• Sydney Swans Reserves v East Coast Eagles 19th March

    A big win, a solid performance but I think the coaches will be more than a little disappointed that the Eagles could not replicate their performance from the corresponding match last year. The Swans dominated possession and field position, starting from the utter dominance of the ruck division, feeding both our inside and outside midfielders who gave good clean ball to a very potent (and tall) forward line. The Eagles struggled to get the ball out of the their own half for much fo the game. I would love to say that this was due solely to the pressure of the forward line, one area where Longmire has said the club needs to improve, but it was as much due to the Eagles' constant stream of poor kicks and turnovers that contributed to it. The Eagles really had 2 options, kick it across the defensive line, which they were also prone to stuffing up, or kick it long downfield where the Swans were waiting to pick it off, more adept at gathering the loose ball and sending it back into the forward 50.

    The match was shorter than your usual affair, it started at 10am and when the final whistle (yes whistle) blew I peeked at my watch and it said 11.55 am. This may have been due to the bad weather or pre-agreed beforehand, but basically the scoreboard could have been a lot more embarassing.

    The rain really started coming down in the 2nd half and this had the effect of diminishing the marking power of our tall forwards. However, it allowed our crumbers to come to the fore and there some nice controlled passes as well as snapped goals in this half. What was impressive was that even as the scoreline continued to balloon, the Swans stuck to their task - there no was no showboating or lairsing, they went in hard, tackled well, looked for their teammates and were thoroughly professional.

    I had Dylan McNeil as my BOG. He was the beneficiary of many wonderful, clean taps from the impressive Mike Pyke but when a loose ball was up for grabs, it seemed that he would be the first player to get to it. What I really liked about his game today was his coolness under pressure. Whereas someone like Luke Parker, who was also outstanding in the middle, can use his size and bulk to stand up in tackles and bump off potential tacklers, McNeil doesn't have the same physical attributes and so has to go about in a different but just as effective way. He is deceptively stealthy, not as evasive as Byron Sumner in close, but clever enough and has the awareness to know when to release the ball before he gets into trouble. Parker continued his solid pre-season with a dominant display, he had the first few clearances of the game and looked very comfortable in the middle and in the rain. He'll be a great backup to have if any of our senior onballers are set to miss with injury or suspension, and has enough skills to play up forward as well.

    Pyke played the majority of time in the ruck, and only a very small portion in the forward line when Daniel Currie relieved him in the ruck. He was supreme at the ruck contests, his opponent looked quite young and probably a good few inches shorter than Pykey, able to direct his taps to McNeil, Parker, Brett Meredith, Nathan Gordon or toppie Jackson Potter. I felt that his kicking has improved, his drop punts today travelled at a much flatter trajectory than in past years, giving his intended target a greater chance to mark it than the floaters he's been known for. Currie battled hard in the forward line, but with so many options for the Swans mids to aim for he didn't get the bulk of the good ball and ended up competing for the bombs which he couldn't cling onto. The one mark that he did end up taking on a conventional lead and converting for a goal, came from all people Pyke. He also chased hard but being such a big man has a lot of momentum and is easily turned inside out by smaller defenders.

    Despite getting a lot of it too, Meredith was a level below that of McNeil and Parker, he didn't seem as comfortable in the middle as those 2 especially when the rain starting coming down. I don't think he enjoys the closer attention and fumbled a few balls, perhaps expecting some physical contact and may prefer to be an outside runner or perhaps a half-forward. He certainly knows where the goals are, he finished with 3, hanging thereabouts on the forward 50 line, including a gem of a goal tucked in on the right side of the goals on the boundary line. I'm not sure if persisting with him as an inside midfielder (he had Kirk has a mentor previously) is the best way forward for Meredith.

    Now to the forwards, Jesse White started like the proverbial bull in a china shop. He was incredibly lively, bouncing off defenders, running into space - you could see that he was fired up for this game given there was a potential spot up for grabs in the seniors. I liked that he presented well on the lead with none of the play from behind stuff that he can tend to get sucked into at reserves level, but also entertained with a couple of big flies including one big pack mark for his 4th goal. He faded as the match went on due to the decline of the midfield service I think he and the coaching staff would be very happy with this hitout. He didn't play any time in the ruck as he did in Coffs and as was hinted by Playfair beforehand, but that may be because they're looking at him as Bradshaw's stand-in rather than as a 2nd ruck competitor to Seaby. If Longmire wants to swing a change from the 22 that played the Saints that sat out this match, Jesse will be the only realistic option. His versatility will be very handy, he can drop into the ruck or down back if one of those areas needs some cover for in-match injuries.

    Trent Dennis-Lane must wish he could play on Lakeside Oval every week. He had those bags of goals in the last 2 intraclub matches and he finished with another 4 majors this morning. I was listening to Longmire's interview with Lethal Leigh yesterday and one of his statements that really stuck out me was his belief that one-position players might be a thing of the past. TDL immediately came to mind when he said that, and therefore it was no surprise to me that he spent a lot of time today pushing right into the midfield. He could have something to offer in this area, competing well for the loose ball as well as laying plenty of strong tackles. With the ball in hand, he was his usual clever self, one outside of the boot pass to Meredith really took my fancy.

    Sam Reid started well too, took a typically strong sticky hands grab in the first quarter but missed the resulting set shot. Then he dropped a couple of tough but gettable marks although he was still competing well with his movement around the forward 50 area. His only goal of the game came when he was the quickest to react to an ill-directed pass by a teammate, and despite having 4 Eagles defenders nearby he ran onto the ball first and bounced it through the open goal. As the match progressed I saw less and less of him, and at the end I saw him on the Swans interchange at the other side of the ground. Not sure if it was injury related.

    Eugene Kruger had a very interesting game, one of his goals was a unbelievable slice that floated through given it was a terribly tight angle for a left footer. I would like to say it was skill but given he previously had another pop from a different but also difficult angle minutes prior I would say it was more luck than skill. I wouldn't like to castigate him for being selfish, perhaps he just doesn't have the footy acumen yet to spot up teammates on the run. Otherwise he used his pace and run well and part of the reason he had so many shots on goal was that he ran harder and quicker than his opponents.

    Ben Haren was very quiet for the first 3 quarters, playing really deep even when the rest of his teammates were pushed up the ground. His only notable play up till then was when he gave away a fifty metre penalty, for not retreating to his mark and which resulted in one of the Eagles' 3 goals. However, he started getting some touches in the last quarter - he moves quite well for a tall man, read the play well, and has a penetrating left foot which was demonstrated by his flying shot while being tackled from around 50m which sailed through for a goal.

    Jed Lamb was also quiet for most of the game, although I'm suspecting this was due to spending a lot of time on the bench - I didn't seem to notice him on the ground that much. He came to the fore in the last quarter with his super smart work around the forward line. I can definitely see where the Steve Johnson comparisons come in with his sly evasive skills and clever little passes. However, don't just pigeonhole him into a goalsneak as he also led well out of the goalsquare.

    The defenders didn't have much to do today, the ball wouldn't have entered the Eagles F50 more than 15 times to be honest. The (Lewis) Johnston & (Alex) Johnson boys were the two talls down back, with Johnson looking like he was the nominal fullback leaving Johnston as CHB. Johnson hardly touched the ball today, through no fault of his own of course. Marking a Eagle shot on the goalline was his highlight of the day and towards the end of the game he was loitering around the forward line.

    Johnston on the other hand, was more than prepared to run up the ground and provide an option. He ended up having 2 shots on goal, perhaps somewhat selfishly but maybe more out of boredom, from 50m+ off a couple of steps, both easily covering the distance with one splitting the big sticks and the other just missing. As I said on Twitter, I was hoping they would throw him up forward in the last quarter to at least give him a chance to show his wares in comparison to his competitors White and Reid but alas poor Lewis was stuck in the dead zone.

    Chris McKaigue was a solid defensive option, always goes for the safety of the punch first, but otherwise didn't turn too many heads. Max Otten is a big lad, he looked taller than Haren but plays more like a flanker than a tall, and today he was playing off a wing, or as a half-back flanker pushing up real high due to the ball being in the Swans forward half for such long periods of time. Another left-footer, he was competent without being good or bad.

    The topups
    had limited time - since we had no restrictions on listed players in this game only 2 spots were available if all 16 listed players were on the field at the same time. Jackson Potter (#15) as previously mentioned started quite a center bounces in the center square. I also recognised Kane Murphy (#5) playing forward pocket/half forward, he's a small kid but tough and quick. From memory Mitch Thompson is the red head but I didn't recall seeing him after the first quarter. I know Guthrie, Kenny and Lynch were listed as playing but I don't recall seeing any of them at all. There was a topup playing deep back, a good size for a toppie, who looked familiar - this could have been Tim Wales as he has played as a topup before whereas James Brain hasn't. It also confused some spectators that they were wearing such low numbers, one guy I was standing close to wasn't impressed by "Rhyce Shaw's" performance and let him know about it. I still can't figure out how he missed the fact that #2 had hair on him.


    I know this is different to what's on the Swans page. I am certain that Meredith kicked 3 and White only 4, but for the rest I may have given one of Lamb's to Currie, it was hard to tell sometimes in the rain.

    Goals: White 4 Dennis-Lane 4 Meredith 3 Kruger 2 Currie 2 Reid 1 Lamb 1 Haren 1 Johnston 1 Murphy 1

    Swans 5.5 9.9 12.14 20.15 (135)
    Eagles 0.0 1.0 3.1 3.1 (19)

    My Best: McNeil Pyke White Dennis-Lane Parker Meredith

    When it started really coming down in the 2nd half. Actually it looks a lot worse in that picture due to a lack of flash lighting but certainly it was no day out at the beach!

    Don't forget the next Reserves practice match against Belconnen, starting 2pm.
    This article was originally published in forum thread: Sydney Swans Reserves v East Coast Eagles 19th March started by ugg View original post
  • #goswans Feed

Single Sign On provided by vBSSO