Heroes and Zeroes
The SCG was treated to a solid game of football between two sides who have been struggling to string together complete performances in the 2019 season. While Sydney walked away with a comfortable victory, the Gold Coast Suns showed plenty of grit and fight, something which has become a mantra of the Stuart Dew coaching mentality. Here are the Mongrels Heroes and Zeroes.
Isaac Heeney & Josh Kennedy
Wow, where would the Swans be without its two star midfielders? These blokes are seriously good footballers, and once again showed their prowess and potency against the Suns. Heeney was dominant on the outside, accumulating 25 touches and kicking a couple of goals to boot. JPK did JPK things, winning plenty of the hardball and finishing with eight tackles, most of which were effective in quelling the Suns transition. If these two continue to fire, the Swans may be in with a cheeky chance at cracking the top eight come finals time.
Gold Coast have recently started experimenting with their prized number two draft pick, who has moved from attack to a key defensive post. Lukosius’s performance against the Swans shows that the switch may reap dividends for the battling side. Lukosius finished with 18 bites of the Sherrin and went at 78% efficiency, solid stats for a first year player. When entrusted with the kick-in duty, he was clean by foot at, with some nice delivery. Here’s hoping for more good things to come from big Jack.
So, if I were compiling a list of the AFL’s most underrated players, the Swans tagger George Hewett would have to be right up the top. Tasked with nullifying the influence of Touk Miller, Hewett did just that, keeping the Suns playmaker to a mere 12 possessions. While he put the clamps on Miller, Hewett racked up 22 disposals of his own and laid a game-high 12 tackles. Tagging performances don’t come much better than this.
I’ve quite liked MacPherson’s season to date, and I was given more reason to sing his praises after he delivered another solid performance yesterday. MacPherson finished with 21 touches, playing a tad higher up the ground. He used the ball to good effect and capped off a good performance with a couple of goals. What I like about MacPherson is the grunt he brings to the contest and how he is always working hard to provide an option for teammates, be it up the ground or deeper in attack.
AFL Fantasy players would have been livid with Lloyd’s performance on Saturday, with the Swans backman kept very quiet all night long. Lloyd had just 16 possessions, a far cry from his season average of 30.6. Perhaps his lack luster performance was a reflection of the Swans dominance, or maybe Jake just had one of those games. Either way, the Swans will hope that Lloyd is back in the big numbers category next week. On a positive note, he went at 94% efficiency by foot, a big improvement on previous games.
Martin has been a shining light for the Suns this season, so it would be harsh to slam his performance against the Swans. Then again, his side would have expected more from their star midfielder. Martin was silenced from the first quarter to the last, and finished with just 11 disposals at a meagre 36% efficiency. When you stack this up against his season to date, where Martin has averaged close to 20 possessions per game, it’s fair to say he had a poor match. However, as they say: you live and you learn. No doubt Martin is continuing to learn, and this will only benefit him going forward.
The Swans ruckman dislocated his shoulder in the opening minutes of the game, something no AFL follower ever wants to see. Yet, surprisingly he returned to the field minutes later to resume his battle against Jarrod Witts. Low and behold, he popped his shoulder out again. Now I am no expert, but it does beggar belief that Sinclair was passed fit to head back onto the field after a pretty gruesome incident. It’s particularly baffling considering the Swans are so reliant on Sinclair’s duties. Why risk him for one game when you could work hard to get him fit for the next? Personally, I would have left him in the sheds and assessed the situation from there. Nonetheless, I wish him all the very best with his recovery.
Can the Swans make the eight?
No. While Sydney have shown some promising signs over the last couple of weeks, I think a tilt at the finals may be too much to ask. Although, funnier things have happened. With Buddy due back in a fortnight, could the star forward come home with a wet sail and propel his side into September action? We’ll have to wait and see.
Success is ‘Dew’ for bullish Suns.
Stuart Dew may not have improved the Suns win-loss ratio by a huge deal, but he has brought renewed hunger, belief, fight and defensive attributes to the embattled club. To the Suns credit, they have not been blown out of games by most sides this season, and have untapped some genuine footballers. Darcy Macpherson is firing, Anthony Miles has stepped up his game and two-meter Peter Wright has shown promising signs. I genuinely believe this club is on the cusp of something special. If they can snap up a couple of mature age stars (ala the Lions and Luke Hodge), then perhaps Gold Coast can really make a surge up the ladder next season. For now, Stuart Dew will hope his troops finish off the season with gusto and a couple more victories too.
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