Seb Mottram

HAWTHORN club banner

What they got right

Backing in the Worpedo

It was a long time between drinks for James Worpel to get back to his best form.

After winning the Hawks’ bets and fairest in 2019 – just his second season at the top level – Worpel struggled to rediscover that form and bottomed out in 2022.

He got back to some sort of form in 2023 and the club kept the faith with a new contract, faith that is now being rewarded big time.

The now 25-year-old’s stats sheet from Monday’s loss to Geelong makes for staggering reading. 36 touches (14 contested), 23 kicks, eight marks, six clearances five tackles and 838 metres gained. If not for nine turnovers, it would take some catching as the best performance we’ll see in 2024.

He just needs some teammates to go with him.

What they got wrong

Who wants to put their hand up?

Sam Mitchell simply can’t expect to win many games with so many players performing short of their best.

Outside of Worpel, who performed above standard, or even at their usual standard? Conor Nash was good, Lloyd Meek was decent in his first game of the season, Mabior Chol booted three goals and Sam Frost tried his heart out.

Other Hawks to perform at their expected standard were few and far between. The conditions didn’t help but Luke Breust looks a shell of his best self, Mitch Lewis copped a Sam De Koning bath and Dylan Moore fumbled like he’s never fumbled before.

On one hand, it’s a credit to Mitchell and his coaching group that the Hawks can challenge Geelong at times despite only a few genuine contributors. But on the other, it’s not going to win many games.

Shown up in tackles again

Through the first month of 2024, Hawthorn is the worst team in the competition in terms of tackles difference. Losing the count by an average of 18 per week, the Hawks were again beaten by Geelong 90-75 on Monday.

Hawthorn is also one of the worst teams for pressure acts. Mitchell wants his side to be a free-flowing one that boasts the ability to score more than it does to restrict the scoring of other teams.

And while it wasn’t a strong suit of the Hawks last year, it’s clearly got worse early in 2024.

On a weekend where we saw the likes of Sydney and Brisbane undone by manic pressure, it might be time for Mitchell to place more emphasis on the defensive side of the game.

Seb Mottram

MELBOURNE club banner

What they got right

Inside 50 efficiency!

Melbourne had 45 inside 50s for 96 points and kicked 15.6? What is this, opposite day?

The Demons have arguably lost multiple finals because of their struggles turning forward thrusts into goals, but on Saturday night they showcased significant improvement in this area.

In the end, beyond the Excel spreadsheets and all the data, sometimes footy is a simple game to analyse. Melbourne took their chances, and it allowed them to pinch four points on the road against a fellow contender.

It’s the sort of win that sets up a season.

Held up without Steven May

Few players are more important to their clubs’ success than Steven May and without him on the road against a top four contender, the Dees held up.

Tom McDonald and Harrison Petty showed their versatility, playing down back alongside Jake Lever.

Melbourne has a group of key position players who are all capable of moving around the ground, something that will hold them in good stead across the season.

What they got wrong

Battered on-ball

Given the quality of Melbourne’s midfield mix and Max Gawn’s dominance in the ruck, they really should have been more competitive in the middle of the ground.

They lost the clearances 52-37 and were beaten in both contested and uncontested possessions. They lost the inside 50s 66-45 as well.

Take the four points and run, but Simon Goodwin can’t let it paper over the cracks that were clearly exposed by Port Adelaide on the weekend.

Nic Negrepontis


What they got right

Refusing to give in

Although the result in their clash with Carlton was all-but-confirmed at half-time, North Melbourne refused to give in.

A minimum of four scores in every quarter, including five goals in the third was a great showing of mentality from the young Kangaroos.

Winning in the centre

North Melbourne’s young midfield managed to win the clearance battle despite the domination around the ground from the Blues.

A 43 to 40 win in total clearances, with Tom Powell, Luke Davies-Uniacke and George Wardlaw making up the centre bounces around ruckman Tristan Xerri is a very promising sign for the future of the club.

What they got wrong

Another lapse

The Kangaroos have now allowed a minimum of five straight goal concessions in every game in 2024.

Six straight goals for the Blues within the first half all but confirmed the result for the Roos, who once again saw the lead diminish, with the lapse ultimately being too hefty to allow North to bounce back.

Allowing a five-goal run against the Giants in Round 1and an eight-goal run against the Dockers in Round 2, Alastair Clarkson will need to find a way to keep his youngsters sharp and playing hard despite scoreboard pressure.

Backline inexperience

There is only one way for North Melbourne’s backline to accumulate experience at AFL level, and that is to play regular footy. The issue? Their inexperience may prove costly for the short term.

While they had moments, the back half had no answers for the Blues deep in their defensive 50, allowing the largest score of the 2024 season, 21.11 (137).

Jaiden Sciberras

PORT ADELAIDE club banner

What they got right

Clearance game

Port Adelaide finished +15 in the clearances against a very strong Melbourne centre core.

Willem Drew, who is in fine form in 2024, collected ten clearances to go with 11 tackles and nine inside 50s, alongside eight clearances a piece for ruckman Ivan Soldo and former Brownlow medallist Ollie Wines.

Zak Butters and Connor Rozee continued their All-Australian form with 26 touches each through the middle.

Pressure game

The Power managed 67 tackles including 20 tackles inside 50. They dominated the disposal count, finishing +36, and a whopping +21 inside 50s for 14 marks within the arc.

In a high-pressure contest, Port Adelaide got on top of the Dees for the most part, statistically dominating around the ground.

What they got wrong

Too many errors

There is not much to pull out against the Power, except winning the contest, however they didn't get the job done off the back of silly errors.

Port Adelaide dominated the contest against Melbourne, yet a collection of mistakes across the ground, particularly in the back half, cost the Power the win.

Between errors on the goal line, poor decisions in marking contests and dropped marks leading to goals, Port Adelaide conceded at least four goals to mistakes resulting in turnovers.

Against a team as strong as Melbourne, that won't ever be enough to win the game, particularly when the Dees are so deadly in front of goal.

Jaiden Sciberras

RICHMOND club banner

What they got right

Immense pressure

Richmond’s pressure rating had been down in previous weeks.

That all changed on Sunday when they hit top gear in that regard, constantly forcing Sydney into making uncharacteristic mistakes.

Executing chase-down tackles, being hard to play against around the stoppage and consistent corralling in tight situations made life tough for the Swans.

It was comfortably the Tigers’ best pressure rating so far this year, particularly after half-time.

What was a focal point during the week set the scene from the first bounce and continued until the very end, serving as the hallmark for the club’s first win under Adem Yze.

Composure in big moments from inexperienced Tigers

The young group could have been forgiven for faltering in the big moments against a formidable outfit.

However, they did just the opposite and were able to remain composed.

Maurice Rioli Jnr recovered from a few down moments to bring himself into the contest late with some top-quality composure.

The likes of Rhyan Mansell, Mykelti Lefau and Seth Campbell up forward, Thomson Dow in the middle, and Tom Brown and Ben Miller down back all stood up when asked and helped contribute greatly to the win.

The experienced Tom Lynch (knee injury) and Liam Baker found themselves on the bench late but the less experienced Tigers got the job done in the clinches.

The quelling of Gulden

Errol Gulden still had 25 disposals but he went at just 60 per cent efficiency, which is well below his season and career average.

The Tigers made a point of getting at Gulden whenever he had the ball in his hands and they were often able to upset his customary pinpoint delivery.

While he did find targets at times, his overall influence was quelled by the constant pressure which underpinned their victory.

Defence set up around Vlastuin

The Tigers were able to again make Nick Vlastuin the central point of their defence.

Vlastuin finished with a game-high 15 intercept possessions (Daniel Rioli was next with 12), a game-high 13 marks and 29 disposals (one off his career best) in a superb defensive display.

He’s been close before, but Vlastuin is now well on his way to a maiden All-Australian blazer in 2024.

What they got wrong

Fundamental skills

The Tigers were good value for a half-time lead but just let themselves down with some fundamental errors.

Simple dropped marks, missed handballs and poorly executed kicks under seemingly no pressure were flittered through the victory.

The second half was not immune to costly errors either.

Those fundamental shortcomings would not impact the result in the end but it denied the Tigers scores and allowed the Swans to counter the other way.

Tidy those up and Yze will be a much happier man.

Conceded six goals on the trot

Just as the Tigers were getting on top, they allowed the Swans right back in it.

From the sixth-minute mark of the second quarter to the second-minute mark of the third, Richmond’s opponents booted six straight goals to gain ascendency.

It was the fourth time this season that Yze’s side conceded four or more goals in a run (which included 11 against the Suns in Opening Round). Thankfully they returned serve with five of their own in a 15-minute patch against the Swans.

Other than those lapses they’ve been largely competitive so it should be a key point to focus on.

Andrew Slevison

ST KILDA club banner

What they got right

The Saints have got Jack Steele back to his best

The early season form of Jack Steele is something St Kilda fans would be thrilled to see after an underwhelming 2022 and 2023.

Albeit injury-riddled, Steele has underperformed since he elevated himself to become one of the premier midfielders in the competition back in 2021 but in 2024, he looks to be back!

He looks fit, he’s covering the ground and he’s having an impact on games of footy which is what the Saints need from the fearless leader.

At his best, Steele is one of the best inside midfielders in the competition and his experience is so important for the development of younger players like Marcus Windhager, Mattaes Phillipou and Darcy Wilson.

Good to see him back to his best.

What they got wrong

The Saints couldn't handle the heat!

If you were a St Kilda fan watching on Saturday, you were dead set pulling your hair out with frustration.

The Saints handballed the ball on 179 occasions, 25 more than they have in the first two rounds and that highlights they couldn’t handle the Essendon pressure.

Albeit not the best users by foot in the midfield, the majority of the players in St Kilda’s engine room had more handballs than kicks which is a nightmare when you’re trying to claim positional advantage on the ground.

The 77 turnovers from the Saints were telling in the end result.

Butchering big chances

The Saints led for 104 of the possible 123 minutes of this clash and for a side that will be battling it out for the final few spots in the top eight, this result might prove costly come season's end.

The same could be said for the Bombers but this is the St Kilda section of the article so we’re going to highlight some missed opportunities.

He’s only young, but Mattaes Phillipou would like to have his time back in the first stages on the weekend, the Saints had multiple options in dangerous positions when he had the ball and it appeared Phillipou was eyeing off a match-winner instead of the team-first thing.

He’ll learn from that.

Leading by as much as 22 points in the second term, the Saints need to be putting sides like Essendon to the sword when they have spurts of dominance like they did on Saturday.

Hugh Fitzpatrick

SYDNEY club banner

What they got right

Isaac Heeney continues his red hot start

Whilst a majority of the Swans stars misfired on Sunday, Isaac Heeney stood tall all afternoon with another dominant display as an on-ball midfielder.

27 disposals at 78 per cent disposal efficiency, nine score involvements, five clearances, four tackles, 655 metres gained and two goals. The 27-year-old is likely to have polled Brownlow votes in all four matches to start the year.

What they got wrong

Question marks over the MCG

Despite their impressive Round 1 win over Collingwood at the MCG, the Swans have largely struggled to win at the venue in the last 18 months and a loss to the rebuilding Tigers has ignited a debate surrounding their form at the ground.

The Swans have lost six of their past seven matches at the MCG by an average of just under 31 points including the 81-point thrashing in the 2022 Grand Final at the hands of Geelong. Are there any old wounds from that dreadful afternoon in September?

Complacent Swans?

The Swans had shot out of the gate in their opening three matches and are already amongst the favourites to win the premiership. Is it possible Sydney fed into their own hype?

Sydney’s pressure was well down in the opening three quarters against Richmond on Sunday 1t 163; 16 points less than the AFL average pressure rating. Sydney only laid 44 tackles compared to Richmond’s 59 and was well below the Swans’ average of 59.

Sydney’s final tackle count is incredibly lopsided when you consider James Rowbottom laid 13 tackles which was more than double the next player on the field for either side.

Sydney lifted their pressure in the final quarter (191 pressure rating) when they fought back to snatch victory but it proved to be too little too late.

Charles Goodsir

WEST COAST club banner

What they got right

Jeremy McGovern has still got it

If this season is proving anything for West Coast, it’s that Jeremy McGovern is still one of the competition’s elite defenders when healthy.

The 31-year-old racked up 24 disposals and a game-high 11 marks, orchestrating everything out of the backline and doing his very best to keep the rampaging Bulldogs in check.

McGovern was among the few Eagles who put up a fight in this clash, joined by Elliot Yeo and Tim Kelly who each racked up over 25 possessions.

While West Coast is in the midst of yet another disastrous start, Jeremy McGovern is as dominant as ever.

What they got wrong

Everything after quarter time

The Eagles looked staunchly competitive through the first term against the Bulldogs, heading into the first break trailing by just two points and seeming determined to put up a fight.

Unfortunately, this drive disappeared entirely once the remainder of the contest got underway, with West Coast kicking an abysmal 1.10 for through the final three quarters.

The Eagles have been resoundingly beaten in every clash this season, yet scoring just 30 points for the game and losing by a 76-point margin marks this as the worst of the lot.

Jack Makeham


What they got right

Essentially everything

This was as close to a perfect performance as you can get in the AFL, with the Bulldogs dominating in almost every single facet of the game to cruise to an effortless 76-point win.

This clash looked to be surprisingly competitive after the Eagles came to fight in the first quarter, yet it wasn’t long before the Dogs took charge and overran them completely.

With 11 different goalscorers, the Bulldogs were putting on a masterclass in unselfish football, punishing West Coast in every facet of the game.

However, perhaps most encouraging was the Bulldogs’ lack of reliance on their skipper.

Marcus Bontempelli has shouldered a heavy load so far this season, yet against the Eagles he was given the opportunity to go forward in a less demanding role, ultimately booting three goals to pair with his 16 touches.

Adam Treloar was the one to step up and take the pressure of Bontempelli, finishing with 35 possessions, 12 of which were contested.

Overall, it was the perfect tune-up for the Bulldogs as they prepare for the tough task of taking on a red-hot Geelong in Gather Round.

What they got wrong

Clearance game

The Bulldogs fell just short of leading this clash in every statistical category, only losing out in the clearance game.

Luke Beveridge’s men fell noticeably below their typical mark against West Coast, totalling just 28 clearances after having averaged 34.7 through their first three games of 2024.

The Bulldogs haven’t been a strong clearance team this season, ranking 13th in the competition, yet it is still a shock to see them resoundingly beaten in that area by the 16th-ranked Eagles.

Considering this is a Dogs side that was the second-best clearance team in the league last season, their lack of potency in stoppage exists as a real concern.

Jack Makeham

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