Hard to say what to takeaway from that match. Players were incredibly rusty, and Geelong were missing Ablett and Dangerfield (mostly). I don’t expect Hurley to kick several balls straight out for throw ins because he missed players by 30m in the main season. Heaps of players took a while to get going, with McGrath, Stewart, Walla, Green, Hurley, Hooker and others significantly better in Q4 than earlier. JD didn’t get out of first gear.
We improved in the clearances from JLT1, on the back of Stringer (Q1), Zerrett and Heppell playing full games and Myers. On Heppell, he racks up the ball, but boy what he does with it is poor. Hopefully just JLT, but a really worry he’ll continue from last year. Belly was dominant early, but struggled more against Smith. Our Smith had another good game. If we could get Stringer a full game tank, he’d be a weapon. Don’t know how possible that is, and really a beyond 2018 goal.
On defence, it didn’t go well. We didn’t really have much drive out of it, either by running (McKenna, Saad, Gleeson) or by foot (Hurley, Mcniece). Combine that with a lot of poor defending, and there was a lot to forget. I don’t think a single defender had a good game. Hawkins tore up Ambrose and Menzel did the same to Gleeson, and those really hurt.
The forward line suffered early from players not up to pace and terrible delivery into it. Walla and Raz getting ball and delivering cleanly is so important, and we didn’t have that. It got better in Q4, partly as players found some form and as we trapped it in more.
Overall, a number of concerns and a lot of rust.