The Sydney Swans returned to the SCG, toughing out a win against Carlton by 30 points.
Here’s The Mongrel’s good, bad and ugly.
Geez, he was unlucky not to win the Goodes-O’Loughlin medal tonight. I thought his work against Kreuzer was pivotal early in the game, and whilst Heeney missed three shots at goal, Sinclair nailed his two opportunities.
Matthew Kreuzer works his backside off every week. I’ve never seen him stop trying, or take his foot off the pedal. Sinclair simply outworked him, and outclassed him tonight, which is saying plenty.
I’m liking the look of this young bloke running through the middle. The Swans have plenty of young talent out there, but I reckon this bloke might end up being the best of them.
He has a terrific football brain, an excellent change of direction and makes great decisions in traffic. Looking forward to seeing him develop, and start hitting Buddy on the chest as he runs through the middle.
He was given a huge job tonight – stopping Patrick Cripps, and he did it better than anyone could have expected.
Whilst Cripps ended up with 17 disposals, he had only 11 contested touches (Cripps led the league going into Round 11) and 6 clearances (he was third in the league prior to this round). Hewett bettered those numbers, with 21 disposals, 12 contested touches and nine clearances.
Several times throughout the broadcast, it was mentioned that Cripps looked sore – I’m not having any of that as it somewhat devalues the huge effort of Hewett, who was his better tonight. Every time Cripps touched the ball at a stoppage, there was Hewett, pouncing on him.
We’ve seen some quality tagging/defensive efforts this year from Ben Jacobs, Ed Curnow and Elliot Yeo - they've have been spectacularly accountable... if that is such a thing. Throw Hewett’s name in the mix now as well. A ripping game from him.
There aren’t many players in the league who know how to buy time when they have the football in their hands. Jarrad McVeigh is one of them.
On three occasions tonight he got the ball, faked one way and froze all the opponents around him, only to take a few steps back, assess his options and hit a target downfield.
McVeigh is reportedly in his last year, but if you think he doesn’t have another in him, think again. He has a cool head, is confident in his abilities and gets himself in the right spots down back. He was invaluable tonight.
I’ve been very critical of Jones this season, but he was reading it very well tonight, particularly early. If someone like Alex Rance or Jeremy McGovern had a first half like Jones had, we’d be jumping up and down and wetting ourselves… more so than usual, to sing his praises.
The thing with Jones – once the ball hits the ground, he looks lost. It’d almost be worth having him fly for the intercept mark, and if he doesn’t take it, have him immediately retreat to 30-35 metres behind the ball to repeat the process.
His clash in a marking contest with teammate, Jacob Weitering was unfortunate, and is sadly a situation that happens a little too often with Jones. He, and his teammates, need to talk more often.
No one player was overly dominant tonight, and when you look at Parker, he had 21 touches, five marks and six tackles – they’re standard Parker numbers. But when he got the chance to hit the scoreboard tonight, he hit it.
Four players had 12 contested possessions tonight. Hewett who we mentioned, Josh Kennedy who was quitter than usual, Callum Sinclair who was spectacular, and Parker, who just did his job, and did it well.
The way he got rid of Patrick Cripps with two great changes of direction was beautiful. He just left him in his wake and took off!
A good win here for the Blues after a few anxious moments early on. Though he was sloppy at times, Kerridge was the Blues most consistent performer for the night, getting better as the game wore on. He finished with 29 touches to lead all players on the ground and put his head over the ball at every opportunity - there were plenty of others who didn't.
Kerridge finished with 11 contested touches, and though he is probably not a player the Blues are envisioning as someone who will be a long term part of their success, with Cripps down tonight, Kerridge stepped it up. His foot skills still need a fair bit of work, but as a stop-gap, for the time being he's getting the job done.
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OK, if you’re gonna have a staging rule, enforce it. Callum Sinclair dropped to the ground way too easily in the third quarter after getting a ruck free kick – I really hate ruck free kicks, but I hate staging even more.
The next one involved Charlie Curnow throwing himself backwards as Dane Rampe gave him a shove. Nick Smith had taken the mark, and Curnow and Rampe tangled. Curnow went to ground way too readily.
It’s not a great look for our game and needs to be removed. It makes players look weak.
Four consecutive behinds
When you’re on the road, and you’re playing a genuine premiership threat, you need to take every opportunity you can. Carlton were in that situation tonight, and in the third quarter, with the game in the balance, they missed four consecutive shots at goal.
The Swans added 5.2 in the third as the Blues squandered all of their opportunities. The Blues’ pressure at this point was good, and they were still in the game. The Swans had opened up a bit of a lead after kicking the first two of the term, but misses to Kerr and particularly Kerridge really hurt their chances.
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Dale Thomas’ third quarter
I’ll be honest; sometimes I struggle to find an ugly component of the game and end up picking what was the least impressive part of the game to focus on. I didn’t have that issue tonight.
Dale Thomas had an absolute mare in the third quarter. First was his handball, directly to Kieran Jack inside forward 50. I’m not sure what Daisy was trying to do here. Did Jack call him out? Was he trying to create and hoping? I don’t know, but the Swans were able to take it away with ease.
Next up, he had an absolute shank of a kick inside 50 that gave his forwards zero chance. But he wasn’t finished. He was then outmarked inside defensive 50 by Isaac Heeney. That’s nothing to be ashamed of – Heeney outmarks a good number of players, but Daisy wasn’t done.
Thomas then took Luke Parker high inside defensive 50, which resulted in a goal to the Swans.
Daisy has been good in 2018, and he’ll be wanting to get through his video review of that third quarter as quickly as possible to focus on next week.
Buddy being undisciplined
You take the bad with the good when you have Lance Franklin on your team, but early in a game, it pays to be disciplined.
Buddy gave away three free kicks in the first quarter, at a point where the Blues were in the game. He owed the Swans one after he gave away a 50 metre penalty in the first quarter that led directly to a goal for Pat Kerr at the other end. He may have gave them back three majors, but those sorts of things can cost games. He’s old enough now to know better.
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Both Liam ones and Heath Grundy started like trains in the first quarter. Lots of intercept marks from both guys as thrusts forward went astray.
I’m still yet to fully understand the role of Lachie Plowman. The Blues have a few less than agile big men in the back half, and Plowman is not different. Marchbank is still to come back into the side, and with Plowman, Jones and Weitering, they’re a little too top-heavy for my liking.
Three shots at goal for Charlie Curnow tonight – all from free kicks.
Carlton were lucky not to cough up a goal after an absolute toilet of a kick inboard from Cam O’Shea. Not really sure how you can miss a 20 metre kick by ten metres, but he managed it.
Good first half by Jack Silvangi – his best half of footy for the year.
Franklin’s first goal came from a free kick. Buddy was three deep and not much of a chance to take the mark. Sam Rowe holding him made little sense, but there he was, with a handful of jumper. Not smart.
I didn’t put Isaac Heeney in the ‘good’ section as it was getting a little full, and he has a nice medal to keep him warm, but as good as he is up forward, I love his field kicking. He hit Parker in stride with a perfectly-weighted kick in the first quarter. Just a lovely connection.
You could see the Blues starting to miss targets towards the end of the first quarter. The Swans were sweating on them in that period, as though they sensed the Blues were a little gassed, and wouldn’t be as clean as required.
Nick Smith was prominent early down back.
Luke Parker’s last minute decision to pull his kick and swing it to 30 metres out directly in front was perfect. No one saw it coming except for Heeney who converted after Patrick Cripps lost his bearings and wandered through the protected zone.
Sinclair pushing hard forward really opened the game up for Sydney. Having that big, marking option crashing into packs created a real sense of panic amongst the Blues, and opportunity amongst the Swans.
He didn’t do too much tonight, but Gary Rohan’s fend off on Kreuzer, and delivery to the retreating Buddy Franklin in the second quarter was first class.
Channel Seven really screw the pooch on replays sometimes…
I would like to have seen Hewett run onto the ball inside 50 and Buddy provide the protection in the marking contest. I know, I know… Buddy is there to kick goals, but Hewett was so good, I would’ve loved to see him rewarded with a goal. Instead, we got Franklin slotting another.
Kerridge really should’ve finished the great play of both Charlie and Ed Curnow in the third quarter despite immense pressure, who both stood in tackles and got their disposals away. As Kerridge missed, the wind went out of the Carlton sails.
The Blues hugged the boundary in this game. I understand the strategy makes defending easier, and they’re trying not to get blown out on Friday night, but if you’re going to have a chance to win, you need to switch and occasionally attack through the corridor. Their forward thrusts were safe tonight and rarely paid dividends. It was disappointing. Without risk, there is no reward, but maybe they're just getting everyone to follow instructions? That's usually a good place to start - see who will stick to the game plan irrespective of the situation.
Hayward and Ronke really add some spark and pace to the Swans forward line. Sydney looked a little one-pace at times early in the year, but they look quick now, and it is due to players like those two, and Ollie Florent.
Loved Luke Parker’s tackle on Liam Jones inside forward 50. It was crunching, pinning effort.
Sam Rowe dropping the knee into the legs of Buddy… what do you think? I am not all that sure he’ll be penalised for this, even financially. I think he can successfully argue he had no real other option and he mitigated the effect by keeping one leg away from Franklin. I’d be interested to hear what you guys think.
Looking back at my notes, Heeney really could’ve had a huge night here.
McVeigh’s last quarter free kick and goal against Petrevski-Seton were such veteran’s efforts. Used the body so well and almost compelled his opponent to hold onto him. Once he did, he accentuated and got the free kick. No, it wasn’t staging – it was smart!
Ed Curnow’s goal from the boundary late in the game was the best kick of the night. Too little, too late.