AFL Round Six – Knee Jerk Reaction

Bozza gives his first reaction to the state of the AFL after six rounds.

Season over for Kangaroos and Dees.

It could be argued that North and Melbourne were improved this week but at 1 & 5, both playing groups can begin making September holiday plans.

Wounded Tigers still dangerous.

Jack Riewoldt will join the Tigers injury list but, given the way in which they have covered for missing stars over the last few weeks, they will remain a difficult proposition for opposition sides.

Port’s Kids Are Alright.

While the jury might still be out as to how good the Power are, the same cannot be said of their 2018 Draft Class. The First Round Trio of Connor Rozee, Zak Butters and Xavier Duursma have shined early and loom as A-Grade stars.

There is life in the Crows.

The Crows dominated the middle against the Saints on Saturday, finishing the match with a plus 20 differential in contested possessions. They may not be firing on all cylinders just yet but, after a second comprehensive victory in a row, they still could be a team to be reckoned with in 2019.

St Kilda and Gold Coast still have some work to do.

After recording fast starts to 2019, both the Saints and Suns were disappointing in Round Six. We will learn a lot about both sides over the next few weeks as they try to bounce back from these defeats against quality opposition.

There is only one team in Sydney.

The Giants victory over Sydney improved their record to 4 & 2 but perhaps more tellingly, it consigned the Swans to a 1 & 5 start to the season. The Swans were competitive for large parts of the contest but the Giants were too slick and too strong and ran out 41 point victors. It means that GWS finds themselves in the crush of teams jostling at the top of the ladder while their cross-town rivals no longer have a realistic chance to play finals in 2019.

Lachie Neale might be the recruit of the year.

One of the biggest recruiting coups of the past off-season was the Lions acquisition of Lachie Neale. The former Docker illustrated this fact once again during his first Q-Clash against the Suns. A class above everyone else on the ground, Neale helped himself to 28 possessions and kicked a goal. He won six clearances, three of which resulted in Lions goals.

Freo’s rebuild complete?

The Pinch Hitters has not been alone in its scepticism at Ross Lyon’s ‘rebuild on the run’ at Fremantle. While not as vocally critical as Brad Hardie or Paul Haselby, we would not have predicted Fremantle’s fast start to 2019. It’s still very early days but the foundations of the rebuild will receive some heavy testing over the next three weeks with big games against Adelaide, Richmond, and Essendon. Will they remain standing strong or fall over?

A large gulf between Hawks best and worst.

The Hawks sneaked out of Launceston with the four premiership points but the clash with the Blues illustrated once again the large gap between their best and worst. They had no answer to Carlton’s energy in the first half and fell behind by 31-points. A 10-goal second half saw them overpower the young Blues but until they can more consistently access this kind of form they will struggle to compete with the competition’s elite.

Not all doom and gloom for the Blues.

Carlton will be kicking themselves for their second half and Brendon Bolton will no doubt remind during the week them that good teams don’t lose games after leading by 31-points. For a team only a few years removed from ground zero, the positives of the first half outweigh the negatives of the second. Bolton’s green shoots still need a little care and development but they are beginning to show what the future might hold.

Worrying signs for the Eagles.

There is still plenty of time for the Premiers to rediscover their mojo but the way they have lost their last two games is worrying for Adam Simpson and his men. Having been unable to fire a shot against Port Adelaide a week ago, they were arguably worse against the Cats this week. While they are likely to win their next three games, their inability to fire against the best teams in the competition leaves genuine question marks on their chances to claim back to back flags.

Cats are the team to beat.

Geelong fired an ominious warning shot to the rest of the competition with their mauling of the Eagles at Simmonds Stadium. While Premiership Cups aren’t awarded in March, in just six games, the Cats have put themselves one game and percentage ahead of the log jam of teams behind them. With a good mix of youth and experience, they appear well placed to give the premiership a genuine tilt.

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