From The Notebook: Round 10

A couple of weeks ago it looked as if the top three were clearing out and there’d be a pool of teams fighting for fourth.

Now it’s Melbourne two games clear on top, with just two more games separating second and eighth.

Today’s Notebook is a three-topic affair, starting with Carlton, moving onto Hawthorn, before finishing with new features for Patrons.


The Shinboner Patreon continues to run until October 31 this year. While rounds are on a regular Friday-Sunday schedule, the $5+ tiers get you early access to the weekly Notebook pieces on Monday morning before they’re free to all from Monday night.

Overall there are four different tiers. It starts at $2.50 per month and goes up to $10 per month for all the benefits. A huge thank you to everyone who’s signed up so far, it’s allowing me to do much more this season.

Here are all the details and how to sign up.


Carlton’s legitimate defence

Across the last month, Carlton own the second best defence in terms of scores conceded per inside 50.

Round 7-10Scores conceded per inside 50%
Port Adelaide40.00%

Admittedly, it hasn’t exactly been a murderers row of opponents up until Sydney, but the method isn’t made up of smoke and mirrors. It’s repeatable, which is why it gets better week to week, with more reps.

It’s a simple equation: strong contest work leads to a territory advantage. Then the army of small forwards can lock it in at a much improved rate than last year.

If opponents can get through, it’s tough work, which leads to lower quality entries. No longer do we see Carlton’s key defenders left on an island, dealing with repeated one-on-one contests.

Transition work is now at AFL standard, Lewis Young has settled in smoothly and the absence of Liam Jones is barely felt.

There are still glaring areas of improvement to work on – ball movement slowing to a crawl when opponents are up and about is the main one – but barring a shocking injury run, it’s time to start thinking about finals.


For those who have missed any posts over the last week or so, here are links to catch up with:

Sunday 22nd: North’s Round 10 Review
Friday 20th: What To Watch For: Round 10
Tuesday 17th: How to beat Melbourne
Monday 16th: From The Notebook: Round 9
Sunday 15th: North’s Round 9 Review


Speed kills; aka how Hawthorn make the most of chances

Through 10 rounds, Hawthorn are:

– 14th in contested possession differential
– 14th in uncontested possession differential
– 16th in inside 50 differential
– 11th in scores conceded per inside 50


First – by a mile – when it comes to scores per inside 50. It’s an unconventional profile, but considering we’re nearly halfway through 2022 we’re well past the point of small sample size theatre.

Hawthorn haven’t won the inside 50 count in a single game this year, with their wins featuring differentials of:

-4: Round 1 v North Melbourne
-12: Round 2 v Port Adelaide
-7: Round 5 v Geelong
-11: Round 10 v Brisbane

Hawthorn are overcoming this by pure, flat-chat speed with ball movement: Part 1 of their foundational process under Sam Mitchell.

It’s obviously not something sustainable long-term, season over season, but as a starting point it’s a lot of fun to watch.

The Hawks’ defenders are their strongest unit – both with and without the ball – so it only makes sense to maximise their strengths.

In leaning on the likes of James Sicily and Changkuoth Jiath, it naturally creates a full-ground, full-team offence and teams are forced to defend everyone.

The key is how Hawthorn create overlaps from their defenders pushing high. These sorts of scenes happen all the time:

It breaks down a defence and allows higher quality entries, allowing Hawthorn to score at a league leading rate – and the number has increased even higher over the last month.

I’d be fascinated to know if Mitchell designed this style specifically to paper over personnel flaws because it’s so early in their rebuild, or if this is how they want to play with ball in hand for the foreseeable future.

A million to one we’d get that answer in the public domain though.


If you’ve missed it, we’re at the part of 2022 where Patron-exclusive pages will start to have extra features added. A reminder:

  • For those on the $7.50 Patreon tier (or above), there’s exclusive access to the Stat Suite page, with rolling monthly stat rankings updated weekly
  • For those on the $10 Patreon tier, they have exclusive access to everything on the website, including the List Management suite – the next added feature is…

Here are all the details and how to sign up.


New additions for Patrons

There are a couple extra benefits for Patrons on the Stat Suite and List Management pages.

All the out of contract players across the league have been placed into a one-page graphic:

A reminder this is all collated from public information – club announcements, journalist scoops, and the like. I have a link on the back end to confirm each player’s status, so if there’s something I missed please shout out and I can correct it.

It’ll be updated at the end of every week, along with the team-by-team contract lists which are still ticking along as usual.

For stats, there’s now an extra column when it comes to scoring shots per inside 50:

The league average – for both year to date and the last month – is a permanent addition to the stat graphics.

Ideally it helps to provide extra context to a couple of the numbers, making it easier to understand.

Of course, I’m always open to further suggestions if anyone out there would like to see something new, with Patrons getting priority.

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