AFL Hot Topics: Melbourne make it seven straight, Fremantle assert themselves on the competition

AFL

Fremantle are the real deal

Fremantle have just sent shockwaves through the competition, as they beat Geelong away from home by three points.

After a slow start, Fremantle were able to level up the scores at half time and then lead by 17 going into the final change. Despite the Cats’ efforts to snatch victory in the final minutes, Justin Longmuir’s men were able to hold off their attacks and go to 6-1 after seven rounds.

Dropping only one game against the Saints by 10 points in Round 2, the Dockers have been faultless and are tipped to go 9-1 with games against North Melbourne, Gold Coast and Collingwood to come before facing reigning premiers Melbourne. 

Geelong’s inconsistency could cost them a top-four spot

After their defeat to Fremantle, the Cats sit 4-3 but are not as convincing as they’d like to be.

So far, their wins have come against Essendon, Collingwood, North Melbourne and fellow contender Brisbane.

However, they have lowered their colour against arch-rivals Hawthorn on an Easter Monday classic, as well as sitting front row when ‘Buddy’ kicked his 1000th goal.

Geelong haven’t shown what they’re fully capable of yet in 2022 and their next month proves pivotal to their top four chances and a shot at premiership glory.

The Giants make a big, big statement

With speculation over the future of Leon Cameron constantly bubbling over the past few weeks, GWS Giants have bought their leader more time after smashing the Crows by 59 points.

In what was a hot start, GWS flew out a 59-point lead at halftime, led by their co-captain Toby Greene, who kicked four goals and ultimately put the game to bed. The margin did creep out to 79 points when Harry Himmelberg kicked a goal in the third term.

Cameron will be pleased with an overall sound team performance as all 22 contributed to the team’s second win. 

Giant co-captains crucial to any resurgence 

Josh Kelly, Stephen Coniglio and Toby Greene all performed well against Adelaide in a bid to revive their slow start to season 2022.

After serving a six-game suspension for umpire contact, Greene returned last week and was dominant with four goals against the Crows. Running machine Kelly had his best game for the year so far, pleasing coach Leon Cameron. The No.22 collected 41 disposals and eight clearances, looking back to his best form.

Coniglio continues to add consistent performances to the season, after experiencing being dropped from the side in years gone by. The co-captain kicked three goals from 20 touches as a half-forward/midfielder and is looking to cement a consistent role in the GWS side.

Stephen Coniglio - GWS

Melbourne’s third quarter haunts opposition sides

Melbourne has made it 14 straight wins, and start season 2022 undefeated. In a hard-fought victory against a valiant, young Hawthorn side, the Demons made it 7-0 and look well above the rest of the competition.

The reigning premiers are famously known for putting sides away in quickly, usually in the third quarter. Against the Hawks this was no surprise, as they set up a 10-point victory with a six-goal third term. It has been a trend in Melbourne’s game over the last two seasons and continues to be an issue for opposition teams.

The premiership quarter is something the Demons take seriously and the rest of the competition knows it.

Curnow/McKay duo becoming a serious issue

In a must-win for the Blues against an under-manned and inexperienced North Melbourne outfit, talls Charlie Curnow and Harry McKay were expected to have big games.

Carlton have been inconsistent the last three weeks, losing twice (Gold Coast and Fremantle) and just scraping over the line against Port Adelaide. However, Curnow and McKay continue to prove how dynamic the pair are, beating their opponents on the ground and in the air.

McKay kicked four goals in Carlton’s 50-point victory while his partner-in-crime kicked three goals and four behinds.

Blues’ big men have now kicked 36 combined for the year and look dangerous every time they go near it. 

Rozee and Butters need more midfield minutes

For another week running, Ken Hinkley has put more faith into Conor Rozee and Zak Butters going through the midfield and lining up against some of the game’s best.

After a miserable start to 2022, the Power are looking at all combinations to see what works and what doesn’t. Highly-talented and elite ball-users, the call for Rozee and Butters into the centre of the ground has been a stroke of genius, in seeing Port Adelaide turn season around.

In a shocking victory against an in-form St Kilda line-up, Rozee collected 23 touches and was crucial late in the game, with his cleanliness in the wet conditions. Butters also tallied the same amount of disposals, adding clearance work and toughness to the Power midfield.

Port Adelaide have now made it two wins in a row and look to start building their season.

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