AFL 2020: Round 10 – Learned, Liked, Disliked

Find out what The Pinch Hitters Learned, Liked, and Disliked from Round 10 of the 2020 AFL Season.

Can’t get enough footy? Check out our Pinch Hitters AFL Mid Season Report Cards here.

Melbourne still believes is one of the things The Pinch Hitters learned from Round 10 of the AFL in 2020

Melbourne Still Believes.

Simon Goodwin was at pains to explain that his team’s season was alive and well after their victory over Adelaide on Wednesday night. After a topsy-turvy season they find themselves outside the eight by six-points, in 12th position, with a game in hand after Round Ten.

With just three games to play against Top Eight opposition there is some cause for optimism but their form against Adelaide is reason for concern. While a seven goal final term saw the final margin a convincing one, it wasn’t until this point that they were able to finally shake off the winless Crows.

Already needing other results to go their way with eight rounds to go, Goodwin’s assessment of the season is definitely on the optimistic side. While it is definitely his job to sell hope to his team and their supporters, the more accurate description is that it is in intensive care with life support standing by.

They have two big tests of their improving health against teams in the top eight mix over the next three rounds. It’s only after these results come through that we will know if they are indeed alive and well.

We can expect a few more baby Gryan’s in the future.

Understandably, given his parents came up with it with the help of a Scrabble board, Gryan Miers has one of the more unusual names going around. But if he continues having games like he did against North Melbourne, on Wednesday we may well see a spike in its use in honour of the dreadlocked Cat over the months and years ahead.

Can’t get enough footy? Check out our Pinch Hitters AFL Mid Season Report Cards here.

Can’t get enough footy? Check out our Pinch Hitters AFL Mid Season Report Cards here.

Dan Butler proves he is

Dan Butler is the recruit of the year.

With another four goals against the Suns, Dan Butler moved himself into second place in the Coleman Medal and went a long way to lifting his team into the same position on the AFL ladder. His impact in his first 10 games for the club has been incredible with his defensive efforts and goal sense playing a key part in the Saints rise up the ladder.

If he’s not the recruit of the year, we’ve missed the player who has had a bigger impact than him in his first year at another club.


Don’t call this a comeback. It’s hardly a comeback if you’ve never gone.

Richmond are back. If there was any doubt before Tuesday night, there should be none now after their comprehensive victory over the Lions on the Gold Coast. As true as most of this seems, there is one part of this narrative that is false.

Despite the collective rush to write the Tigers off after the resumption of the AFL season, and some admittedly terrible performances, this was more wishful thinking than analysis. As Grinspoon so eloquently put it, ‘Don’t call this a comeback. It’s hardly a comeback if you’ve never gone.’

Their defeat of the Lions didn’t prove the defending premiers were contenders once again this year. It just reminded us that they should never have been written off in the first place.

Josh Daicos' Goal of the Year contender reminded many of his father and was one of the things The Pinch Hitters liked from Round 10 of the 2020 AFL season.

Like Father, Like Son.

Collingwood were forced to work for their victory over Sydney at the Gabba on Thursday. While the match would have been a little too close for comfort for their fans, that the match needed winning in the final quarter provided one of the highlights of the season.

With the Swans pushing hard, and the margin just three points, the Magpies needed a hero. Enter Josh Daicos. The son of Collingwood royalty, Daicos swooped on an errant Lewis Melican kick in and, after deft handling to keep the ball in play, he slotted a checkside from the boundary line.

It was a moment that no doubt prompted memories of his father in the memories of Collingwood fans of a certain age and will earn him serious consideration for Goal of the Year honours. Perhaps more importantly though, for a team on the outside of the eight looking in, it secured a much needed four premiership points.

Can’t get enough footy? Check out our Pinch Hitters AFL Mid Season Report Cards here.

Can’t get enough footy? Check out our Pinch Hitters AFL Mid Season Report Cards here.

The Lions wastefulness was one thing The Pinch Hitters disliked in Round 10 of the 2020 AFL season.

The Lions Wastefulness.

Allan Jeans always said that football was a simple game either ‘we have the ball, they have the ball or the ball is in dispute. In the end the Lions lost against Richmond in Round Nine because they wasted their opportunities when in possession of the ball.

Some might want to quibble about whether it was the ruthless efficiency by the winner or the wastefulness of the loser that was more responsible for the result. Whatever the answer, if you can truly reach a conclusion, takes away little from the original contention.

We will however speak to the Lions inefficiencies first as these were exposed first in this contest. After a fast start they had two goals on the board and the early ascendancy. By quarter’s end they held a 14-9 inside 50 advantage but had surrendered the momentum and trailed by a goal.

Despite Brisbane doing most of the attacking to start the second quarter, it would be Richmond that would kick the opening goal. It would take 12 minutes of camping in their forward line for the Lions to answer with their first with the quarter into time on. The contrast between these efforts to draw within three points and those required by Richmond to take the game away from them couldn’t have been more stark.

Having absorbed all that Brisbane could thrown at them, the Tigers response was ruthless. In just seven minutes they kicked four goals to take a 28-point lead into the long break. After spending most of the quarter defending they finished it with a match-winning advantage.

The Tigers would find it less easy to score in the second half but continued to withstand the Lions attack. In contrast, Brisbane who again created more chances, would kick just one more goal to finish with 4.17 for the match.

The controversy surrounding the free kick awarded Callan Ward was something The Pinch Hitters disliked in Round 10 of the 2020 AFL season.

The Spectre of Diving.

Two rounds after his ability to draw free kicks was called out by an irritated Alastair Clarkson, Tom Papley was fined for staging against Collingwood in Round 10. The AFL’s hand perhaps forced by the theatrical nature of Papley’s effort to draw a kick when one wasn’t forthcoming from the umpire.

The flames of discontent were fanned when Callan Ward ensured the umpires in the Giants clash with the Bombers were made aware of the high contact he had received. The former Giant’s skipper made no mistake from the resulting free kick which meaning it would come into sharp focus when they fell across the line by four points.

While the scrutiny is understandable, that it is has earned ‘controversy status’ less so. Despite Wayne Carey’s assertion in commentary that Ward’s exaggeration should have seen play on called, a free kick is a free kick regardless of how theatrically it is brought to an umpires attention.

At the end of the day though, stories of team’s being robbed sell more papers than stories of teams blowing five goal third quarter leads.

Josh Bruce is the poster boy of the Bulldogs forward issues

The Bulldogs Forward Line Struggles.

At half-time on Monday night, the Western Bulldogs led the inside 50 count 25-12 yet led the match by just three points. Despite the All-Australian quality midfielders winning the ball in the middle, they struggled to find any real connection with their forward line.

It is a familiar tale for the club in 2020 who, despite being fourth in the competition for possessions, are in the bottom half of the competition for marks inside 50 and goal efficiency. This can be somewhat explained by the absence of Aaron Naughton but is a sorry story for offseason recruit Josh Bruce.

The former Saint has failed to find his feat at the Kennel in 2020. His two possession performance against the Power the nadir of a disappointing season. With Bruce signing on for four years at the end of 2019, there is plenty of time for him to turn the situation around. But with the Bulldogs still crying out for a forward after his acquisition, what looked like a trade period bargain is beginning to look like a bust.

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