hinkley AFL

AFL – 8 Talking Points from Gather Round

Gather Round is here to stay…. In SA!

What a weekend it was for football, the hype leading up to Gather Round proved to be more than justified with all 9 games being sold out over the weekend.

Walking around the city it felt like the Olympics had come to town, the buzz around the state was simply unbelievable, the AFL and the South Australian Government deserve all the praise for one of the best minor rounds in history of the game.

Well done to all involved.

Dare to dream, Adelaide fans:

The Crows kicked off Gather Round with a statement win against an in-form Carlton side. Watching Adelaide live gives you a real understanding of why this side is successful against some of the competitions best. Their on-ball pressure is simply phenomenal and their ability to find a loose man via handball allows them to hit up their forwards with a clean possession.

Jordan Dawson’s move into the midfield looks like a masterstroke with the Adelaide captain likely to get his second best-on-ground in just as many weeks. Their forward line was always going to be a strength but their unassuming key defenders in Nick Murray and Jordan Butts have taken yet another scalp, keeping Charlie Curnow and Harry Mckay to 4 goals combined, their lowest tally so far this year.

Gold Coast well and truly overDEW for a win:

Significant pressure was always going to heap on the loser of the Gold Coast vs Fremantle game at Norwood on Friday afternoon.

The Suns dominated the first half and should have been in front by more when the half time siren went, leaving the door slightly ajar for a Dockers comeback.

Without captain Jarrod Witts, Fremantle dominated the ruck contests in the second half as they ran over the top of a disappointing Suns, heaping even more pressure onto coach Stewart Dew, with the next month likely to decide his future.

Tom Papley is box-office:

Unsure what’s more exciting, Tom Papley’s on-field ability or his goal celebrations. The AFL and its fans love characters and it’s hard to find a more exciting player currently than Papley.

His performance on Friday night was the highest rated game produced by any player so far in the 2023 season according to Champion Data.

Jordan Lewis was high in praise for the Sydney small forward on Fox Footy’s coverage on Friday night “He uses his body really well when there’s a one-on-one position because he knows where the dangerous space is, where he can really maximise his talent. He plays his role so well and to a really high level, Lewis said. “He is the player that ignites, but also off the ball he just controls the ground really well.”

#SACKHINKLEY ‘fans’ have suddenly gone quiet

Port Adelaide had the most difficult start to the season of any side yet have ended Round 5 with a positive 3-2 record against 4 finalists from 2022 and the high-flying Adelaide Crows.

There are moments in sport that genuinely make you feel emotions and Ken Hinkley’s embrace of Jason Horne-Francis in torrential rain after the game shows why this team love him. A coach standing up for his players as Hinkley did in the press conference following their gritty win, can unite a side and create significant momentum moving forward.

Wet weather football suits the tough contested style of Zak Butters as he constantly threw his body where some wouldn’t put their hand on Saturday night, whilst Aliir Aliir once again displayed why he is one of the best one on one defenders currently in the game.

Bomber’s ‘blitz’ sets up a tantalising ANZAC day clash:

What a performance by the Bombers on Saturday afternoon, thoroughly dismantling Melbourne at Adelaide Oval.

Essendon set up the win in the first half largely thanks to South Australian, Sam Draper who kicked a career high 3 goals all in the first half, in front of many family members. The Bombers engine room in Parish (34 disposals), Merrett (35 disposals) and Shiel (28 disposals) more than broke-even against a quality Melbourne midfield.

Will Setterfield continued his strong form since joining the Bombers, keeping Brownlow medal favourite Clayton Oliver quiet in the first half, helping set up the game before the wet weather hit Adelaide. The star midfielder eventually broke the tag as all good players do, but it was too little too late for the Demons.

Geelong not there yet, but building towards their best:

Hard to know what to take out of this game. At times, the Cats looked back to their Grand Final best, yet other times looked slow and defensively lacking.

The Cats forward line was just starting to look as if they were getting their mojo back when 2022 All Australian small forward Tyson Stengle was subbed off with what appeared to be a serious wrist injury.

Some credit must be given to the Eagles however, with close to half their salary cap currently sitting on the sidelines injured and 60+ points down at the main-break it looked grim, but a courageous fight-back in the second half helped to minimise the damage.

A return home to GMHBA Stadium is just what the doctor ordered ahead of a Grand Final rematch against the in-form Swans on Saturday night.

How can anyone possibly stop Nick Daicos?

Another round, yet another excellent Nick Daicos performance.

42 disposals, 856m gained, and a perfect 10 coaches votes against a tough and plucky St Kilda side. Is this going to be the best second-year performance by a player ever?

With an ANZAC day clash looming next week against an in-form Bombers side, the stage is set for Daicos to shine in what is always the biggest minor round game of the year. Will Setterfield may be asked to tag the young superstar after doing a solid job in the first half against Clayton Oliver.

How good would it be to see Jake Stringer vs Nick Daicos line-up against each other in front of 90,000+ screaming people at the MCG?!…….Make it happen people.

Brody is the founder and head of content at Straya Sports. A self-confessed sporting tragic, Brody has covered (and played) nearly every sport imaginable on a variety of different media platforms.

1 Comment

  • […] Gather Round 2023 was a huge success and with it being moved back a week to coincide with the middle weekend of the VIC and WA school holidays, an even bigger crowd will be expected in 2024. […]

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