The fifth part of this six-part series features the five players that the Port Adelaide Power, Richmond Tigers and St Kilda Saints can least afford to lose in season 2021 plus an honourable mention.
The pecking order is effectively a ladder of the manner in which the teams that played in the round of AFL performed, therefore it’s not purely based on results.
Round 15 proved to be a tough round to rank the teams as there were a couple of upsets: the Adelaide Crows defeating Hawthorn and the Sydney Swans beating the Melbourne Demons. The highest margin was 35 points in the game between the Adelaide Crows and Hawthorn.
In Round 15, six teams had the bye: Gold Coast, North Melbourne, Port Adelaide, Western Bulldogs, Geelong and St Kilda, therefore there were only 12 teams in the Round 16 pecking order.
Take a look at the pecking order from Round 15, which was one of the most unpredictable rounds of footy.
1. The Adelaide Crows wasted some chances early to obtain the ascendancy on the scoreboard. They did manage to obtain momentum in the second quarter, which was what they deserved, based on their performance. They doubled Hawthorn’s score in the third quarter, 54 points to 27 points. It was mesmerising watching the Adelaide Crows’ endeavour and efficiency and they got reward for effort. It was a solid four-quarter performance from them and Matthew Nicks’ first win as a senior AFL coach.
2. The Sydney Swans started the game well. Despite being out of the finals race, they treated it like a finals game. What was impressive about their display early was the synergy they had. Despite trailing at quarter time, they gained the ascendancy in the second quarter to lead by 28 points at halftime. In the third quarter they maintained a lead, despite the Melbourne Demons controlling the balance of play. The Sydney Swans were inspirational.
3. West Coast took their chances to create scoreboard pressure. It’s not as though they outplayed Essendon, they were clinical in front of the goal. They led by 34 points in the second quarter. They took a 16-point lead into halftime, as they conceded three goals in a row. That margin reached 21 points at three quarter time, despite Essendon probably being the better team in the third quarter. West Coast defended extremely well in the last quarter and wasted time when moving the ball. Despite them winning the game, it was painful to watch.
4. The Brisbane Lions didn’t take their chances early in the game. They stayed in touch on the scoreboard, despite being outplayed in the first quarter. Their bad goal kicking was contagious, until Eric Hipwood kicked their first goal of the game in the second quarter from a set shot. From then on it was a different story as they kicked five goals in the second quarter. Their second half was shocking as they only scored nine points to Collingwood’s 13 points. Despite the fact that they held on to the win the game, they have plenty of deficiencies and lots of work to do.
5. Collingwood started the game well, but they didn’t transfer that onto the scoreboard. They should have taken advantage of their control of the balance of play. The second quarter was thoroughly disappointing for them and the third quarter was more of the same. They improved slightly in the fourth quarter as they kicked two goals to the Brisbane Lions’ none, but in the end their performance was thoroughly disappointing.
6. The Melbourne Demons were outplayed in the opening stages of the game, conceding the first two goals of the game, despite neither team controlling the balance of play. They had a lot to work on at quarter team, despite leading the Sydney Swans by three points. Their skills weren’t at their optimum level. They missed some simple goals in the fourth quarter. They lost a game they needed to win.
7. Essendon played some reasonable footy in the first quarter, but they weren’t accurate when kicking for goal. They arrested the momentum that West Coast had built up in the second quarter, with Essendon kicking three goals in a row, which gave them some hope that they could win the game. They controlled the tempo of the game in the third quarter, but that didn’t translate onto the scoreboard. Unfortunately, Essendon were their own worst enemies. They didn’t take enough risks.
8. Carlton started the game off well from a scoreboard perspective, kicking four goals to Greater Western Sydney’s one goal at quarter time. They were fortunate to stay in the game thanks to Greater Western Sydney’s wayward goal kicking. Despite not playing their best footy they led by 12 points at halftime. In the second half they weren’t attacking enough. They didn’t take enough risks and lost a game that appeared to be a winnable game midway through the game. Despite losing the game their defensive work was outstanding for the first three quarters.
9. Greater Western Sydney were inaccurate with their goal kicking in the first quarter kicking one goal from six shots on goal. They kept Carlton in the game with not taking advantage of scoring opportunities in the first half. It was ten scoring shots to seven scoring shots in Greater Western Sydney’s favour at halftime, but they trailed by two goals. They won a game that they deserved to lose.
10. Richmond had one of their poorer performances. The game should have been over at halftime, as Fremantle didn’t play well in the first half. Richmond only kicked one point in the third quarter, in a quarter that Fremantle controlled, which allowed Fremantle back into the game. Luckily for Richmond they regained control of the game in the fourth quarter.
11. Fremantle struggled to get into the game from early in the piece. It was one-way traffic in Richmond’s favour with them dominating the inside 50 stat early in the game. In the first half, Fremantle kicked just one goal. Somehow, Fremantle withstood Richmond’s first-half control, managing to stay in touch on the scoreboard as Fremantle trailed by just six points at three quarter time. In the fourth quarter, Richmond outclassed them, as they kicked four goals to Fremantle’s one.
12. Hawthorn would be disappointed with their start to the game, but they stayed in contention on the scoreboard. They were outplayed. Their system didn’t stand up to the pressure put on them by the Adelaide Crows. Hawthorn continued on from where they left off in the second half of Round 14, which appeared to impact their morale and belief.