Round 5 Review
Well, we are saying goodbye to footy in Victoria for a while. It's a sad day, but an absolute credit to those running the competition that we can still (hopefully) get 9 matches underway next weekend.
You can't underestimate the effort that's required to house 10 teams of varying sizes and some of their families in an interstate location during a pandemic. An incredible amount of work that will have its bumps in the road but to even get close to pulling it off is extraordinary.
We asked the burning question about who was willing to host the dirty Victorians - turns out they are scattered everywhere, and in the nick of time.
Importantly, having spent so long inside a club, there is one aspect that hasn't really been addressed around the hub situation for teams...
If you are going to be "stuck" in a hotel with a group of people, limited in your movement and having to abide by strict quarantine rules, a footy club is a great bunch to endure it with.
Clubs are filled with absolute professionals who are highly skilled and play their role no matter what the situation. The playing group are a mixture of personalities and interests, as are the staff - everyone would be focused on enjoying their time away as much as possible, supporting each other, winning games (of course), training to the highest standard often under difficult conditions, and getting the most out of an unfortunate situation.
Even more importantly, there is no doubt that Clubs will have a heap of things in place to entertain everyone during the "lockdown" periods - think of Punters Clubs, poker nights, movie screenings, Playstation FIFA tournaments, table tennis, a few quiet beers retelling stories about people and players of the past, trivia nights, you name it.
And at the same time everyone would be focused heavily on supporting each other so that no one is left behind, or feeling alone. Clubs are a great place to work (most of the time) and should pass this test with everyone coming out the other side unscathed.
But if anyone thinks it's easy (ie - Susie O'Brien), then this Tweet from Melbourne's Darren Burgess should make you realise it's not all beer and Skittles, as they say...
Many would have heard the Channel 7 commentary team (Brian, in particular) talking about the goalkicking accuracy stats and how they don't include the missed shots on goal. Important to clear that up - Champion Data's goalkicking figures include missed shots at goal. The shots that fall short or sail out on the full are included, no matter if they are set shots or in general play. As the old saying goes, you can lead a horse to water... Importantly, it probably also highlights the need for continual education about how to apply figures appropriately, even for fans who don't want to be drowned in numbers. Comparing a player's average disposals from 2020 vs 2019 is a futile exercise given the reduction in playing time as an example, but it still happens. Disappointing.
The SuperCoach ranking point experts on Twitter seem to have morphed into a new, more aggressive strain of Armchair Analysts who think they know better than those who have spent significant time inside a club. Imagine thinking you know how to use data at a Club more than the Clubs do. And don't play the victim when you're called out on your ignorance and superiority complex, it's just embarrassing. My advice? Sit back in your armchair, take your fingers off the keyboard for a while and realise you couldn't carry the bags of *any* AFL analysis/tech staff. (Check Twitter for the context, if you really must)
If you missed the On The Couch deep dive into Melbourne's issues, led by Garry Lyon, do yourself a favour and check it out. The issues can be fixed, but will they? It's far more complex than just coaching instruction, or a quick change in personnel. Most of the media have focused on the delivery to the forwards, but I can guarantee that the behind goal footage would expose just how badly the front six seem to be playing - McDonald and Fritsch have had 31 offensive 1 on 1 contests between them...and have won 3. Enough said.
How much does the lack of a VFL competition effect the form, skill execution and development of some players? There have been scratch matches at least, but does this change again with the Victorian teams isolated in hubs? You'd have to think that some players will really struggle without consistent, competitive matches to keep improving. A big watch on those who come into the senior team and how they pick up the pace of the game...
It's hard not to think that teams need to adjust a little more to the shortened quarters when they're behind on the scoreboard. We have seen a few momentum shifts late in games but inevitably most sides have run out of time to really mount a challenge. You can see the point where they tend to put the foot down and take more risks, but do they nearly start having to think about changing gears in the third quarter rather than the fourth?
Who Won The Round?
Hard to go past the Brisbane Lions - challenged by a good side in Port Adelaide, exploded in the second quarter after an adjustment to their wingers at quarter time (I think it was On The Couch who did a great little analysis of Lachie Neale speaking about their stoppage structure - and this from The Football Extension), and found a way to have 25 scoring shots despite what many believe to be a forward line without the real sense of potency to be a challenger.
Your new premiership favourites right now, the Lions, but in this extraordinary year we might find the favouritism bounce around to a few teams before the end of the season.
Who Lost The Round?
Probably Collingwood - a fairly rough week with the Sidebottom suspension and De Goey being arrested, but also their second loss in a row to a side they really should have covered.
After the first three goals it looked like the Bombers flicked a switch and just went in harder and faster. Plenty of theories about Collingwood being a worse side in the wet - I had always thought that wet weather should play to their strengths, but a lot of sharp commentators have stressed it's the opposite.
It's not panic stations just yet but they will need to lift away from home for the foreseeable future and bank some wins, or an important top four spot might sneak away from them.
Plenty of time on our hands again while in lockdown, so we might take a broader look at a few things around the industry. We've had plenty of feedback around giving more of an insight as to what really goes on at clubs, so we are open to ideas around what you'd like to know! Send us a message via the feedback form or Twitter for any article suggestions. And of course we will be previewing a HUGE Round 6 of footy - an absolute tipsters nightmare that deserves a bit of a longer look at each of the games to do them justice. Bring it on.