Ah, hindsight. We all know the expression “20-20 hindsight” and every year in Round 5 we understand it so well.
I remember a conversation with a fellow Supercoach (I think it was Dazz) where we compared our risky midfields. His expression was “big risk but big reward” when he referred to a midfield of Ablett, Fyfe, Rockliff and Brad Crouch. All of those under-priced premiums had interrupted pre-seasons or question marks about their durability but if they had all started well we’d look like geniuses.
But they didn’t.
And we don’t look like geniuses.
Rockliff looked underdone from Round 1 then missed games with a calf injury. He is nowhere near the Rocky of old.
Brad Crouch… What were we expecting from a man who’s missed more games than he’s played.
Sadly Fyfe has just re-broken his leg and may not play again in 2016.
Ablett is playing but is clearly uncomfortable with his shoulder or something else and seems to have sustained a corky against North Melbourne.
How we wish we’d just gone with the boring but safe midfield of durable guns like Ward and Hannebery! Such an easy decision in hindsight!
The Kangas wanted to start the year fast and that’s just what they’ve done, undefeated after 5 rounds. It’s early in the year yet but already the cream is rising to the top with Sydney, the Western Bulldogs and Geelong rounding out the top 4. Hawthorn are Steven Bradbury’ing their way to the top while Adelaide and GWS look good enough to be contenders. Add West Coast and perhaps Melbourne and from there it is hard to see any other teams winning enough games to make the 8.
Feel free to tell us how you think the top 8 will finish now! Do you think any teams from 11th and under will make finals now?
My call? Add Adelaide in to the top 8 and take the Gold Coast out and we’re done. Melbourne and Gold Coast to just miss out this year.
HEROES AND VILLAINS
Hawthorn 17.10 (112) def Adelaide 17.7 (109)
If the Crows were a car they would be a Ferrari: fast, sleek and they make you pay. I was at the game and even I don’t know how the Hawks won. Yes, there was a beneficial non-free kick against the Hawks with 3 second remaining, but it is hard to know why the Hawks were still in the game at that stage.
The game started with a bang with 5 goals (3-2 to Hawthorn) in the first 4 minutes before the Crows started to work their way clear. The Crows dominated clearances and with their slick ball movement out of the stoppages they continually burst forward, overlapping the Hawks’ midfielders and exposing the undersized tall Hawk defenders and the slow small defenders. At quarter time Eddie had 3 goals, Adelaide led by 16 and it looked a question of: How much will the Crows win by?
Credit to Clarko, the Hawks shut down the midfield run of the Crows somewhat in the second quarter and won the clearances to storm back and held a 2 point half-time lead.
Despite the Hawks preventing goals from stoppages and leading the clearances for the rest of the game, the Crows seemed the cleaner side with the more potent forward line. Their ability to clear the ball cleanly from the pack with a weave of handpasses and then hit up a target with a spearing pass was beautiful to watch and difficult to stop. At the 18 minute mark of the fourth quarter, Brown kicked a massive goal from 50m to put the Crows up by 15 points and the game seemed over.
For the third week in a row, the Hawks used their “Get out of jail free” card with 2 goals to Puopolo (BOG) and 1 goal to Cyril snatching the lead with only 18 seconds on the clock. The Crows rushed the ball forward once more but couldn’t conjure a goal (or free kick). Again it appears the better team lost and everybody hates the Hawks just a little bit more.
Despite the loss, the Crows are a top 4 side and the Hawks are nowhere near their best. I pity Fremantle who face Adelaide in South Australia next week.
- Paul Puopolo (151) – Poppy loves Burgoyne and proved it with a best on ground performance including 5 goals, 2 goal assists, 2 contested marks and 17 contested possessions.
- Cyril Rioli (109) – At one stage Cyril looked like he was playing soccer with 2 goals from 3 soccer kicks. 10 tackles and 4 goals – just a standard Cyril game.
- Rory Sloane (103) – Rory the Racing Car started with 11 possessions in the first quarter but slowed from there. Still managed 26 possessions (16 contested), 7 tackles and 1 goal and seemed like he was everywhere. Second best on ground for mine!
- Rory Atkins (103) – Rory Mk II did a wonderful invisible man job with 27 possessions yet was barely sighted. Weird!
- Scott Thompson (101) – Unfortunately 5 clangers turned 33 possessions (12 contested) at 72% DE, 6 clearances and 7 tackles in to only 101 SC points. Harsh!
- Josh Gibson (59) – Swings and roundabouts. 191 one week, 59 another… that’s Gibbo for you! 15 possessions at 85% DE.
- Jordan Lewis (57) – Next season I am providing a service to all Supercoaches. If anyone mentions selecting Lewis, I’ll drive to your address and slap you. For free! You’re welcome.
- Eddie Betts (56) – After 3 first quarter goals, Eddie barely touched the ball. 10 possessions for the game. Still a bit surprising how low his score was.
Sydney 12.16 (88) def West Coast 7.7 (49)
Early on it appeared that the Eagles’ Web would be too much for the Swans. Time and again they rushed the ball forward in an attempt to run through the web but the Eagles kept turning the ball over and sending it back inside 50. Yet for all their dominance they only lead by 6 points at quarter time.
The rain started to fall again (it rained in the morning) in the second quarter and like a duck-to-water, the Swans found their mojo. They got on top in the clearances due to Parker, Mitchell, Kennedy and Hannebery (and a resurgent Papley – hope you didn’t trade him!) and the Swans’ defenders dominated the Eagles’ forwards with Teddy Richards playing a career best game.
In the third quarter the Eagles hit back with 4 un-answered goals to briefly regain the lead but from then it was all the Swans. They kicked the last 6 goals of the game to run out comfortable victors.
The Eagles have now lost their last 5 interstate matches and the Swans look to be comfortably a top 4 side again.
- Jeremy McGovern (134) – McLovin was everywhere, taking contested (4) and intercept marks in defence as the loose man. 19 contested possessions from 23 possessions.
- Ted Richards (130) – His new name is the wall… or Gandalf, repeatedly shouting “You shall not pass”. He repelled so many West Coast forward forays throughout the game. 6 of his 10 marks were contested and he even snuck forward for a goal. Best game he’s played in years.
- Luke Parker (129) – If you don’t own him, it’s starting to get annoying! Handled the ball cleanly in the wet despite 14 of his 25 possessions being contested. 9 clearances and 9 tackles to round out another stellar performance. Brownlow favourite?
- Nic Natanui (115) – NicNat didn’t look that good, probably due to the wet, but 14 contested possessions in only 13 disposals (difficult to do) bumped his score up. 32 hit-outs and 1 goal.
- Dan Hannebery (114) – Dan just racks them up every week. That unpermed blond head bobbed up all over the field. Another 28 possessions, 14 contested and 4 clearances.
- Callum Sinclair (55) – Way to lift against your old club! 5 possessions! Ouch. At least he kicked a goal.
- Lewis Jetta (47) – 14 possessions, 5000 boos. At least both teams are getting the same output from this deal!
North Melbourne 18.11 (119) def Gold Coast 11.15 (81)
The Roos are just getting it done this season. The game followed a similar pattern for 3 quarters with North Melbourne twice breaking away from Gold Coast and the Suns twice surging back to within a goal without ever hitting the lead. With the Suns missing Prestia and with Ablett hampered by injury (and a lot of niggling by the Roos), their effort was admirable in drawing level in the clearances but they just couldn’t stop the Kangaroos’ slick ball movement. With May and Thompson also out the tall forwards got on top with 7 unanswered goals from half-way through the third quarter and the game was over.
The Suns’ improvement appears to be genuine this year so if the Suns can regain their full squad they will be a top side. Until that day they will struggle to match it with the big boys.
And the Kangaroos? Defeating the Bulldogs at Etihad on Friday night will prove to the league that they are contenders.
By the way, how good was Peter Wright?
- Peter Wright (142) – 2 Metre Peter is a gun. 4 contested marks, 3 goals, this guy can seriously play. What a pity he’s not a Ruck-Forward.
- Todd Goldstein (125) – 18 possessions, 2 goals, 24 hitouts tells us why Daniel Currie was his understudy. I love the big fella even if I don’t own him.
- Nick Dal Santo (119) – 28 smooth possessions, 10 contested, at 75% DE. He and Wells add polish that the Kangas otherwise lack.
- Matt Rosa (114) – Another big possession game for Rosa (29 possessions, 9 contested). If he was more consistent he’d be in every backline.
- Andrew Swallow (113) – Swallow is back! He had an uncharacteristically low 3 tackles but of his 23 possessions, 17 were contested and he had 7 clearances. From Villain to Hero.
- Ben Cunnington (56) – His score was bad enough but he was lucky to avoid a suspension for the knees into Gazza’s back.
- Jesse Lonergan (65) – He’s playing in the midfield but he just can’t win the contested ball: 18 possessions but only 5 contested.
Western Bulldogs 17.18 (120) def Brisbane 10.7 (67)
For a change it was the Lions who kicked straight and for a short time it kept them in the game. The Bulldogs started with 6 straight behinds to 2 goals by Brisbane but unfortunately the hopes of fans were short-lived.
As they have done to so many teams before, the Bulldogs smashed Brisbane in possessions, clearances and… well, everything. A 6 goal to 2 second quarter put the game out of reach for Brisbane and the Doggies coasted from then.
Given the landslide of forward entries heading into the Bulldogs’ forward line, the Lions did well to only lose by 53 points. The final total was 71 inside 50s to 31, 44 clearances to 25 and 176 contested possessions to 125. This probably should have been a 100 point victory to the Dogs!
The only sour note for the Dogs was the injuries to Suckling (knee) and for the Lions, injuries to Cutler (shoulder) and Christensen (concussion).
- Mitch Wallis (134) – It was Wallis’ turn to go Beast Mode with 33 possessions (18 contested), 7 clearances and 1 goal. How many good mids do the Doggies have?
- Koby Stevens (123) – Not to be outdone, Koby added another 34 possessions. Few coaches own him but he could have been a decent POD.
- Matthew Boyd (121) – So who stepped up to replace JJ and Murphy? Boyd! 31 possessions, 14 contested, at 77% DE.
- Tom Campbell (104) – Won the ruck battle with 16 possessions at 81% DE and a remarkable 5 contested marks.
- Luke Dahlhaus (103) – 23 possessions, 2 goals. Scored surprisingly well given he only went at 69% DE but only the 1 clanger helped.
- Tom Bell (42) – 19 possessions at 47 % DE doesn’t make for good SC scores. Not what he was traded for!
- Shane Biggs (77) – He wasn’t that bad but many coaches traded him in this week and 19 possessions would have disappointed them.
Geelong 16.11 (107) def Port Adelaide 8.11 (59)
Port are back! 5 goals to 1 in the first quarter means they are back. Doesn’t it?
Hopefully no other teams think going the knuckle will intimidate Geelong and Patrick Dangerfield! After a rough first quarter ending with a melee at quarter time, the Cats put Port Adelaide to the sword, dominating clearances and contested possessions which culminated in 15 goals to 3 for the rest of the match. That is a smashing in any language.
In a worrying sign for Port, second year player Darcy Byrne-Jones was one of their few decent players with most of their guns failing to fire. Robbie Gray was completely shut down by Guthrie and spent a lot of time forward late.
- Joel Selwood (144) – After no pre-season he started the season slowly but he looks ready to fire with 28 possessions (14 contested) and 11 clearances. Supercoach gold!
- Patrick Dangerfield (137) – In a see-sawing season, this was an up-week despite bully-boy tactics by the Port players. 29 possessions (18 contested), 7 tackles and 2 goals.
- Ollie Wines (128) – One of the few decent Power players: 24 possessions, 10 tackles and 2 goals.
- Rhys Stanley (120) – This is another one of those SC specials. Despite only managing a 46% DE, 25 hit-outs, 13 possessions and 1 goal, Stanley still scored well. I don’t get it!
- Mark Blicavs (115) – Only 19 possessions (10 contested) but 12 tackles. A return to form after a down week last week for the tallest midfielder in the league.
- 2 Shades of Grey – Robbie (53) and Sam (45) stank it up. Robbie couldn’t get near the ball (11 possessions) while Sam couldn’t hit a target (43% DE).
- Zac Smith (54) – He was outscored by Lobbe. Enough. Said.
GWS 19.12 (126) def St Kilda 12.7 (79)
Leon Cameron labelled this as a “mature win” and he was correct. GWS was the better side with superior ball use all day long but they struggled to shake the gallant Saints yet they kept grinding away.
The Giants kicked the first 4 goals of the game but 3 late goals to the Saints dragged them back into the contest despite running at just 57% disposal efficiency in the first quarter and a half. From quarter time until 3 quarter time the game was pretty level with both teams kicking 6 goals.
That was when the Giants decided enough was enough, piling on 6 rapid goals to put the result beyond question. For the day Cameron kicked 5 goals (4 in the first quarter) while Greene and Stevie J added 4 each. The Giants had the edge in inside 50s (53-43) and contested possessions (+24) but the Saints again showed signs of improvement.
Sadly for Montagna owners, he pinged his hamstring so I hope you have back-up!
- Heath Shaw (132) – 22 kicks and 14 marks. Classic Heater! All is forgiven… until you screw up again.
- Toby Greene (129) – Owners will like his score but he’s got to sh*t you with his erratic scoring. BOG with 31 possessions, 4 goals and 10 inside 50s. Even got a mention by Leon Cameron for his quality game!
- Stephen Coniglio (127) – I said it last week and in the pre-season: Gun! Another 32 possessions at 75% DE.
- Nick Riewoldt (125) – How many key forwards can compile 25 possessions, 11 marks and 4 goals. Not bloody many I can tell you. A pity his body is a week-to-week proposition.
- Tom Scully (118) – After a bad week, Scully is back and appears to be a steady premium. Who knew? 31 possessions (13 contested) and he will never, ever get tagged in this side.
- Jack Billings (34) – Back-to-back centuries and then… 34. Ouch!
- Lachie Whitfield (36) – Only 11 possessions at 54%. I didn’t see all of this match and I couldn’t find him on field. Was he tagged or invisible?
Carlton 10.12 (72) def Fremantle 9.14 (68)
I told Matteo that Fremantle won’t make the 8 and I stand by that. Who wants to argue now? When was the last time the minor premiers from one year were on the bottom – winless – after 5 rounds the following year? To the archives, Batman!
To say this game didn’t reach any great heights would be misleading as it indicates that the game got above ground level. But like a car accident, I couldn’t look away. Yes there were errors galore from both sides but the game was tight all day with the lead never more than 11 points either way, there were 11 lead changes and in the end Carlton’s leaders stood up and showed composure when it counted.
Marc Murphy and Bryce Gibbs were fantastic late, both kicking pivotal goals and Liam Jones sealed the win at the 29 minute mark of the final quarter. I never thought I would write that in a match review!
Sadly for the Dockers Fyfe left the field just before half time and never returned and may have re-broken his leg. And for the record, Sam Mitchell was not in Western Australia at the time.
Au revoir, Fremantle!
- Kade Simpson (129) – When most players were butchering the ball he had 30 possessions at 86% DE. Mr Reliable!
- Michael Barlow (128) – This was what we wanted 5 weeks ago! 32 possessions at 75% DE and 12 tackles. With Fyfe likely missing he may be a value selection for non-owners!
- Bryce Gibbs (121) – He and Murphy are much-maligned for being soft and not standing up under pressure but he had 6 tackles and his last quarter long-bomb goal was brilliant.
- Patrick Cripps (117) – Of his 29 possessions, 20 were contested plus he had 9 clearances. He’s a beast and I’ll be starting with him next year!
- Sam Kerridge (115) – Thank you Supercoach Gods for this rookie gift. Sam Grey needs to watch this guy to see how to put some effort in despite a lack of polish!
- Liam Jones (63) – I know he wasn’t #6 but let’s throw the bloke a bone! 2 final quarter goals deserves some praise after years of Motts-lead abuse.
- Haydyn Ballantyne (17) – I know he was sore but it gives me great satisfaction putting him here!
- Tommy Sheridan (62) – You were outscored by Liam Jones, Tommy. Epic fail!
Melbourne 20.9 (129) def Richmond 14.12 (96)
Following on the car theme, while Adelaide is a Ferrari, Melbourne is a Kia. Not exactly exciting but starting to get the job now after years of breaking down early. Richmond… is anyone familiar with the Trabant, the so-called “Cardboard car” first produced in East Germany in the 50s? I think you know where I’m going with this one!
Gambling agencies had a strong late push for Richmond to win this one but I’m not sure why as Melbourne were clearly the form side coming into this game. And that held true again with the Dees the better team for much of the game. The clearances and contested possession count was level but the Dees ran harder for space and used the ball better, breaking clear of the Tigers several times across the game. As Gold Coast did against the Kangaroos, the Tigers clawed back several times but could never take the lead.
Finally the Dees put the game beyond doubt with 4 straight goals mid-way through the last quarter. Back-to-back victories for the Dees for the first time since 2011.
Max Gawn was clearly the dominant ruckman on the field with Big Ivan not yet fit while Viney dominated the clearances. Kudos to Riewoldt and Cotchin who both tried hard for the Tigers, although Jack struggled with a late ankle injury.
In the aftermath, expect fines, lots of fines. A melee at quarter time and another in the fourth quarter when Rance took offence to the back of Jack Watts’ head will pay for the AFL Christmas party.
- Max Gawn (160) – On track for 240 at half time but slowed to a paltry 160. Not owning him will cost Supercoaches in league match-ups (again).
- Jack Viney (144) – Set a club record for contested possessions (23) and had 9 clearances. Loves a bit of niggle.
- Jack Riewoldt (124) – 24 possessions (15 contested), 3 contested marks, 3 goals and 2 goal assists. Jack has matured into a great player but he needs more help.
- Trent Cotchin (117) – Busted his hump for the team again with 31 possessions (20 contested) and 10 clearances but like Jack, he can’t do it alone. He called O’Meara and Prestia after the game just to say “hello”.
- Dom Tyson (110) – Another reminder why we loved this guy a couple of years ago. 31 possessions at 80% DE and 2 goals.
- Ben Kennedy (54) – He lulled us in to a false sense of security with two tonnes and he’s stunk it up ever since. Maybe the Pies were right to send him to the VFL after all.
- Bachar Houli (59) – Here’s an idea. How about next season we start with 8 defensive rookies and then stock up on midfielders and rucks? While DBJ is pumping out centuries Houli gives us 14 possessions.
Collingwood 22.10 (142) def Essendon 11.7 (73)
Few coaches dare to make a statement like Bucks did this week, dropping Cloke and White and bringing in 2 first game players, but it worked. The Pies’ intensity was fantastic for the first time this year and they made the Bombers look like a top-up side more than any other team has this year. Such was their dominance, the Pies had iced the game at quarter time (45 point lead) and set a record half-time margin (76 points) for an ANZAC day clash and were just shy of the highest every winning margin (73 points in 2008).
Conversely the Bombers looked overawed by the occasion and didn’t settle until the game was over after half-time. Fair enough considering most of the team would never have played in front of over 80,000 people.
In an inspired move, Buckley moved a little-known Collingwood defender, Scott Pendlebury, into the midfield and he clicked in his role as a pure midfielder. Genius, Buckley!
Steele Sidebottom also enjoyed his day kicking 4 first-half goals on his way to the ANZAC day medal.
- Steele Sidebottom (166) – 4 first half goals, 2 goal assists and 33 possessions with nary an opponent in sight. Was anyone actually playing on him?
- Scott Pendlebury (131) – Second in the ANZAC Day medal vote on the back of 35 possessions, 15 contested. Welcome back to the midfield Scooter!
- Alex Fasolo (118) – 22 possessions, 4 goals and 3 goal assists. If he can stay fit Fas is going to keep pumping out the odd big one when the Pies are on top.
- Taylor Adams (118) – He improved as the game went on after early knee concerns. Still I was surprised that he had 36 possessions!
- Adam Treloar (115) – He also started a little slowly but eventually he suffered with leather poisoning like all other Pies’ mids.
- Zach Merrett (53) – Many coaches decided they wanted some Zerrett action. Now they wish they had stuck with Barlow! Tried hard in the second half after his first half disappearing act.
- Brodie Grundy (54) – 16 possessions and 26 hit-outs should have meant more but he barely hit a target all day. Another ruckman beaten by Leuenberger!
SUPERCOACH TALK CHAMPION
Every week you can vote for the players you thought were the best Supercoach scorers. Unlike the umpires, we are not afraid to give votes to defenders here!
3 Votes – Last week Nat Fyfe was most loved which seems a bit pointless now that he’s likely done for the year.
2 Votes – Sam Mitchell was finally rewarded for being one of the top ranked midfielders in the league to date!
1 Vote – Pearce Hanley was a surprising #3 for his match winning performance against Gold Coast.
So far the Ladder stands as:
5 – Patrick Dangerfield
5 – Nat Fyfe
3 – Marcus Adams
3 – Max Gawn
2 – Sam Mitchell
2 – Luke Parker
1 – Todd Goldstein
1 – Josh Gibson
1 – Pearce Hanley
1 – Matthew Priddis
Who were your SC heroes this week? Pick your top 5 for round 5.
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