Round Ten already, huh? Time flies when your team… sucks.

Anyway, enough of my lamentations – here is the Round Ten version of Under Fire/OnFire.

 

Adelaide

On Fire – Rory Laird

The former defender has had a terrific last month of football, capped off by a brilliant effort against the A-Grade midfield currently running around in Lions jumpers. When the opposition began to storm home in the second half, Laird was one of a few Crows players that tried and tried, endlessly. After winning the past two best and fairest awards at the Crows, surely only Ben Keays could be holding him away from a third consecutive, currently?

 

Under Fire – Luke Brown & Taylor Walker

I’ve always admired greatly how straight of a kick Taylor Walker is. This is why I was surprised to see him kick 1.4 on Saturday night, especially considering that he had kicked 16.5 in his previous four games coming into this one. My other disappointment came largely in the second half when the Lions got on their pressing run, kicking 11 of 12 straight goals to finish out the game and take the lead, and the game away from the Crows, the Adelaide defence capitulated at consecutive aggressive forward entries. Luke Brown was well and truly out-worked at times, as the Lions’ smaller forwards ran riot.

 

Brisbane

On Fire – Oscar McInerney

Sensational game from the Brisbane ruckman, taking full advantage of the Crows’ decision to omit their key ruckman in Reilly O’Brien. McInerney monstered his opponent Kieran Strachan, the Crows’ backup ruckman playing just his fourth game, teaching the 26-year-old a harsh lesson in the art of ruck craft and providing his all-star midfield with some quality first use of the ball.

 

Under Fire – Callum Ah Chee

After a couple of subpar games, I was pleasantly surprised by the effort of Ah Chee in both the Sydney and West Coast clashes. But after a decent fortnight, unfortunately, his side’s 36 point comeback victory over the Crows wasn’t on the same level as his last fortnight. A very quiet second half as the crafty mid struggled to impose himself on the game.

 

Carlton

On Fire – Sam Walsh

I’ve been far from a harsh critic of Walsh since returning from his syndesmosis injury earlier in the season, accepting full well that the Blues’ star mid would take some time to return to his best that we’ve seen over the past few seasons. But his game against the Giants was the closest that I’ve seen to that elite standard since his return to football. A starring cameo in the forward line during the first quarter netted him a couple of goals, followed by a positional change in the second quarter that saw Walsh playing further up the ground and a lot more midfield minutes in the second half.

 

Under Fire – Matt Owies

Missed a couple of key opportunities in front of goal, but it was the lack of forward pressure that had me scratching my head. The Giants were able to continually get within a kick on the scoreboard, and their ability during these periods to run the ball out of the backline with relative ease through the likes of Isaac Cumming and Connor Idun were largely thanks to a lack of tackling pressure in the Blues forward 50. Owies and Silvagni didn’t lay a single tackle between them.

 

Collingwood

On Fire – Jack Crisp

Even when I try to go in the direction of someone else, I end up back at Crisp. Once again, Crisp was sensational for the Magpies, especially when you take into consideration that his acquisition was initially nothing more than a set of steak knives thrown in to sweeten the deal when the Magpies lost Dayne Beams. In hindsight, the Magpies came out clear winners in that trade. They sent Dayne Beams and Pick 67 (used to draft Josh Watts – 0 games) to Brisbane in exchange for Jack Crisp, Pick 5 (used on Jordan De Goey) and Pick 25 (sent to North Melbourne in exchange for Levi Greenwood). Especially considering that Beams wound up back at Collingwood to end his career, I’d say trading him out for Greenwood, De Goey and Crisp worked well in Collingwood’s favour.

 

Under Fire – Taylor Adams

After his second incident led to a bit of argy-bargy once again in the third quarter, the two Magpies supporters that I watched the game with inadvertently started a debate. Mate number one insists that Adams is more trouble than he’s worth, wishing that he’d invest half the energy that he does scrapping and looking for trouble, into winning the ball and damaging the opponent in the sense of the game, rather than physically. Mate number two is firmly in the old-school camp, admiring Adams for his biff and his willingness to fly the flag and try to gain the edge over his opponent in a test of physicality. Where do you sit, Pies fans? I’ve read a lot of comments sections this week that lean towards the former..

I personally see his leadership credentials in the post-Pendlebury era.

 

Essendon

On Fire – Membership Cards & Scarves.

I can only heap so much praise on Nic Martin in his first season before it gets tiresome. Archie Perkins had his moments, as did fellow youngsters Zach Reid and Ben Hobbs. It’s a sad state of affairs when your first and second-year players are the only ones that deserve even slight praise. Darcy Parish had half a crack going in one direction, the only downside was the amount of action that was happening the other way.

 

Under Fire – Jake Kelly

Honestly, where do I even start with this side? I’ve singled out Kelly because time and time again he was found trailing his opponent, or giving them far too much room, for the Sydney forwards to move the ball around at will. Sadly, he wasn’t the only defender. Part of the blame, once again, stems from the midfield and their inability to prevent transition football. Even on one of the shortest grounds, with a team not afraid to run the ball straight down the middle. I say not afraid, but that statement is moot because nobody is afraid of this Essendon side right now. Absolutely nobody. Had Sydney kicked straight, this game would have been a 120+ point loss. Not could have been, it WOULD have been. The margin by far flatters the insipid effort dished up by the Bombers on their captain’s birthday, which also happened to be his 200th game. I’d love to see the Bombers record historically in anniversary games. Don’t even get me started on the tackling, you can read all about that in this week’s preview.

 

Fremantle

On Fire – Griffin Logue

Sensational game from the Dockers defender. His entire backline came under some pretty heavy fire from a relentless Gold Coast side that showed they were just as willing to attack as they were to get back and defend. Logue stood tall and was an intercepting king for large parts of the game, rebounding the ball well and quelling many of the Suns forays inside 50. It’s no surprise that news was widely spread of interstate clubs prowling and keeping an eye on Logue’s contract situation at Fremantle this year.

 

Under Fire – Lachie Schultz

I loved the forward half pressure that Schultz provided. He worked his hardest to lock the ball in and force the Suns players into turnovers. His errant goal kicking, especially late in the game when he played a lot more predominantly in the forward line had me throwing my head back in frustration. The Dockers had numerous chances to turn the flow of the game around, but nine unanswered goals to the Suns from late in the first quarter until the halfway point of the final quarter meant Freo weren’t good enough.

 

Geelong

On Fire – Zach Tuohy

There’s a handful of defenders in the league that you regularly see itching to get that quick handball from 60 metres out, the one that allows them to run to 55 and send a rocket of a drop punt on the run through for a goal. Zach Tuohy comfortably owns some prime real estate within that handful. His willingness to get the ball forward at all costs is a weapon for the Cats, paired with Tom Stewart’s ability to be as dominant a force in a game from the backline as some of the league’s best on-ballers, plays a huge part in the Cats statistically being one of the hardest teams to score against.

 

Under Fire – Quinton Narkle & Gryan Miers

I don’t like to hound on the same blokes each week, nor do I like to make it a habit of singling out younger players when the benefit of the doubt can be given. But there were numerous occasions in this game where St. Kilda broke out of the middle, or rebounded the ball out of Geelong’s forward half, especially in the second half of the game, and there was very little to no pressure applied from the Cats. I watched numerous times as Saints players easily broke half-hearted and lazy attempts at tackles, as their opposition showed little interest in putting their body on the line to stop their ball movement. I usually don’t use the term ‘bruise-free footy’, but it sums up exactly what I saw astutely.

 

 

Gold Coast

On Fire – Jarrod Witts & Izak Rankine

First of all, Witts had a tremendous game against one of the better young ruckmen in the competition in Sean Darcy. Whilst Darcy may have won more hitouts, Witts presented himself well around the ground and wasn’t scared to throw his body at the opposition, laying nine tackles and forcing the Fremantle players to unsuccessfully attempt a block on a number of occasions. The Suns captain even snuck forward for a goal in the first quarter. Another player that deserves a shout is Izak Rankine. I’ve been tough on the boy this season, the weight of expectation on him must be incredible. But alas, I’m happy to commend him for a terrific pressure game on the weekend. Watching his 18 disposals, it felt like every time he went for the ball it was in a contested situation, but the 22-year-old didn’t shirk the hardball in the slightest. Efforts such as this must please coach Stuart Dew to no end, seeing his under fire players stand up and prove that they’re willing to do the hard yards. A couple of missed shots on goal would’ve capped off his game brilliantly had he been able to convert.

 

Under Fire – Ben Ainsworth

A string of behinds in the second quarter could’ve turned Ainsworth’s fortunes around in this game. Unfortunately, a very quiet start to proceedings was very slightly masked by a somewhat more productive fourth quarter. It’s hard to be too critical of the small forward when the big blokes like Mabior Chol and Levi Casboult were doing the majority of the damage, but I’d like to see a bit more out of Ainsworth, especially when his side was able to work hard and reap the rewards of scoring against a strong side such as Fremantle.

 

GWS

On Fire – Harry Perryman

A bit of carryover in the defender love department from last week. Whilst the Rolls Royce, Josh Kelly was tearing the game up for the Giants, it was the efforts of the versatile defender that caught my eye. Perryman has had a competitively strong season down back for the Giants and never gets much of a mention. He even snuck forward for a cheeky goal this week, his first of the season.

 

Under Fire – Lachie Whitfield

This was Whitfield’s worst game of the season that I’ve seen, by far. He looked so far off the pace, when attacking the game or getting back to defend, Whitfield looked to be flying at half-mast for most of the first quarter. I noticed a slight influence in the second and third quarters, but when the Blues came home hard in the fourth quarter, Whitfield was a non-factor. If incoming coach Mark McVeigh can find Whitfield’s right place on the ground and get him in a role that suits his abilities, it will greatly benefit this team. Because right now Whitfield is either under-utilized or so far out of his comfort zone that he is wasting away.

 

Hawthorn

On Fire – Jarman Impey

On a day devoid of many highlights for the Hawks, I’d like to nominate Jarman Impey for one of his better games that I’ve seen from the half-back since returning to the side after missing the first few games of the season. Impey and Sicily were a major talking point for the Hawks down back, especially given they came under such heavy fire from the Richmond forwards and midfielders. It just felt like the next kick along the line after that of Impey’s was the one that the Tigers pounced on and caused Hawthorn to come unstuck. I even noticed a couple of times where he won a clearance in the backline or on the wing and was the driving force in getting the ball out of there.

 

Under Fire – Jack Scrimshaw

Yes, I’ve avoided James Worpel this week because I’m tired of flogging that dead horse. I’m sure the wider media will focus on his fall from grace once again. I’ve really liked the game of Jack Scrimshaw this season, but he just didn’t look up to it against a barrage of Richmond scoring late in the second quarter and throughout the second half. He’s been a great partner for James Sicily throughout the season, but this was definitely not one of his better games. But in saying that, the same could be said for a number of Hawks players.

 

Melbourne

On Fire – Jack Viney & Kysaiah Pickett

Every team needs a player like Jack Viney. Those that do cherish what they have, those that don’t would do anything to have it. Players that live and breathe the footy club they represent are hard to find, and almost irreplaceable for their passion and desire to do their best for that club. Viney is what the big wigs like to call a heart-and-soul player, and rightfully so. He just happened to have an excellent game stats-wise on the weekend, but even when he doesn’t, you simply cannot question his courage, endeavour and passion for the Melbourne Football Club. I loved the game of Kysaiah Pickett as well. The crafty little forward epitomises the term ‘electric’ in relation to football. He kicked three goals for the night and his pressure was relentless. I love nothing more than seeing him push up to a wing and craftily work his man away from the contest, then dance his way through traffic and get the ball in the forward line.

 

Under Fire – Christian Petracca

Don’t lynch me Demons fans, hear me out. Petracca was amongst the best on ground for the Dee’s by most accounts, mine included. Sometimes I just get a little greedy and dwell on the ‘what-ifs’.

What if – Petracca had nailed a few more of his seven shots on goal that netted him 2.4 for the game?

What if – he hadn’t passed that shot off that allowed a teammate to register a score instead of doing so himself?

What if – he had played more time in the midfield and quite easily doubled many of his figures?

Petracca is a brilliant player and deservedly in the conversation of the best in the league currently. It’s because of this that I get so greedy and just want more. More big goals. More big tackles. More hard contests won. More broken records, and a shitload more accolades to come his way.

 

North Melbourne

On Fire – Luke Davies-Uniacke

I thought this was the best game that I’ve seen of LDU since his return in Round 4. He started the year brilliantly in Round 1, but following the trend of his side, hasn’t managed to hit his heights again for a stretch of time. Against Port Adelaide down in Tasmania, I saw a well-rounded game from the Kangaroos mid. There was tackling pressure, there were clearances won and there were a few tough contests against some quality opposition. North are desperate for more of this style of play from more of their players.

 

Under Fire – Jack Ziebell

Would the real Jack Ziebell please stand up. There are so many things not going right at North Melbourne, and their skipper is just one of them. Where does Ziebell fit into this team? He has been dwelling away behind the ball for a fair stint, but since his five-goal haul against the Swans back in Round 4, he has been camped up in the forward line and occasionally on a wing, but to very little effect. Things really need to change at this club, they don’t have a hell of a lot to play with and what they do, they don’t seem to be utilising.

 

Port Adelaide

On Fire – Ollie Wines

It’s hard to go past the hard-nosed midfielder who had five shots on goal. Funny to think that as recently as a fortnight ago there were question marks placed over his selection in the side by those external to the club. Wines is looking more and more like he’s embracing the form that won him the Brownlow Medal last year with each passing week. One of the more solid reasons behind Port Adelaide’s resurgence from a 0-5 start to winning their past five on the trot has been the form of Ollie Wines.

 

Under Fire – Travis Boak

Did I miss an incident late in the second quarter? I had noted that up until that point Travis Boak had been quiet and beaten to the ball a number of times. I watched attentively after halftime, and the great man was barely sighted. We can pop the top on that one being a bad afternoon at the office after a bundle of brilliant games so far this season.

 

Richmond

On Fire – Shai Bolton

In my best Alicia Keys voice: This boy is on fire!

There isn’t a hell of a lot that Bolton can’t do at this point of his career. You throw him in the middle and he wins the ball, you let him loose on the wing and he bamboozles his opponent getting the ball inside 50, you get him in the forward line and no area is safe from his scoring prowess, and even throwing him behind the ball can be a weapon if required. I keep asking, but just how high is his ceiling? I still don’t believe we’ve seen it.

 

Under Fire – Dylan Grimes

The dependable, diving defender didn’t have one of his better games against the Hawks. It was masked brilliantly by his side’s ability to score quickly and turn the game on its head after the Hawks kicked out to an early lead, but there were numerous times throughout the match where Grimes came off second best and was forced up the ground where he had much less influence on the contest.

 

St. Kilda

On Fire – Paddy Ryder & Brad Crouch

By gee, that ten-minute burst in the third quarter that netted the Saints a healthy return of five goals was something to watch, and truly became the catalyst for Brett Ratten’s men running over the Cats and winding up ten-point winners at Marvel Stadium. Paddy Ryder was instrumental in this shift, kicking two huge goals in the last quarter on top of his already strong return for the evening. Speaking of huge, so was Brad Crouch. He’s often the first one thrown under the panel van when discussing the Saints’ shortcomings, but his contested ball work, his clearances and his tackling were fantastic. Especially once Jack Steele was struck down with an AC injury of the shoulder, forcing the captain to potter around in the forward line for the remainder of the match, Crouch took it upon himself and helped lead his side to a memorable victory.

 

Under Fire – Jack Higgins’ Head

This was one of the bigger cringe moments that I took out of the weekend: yet another couple of head knocks to Jack Higgins. After suffering two blows to the head against the Cats, Higgins was subbed out with concussion for the second time this season. Taking into account his history with brain bleeds, requiring multiple surgeries, you really hate to see any player with continual head trauma, much less somebody in Higgins’ position.

 

Sydney

On Fire – Callum Mills & Errol Gulden

Without taking anything away from the Swans and their brilliance on the weekend, they were equally as good as their opposition was inept. They sensed a weakness in many facets of the Bombers’ game early on, and they took full advantage of that, as any quality team should. Callum Mills is fastly putting together a very impressive season for the Swans, and he took an even bigger leap forward against Essendon on the weekend. Almost as impressive in his own right, but not quite on the same level, was Errol Gulden. The highly-rated Swans teen proved exactly why Sydney have such grand plans for him and their future.

 

Under Fire – Goal Kicking

When a team has such a strong and overly dominant game over their opposition, it’s hard to find anyone that comes under fire. If I’m being honest, the Swans kicking 14.21 did their dominance absolutely no justice. They should have won that game by well over a 100 point margin, such was their brilliance, except for a sense of constantly wayward goal kicking. Buddy kicked 2.4 and could’ve had a day out in the first half, Tom Papley kicked 2.3 in his best display since his return to football and Will Hayward kicked 2.2. had the Swans’ accuracy been kicked up a notch, they could’ve issued a crushing blow to the Bombers to completely derail even their most ambitious hopes of getting their season back on track.

 

West Coast

On Fire – Alex Witherden & Connor West

Honestly, you have to give the Eagles credit for their second and third quarters against the Demons. They were only just outscored by the undefeated reigning premiers, but they managed to hold them relatively still for two quarters of football and stem some of their assault. Alex Witherden gave it his absolute all in defence despite the constant barrage of goals that came the Eagles way, standing tall and making such a contribution that the champion opposition weren’t able to score as heavily for long periods. Another who really left an impression on me after that game was Connor West. The midseason draftee from last year in just his eleventh game of footy was a sensation for West Coast, amassing a lot of the ball through the midfield and around the ground, not being afraid to throw himself and his lighter frame at the ball, or the opposition for that matter.

 

Under Fire – Liam Ryan

That bump on Jake Bowey was the icing on the cake. A dogged, quiet game from the star small forward seemed to encourage Ryan to try and turn the game around off his own back. Unfortunately, his choice to run past the ball and bump the young Demon will come at his peril. Not just under MRO scrutiny for his bump, but also after suffering a hamstring injury during the game.

 

Western Bulldogs

On Fire – Adam Treloar & Buku Khamis

In only his second game against his former club – you know, the club that still pays the majority of his wage? Adam Treloar played probably his best game for the season after a few weeks that were quieter than what we’re used to seeing. Treloar amassed 35 disposals, nine score involvements, eight clearances, three tackles and three goals in a monster effort that made him the Bulldogs’ best player for the night. Buku Khamis also impressed me in just his second game this season and third of his career. Kicking three goals in a personal best and not being afraid to find his way up the ground and affect other contests.

It’s also worth noting that Aaron Naughton played well amidst some injury concerns.

 

Under Fire – Anthony Scott

One, two, Kane is coming for you.

Three, four, another camera whore.

Five, six, up to Ginnivan’s tricks.

Seven, eight, no charisma, mate!

Nine, Ten, grab headlines again.

 

For those that may have missed it, Anthony Scott was sporting the Bulldogs’ own personal handy-cam after his side’s win on Friday night in a similar fashion to that of Jack Ginnivan, filming some candid footage, presumably for the Club’s TikTok and social media accounts. The 27-year-old midfielder has only played 28 games, I’m not sure if this qualifies as enough runs on the board to pass the Kane Cornes camera merit test, but we’ll let this one play out. Perhaps he ought to bleach his hair to qualify?

 

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