At last, the Eagles & Dockers both achieved overdue victories this past weekend with marvellous performances on the Gold Coast to provide a glimmer of hope for the 2020 AFL Season.
But it wasn’t just the results that were great, we delve deep into just what happened over east this weekend as finally it all came together for both our sides.
West Coast Eagles Defeated Sydney Swans By 34 PointsEmbed from Getty Images
Pressure Finally Applied
After a slow start that saw the Swans kick the first two goals, West Coast kicked the next three and after quarter time they ascended themselves into control of the match through the groundball pressure and centre clearance work of Andrew Gaff who secured 4 clearances from his 18 Touches.
But the leading man was Dom Sheed who was excellent under pressure, contributing 9 clearances from his 24 touches.
The Eagles forward structure was also fantastic, just like what the Eagles fans wanted, with Allen & Waterman amongst the goalkickers in the Eagles win.
But they also showed they are able to play with high spirit and confidence for a side that were not anywhere near the 8 since football has returned.
The Young Kids Are Standing Up
What was another positive sign for the Eagles in their win on the Gold Coast was the commitment and conviction of their young kids that were desperate to keep their place in the team.
Oscar Allen was among the best with three goals in the forward line and some tremendous marks overhead, showcasing his ability in a one on one contest.
Jake Waterman played his best game in a long time, he kicked two goals but also spent some time up the ground and was gritty at ground level, plus his movement across the forward zone could make him elusive in the future.
It leads to how Adam Simpson’s faith in the young talent for the Eagles should be praised in the aftermath of their big win.
Naitanui Further Exposes Ruck Weakness
Sydney went into the game without their recognised ruckmen due to injuries sustained earlier in the season.
It was the best chance for Nic Naitanui to go in hard at the ruck against Allir Allir and Hayden McLean – a regular forward.
Naitanui’s ruckwork and efforts at the ball made it a one sided contest, his 39 hitouts were a central factor in West Coast’s clearance count swaying their way 36-22.
When Naitanui is at his best, he is often hard to stop even by some of the AFL’s best ruckmen.
Fremantle Dockers def. Adelaide Crows by 20 PointsEmbed from Getty Images
Walters Unfazed By Close Attention
Michael Walters not only seized the opportunity to stand in as Captain in Nat Fyfe’s absence, he persisted despite the close attention of Crow Ben Keays and worked his way into the game.
Walters proceeded to deliver the game’s best moment, a soaring hanger early in the final term that gave the contest some much-needed polish and capitalised with the set-shot goal to give Freo breathing space.
Walters’ determination in such crucial moments that steer the game back the Dockers way is often effective and this game was no different.
Youngsters Stepped Up In Fyfe’s Absence
Like the Eagles, The Dockers tenacity in standing up to the challenge without their regular Captain was massive against a Crows side looking flat.
Case in point, Andrew Brayshaw played like he deserved the 3 votes.
He secured 23 disposals, took 8 brilliant marks and laid 5 tackles in a fantastic showing.
Adam Cerra was another one who played at his best with 17 touches and took 6 marks plus 5 tackles in an outstanding game, despite the flat scoring pace of the game.
Those 2 elevated their speed across the ground through their attack at the football which is a key attribute for both players.
Kicking Still Lacks Polish
Although disposal efficiency in general play was still good at around 70-80%, their kicking in the forward 50 was the only major disappointment of the match.
Coach Justin Longmuir addressed that the Dockers will need to work on the field kicking in the forward line which is averaging below 45% for a match.
From a Crows point of view, to not make the Dockers pay for their turnovers was credited to the Crows lack of efficiency themselves but also the Dockers brilliant physicality in the backline led by Aish and Hughes who took 18 marks between them.
Eagles VS Crows @ Gabba – Saturday 1:05PM
Dockers VS Saints @ Metricon – Saturday 10:35AM