Sometimes I sit here late at night, rocking back and forth and telling myself everything will be okay…

That’s completely normal, right? As I do this, there are times when football-related questions jump into my head. It usually occurs straight after a round of footy. We’ve just watched things unfold for a few days and lots has happened – as much as we get answers to questions from a round of footy, we’re more likely to get a bunch of new questions.

So, I’ll stop rocking back and forth, write them down and see how we go in answering them.

 

IS THERE A CLEAR FRONT RUNNER FOR THE COLEMAN?

Usually you get one player at least jumping out of the gates and establishing a bit of a lead in the Coleman race. And I suppose if you want to point toward Harry Perryman of the Giants as that player, you can go right ahead, but on eight goals after three games, this race for the Coleman is wide open.

Of the big name full forwards, we’re seeing very little in the way of production. Ben Brown had five, Josh Kennedy has two, Jeremy Cameron has five and Tom Lynch has four.

This is as wide open as it gets.

In stark contrast, at this time last season, Jeremy Cameron had 14 goals to his name and people were questioning whether he could kick the ton. Remember that?

Will 40 goals win it this season? 45?

I reckon Cameron will kick a bag in the next couple of weeks and things will start to feel right again, but what odds could you have picked up on Harry Perryman leading the Coleman after three rounds?

 

IS THE SEASON ENDED TODAY, WHO WOULD MISS THE AA TEAM? WEITERING? ANDREWS? BARRASS?

It may sound like a dumb question – many of my questions are, but think about it for a moment or two.

Harris Andrews is now the high profile full back in the game. The reigning AA full back, he is a contest killer unlike no other… but hang on. Tom barrass is actually averaging more one percenters than him this season.

And Jacob Weitering has claimed the scalps of three Toms – Tom Lynch, Tom McDonald and Tom Hawkins as his victims as he has emerged as one of the top tier defenders in the game.

If there are two key positions to include, who is the third banana here? Don’t forget that Jeremy McGovern, coming off four-straight selections at centre half back, will no doubt lay claim to one of these positions again… who misses out?

Andrews is also first in intercepts in the game, averaging 10.33 to go with his 10.67 one percenters. I am no maths genius, but that is over 21 contests per week he either wins, or destroys. That is incredible – lock him in.

Barrass or Weitering?

Whilst Barrass kills more contests than Weitering, the Carlton defender provides a bit of delivery from defensive 50 as well, slotting in at equal eighth in the competition. He has also had huge jobs in the first three weeks and it makes his selection quite compelling. He gets my nod.

If I was forced right now, gun to my head, to pick the back six, I reckon it would look like this.

 

BACKS – Jeremy Howe   Harris Andrews   Dane Rampe

HALF BACKS – Sam Docherty   Jacob Weitering   Darcy Byrne-Jones

 

Yeah, a bit of work to do for Mr Barrass, and with McGovern missing a week already, he is facing an uphill battle as well.

Others I was strongly considering were Nick Vlastuin, Sam Collins, Adam Saad, Darcy Moore and Brayden Maynard.

 

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IS LACHIE NEALE THE BEST PLAYER IN THE COMP THROUGH THREE ROUNDS?

There is one bloke who has a form-line as good this season, and he’s playing in the backline. That bloke is Jeremy Howe, but Lachie Neale has been incredible in the first three rounds of footy.

Whilst Andrew Gaff is marginally ahead of him in disposals, Neale has had much more of an impact with his touches, and against the Eagles this past weekend, his ability to pick up the slippery ball and make good decisions with it was ridiculously good.

Gaff is getting a lot of it, but this week he reverted to throwing it on his boot and hoping. There was no such actions from Neale.

Despite having 7.3 clearances per game, and 16 contested touches to go along with it, Neale has managed to run at 79% efficiency. When you add in the fact that he is sitting fourth in the league in tackles per game, you start to see that Lachie is playing the complete game.

Here’s a rundown of what Neale is producing.

2nd in total disposals

3rd in total tackles

4th in clearances

7th in total goals

1st in contested disposals per game

The bloke is doing ridiculous things, and right now, he is untouchable as the best, and most consistent player in the game.

 

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HOW GOOD IS MATT ROWELL?

For those who listen to our podcast, you would’ve heard me talk about a Rowell stat that indicates just how good he has been.

And because I know you’re all lazy like me, I’ll repeat it here for you.

There have been three players in the 2020 season that had a game of 20+ disposals and 10+ tackles.

Those players are Lachie Neale, Elliot Yeo and Matt Rowell.

BUT… if we add goals to the equation, that number drops to just two – Rowell and Neale.

How about we drill down another level and say multiple goals kicked? In that case, the total drops to just one player.

This weekend, Matt Rowell had 20 disposals, ten tackles and kicked two goals, making him the solitary member of the 20/10/2 club for 2020.

For reference, neither of Yeo or Neale was able to hit the mark in 2020 last season, either. So Rowell is in pretty rare air…

… in game number three.

And while we’re at it, Noah Anderson has plenty to like about him as well.

 

HOW SICK ARE ESSENDON FANS OF CONOR MCKENNA’S  SHIT?

As a Hawthorn supporter I am not supposed to feel any empathy at all for Essendon fans, right?

Well, I do. And I do because I reckon that as a club, they have rebounded amazingly well from the crisis that rocked them and cost both the club and individuals so much. They have rebuilt a list and here comes something else to deal with.

I should add that I really think a player contracting Covid at some stage was inevitable, but of course it was Conor McKenna.

Essendon has had three players that have stunk the last 12 months up with their shitty attitudes and the shitty uncertainty surrounding their futures. Two are Orazio Fantasia and Joe Daniher and the other is Conor McKenna. Fantasia and Daniher I’ll get into at another time, but McKenna has run home to Ireland due to homesickness, played bloody Gaelic football while he was there, left to go to his brother’s wedding (like his brother won’t get married again in 7-8 years, right?) and has more or less stated that he isn’t sticking around.

This is just the cherry on a cake made out of dog crap.

Breaking team and AFL rules, McKenna placed AT LEAST the foreseeable future of the Essendon Football Club under threat as several players may be forced to miss as a result of his rampant selfishness.

We were all young and stupid once. Some of us are older and stupid right now, and some of us will become stupid in the very near future. That is why I can empathise with Bomber fans – we all have idiots in our lives. And Conor McKenna is your idiot right now.

Personally, I am hoping it was a false negative, but if it isn’t I hope he gets whacked with a decent suspension.

 

NO DUSTY, NO RICHMOND?

Come on… I had this one thrown at me several times over the weekend. Are they serious? Have they not watched the way the Tigers have gone about it over the past few years?

Yes, Dusty is a beast and only a fool would ever dispute that at his best, he is the best the league has to offer, but he is not the saviour for the Tigers this season – they’re going to need a lift from quite a few to re-establish themselves as the dominant predators of the league.

Whilst 20 touches and a couple of goals from Martin helps the team enormously, and his x-factor has the capacity to swing the momentum of games, players like Daniel Rioli, Jack Riewoldt, Jason Castagna and even Dion Prestia have to start impacting the game before the result is determined.

The ruck is a huge issue as well, with Ivan Soldo being carved up the likes of Jonathon Ceglar on Thursday night. Would Toby Nankervis have allowed that to occur?

Martin may have a positive impact on all their games, but he cannot do this kind of thing alone.

No Dusty, no Richmond? If you genuinely think that, you have no idea.

 

WHO IS HAVING THE BEST SOPHOMORE SEASON?

Is it just me, or has there been a bit of a move away from the praise that was heaped upon Sam Walsh all season last year?

Questions now seem to be arising about the way he delivers the footy, and after his missed target in the dying seconds against the Demons in Round Two, even the most devour Carlton fans were lamenting his inaccuracy.

Meanwhile, despite a quieter game in Round Three, Connor Rozee appears to have continued to see his star rise. If you had pick one all over again right now, who would you take?

And where would Bailey Smith fit in?

The Dogs would be thrilled with the way Smith has continued his development this season. Not only is he increasing his output (+5.3 on last season) even with shortened quarters to contend with, he is maintaining a mid-seventies efficiency rating and tackling better.

In contrast, Walsh is down almost nine disposals per game this season, and his efficiency has taken a hit as well, dropping to 58% from 64% last season. What the hell is going on?

I thought that Bailey Smith would work his way into the conversation with Walsh and Rozee by the end of 2020, but three games in, and here I am talking about him in the same breath. I am interested to see what you guys think about this – has Smith well and truly entered the conversation in terms of the best player from the 2018 draft?

And I’d also be interested in which player you think has had the biggest fall from grace. Walsh, I’ve mentioned, but Sydney Stack had been a little underwhelming up until last Thursday as well.

 

DO YOU THINK HUGH GREENWOOD ENJOYED STICKING IT UP THE CROWS?

Greenwood’s tweets following the game, and the back-and-forth with Mark Ricciuto were entertaining, and you get the feeling that Greenwood felt well and truly undervalued at Adelaide.

He had just 11 touches against the Crows – as pointed out by Ricciuto, but it appears as though the new Sun has a different perspective to Roo as to what having an impact on the game means.

Adding to his 11 touches were 13 big tackles and eight clearances. Greenwood won the hard, in-and-under footy and allowed those high profile Crows to go about the business of collecting decent numbers and really, not doing much with it.

Looking at that game, if you had the choice of having the play of Greenwood on your team, or the play of one of the Crouch Brothers, who would you be opting for? Matt Crouch had just 185 metres gained for the game, meaning his 22 touches came at just 8.4 metres per possession. Brad Crouch was better at 9.18 metres.

Greenwood, despite winning ten of his 11 touches in the contest, averaged 12.5 metres per possession.

Too much possession and bugger all going on has become a Crouch hallmark in recent seasons, particularly in terms of Matt Crouch.

Mark Ricciuto pointed out that Greenwood did have a heap of the footy. He was right. The thing is… he didn’t need it to have an impact. He did it with his pressure and his strength around the contest. If only there were a few in Adelaide that could do more with less, and not the opposite.

 

DO VICS REALLY CARE ABOUT WHERE THE GRAND FINAL IS PLAYED?

Don’t hold it against me – I’m Victorian, and I could not give a rat’s ass where the Grand Final is played as long as the venue can house an even the size of it.

Word out of WA is that they’ll be able to have a full Optus Stadium by mid July. I say go for it! Move the hub there if we continue to infect every man and his dog in Melbourne.

Footy with a crowd beats footy without, and in the Perth climate, the footy would be of an excellent standard.

I know there is a push for state v state stuff, whether it be in the media or on socials, but people, I reckon i am in a pretty strong majority of Victorians that don’t care anywhere near as much as you’re told. I want what is best for the game, and if that means games with crows in WA, and even having the Grand Final there, I am all for it.

Members of the MCC and the AFL, itself… they may have a different opinion, but the regular punter does not care all that much.

 

Finally, keep your eye out for our own player rankings, releasing over the next 48 hours for members. Defenders, wingmen and overall player power rankings for the week all coming soon. The benefits of membership.

 

And now, back to rocking…

All is well… all is well.

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