Time on – round 14

WINNERS & LOSERS

Hawthorn 23.8 (146) def. Essendon 12.9 (81)

Western Bulldogs 17.8 (110) def. Gold Coast Suns 13.10 (88)

Melbourne 17.16 (118) def. Richmond 13.13 (91)

Collingwood 13.21 (99) def. Sydney Swans 14.9 (93)

Fremantle 12.16 (88) def. Brisbane Lions 10.5 (65)

Geelong 19.11 (125) def. Adelaide 10.13 (73)

West Coast Eagles 15.13 (103) def. Carlton 10.7 (67)

North Melbourne 21.10 (136) def. Port Adelaide 14.7 (91)

3 LIKES

1. West Coast Eagles

I haven’t seen much of the Eagles this season, but what I saw in Sunday’s win over Carlton at Etihad Stadium was outstanding. They boast a midfield with a hard edge – the old timers in Cox, Kerr and Embley are leading the way in the support of Priddis and Shuey. They don’t leak many goals but their forward line is where it gets scary. Key forwards Kennedy, Lynch and Darling stretch any defense but it doesn’t stop there, with the support of Lecras and Nicoski at ground level. Not to mention a resting Cox/Naitanui, and this all of a sudden will test the premier defensive setups in the competition. Credit must go to John Worsfold and his coaching staff for their implementation of the forward press, which they do so very well. This club is the greatest threat to the top four. Look out Hawks and Blues.

2. Hawthorn

The Hawks have been decimated by injury this season but their persistence to defy the odds and keep winning, and winning well, is extraordinary. They’ve unearthed some real beauties too – Smith, Pupolo, Shiels, Suckling, Savage. Following the disappointment of the past two years and their inability to combat the forward press, Alastair Clarkson and his coaching staff have implemented a new game plan which involves keeping possession of the football with precise short kicking and winning the contested ball, as well as keepings off the opposition. Credit must be given to where it’s due.

3. Geelong

Undefeated and travelling along beautifully, first year coach Chris Scott is having a dream start to his senior coaching career. What I’ve really liked is their list management this year. Under Mark Thompson, the Geelong side saw no debutants from when they won the premiership in 2007 until he departed at the end of 2010. Chris Scott has come in and reinvigorated that football club and given opportunities to the likes of Menzel, Duncan, Taylor-Hunt, Vardy, Gillies, Christensen and Brown. I don’t think that would’ve happened under Thompson, had he remained. Those opportunities were created again against the Crows on Sunday when Bartel, Ottens and Kelly were all late withdrawals. Milburn also missed that game. This gave the likes of Brown, Christensen, Menzel and Duncan opportunities at the senior level, which has been evident all season. The Cats will head into September with all their big names fit and raring to go.

3 DISLIKES

1. Racial foliation at Metricon Stadium

I thought we were past this, seriously! Western Bulldog Justin Sherman racially abused Gold Coast first gamer Joel Wilkinson during their game at Metricon Stadium on Saturday afternoon. Sherman is a former Brisbane Lion who asked for a trade to Whitten Oval at the end of last year, accusing the Lions of having a bad culture. Time to look in the mirror pal, inexcusable and unacceptable behaviour. Everyone in society knows racial discrimination is wrong and shouldn’t tolerated so let’s get this right, move on and not repeat these instances again. A four match ban and a month in the VFL, plus a $5000 fine is hefty but it could’ve been worse. Let’s hope this doesn’t occur ever again.

2. Sub rule

I don’t like the sub rule. Never did and still don’t. The amount of regular soft tissue injuries in particular are alarming and players have also declared publically that they are barely able to get through a full game and recover quickly enough for the next week. Hawthorn’s Cyril Rioli and Essendon captain Jobe Watson suffered a recurrence of hamstring injuries on the weekend, the second time this season. Carlton skipper Chris Judd and Collingwood midfielder Dane Swan have spoken about the struggle of running out games due to fatigue with Swan having spent 10 days prior to round 14 in Arizona for high altitude training to help battle the fatigue factor. I would like to see the sub rule scrapped or the sub can be the fifth player on the interchange bench.

3. Bite the bullet Bombers

The Bombers have to make a call of playing all of Hille, Bellchambers and Ryder in the same team. It’s not working and alot of the problem is to do with all those three being first choice ruckmen in any team but there’s only one ruck spot. Ryder isn’t in form and his confidence is shot, it’s for a run in the VFL with the Bendigo Bombers for a few weeks for the talented big man. Bellchambers is their best ruckman at the moment and Hille is good enough to play at full forward. Coach James Hird must bite the bullet and reinvigorate this Essendon side that has lost their past five games.

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