TEN THINGS I LEARNT AFTER ROUND 16
1 - Collingwood could lose six in a row.
The Pies are up to three losses in a row, and with games coming up against West Coast, GWS and Richmond, a further three losses look likely. The Pies would be 10-8 if that were to happen. In the last few weeks, their inside 50 count has fallen off a cliff, so they'll have to rectify that situation super quickly to turn things around. It seems the season's derailment has coincided with the Stephenson suspension. Injuries have played their part too. Just imagine if they lose six in a row and somehow get beaten by the Suns in Round 19!! Surely not, but if so, even Ed might be forced to show Bucks the door. Now that I've pissed off every Pies person reading this, my personal feeling is they will flick the switch soon and surprise us over the next few weeks, but saying that is no fun!
2 - Sydney blew their last chance at September action.
There was a small pulse when they were 6-8. But the loss to the Bombers now seems a finals berth is a bridge too far. They've got the Blues this week at home and should win, but it doesn't get easier after that. I'd say 10 wins at best. On the other side of the coin, the Bombers are suddenly in credit as far as wins and losses go, and sit outside the eight just on percentage. A massive game against North this week.
3 - It may be time for the Suns to get some priority picks
As a Carlton supporter, this would infuriate me no end, however, it's either that or they fold the club. Something has to happen or the Suns will occupy last place for a short dynasty. And as soon as they recruit a young gun, they're already looking at the door. Player retention is a difficulty for the Gold Coast Football Club, so I have some suggestions: Each year, make sure they have an unlimited 3-park Superpass for the year, unsupervised access to Schoolies week, regular meetings with meter-maids and a crash course in Japanese. Problem solved! This will make them a destination club for sure!
4 - It's amazing how well Port Adelaide play when they pick their best team
I'm still shaking my head at the axing of Powell-Pepper, Westhoff and Ryder, as well as bringing Tom Rockliff back through the reserves where he amassed a lazy 57 possessions. Here we are a week later, and Rockliff gets it 36 times while Westhoff takes 16 marks in a best on ground performance. Still no Ryder, but at least we're getting there. I'd love to know the real reason that led to these decisions. Footnote: Since Round 6, the Power have won and lost every second game. Playing against the Lions at home next week may see this trend continue.
5 - The Dogs could win five in a row.
The Dogs have surprisingly won their last two and have winnable games over the next three weeks. Should they win all those, they'd all of a sudden find themselves with 10 wins and 8 losses, and possibly inside the 8. It gets a little harder from there, but another 2-3 wins is still a possibility. They're not out of it, although losses early in the year against Carlton and The Suns might come back to haunt them. They're still alive.
6 - Two goals 19 behinds?? Seriously?
I had to do a double-take when I saw this scoreline by the Dockers. So I looked at the stats in more detail, and wasn't shocked when I saw they had more inside-50s than the Eagles (60-50). I imagine just 2 goals from 60 entries would have to be some kind of record in the inefficiency stakes. That's a rate of just 3.3%! Meanwhile, the Eagles scored 19 goals from 50 entries at a rate of 38%. You can only politely describe this as very wasteful as their season slips away and the pressure starts to build once again on the coach.
7 - West Coast are now premiership favourites
The Cats possibly need to stop talking about hosting a final at GMHBA and maybe focus more on ensuring they finish in the top two of the ladder. A couple of unexpected losses has made them seem gettable. Meanwhile, the Eagles' currency grows by the day. Nic Naitanui seems to be as good as ever, and they had a comfortable derby win without Josh Kennedy up forward. Back to back is not out of the question.
8 - The Blues only start playing well once they're 30-plus points behind
Obviously, there are deficiencies at the Blues though most see the signs of improvement. That said, there are periods in most games where they seem to be brushed aside with ease. Of late, it's not until they find themselves behind by 30-40 points with the game just about out of reach that they then suddenly seem to find their flair. On two out of the last four occasions they even managed to eke out a victory. But the fans are always left wondering why this has to happen before their best comes out...
9 - Rhyce Shaw isn't doing his chances of snagging the top job any harm
If you listen to the talk, Rhyce will not have the top job next year. He's now won four from five and finals must be in the back of their minds. Their draw, however, is very tough. For them to win five or six of the next eight to make the finals would be one almighty effort. And the reward for that would have to be a Rhyce Shaw contract.
10 - I thought Brisbane would miss the finals - I was wrong
There's still a bit of work to do, but surely the Lions can find three wins at least? It appears as though five wins and they may even finish Top 4. This is an amazing turnaround for a club on its knees just two years ago. They've got the right coach and have put together a great list which showed some good signs last season, although nobody would've given them any chance of finishing with a double-chance. That would be some story! UNTIL NEXT WEEK....
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