We all know Triple M's Dave Noonan loves his footy...
As a self-proclaimed aficionado, we've asked him to share a little bit of his knowledge and insight every week by covering off on his favourite three things and his least favourite three things of the round.
Dave's 6-Pack - Round 10
- It might have been a struggle and kicking for goal was once again a problem but Nathan Buckley’s Pies have now won 4 games and are only a game and percentage out of the 8. He may even survive the season if things continue to improve. After a long injury lay-off and an uncertain footy future it was great to see Jamie Elliott kicking a bag of 4 with his new hairdo. They have a really handy engine room and they are all in form-Pendlebury, Treloar, Adams and Sidebottom make up a strong midfield and they are getting great service from Grundy. If Darcy Moore starts to show the potential he undoubtedly has and the team can kick straight they may be competing with Melbourne, the Saints and Essendon for a spot at the bottom of the Eight. I must pay a compliment to Buckley’s character. He has been under incredible scrutiny as the unsuccessful coach of the country’s biggest AFL club and he has kept his humour and composure at all times. The press conferences have at times been feral in their attack on his coaching and future but he has been very philosophical throughout. I hate to say it but I hope he has a good year now! (Not at Melbourne’s expense however!)
- As a tortured Dees supporter after a decade of pain I can relate to Tigers fans. Richmond find new ways each year to taunt and tease their supporters and this year followed 5 wins on the trot with 4 losses, the last 3 within a goal at the last moment! In a strange record Damien Hardwick became the first AFL coach ever to record three consecutive losses under a goal twice! It was great to see the Tigers get over the line in yet another tight game in front of a huge crowd at the “G”. They still managed to give fans a coronary or two but got away in the last 1o minutes. Rance is a champion and helped keep Daniher quiet while Dustin Martin is doing his “free agent” stocks no harm with another best on ground performance. It is ominous that he is still reluctant to commit to Richmond with a new contract. On almost every occasion a major star has told his club he is waiting till the end of the year to sign he has left the club. The crazy thing about Richmond’s season is that if they had won the three games they threw away in the last minute they would be a game clear on top of the ladder!
- Another club that would be lamenting last gasp losses in 3 games they were winning all day- Freo by 5 pts, Cats by 1 pt and the Dogs by 3 pts- is North Melbourne. They overcame an enthusiastic and surging Carlton to record their 4th win of the year. If they had won those 3 games they would be in 3rd place on the ladder! It has been an amazing year like that. Melbourne have been in the same boat losing at least 2 games they should have won in the dying seconds. North are tracking a lot better than most pundits seem to be acknowledging. They have a strong backline with height, marking strength and breakaway speed. Goldstein is back in great form and their midfield has Ziebell and Higgins in great touch. Ben Brown was a bit down yesterday but has stood up to take the key forward role. Brad Scott has his side playing strong and accountable rebound footy. I don’t think they will make the 8 but they are justified in thinking “what could have been” in 2017.
- The Swans seemed as if they were ready to roll towards a miraculous recovery and head towards yet another finals series. They lost their first 6 games then had 3 consecutive wins. Hawthorn at the SCG, a fortress for the Swans, appeared to be a gimme but Alistair Clarkson had other ideas. The Hawks fielded a young side that was committed to keeping possession of the footy with short kicks all over the ground. Normally this is impossible to achieve at the SCG. It is a small ground and the Sydney pressure game and fierce tackling unravel any attempt to maintain possession. I think it indicates that this mighty side has dropped off a notch in its fabled intensity. Kennedy, Hannebery and Parker were good without being the force they have been in the past. Too often Shiels, Breust, Smith and Mitchell found space and kept chipping the ball around until they found an option. Yes, it was only a 6 point loss, but one that the Swans had to win if they were serious about finals in 2017. Buddy was fantastic and nearly willed his side across the line. His 5 goals took him to the top 10 goal-kickers of all time with 819 majors. The Swans are done for the season. I wonder if Longmire watched Tom Mitchell once again accumulating possessions and wished they had tried harder to keep him.
- Freo were smashed by Adelaide at the Adelaide Oval in Ross Lyon’s first ever 100 point loss as a senior coach. It seemed that Freo were building their season and remain in the Eight but a loss like this suggests that they will play no significant role even if they make the finals. Their home ground stronghold may help them hold onto the bottom of the Eight They still rely heavily on an ageing Sandilands in the ruck and their inability to kick big scores is something that has plagued all Ross Lyon coached teams. I have talked to a number of Freo fans who wish the club had not extended Lyon’s tenure until 2020. He still reverts to a negative and defensive game-plan when the top clubs are free-flowing and attacking. I wonder if a big loss like this makes Nat Fyfe’s decision easier. We have all heard about the St Kilda rumours and there is no question that numerous clubs will be into him as free agency looms closer. It is reminiscent of the Dangerfield situation at the Crows. The longer a player refuses to recommit the more likely it is that they will leave.
- Gold Coast are going nowhere and Tassie-born coach Rodney Eade must be considering what he will be doing next year. They jumped to an early lead and extended it to 35 points in the 3rd quarter before an inconsistent Melbourne turned on the power. The Suns seem to be going nowhere. The football world expected them to be a fixture in the 8 by now with the wealth of talent gifted to them by the AFL but they are 16th and going nowhere. They have the talent but something seems to be missing. I have heard stories for years of a poor club culture and a divided playing group and it often seems that they do now play for one another. Ablett was out but in the twilight of his stellar career if Gold Coast are unable to win without him then their future is bleak. Tom Lynch is a star but is too often unsupported by his other forwards. Most clubs now double team star forwards and that is what happened to Lynch who tried hard but did not have a huge impact. The most disturbing thing from the AFL’s point of view is that no-one seems to care about Gold Coast. They need to maintain a core group but their best players will continue to be targeted by rival clubs. They need success and a good culture for players to stay.
PS: I know I am often critical of the AFL but their leadership on social issues over the last decades has been fantastic. The hugely successful Indigenous Round on the weekend once again put the spotlight on indigenous Australia. Dreamtime at the “G” was a huge success with a record home and away crowd of 85,656 attending a great game. Even better Buddy Franklin, Eddie Betts and Charlie Cameron were brilliant! Well done AFL!
Thanks to Cripps - Cripps Master Loaf. Number 1 Choice for Tasmanian's daily bread!