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What they got right & wrong: The positives & negatives from Round 14


What did your club get right and what did your club get wrong in Round 14?

Six clubs had the bye - Carlton, Essendon, Geelong, Gold Coast, Melbourne and West Coast.

See our assessments of each game below:

Brisbane v St Kilda

Lions blitzed on the outside

Chris Fagan’s Lions was able to get the game on their terms for large portions of the night.

The Saints tied things right down against then Suns last week, but Friday night was a more open affair which the Lions lapped up.

Despite losing the clearance battle early, the Lions blitzed on the outside and used the ball brilliantly by foot. While their best was very good, their worst was quite poor.

They’ll want to bridge that gap if they are to be taken seriously in the business end of the season.

Joe Daniher filled up and Dayne Zorko was excellent.

Saints scored heavily, but were heavily scored upon

Ross Lyon’s Saints were pilloried all week for the brand of footy they played to beat the Suns in Round 13.

While they did end up going down to the Lions, they did manage to kick 16 goals resulting in their highest score of the season (106).

However, they did concede their largest score (126) of the campaign as well, so to gain something in attack they had to sacrifice their sturdiness in defence. Now it’s all about finding a happy medium.

Jack Higgins did everything in his power to keep the Saints in it.

Andrew Slevison

Western Bulldogs v Fremantle

The Dogs got the game on their terms

The Bulldogs, through their pressure and control around the contest, completely restricted Fremantle’s uncontested marking and territory game after quarter time.

It was a clinical display from the Dogs and maybe their best of the season from a strategic standpoint.

Fremantle took 69 marks for the game, down from their average of 98, while the Dogs took 111 themselves. This exposed the Dockers’ backline and allowed the likes of Rhylee West, Cody Weightman and Marcus Bontempelli to get easy goals.

They did this without winning the clearances necessarily, but they controlled the game around the ground and used the ball at 78.5% disposal efficiency.

The Dockers let Bont run wild

It must frustrate Fremantle fans watching Marcus Bontempelli dominate them game after game.

He has dominated the Dockers consistently and was once again best on ground, picking up 30 disposals and kicking three goals.

The Lions sent Jarrod Berry to Bontempelli with some success last week, but Freo let him roam as he pleased.

Justin Longmuir would surely regret that call now.

Nic Negrepontis

Richmond v Hawthorn

Overawed by the occasion?

While there was a superb build-up and a massive crowd in place to see Dustin Martin’s 300th game, it felt like Richmond might have mentally played the game before it started.

It’s impossible to know, but it appeared as though they were overawed by the occasion.

The Tigers’ pressure seemed to be well down compared to what it was against Adelaide as well as Geelong and Essendon for large portions.

Dusty’s opening goal aside, the champ didn’t really step up in what was a disappointing individual display. But we can’t begrudge him for that.

Adem Yze’s side was also belted at centre clearance 7-14 with only Tim Taranto recording more than one.

Attack started with defence

Hawthorn’s defenders seemingly did as they pleased.

Captain James Sicily was both impactful and impenetrable with 33 disposals, 15 marks (six intercept marks), 10 intercept possessions and a massive 881 metes gained. He also repelled expertly with 12 rebound 50s. Jack Scrimshaw took 10 marks, including five intercept marks, and had nine intercept possessions. Josh Weddle had nine intercepts from 23 touches with seven marks.

They were influential all day. The Hawthorn defence afforded absolutely nothing to the Tigers’ forwards.

The Hawks generated 45 points from their defensive half, as opposed to Richmond’s 18. They also produced 50 points form turnover in another impressive display from Sam Mitchell’s men who brilliantly dealt with the occasion in front of a huge crowd.

Andrew Slevison

Adelaide v Sydney

Crows missed a big chance

Adelaide would have seen what Sydney did to Geelong last week when the switch was flicked and had to be aware that the Swans could change things in a heartbeat.

So in that sense, the run that Adelaide allowed Sydney to go on twice is surprising. The Crows conceded the last three goals of the second term and then 10 straight majors in the third and fourth quarters to be run over the top of.

Up against the best team in the competition, with a four-goal lead and three-goal lead in different quarters and after the worst loss of their season the week before, Matthew Nicks’ troops had to show some killer instinct.

The time for honourable losses is over, but Saturday’s defeat suggests the mindset is yet to shift.

Furthermore, no disrespect to Joel Amartey, but he’s never proven himself as a nine-goal forward. Of course Adelaide, of all teams, allowed it.

Always fear the Swans

Sydney’s legacy is growing. Not just in terms of the win/loss record, but the manner in which their victories keep coming.

There’s a likeness to Collingwood’s 2023 campaign in how the Swans are finding ways to overcome the odds and salute in 2024.

Sydney has been down at the first break against West Coast, GWS, Carlton, Western Bulldogs, Geelong and now Adelaide, but rallied to win all of those games comfortably.

Saturday’s game was perfect evidence of what can happen when the Swans get their game flowing, booting 10 goals unanswered in the second half to seal the result.

As the Magpies did last year, there’s now an aura against the Swans that will have opponents jumpy, even with a comfortable lead.

Their flag hopes grow by the round.

Seb Mottram

North Melbourne v Collingwood

We saw the worst of North Melbourne in the fourth quarter, but at least we know the ceiling is there

While North Melbourne and their fans would have been bitterly disappointed to give up a 54-point lead to go down by one on Sunday, at least we saw what their best could look like early on.

The Roos absolutely demolished the Pies in the first half, outscoring the reigning premiers 86-38.

It wasn’t only their forward line that was firing, but the likes of George Wardlaw, Luke Davies-Uniacke and Harry Sheezel were utterly dominant in the midfield, while some absolutely electric pressure around the footy allowed the backline to intercept and set up well.

While the Roos are a couple of years away at least in terms of being a force, the talent is absolutely there to lead them to new heights with their young stars capable of ridiculous things.

The consistency isn’t there yet, but there’s no doubt the ceiling is incredibly high.

Collingwood escape the injury crisis relatively unscathed

Sunday was the game that Collingwood had to win to escape from their major injury crisis relatively unscathed.

While they did it by the barest of margins, the Pies are inside the top four and held a record of 4-1-1 without either of their two first-choice key forwards for five of those weeks, while Nick Daicos and Jack Crisp played in an otherwise makeshift midfield across that period.

With Scott Pendlebury, Jordan De Goey, Brody Mihocek and others set to return post-bye, the Magpies will have a similar injury list to most other sides in the comp.

Even though the fixture gets a little harder from here, at least the Magpies won’t be able to blame injury if they go down, and that’s all they can really ask for in the lead-in to finals.

Lachlan Geleit

GWS Giants v Port Adelaide

The Giants have found their stopper

GWS set Toby Bedford the task of tagging superstar Port Adelaide midfielder Zak Butters, and didn’t he do a brilliant job.

Bedford had 16 disposals and kicked a goal himself, while Butters was restricted to just 17, his lowest tally of the season.

His performance was clearly highly rated by the coaches as well, with Bedford collecting 10 AFLCA votes for his efforts.

With Sydney (Isaac Heeney or Chad Warner), Adelaide (Jordan Dawson) and Carlton (Patrick Cripps and Sam Walsh) next on GWS’ fixture across the coming three weeks, Bedford could be set for some more big jobs.

There’s no doubt he’ll be up to it if he can clamp them as he did Butters on Sunday.

Power fail against a finals contender again

Port Adelaide failed against a top-eight contender again on Sunday, going down to GWS.

The Power are getting a reputation for being flat-track bullies with four of their five losses coming against Collingwood, Carlton, Melbourne and now GWS.

With Brisbane, the Western Bulldogs Gold Coast (away), Carlton (away), Sydney, Melbourne (away) and Fremantle (away) all set for them on the run home, the Power will need to pick up a few scalps if they’re to make the eight, let alone finish top four and contend for a flag.

Perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised by this anymore. The Power might just realistically be a side destined to finish somewhere from 6-10th and fail against the really elite sides of the competition.

Lachlan Geleit

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