Collingwood’s shock rise into finals rivalry is actual, and being pushed by a shocking reality about their checklist, says a long-time AFL coach.
Plus Essendon’s mid-season draft dominance continues, the worrying Sydney pattern and why the Bulldogs can nonetheless win it.
The large points from Spherical 14 of the 2022 AFL season analysed in Speaking Factors!
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EX-COACH REVEALS ‘FLAG-PIES’ SECRET WE’RE ‘ALL FALLING FOR’
Overlook ‘Flagmantle’ – that doesn’t even rhyme correctly. How in regards to the ‘Flagpies’?
Lengthy-time senior coach Ross Lyon believes Collingwood’s greatest “is nearly as good as anybody’s”, pointing to the age of their checklist as a motive to imagine them to make a severe 2022 cost.
With the equal-most wins over prime eight sides within the AFL, regardless of sitting ninth the Magpies are shaping as a finals contender, having taken down St Kilda, Fremantle, Carlton and Melbourne this season.
Including to their finals possibilities is their type run house – their subsequent six video games are all towards the underside 10.
A lot of the Magpies’ core stays from their current premiership contending years, specifically 2018, and as Lyon identified they continue to be one of many oldest and most skilled groups every week.
In Spherical 13, after they upset Melbourne, the Magpies have been the equal-fourth oldest crew within the AFL, and fourth-most skilled. They have been older and extra skilled than the reigning premiers.
That veteran “skeleton” helps Collingwood contend on the pointy finish of the ladder, Lyon informed Triple M’s The Sunday Rub.
“Barring the West Coast sport, they’d nearly be on prime of the ladder (on kind). Their greatest is nearly as good as anybody’s,” he mentioned.
“In case you undergo the midfield, they’ve acquired an ideal mix. They’ve acquired the tall defender in (Darcy) Moore going effectively, they’ve acquired (Jeremy) Howe again. With (Mason) Cox standing up within the ruck, it simply provides them that X-factor, somebody who when he’s on, you may’t cease him when he’s getting his arms on the ball.
“Their greatest is sweet sufficient (to contend for the flag). With Melbourne falling away a bit, in the event that they preserve their 22 collectively, the expansion within the children – they’re the fourth-oldest checklist within the comp, they’re not a younger checklist, we’re all falling for that one.
“They’ve acquired a few younger gamers coming by, (Nick) Daicos is unimaginable, however they’ve acquired the skeleton of a Grand Remaining crew just a few years in the past. I like them.”
Of key Magpies gamers, Scott Pendlebury, Jeremy Howe, Steele Sidebottom and Mason Cox are over 30 years previous, whereas Jamie Elliott, Brody Mihocek, Will Hoskin-Elliott, Taylor Adams and Jack Crisp are 28 or older.
It’s whether or not they have sufficient expertise within the 22 to 26-year-old vary that’ll decide whether or not they can contend below Craig McRae in coming years, as these gamers decline.
HAVE BOMBERS USED MID-SEASON DRAFT BETTER THAN ANYONE?
There’s been some nice tales to return out of the AFL’s mid-season draft… however have the Bombers used it higher than another facet?
As highlighted by Herald Solar reporter Jon Ralph, three Essendon mid-season picks — Will Snelling, Sam Durham and now Massimo D‘Ambrosio — have all performed inside three weeks of becoming a member of the membership.
And each Durham and D‘Ambrosio featured within the membership’s shock 35-point upset win over St Kilda on Friday night time within the latter’s debut, whereas Snelling returned from harm by way of the VFL this weekend after a formidable 2021 season.
Ralph identified that the Bombers swooped on former VFL Tigers Durham and D’Ambrosio within the mid-season draft regardless of Richmond being eager on the pair.
And crucially Durham and D’Ambrosio are simply 19 years previous and 20 respectively, whereas Snelling remains to be solely 24 as constructing blocks for the longer term.
You would make a good argument for Richmond’s Marlion Pickett, who infamously gained a premiership in his first AFL sport within the 2019 Grand Remaining overcome GWS, being the best acquisition from the mid-season draft.
Pickett stays the one participant picked up within the mid-season draft to win a flag.
Collingwood’s John Noble and Hawthorn’s Jai Newcombe have additionally actually emerged as AFL gamers, changing into key members for his or her respective sides.
Different names to return out of the mid-season draft embody Western Bulldogs’ Ryan Gardner, West Coast’s Connor West and Richmond’s Matthew Parker (for his second AFL stint).
So whereas some nice particular person tales have emerged, seemingly no membership has been as savvy in utilizing it as a real instrument to construct out their checklist long-term than the Bombers.
The AFL’s mid-season draft first ran from 1990-1993 earlier than being introduced again in 2019.
THE WORRYING TREND FOR SWANS AS RIVAL ‘JUSTIFIED’ BY TRADE
After Sydney’s promising begin to the season the place many acknowledged it as a flag fancy, the membership’s kind hasn’t been fairly as dependable in current.
Though the Swans splitting their final 4 video games 2-2 doesn’t look like trigger for concern, it’s the streaks of targets they’ve given up over that span that ought to.
In opposition to Carlton in Spherical 10 (six targets), Richmond in Spherical 11 (seven targets), Melbourne in Spherical 12 (5 targets) and Port Adelaide in Spherical 14 (seven targets) the Swans have given up huge runs of scores to the opposition.
And it proved pricey in Saturday’s loss to the Energy the place Ken Hinkley’s facet booted six-unanswered targets within the third time period to primarily put the sport away.
John Longmire’s crew now sits seventh on the ladder with eight wins — the identical quantity because the ninth-placed Magpies — because the Swans’ place within the prime eight all of a sudden comes below menace.
Talking on AFL Media’s The Spherical So Far, Energy nice Kane Cornes held considerations with Sydney’s kind fluctuations, saying he thinks it’s the largest amongst the top-ranked sides.
“The distinction between their greatest and worst soccer I believe is the largest out of any of the groups up the highest finish of the ladder,” he mentioned.
“To concede targets like that, then sport over right away is an actual fear. Their place with St Kilda and a few others with how tight it’s in danger within the prime eight.”
It comes forward of a defining showdown with St Kilda subsequent weekend the place the loser might effectively discover itself outdoors the highest eight by the tip of the spherical.
Sydey’s loss to Port Adelaide was compounded by two mind fades from Peter Ladhams towards his previous facet that price the Swans as many targets and prompted him to get dragged — a sight hardly ever seen in footy today.
They each got here within the area of two minutes within the third quarter, with one incident the place Ladhams struck Ollie Wines within the chest set to be scrutinised by the MRO.
And Cornes believes his undisciplined behaviour validates Port’s determination to commerce him final low season.
“I’ll be actually stunned if he comes again in even after that suspension he’ll cop — one week you’ll assume,” he mentioned.
“Port Adelaide traded him away when he was in contract due to these form of points he had in and across the membership. They’d be feeling justified with that call.”
DOGS ‘RIGHT BACK IN HUNT’ WITH SECRET WEAPON WAITING IN THE WINGS
The Western Bulldogs’ huge 20-point win over GWS on Saturday night time places them “proper again within the hunt” this season, in response to Saints nice Nick Riewoldt.
It comes as a number of different finalists faulted over the weekend together with Sydney, St Kilda and Carlton amid a large open AFL season the place only one win separates fourth from ninth on the ladder.
And whereas it’s been an detached marketing campaign for the Bulldogs, we all know how harmful they’re in full flight, coming off a grand remaining look final yr with primarily the identical crew.
Now sitting only a sport outdoors the highest eight, they’re arguably as effectively positioned as any facet to go on a run within the second half of the season.
“The Bulldogs needed to win as a result of the draw and outcomes over the previous couple of nights have actually opened up for them,” Riewoldt mentioned on Fox Footy’s Finest on Floor.
“I don’t assume we’ve had a season like this the place you look from fourth all the way down to Port Adelaide (twelfth) — it’s tight.
“It turns into about the way you’re really taking part in somewhat than your place on the ladder. The Canine have floor their technique to somewhat little bit of kind, I nonetheless don’t assume they’re wherever close to the facet that they have been final yr.”
Former Collingwood coach Nathan Buckley highlighted how shortly a surge of kind — each good and unhealthy — can flip a crew’s fortunes.
“It’s that tight when you’ve got a great run you’re going to place your self within the combine, when you’ve got a foul run — even Melbourne — if they’ve an additional poor month are going to place themselves in an actual hazard zone,” he mentioned.
Working towards the Canine is that they do have a troublesome upcoming run forward of clashes towards Hawthorn (Marvel Stadium), Brisbane (Gabba), Sydney (SCG), St Kilda (Marvel Stadium), Melbourne (Marvel Stadium) and Geelong (GMHBA Stadium).
Nevertheless they do have a secret weapon ready within the wings in key ahead Josh Bruce, who booted three targets in his return from his ACL harm on the weekend by way of the VFL.
Though the Canine have had greater issues on the different finish of the bottom, it shouldn’t be forgotten how priceless the 30-year previous is to the facet, from a structural perspective if nothing else.
Bruce led the Canine’ goalkicking final yr with 48 majors regardless of lacking six video games after an ill-timed ACL blow on the eve of finals, and he supplies one other avenue to purpose and assist for Aaron Naughton they’ve solely missed.
The Canine’ report with Bruce since 2021 is 15-5 (75% win price) whereas averaging 94.6 factors per sport, and since he went down they’re 10-9 (52.6% win price) at 88.1 factors per sport.
It comes as Josh Schache and Jamarra Ugle-Hagan each earned a reprieve towards the Giants to play within the win. And though neither participant was significantly impactful, Riewoldt thought it’s a transparent signal that Luke Beveridge needs to supply Naughton with extra assist in assault.
“Josh Bruce is an enormous one, coming again by the twos and getting by that sport unscathed, he was in respectable kind,” Riewoldt mentioned.
“Josh Schache and Jamarra Ugle-Hagan didn’t dominate tonight, however that’s a transparent message I believe that they’re making ready Bruce, Schache and Ugle-Hagan for that function to assist Naughton as a result of he wants it.”