• Round 3: Sydney Swans Reserves v Belconnen Magpies

    Tired, cranky but a busy day tomorrow so I'll jot down a quick summary and a few notes of the players involved.

    Belconnen struggled to clear their defensive zone for most of the day, with most of their forays into their attacking half, hopeful half-blind kicks where the Swans' defence would tidy up with little trouble. While they didn't lose the first quarter this week, they were still quite profligate going inside 50 and only had 4 goals on the board at quarter time. The rain was quite heavy in parts of the 2nd quarter and the Swans could manage only another 4 goals with Belco getting 2 of their own.

    The weather improved somewhat in the 2nd half and the Swans' better ball use and better fitness started to tell. The game was almost exclusively played in the Swans half with most players on both sides stationed in our forward half. We kicked 12 goals to 1 in the 2nd half which was a fair return for such a period of superiority.

    Overall, while Belconnen hardly threatened the scoreboard all game, they did tackle well for most of it and only started to drop off towards the end when perhaps fatigue started to set it.

    1. SeabySeaby got his hands to a lot of taps but wasn't as effective as Pyke in this area. That wasn't such a surprise as I rate Pyke's tapwork very highly but more surprisingly was the fact that he was outpointed by Pyke playing in the forward line. This was supposedly his advantage over Pyke but he hasn't really offered anything beyond competent in this game or the GWS game. He didn't take many marks inside 50, and in fact his only goal came from a strange role reversal with TDL. Meredith bombed long to the forward line and TDL drops the tough contested mark. Seaby crumbs and snaps around his body for a clever goal TDL-style. He is very much behind Pyke in the ruck pecking order at the moment.
    7. MeredithMeredith is starting to frustrate me. He obviously has a lot of talent but doesn't seem capable of putting it together for a whole game. We witnessed more flashes of brilliance today but intermixed with somewhat lackadaisical play. He kicked a beautiful goal on a tough angle from the right hand pocket after looking twice inboard without seeing an available option. It was beautifully executed. However, in general, he seems content to do the bare minimum and lacks the intensity around the contests. There are also question marks over what position he is best suited to in the seniors as I don't think he would cut it playing as an inside midfielder as he has been doing in the reserves.
    8. Dennis-LaneDennis-Lane was rusty for most of this game, spilling marks all over the ground with his usually dependable strong hands letting him down. He kicked 2 opportunistic goals, one of them being a clever kick from Pyke for TDL to run onto in the goal square and finish from point blank. He didn't play as much up the ground as I expected and heard about last week. On this performance alone, I don't think he will seriously threaten for a senior spot.
    10. CurrieDefinitely the biggest surprise of the day. After the first quarter, which he spent milling about the forward line with a tight set shot missing his only contribution, he did a swap with LRT going down back. However, when LRT went off for the day (see his report below), he continued to stay at CHB for the rest of the game. Given most of the play was in our forward half and the balls that did come his way were often of poor quality, he didn't have much to do but he performed his duties well.
    11. LambAfter reading my notes my judgment of his game has risen slightly. He was involved in a few scores early, the highlight being a beautifully hit kick to Pyke who was stationed well behind his opponent. Missed his only set shot of the game but other than that I thought he did some nice things towards the end of the game.
    17. KennellyNoticeably very vocal out there, gave a lot of encouragement to the toppies playing alongside him. Started playing his usual role at half back, but as the game went on, drifted further forward and finished the game playing on ball. He was keen to prove his fitnes out there, and I don't think he spent any time on the bench. Made a valiant effort in the 2nd quarter when Belconnen actually broke through our zone from the kick-in and he was the last man back racing against multiple opponents. He managed to slap the ball out of play, with not enough subtlety according to the umpires giving a deliberate out of bounds freekick. However, it would have been a certain Belco goal and they missed with the subsequent shot. He kicked the last goal of the match by bravely marking and taking a hit before going back and slotting through after the siren (possibly his first goal at any level for many years?). I'm not sure how the bye will play into his selection chances but I think he's ready to go if there was a match next weekend.
    23. JohnstonMarked him highly based mainly on his spoiling, tackling, chasing and general physicality. We all know and have witnessed how good a kick he is but sometimes the other facets of his game can be a ltitle lacking. Not today. Again, with not much ball going into our defence, most of his touches were up against the wing or even higher at half-forward. Not sure if it was the black boots he was wearing but his legs looked much skinnier than usual.
    26. ParkerWas red hot in the first quarter, working well with Pyke in the taps. There were many instances in a forward 50 throw in where Pyke would tap it over his head for Parker to run onto and Belconnen didn't seem to twig to this tactic. Perhaps somewhat quieter after that but I was suitable impressed from his early work. I'd rather have Parker than Meredith if a replacement is needed in the midfield.
    28. McNeilNot as dominant as usual but not for a lack of trying. I was impressed by his workrate and his tackling in the wet and especially with a few passages where his quick hands were key in extracting the ball for his teammates.
    30. Roberts-ThomsonOnly played the first half, one quarter down back and the next up forward. Pretty quiet in the first quarter as you may imagine but he linked up well down back with equanimity as you would expect from a player of his experience. His foray up forward was a little more interesting, yielding little reward besides his soccerred goal after a teammates had spilled the mark. At least 2 more games at this level at the bare minimum.
    33. MooreMoore started the game as a small forward but finished it as the game's dominant midfielder. Once he got into his stride he was the general dictating play with his ball use a highlight. Unfortunately at senior level, the quicker pace of the game blunts this asepct of his game, but almost every time he drops back to this level and plays in the midfield, he is such a clever and efficient user of the football. Today he was rewarded with 2 goals, the 2nd of which was an interesting volleyball-style spike by Pyke into Moore's path who eventually goaled on the run from 40m out. He should come in for the Carlton game, and hopefully he can gives us a semblance of structure in our sometimes haphazard looking forward line.
    36. McKaigueNot really seeing any signs of improvement. I think his kicking still isn't good enough for him to play as a rebounding defender. They tend to go up and under which many forwards will gladly inform you, makes it very hard for them and very easy for their opponents to spoil. Needs to get some kicking lessons, perhaps from his good mate Tadhg.
    38. PykeSuper game from the Canadian. Controlled the taps (although a lot were uncontested) with ease, directing many ballups and throwins to his teammates. When up forward, moved freely and more importantly moved into the right areas. He kicked the first 2 goals of the game, both of them from marks where he ran to the right spot and thankfully was rewarded with great kicks over the top from Parker and Lamb. His third goal was a big bomb from way outside 50. Also had 3 behinds, including 2 from set shots that probably should have converted, and an assist (not counting taps). He is in form, he looks very hungry and eager and I think it would be a travesty not to promote him given we are getting very little from our second ruck at the moment.
    43. KrugerI can't recall much from him, spent a lot of time on the bench early on. His play of the day was spotting up Ben Haren on the run when it would have been easy (especially for him) to blaze away at the goals. With more players coming off the injury list, he might be one of the players to be rotated in and out to give all players meaningful playing time.
    45. GordonGreat game by Nipper, he showed real intent out there and didn't waste too many positions. Being released from inside midfield duties helped liberate his role, I would classify it as being a linkman from defence. He was lively, creative and also a standout in the wet.
    46. HarenBenched early on to my disappointment. When he was on the field, he was a hard leading target but he only managed to juggle and hang on to one of his now trademark contested grabs (and which he duly converted). I really rate his kicking, both accuracy and distance. Today he snapped a fantastic goal from around the corner, some distance out that literally took my breath away. He moves so well that you don't realise how tall he is until you measure him up against his teammates and realise he is a big lad.
    ToppiesAgree with the assessment that they are all solid and aren't a major weakness in the side anymore. Today, I was most impressed with Brain who used the ball well and didn't panic. Thompson also laid a few nice, solid tackles. Wales is a dependable option down back, reads the play well and has a spoil-first policy. Guthrie and Kenny had a bit of it while Potter was somewhat quieter. Don't remember Lynch much but when he did have the ball, he looked a fine physical specimen. And finally to everyone's favourite topup Kane Murphy, I was watching him take shots during the warmup and he nailed most of them, with some flair I might add. He certainly must practice his snaps a lot as he finished off 2 today off a couple of steps with such ease.
    There is a bye next week to co-incide with the seniors, and then we play Tuggeranong as the curtain raiser to the Carlton game. It will start at the very interesting time of Friday 4.20pm

    Reserves 4.3 8.6 14.13 20.18 (138)
    Belconnen 0.0 2.4 3.4 4.5 (29)

    Goals: Pyke Haren Parker 3 Moore Meredith TDL Murphy 2 Seaby Kennelly LRT
    This article was originally published in forum thread: Round 3: Sydney Swans Reserves v Belconnen Magpies started by ugg View original post
    Comments 1 Comment
    1. Xie Shan's Avatar
      Xie Shan -
      Thanks ugg for the detailed update despite the atrocious conditions! hope the iPhone survived. Pyke and Kennelly have to come in.
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