The pecking order is always a fascinating exercise.
It’s ranking the manner in which the teams performed and to some extent the way in which they were coached. It was a challenging exercise to rank the teams in the pecking order for Round 6.
1. Carlton started the game well, kicking three of the opening four goals in the first quarter. Carlton were resilient in the second quarter, keeping a substantial lead. Carlton’s style of play was in a class of its own. Mitch McGovern kicked a momentum shifter in the third quarter that gave Carlton a 27-point lead midway through the third quarter. Carlton’s forward line functioned well. It was a great performance from them. They played team-first footy. There was great synergy between all of the players. It was an unbelievable spectacle. They played footy that would make them a contender for the premiership if they can prove it wasn’t an aberration. Carlton scored over 100 points.
2. Geelong would be pleased with the character that they showed, recovering from a 22-point deficit by implementing the game plan of Chris Scott to perfection. It almost strengthened them, given the fact that they were forced to play with only two players on the bench after quarter time due to injuries suffered by Quinton Narkle and Mitch Duncan. Sam Menegola and Patrick Dangerfield in particular lifted and got Geelong a valuable four points. Geelong’s efficiency with the goal and pressure without the ball was impressive. They were almost galvanised by having less rotations. They appeared to work even harder than usual.
3. Collingwood played an outstanding game of footy. It was a four-quarter effort. The players were in sync and played for each other, restricting Hawthorn to just three points. It wasn’t evident that they had a weakness. Perhaps, they could have won the game by more than 32 points, but it’s understandable there were moments where they didn’t execute properly, predominantly in relation to their goal kicking. Collingwood finished the game with eight goals and 11 behinds. The skills that they executed were fantastic for the majority of the game. Collingwood made Hawthorn look like potential wooden spooners in AFL season 2020.
4. Fremantle started the game poorly with Michael Walters kicking the wrong way, which led to Tim Membrey kicking the opening goal of the game. Sean Darcy responded for Fremantle by pushing forward, taking a good contested mark and levelling the scores, with a good set shot. Unfortunately, that was the only positive for Fremantle to take out of the first quarter. Fremantle did manage to kick the opening goal of the second quarter thanks to Rory Lobb. Fremantle had to deal with being two players down on the bench for the majority of the game with Sean Darcy and Hayden Young injured. Fremantle took the lead in the third quarter, despite trailing by 36 points at quarter time. Fremantle missed four set shots in a row, until Bailey Banfield scored a freakish goal from the pocket to give them a 13-point lead in the fourth quarter, which proved to be a key moment in the game with Fremantle winning by just six points.
5. Port Adelaide were ruthless with their team selection. They omitted Tom Rockliff, one of their senior players. Port Adelaide started the game well as they ensured the Greater Western Sydney Giants didn’t score at all for much of the first quarter. Port Adelaide did well to stifle the run that the Giants generally provide off half back. They were clearly prepared for the game and had planned to expose the Giants’ weaknesses. Robbie Gray kicked a team-lifting goal that put Port Adelaide 13 points ahead in the second quarter, just after half way through it. They got a deserved win in a tough game of footy.
6. Richmond were forced into making five changes at selection. They weren’t just five enforced selection changes, they were all quality, experienced players. They kicked the first three of the game. Richmond took a deserved eight-point lead into halftime. Despite missing five of their best 22 they looked the better team for the first half and held on for a character-building win.
7. Essendon didn’t start the game well, but they worked their way back into the game. Essendon proved that they are a chance to make the finals. They did improve in the second quarter, but their kicking for goal was poor. At the end of the day Essendon had too much class for North Melbourne. Essendon would be disappointed that they didn’t win by more due to their inaccurate goal kicking and they clearly have to work on that aspect of their game if they want to be a premiership contender.
8. Melbourne outplayed Gold Coast for the first quarter and a half. Their skill execution wasn’t up to standard at times. They lacked composure, otherwise they would have had an unassailable lead. Melbourne had 11 inside 50s to none near the midway point of the second quarter, yet they only kicked three goals in that period. Melbourne were without Tom McDonald for much of the game after suffering an injury. Melbourne had improved their game plan. There’s no question about it. They have been working on their weaknesses. Tom McDonald being unavailable may have made their forward line more unpredictable as Sam Collins of the Gold Coast would normally play on him. They put in a four-quarter effort and played team-first footy.
9. West Coast were outplayed in the first part of the opening quarter. Thankfully for them they only conceded one goal during that period. The West Coast displayed poise and composure in every element of the game apart from perhaps goal kicking in the first half as they only had four goals from eight scoring shots. West Coast improved after halftime, bringing plenty of intensity and embarrassing Adelaide. West Coast did lose the final quarter by one point.
10. St Kilda played some good footy early in the game as they were efficient with their inside 50 entries. They played footy in the first quarter that made them appear to be premiership contenders. The reality is footy happens to be a four-quarter game and they couldn’t keep it up. They are a team that are playing to their optimum level. The pressure that St Kilda applied was unrelenting, but unfortunately it dropped off. St Kilda kicked seven goals to Fremantle’s solitary goal at quarter time. St Kilda should have won the game, but they somehow managed to get worse as the game went on. Tim Membrey kicked a goal to arrest the momentum and cut the deficit to 13 points in the fourth quarter. St Kilda showed plenty of character to come back from a 19-point deficit in the second part of the fourth quarter, but to no avail.
11. The Greater Western Sydney Giants played poorly in the first half of the opening quarter, as they failed to hit the scoreboard. They didn’t appear to have a suitable game plan to stifle Port Adelaide’s strengths and curtail their best players. The exception to that was Travis Boak, who has a quiet first half. Their execution of their skills and forward 50 entries weren’t effective. They seemed to improve as the game went on. The Giants coped well with the pressure that Port Adelaide applied on them in the second half. Lachie Whitfield’s goal to put the Giants ahead on the scoreboard was pivotal in the sense that it gave the Giants the momentum in the third quarter. The game ebbed and flowed with a lot of lead changes, but ultimately the Giants weren’t good enough.
12. North Melbourne had a late omission in Jed Anderson, who was a big loss. Despite that, North Melbourne had a good first quarter, but only had a five-point lead at quarter time. They put in good effort for the game in its entirety. North Melbourne showed great endeavour throughout the night, but they were just outclassed in the key moments. Bearing in mind they were missing Ben Cunnington and Jed Anderson. They performed admirably, despite the 14-point loss. North Melbourne would be pleased with the endeavour they showed, despite not winning the game.
13. Gold Coast were okay in the first quarter or so, but they were somewhat disappointing. It was almost as if they came into the game expecting to win it, especially given that Melbourne have been struggling for form. Gold Coast were completely outplayed for much of the second quarter with Melbourne dominating the inside 50s. Izak Rankine was a positive inclusion for the Gold Coast, kicking three freakish goals. Brandon Ellis also kicked two freakish goals. They didn’t deserve to win as they were outplayed.
14. Adelaide clearly came to play with a good game plan, but the execution of their skills let them down. Despite there being a 15-point deficit at halftime in West Coast’s favour, Adelaide showed great endeavour and hunger for the contest. Adelaide had a disappointing second half with West Coast having too much polish and efficiency for them. It was almost as if West Coast were at a different class to Adelaide, but Adelaide did win the fourth quarter.
15. Brisbane started the game extremely well, but after accumulating a 22-point lead they were either complacent or outplayed. It was difficult to decipher which one, but it looked like they were almost shell-shocked at a Geelong team that played some impressive footy following a poor start to the game. It may have been a loss to Geelong who sit second on the ladder, but it’s worrying signs for Brisbane, especially given Mitch Duncan from Geelong was injured early in the game, as Duncan is a quality player.
16. The Western Bulldogs were outworked and out pressured by Carlton. They were outplayed in the opening quarter of the game. It wasn’t that the Western Bulldogs were playing poorly in the first half, Carlton were just exceptional. The Western Bulldogs didn’t give up. They kept on trying and unrelentingly endeavouring to get back into the game. Marcus Bontempelli made the deficit just three goals near the end of the third quarter. After that point in time Carlton completely obliterated the Western Bulldogs. The Western Bulldogs have plenty of work to do in every aspect of their game.
17. Hawthorn clearly didn’t come to play. They were completely outplayed in every aspect of the game. The likes of Tom Mitchell, James Sicily and Isaac Smith never stopped trying, however the overall team performance wasn’t satisfactory. Hawthorn weren’t willing to go through the corridor and take risks. They would have been better risking losing by ten goals or more, because it could’ve meant that they had a chance of winning the game. Their goal kicking wasn’t good, kicking three goals and nine behinds. They can be forgiven slightly as Jonathon Patton injured a right hamstring early in the game.
18. The Sydney Swans made four changes at selection. They conceded the first three goals of the game. Josh Kennedy suffered an injury in the first quarter, meaning the Swans had one less player to rotate on the interchange bench. The Swans responded from a poor start. They did play a defence-orientated second quarter. They took plenty of uncontested marks. It wasn’t pretty to watch, but it kept them in the game, at least from a scoreboard perspective. Isaac Heeney suffered an ankle injury in the last quarter. The Swans clearly have a lot to work on.