Australian Rules Columns Fremantle Dockers WA Sport West Coast Eagles What We Learned

What we learned: Pressure needed, apply within

Round 3 of the 2020 AFL Season has come and gone and for the Eagles and Dockers it was another nightmare on the Coast, putting another dent into their premiership campaigns.

Both sides now head into precarious ventures in round four with both sides in dire need of finding some winning form.

With a potential home hub on the horizon, a big win could just turn the tide as both sides wrap up their stay in the sunshine state.

Here are three things we learned from each of this weekend’s games.

Brisbane def. West Coast by 30 points

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Four quarters win flags, not two…

For the first half the Eagles kept in the clash with Brisbane, with the lead changing three times despite the Eagles getting the first two goals of the match.

Gaff again was huge in the centre and but at the same time did not receive as much support as he should have and the groundball pressure and clearances at the bounce still remain an issue.

When the second half rolled around and Brisbane took charge, the Eagles were never in the hunt. It seemed West Coast only played for two quarters and they took their foot off the gas.

Where is the pressure?

The third term was where it fell apart for the Eagles, Brisbane piled on the first three goals to sew the momentum back their way.

Lachie Neale was unstoppable in the midfield and Jarrod Berry proved dominant in the forward half booting three great goals including two in that second half.

The Eagles pressure around the ball lacked so much that they lost the counts in disposals (67-58), tackles (16-7), inside 50’s (17-4) & scoreboard (5.3 to 2.0) in what was a one-sided third quarter that set the tone for the Eagles disappointing night at the Gabba, a ground which has proven their toughest interstate challenge besides the MCG.

Naitanui exposes lions weak link

Only two positives came out of the Eagles 30 Point Loss.

One was Gaff’s workrate in the centre in which he amassed 30 touches in another good solo effort, but also the ruckwork of Nic Naitanui, who did well despite questions of the Queensland stadium surfaces doing damage to his prone knees.

The Lions had rookie Archie Smith in the ruck in place of Stefan Martin due to injury but Nic Nat proved to be too hot to handle – he had 34 hitouts and 9 clearances – while laying 4 tackles in a superb performance.

Fremantle def. by Port Adelaide by 29 points

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Rain too much of a risk

Some teams struggle in adapting to wet conditions and the Dockers sadly are no exception.

They play a cautious and defensive style of play where they are handballing across the ground and not penetrating the forward 50.

Power meanwhile kept booting long down the line which resulted in domination of the inside 50 count for much of the game on a wet Metricon Stadium.

Hogan was slient

For the first time in 365 Days. Jesse Hogan stepped onto an AFL field and was one of the most exciting propositions heading into the match.

However, the key forward hardly had the delivery he would have hoped for as the Port Adelaide defence worked right into him and contained his presence in the forward 50.

Hogan was held to just 9 possessions but will look to be better for the team in the long term, but once this hub situation is done and dusted, some would reckon he should head for a spell in the WAFL.

Dixon too strong

Fremantle’s defensive structure also needs to come into question.

Especially for the way they tried to contain the presence of big Charlie Dixon.

His game was excellent whenever the ball got his way as not a single Fremantle defender came across and positioned themselves to spoil or even attempt an intercept mark.

Luke Ryan and Griffin Louge are key defenders for the Dockers but they need to find better ways to stop opposition key forwards and it doesnt get any easier with the Gold Coast Suns up next.

West Coast Eagles will face Port Adelaide Power on Saturday morning at 11:45AM AEST while the Fremantle Dockers face the Gold Coast Suns at 5:40PM later this afternoon.

About the author

Paul Persic

Paul Persic

Paul Persic is a respected writer and podcaster and a member of the WA Daily Sports team. Paul hosts Talking Motorsport every Monday 7pm on 91.3 SportFM as well as Full Time with Pauly and Darce, on Front Row Screens, Sunday's from 5pm. In addition to his radio ventures, Paul can also be found presenting 'Paul Persic Presents', a feature series available on Facebook.

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