AFL Round Two Performance Reviews – Part III




Here is the last instalment of the Round Two Performance reviews .With the remaining six sides put under the Bruv 04 microscope. Who will survive the examination?


GWS: The GWS Giants have been fighting for credibility over the last couple of years, trying to lift their level of performances and consistency to gain the respect of the football world. The Giants went into the 2016 season with a real belief they could play finals football, but a disappointing round one loss to Melbourne would have sent shock waves through the club. The football world waited to see what the Giants response would be in round two. The response was a good old fashioned “beat down” of a highly touted Geelong team, who’s confidence would have been sky high after a round one win against Hawthorn.

Lead by the “Big Sheriff” Shane Mumford who dominated the more athletic Cats ruckmen in the middle of the ground. Mumford resigned himself to the fact that he would be unable to keep up with the more athletic Geelong ruckmen around the ground. So instead he would exploit his strengths which is centre square warfare, every time the Big Mummy got a chance to lay a tackle or exude some physical pressure on the opposition he did it with such force and ferocity that it really shock up the Cats players and had them jumping at shadows. The brutality of Mumford was complemented by the skill of Steve Johnson and Ryan Griffen, two experienced and proud footballers who would have been bitterly disappointed with last week’s loss. These three players set the example of how to respond to a bad performance and the younger Giants players followed.

A stern test against an inform Sydney Swans awaits the Giants in round three. The battle of the big men will be a highlight of this game, can Shane “The Sheriff” Mumford lay down the law against Kurt Tippett and Callum Sinclair. The winner of this ruckmen battle will go a long way to deciding the winning team.

GEELONG: You could hear the THUD on Sunday afternoon of the Cats coming back down to earth. The round two clash against the Giants looked the perfect opportunity for Geelong to build on the momentum build from a scintillating round one performance. But little did the Cats know they were walking straight into an ambush. In today’s G Rated football it is hard to believe that players could be intimated or even scared of opposition players, but on the weekend it definitely looked like GWS monster Shane Mumford had the Geelong midfielders jumping at shadows. Geelong has an interesting team demographic with some many tall players in its side, and while it seemed to be a masterstroke in round one but was exploited by the Giants in round two. The jury is still out as to whether the Cats can consistently win games with this team structure, it will be an interesting facet to every Cats game this year.

A big win will be expected by the fanatical Cats supporters this week. As the young Brisbane Lions team comes to town.

HAWTHORN: The chests of all Hawthorn supporters will be puffed out again this week after their team just let everyone know that it is business as usual in 2016. After a round one loss to the Cats, opposition supporters were questioning whether the Hawthorn train had finally reached the end of the line. A dismantling of the West Coast Eagles probably answers everyone’s questions. A Hawks side that has feasted on success over many years is still very hungry.

While most teams rely on the individual performances of their star players to win games the Hawks are built around structure and players are asked to do no more than to play their role. No other team in the competition would be able to play at such a high level with several of their key players missing, this has a lot to do with master coach Alistair Clarkson. The unpredictability and flexibility he has created in the Hawthorn team confuses then simply overwhelms opposition teams. Clarkson is an innovator who is not scared to try things, always staying two steps ahead of his competition. Opposition coaches have had years to unravel the Hawthorn game plan, but look as far away as ever from solving the mystery.

A new challenger has emerged to the champ’s crown. A young Western Bulldogs side that is keen to test itself against undisputed champion. My advice to the Bulldogs is “Be careful what you wish for”.

WEST COAST: Again faced the toughest test in football and again came up well short. All roads to this year’s premiership run through Hawthorn, a fact the Eagles can’t hide from. Under normal circumstances the Eagles are a high scoring team with a lethal forward line but against the Hawks the Eagles are unable to get anywhere near a winning score. The Hawks have a simple strategy to combat the powerful West Coast Forward line, they don’t let the ball get in there. The Eagles midfielders have been unable to win enough ball to put any pressure of the Hawthorn defence a fact that was highlighted on the weekend when the Hawks had over 150 more possessions than their opposition. The good news for the Eagles is that they have been taught this lesson early in the season which gives them plenty of time to come up with some answers. There is no doubt the talent on the West Coast list and they will win more than enough games this year to make sure they have a chance to bury their Hawthorn demons in the 2016 finals series.

A fascinating contest awaits in round three with the Fremantle Dockers looking to recapture their defensive form against a West Coast Eagles side that will be looking to pile on the goals.

CARLTON: A match against the Sydney Swans was always going to be a tough task for the Blues, but I think they would be disappointed with their efforts. After a promising opening round, Carlton were pushed aside pretty easily by the Swans.

The Blues defenders didn’t have an answer for the Swans ruckmen when they pushed forward with Kurt Tippett and Callum Sinclair combining for 7 goals. Performances like this are probably inevitable for the Blues this year but that doesn’t make them any less disappointing, for Carlton coach Brendan Bolton who would be fully aware of the task at hand. Bolton runs a tight ship and although he would be realistic about the position of the Carlton list he will demand the standards of play be lifted. Bolton has taken a lot from his apprenticeship under Alistair Clarkson his courage to try things and create flexibility within the team are traits straight out of the Al Clarkson handbook, and its this lateral thinking that will accelerate the development of the Carlton football club.

A positive to come out of the loss to the Swans was the game of Dale Thomas. While Thomas may never get back to the player he once was his determination and tireless work ethic on the weekend was a great example for the clubs younger players.

A trip up to the beautiful Gold Coast is next for the Blues. A game that looks decidedly harder after the Gold Coast’s magnificent performance against Fremantle in round two.

SYDNEY SWANS: Are the Sydney Swans the sleeping giants of the competition? And can these young players that have added a whole new dynamic to the swans team hold up for a whole season? These questions probably won’t get answered until much later in the season, but one thing is for sure the 2016 Swans side has a much different feel and look about it compared to past seasons. For many years the Swans have been a tough competitive unit that is always hard to beat, but have lacked the polish and speed over the last couple of years to beat the very best teams. Coach John Longmire’s game plan had become outdated and predictable to the best teams and their lack of multiple goal kicking options which is a must in today’s football really restricted their chances of winning another premiership. But it looks like Coach Longmire has thrown caution to the wind and opened up the reigns suddenly there are young blokes everywhere , little pocket rocket Tom Papley can’t stop kicking goals, Callum Mills is all class off half back and Zac Jones has added pace and grunt from the backline.

Lance Franklin is spending some time up the ground which is opening up the forward line for Kurt Tippett and Callum Sinclair to run riot and Isaac Heeney gets better every week which is a scary thought for the rest of the competition.

A harbour side battle with cross town rivals the GWS awaits Sydney in round three. Should be a beauty!!


Read Part 1 of Trevor’s Round 2 Performance Review

Read Part 2 of Round 2 Performance Review





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