Hard not to be disappointed on the back of a yet another 2nd half fade out and, on balance, pretty disappointing JLT series.
One of my main concerns with Woosha last year was the lack of 'tagging' or curbing of oppositional stars. It was argued that we allowed this guys free reign as it was a 'teaching' year. It seems that we still have no want, or ability, to curb the influence of a guy on fire. I don't think you have to pick a pure tagger in the modern game but you DO need to have 1-2 guys that are capable of playing a lock down role if things get out of control.
I was one who suggested pre-game (along with others) that I was surprised to see Luey playing. I thought he was far too valuable and should have been wrapped in cotton wool. The result today became irrelevant once the big man went down. We can only hope and pray it is a 4 week tweak and not a season long 'off the bone' tear. Our clearance work struggled with a functioning ruck, without him we will struggle big time.
I love the look of our attacking play and I am hoping the season proper will show that we still have a defensive backbone otherwise I am having severe 'Knightsera' flashbacks. I was encouraged by the play of Steward today and our forwardline is functioning very well and we are yet to see Hooker. My first thought is do we need to move him forward? I guess we can re-evaluate after a month.
One question that was answered for me was whether bag's is still best 22. Early call but I think he has 'lost' it. Age/injury/form.. I'm not sure but he was outclassed BADLY today and it was not an isolated incident. I think we have to look at different options down back if we want to challenge this year.
Begley showed that he is nowhere near ready for the big time and McG also looked out of his depth against the bigger bodies of the cats. Both probably played their way out of Round 1 imho. On the flipside I felt like we got 2016 Walla back today and it was GOOD! Superb game on all fronts and he looks to have made a great connection with JD/Stewart.
I thought Heppell looked far more assured today but still not back to his dominant best... but signs are very good. Watson was very important in and under BUT showed that we need to play a team defence or he does become a liability on the turn over. Hurley was solid but not great. I thought we missed Hartley and I still would have him in ahead of Ambrose. I think Ambrose could stay ahead of Bags.
I thought putting our extra down back was the turning point. We simply can not overcome the loose man in defence. Going on ten years of typing the same thing but it really just kills us everytime. Geelong pushed the man back to match Goddard and it meant they could control the tempo and suddenly our run and carry just died at half forward time and time again. Put the extra at the stoppage or up man for man up forward.
Can't wait for the Hawks, who looked pretty ordinary today against Port and I still believe we can win. Oh and Geelong pretty much confirmed my thoughts.. they really are crap outside of Dangerwood and will struggle big time if those two don't dominate every game.