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Each AFL team's burning question after Round 17

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Roar Guru
13th July, 2021
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Without questions being asked, there’s no chance of a team improving. Every team has weaknesses. It was fascinating to dissect all 18 teams in Round 17; what’s the burning question for each AFL team in season 2021 based on their Round 17 performance?

Adelaide Crows – Where were their minds at?
In the two games that Taylor Walker hasn’t played this season, they have scored a combined total of 93 points. He is an inspirational leader who makes the Crows walk taller. It was almost as if they had no leaders out there in Round 17.

They weren’t at the races. A team that only managed to score 21 points, which is their lowest ever score in their history, can’t afford to sweep the loss under the carpet. Tom Lynch and Darcy Fogarty should’ve been selected.

Brisbane Lions – Was Chris Fagan outcoached by the Brett Ratten?
It’s clear that the Saints had a better system and structure than the Lions. The Lions looked like they were underprepared; it appeared as if they weren’t set up to cope with St Kilda’s game plan.

Carlton – Was their performance acceptable?
The Blues had one goal from ten scoring shots at half time, while Geelong had seven scoring shots. It’s indisputable that the Blues put their heart and soul into the game and they tried their utmost to win; Sam Walsh and Jacob Weitering in particular. Unfortunately, the Blues didn’t take their chances.

Collingwood – Is having Brodie Grundy and Darcy Cameron as the two ruckmen the right mix?
It’s indisputable that the Magpies should stick with the current ruck duo. It’s clear that Mason Cox should be on the trade table as they look a better team structurally without him in it.

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Essendon – Should they have beaten the Crows by more?
The Crows played without their best forward in Walker and for the majority of the game without Tom Doedee. Along with that, the Bombers kicked 11 goals and 18 behinds. If they had kicked straighter, they would have won by more than 100 points. It’s harsh as they still managed to win by 63 points.

Fremantle – Does the ruck combination of Sean Darcy and Rory Lobb deserve more credit?
Based on their Round 17 performance, they can definitely make the finals and have an impact, partly due to their two ruckmen working well in tandem. The ruck combination of Darcy taking the majority of ruck contests and Lobb playing predominantly forward worked perfectly.

Geelong Cats – Did they deserve to win?
No, they didn’t. The Blues failed to kick straight, particularly in the first half where they could’ve built a lead, momentum and should have controlled the game. The Cats were lucky that the Blues didn’t have their kicking boots on. That’s the main reason they won.

Gold Coast Suns – What can a close win do for morale?
The Suns must take into account the fact they won a game most experts expected them to lose. They should take their Round 17 comeback win against the Giants and savour it on the one hand and realise if they treat it as a morale booster the sky’s the limit for the Suns.

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GWS Giants – Should they have selected Matthew Flynn instead of Shane Mumford?
The Giants should’ve selected Flynn as the Suns ruckman Chris Burgess had 17 disposals and kicked a goal compared with Shane Mumford’s seven disposals. Despite the fact Mumford had 51 hitouts, the Suns duo of Chris Burgess and Sam Day combined for 50 hitouts and three goals between them.

Hawthorn – Do they care?
It appears as if they don’t. Their display lacked effort, with the exception of perhaps Jacob Koschitzke and Lachlan Bramble. Based on the Hawks Round 17 performance it appears as if something has to change. Whether Alastair Clarkson should be there is a question that needs to be asked.

Melbourne – Did losing to the Giants in Round 16 help them look at themselves?
Undoubtedly, the Demons were raring to go when they took on the Power in Round 17. It appeared that they were hungrier than the previous game. Losing to the Giants in Round 16 may have played a part in the Demons choosing to select Ben Brown, who helped their structure. In Round 17 the Demons worked together and they didn’t have any passengers.

North Melbourne – Are they improving?
The Kangaroos have improved. They had an even contribution throughout their 22 players. There’s a good chance they won’t win the wooden spoon and that’s morale boosting. When everyone plays their role that’s all the coaching staff can ask for. The test is for it to prove that they build on their Round 17 display and get better.

Port Adelaide – Do they have to change their way of playing?
The Power appeared to be one-dimensional and flat-track bullies. They undoubtedly have trouble beating the teams in the top eight; it’s now a massive problem for them. They have won fewer games against top eight teams than the Crows in 2021.

Richmond – How’s the list management looking?
It’s clear that there isn’t an even mix of talent on the Richmond list. There’s no doubt that they need to take a good look at that and drop some players. It was unacceptable the manner in which they lost to the Magpies in Round 17. The Tigers had the game in the bag. Yes, injuries are an excuse, but they need to rectify some trade targets, as their hopes of a top eight finish in season 2021 are all but over.

St Kilda – Does Brett Ratten deserve more recognition?
The Saints came with a game plan and they responded to whatever was implemented tactically. They have the potential to make finals and show why Brett Ratten is such a good coach.

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St Kilda coach Brett Ratten looks on

(Photo by Michael Willson/AFL Photos via Getty Images)

Sydney Swans – Should Jordan Dawson be in All Australian calculations?
Dawson has to be considered for the All Australian squad of 40 at least, playing some scintillating footy, as he has averaged the most metres gained of any Swans player with an average of 479.38 metres gained, featuring in all 16 games in season 2021. He displayed his class against the Bulldogs in Round 17 as he kicked three goals.

West Coast Eagles – What’s going on?
The Eagles game style has plenty of sameness. They chip the ball around and they are an easy team to dissect. Some tough decisions need to be made. There must be changes made as they probably won’t play finals. No one should be safe as far as selection is concerned. They don’t deserve to play finals in season 2021 and may need to make list changes.

Western Bulldogs – Why don’t they consider resting their key players?
The Bulldogs have to take into account the physical toll that the game places on their players. In Round 17, they clearly had players that had fatigue; even Marcus Bontempelli made a couple of uncharacteristic errors. They definitely must rest Josh Bruce and bring in Josh Schache and bring in Patrick Lipinski instead of Jack Macrae; they can’t afford any more injuries.

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