From The Notebook: Round 13, Byes Part 2

It’s time for Part 2 of the bye period Notebook.

If you missed it last week, the Notebook for Round 12, 13 and 14 is turned over to each of the six teams who have just completed their weekend off.

Last week there was a focus area for Carlton, Essendon, GWS, Port Adelaide, Richmond and St Kilda.

Today it’s Adelaide, Geelong, Gold Coast, Sydney, West Coast and the Western Bulldogs.

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Adelaide: Refreshing their scoring profile

A semi-regular topic this year has been Adelaide relying heavily on scoring from stoppages, with not enough joy out of scoring from turnovers.

It can be tricky to find these stats publicly, but thanks to Tom Rockliff on Triple M the proof is in. Adelaide rank:

– 14th in scores from turnovers
– 15th in creating forward half turnovers
– 14th in pressure differential
– 18th in uncontested marks differential

It’s not panic stations by any means given how young the list is, but it’s clear where the improvement has to come from.

Geelong: Is there something new to find out

I’m aware this sub-heading is a cop out.

From my perspective, nothing too drastic has happened with Geelong so far this year. With the exception of Sam de Koning blossoming, everything has gone according to expectations.

The forward line will dominate if given enough opportunities, the defensive system still holds up, and the midfield is showing a predicted slight sign of slippage.

It all results in a good side that’s not quite at the top level, but with no danger of missing finals barring something catastrophic.

Three of the remaining 10 games are against West Coast (x2) and North Melbourne, and a further three in Geelong (Melbourne, Western Bulldogs, St Kilda).

Maybe someone can offer a few ideas in the comments…

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For those who have missed any posts/podcast appearances over the last week, here are links to catch up:

Monday 13th: North’s Round 13 Review
Friday 10th: What To Watch For: Round 13
Wednesday 8th: On the North Talk podcast
Monday 6th: From The Notebook: Round 12
Sunday 5th: North’s Round 12 Review

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Gold Coast: How Weller is replaced

It doesn’t feel like an exaggeration to say Lachie Weller was enjoying a career best season until it was cruelled by an ACL injury against North Melbourne.

Weller was the Suns’ main point of drive from half back. Given the way Gold Coast set up – less focused on uncontested ball and more on territory and metres gained – losing their leading player in metres gained and rebound 50s could significantly change the process.

Last week Wayne Campbell talked to AFL.com.au about Elijah Hollands’ prospects of a debut:

“We’re reasonably strong in the midfield, but also the forwards are doing their job at the moment. He can play wing as well. He’s got an elite endurance base, so he can do that. He kicks it pretty well. He could certainly play on a wing.

“He can absolutely play as an inside midfielder, but we’ve also got some guys in there that are going OK. He could play as a high half-forward because of his running ability and his ability to kick it inside 50.”

Putting two and two together, it seems like the initial move could be to get Hollands in and reshuffle elsewhere as suits, potentially pushing a more experienced Sun back to fill Weller’s role.

Sydney: Whether their in-game trends continue

A habit of promising young teams is playing up or down to their opposition.

We’ve seen that with Sydney this year; second best all day against Gold Coast, narrowly squeaking by North Melbourne, but clearly the better team on the night in wins v Melbourne and Geelong.

Break it down further and Sydney’s trend of feeling their way into games becomes even more apparent. Their quarter by quarter splits:

1st Quarter: 4 wins, 1 draw, 7 losses, -21 points
2nd Quarter: 6 wins, 6 losses, -14 points
3rd Quarter: 9 wins, 3 losses, +82 points
4th Quarter: 10 wins, 2 losses, +130 points

The Swans’ 19 quarters won after half time is clearly the most in the competition, Melbourne next best on 17.

It’s a natural process of growing pains and maturity, but the next step for Sydney is fixing that preparation and mindset to ensure they’re consistent from game to game. Once that’s ticked off, they’ll jump into the top tier.

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West Coast: How keen they’ll be to win

The cavalry is on the way. Dom Sheed, Willie Rioli and Liam Ryan returned via the WAFL last weekend, Jack Petruccelle has played a fortnight there, Dom Sheed three games, and Jai Culley debuted v Claremont.

With the injury list thinning – Jeremy McGovern also in the frame to play this week – it’s the icky time period where we see how desperate West Coast are to put their best 22 out there every week, or whether they “make sure players are ready for the start of pre-season”.

It makes perfect sense if West Coast start looking towards 2023. This year has been the perfect storm of horribleness, everything that could go wrong has. They have an established system and infrastructure, so it’s not as if these last 10 games are vital from an information gathering point of view.

Imagine the build-up if there was another West Coast v North Melbourne clash this year.

Western Bulldogs: One or two rucks

It’s always a dangerous situation talking about the Bulldogs’ team setup. There’s every chance Luke Beveridge has four or five options up his sleeve that no-one else has considered, which would make these words largely pointless.

Might as well nail my colours to the mast though: I’d love to see an extended run of Tim English and Jordon Sweet playing together. At the moment it feels as if the Bulldogs’ forward line is too small, and it’s not as if the extra forwards (i.e. Ugle-Hagan, Schache, Bruce when he returns) should be putting their body at risk at anything except forward 50 stoppages.

Buku Khamis has been quiet the last couple of weeks and isn’t having the desired impact in his time spelling English. Keeping him forward – or having someone else play purely as a forward in addition to Sweet coming in – has potential to straighten the Bulldogs up.

I doubt an extra tall for a small will disrupt team balance too much, even allowing for Bailey Smith’s absence and Marcus Bontempelli playing through a shoulder injury.

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