Just as NAB Cup Round 1 is not really footy as we know it, this is not really a match report, but a series of dot-point observations as we build into a new season.
I went to Etihad on Friday night with Floreat Pica’s Mick White, a couple of his brothers and a couple of their mates. What we observed was :
As always, I like to start with the positives. These included :
Getting through the evening free of serious injury
Winning, the second win being equally lucky as it was miraculous, because we were clearly outplayed for the middle part of that game
Getting some time into some newbies – Russell was good, Young pretty reasonable, Martin impressive in game one, Dwyer a tough nut
Witts didn’t look out of place in the first match when he was rucking largely against a rookie. Took a couple of nice grabs, created an early contender for blooper of the year with a five metre sideways kick after one of the marks
Caff was very creative against the Dogs. He is an interesting player – one of those blokes who basically has then same impact at whatever level he plays. He is not a big possession-getter, but is smart, applies excellent defensive pressure and is a good mark. He is the ideal third/midsized forward if he can find form. He hobbled off early in the Dogs game. but there was little concern and he was soon back on, so it might have been unrelated to his knee or a scar tissue issue that returnees often experience.
Swanny is noticeably lighter than last season, and was clearly our best in game one.
It’s too early in the season for negatives but there is one thing that needs to be noted and addressed – WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON IN THE HAIRDRESSING DEPARTMENT AT THE CLUB ? Some of our blokes look like they are part of a Duran Duran tribute band – Blair – a disgraceful coiffure, Pendles – it is clear that this ridiculous look cost him the captaincy, Jamie Elliott – have a look at yourself son, Heater and Seedsman – who thought it would be a good idea to wear headbands ?
Some more pertinent observations
We looked pretty rusty overall, which was to be expected
In both games we had fewer possessions than our opponents but more inside 50s, reflecting a commitment to kick a bit longer and move the ball more quickly. A decent plan, but we repeatedly bombed to outnumbered Cloke and Lynch and looked better the few times we were able to pinpoint a forward target.
We played a lot with two talls and four smalls forward, with Sinclair, Elliott, Krak, Mooney, Dwyer, Martin and Blair all spending some time as small forwards. I’m very keen on two talls plus a midsized third (Caff or Swanny/Pendles spending some off-ball time forward). The two talls Cloke and Lynch have to get used to playing together, but too many times were in the same contests, making it easy for extra backs to cover one or both and meaning we didn’t have a decent sized alternative target. Elliott had a few decent attempts at mark of the year contenders, but this should be a rare option for a bloke his size, with more focus on crumbing the talls.
There wasn’t any noticeable change in our willingness to use the corridor. We did it a few times, notably when the new chums Russell and Young had the ball. A few of the established blokes ignored good options in the corridor -I don’t know whether this is habit, game plan or a lack of confidence in their skills, time will tell.
Smashed in the hit-outs against the Dons (but decisively won the clearances) and kicked most of our goals against the Dogs when Jol was in the ruck – a familiar story, but Witts and the new cult figure Huddo were both OK
Lots of laughter and wry smiles when it was announced after Sinclair’s super goal that his junior club would receive 6 new Sherrins, his junior club being the very needy Scotch College !
Dustin Fletcher was clearly BOG in the Dons/Dogs clash – what a freak !
It is great to have footy back – six weeks today until our round one match, so hopefully we can continue to build and get out of the blocks well in the season proper. We were 0-6 against our opponents in the first three games (Roos, Blues, Hawks) so a good start is imperative.