Brisbane Lions vs. Western Bulldogs Match Report

Gutted. Today was just a miserable day all around. The weather was shocking and the football the Lions produced was even worse. The Bulldogs are not a ten goal better side than us and we didn’t even give a yelp. I can handle the skill errors/turnovers, but there was no intensity, will for the ball, taking on a contest today. It was just a very weak effort from a vast majority. Hearing Browny talk on radio after the game he summed it up perfectly, the beat us comprehensively all over the field and they were harder. We just didn’t have our usual tackle, chase and pressure today.

Our accountability was pretty horrible all day long. The midfielders were the main offenders. Everything was just way too easy for the Bulldogs. We’d work had for a goal and then they just fire one straight back, extremely demoralising.

The Bulldogs were inaccurate, especially early and once again our inability to move the ball up the field from kick outs was exposed. The more I see it live from a high vantage point, the more I see that the backline really can’t be blamed for it. There just aren’t enough players working into space up the field. Also, it is highly obvious that using Merrett coming out of the backline is a last resort option. His skill level and decision making with ball in hand clearly isn’t trusted by his team mates. A lot of the skill errors today came from open play rebound situations where guys like McGrath, Drummond and MacDonald had to wait and wait and wait for something to present and nothing came.

Hard to gauge the kind of day the backline had, there wasn’t really much they could do with the volume and quality of ball coming in. There were a few soft goals though where the ball could/should have been punched through or more pressure applied. Merrett can hold his head high, whenever the ball came in a fashion that had him in the contest I think he won it everytime.

Simon Black got his usual number of possessions, but he had absolutely no legs or ability to chase. Adcock was our BOG for mine; he tried his heart out all day and is clearly carrying an injury. He ran into space to give his team mates an option, he put his head over the football and he looked ready for the contest. My admiration for his courage and endeavour increases with every game I see him play.

Stiller redeemed himself with an decent game in the end, but there were instances early on where he chose to hang off the play when he needed to commit to winning the ball. Tim Notting was another guy I think you could single out as having a pretty soft game today. He was barely sighted and didn’t really look interested in winning a ball. Johnstone had a shocker, but reading he injured himself early on I’ll lay off him. We really missed Rischa, in recent weeks he has been winning a lot of ball and breaking tackles. Today that was lacking for sure.

Sherman had a promising game, he was exciting with his run and carry, but his finish still isn’t there. He had a touch of the fumbles and couldn’t hit the target, not that anyone else could. Someone needed to step up in the pace stakes in the absence of Harding and he did that.

Brennan faded in and out of the game again; I’m starting to think his best position is that kind of Martin Pike lead up the wing. He has a good ability to take grabs close to the boundary line and work in small spaces. His kicking still leaves a bit to be desired at times, but that is true of many. He was non-existent with his clearance work at the centre bounces and I’ m pretty sure he was in there a lot of the time that the Bulldogs got those really quick centre breaks.

One thing that has been noticeable watching both the Sydney and Bulldogs games live is that when a scrumage forms at ground level, both teams surround it and on foot so as soon as the ball squeezes out they are in front position. Contrasting with the Lions who seem to wait on the fringes for the ball to fly out or commit to piling on top.

The forward line didn’t really get enough ball to have any bearing on the game. The delivery to Clark was pretty poor, he ran hard all day, but it just didn’t work for him today. Corrie and Hooper were serviceable. Browny was supreme, delivery let him down as did his team putting in such an effort for his 150th game. Around the forward 50 we were outnumbered all day, the Bulldogs always seemed to have players streaming out of the backline and it was left to Clark, Hooper and Corrie to go on long chases down the ground. By contrast we were playing stop start football out of the back, looking like we had 15 players on the field.

5 – Adcock
4 – Brown
3 – Power
2 – Merrett
1 – Sherman

About the Author: Andrew Ferguson

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