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What they got right and wrong: Each club’s wins and woes from Round 13


What did your club get right and what did your club get wrong in Round 13?

Two clubs had the bye - Fremantle and Port Adelaide.

See our assessments on the rest below:

ADELAIDE club banner

What they got right

Career-high Nankervis

Luke Nankervis is putting together a strong season.

In just his 14th AFL game, the 21-year-old had comfortably a career-high 28 disposals (previous best was 20) and took 11 marks, an equal career-high.

He also had a team-high 10 intercept possessions in what was an accomplished performance in defence, resulting in a Rising Star nomination.

Nankervis had played just four matches prior to 2024 and has been going from strength to strength over the last few weeks.

It was also nice to see debutant Billy Dowling have some good moments, including a nice running goal late in the game.

Gave themselves a winning chance

The Crows trailed by 22 points at three-quarter time, but did at least give themselves a chance to win the game.

They kicked the first two goals of the final term and another one late to make it a nervy finish for the Tigers.

It came off the back of 13 inside 50s, including eight of the last 10, but it wasn’t enough in the end.

What they got wrong

Could not arrest momentum

Matthew Nicks admitted that the Crows “have an issue with changing momentum”.

He was likely referencing the third quarter in which they conceded five straight goals in less than 15 minutes despite kicking the opening major of that term.

That was a game-defining section of play which proved costly in determining an eight-point defeat.

It has become a worrying trend for Adelaide in 2024.

Put simply: “We’re not good enough,” added Nicks.

Unable to create enough chances

Adelaide had more disposals (384-336) but were unable to constantly test Richmond’s defence.

They had less inside 50s (46-52) yet had more scoring shots (21-19), but they just butchered some key scoring chances.

It indicates that if they did produce more ball in attack then they might have been able to place much more scoreboard pressure on the contest.

With Taylor Walker out of the side, their forward line lost a little bit of shape and they had to rely on Darcy Fogarty too much.

They also missed out from a pressure point of view, placing just three inside 50 tackles to Richmond’s 13.

Dropping O’Brien

It was a strange move to drop Reilly O’Brien.

The Crows opted to axe the ruckman despite his efforts in the loss to Hawthorn last week. Replacing him was a five-game player of the same age, Kieran Strachan.

While Strachan did some nice things, he eventually succumbed to a groin issue and was subbed out at three-quarter time leaving the 194cm Chris Burgess to battle it out against Toby Nankervis and Samson Ryan

Adelaide won just six hit-outs to advantage to Richmond’s 18, with the /Crows losing at clearance (32-37) and centre clearance (8-12).

Perhaps it was the wrong move to omit O’Brien.

Andrew Slevison

BRISBANE club banner

What they got right

Complete performance

Chris Fagan described it as a “complete performance”.

It was arguably Brisbane’s best game of the season and one that will have plenty of sides above them looking over their shoulders.

The Lions, fresh off the bye, were dominant against the Bulldogs and kept their season alive with a comprehensive win on the road.

Midfield dominance

The Lions did a superb job through the midfield.

They smashed the Dogs at clearance 50-32 and contested possession 139-124, while curtailing the impact of some opposition prime movers.

Jarrod Berry quelled the influence of Marcus Bontempelli, forcing him to the forward line where he did manage to kick three. However, the Dogs skipper had little impact around the ground.

Co-captain Lachie Neale was immense with 38 touches, 10 clearances and two goals, Hugh McCluggage was solid, Josh Dunkley played well against his old mob and Oscar McInerney had the better of Tim English in the ruck.

They also got their intercept game up and running, scoring 65 points from turnovers/intercepts to the Dogs' 36 - a crucial advantage in a 43-point triumph.

Hungry, hungry Hipwood

Eric Hipwood was hungry for a big game on Friday night.

He was the recipient of some much better Brisbane ball movement, which came from their midfield dominance, but he certainly was in ominous form.

Hipwood finished with a bag of six goals, an equal career-high, picked up 20 touches, took a career-best 13 marks (including four contested) and had an equal game-high seven inside 50s.

Fagan is adamant that Hipwood cops a lot of unfair flak and was delighted to see the 26-year-old contribute significantly.

It was one of the very best, if not the best, displays of his career.

No issues with accuracy and efficiency

The Lions have had no problems with getting the ball forward this season, leading the way competition-wide for the inside 50 differential.

It’s their accuracy and efficiency that’s been an issue.

Those specific shortcomings, first quarter aside, did not plague them on Friday night.

They produced 64 inside 50s (+19 on the Dogs) and kicked well in front of goal to finish with 17.12.

It was much more in line with the Lions of 2023.

What they got wrong

Early dominance not reflected

It’s hard to find much wrong with that performance.

The only aspect to nit-pick at is the fact the Lions weren’t as efficient with their ball movement as they would have liked in the first quarter.

Brisbane won the inside 50 count 20-7 in the opening term - their best differential this season - but were unable to capitalise on the scoreboard, leading by just three points.

They did manage to fix that side of their game as the contest progressed, but earlier it was a bit wasteful as we’ve seen frequently so far in 2024.

Andrew Slevison

CARLTON club banner

What they got right

A clear identity

“To beat us, you have to go four quarters…”

That was Michael Voss speaking after his side’s 26-point win against Essendon and it’s a fact that’s rung true across multiple weeks.

The Blues were challenged at the final break will be rapt with their five-goal final term to kick away again.

Voss’ troops have been better later against Gold Coast, Port Adelaide and now Essendon in the last three rounds and head into the bye some five wins better off than in 2023.

A big tick to the recruiters

We couldn’t find any room for Elijah Hollands in our Team Of The Week, but it’s time to give the former Sun his flowers.

Hollands played his best game for his new club on Sunday, gathering 19 classy touches, and kicking three goals. He also took even marks and had an equal team-high eight score involvements.

It’s a performance the Blues would have been happy to trade a first round pick for. To get Hollands for a future third rounder, well… it’s looking more and more like daylight robbery.

The solo ruck

Marc Pittonet should be available in Round 14, leaving Michael Voss with a huge decision on his hands.

Does he revert to a two-ruck system or continue backing in Tom De Koning, who has been simply unstoppable over the last two weeks.

De Koning was by far and beyond the best player on the ground, gathering clear game highs in contested footy and clearances while racking up an impressive 24 disposals.

Carlton deserves plenty of credit for the patience they’ve shown with the 24-year-old, and the investment is starting to pay off.

Selection will be fascinating when Carlton returns from the bye next week.

What they got wrong

Does the scoreboard lie?

For all the positives and the feeling that Carlton controlled the contest despite the swayed inside 50 count, the Blues lost on expected score.

And it wasn’t a narrow loss either. Had both sides kicked to expectation, Carlton goes down 101-84.

They’re numbers that can’t be glossed over.

Well done for getting the win and heading to the bye in a strong vein of form, but this wasn’t the performance of a top four team just yet.

Seb Mottram

COLLINGWOOD club banner

What they got right

Forward mix

While Collingwood were missing the likes of Brody Mihocek, Dan McStay and Jamie Elliott, they were still able to find targets inside 50.

Nathan Kreuger was big in his first game of the season as a target, kicking three goals, while Will Hoskin-Elliott was great both inside 50 and up the ground in the air.

Collingwood share the load brilliantly and they just seem to find a way to goal no matter who is lining up inside 50.

Their goalkickers were Harvey Harrison (three), Kreuger (three), Hoskin-Elliott (two), Fin Macrae, Darcy Cameron, Nick Daicos, Billy Frampton and Patrick Lipinski.

How many of those names were first-choice forwards at the start of the season? Probably none. They’re doing incredibly well with what they’ve got at their disposal.

Attacking from half back

Collingwood’s half backs were huge in Monday’s win with Jeremy Howe (eight intercepts), Darcy Moore (six intercepts) and Charlie Dean (six intercepts) dominating in the air.

The Pies also used the ball very well in terms of running and carrying with the footy from defence as Brayden Maynard, John Noble and Howe helped launch scoring chains.

Collingwood made most of their early scoring efforts from turnover and they’ll be thrilled that aspect of their game is standing up.

Clearance effort

Even though Nick Daicos was tagged and Max Gawn was dominant, the Pies won the clearance count 39-29.

That was thanks to a huge performance from Jack Crisp, while Josh Daicos, Fin Macrae and even Nick Daicos played a part at stoppages.

It was a huge part of the ground to get the upper hand in given their star man was neutralised and the fact that they were up against names such as Gawn, Clayton Oliver and Jack Viney.

Hats off to Craig McRae and his coaching staff.

What they got wrong

Not freeing up Nick Daicos

The Pies didn’t do much wrong in Monday’s win, but there wasn’t a huge effort to free up Nick Daicos from his tag against Alex Neal-Bullen.

The young superstar finished with a goal, 15 disposals and seven clearances before being subbed out with a leg knock.

He was barely given an inch to breathe on Monday, and you wonder if the Pies could have set more blocks and bumps to allow their young gun to go to work.

Perhaps the Pies were happy to let the tag play out as it allowed their half backs to dominate.

If he’s tagged again though and the half backs don’t benefit as a result, they will need to do more to help Daicos get free.

Lachlan Geleit

ESSENDON club banner

What they got right

Gave it plenty

In reality, this could be a carbon copy of last week.

Just as they did against the Suns, Essendon in Round 13 hung in there against the Blues, fired a few shots but eventually came up empty-handed due to a lack of connection between the midfield and forward line.

So how do you look at it? Glass half-full or half-empty? At least the Bombers gave Carlton a real fright in the third and didn’t lay over.

Effort and ball movement out of the back half were both big wins.

What they got wrong

Same problems persist

Essendon fans were tearing their hair out on Sunday night.

To win inside 50s by 19 yet go down by 26 points is a disappointing outcome by any standard, especially in the manner in which the Bombers lost.

Essendon’s forward entries were as bad as Melbourne’s a day later, which is saying plenty.

The long, high ball simply does not work when it’s played on repeat. Lower your eyes, Bombers!

Midfield unit beaten again

A strength earlier in the season, the midfield unit has lowered its colours in recent weeks.

Zach Merrett copped a hard tag but battled hard to lead his side for contested possessions. Outside of him, Todd Goldstein was the only other Bomber to win contested ball more than 10 times.

Ovall, the Bombers were smashed in contested possessions and allowed Carlton to win the clearances.

Plenty of that started with Tom De Koning’s dominance in the ruck, but outside of Merrett and Sam Durham, the Bombers midfielders didn’t have a say.

Do we need to talk about Peter?

It’s been bubbling for a few weeks, but it was evident against the Blues.

Peter Wright is not influencing enough inside 50. He went goalless from 12 possessions on Sunday night and failed to take a mark inside 50.

Yes, he had a big task up against Jacob Weitering. But Wright is a better player than what he is putting up in 2024.

The 27-year-old’s form could be the difference between finals or another failure of a season.

Seb Mottram

FREMANTLE club banner


GEELONG club banner

What they got right

Off the charts pressure

Looking to avoid a fourth defeat in five games, Geelong couldn’t have started any better and it came on the back of frantic pressure.

The Cats tackled with a ferociousness that paid off in the first term and made a speedy Swans outfit look slow and second rate.

They were every bit deserving of their 29-point lead at the first break. But, as Sydney has done before in 2024, it felt like a matter of time until that lead was reeled in.

And reeled in it was, big time.

What they got wrong

Midfielder disasterclass

If the Cats were going to be any chance, the Sydney midfielders simply couldn’t hit the scoreboard.

It was a big tick in the first term. But from there, mission failed.

Errol Gulden, Isaac Heeney and Chad Warner combined for five majors and in the end, that was the 30-point margin.

It’s no secret that Geelong doesn’t have the cattle in the middle and the situation is failing to improve.

What the Rhys?

Speaking about cattle through the midfield, it’s time to have a hard conversation on Rhys Stanley.

He was one of the driving forces behind the 2022 premiership, but Saturday’s performance against Sydney was stark.

The 33-year-old was moved out of the ruck at will by Brodie Grundy in a performance that was hard to watch.

Chris Scott – despite trying to defend his player – arguably made it worse.

“I didn't think that (Stanley was the reason we lost). I thought Stanley was dominant early, when we were on top,” Scott responded to a journalist post-match.

“Your opinion is worthwhile putting forward, it suggests that because Grundy is a well-credentialled player, it becomes a bit more obvious there.”

The Geelong coach would have been better off not acknowledging the question than trying to pretend Stanley played anything more than a sub-par AFL performance.

Seb Mottram

GOLD COAST club banner

What they got right

Half back effectiveness

Gold Coast’s half-backs racked up an incredible amount of footy on Saturday night in the loss to St Kilda.

Sam Flanders (43 disposals), Alex Sexton (29 disposals), Joel Jeffrey (29 disposals) and Bodhi Uwland (23 disposals) all filled up on the stat sheet and stood out for their run and carry.

While the amount of footy they picked up was in part thanks to the way St Kilda set up, Damien Hardwick still would have liked to see how well they operated.

They did their job defensively too, keeping the Saints to just 51 points.

If their midfield and forward line showed up it would have provided the bedrock for a comfortable win.

Obviously, that wasn’t the case, but it’s one area of their game that they can be happy with.

What they got wrong

On-ball effort

Gold Coast shouldn’t be getting just 25 clearances with the likes of Matt Rowell, Touk Miller and Noah Anderson in the team.

While they were without Jarrod Witts, Ned Moyle is still a quality backup option and it was their on-ball unit that failed to get to work at the ground level.

The Suns typically average 36 clearances a game and having 11 less than that just didn’t give their forward line enough opportunities to score big.

They’ll have to go to work in this area after their bye when they face Fremantle in Perth in Round 15 given the Dockers’ strength in the middle.

Missing golden opportunity

Gold Coast would have risen to sixth with a victory and would have set them up to hold onto a finals spot, but again they’ll be playing catch-up late into the season.

This side promises so much at home and looks like a September outfit, but falls short too often away.

While they’re 7-6 and can still no doubt qualify, it’s these games against lesser-ranked opposition that you’ve just got to get the job done against to really threaten the contending pack above them.

It’s something that’s haunted them throughout their existence and they’ll be desperate to rectify it in the back end of the season.

Lachlan Geleit

GWS GIANTS club banner

What they got right

Centre clearance dominance

GWS did the job at the source by winning centre clearances 16-7.

It was particularly visible in the first half when winning six centre clearances to one, and it told on the scoreboard with a 19-point lead.

That continued on with another 10 centre clearances to six in the second half, but the game shape did change after the break and the Giants were unable to hold on.

Ruckman Kieren Briggs (four) set the tone while the unlikely centre-clearance sources of Jake Riccardi (two) and James Peatling (two) also contributed.

Sent O’Halloran forward

Xavier O’Halloran started the game as an inside midfielder but would soon impact inside 50.

He was sent forward and had a great impact, returning a career-best four goals from 15 disposals to go with six tackles.

O’Halloran also provided an equal team-high seven score involvements and produced a goal assist in a promising showing in attack.

What they got wrong

Third term drop-off

The Giants appeared on control at half-time when they took a 19-point lead into the main break.

But they coughed up six goals in the third term, including four in a row between the 17-minute mark of that quarter and the first minute of the fourth.

It was a spell of less than desirable effort and intent which would eventually contribute to their narrow six-point defeat.

Below par ball use

Adam Kingsley wasn’t too impressed with how his Giants used the ball.

They turned it over in dangerous areas which allowed the Hawks to pounce and score.

As mentioned above, the Giants comfortably won the centre clearance battle but were unable to capitalise with a mixture of their subpar ball use and Hawthorn’s structure denying them from scoring freely.

They only kicked two goals from centre clearance. The Hawks kicked 2.1 despite having nine less.

The Giants could only muster 33 points from turnover, while the Hawks feasted on the errors of their opponents, returning 54 points of their own which proved crucial in the end.

Failed to manage the game late

The Giants had their noses in front late in the piece but were unable to manage thge game.

Kingsley bemoaned the fact that he felt his side “had opportunity to potentially lock the game away” but “failed to do so”.

The downfield free kick against Tom Green, resulting in Luke Breust’s winning goal, was a case in point.

The Giants were just a bit sloppy when it mattered most.

They’ll need to sort that out soon as they’ve now slipped to eighth ahead of a crunch clash with Port Adelaide at home next weekend.

Andrew Slevison

HAWTHORN club banner

What they got right

Top eight on the way!

Let’s ride, Hawks fans!

Saturday’s win over GWS jumps the Hawks up to 12th on the ladder, just four points behind the top eight.

With Richmond and West Coast as the Hawks’ next two opponents, the top eight is a genuine chance by the end of Round 16.

And after claiming their biggest scalp of the season, that’s arguably where they deserve to be.

Structure behind the ball

It wasn’t James Sicily’s best game on the stats sheet, but Hawthorn were supremely organized behind the ball.

Even though the Hawks lost centre clearances 7-16, they outscored the Giants by a point from that source (13-12).

It showed how well Sicily was able to marshal the back six in combatting fast entries.

They also won scores from turnovers (54-33), suggesting they were particularly damaging when the Giants fumbled.

Cream rises to the top

When a game of AFL is on the line, no Hawthorn player immediately springs to mind as one you want on your side.

But several individuals are starting to develop a reputation given their efforts in recent close games.

Will Day proved he is a captain in waiting, Dylan Moore was at the forefront of everything, Josh Weddle stood up against the odds and even young Calsher Dear laid the game-winning tackle.

Since losing to Port Adelaide in Round 10, the Hawks’ leaders have come to play.

What they got wrong

Contested footy

If you had to find a negative, the Hawks got belted in contested footy by an undermanned GWS midfield.

But on the flip side, it makes it even more impressive for Hawthorn to look the better team for so long.

They're the most exciting team in the competition, Hawthorn.

Seb Mottram

MELBOURNE club banner

What they got right

Giving their forwards enough opportunity

Melbourne didn’t do much right on Monday, but they will be pleased with the number of times they gave their best forwards opportunities on goal.

Accuracy let them down as they kicked 6.15 (51), but they finished with more scoring shots than the Magpies who ended up 14.5 (89).

All of Jacob Van Rooyen (3.1), Kysaiah Pickett (2.4) and Bayley Fritsch (1.4) had at least four shots on goal.

If you give those three 15 shots combined each week, the Demons will be able to come up with competitive scores.

Accuracy is a whole other issue, but at least they’re getting it to their most dangerous players inside 50.

What they got wrong

Sticking with the Daicos tag too long

Melbourne used a tagger on Monday with Alex Neal-Bullen going to Nick Daicos around the ground.

As Neal-Bullen isn’t a traditional on-baller, he didn’t go with Daicos at centre stoppages but immediately after followed him around the park.

While he did a great job personally helping nullify Daicos’ influence, he should have been moved off him once the game began to slip.

There’s no doubt Neal-Bullen’s shift from half forward to following Daicos allowed Collingwood’s defence to flourish with a spare behind the footy.

When they were 30 points down early in the fourth term, surely play all-out attack instead of using a defensive tactic.

Simon Goodwin should be more flexible with his coaching moves. He robbed Peter to pay Paul with the move and he should have thrown some magnets around when they still had enough time to make a comeback.

Wing use

Melbourne was dominated in the outside in last year’s Qualifying Final loss to Collingwood and they were schooled in that area on Monday as well.

Ed Langdon (12 disposals) and Caleb Windsor (21 disposals) didn’t do anything wrong themselves, but there’s no doubt that Steele Sidebottom (22 disposals) and Josh Daicos (33 disposals) got the points in that battle.

While there’s no doubt Collingwood like to use their wings more than Melbourne, they still shouldn’t be being defeated in that area of the ground so easily having seen it before last September.

Most teams would kill for a combination of Langdon and Windsor on the wings. They need to get the footy to them more if they want to match Collingwood from a tactical point of view next time they face off.

Lachlan Geleit


What they got right


Before getting into the nitty gritty of how they did it, it’s simply time to celebrate North Melbourne claiming their first win of 2024.

For George Wardlaw, Jackson Archer, Toby Pink and Wil Dawson, it was a milestone victory, marking the first career win for the young Roos.

The win snaps North’s 11-game losing streak and makes analysts around the country put their history books back on the shelf, ensuring that the Kangaroos won’t be the first team since Fitzroy in 1964 to have a winless season.

Midfield dominance

This was a game won through stellar midfield work.

The Roos dominated the clearance game all around the ground, finishing with 18 more, as well as getting the edge in contested possessions.

It wasn’t just one-way running either, with North’s work rate shining in their tackling pressure, finishing with an immense 87 tackles, 27 more than the AFL average.

The usual suspects of Luke Davis-Uniacke, Harry Sheezel, Jy Simpkin and Tristan Xerri led the way in the engine room, all capably handling whatever the Eagles threw at them.

What they got wrong

Took the foot off the gas

When you’re in the hunt for your first win of the year, you can’t afford to give your opponent an inch of breathing room.

That the exact opposite of what the Roos did in the fourth quarter on Saturday, and it almost cost them.

Entering the final term with a 27-point lead and having kept West Coast to just two goals, the win seemed all but wrapped up for North.

25 minutes later, the Eagles had booted six straight goals and taken the lead, leaving the Roos completely stunned.

After dominating the midfield battle all day, North relaxed their pressure and suffered the consequences, resulting in their defence coming completely under siege.

To the Kangaroos’ credit, they showed some late composure to steady themselves and pull back ahead, but it was almost certainly a situation they didn’t expect to be in in the first place.

Jack Makeham

PORT ADELAIDE club banner


RICHMOND club banner

What they got right

Ramped up pressure and work rate

Richmond came to Adelaide to win.

It was evident form the outset with their pressure and work rate through the roof.

The Tigers were full of spark early, kicking the first three goals which set up the eventual eight-point win.

Adem Yze’s side has been building to this over the last three weeks and it was effort, intent, pressure and work rate which were the hallmarks of their second win of the campaign.

Balta in defence

Noah Balta is best suited as a defender.

He has been tried as a forward at times, but it’s clear to see that his best position is in the backline.

Balta was near impenetrable on Thursday night, taking 12 marks, having seven intercepts and rebounding from defensive 50 on five occasions to go along with his 20 disposals.

Along with fellow premiership defender Nathan Broad he helped hold together the defensive formation, assisting youngster Tom Brown and the inexperienced Ben Miller in having significant contributions.

Unlikely goal sources

The Tigers lost another forward in Mykelti Lefau to an ACL while Dustin Martin didn’t make the trip to Adelaide.

That left them without three of their top four goal kickers heading into the round yet still they managed to conjure a winning score of 12.7.(79).

You could have written any price on the quartet of Noah Cumberland (three goals), Kamdyn McIntosh (two), Rhyan Mansell (two) and Seth Campbell (two) combining for nine goals.

Some of those players can be good for a goal here and there but to come together for a winning score would have been pleasing for Yze.

What they got wrong

Lost another fourth quarter

The Tigers need to find ways to be better in the final term.

Although they were able to manage the game professionally after the Crows kicked the first two goals of the fourth quarter, there were many nervous moments.

Richmond has won just two fourth terms this season and were again beaten late with the Crows kicking 3.3 to 1.1 in the final 30 minutes.

They average just 10.8 points in fourth terms this year, while their opponents average 25.7.

Andrew Slevison

SYDNEY club banner

What they got right

The best midfield trio since Judd, Cousins, Kerr?

The AFL community is quick to anoint the next midfield powerhouse but it feels justified to put the midfield trio of Errol Gulden, Isaac Heeney and Chad Warner in the conversation amongst the greats.

The most damaging aspect to those three players is their ability to hit the scoreboard with Gulden, Heeney and Warner combining for 49 goals this season. Warner and Heeney were instrumental in the win two goals and 26 touches each but it was Gulden who starred with 37 disposals, 15 score involvements, seven inside-50’s five clearances, five tackles, 733 metres gained and a goal.

Chris Scott is right when he said in his press conference that he’d be surprised if that midfield trio weren’t in the All-Australian Team at season’s end.

Papley dines out on mismatch

All the attention from Geelong’s defenders were directed towards Sydney’s tall forwards who were mostly held quiet with the exception of Joel Amartey who kicked three goals. That allowed Tom Papley to exploit his direct match up of 13-gamer Oisin Mullin who was unable to keep up with Papley.

Papley booted a game-high four goals and ended the afternoon with eight score involvements, four inside-50’s, three tackles and two clearances.

Grundy monsters Stanley and co.

The Cats used four players in the ruck and they combined for 31 hitouts including 20 to Rhys Stanley. Grundy had 34 hitouts alone and ensured the Swans dominated the clearance battle with the final stats reading 43-30 in favour of the home side.

Grundy finished with more disposals (24-8), score involvements (11-3), inside-50’s (3-1) and intercept possessions (6-2 than Stanley

What they got wrong

Swans prove vulnerable in opening exchanges

Sydney’s first quarter woes continued as the Swans allowed Geelong to get their early ascendancy again. Sydney allowed the Cats to kick the first six majors of the game including a 5.3 (33) to 0.3 (3) lead at quarter time.

It has been a worrying trend for John Longmire’s team who let Carlton kick five of the first six goals in Round 10, five of the first seven goals against Richmond and GWS in Round 3 and 8 respectively and four of the first five against Essendon in Round 2.

The argument could be made that the Swans believe they can win from any position but the first quarter lapses are a cause for concern.

Charles Goodsir

ST KILDA club banner

What they got right

Clearance work

St Kilda went to work at the stoppage against a vaunted Gold Coast midfield attack on Saturday night.

The Saints won the overall clearance count 35-25 and the four leading clearance winners on the ground were all in red, white and black in Rowan Marshall (seven), Jack Steele (six), Marcus Windhager (4) and Mitch Owens (4).

No Sun got over four clearances on the night, with Matt Rowell in particular only getting two which was down significantly on the seven he averages.

That clearance work allowed the Saints to have 56 inside 50s to 45 and it proved the difference in a 51-48 win.

If they can keep performing like that at the source they’ll become a far more consistent outfit.

Windhager use again

Ross Lyon used Marcus Windhager to perfection again on Saturday following his second-half tagging job on Harley Reid last Saturday.

This time he was sent to Touk Miller, with the co-captain being held to just 14 disposals, his lowest return of the season by far.

Windhager himself had 15 disposals and he was a big reason behind St Kilda’s midfield dominance.

With his discipline and fitness a standout, Windhager could easily develop into one of the competition’s best stoppers – if he isn’t already.

It suits the way Ross wants to play and there’s no doubt he’ll give some superstars some sleepless nights going forward.

What they got wrong

It’s just not the perfect method, is it

While the Saints won, they won’t keep picking up many victories scoring just 51.

Even though their defence held up incredibly well, most teams score 65+ on a bad day, meaning the Saints will just about never blow a team away playing like this.

It’s long been the criticism of this side under Lyon and it doesn’t look like things will change soon in terms of playing attacking fast footy.

You just fear that they’ll continue getting left behind against the better teams if they keep struggling in terms of scoreboard output.

Lachlan Geleit

WEST COAST club banner

What they got right

McGovern & Barrass do it all

If it weren’t for Jeremy McGovern and Tom Barrass, West Coast would not have been anywhere near winning this clash.

The defensive duo was pivotal in limiting the damage North inflicted while the Eagles struggled to get their attack rolling, with McGovern serving as an intercept machine while Barrass did some of his best work as a negator.

The stat sheet doesn’t quite reflect their stellar display, with Nick Larkey booting five majors, however considering the barrage they withstood, it was an elite showing from McGovern and Barrass.


Missing several key players and getting resoundingly beaten around the ground heading into three quarter time, it wouldn’t have been unreasonable for West Coast to throw in the towel.

Instead, the Eagles refused to quit, conceding the first goal of the final term before reeling off six straight majors to take the lead in the dying stages.

Unfortunately, a controversial holding the ball free kick paid against Elliott Yeo then gifted the Kangaroos the lead and ultimately the win, however that doesn’t take away from the fight West Coast showed late.

What they got wrong

Dismantled in the midfield

There was already concern heading into the clash that West Coast would struggle in the midfield without Tim Kelly and Harley Reid.

Yet it’s unlikely that Adam Simpson thought things would have gone as poorly as they did.

West Coast was absolutely hammered through the middle, not recording a single centre clearance in the first half and losing the total clearance battle by 18.

To Adam Simpson’s credit, he attempted to move the magnets around as a quick fix, dropping the tag on Luke Davies-Uniacke to free up Dom Sheed and then inserting Liam Ryan into centre bounces.

While the Ryan move provided some spark, giving Davies-Uniacke free reign proved to be a disastrous decision, with the star midfielder going on to dominate the clash with 26 touches.

Conversion woes

If West Coast was even marginally more accurate on Saturday they would have left Optus Stadium with another win.

Instead, the Eagles handed the Roos their first win of the season after kicking a horrific 8.17, boasting eight more scoring shots than North Melbourne.

Heading into the fourth quarter, West Coast had kicked just 2.15 in what was shaping up to be their worst offensive performance of the season.

Considering the Eagles were already getting hammered in other areas of the field, they simply couldn’t afford to handicap themselves with inaccuracy.

Jack Makeham


What they got right

First quarter efficiency

On what turned out to be something of a horror night for the Bulldogs, it started out essentially the opposite.

Going toe-to-toe with the Lions in the opening quarter, the Dogs were ruthlessly efficient, booting four goals from just seven inside 50s.

While trailing at the end of this term, the Bulldogs’ attack was looking tidy and shaping up to be potent throughout the rest of the night.

Unfortunately for Luke Beveridge’s men, they never got the chance to build on this momentum as the Lions took their game to another level and completely dominated the rest of the match.

What they got wrong

Mauled at stoppage and contest

Considering how much the Bulldogs pride themselves on their proficiency at the source, Friday night was as calamitous of a display as it gets.

The Dogs were absolutely mauled by the Lions around stoppage and contest, losing the clearance battle by 18 and contested possessions by 15.

Allowing Brisbane to have first chance at the ball essentially every time was the root of the Dogs’ problems, and things only got worse as the game went on.

Defensive disaster

With the Lions having the bulk of first opportunity with the ball and overall possession, the Bulldogs spent the majority of the game defending on the back foot.

Considering the Bulldogs’ uninspiring defensive profile, that went about as well as one would expect.

The Dogs’ pressure around the ground was lacking, conceding 64 inside 50s, and their work in their defensive 50 was even worse, repeatedly losing one-on-ones and allowing 21 marks inside 50, almost double the AFL average.

With Chris Fagan’s defensive approach thoroughly outfoxing Luke Beveridge, highlighted by the hard tag sent to Marcus Bontempelli, it made the Bulldogs’ efforts look even more paltry by comparison.

Jack Makeham

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