AFL Round Three Performance Reviews – Part Three

AFL ROUND THREE PERFORMANCE REVIEWS

PART THREE

BY TREVOR KANNEGIESSER

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 around 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.

 

NORTH MELBOURNE: The North Melbourne veterans just continue to defy time and age.10 goals between Brent Harvey and jarrad Waite helped the Kangaroos outlast a valiant Melbourne Demons side at beautiful Bellerive Oval. It is said that the more you practise something the better you get at it, and Brent Harvey has had more practise at playing AFL football than just about anyone. In difficult conditions the little master had the ball on a string While some players were struggling to control the ball in the wind Harvey was making it look easy. North Melbourne are 3-0 to start the season but would be fully aware that much improvement is needed if they are to succeed against the best teams in the competition. A clearer picture will emerge of where the Kangaroos sit in the competition after the big three week block of games coming up against the Fremantle Dockers, Gold Coast Suns and the Western Bulldogs.

MELBOURNE: These high level performances are started to become more frequent for the Melbourne Demons. In years gone by a six or seven goal deficit at quarter time would have equalled a massive loss for the Demons, yet this maturing group found a way to get themselves back into the game and in many ways be very unlucky not to come away with a win.

Clayton Oliver doesn’t look like your typical AFL athlete, but man this kid can play footy!!! On the football field Oliver is a striking resemblance to Brisbane Lions great Michael Voss, his body shape, the way he moves and the hardness in which he attacks the footy are all characteristics similar to the Lions great onballer. But perhaps the greatest illustration of this comparison was when Oliver went back from outside 50 and kicked an inspirational long goal just when his team needed it. This is a feat Michael Voss did many times throughout his illustrious career. The ruck duel between Max Gawn and Todd Goldstein was a classic!! Only the Gold Coast Suns Aaron Hall stands between Gawn and the mantle of the most improved player in the AFL.

Suddenly a game against Collingwood at the MCG looks a winnable game for the Demons and one that the Melbourne faithful would savour.

WESTERN BULLDOGS: The Bulldogs are the real deal this year and are right in the Premiership race. The most impressive thing about their performance against Hawthorn was that although they looked a bit rattled and even overawed in the first quarter, they hung tough, believed in their game plan and slowly the wheels on the running machine started to turn. When the Bulldogs were in full flight in the third quarter even the mighty Hawks looked powerless to stop them. The game was a fascinating spectacle with two contrasting styles but both equally effective, the Bulldogs run and gun football using quick handballs and overlapping run to run their opposition off their feet. Against the multiple premiership winning game style of Hawthorn that involves precision kicking to deny control of the ball to the opposition and manic pressure when they do have it. Although Hawthorn won the game there was no clear winner in the battle of the game styles and both clubs will have extreme confidence their way of playing will stand up in September.

A chance for a big win for the Bulldogs next round with a game against Carlton, a chance to build some important percentage.

HAWTHORN: The undisputed champions put their title on the line against the young up and comers, and in the end the experience of the champs won out. Even after so much team success the Hawks pressure without the ball is unrelenting, their fight for the contest looks as great as it ever was. If opposition supporters were hoping the Hawks would simply fall off their perch this year, they will be very disappointed. But nothing lasts for ever and the inevitable fall of the Hawthorn Empire is coming with the enemy armies getting ready to storm the Castle. The Hawks will not go down without a fight and if another club wants to take the title they will have to go through the Champs first.

James Sicily grabbed an opportunity to play a starring role in the Hawks win, and boy he let everyone know about it. Sicily has a good leap, a great set of hands and loves to let opposition supporters know when he kicks a goal.

Aurora Stadium is a graveyard for opposition clubs, and unfortunately for the St Kilda Saints it’s their time to meet the Grim Reaper.

GEELONG: A ten goal win is about what the Cats would have expected out of the game against Brisbane at Simmonds Stadium. One thing never changes in AFL football and that is that the Cats are near impossible to beat at home. The home crowd lapped up every minute of the return of their prodigal son Patrick Dangerfield, and the new King of Geelong didn’t disappoint kicking three goals and showcasing all his skills to his adoring fans. Putting the round three and round one performances together and the Cats look like a serious contender this year, which makes the poor performance in the round two game against GWS a bit puzzling. But maybe on closer inspection that game it might say more about how good GWS are this year rather than a reflection of how bad the Cats played that day.

Another chance to build up the percentage bank this week when the Cats take on the Essendon Bombers.

BRISBANE: The Lions can’t afford to waste their hard earned opportunities at goals and kicking 14 behinds is demoralising for a young group that is often out classed on the field. Similar to Carlton the Lions have to find small positives to take away from each game. Tom Bell played his best game for the club against the Cats and if he can work his way into the form that he had at the Blues last year he will be a very valuable piece to the Lions puzzle. Stefan Martin’s big engine is starting to blow out some early season cobwebs as he strives to be in the top echelon of ruckmen this year. “Mad Dog” Mitch Robinson is one of my favourite players because he only knows one way of playing and that is full throttle, what Robinson lacks in skill he more than makes up for in his aggression and hardness at the footy and would make his young Lions teammates walk that bit taller every time he plays.

Make no mistake the Lions will get themselves up for a supreme effort against their local rivals the Gold Coast Suns. The hard men of the Lions will look to do a number on the pretty surfer boys from the Coast.

 

 

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