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 8
- The Mighty Dees showed that they can win a crucial big game on the road with a convincing 41 point win over the Crows at Adelaide Oval. The Adelaide home ground advantage meant nothing as Melbourne out-tackled and out-fought the Crows in the clinches. For the second week in a row an opposition side tagged play-maker Rory Sloane and cut off play from defence into the centre corridor to stop Adelaide’s free-flowing style of their first 6 victories. Dees midfield sensation Clayton Oliver was sensational again and at 19 looks like a 100 game player. Michael Hibberd has provided great stability, decision-making and precise delivery in the backline and is showing after a year out of football after transferring from Essendon amidst the drug ban suspensions that he is a great acquisition. Tom McDonald was a surprise swingman in the second half and brought an energy to the forward line in the absence of Jesse Hogan- and 2 goals! I am sure the Dees will frustrate me again and lose easy games but they are proving that if they can be consistent they can play finals.
- Sydney may only have won 2 games this season but I am sure opposition sides would be dreading playing them as they overcome a disastrous start to the year to try and play finals in 2017. Importantly it was the much-vaunted Swans midfield that was the difference against North who were backing up from a great win against the Crows. Hannebery, Parker and the leather magnet Josh Kennedy were back to their best and have a newcomer Nic Newman joining their ranks in style. He had 35 possessions and along with another tyro Will Hayward is showing the Swans have a bright future. Even better they did it without Buddy starring. Next week’s game against the Saints at Etihad looms as a huge test and may define their season. Disappointment for the improving Kangaroos after 2 straight wins and 3 narrow losses. It was perhaps their worst loss of the year and shows how much Jarrad Waite means to the North forward line.
- Remarkably Freo, who started the season badly and were expected to be around the bottom of the ladder in 2017, are sitting in 9th position only percentage away from the top 4 at 5 wins-3 losses. They did it without star midfielder Nat Fyfe in their best players too. Lachie Neale is having a great season, Brad Hill is starting to find his feet after moving from the Hawks to be with his brother Stephen and key forward Cam McCarthy is playing well after depression and a move from GWS after a year away from the game. This is the second game they have won in Melbourne within the last minute or so. The other one was against the Dees (which still hurts). Winning these games shows a competitiveness that Ross Lyon prizes in his sides and will build great self-belief in the younger Freo players. Lyon himself had left the coaching box in disgust before the last gasp win after the siren! The Dockers will be very hard to beat in the West and may be setting themselves up for a surprise finals berth. The big question is who will fall out of the 8?
- Geelong look very weak under physical pressure at the moment losing their third game in a row. When the Cats sat at 5 wins no losses with a huge percentage coach Chris Scott said that his side had not been tested yet. Now that they have been tested and found wanting he will have to look at some of his personnel. Before the season the Cats had made it clear that they would not be relying upon super hero performances from Dangerfield and Selwood in 2017 and that the load would be shared by a deeper midfield. At this point the midfield group looks decidedly shallow. Duncan is playing OK while not being A grade, Motlop is brilliant when the Cats win but never seems to lead them to a victory under duress and Cockatoo shows talent but is still a bit player. Worrying for Chris Scott is the weekly low tackle count with another large differential telling the story again this week. Lonergan and Taylor in defence are still good players but perhaps time is catching up with these decorated veterans like it does with all players at some point. Could the Cats be the team to drop out of the 8 to let in Freo or the Dees?
- Richmond have also lost three on the trot but they can count themselves unlucky. A narrow 5 pt loss to last year’s premiers the Doggies last week and now an undisciplined last 30 seconds that allowed Freo to win after the siren does not mean despair although long-suffering Tiges fans will be balding by the second. They have seen runs of wins followed by runs of losses too many times not to start worrying- is it a case of “here we go again”? Coach Damien Hardwick will be disappointed that his side now has no buffer for average performances. Freo may be better than we think though and Richmond’s first 5 games against lesser opposition may have flattered them. Rance is a brilliant defender and Dustin Martin is having a great year as he counts down to a big pay-day with free agency at the end of the season. Cotchin needs to show leadership in the close games as the great captains seem to be able to do. A danger game against GWS at Spotless Stadium could have fans cutting up their memberships.
- The AFL will undoubtedly proclaim the China experiment was a huge success but I can’t see the point of it. In their attempt to give our national game an international relevance with the first game for premiership points in China the AFL has again demonstrated it will spend incredible amounts of money to pursue its agenda while ignoring the heartland of AFL in Tasmania. After failing to have an AFL draftee for the first time since 1986 I can’t help feeling like the AFL is missing the point of what is a community-based game and would be better to inject much needed funds into grass-roots footy in this state.. The game itself between Port and Gold Coast was a shocker with fumbling, turnovers and a 72 point thrashing not providing the best promotion of our unique game. The Chinese spectators looked like they had no idea what was going on and little interest in the result although you would not have known that from the audio during the broadcast. The crowd mics must have been strategically planted amongst the heavily-subsidised Port fans who made the long journey to China because it sounded like a crowd of 80,000 oohing and ahing all afternoon. Official figure were over 10,000 but that looked like a massive exaggeration.
P.S- another great round of upsets makes this the most unpredictable finals makeup in memory.
Second on the ladder GWS just scraped in against second bottom Collingwood at home, second on the ladder Adelaide are beaten at home by tenth team Melbourne.
Top 8 sides Geelong and the Tiges are on a 3 game losing streak and could drop out of the 8 and 9th team Freo are only % away from 4th.
It makes for an interesting finals series!
Thanks to Cripps - Cripps Master Loaf. Number 1 Choice for Tasmanian's daily bread!