Time on – round 22

WINNERS & LOSERS

Hawthorn 10.18 (78) def. Carlton 8.18 (66)

West Coast Eagles 20.14 (134) def. Essendon 11.11 (77)

Adelaide 18.17 (125) def. Gold Coast Suns 9.10 (64)

North Melbourne 21.17 (143) def. Fremantle 6.9 (45)

Collingwood 14.18 (102) def. Brisbane Lions 13.6 (84)

Sydney Swans 10.23 (83) def. St Kilda 10.8 (68)

Western Bulldogs 24.13 (157) def. Port Adelaide 15.7 (97)

Richmond 17.15 (117) def. Melbourne 17.8 (110)

3 LIKES

1. Hawthorn’s midfield

What I love about the Hawks is their midfield has big solid bodies – Mitchell, Sewell, Lewis & Hodge – but these blokes know how to get the footy and use it to advantage, in other words, they’re very effective and this will be key in September. The Hawthorn midfield has a big bag of tricks under stoppage coach Adam Simpson, and it was evident in Friday night’s blockbuster against Carlton. Jordan Lewis was outstanding on Chris Judd, restricting the Blues’ skipper to just 15 touches and collecting 30 himself. A standout performance. The Hawks don’t possess the best midfield in the competition but it has enough grit about it to match it with the best come finals time.

2. Nic Naitanui

This bloke is an extraordinary talent with a big bag of tricks. Athletic, has a big leap, solid overhead and a reliable kick. In one highlight against Essendon on Saturday, he took the ruck, received a handpass from Daniel Kerr, and goaled on the run from just inside the 50 metre arc. A huge talent and great to watch from the stands!

3. John Butcher

There’s not much to get excited about at Port Adelaide right now but this rakey young teenager is a beauty. The 197cm key forward is out-of-contract with Victorian clubs circling and gave the best indication yet that the Power should re-sign him quickly after booting 6 goals straight in just his second AFL game on the weekend. Butcher is just one of the key young players at Alberton that the Power must keep together.

3 DISLIKES

1. Inaccuracy

Everyone in football knows that inaccurate kicking in matches will cost you at some point. That was exactly the case with both Carlton and the Sydney Swans on the weekend. The Swans got away with it but the Blues didn’t. Carlton kicked 8.18, while the Swans booted 10.23. For two clubs who are more than likely to play finals, especially Carlton, it’s vital that they convert their opportunities because come September, it will hurt even more if they fail to convert.

2. Carlton’s forward worries

Carlton have been without key forward Jarrad Waite for 6 weeks now and it’s looking increasingly likely that he won’t figure in finals. The Carlton forward line of Andrew Walker, Eddie Betts & Jeff Garlett produced very little in the first half against the Hawks but returning key defender Michael Jamison proved effective when switched forward in the second half, but the Blues need Jamison down back. The Blues have the bye this week before they face the Saints at the MCG in Round 24. Ruckman Robbie Warnock should be dropped, he’s too easily shifted out of a contest and struggles against the premier ruckman of the competition. Setanta O’hAilpin kicked 6 in the reserves while Shaun Hampson was impressive in the ruck and kicked 3 goals in the VFL. Two players who I think the Blues should chuck into their side against the Saints, especially if Jarrad
Waite is missing. Regardless of whether Waite is available for finals or not, the Blues must have a key tall target inside their attacking fifty.

3. Nick Riewoldt

The St Kilda skipper was solid against the Swans on the weekend but finished the game frustrated on the bench. His goal kicking continues to become an issue and the opposition has now worked out how to shut down this once unstoppable key forward. St Kilda need to lock him into the gym over the summer, bulk him up, work on his goal kicking and play him as their permanent full forward. If not, his AFL career could very soon come to a close but he has the potential to play another 3-4 years at the top level.

 

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