AFL Round 4: Five things we learned Saturday

Round Four was a weekend of upsets and boliovers. Saturday was no exception but what did we learn from a Super Saturday of five matches?

The tag is back

There’s something about a quality tagger that brings me joy – Matt De Boer is no exception. It might not take insane amounts of skill to completely shut down the best in the game, but it does take a high level of concentration, will and aggression. These are qualities you would want in any player who plays at your club. Not yet properly cemented in the GWS side, he might be now after a fortnight where he has completely got in the head of the two best players the competition has seen in the past few years. It was Dustin Martin last week, and Patrick Dangerfield this week. If you said that Danger and his pal Tim Kelly would have combined for just 26 touches, Leon Cameron would have bitten your arm off. De Boer was able to lock down on the Geelong midfield, which left the Cats quite exposed. It exposed the bottom ten or so players at the Cats and required them to give extra. They have done this so well in recent weeks, but on Saturday – it let them down. Danger will also now be under some MRP scrutiny – can I sense a trend? They face Freo this week, so if Nat Fyfe comes up, we will see another tremendous battle.


Tippa is something special

For a man that was close to being dropped from a 0-2 Bombers side, Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti may have not just revitalised his own career, but the whole Bombers season. He has been the difference in the last fortnight, backing up his four goal game against the Demons with another seven against the Lions. Yes, seven! The man they call ‘Walla’ excited the MCG like one of the best forwards in the game, kicking them from absolutely everywhere. In a forward line that is missing its best key player, it was important that it was Tippa that led from the front. It won’t be a Mark Baguely or a Mitch Brown, but the whole footy world was happy it was Tippa. To become one of the best small forwards in the game, he must do this more often. Maybe not seven goal games, but he must avoid having games where he has little to no impact, which happened in the first two rounds as well as in several games last season. This may get his career truly up and running.


Port may rue missed opportunity

This seems like this happens every year, doesn’t it Port fans? Playing at home against a truly depleted Richmond side, who just came off an interstate belting at the hands of the Giants. The equation was simple, win and move onto next week. Richmond, still without all of their big four, and led by Shane Edwards who isn’t even in their leadership group, came out and took it to Port. For the most part, Port stayed in control. But silly errors meant the Tigers got their tails up, and we know what happens when they get a sniff. A double goal for Tom Lynch which was fully avoidable, costly misses from Xavier Duursma and an overall poor forward line structure late in the game saw Richmond snatch it right from Port’s hands. An opportunity missed to create space between themselves and a side that still looks like they can trouble, even without their big names. After missing the finals last season on the base of results like this, this simply can’t be a good sign for what it to come. Surely not again.


What do we know about Adelaide?

The other part of South Australia sees Adelaide, sitting 1-3 after four games of lacklustre footy. So what do we know about them four weeks in? We know that our expectations of seeing them return to the top four and even the top eight could be completely wrong. For the moment, they are not playing with any conviction and with any sort of x-factor that saw them be the best side in the competition just two seasons ago. After leading by three goals in the third quarter against a Roos side that has been average at best – also without a win, you simply need to hold on. It wasn’t as if Marvel is a fortress for the Kangas, or that the Roos faithful became the 23rd man and got them over the line like we sometimes see in Adelaide. It was ultimately a poor result from the Crows, a team that we know now isn’t the team we thought they would be.


A poor derby sees the Eagles look the front runner

Winning scrappy is one of the best things in sport all around the world. The best teams cannot win every single game in the greatest fashion, and it is normally when they slip up in big games where what should be a win, turns into a loss. We saw the Cats do it this weekend, and the Hawks just on Sunday! West Coast weren’t great, neither were Freo either. But in a Derby that means more than just four points, being able to lock away the game and get the win will mean more to Adam Simpson than any level of performance. Inspired by the boos, Andrew Gaff provided the game with the class it needed. A lazy 35 for the man who ended the game in tears last time these two teams met, meant the Eagles continued on their merry way to in my opinion, be the front runner in this seasons competition. Flag favourites for mine right now.


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