AFL Round Three Performance Reviews – Part Two






The season is flying by and so too are the chances of some of the league’s biggest clubs. Round Three has affirmed that the 2016 season is going to be one of the most evenly contested in recent memory and a nightmare for footy tippers all-round the country. Let’s have a close look at how the season is progressing for the 18 AFL clubs. For some footy fans this is going to hurt.


SYDNEY SWANS: The Swans remain unbeaten in 2016, after withstanding a valiant effort from the GWS Giants. After blowing their first two opponents off the park, round three was a much sterner test for the Swans.

A couple of the young Swans that had dream starts to their careers in the first two rounds of the season found the going much tougher against the talented GWS. Pocket rocket Tom Papley got a taste of things to come, his impressive first two games of 2016 has alerted opposition clubs to his importance in the Swans forward set up and they will now start to put time into stooping his influence on the game. Fellow youngster George Hewitt was exposed in a couple of one-on-one’s against Heath Shaw. Hewitt looks like a natural midfielder but maybe hasn’t got the pace or overhead marking capabilities to play as a permanent forward, he may have to wait for midfield opportunities in the reserves and promising forward James Rose to come in and take his place. While the unbelievable performances Luke Parker keeps churning out has taken up most of the spotlight for the Swans midfield, the form of Tom Mitchell needs to highlighted. Mitchell is the perfect example of an old-fashioned natural footballer, not blessed with the athletic attributes most clubs look for in the modern-day player, but he finds plenty of the ball, has quick hands, a high football IQ and is an underrated kicker who really wastes a disposal.

An early season blockbuster awaits the Swans in round four, with Adelaide and Sydney squaring off at the Adelaide Oval. This match will be an early season examination of the experienced Sydney backline.

GWS: The Giants lost no admires after a hard-fought loss to the Sydney Swans. The days of an easy match against the Giants are long gone, they are now a professional hard running football machine. Slowly but surely the talented high draft picks that the GWS have built their list from are now starting to take control of the team. The experienced players that have come and gone from the club over the last few years have all done their job in setting the early standard for the new club. Now the young stars are starting to take the reins and push the club forward.

Dylan Shiel and Stephen Coniglio are starting to become the midfield leaders. Shiel is as promising midfielder as there is in the competition; his acceleration away from stoppages left his Swans opponents with windburn. Josh Kelly is another smooth moving Giants youngster who has elite foot skills, and isn’t afraid to use them. His bullet-like passes back into the centre corridor of the ground set up many of the Giants attacking thrusts.

A round Four match against an out-of-form Port Adelaide is a game the Giants should be confident of winning.

GOLD COAST: The master and his apprentice were at it again, Gary Ablett and Aaron Hall have become the most lethal midfield combination in the league. Hall’s rise from inconsistent forward to premier midfielder is one of the biggest turnarounds in a player’s career I can remember. In the space of ten games Hall has elevated his game to a level only he would have known he had within him.

The win against Carlton has given the Suns a perfect start for 2016. At 3-0 and two of their best midfielders in David Swallow and Jaeger O’Meara still to come back into the side, anything but a maiden finals appearance at the end of the year would be seen as a disaster. With Hall’s level of game well and truly past anything Swallow and O’Meara have been able to achieve so far, both should come back into the side with appoint to prove. This sort of healthy competition amongst the young Gold Coast midfielders will push their performances and that of their team to a whole new level. With Ablett, Hall, big Tom Lynch and back pocket dynamo Adam Saad, the Suns are one of the most entertaining and watchable teams in the competition.

The “Q-Clash” is next for the Suns. What an opportunity to bank another win!! The Suns should not only win this game but should really flex its muscles and put the young Brisbane side to the sword.

CARLTON: Carlton have to find small positives out of each game, and show their army of fans improvement over the course of the year. Number one pick Jacob Weitering was definitely this week’s positive, the young defender had his best game in his short career amassing 26 touches and more importantly taking 9 marks. Weitering has all the pose and class you would hope for in a number one pick. With the Blues struggling to kick any sort of competitive score on the weekend, the question is how long can Coach Brendan Bolton resist the temptation of moving his prized commodity forward to help his team get some scoreboard reward for the undoubted effort they are putting in. Charlie Curnow is the other prized off-season draftee for the Blues, and while the young stallion is still all arms and legs he does show a lot of potential. A forward line that contained Weitering and young Curnow isn’t going to win any games for Carlton yet but will generate plenty of excitement amongst the team and its supporter base.

A game against the Western Bulldogs at Etihad Stadium sets off alarm bells for the Blues in round four. It will be impossible for Carlton to stop the Western Bulldogs from scoring, so they must find a way to keep the scoreboard ticking over, if they are to avoid a demoralising defeat.

WEST COAST EAGLES: With a gleam in their eye and a cheeky grin on their face the Eagles would have relished the chance to heap some more pain on their fierce rivals. A win over the struggling Dockers was a must for an Eagles team that would have been bitterly disappointed with their efforts against the Hawks the week before. In slippery conditions that was probably better suited to their opponent’s style of play, the Eagles made hard work of it at times but in the end got the job done. The last two performances at the MCG will keep a question mark over the Eagles this year for many football observers, and will remain there until probably a big final is won there.

Scott Lycett and Jack Darling are key players to the Eagles forward set up, and both look to be building form as the season progresses. Their marking and straight goal kicking in slippery conditions was a big reason the Eagles got over the line against the Dockers.

A big prime time Friday night game at Domain Stadium against the Tigers should excite the Eagles home fans. A Richmond side under immense pressure is a dangerous proposition for the Eagles, but a challenge they are more than capable of overcoming.

FREMANTLE: Going, Going, Gone!!! A 0-3 start to the season along with injuries to key playmakers Aaron Sandilands and David Mundy has seen the Premiership chances of the Fremantle Dockers disappear after only three games. The question for the Dockers now is what can they salvage from the 2016 season? It is hard to see the Dockers even making the finals now, even without the recent injuries they just aren’t playing anywhere the level if a finals team. All off a sudden there looks like more holes in the Dockers list than there was in the Titanic. Maybe now with nothing to lose Coach Ross Lyon will through caution to the wind move some of his remaining chess pieces around in the hope of generating some attacking play and scoreboard pressure. Plant Nat Fyfe up forward for a whole game, throw Hayden Ballantyne and Michael Walters into the midfield, bring in the extremely talented Harley Bennell, let’s see some of the talented youngsters the Dockers are hiding on their list.

Looks like the Dockers will have to wait another week to register their first win for the season, with a round four game against the Kangaroos at Etihad Stadium looking like a very tough ask.












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