Time on – round 16

WINNERS & LOSERS

West Coast Eagles 14.12 (96) def. Geelong 13.10 (88)

Hawthorn 16.9 (105) def. Brisbane Lions 9.9 (63)

Sydney Swans 15.16 (106) def. Gold Coast Suns 4.12 (36)

Essendon 15.15 (105) def. Richmond 9.12 (66)

Collingwood 22.15 (147) def. North Melbourne 3.12 (30)

St Kilda 17.7 (109) def. Port Adelaide 8.5 (53)

Western Bulldogs 14.12 (96) def. Carlton 9.15 (69)

3 LIKES

1. Rodney’s rocket

Some weeks ago this club was heading in a spiral direction, starting with the coach. Rodney Eade has made season defining changes to the game plan, which sees the Dogs just two points out of the eight. The Dogs have tightened the defense, rediscovered running drive from the back half and found some attacking flair up forward through youngsters Dahlhaus and Hooper. Rob Murphy has been settled down back, Adam Cooney is back in form, Daniel Giansiracusa is giving Barry Hall a hand up forward and Callan Ward is one player the Dogs should be keeping despite the lure of GWS. If Brian Lake can get himself right and slip into the side, the Dogs can seriously challenge come September.

2. Pies way ahead of the rest

The Magpies are a pack ahead of the competition and I can’t see any club beating the reigning premiers this year. Geelong is the closest challenger. They destroyed the Kangaroos on Sunday but looking past that, their season cannot be ignored either. Their tight-knit defense and frightening offense, combined with team work has redefined football as we know it. The Cats did it, so too the Hawks, and now the Pies, all in the space of the past five years. This is why our great game is so great, clubs develop new philosophies, strategies and game plans to combat the best in the competition and one or two end up at the top and rise above the rest. Every club improves every year, some more than others but football is constantly redefined in a big way every couple years.

3. The rise of the Eagles

Coach-of-the-year John Worsfold says he’s not talking premierships, but gee, he must be thinking of them. The Eagles’ win against the Cats on Friday night was a big statement in a high-pressure contest. Veterans Cox, Kerr, Embley, Lynch and Glass have rekindled their desire for the contest after many, including myself, thought that their best had past them. Add to that a rising midfield through the likes of Priddis, Rosa, Masten, Ebert, Gaff, Scott and Adam Selwood delivering to Josh Kennedy who keeps improving, plus Lynch, Lecras and first year sensation Jack Darling. Their sudden transformation from wooden spooners to a probable top four finish in 12 months is extraordinary and full credit must be given to Worsfold and his coaching staff. Wooden spooner to Grand Finalist was last accomplished by Collingwood under Tom Hafey in 1976-77. The Eagles are big chances to replicate that.

3 DISLIKES

1. Poor Blues

The Blues were poor against the Dogs on Sunday, I expected a much better effort coming off a 103 point belting of the Tigers the previous week. They should’ve beaten the Cats (Round 9), but have only beaten the Swans (twice) of the teams labelled as legitimate premiership contenders. After Sunday’s effort, doubters are back with the microscope on the team and the coach, who’s job is far from safe. Makes this week’s blockbuster against the Pies pretty huge.

2. Where to for North Melbourne?

Disgraceful. Once again talked about how they want to be tested against the best, but again demoralised and beaten convincingly. This is a club that needs to perform and stand up because they’ve been down and out since the glory days of the ‘90s. Brad Scott is developing a shallow list that took a battering with pre-season injuries but needs to start experimenting now and find out who is apart of the club’s next premiership. Big month ahead.

3. What to do with Lindsay Thomas?

Still on the Roos, Lindsay Thomas has the goalkicking yips and has them bad. Brad Scott needs to make a decision, drop him or send him to another position. Inaccuracy is costing the Roos games, they kicked 3.12 on the weekend. That’s not good enough conversion at AFL level and must be addressed. I would keep him in the side, but play him as a running half back, because the kid is a talent and can play.

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