Round 10 Review
Updated: Aug 8
No time to take a breath, with one game left in Round 10 and the Round 11 fixture kicking off tomorrow afternoon. It's been a great round of footy and has kept people sane during the week at least. Lockdown isn't as bad when there's footy to watch...
Port Adelaide v Western Bulldogs
What an absolute arm wrestle. Even though the Bulldogs can mix their form, it was a great test for Port Adelaide and their ability to grind out another win under finals-like pressure (213 v 193 is roughly what you'd see in September).
Ultimately it came down to Port Adelaide's ability to punish the Bulldogs from their midfield turnovers. Despite being -3 in generating turnovers through the middle of the ground, the scoreline ended up 4.2 to 1.5 and proved to be the difference.
At club level, this would be a perfect instance where the Bulldogs would be grabbing out those midfield turnovers and figuring out whether it was their method or execution that was the issue. Remember that all of these metrics are linked to four angles of vision, so finding ways to improve and educate the playing group is made much easier with the combination of the numbers and vision.
Richmond v Brisbane
Absolutely kicking ourselves for giving Richmond a red-hot chance against the Lions but still siding with Brisbane by 2 points. That's twice in a row we just haven't had the guts to give them the ultimate push.
As mentioned in the preview, the injury issues for Richmond are now being a little overplayed - yes, their depth has been tested and the bottom five players aren't as sound as when they have a full list to choose from, but any side with those stars on every line will trouble any team
Lynch v Andrews clearly went the way of Richmond, Riewoldt had been threatening to bob up for some time and the return of Vlastuin was critical to the Tigers defence
A lot has been said about the Lions inaccuracy (eerily similar to last year's final) - the Tigers were clearly superior but worth noting expected score ended up 78-67, so the margin flattered Richmond obviously.
The BIG query is whether the Brisbane forward line has enough potency to really challenge this season - Charlie Cameron is a jet, but Eric Hipwood managed only a single goal from his only mark inside 50. The Lions are still the leader in forward 50 marks, yet when you drill down a bit further it's obvious that a lot of those have come against weak opposition: 19 of those against Adelaide (the highest by any side in a match this year) and 15 against a struggling Essendon last week. Really worth factoring in for their matchups moving forward.
Geelong v North Melbourne
The match was bubbling along in a pretty predictable fashion until the Roos mounted a mini-fightback in the final term. Amazingly, the expected score ended up 82-47 despite Geelong missing a few absolute sitters. 1.6 in the second term for the Cats - they should've really put the game to bed by half time.
Geelong were +10 in clearance and +8 for Inside 50s, and clearly a much better side than North Melbourne on the night. Their figures in general are quite unremarkable, so they may still be underrated overall in the run home to the finals.
Melbourne v Adelaide
The Demons were there own worst enemy in this one - clearly the better side in a high-pressure, contested game (both teams posted a 200+ pressure rating for the entire game) yet they kept releasing that pressure by giving away some crucial free kicks. There were so many examples through the first half in particular (frees against 16-8) where Melbourne looked to be wrestling the ball back and breaking into the clear, only to be stopped in their tracks by a poor tackle.
Thankfully for Demons fans, they found an efficient avenue to goal. After being the worst side at converting inside 50s to scores for the first 9 rounds, they posted the third-best conversion rate so far in Round 10 (albeit with one game to come). Clearly the opposition plays a factor in that, but it's good to see them find their confidence with some quality connection between the midfield and the forwards.
On the flip side, the Crows attack just can't seem to generate enough opportunities to trouble sides. Four marks inside 50 on the night is clearly not enough to trouble any defence, and they haven't had more than 6 against any side this season. Surely that is heading towards being some sort of record...
Collingwood v Sydney
An absolutely extraordinary game for some bizarre reasons: Treloar's hamstring injury, THAT injury to Isaac Quaynor (wish everyone spared us the graphic photo without any warning), Tom Papley turning into a Shooting Stars meme, and the ridiculous inaccuracy by the Pies.
Seemingly the only chance the Swans had of conjuring up an upset was by keeping Collingwood to a similar score to last week against Fremantle (49). The Pies were only a single point better this time but clearly could have nearly doubled it had they not missed some nearly unmissable chances. Expected score: 74-52 (the Swans missed a couple of their own, for sure).
With so many injuries and a forward mix that just doesn't seem to be working, the Pies will need to tweak something and build a bit more momentum in the second half of the season to really challenge. But if you're good enough defensively, it's far easier to fix your offence rather than the other way around, traditionally.
Gold Coast v St Kilda
What a game! The Saints looked the better side for large portions but the Suns rolled up the sleeves and were able to score against the flow a couple of times to stay in it. At stoppage, the Suns really got to work - 4.3 to 1.2 is a great result against the combination of Ryder and Marshall in the ruck and some more household names from the Saints
Ultimately it probably came down to a few individual efforts at pivotal moments (Hunter Clark was enormous late in the match) and the Suns just missing a bit of polish up forward
A big test for the Suns next week - given their form, they absolutely MUST win against Essendon or a lot of the progress they have made will be wasted. I'll back them in.
Essendon v GWS
Plenty of talking points out of this one! Funnily enough, the Bombers blowing a 29-point lead has been overshadowed by the final few minutes. It's funny how different teams end up with different narratives in that scenario - if that's the Demons or the Saints, there would be much more focus on how they could've allowed GWS back in the game with what this year is a very hard deficit to overcome...
A lot has been said about the McKernan v Ward incident, but there is simply no comparison between Papley being fine for staging (a little shot over the bow is all that's needed) and Ward adding a bit of extra mayo when he was bumped. As we've always said, if you're calling for Ward to be fined in that instance, be careful what you wish for...
On a positive note, watch the final quarter again for some serious moments of brilliance - Heath Shaw in the dying stages, Tim Taranto on a number of occasions and Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti, who really should've trusted his leg instead of passing to Shaun McKernan late in the final quarter
What may have been missed was GWS going for a world record for burning their own teammates at various stages. Wet weather plays a part but feel like they should be sharing the ball around much more than they are at present
Round 10 Burning Question:
Will the "Days Break Factor" become extremely relevant over the next few weeks?
Starting to see a few different strategies play out, with several teams making huge changes (9 for Adelaide is enormous) and a few others mixing up their on-ground set up (Dangerfield large parts of the game up forward, for example).
The team selection this week will be fascinating - tipping a few stars might be sitting out.
Who Won The Round?
Unless the Giants or Bombers do something extraordinary tonight it won't be either of them, so we will go for Richmond. The Lions are a confident team (who were inaccurate, clearly) but the Tigers looked like they just knew how to beat them and went about getting the job done.
Who Lost The Round?
Is there any point giving it to a side who was already 0-9? Probably not, but it has to be the Crows. This was their chance to pinch a win, or at least go close. Losing by 51 after being two goals down at the last change is poor no matter which way you look at it. Hard to see where the breakthrough comes from...
Round 11 starts tomorrow! Wow. Thankfully there's a bit of time to get a preview done, starting with the Saturday double header featuring two cracking games to kick things off. Stay tuned!