Talking points: Round 7, 2018

We take a look at some of the talking points from the Swans’ Round 7 loss at home to the North Melbourne Kangaroos at the SCG on Saturday night.

1. Goal review system in the spotlight once again
A controversial goal was ticked off by the AFL this morning, with Billy Hartung’s first quarter snap over his shoulder upheld on the night. Despite the ball clearly flicking McVeigh’s hand on the way through the goals, it was suggested on the night by the commentators, that the central umpire restarted play before the goal was reviewed.

There were two identical goal review incidents at the MCG today, between the Tigers and Dockers. Two goals were overturned when there was less conclusive evidence of a touched ball. In one instance, the central umpire had already restarted play, but called the ball back when a review was initiated.

2. Buddy-less Swans a worry
While the Swans found a way to win against the Cats in Round 6, the Roos choked the life out of the Swans for the entire game. Playing most of their midfield one kick behind the play in the first quarter, they switched to 18-players behind the ball for the remaining three quarters.

The Swans didn’t have any height in their forward line and struggled to hit targets, with Ben Brown constantly picking off long high balls, as if he was leading for them. While Longmire says that Franklin is a 50-50 chance to face the Hawks on Friday night, the Swans will be sweating on his fitness, desperate for his return.

3. Home form concerning, Swans don’t heed coaches rallying call
While the Swans have started the season in winning form, conquering West Coast, the Western Bulldogs and Geelong Cats on the road, their form at their home ground is anything but solid.

They played a terrific four-quarter effort to beat the Giants in Round 3, but either side of that win, the Swans have played at least two poor quarters of football each game. They should have lead by more than two goals against Port Adelaide in the first half, and the Power made them pay.

Dreadful first halves against Adelaide and North Melbourne proved costly, with both opponents able to hold on for the win, despite the efforts of the Swans. Having won one from four equals their 2011, 2006 and 2000 season starts, with 2017 one win from five and 1994’s one win from nine their next worse.

4. Skill errors and turnovers cost the Swans dearly
On a wet and slippery night, composure was not something the Swans possessed, or displayed, with very few players able to control the ball cleanly. Sinclair and Fox were the clear standouts, while Kennedy and Grundy proved that they could deal with the conditions.

Kicking at goal from both sides was punctuated by a high number of errors, with both sides missing easy shots, or kicking it out on the full from inside 50. While the Roos didn’t make many defensive errors, they did punish the Swans when they made mistakes.

Shooting from 15-to-40 metres out from both sides was significantly poor, with the Swans kicking 0.6 to 1.4 at three quarter time. In the end, the Kangaroos punished the Swans for sloppy play and a final end-to-end play brought about the winning goal.

5. Small Swans desperate for height
The Swans couldn’t find an avenue to goal, in the scrappy conditions reverting to deep kicks inside forward fifty. The only problem – Ben Brown stood in the way. He took four marks deep inside the Roos’ defensive fifty, with the Swans unable to bring the ball to ground.

It was a trend that continued throughout the game but was not helped by their wastefulness in front of goal, scoring most of their behinds from gettable chances.

Even so, the Roos’ exploited the Swans’ lack of height, with Rampe matched-up on Brown and Grundy on Zurharr, leaving Mason Wood on Harry Marsh, dominating with four goals and career-best numbers for the visitors.

6. Clearance dominance doesn’t translate on the scoreboard
Josh Kennedy was the clearance king for the Swans once again, with the Swans winning 41 to North Melbourne’s 31. Kennedy lead both teams with nine and Parker finished with seven, two ahead of the Roos’ best Cunnington, with five.

Despite the dominance, the Swans couldn’t put any pressure on the scoreboard, and they were wasteful in front of goals, scoring 2.8 (20) after quarter time to midway through the final term, despite leading the clearances 33-18 at that point.

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Justin Mitchell

Justin is a passionate AFL and Sydney Swans supporter, and football blogger since 2016. All articles are of his own opinion. You can reach him by twitter and Facebook at @theswansblog

Melbourne, Australia

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