PAUL ROOS – HERALD SUN COLUMN

No time to rest for bye team, except for Hawthorn

 

Sam Mitchell continues to lead the way for the high-flying Hawks. Picture: Michael Klein Source: Herald Sun

SYDNEY premiership coach Paul Roos casts his eye over the mid-season form of the team’s having a rest this weekend.

HAWTHORN

First, 9 wins 1 loss

WHAT’S WORKING: Everything. There is no question the Hawks have been the standout team so far. Their draw has been difficult and they have played exceptionally well. I like Max Bailey’s form, Jarryd Roughead is playing more as a forward and Luke Hodge is back to his absolute best.

WHAT’S NOT WORKING: The only concern Alastair Clarkson has is complacency. We saw a little creeping into their game against the Giants and clearly Clarko wasn’t happy with their third quarter against the Demons. You suspect at some point they will have a lapse, but the coach will be hoping their best football is to come in September.

MID-YEAR DRAFT: Hawks don’t need it given Brian Lake is still paying dividends. The former Bulldog could prove the difference between this year and last.

COACH PRESSURE GAUGE: 1. Alastair Clarkson is an outstanding coach who has a great capacity to get his team playing a clear brand of football and who can also take away the opposition’s strengths. At the top of his game.

SUPERCOACH STUD: Sam Mitchell $534,100, mid. No single standout Hawk, but Mitchell has enjoyed another consistent season averaging 108.3.

DUD: Lance Franklin $458,400, fwd. Buddy or Birchall? Birchall or Buddy? Buddy it is. The superstar forward just hasn’t quite pieced it together yet.

 

Nick Vlastuin

Nick Vlastuin has been a revelation for the Tigers, who currently find themselves in the eight. Source: Getty Images

 

RICHMOND

Seventh, 6 wins 4 losses

WHAT’S WORKING: Team structure looks very solid. The Tigers have developed a couple key defenders, Jack Riewoldt is getting more help up forward and, with the addition of players such as Shaun Grigg and Bachar Houli, they now have more depth through their midfield. Throw Nick Vlastuin into the Trent Cotchin/Brett Deledio/Dustin Martin talent pool and there is a lot to like about the Tigers.

WHAT’S NOT WORKING: Their commitment to team defence is sporadic. As soon as their tackling numbers drop they are much easier to defeat. Richmond is 18th in tackling and needs a more consistent effort in this area. They had 71 tackles last week against the Eagles and if they maintain that they will play finals.

MID-YEAR DRAFT: Luke McPharlin. I like Alex Rance and Jake Batchelor’s development but, as an immediate inclusion, McPharlin would take the pressure off the young keys and provide a short-term solution to playing on the monster opposition forwards.

COACH PRESSURE GAUGE: 3. The immediate pressure on Damian Hardwick is very low. He is seen as a very good development coach and has his team well placed for the second half of the season.

SUPERCOACH STUD: Nick Vlastuin $414,000 def/mid. Now worth more than Hamish Hartlett and averaging more than Corey Enright, “Tigga” looks like a keeper.

DUD: Ivan Maric $454,000 ruck. He has now dropped more than $150,000 in price. Could be a bargain recruit if he’s fresh after the bye.

 

Mitch Wallis

Western Bullodgs youngster Mitch Wallis handballs away under pressure. Picture: George Salpigtidis Source: Herald Sun

 

WESTERN BULLDOGS

14th, 3 wins 7 losses

WHAT’S WORKING: Two weeks ago, I would have said “not much” but we are now seeing the plan taking shape. Senior players have really stepped up a notch, particularly Will Minson and Ryan Griffen, and the young players are starting to get a better feel for what their coach has been asking them to do. Will be interesting to see if the bye stops their momentum.

WHAT’S NOT WORKING: Lack of consistency. The Dogs’ best and worst is miles apart. Early in the season, their ability to score was very poor and they must continue to develop their key forwards. If they can do this, their consistency will level out.

MID-YEAR DRAFT: Daniel Talia or James Frawley. As with most young teams they still have a number of holes in their list. However, if they could add a young defender to this group they would tick an extremely important box.

COACH PRESSURE GUAGE: 4. Brendan McCartney illustrates exactly how fickle our game is. A fortnight ago this gauge would have been as high as seven. The coach appears to have a plan and he is sticking to it.

SUPERCOACH STUD: Will Minson $572,600, ruck. As consistent as sunrises, big Will has been the pick of the rucks.

DUD: Mitch Wallis $327,000, mid. Hasn’t enjoyed the form spike of Tom Liberatore, so if you took the punt on him instead of ‘Libba’ you missed out.

 

 

Chad Wingard

Port Adelaide’s Chad Wingard takes a flying mark over Geelong veteran Joel Corey. Picture: Sarah Reed Source: The Advertiser

PORT ADELAIDE

11th, 5 wins, 5 losses

WHAT’S WORKING: The marriage between the new coach, club and players appears to be working well. Even though Port has lost its past five games, I believe the glass is half full. Certainly, everyone at the club would have taken a 5-5 win/loss record after 10 rounds at the beginning of the season. Ken Hinkley’s appointment has been well received, the players look fit and focused and have a clear understanding of the game-plan.

WHAT’S NOT WORKING: The unfortunate consequence of winning early games is that opposition clubs take a much harder look at your strengths and weaknesses. The young players are now under more scrutiny and must find a way to perform under pressure. Hamish Hartlett is a good example of someone who has dropped off now that he is getting more attention. He is young but he must find a way to continue to have an impact on games as he did early in the season.

MID-YEAR DRAFT: Jobe Watson. Port would love a hard, tough inside midfielder who can control or turn the game when needed, an experienced leader who can stand up for his young teammates to follow. I’m sure if Jobe had been playing last week against the Bulldogs they would have won.

COACH PRESSURE GAUGE: 1. Hinkley has done a wonderful job.

SUPERCOACH STUD: Chad Wingard $424,800, mid. If you listened to Crawf and took the punt he’s made you $150k and averaged 97. Can’t fault that.

DUD: Kane Mitchell $189,000, mid. He’s looked good, but simply worn too much green to make a SuperCoach impact this year.

 

 

Michael Voss

Brisbane Lions coach Michael Voss continues to feel the pressure on his job. Source: Getty Images

BRISBANE LIONS

15th, 3 wins 7 losses

WHAT’S WORKING: The Lions have shown in patches they can play very good football. They are being taught to win one-on-one contests and to tackle hard. We have seen glimpses of talent from all the young players and Billy Longer, Mitch Golby, Marco Paparone and Justin Clarke appear to have good futures.

WHAT’S NOT WORKING: As with the Bulldogs, there is far too big a gap between their best and worst and this is something coach Michael Voss would be working to address. To win the NAB Cup then follow up with a comprehensive loss to the Bulldogs in Round 1 must have been difficult to cope with for Voss. The win against Essendon would have only added to his frustration. They were outstanding that day yet are 15th on the ladder.

MID-YEAR DRAFT: Travis Cloke. With Jonathan Brown coming towards the end of his career the Lions would love the luxury of having another power forward. It would solve an immediate problem and allow them to continue to develop a group of promising midfielders.

COACH PRESSURE GAUGE: 7. Clearly there is pressure on Vossy. You need only to count the number of articles saying so. However, if he can get his team to play more consistently the gauge will dip considerably.

SUPERCOACH STUD: Pearce Hanley $516,900, def. He’s set to drop about $50k in the next fortnight and could be a nice upgrade option if you don’t already have him.

DUD: Dayne Zorko $464,400, mid/fwd. The popular pre-season pick has plummeted $70k, but he remains in 50,000 sides.

 

 

Nat Fyfe

Fremantle’s Nat Fyfe gets a handball away. Picture: Daniel Wilkins Source: PerthNow

FREMANTLE

Fourth, 7 wins 2 losses

WHAT’S WORKING: The Dockers have completely bought in to Ross Lyon’s game style. Every player who takes the field understands his role and is prepared to carry it out. They have a very strong commitment to the defensive side of the game and now, with the midfield in better health, have become a very dangerous attacking team.

WHAT’S NOT WORKING: The only thing is the injury count. Given this is something the Dockers cannot control they must continue to focus on the 22 players who take the field each week. The question is: Can they win the flag if they don’t get their best 22 on the field?

MID-YEAR DRAFT: Aaron Sandilands, Matthew Pavlich, Michael Walters. Their three best mid-season draft players already are on Fremantle’s list. If Lyon can get all three back healthy with five or six games to go he will be a very happy coach.

COACH PRESSURE GAUGE: 1. Lyon has established himself as one of the game’s best coaches. Given the injury list, the Dockers’ record this season is outstanding.

SUPERCOACH STUD: Nat Fyfe $548,700, mid. A two-game suspension was costly but this bloke hasn’t scored below 93, making him one of the most reliable midfielders.

DUD: Matthew Pavlich $533,900 fwd. Never got going after an interrupted pre-season and was then struck down by a long-term injury after three matches.

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