And the winner is: North Melbourne! Considering they normally start the season slowly, I doubt anyone tipped the Roos to be the last undefeated team standing after 4 rounds!
In what is shaping up as one of the most even years in recent times, two teams remain off the pace at 0 and 4, Carlton – as many people tipped – and Fremantle – as nobody tipped. Has anyone considered what will happen if the Dockers can’t make the 8? Will Ross Lyon start resting players early this year?
Chills the blood, doesn’t it?
On the Supercoach front, it has been a tough week with few players achieving their averages. Don’t the players read their expected SC output before they run on the field?
To add to the pain, the AFL coaches have started stuffing around. Gibson (Haw) was rested (hamstring! As if), Priddis was a late out that was kind of expected and Sinclair was a late out that nobody saw coming. And bloody Brad Crouch pulled his hamstring sometime during the last 2 weeks, possibly while tying his shoelaces. What the hell were we thinking selecting Brad (soft-tissue injury) Crouch?
And in case you weren’t already having a bad weekend, the umpires have decided to start calling 40 damn free kicks every match. Maybe Razor Ray wants more TV time? Yet with all those free kicks, they’ve decided they won’t pay marks if the ball doesn’t travel over 35 metres or less than 5 metres.
I can’t remember the last time I noticed the umpires so much! I’m not normally in to umpire bashing, but pull your heads in, you fluorescent maggots!
HEROES AND VILLAINS
West Coast 18.17 (125) def Richmond 9.3 (57)
With Priddis’ late withdrawal, many of us thought Richmond might be a sneaky chance in this game.
We were wrong!
West Coast controlled this game from start to finish as they scored from numerous turn-overs, some caused by the famous Eagles’ Web but many caused by Richmond skill errors.
The Tigers need Deledio and Maric back really, really badly while West Coast seems to play better as a team without the tight perm!
- Luke Shuey (151) – I was surprised to read Shuey only had 22 possessions as he seemed to be everywhere. He went at 95% DE, had 8 cleareances, 9 tackles and 2 goals. It just goes to show that it’s quality not quantity.
- Alex Rance (146) – He was about the only Tiger who seemed to try and hit targets! 26 possessions at 85% DE. No wonder he looked angry at his team-mates the entire game.
- Andrew Gaff (132) – He had his own Sherrin on the wing.
- Elliott Yeo (129) – Does anyone else get the impression Yeo prefers to play without Priddis? He was everywhere playing across half forward and through the midfield. Considering he kicked 2 goals, 4 behinds, imagine what he would have scored if he kicked straight?
- Jack Darling (107) – Only 12 possessions but kicked 4 goals and had 5 contested marks.
- Bachar Houli (59) – Only 16 possessions, 2 contested, made many owners unhappy but that’s Bachar for you. He goes big or he goes home.
- Dustin Martin (83) – This is probably harsh as 83 is not that bad, but he barely got above a jog in the second half. Is the drama with his father affecting him or does he just not give a stuff?
Geelong 9.18 (72) def Essendon 6.6 (42)
In the preseason we all thought the Bombers would be terrible and unable to win the ball but we all know better now.
For 3 quarters, Essendon smashed the Cats in possession and clearances but couldn’t translate possessions into goals. Their intensity was great as they tried to link handballs and run through the midfield, the best part of the game for mine when Merrett ran down Dangerfield in the second quarter (although the Cockatoo run down on Zaha was also great!).
Gradually the Cats’ midfield got on top and only poor kicking (1 goals 7 behinds) in the third quarter prevented them from taking the lead earlier. As it was, Geelong pushed ahead in the last quarter on the back of an improved midfield performance and won comfortably.
Does anyone else wish they had selected Zaharakis and Zach Merrett yet?
- David Zaharakis (129) – Another 30+ possession game for Zaha! Why did we think he wouldn’t cope playing a lone hand?
- Zach Merrett (123) – Another player who was massively underrated after the suspensions were handed out. 29 possessions, 8 tackles and 1 goal! What a gun!
- Josh Caddy (112) – Only 23 possessions (13 contested) but went at 87% DE. If it wasn’t for Dangerfield arriving, Caddy would be a handy midfield selection!
- James Kelly (111) – He was playing for the wrong side today. With his class, Geelong could surely still use him.
- Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti (106) – Take a bow, AMT! Gibson owners thank you!
- Zac Smith (40) – Against Leuenberger, 6 possessions and 10 hit-outs just doesn’t cut it!
- Mark Blicavs (51) – Wasn’t really in the play much. Disappointing for the coaches who took a punt on him as a keeper.
Hawthorn 13.9 (87) def St Kilda 13.6 (84)
The Hawks looked like they were going to win easily when they jumped out to an 18 point lead at quarter time. Although they had the breeze in the first quarter, the Saints couldn’t find a target and a big win seemed inevitable.
From then, the Saints lifted the pressure levels and out-possessed the Hawks for the remainder of the game. When the Saints hit the lead early in the fourth quarter (11 points) an upset seemed likely but like last week, the Hawks managed to hit back. They dominated play for long enough to regain the lead and held on to a slender lead for the last few minutes. A bad miss by McCartin after a hanger probably saved the Hawks.
Questions will be asked about how far 15 metres really is because the umpires clearly don’t know, costing the Saints a crucial goal late in the game. Like Clarko said in the post-match interview, the wrong team probably won the game.
- Sam Mitchell (141) – A personal best 44 possessions (20 contested) at 81% DE and 10 clearances. A dead-set gun who is improving with age.
- Jordan Lewis (117) – Stung by being on the Villains List last week! Playing an inside midfield role again, Lewis looked like his old self. Why the hell does Clarkson not leave him in the midfield full time?
- Leigh Montagna (110) – Just running a wing picking up 27 possessions, mostly uncontested. A smart forward selection despite the price tag.
- Shane Savage (110) – 30 possessions (11 contested) at 86% DE. He’d be a great SC defender if he could do this consistently. But then again if he was consistently good he’d still be at Hawthorn!
- David Armitage (105) – He made a few important dashes through the midfield late in the game and racked up huge numbers (35 possessions) but burnt the ball a lot with 6 clangers and 62% DE.
- Liam Shiels (53) – Only 15 possessions, most of them to the boundary line or opposition.
- Cyril Rioli (66) – Cyril couldn’t get near the ball for most of the day. Only 9 possessions and 1 goal. Unfortunately, this is what you get with small forwards!
Brisbane 14.23 (107) def Gold Coast 14.10 (94)
These local derbies are always tough to pick! Going in undefeated, the Suns held a narrow lead for most of the first half (21 points midway through the second quarter) but their dominance had a lot to do with inaccurate kicking by the Lions who kicked 4.15 in the first half.
If you have been away, you may not have heard that an ugly incident marred the second quarter when Steven May knocked Stefan Martin out cold with a flying shoulder to the jaw. May can expect a very long holiday!
Perhaps the incident lifted the Lions who, led by Hanley, Zorko and Bell, were harder at the ball than the Suns in the second half. After a couple of lead changes the Lions kicked free midway through the fourth quarter with a couple of goals and held on for their first victory of 2016.
- Pearce Hanley (148) – 28 possessions and 2 goals. Hanley was best on field for which he won the Marcus Ashcroft medal.
- Tom Nicholls (126) – He was good before Martin went down but dominated after, with 16 possessions (13 contested), 37 hit-outs and 10 tackles!
- Dayne Zorko (117) – Only 22 possessions and 1 goal after a quiet first half but also had 10 tackles. There’s nothing better than a gun mid who works hard defensively on a quiet day. The massive third quarter helped too (50+SC points, I believe)!!
- Aaron Hall (114) – He was a little slow to get started but finished off well to lead the Gold Coast possession count (26). It’s sad that I was disappointed with 114 from him!
- Daniel Rich (114) – Only 21 touches for Rich but 8 clearances bumped his score up. I hope no coaches rage traded him out!!
- Tom Lynch (114) – 5 goals in a losing side; what a gun! Kept the Suns in the game.
- Jesse Lonergan (60) – Started well again and then faded! Officially a preseason hype selection!
- Steven May (63) – No, that is not his score (he scored 79), it is Stefan Martin’s at half time. The big fella was finally showing some form before he was laid out. Poor form, May! Enjoy the holiday!
Western Bulldogs 13.7 (85) def Carlton 7.7 (49)
As expected, the Bulldogs were too strong for Carlton at Etihad stadium, with a run of seven unanswered goals through the second, and part of the third, quarter blowing the lead out over 50 points.
Unfortunately, that’s when things got ugly for the Doggies, with injury striking. Jason Johannisen went down on his way to a MASSIVE score, breaking the hearts of many Supercoaches, Suckling played with a sore ankle (poor precious) and Tom Boyd had late shoulder concerns. Amongst all that, the Blues fought back slightly, winning the second half by 5 goals to 4 to make the score line respectable.
With Murphy going down last week, it seems it’s time for the Doggies’ depth to be tested.
- Lachie Hunter (124) – Another player who must smell badly because nobody wants to pick him up. 33 possessions, 6 clearances and 1 goal.
- Matthew Suckling (122) – Not bad on one leg. Suckling loves playing sides low on the ladder: 27 possessions at 88% DE and 1 goal.
- Shane Biggs (120) – Does anyone actually own this guy? 32 possessions and eligible as a defender and nobody mentioned him in the preseason!
- Koby Stevens (113) – Outscored his namesake by 53 but I still prefer the other Koby.
- Dale Morris (107) – He’s fast running out of mates back there! 22 possessions and even snuck forward for a shot on goal (which he missed!).
- Marc Murphy (35) – Yes he copped a knock in the fourth quarter, but he was never going to score well before that. Struggled his way to 10 possessions but only managed 1 tackle.
- Levi Casboult (37) – He’s not Supercoach relevant but his kicking for goal is just atrocious and Carlton fans must be tearing their hair out when he misses easy shots. At least they understand how Pies fans feel now!
Adelaide 16.17 (113) def Sydney 15.13 (103)
This was the match we all hoped for: Lead changes, finals-like pressure and heaps of goals; it had it all!
Early on it seemed that the Swans were just too strong through the midfield, dominating the contested ball and clearances, but they struggled to translate possessions into goals. On the other hand, when the Crows had possession they again used their precision kicking (and a couple of dodgy frees) to stay in the game.
As the game went on, the Crows started to even out the contest and edged out to a 3 goal lead in the third quarter but they let the Swans back into the contest with 3 late goals, 2 in time on.
The start of the fourth quarter was tight and tough, but when Hannebery put the Swans ahead halfway through the final quarter it felt like they would continue their recent dominance in Adelaide, but the Crows responded with 2 quick goals and were never headed again.
All up there were 11 lead changes, 166 tackles… and 2 top 4 sides.
- Rory Sloane (137) – The Rory we love was back: 24 possessions (19 contested) and 10 tackles.
- Dan Hannebery (129) – Not actually a great return considering he amassed 38 possessions, 8 clearances and 1 goal.
- Eddie Betts (126) – Another 19 possessions and 4 goals for Eddie. Who’s enjoying the new game plan!
- Isaac Heeney (123) – You sometimes forget he’s only in his second year. 4 goals from 19 possessions (11 contested) at 94% DE. A star of the (near) future.
- Taylor Walker (101) – Only two goals for Tex but bolstered his score with contested marks, high efficiency and inside 50s.
- Lance Franklin (101) – Another week, another 4 goals. For a change you could set your watch by his consistency.
- Brodie Smith (65) – You give the guy a wrap and he coughs up a 65!
- Tom Mitchell (71) – 22 possessions at 59% efficiency won’t keep Horse happy! Is it time for some NEAFL action, Tom?
GWS 22.19 (151) def Port Adelaide 9.11 (65)
There is not much to say about games like this except that the Power is just not that good… Or their game plan sucks. Take your pick. Whichever it is, Port were so bad that GWS set records for their biggest score and biggest winning margin in their short history.
The GWS midfield dominated possession and consistently breezed into forward 50 like it was a training run with witches’ hats, adding up to 14 different goal scorers. Life wasn’t so easy for Port who either couldn’t get their hands on the ball or were consistently pressured into error.
To add insult to injury Robbie Gray will be looked at by the tribunal for an off-the-ball hit to Callan Ward’s stomach.
- Callan Ward (137) – Well done to the few coaches who own him. He seems such an obvious selection with 20-20 hindsight! An underrated gun.
- Stephen Coniglio (126) – A massive game with 34 possessions (12 contested), 8 clearances and 1 goal. If he could show some consistency he’d be a great premium selection.
- Jaspar Pittard (118) – One of the few Port players who tried hard and used the ball well: 32 possessions at 81% DE.
- Shane Mumford (114) – This score doesn’t surprise anyone as Mummy knows how to rack up SC points. What surprises us is that he hasn’t had back spasms yet.
- Toby Greene (112) – Toby is just an attention seeker. One week he’s a hero, the next a villain. 27 possessions at 73% DE (great for him) but what helped his score was the 9 inside 50s and 2 goal assists.
- Heath Shaw (70) – Heater is scoring like a defensive rookie but he cost a fortune. Epic fail for those who selected him (me!).
- Charlie Dixon (29), Sam Gray (51), Lobbe (53), Jarrad Polec (54), Chad WIngard (61)… Seriously, I could keep going here! Most of them sucked. I’ll give Robbie (74) a break here as he’s performed flawlessly until today.
Melbourne 16.6 (102) def Collingwood 9.13 (67)
Buckley is about to enter a world of pain this week as the pressure cranks up on the Pies (and Tigers), but to be fair the Pies were a little better this week. They lifted the pressure level (99 tackles to Melbourne’s 84) and worked really hard to get back into the contest after Melbourne jumped out to a 30 point quarter time lead. Over the entire game, the teams were level for forward 50 entries and had the same number of scoring shots (give or take a few rushed behinds!) so the 35 points score line was a little deceptive.
The problem is simply that old chestnut, kicking efficiency, both around the ground and kicking for goal. If Buckley wants to keep his job then he needs to finally fix those dodgy kicking skills at the Lexus centre. He also needs to stop waxing lyrical in his press conferences – Gee he’s spewing some crap these days!
While the Pies slump to 1-3, the Demons are finally a team on the rise. Big Maxy is dominating and the midfield bats deeper than it has for years and is well-lead by Viney and Jones. Surprisingly, Jack Watts is finally repaying the faith with 4 first half goals and plenty of class around the ground.
- Tomas Bugg (106) – Who ever expected to see Bugg top this list? 29 possessions and 9 tackles.
- Max Gawn (105) – A close second to Goldy so far this season. 15 possessions at 86% DE, 37 hit-outs and 1 goal.
- Scott Pendlebury (104) – At least he’s consistent! Those ribs may be on the mend with 9 tackles and 14 contested possessions this week. Now if Bucks would stop being a d*ckhead and just leave him in the midfield (see below).
- Dom Tyson (103) – I’ve still got a soft spot for Dom after his rookie scores two years ago. He hasn’t improved much since then but he was good today with 24 possessions and 2 goals.
- Steele Sidebottom (102) – They’ve missed Steele although his contested ball count (6 CP from 26 possessions) is too low to make him a great SC scorer at the moment.
- Nathan Jones (73) – How the hell do you score 73 from 29 possessions? Only 9 contested possessions, 2 clearances, a 65% DE and 5 clangers. That’s how!
- Tom McDonald (76) – After one great year, McDonald is back scoring like a key defender again. He’s a great player though, just not so SC relevant this year (yet).
- Nathan Buckley – Put Pendles in the midfield, moron!
North Melbourne 20.12 (132) def Fremantle 14.17 (101)
With North aiming for its first perfect start in 10 years and Fremantle desperate to remain relevant this season, I expected a dour struggle. The pressure was there but the game was still fast and free-flowing with 34 goals kicked for the match. Ross Lyon must be wondering what the hell is going on?
For a majority of the game it seemed like we were in for a nail-biter. The Kangaroos edged ahead several times in the first 3 quarters but the Dockers wouldn’t let them go, pulling the scores back time and again. The last time the scores were level was late in the third quarter but that was it for the game. The Roos kicked 8 of the last 10 goals to put the game out of the Docker’s reach early in the fourth quarter and that was all she wrote (god, I’m old!).
The Kangaroos are deservedly first (for the first time since 1998) and Fremantle justifiably last. No team has won a premiership from this position so it looks like it is curtains for Ross.
- Nat Fyfe (141) – The Jacob’s tag didn’t look overly tough but maybe that’s just how good the guy is. 27 possessions (15 contested) at 85%, 7 clearances, 7 tackles, 4 contested marks and 4 goals. 3 Brownlow votes in a loss perhaps?
- Jarrad Waite (129) – Another 4 goals and 1 goal assist! I keep waiting for him to have a bad game and he just keeps pumping out the scores. He may be the real deal, especially if North keep winning.
- Jack Ziebell (126) – Ziebell is another of the young guns who has promised so much and is now starting to deliver. 26 possessions, 8 clearances and 3 goals. Imagine if he played 80%+ of game time!
- Todd Goldstein (121) – With 17 possessions at 94% and 45 hit-outs, it’s a surprise he didn’t score higher! Every week that passes, the non-Goldy owners feel more embarrassed (again, me. *sigh*).
- Lachie Neale (120) – 35 possesions (15 contested) at 68% DE, 6 tackles and 1 goal. Fyfe gets all the attention but Neale never stops trying. Like Ziebell, is still working on his tank so he’ll be an uber-premium when he plays over 80% of game time.
- Tommy Sheridan (53) – Say it with me: I must not pick mid-pricers, I must not pick mid-pricers…
- Andrew Swallow (72) – Remember when he was a premium? What happened? 11 tackles but only 16 possessions.
SUPERCOACH TALK CHAMPION
Every week you can vote for the players you thought were the best Supercoach scorers. Last week was Ruck week with big Maxy being the Supercoaches’ favourite (3 votes), and Dangerfield just knocking off Goldy for the 2 votes.
So far the Ladder stands as:
5 – Patrick Dangerfield
3 – Marcus Adams
3 – Max Gawn
2 – Luke Parker
2 – Nat Fyfe
1 – Todd Goldstein
1 – Matthew Priddis
1 – Josh Gibson
Who were your SC heroes this week? You asked for 5 votes to spread the love so go crazy!
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