Home Sport Melbourne emerges as AFL’s ‘greatest headache’ in 2023

Melbourne emerges as AFL’s ‘greatest headache’ in 2023

Melbourne emerges as AFL’s ‘greatest headache’ in 2023

The ultimate week of AFL pre-season hit-outs has come and gone, with golf equipment now setting themselves for Spherical 1 and the lengthy marketing campaign forward.

Some recruits shined even brighter than others whereas just a few golf equipment clearly nonetheless have work to do earlier than Spherical 1.

The Demons put collectively probably the most eye-catching performances of the pre-season and the one-two punch of Max Gawn and Brodie Grundy is wanting prefer it might be the “greatest headache” within the AFL this 12 months.

Foxfooty.com.au runs by each AFL workforce’s observe match efficiency.

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The 2023 season might be Darcy Fogarty’s greatest and greatest but.

The important thing ahead had an electrical end to his 2022 marketing campaign, he booting 31 targets from his closing 12 matches.

And he seems primed for additional enchancment this 12 months, if his efficiency towards West Coast on Friday evening is something to go by.

Fogarty was a relentless menace and presence all evening for the Crows, booting 4.2 from 18 disposals, seven marks and three inside 50s. General, 11 of his 18 disposals led to Adelaide scores.

“He’s a younger participant that’s actually constructed his approach into his profession and he’s having a standout match right this moment, which bodes nicely for his and the Crows’ season,” Dockers legend Matthew Pavlich advised Fox Footy.

Premiership Eagle Will Schofield added: “Doesn’t he look harmful? That is the kind of age the place key forwards begin coming of age. Folks change into impatient with key forwards, nevertheless it simply takes a while. We noticed what he might do within the back-end of final 12 months and now take a look at what he’s doing.”

Fogarty solely conjured 26 targets from his first three seasons, however now seems nicely positioned forward of his sixth season as a Crow.

Requested post-game if he’d seen a participant have an even bigger 12-month transformation than Fogarty, Crows coach Matthew Nicks stated: “No I haven’t.

“He could be the one participant for the time being that you’d check with of the place our workforce is attending to.

“Six or 9 months in the past, folks have been questioning what was happening however he’s carried out an unbelievable job off his personal again … and now he believes in himself.

“It’s so pleasing to see him come again after an low season and nonetheless have the ability to do what he was doing on the finish of final 12 months.

“It’s vital to be affected person with folks and affected person with growth as a result of it takes a special period of time for each single participant.”

Brisbane Lions name skippers ahead of 2023 season


There’s been a lot commentary and hype round Brisbane’s low season recruits – they usually look the actual deal.

Josh Dunkley (31 disposals) and Will Ashcroft (26 disposals) starred within the midfield in Thursday’s win over Geelong to spherical out arguably the most effective on-ball unit within the competitors alongside Lachie Neale and Hugh McCluggage.

Whereas Jack Gunston was under his greatest with 1.3 in entrance of purpose, he appeared harmful inside 50 all sport to offer their already potent ahead line a robust new dynamic.

The Lions additionally showcased a extra daring, quicker sport plan to utilise their firepower in assault.

The trio of recruits will go a good distance in serving to the Lions problem for the flag after a number of years of finals shortcomings, with dominant wins over 2022 Grand Finalists Geelong and Sydney the best preparation for the season correct.

Certainly, it looms as Brisbane’s greatest probability at profitable the flag underneath Chris Fagan as possibly the frontrunner as issues stand.


There might be one – possibly extra – new Blues to take the sphere of their Spherical 1 conflict towards Richmond.

Quite a few rising Blues staked their declare to make their correct senior debut with promising performances towards the Swans in an in any other case disappointing displaying from Michael Voss’ males.

Whereas Blake Acres seemingly has one wing place locked down, it appears Oliver Hollands will probably be battle it out with Lochie O’Brien for the function on the reverse finish.

Hollands, who joined Carlton with Choose 11 in final 12 months’s draft, confirmed nice operating energy and composure with the footy on Saturday evening.

Even when Hollands isn’t there Spherical 1, count on the younger gun to function within the senior facet at some stage this 12 months.

In the meantime, second-round draftee Lachie Cowan and Alex Cincotta, who was picked up from the membership’s rookie checklist, additionally put in encouraging performances and can basically be competing for a similar halfback function vacated by Zac Williams following his ACL damage.

In saying this, Nic Newman and Caleb Marchbank didn’t line up towards Sydney as extra seasoned names that might stroll into the defence over the duo.

However there might nonetheless be room for certainly one of Cowan and Cincotta to play a task, significantly with Sam Walsh’s damage probably pushing Sam Docherty additional up the sphere.

“Docherty could be required to push up and provides some further aid within the midfield as nicely. Tonight even he’s taking part in within the again half and pushing into the center,” Hawks nice Dermott Brereton stated on Fox Footy.

“He’s form of quarterbacking a bit, sitting off the again of the packs there … however you will have him to run by the center for certain if Walsh doesn’t make it on the market.”

Ralphy chats through De Goey dump


Following Nick Daicos’ super debut season culminating in Rising Star honours – and lots of saying it was the most effective rookie marketing campaign they’ve ever seen – he may discover issues a lot harder in his second 12 months.

Hawthorn’s Finn Maginness successfully shut down Daicos in a tagging job in Thursday evening’s conflict, limiting the 20-year previous Magpies prodigy to only 17 disposals.

It comes as Daicos is being touted to play extra on the ball in 2023 as Craig McRae seems to be to deploy a deepened midfield – and Daicos might be the Magpies’ most damaging participant that units up their fast-paced, run and carry model.

In fact, Daicos already began to get extra consideration from opposition within the second half of final season, however as relayed by Hawks coach Sam Mitchell on Fox Footy on Thursday, the son of a gun “higher get used to” being tagged extra often.

Many pundits have predicted Daicos is ready to take one other large leap in 12 months two after he was stated to have had a giant pre-season and in pushing additional up the bottom.

Heck, some consider he’s a reputable probability to assert an All-Australian blazer and is even a Brownlow Medal smokie.

However studying to play with extra opposition consideration goes to be essential – albeit uncommon therapy for only a 20-year previous in his second season in a testomony to his expertise.

“He’s the form of participant who will see it as a large problem and put on it as a badge of honour that he’s getting tagged and discover a method to get on high of it,” Demons nice Garry Lyon advised Fox Footy.

“Craig’s at all times received the choice to throw him at halfback the he tore the shreds to competitors to shreds final 12 months and take his opposition to locations they wouldn’t wish to be.”


One among Essendon’s greatest points final 12 months was its obtrusive lack of ahead stress.

Damage restricted Will Snelling to only eight video games, and Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti didn’t make a senior look earlier than asserting his retirement – a call which he has since reversed.

However the Bombers look to have gone some method to fixing that downside with the addition of Alwyn Davey jnr to the line-up.

The thrilling father-son prospect may not have made his AFL debut but, however from what he has proven within the pre-season up to now, the Essendon devoted have lots to get enthusiastic about.

{The teenager} not solely runs into the fitting areas, however he hunts the opposition and is aware of the place the targets are. It’s clear to see he has glorious footy smarts already.

With Snelling again to full health, and McDonald-Tipungwuti not far off, the stress in Essendon’s attacking zone seems to be set to ramp up a notch or two in 2023.

Nonetheless, new coach Brad Scott nonetheless has plenty of work to do in different areas regarding their ahead line – particularly inside-50 supply.

The best way the ball enters Essendon’s ahead line has been certainly one of their greatest issues for years, and clearly there’s no fast repair helpful, as a result of towards St Kilda on Friday, the supply was as soon as once more regarding.

Key forwards Peter Wright, Harry Jones and Sam Weideman have been carried out few favours by their teammates additional up the sphere, with kicks of their neighborhood typically flying over their head or misdirected in varied different manners.

Wright, particularly, confirmed final 12 months how efficient he will be as a focal goal, kicking a career-best 53 targets (the primary Bomber to crack 50 since Joe Daniher in 2017) and profitable the membership‘s best-and-fairest.

So it’s vitally vital that Essendon be sure that they make Wright’s job as straightforward as attainable with a view to maximise his strengths.

And after being essentially the most inaccurate workforce within the competitors final 12 months (51 per cent), the Bombers’ goalkicking clearly hasn’t improved if their woeful 3.14 (32) towards the Saints is something to go by. The Dons are a middle-of-the-road workforce and to be any probability of an unlikely finals berth, accuracy is an absolute should because it might be the distinction between pinching an additional win or two to scrape into the highest eight, or not.

One other new recruit in Will Setterfield seems to be like he’ll add much-needed bulk to the Bombers’ midfield, however an on-ball division containing Zach Merrett, Darcy Parish, Dylan Shiel, Ben Hobbs and Jye Caldwell nonetheless seems to be undersized, and regardless of being proficient, it’s arduous to see this unit severely threatening the most effective midfield teams within the competitors often.

Down again, the good Jordan Ridley and Mason Redman have appeared pretty much as good as ever this pre-season and seem set for large seasons whereas Jayden Laverde and Jake Kelly have been strong too.


All of the ahead line rage after the Dockers‘ victory over Port Adelaide on Thursday evening centred on Nat Fyfe – and rightly so.

The twin Brownlow Medallist put in one other excellent pre-season efficiency, booting three targets from 14 disposals and 6 marks. Most significantly, eight of Fyfe’s 14 touches ended up in Fremantle scores.

However there have been additionally promising indicators from one other Fremantle ahead on Thursday evening – a participant eager to cement his spot within the Dockers‘ greatest 22 this season.

Josh Treacy was a relentless presence and menace for the Dockers, booting two targets from 10 disposals, 5 rating involvements and three marks (two contested). He additionally pinch-hit within the ruck within the absence of Luke Jackson, ending with six hit-outs and a few clearances.

Treacy, a 2020 rookie decide, turned heads in his first season with 13 targets from 15 video games, however managed only one purpose from 4 video games final season. However the 20-year-old put his hand up for Spherical 1 choice on Thursday as he lined the bottom with aplomb and introduced ample power to the competition.

“I believe he’s an actual undiscovered expertise that Fremantle haven’t fairly seen the most effective of him but,” premiership Eagle Will Schofield advised Fox Footy. ”However he’s a younger child and going to become one thing actually particular at Freo.”

Dockers legend Matthew Pavlich stated it was clear Treacy had “received a giant summer time underneath his belt”.

“He had numerous points final pre-season and that hindered him in some methods, virtually second-year blues after a reasonably spectacular first 12 months off the rookie checklist,” Pavlich advised Fox Footy.

With midfielder-turned-forward Fyfe to take up one spot inside 50 and the resting ruck – both Jackson or Sean Darcy – to carry one other, Treacy seems to be to be competing with Jye Amiss and Josh Corbett for a spot within the senior workforce. And that‘s assuming Matt Taberner is an computerized inclusion, too.

However Treacy is now arguably in Place a for a Spherical 1 berth.

Dockers assistant coach Jaymie Graham, who takes care of the membership’s ahead line, stated Treacy had “come again very match and he’s lots lighter than final 12 months”, including he’d “put his hand up” for Spherical 1 choice.

“We’ve to work out what our workforce seems to be like from a stability standpoint – however he has carried out what he can do. He has managed that and put his hand up,“ Graham advised reporters post-game.


It might have solely been a observe match, nevertheless it’s nonetheless uncommon to see Geelong get overwhelmed so badly in a 46-point loss to Brisbane.

In fact, the Cats have been lacking their star twin forwards Jeremy Cameron and Tom Hawkins along with the likes of Mark Blicavs, Mitch Duncan and Isaac Smith.

The exclusion of such names was at all times going to harm the reigning premiers, though they’ll should get by with out Hawkins in addition to Jack Henry to start out the season to depart two key voids up ahead.

Ollie Henry may also help cowl that after crossing from Collingwood within the low season, and there’s most likely sufficient star energy in any other case with Cameron, Gary Rohan, Tyson Stengle, Brad Shut and Gryan Miers.

For twin All-Australian Kane Cornes, the truth that Geelong solely misplaced the within 50 rely to Brisbane 53-53 suggests Chris Scott wouldn’t be panicking – particularly with Cameron and Hawkins lacking.

“I don’t assume they’d be too involved about something that they noticed final evening,” Cornes stated of the Cats on SEN.

“It was only a powerful evening for them. They’d numerous entries however have been simply inefficient going ahead, circumstances performed a consider that, however there wasn’t something to put in writing residence about.

“Not that it has me swaying my opinion on the place they are going to be in September.”


Most sides battle with out their stars, however the Suns have been no match for the Giants given the absence of Touk Miller, Brandon Ellis and Lachie Weller.

Miller’s absence was felt much more given the consistency the star onballer has displayed all through his profession.

This uncommon take a look at a Miller-less midfield wasn’t precisely alarming however, as Brad Johnson stated in the course of the match, highlighted “how vital Miller is to the midfield of the Suns”.

By the top of the match, 5 Giants gamers had greater than 25 disposals, whereas the Suns had only one in Sam Flanders, who seems to be set for a giant 2023 after failing to cement himself within the senior line-up final 12 months.

With out a number of of the Suns’ greatest mids, the Giants have been left to run riot, with Josh Kelly and Tom Inexperienced combining for 70 disposals and 13 clearances.

A forty five-point loss appears bleak on paper however, as Dermott Brereton stated: “You’ve received to consider your No. 1 driver within the midfield isn’t there.

“Their depth was up initially, however they only couldn’t go the space.”

If something, Saturday’s loss simply highlighted how vital it’s for Miller to stay match and firing in 2023 if the Suns are to breakthrough and see September motion.

Big names lead Giants to win over Suns


After Tim Taranto and Jacob Hopper each left GWS for Richmond throughout final 12 months’s commerce interval, the prevailing view was that the Giants’ midfield would battle to be aggressive this season.

However there have been some robust indications that it may not be all doom and gloom within the GWS engine room in 2023.

Tom Inexperienced and Finn Callaghan particularly have each appeared excellent and might be able to step up and fill the massive sneakers left by Taranto and Hopper.

Whereas it’s true that Inexperienced is already a longtime member of the Giants’ greatest 22, it‘s the added increase that they could get from former No.3 decide Callaghan which might come as an enormous bonus after he solely managed 5 matches final 12 months as a consequence of a foot damage.

And when one considers that Josh Kelly and Stephen Coniglio, who’ve each been unburdened by the removing of the co-captaincy, additionally look as if they haven’t skipped a beat this summer time, in addition to Lachie Ash and Lachie Whitfield, then maybe GWS will get by with out Taranto and Hopper simpler than first thought.

However it’s not simply the on-ball division that may be enthusing new coach Adam Kingsley. Down again, defenders Sam Taylor, Isaac Cumming, Connor Idun and Jacob Wehr have labored nicely collectively in observe matches and in an enormous increase, Taylor’s fellow All-Australian Nick Haynes seems to be unimpeded by a abdomen muscle damage which hampered him throughout most of his 17 video games final 12 months.

Particularly towards the Suns on Saturday, Haynes appeared to be transferring freer which is a superb signal for the Giants.

And whereas it was a small pattern measurement towards undermanned Gold Coast workforce, the GWS ahead line functioned very nicely too with Jake Riccardi (4), Harry Himmelberg (three), Jesse Hogan (two), Callaghan (two), James Peatling (two) and Daniel Lloyd (two) combining for 15 targets.

Spreading the goalkicking load is vital for any workforce and once you throw in celebrity Toby Greene to the combo, it seems to be as if Kingsley has fairly just a few avenues at purpose to work with.


Perhaps the Hawks didn’t lower too deep?

Sam Mitchell’s younger facet impressed in Thursday’s conflict towards Collingwood in a aggressive hitout. After wanting like getting blown off the park within the early levels, Hawthorn fought again and stayed with the Magpies all contest.

It was a promising efficiency after query marks on whether or not the Hawks shed an excessive amount of expertise within the low season – a complete of 1181 video games together with midfield stars Tom Mitchell and Jaeger O’Meara – leaving them with simply seven gamers who’ve performed over 100 matches.

These considerations solely grew after Hawthorn received thumped by Geelong in final week’s match simulation.

However the new-look on-ball brigade led by Jai Newcombe (27 disposals) and James Worpel (30 disposals) appeared as much as the duty towards Collingwood, whereas Choose 7 draftee Cam Mackenzie shone (24 touches, one purpose, equal game-high 11 rating involvements), too.

In the meantime, former Bulldog and SSP signing Fergus Greene was instrumental up ahead with three targets to assist fill the void left by Jack Gunston and canopy Mitch Lewis’ absence.

Whereas it was only a observe sport, there was promising indicators that’d fill Hawks followers with extra confidence forward of the season after taking a high 4 facet from final 12 months all the best way.

And even when Hawthorn slides down the ladder this season, it was encouraging to see the constructing blocks for the long run already standing up.

“It’s a observe match, however for Hawthorn, it’s a lot greater than that. They’ll get a lot out of this towards a high quality opposition,” Demons nice Garry Lyon advised Fox Footy.

“And final week which we all know they have been disenchanted they approach Geelong handed them and brushed them apart.”

Greene and Mackenzie seem like digital locks to play Spherical 1, whereas the latter introduced himself as real Rising Star contender, taking part in in his first unofficial sport for Hawthorn after lacking final week’s match simulation towards the Cats.

In a season the place participant growth would be the precedence, Mackenzie will probably be amongst these younger Hawks uncovered to greater roles.

“There’s been plenty of discuss Will Ashcroft, however his Sandringham Dragons teammate Mackenzie actually seems to be like he’s going to burst onto the scene as nicely,” Lions champion Jonathan Brown added.

Gawn and Grundy fire for Dees


There’s been query marks all low season as to how the daring Max GawnBrodie Grundy ruck mixture would work at Melbourne – and real query marks of that.

But when Sunday’s conflict with Richmond was something to go by, the remainder of the competitors has a significant issue on its fingers.

Or as put by St Kilda legend Nick Dal Santo, it’ll be the “greatest headache in soccer” for rival golf equipment to attempt to fight.

After a promising first hitout collectively in final week’s match simulation towards St Kilda, Gawn and Grundy have been dominant towards the Tigers – combining for six targets rotating between the ruck and ahead.

As highlighted by Dal Santo, their capability to do harm in assault and thus detract consideration on Melbourne’s different forwards is Simon Goodwin’s actual level of distinction.

“This has fully modified my thoughts,” Dal Santo stated on Fox Footy at half-time.

“I questioned whether or not this could work when the commerce went by, I assumed it could at all times take away from any individual.

“What we’ve seen on this first half of soccer and noticed final weekend towards the Saints, this might be the most important headache in soccer.

“This may change opposition workforce choice all through the week, as a result of they take a real defender. Then that frees up a Tom McDonald or Bayley Fritsch when he’s again taking part in.

“They’ve been excellent. They’ve kicked six of the 9 targets up to now on this sport, they’ve been the distinction and the standout gamers already.”

Gawn even admitted on Fox Footy post-match that how efficient he and Grundy are ahead might be the important thing to how profitable the pairing is.

Certainly, what was as soon as seen as a giant query mark now seems to be an awesome benefit for the Demons – and these benefits 12 months on 12 months is what can actually elevate a contender.

“It is working this two bigs scenario that just a few did query,” Fox Footy commentator Dwayne Russell famous in the course of the sport.

“However Melbourne has sort of carried out it earlier than … they received two key defenders in Steven Might and Jake Lever and spent a lot on them, however they received a premiership doing it.

“So who’s to say they aren’t going to do one thing a bit radical right here getting two of the most effective ruckmen within the competitors and win one other flag?”


Clarko or not, it’s going to be an extended season for North Melbourne, so the small wins are what North Melbourne followers will probably be on the lookout for.

From that standpoint, No. 3 decide Harry Sheezel as soon as once more strutted his stuff and appears nicely and actually prepared for a spherical one berth if chosen.

Whereas there was numerous reward rightly for Liam Jones in Canine colors, Griffin Logue confirmed a lot on the different finish for North Melbourne.

The previous Docker completed with eight intercept possessions, showcasing some spectacular ability alongside Ben McKay and Luke McDonald.

Whereas it wasn’t frequent, the events through which these three helped arrange scoring chains have been moments that may present some type of pleasure in what might be one other arduous season.

These on the lookout for positives can even word the Roos solely misplaced the within 50 rely by six, placing in a strong displaying by the center of the bottom with the likes of Ben Cunnington and Jy Simpkin main the pack.

They’re little wins, however they’ll imply a lot because the losses seemingly mount all through the season.


Contemplating its checklist construct and powerful end to its 2022 marketing campaign, Energy followers could be coming into this season optimistic they’ll return to the finals come September.

However Port‘s WA pre-season street journey resulted in two defeats to the Eagles and Dockers – and the positives have been powerful to select.

After taking place to West Coast in a match simulation hitout, the Energy have been then overrun by Fremantle six days later at Fremantle Oval.

Sam Powell-Pepper and recruit Francis Evans have been dynamic up ahead, Miles Bergman confirmed some promise on the wing and Connor Rozee was elegant across the ball towards the Dockers. However that was about it.

Port for the second week in a row received the within 50 rely however have been inefficient and inaccurate ahead of centre. Ken Hinkley’s males additionally misplaced the clearance (-6) and contested possession (-10) counts convincingly.

4-time Port greatest and fairest winner Kane Cornes stated he had considerations over the membership‘s lack of midfield depth and inconsistency up ahead as Charlie Dixon, Mitch Georgiades and Todd Marshall mixed for only one purpose.

“I watched all of Port Adelaide who have been mightily disappointing, I’ve received to say,“ Cornes advised SEN Breakfast on Friday.

“Just a few considerations about Port Adelaide … there’s cause to be involved, you’re on the lookout for little (constructive) nuggets and I couldn’t discover many.”

Hinkley stated his workforce was merely outplayed by the Dockers.

“We must be higher than we carried out right this moment,” Hinkley advised reporters.

“It‘s not a lot concern as a result of that’s what trial video games are about. They offer you info and we’ve received to do one thing with the data.

“Defensively they received by us a bit simply however thoughts you, a few these we gave up after we have been pushing actually arduous and the sport blew out a bit.”

Jason Castagna announces shock retirement


Well being is so vital at the moment of the 12 months, but the Tigers immediately go into the season with uncertainty round certainly one of their key stars following Dion Prestia’s pectoral pressure.

In an already disappointing day for Richmond towards Melbourne, Prestia exiting the sport within the second quarter with the damage dampened it additional.

Whereas the setback isn’t thought of severe, with Prestia seen smiling on the bench later within the sport and finishing operating drills at half-time, it’s clearly lower than very best for Richmond to have any form of doubt round certainly one of its most vital gamers – particularly given his damage historical past – forward of Spherical 1.

The 30-year previous performed 19 video games final 12 months, however made solely 9 appearances in every of the 2 seasons prior as a consequence of ongoing damage points.

The three-time premiership participant been essential to the membership’s current golden period together with claiming greatest and fairest honours in 2019 and getting named within the All-Australian squad in the identical 12 months.

It additionally highlights the significance of the Tigers’ star recruits Jacob Hopper and Tim Taranto in beefing up their midfield, which with out Prestia, has been a weak level of Hardwick’s facet up to now.

Fingers crossed for Richmond’s sake, Prestia is offered to face the Blues within the season opener in a fortnight’s time.

“That’s implausible that he’s operating … it didn’t appear to be an amazing deal, however we all know he’s had a wretched run with accidents,” three-time All-Australian Nick Dal Santo stated on Fox Footy.

“He’s a essential piece to their midfield and their success going ahead this 12 months.

“However for him to be operating at half-time, smiling and chuckling alongside together with his teammates in that second quarter. It’s a very pleasing signal, and hopefully he’s proper for Spherical 1 in 14 days’ time.”


There’s one thing particular about Mitch Owens — and the Saints know they’ve received a magnificence.

Owens on Friday proved the pre-season hype round him this summer time could be very actual after starring towards Essendon.

Drafted with Choose 33 within the 2021 draft, Owens arrived on the Saints with the status of being a fierce big-bodied midfielder and performed seven video games in his first AFL season.

However underneath Ross Lyon, the 19-year-old has been requested to play as a hybrid ahead with a concentrate on competing within the air. And Owens did precisely that towards the Bombers on his method to three targets from 16 disposals and 4 inside 50s.

“He’s had an amazing pre-season. He’s a contested marking beast and a little bit of a scrapper on the bottom – I like these types of gamers,” twin premiership Kangaroo David King advised Fox Footy.

“If he sees a marking alternative, he simply releases and goes after the ball. It’s a trait you like to see in youthful gamers.”

Owens’ new function is especially important contemplating the accidents to different Saints key forwards in Max King (shoulder), Jack Hayes (foot) and Tim Membrey (knee), with the latter the one Spherical 1 probability of the trio.

Talking post-match, Owens stated adjusting his mindset to that of a key ahead had been a problem.

“It’s a bit powerful, however having ‘Hammer’ (Anthony Caminiti) down there helps lots as nicely,” Owens advised the membership’s web site post-game. “The small forwards too placing numerous stress on, it makes our job lots simpler.

“It’ll be actually good to have King, Membrey and ‘Hayesy’ again once they’re again from damage.”


For those who’re on the lookout for causes Sydney can go a step additional in 2023, look no additional than Errol Gulden.

Many have been tipping the 20-year-old to thrive after a giant pre-season, however certainly not many would’ve predicted he’d be this good.

Towards Carlton, Gulden produced among the finest pre-season particular person performances ever seen, booting three targets from 45 disposals, 17 contested possessions, 9 clearances, seven inside 50s, 5 tackles, 887m gained and 189 Champion Information rating factors.

“It’s most likely pretty much as good a sport as you’ll ever see,” Swans assistant coach Jarrad McVeigh advised reporters post-game. “Not solely he 45 touches and three targets, however I believe he led our stress acts as nicely.

“He performed much more midfield tonight with ‘Millsy’ (captain Callum Mills) having a relaxation, so we most likely wanted that further run by there. We all know he can play ahead, wing and midfield however tonight was extra midfield for him – and he got here by in flying colors.

“It’s actually pleasing for him and hopefully his trajectory as a participant can hold going upward.”

Requested if Gulden was on the verge of “superstardom” – as Fox Footy’s Dermott Brereton predicted on Friday evening – McVeigh stated: “It’s solely a pre-season sport, so I believe we’ll mood that. However we all know he’s a very good participant, he trains extraordinarily arduous, he hones his craft, he’s received lovely expertise and he works on his all-round sport on a regular basis.

“He’s in his third 12 months now and we’ve seen good indicators. He’s had a very good pre-season, so hopefully that leads into subsequent week.”

If it does lead into subsequent week, and the week after that, and the week after that, opposition golf equipment are going to should up-end what they thought they knew about Sydney’s midfield brigade.

Dangerfield named 2023 Geelong skipper


Eagles coach Adam Simpson hasn’t saved secrets and techniques about his plan for his workforce to play with extra velocity and depth on transition this 12 months after its injury-riddled 2022 marketing campaign.

The footy world received a glimpse of that extra aggressive West Coast facet with ball-in-hand on Friday evening — and whereas the daring nature was admirable, the execution was nicely off.

The warning indicators have been there early, with Adelaide booting six targets to at least one within the opening time period. By sport’s finish, the Crows had scored 11.6 off Eagles turnovers and outscored West Coast from that supply by +31 factors as they constantly pounced on sloppy Eagles disposals.

Requested at quarter-time if he’d tweak his workforce’s method with ball in-hand to stem the bleeding, Simpson defiantly advised Fox Footy: “We’re attempting some new stuff and we’ve received some new gamers within the facet, so we’ve simply received to maintain persisting and don’t quit simply but.”

West Coast did persist, however the turnovers and Crows targets saved coming.

Talking to reporters post-game, West Coast assistant coach Luke Webster stated the Eagles merely “didn’t get our ball motion going”.

“It was most likely on the again of some fundamentals in and across the contest, but additionally after we did get into open play we didn’t execute with our ability execution,” Webster stated. “So, that was most likely one thing we wished to maintain engaged on on this pre-season. We simply didn’t see it tonight.

“I believe our group are nonetheless going to have good confidence. These pre-season video games are for us to trial what we’ve been practising all 12 months. What they’ve carried out over the majority of labor for this pre-season goes to carry us in good stead for spherical one. I believe they’re nonetheless going to be fairly assured.”


If Max Gawn and Brodie Grundy are the most important supply of curiosity from a tag-team perspective, the Western Bulldogs’ talls are most likely essentially the most fascinating ensemble.

The additions of Rory Lobb and Liam Jones within the low season solely added to the sheer weight of numbers and centimetres on the membership.

If Saturday afternoon at Ikon Park was something to go by, the Canine will not be solely going to make it work, however make it thrive.

“They give the impression of being unstoppable”, Kelli Underwood stated at halftime of the facet’s 58-point demolition of North Melbourne.

Aaron Naughton, Jamarra Ugle-Hagan, Sam Darcy and Rory Lobb all mixed with aplomb, wreaking havoc on the Kangaroos’ defence and aided at occasions by the likes of Tim English and Marcus Bontempelli once they drifted into the attacking 50.

“That’s the tough process not only for North Melbourne right this moment but additionally in the event that they do play like this within the season, how do you match up on that top in your ahead line?”, Jordan Lewis stated watching on.

“They’re taking part in within the air very well however they’ve additionally been actually artistic on the bottom.

“For those who’re taking part in a tall ahead line like that, you want to be good in each areas, which they’ve carried out on quite a few events right this moment.”

Down again, Jones starred to be among the finest gamers on the bottom, taking intercept marks with ease and looking out like he by no means left the AFL.

It lessened the load on Alex Keath, whereas Josh Bruce labored his approach into the match in a key defence function.

Any holes the Canine had final 12 months seem to have been plugged, setting the stage for a 2023 season bursting with potential.

“There’s no cause why they’ll’t play off in a grand closing,” Leigh Montagna stated.

“They’ve received the expertise. Final 12 months we all know it was simply their workforce defence actually that permit them down.

“They’ve shored that up, it seems to be like they’re taking part in a bit bit nearer to their males than they might’ve in earlier years. The Canine ought to have excessive ambitions for this season.”

Initially printed as Melbourne emerges as AFL’s ‘greatest headache’ in 2023

Learn associated subjects:Melbourne



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