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What they got right and wrong: Each club’s wins and woes from Round 6


What did your club get right and what did your club get wrong in Round 6?

We had eight matches on the weekend, with Melbourne and Richmond having the bye.

See our assessments below:

ADELAIDE club banner

What they got right

Jordan Dawson bounces back

The skipper took the opportunity to fill in for Matt Crouch on-ball and had his performance of the season.

Dawson, by the standards he set last season, has had a tough 2024 to date.

With Crouch out of the side, Dawson was able to work alongside Jake Soligo, Izak Rankine and Rory Laird and had an excellent game.

He kicked two goals to go with 31 disposals, nine tackles and seven marks.

What they got wrong

First half struggles

After putting together their four best quarters of the season last week against Carlton, Adelaide seemingly turned back into a pumpkin in the first half.

The Bombers completely dominated play, though they were unable to put it on the scoreboard – which was the general theme of the night.

The Crows were able to reset after half time and put themselves in a winning position, but Essendon’s inaccuracy was a large factor in that.

Ultimately, they’d be disappointed with the effort they put up in a game they entered as favourites.

Finals hopes extinguished

At 1-5, finals is now a pipe dream for the Crows.

From the same position in 2022, Port Adelaide recovered to finish 10-12. Hawthorn did similarly in 2017.

But Adelaide’s hopes of September action have been snuffed out and it is still April. The question now is what they can now achieve from here and what they can take out of an incredibly disappointing 2024.

Nic Negrepontis

BRISBANE club banner

What they got right

Won contested ball

While it may have been a fourth defeat for the season (after last year’s total of six home and away losses), Brisbane still managed to find the footy.

The contested possessions chart shows the Lions beat Geelong 172-151, and they were even on clearances 51-51, proving they did get their hands on the ball enough.

It was just their lack of efficiency and wet weather smarts that let them down.

Created enough chances

The Lions did create ample scoring chances to place scoreboard pressure on the Cats.

Chris Fagan’s side would finish with 17 scoring shots to 18, yet went down by 26 points.

Yes, some were rushed behinds but they still created shots on goal, particularly early. If you’re at least getting the scoring opportunities then you’re doing something right.

Thankfully for last year’s Grand Finalists, there’s still plenty of the season remaining to get things right.

What they got wrong

Missed opportunities

The Lions found themselves in good positions to kick early goals but missed some very gettable chances.

They had to settle for 2.5 (to 2.1) at the first break, rather than something better. That extended to 3.8 (to 4.4) at half-time.

Fagan said he thought their inefficiency would “come back to bite” his side, and that it did as they finished with 4.13 to Geelong’s 9.9.

Too many handballs

The Lions did not play effective wet weather footy.

They over-handballed when normally they would kick the ball more frequently.

In the end they finished with 224 kicks but had 156 handballs at a ratio of 1.43, as opposed to their regular kick to handball output of 1.65 to 1.7.

Geelong’s pressure somewhat forced that but they’d be kicking themselves that they didn’t kick the ball more often.

Winless at the Gabba in 2024

Brisbane is now 0-3 at the Gabba this year.

What once was a den and a very strong fortress is quickly becoming a graveyard for the Lions.

They were undefeated at the venue last year but that home form has not followed them into 2024.

Andrew Slevison

CARLTON club banner

What they got right

Backing in Marc Pittonet

Carlton could have conceded playing the two ruckmen didn’t work last week against Adelaide and gone back to the De Koning-McKay partnership that had been successful, but they trusted their guy in.

Marc Pittonet remains an outstanding tap ruckman with incredible chemistry with Patrick Cripps, Sam Walsh and George Hewett and that shone through on Saturday.

He neutralised Kieren Briggs, putting the ball at his feet and allowing Cripps and Walsh to lead the way as the Blues dominated the centre bounce.

Part of this was allowing Tom De Koning to jump over Jake Riccardi in the secondary ruck matchup, giving the Blues control in both situations.

Pittonet won seven clearances and 25 hit-outs, but his raw numbers don’t necessarily show the impact he had on the game.

Carlton’s plan for Toby Greene worked

The only players with a lower player rating (via Wheelo Ratings) than Toby Greene on Saturday were those subbed in or out of the game.

Zac Williams started on the Giants skipper, but was subbed out with an injury and Jordan Boyd took the role. Both negated his impact brilliantly, but it speaks to a wider team defence.

They also shut Greene down in the middle of 2023, with Nic Newman the primary defender in that instance.

Whatever Carlton is doing, it is certainly working.

Of course, Greene kicked four in last year’s Round 24 meeting, though that was a dead-rubber for the Blues while the Giants had everything to play for.

What they got wrong

Injury crisis mounts

Carlton is a team that deserves some luck on this front. They came into the GWS game with 13 players out injured – 11 of which would be in their regular side.

They then lose Zac Williams to an Achilles knock during the game. They’ll be hoping that it is just soreness and no actual damage.

Jacob Weitering also suffered a significant corkie during the game, gutting out the second half.

However, the star defender looked in serious discomfort and could not run freely. You wouldn’t expect him to train early in the week as the Blues gear up to face Geelong.

Nic Negrepontis

COLLINGWOOD club banner

What they got right

Hoskin-Elliott’s shift forward

Will Hoskin-Elliott had his best performance in recent memory on Saturday against the Power.

The 30-year-old finished with two goals, 21 disposals, 13 score involvements and nine marks, but it was when he impacted that made such a difference.

After the Pies trailed by 31 points early, it was Hoskin-Elliott’s second term that got his side going with a couple of huge hangers that changed the momentum of the clash.

Hoskin-Elliott was used in defence during last year’s finals series and early in this campaign, but his versatility allowed Collingwood to even things up aerially inside 50 on Saturday.

No doubt they’ll try to use him in that role again on Anzac Day.

Forward line unselfishness

Unselfishness was probably the main takeaway from Collingwood’s performance on Saturday.

The amount of goals that were kicked from point-blank range as the forwards used their hands to find teammates instead of firing at goals themselves was almost uncountable.

No one exemplified this better than Bobby Hill, who kicked one goal but had four goal assists. He genuinely could have kicked five goals if he wanted to given most of his assists were just metres from goal.

That unselfishness helped the forward line feed off each other as everything clicked in front of the ball for the first time since Grand Final day for the Pies.

It’s long been a hallmark of their game and they’ll hope to rest on that going forward.

Midfield performance

Port Adelaide’s trump card all season has been their midfield, but Collingwood was far too good for them on-ball on Saturday.

They had the three highest clearance-winners on the ground in Nick Daicos (eight), Tom Mitchell (seven) and Darcy Cameron (seven) as they got first use more often than not.

That big performance came after Zak Butters threatened to take the game early as well as he had 15 disposals and a goal in the first term alone.

It was all the Nick Daicos show from there though, as the young gun finished with 30 disposals, to go with his eight clearances, 14 score involvements and 15 contested possessions.

If they get similar results on-ball in the coming weeks, they’ll be incredibly hard to beat.

What they got wrong


The start was an obvious thing Collingwood got wrong on Saturday, but they quickly arrested that with their second-term performance.

While they won’t want to be slow to jump out again, one area they can certainly fix is their accuracy.

The Pies finished with 17.21 (123). If they kicked straight, it could have been far, far worse for Port Adelaide.

It was never going to cost them on Saturday given how many opportunities they were having, but it could be another time that things are far closer.

Lachlan Geleit

ESSENDON club banner

What they got right

Winning another close one

Looking at the fixture in pre-season, it was games against St Kilda, Western Bulldogs and Adelaide that all loomed as 50/50s early in the season.

Essendon has won all three by a combined 36 points and it’s victories like that of Friday night that give Brad Scott’s side the best chance of September action.

Now 4-2 and with games against West Coast, North Melbourne and Richmond in the next five weeks, the Bombers are expected to be on the right side of the ledger for a long way this season.

The year is perfectly set up to pinch a spot in the top eight.

Defensive profile tracking the right way

Criticism of their ground defence is nothing new for the Bombers. What is new, however, is doing something about it.

Scott’s version of Essendon is starting to shine through. The Bombers had 50 intercepts between the arcs on Friday night against Adelaide, a number AFL analyst David King says they’ve only passed three times in the last six years.

In their last three wins, Essendon has kept its opponents to 75 points or less. There’s a clear recipe there going forward.

More than just role players

It was never going to be Zach Merrett or Ben McKay who could change the fortunes of Essendon in 2024.

While those two and other stars have enjoyed brilliant starts to the season, it’s the rise of players such as Jye Caldwell and Ben Hobbs that are seeing the Bombers get rewarded on the ladder.

Caldwell’s third term was one of the best quarters of the seen, while Hobbs’ had plenty of influence despite only attending 12 per cent of centre bounces. Sam Draper has received plenty of deserved praise in recent weeks, Harrison Jones has come on, Nik Cox is beginning to have a genuine impact and Jade Gresham is playing his best footy in years.

All those players and more entered the season with genuine questions of the impact they could have in 2024. There are far fewer questions now and should they all maintain that form during the season, expect Essendon to play finals.

What they got wrong

The two-ruck system

When Todd Goldstein was recruited, the Essendon hierarchy told us Brad Scot envisioned a two-ruck setup.

And while Goldstein and Sam Draper split the centre bounce ruck time evenly, Draper spent most of the clash inside 50 and has no impact outside of almost costing Essendon the game.

That forward role is one that won’t be there on Thursday when Peter Wright returns for Anzac Day.

Scott has a huge decision to make about how tall Essendon can afford to go and whether playing two rucks is a tactic worth persisting with.

Seb Mottram

FREMANTLE club banner

What they got right

The Jackson/Darcy partnership … kind of?

While Fremantle had a dirty night in Saturday’s Derby, they showed that the ruck combination of Sean Darcy and Luke Jackson can work.

Even though Jackson wasn’t as influential as he has been, he still had 12 disposals, two goals and 17 hitouts.

That forward presence allowed Darcy to operate as the main man at the contest with 30 hitouts, 13 disposals and four clearances.

Having such a good one-two punch also gave Freo a 36-42 clearance win in a game where not much else went right for them.

While there’s genuine credence in suggesting that Freo’s money could be better spent elsewhere, there’s no doubt that they’re a better team for having both of their big men in the side at the same time.

What they got wrong

Overusing the footy

Fremantle overused the footy horribly in Saturday’s Derby.

While West Coast was direct and precise, Fremantle chipped the ball around too much and as a result, found it hard to score.

Even though they lost by 37 points, the Dockers had more disposals and uncontested marks than their opposition.

Given that they also trailed inside 50s 48 to 40, it shows that they weren’t willing to take the game on enough.

While they go about things differently than most other teams, there’s no doubt that their conservative approach would be annoying their fans.

Key defensive effort

Fremantle have been so strong in defence this year, but that wasn’t the case on Saturday against the Eagles.

While they had the likes of Alex Pearce and Luke Ryan down back, they were no match for the Eagles up forward with Jake Waterman kicking five majors.

He was supported by Jack Darling (two goals) and Harley Reid (three goals) who also hit the scoreboard after presenting well aerially. They’ll love to get their tall defensive game going again before taking on the Dogs in Round 7.

Lachlan Geleit

GEELONG club banner

What they got right

Wet weather footy

Make no mistake, this game was won by Chris Scott and lost by Chris Fagan.

Brisbane got the contested part of wet weather footy right, winning that statistic 172-151. But it stopped there despite Scott’s men getting beaten the footy, the system held up to no end.

Geelong always had a spare, a role Zach Guthrie reprised perfectly when Tom Stewart went down, and handballed far less than the Lions.

The likes of Tanner Bruhn, Brandan Parfitt, Mitch Duncan, Tyson Stengle and more are built for wet weather footy, another aspect that helps.

The fix of Geelong’s Achilles heel

When Tom Stewart went down with a foot injury prior to the 2021 season, so too did Geelong’s hope of a flag.

The Cats simply didn’t have any player to fill such an important void. Stewart has – for the last four years – been the player Geelong could least afford to lose.

Cue cause for concern when Stewart was concussed just prior to half-time. But Zach Guthrie filled Stewart’s boots with aplomb and played like a carbon copy of the five-time All-Australian.

Eight intercept possessions, most of which came in the second half, and a game-high 737 metres gained. The Cats couldn’t have asked for any more out of Guthrie and while Stewart is a big loss coming up against Carlton this week, expect Guthrie to shine again.

The midfield stands up again

Oscar McInerney/Joe Daniher, Lachie Neale, Josh Dunkley, Hugh McCluggage and Cam Rayner against Toby Conway, Patrick Dangerfield, Tanner Bruhn and Brandan Parfitt.

It’ll go down as one of the more remarkable stats of 2024 that Geelong broke even in clearances at 51 apiece. Mark O’Connor chipped in with a tight job on Brownlow Medalist Neale, but the fact Geelong went toe-to-toe with one of the game’s premier midfields, despite none of their midfielders getting more than 21 touches, is remarkable.

It’s both a credit to Scott and indictment on Fagan.

What they got wrong

Stewart’s concussion concern

Zach Guthrie did step up, but Tom Stewart’s concussion is still a problem the Cats could have done without, especially coming up against their toughest task this year in Carlton this Saturday.

Stewart had been in All-Australian form again to start the season and despite the injury-impacted game, still sits 2nd in the competition for intercepts possessions per game.

The likes of Jack Henry, Jake Kolodjashnij, Sam De Koning and Guthrie will need to stand up if the Cats are to be a chance against Charlie Curnow and Harry McKay.

GOLD COAST club banner

What they got right

Could have been in front at half-time

The Suns were jumped by the Swans in the first quarter and found themselves 33-8 down at the first break.

But they responded well by dominating large periods of the second term.

They had nine more inside 50s in that quarter but could not quite put it on the scoreboard, kicking just two goals to none.

Damien Hardwick felt his side might have been good value for a half-time lead had they done things a bit better in that patch of dominance.

What they got wrong

Turned the ball over

Hardwick mentioned that he wasn’t all that happy with the fact his side gave the Swans the ball back.

They attempted kicks that weren’t really there as they went about trying to conjure something out of nothing.

The Suns were punished by the Swans who turned their errors into easy scores, conceding 14 goals from turnovers (10) and free kicks against (4).

Lost on the road… again

The Suns are now 0-3 on the road in 2024.

Their percentage at away venues so far is 62, as opposed to at home where it’s a massive 157.

If they want to be considered a genuine finals threat, they’d want to get dirty on the road and grind out some wins, rather than relying on their home comforts.

Andrew Slevison

GWS GIANTS club banner

What they got right

Second-quarter efficiency

The Giants found themselves over 20 points up during the second quarter.

To do that against Carlton means you’re playing pretty good footy, especially after they went into the first break a goal down.

From 17 inside 50s, Adam Kingsley’s side kicked 5.3 to assert their authority on the contest, but the Blues had enough ball of their own to finish with 2.6 from 14 entries.

It was that efficiency going inside 50 which had the Giants in a very healthy position at half-time.

What they got wrong

Allowed Carlton to dictate

Second quarter aside, GWS’ contest work was not what it usually was.

There was a lack of support around the contest which allowed the Blues to win the ball and then link up, providing chances for Charlie Curnow and Harry McKay in the third term.

It was a bit of an onslaught after the main break and it came from an inability to stem the flow of Carlton’s dominant on-ball group.

“Obliterated” at centre bounce

Kingsley bemoaned the fact his midfield group did not get the job done.

The Giants were beaten 22-8 in centre clearances and 48-32 in overall clearances.

The likes of Patrick Cripps (8 centre clearances and 13 overall), Marc Pittonet (3 and 7), Sam Walsh (2 and 6) and George Hewett (2 and 6) in particular dominated the Giants’ midfielders.

Stars reported

Captain Toby Greene and Coleman Medal leader Jesse Hogan were both reported in the loss which soured the day even further.

The club has opted to challenge the one-week suspension handed to Greene for his aerial bump on Jordan Boyd which was graded as careless conduct with medium impact.

Hogan copped the same sanction for stupidly striking out at Lewis Young which appeared the action of a frustrated man.

All of a sudden, if these two happen to be out, the ANZAC Day clash with Brisbane looms as a fairly significant clash if they want to remain entrenched in the top four.

Andrew Slevison

HAWTHORN club banner

What they got right

Mouthguards to training

Vice-captain Dylan Moore stated early last week that it was ‘bring your mouthguards’ for the Hawks heading into Round 6, while Sam Mitchell flagged on Friday he may have overtrained his players in preparation.

Whatever the Hawks did out at Waverley Park, it worked. More than half a dozen Hawks bounced back to their best and Hawthorn’s system was back to where we expected.

It wasn’t perfect, there are concerns and it was only against North Melbourne. But a resounding tick this week for the Hawks.

Nash and Newcombe fire up

Hawthorn had been beaten in the centre week in and week out to start 2024, much due to the dwindling form of Conor Nash and Jai Newcombe.

The duo had an aggression about their game on Sunday that had been lacking and were back to their best. Combining for 19 clearances, 29 contested possessions and 14 tackles, it was a more complete performance from the Hawks’ on-ball unit.

But as those two got busy, James Worpel’s hot start to the season came to a screeching halt and he played his quietest game for the season. The Hawks would hope to see all three play well together in the coming weeks.

What they got wrong

Clearance woes persist

Only Roos ruckman Tristan Xerri had more than six clearances for the losing side, yet North Melbourne still won the clearance count!

If the Hawks can’t do it against a lifeless North Melbourne outfit in a game against the worst contested footy side in the competition by a long way, they can’t do it at all in 2024.

Even with Nash and Newcombe playing blinders, Hawthorn still got beaten out of the middle. Clearances ended 40-38 in North Melbourne’s favour and Sam Mitchell must be tearing his hair out at how to rectify the problem.


What they got right

Turning the keys over to Tristan Xerri

North Melbourne made the right call letting Todd Goldstein go and trusting Tristan Xerri as the club’s long-term ruckman.

You could make the argument they should have done this 12 months earlier.

Xerri was clearly the Roos’ best player in the loss to Hawthorn, winning 44 hit-outs, 18 disposals, 10 clearances, 10 tackles and a goal assist.

It was an excellent performance in otherwise tough conditions, particularly with the midfield struggling underneath him.

What they got wrong

Embarrassing 2nd quarter

Their best chance to win a game this year, the Roos folded like a pack of cards in the second quarter and the game was over.

They conceded eight goals, with the Hawks moving the ball at ease after quarter time.

Hawthorn won the uncontested possessions 246-195 and took 100 uncontested marks.

This led to 19 marks inside 50 from 63 entries. It doesn’t hugely matter who your defensive personnel is when the ball is moving so easily.

Veterans struggling to impact

We’ve spoken multiple times here about Jy Simpkin and his struggles playing forward this season, though his numbers at the end of Sunday weren’t bad.

Luke McDonald is averaging 14 disposals and two score involvements so far this year, while Cam Zurhaar was pushed on-ball to get him in the game on Sunday.

For a team struggling, they need more from their leaders.

Nic Negrepontis

PORT ADELAIDE club banner

What they got right

The start

Port Adelaide were hot out of the blocks on Saturday, kicking six of the first seven goals.

It was an immense 23 minutes from the Power who seemingly couldn’t miss as everything turned to gold across the purple patch.

While they clearly couldn’t keep that up, they will put many other teams away with blistering starts like that going forward.

In a game where nothing went right for them from late in the first quarter, it’s the one big positive that they’ll hope remains in their game going forward from here.

What they got wrong

Inability to shut down momentum

After getting 31 points up late in the first term, Port Adelaide simply couldn’t halt Collingwood’s momentum once it switched.

From 10 minutes into the second term until the 25th minute of the third term, Collingwood kicked 11 goals to one.

Simply put, teams don’t win any games giving up those kinds of runs.

With St Kilda, Adelaide and Geelong on the immediate horizon, Port Adelaide would want to get this flaw ironed out sharp.

Contested possession thrashing

While Port Adelaide have a vaunted midfield unit, they were smashed on-ball on Saturday afternoon.

The Pies had the three highest clearance winners on the ground as Zak Butters (three clearances), Ollie Wines (two clearances) and Connor Rozee (two clearances) didn’t impact in that area as much as they would like to.

Most disappointingly though, the Power lost the contested possession count 161-120, barely giving themselves a chance to collect ground balls and give their forwards ample opportunity.

It’s typically a strength of their game and they’ll hope to get that side of their footy working again ASAP.

Lachlan Geleit

SYDNEY club banner

What they got right

Stopped Gold Coast’s transition

John Longmire loved the fact his side’s defensive setup enabled the Swans to Gold Coast’s transition game.

The Suns have been good in that area early in 2024, due to the fact their midfield has been up and running, but the Swans were able to stymy them.

Sydney’s pressure around the ball and on the ball carrier also contributed to the 53-point victory.

They conceded just 57 points, which was Gold Coast’s lowest score for the season to date.

Forward 50 presence and accuracy

The tackling pressure inside forward 50 was a highlight on Sunday.

The Swans had 14 tackles inside 50 to go with 16 marks inside 50, shining a spotlight on how well they were able to move the ball after applying pressure.

They also returned 17.8 in a display of remarkable accuracy in front of goal.

Withstood second-quarter dominance

Sydney did not kick a goal in the second quarter but they did manage to deny the Suns from scoring.

The visitors had plenty of momentum, however, Longmire’s side kept them at bay and no major damage was done in the end.

The Swans conceded nine more inside 50s, but they managed to hold up, before kicking 12 goals to five in the second half.

What they got wrong

Beaten for the majority of the second term

There wasn’t much to be critical of but the Swans were beaten for the majority of the second quarter.

They returned just a behind while their opponents kicked 2.3, mainly because their pressure rating dropped off.

As mentioned earlier, it was their defensive setup and contested work around the ball which denied the Suns from scoring more heavily in that term.

It was a slight blip on what was a fairly good day for the club that now sits second on the ladder with a 5-1 record.

Andrew Slevison

ST KILDA club banner

What they got right

They’ve found another on-ball option

Marcus Windhager’s midfield performance is one of the only shining lights that the Saints could take away from Thursday night’s loss to the Bulldogs.

Windhager, who attended 83% of centre bounces (equal career high), had the ball on a string as he racked up 29 disposals and had five clearances, which was the second most from any player on the ground.

This is an exciting prospect that Saints fans can look forward to seeing more of potentially in 2024.

What they got wrong

Let the Bulldogs control the game with ease

Apart from keeping the Bulldogs scoreless for 15 minutes of the second quarter, the Saints let the dogs have full control and dictate the way the contest would play out thanks to the number of marks that they conceded on Thursday night.

The Bulldogs recorded 148 marks to St Kilda’s 74 on Thursday night, which was the biggest differential that the Saints have conceded in a game this season.

This was also the highest number of marks that the Bulldogs have been able to record this season.

Zac Sharpe

WEST COAST club banner

What they got right

The first term

On what was essentially a perfect night for West Coast, their opening term might have been the most impressive aspect.

While the Eagles were more dominant in the second and third quarters, their display coming out of the gates marked the first time since Round 23 of last season that they actually won a first quarter, and they did it on the back of their defence.

West Coast was able to withstand an opening surge from Fremantle, nullifying the bulk of the Dockers’ forward 50 entries before following up with slick counterattacks.

It was a testament to the Eagles renewed defensive organisation and work ethic that we’ve seen in recent weeks, and it is sure to be a hallmark of the future game plan at this club.

Reid is the real deal

One of the most hyped prospects we’ve ever seen has turned out to be quite a good footy player in his first season. Who would’ve thought?

Snark aside, the 19-year-old put on the best performance of his career on the biggest stage of his career, marking his Derby debut with 19 disposals, three goals and seven clearances, just barely missing out on the Glendinning–Allan Medal.

He demonstrated his freakish burst out of stoppage on multiple occasions, however more impressive was the overhead marking ability he displayed when drifting forward.

Reid seemingly gets better every single time he steps on the field, and has almost singlehandedly brought an energy back to West Coast.

What they got wrong

Tom Barrass

The only blemish on a stellar night for the Eagles was the one-match suspension dished out to Tom Barrass.

The talented defender copped the ban for a tackle on Michael Walters midway through the fourth quarter, with it being grade careless, medium impact and high contact.

The Eagles are set to challenge Barrass’ suspension on Tuesday, however for now they will be without a key cog in their backline for their clash against Gold Coast.

Jack Makeham


What they got right

Composure in second half

After their electric start, the Bulldogs made the decision at halftime to slow down from their breakneck pace and focus on keeping the Saints at bay, preventing any chance of a comeback.

It’s an approach that the Dogs haven’t had the most success with this season, having had multiple instances of being forced to play on their opponents’ terms.

Yet on Thursday night they demonstrated impressive composure, dominating possession and the aerial game to cruise to victory.

Management of Bailey Dale

Was Luke Beveridge’s management of Bailey Dale a masterstroke that we all misunderstood?

That’s certainly up for debate, but it absolutely looked that way against the Saints.

Dale responded to his spell as the substitute last week with a best on ground display, looking every bit of his All-Australian self as he racked up 39 touches.

If Beveridge’s handling of the 27-year-old has lit a fire under Dale and got him back to his best, then it was worth every piece of criticism the Bulldogs received over the last week.

What they got wrong

Previous selection calls

Or was Bevo’s management of Dale emblematic of a broader issue with the Bulldogs? Luke Beveridge has become notorious for his controversial selection calls, with established players such as Dale, Jack Macrae and Caleb Daniel all falling out of favour at some point this season.

Overall, it hasn’t been a successful strategy, with the Dogs sitting at 3-3 having dropped some very winnable games.

With trade rumours being floated around some of these established players that can’t lock down their role in Bevo’s system, these calls could have long-term implications for the Bulldogs’ list.

Jack Makeham

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