Newell’s Notes Round 2 Sydney v Adelaide 2019

Nothings changed for Sydney

As we stated in our report Sydney haven’t changed for the past three seasons. The Swans haven’t won opening season games since 2016. There were some worrying signs for Sydney. I don’t think they can return as they have in past seasons. They are in transition with regards to their list. The future player positives are with Nick Blakey, Colin O’Riordan, Tom McCartin, Ryan Clarke, Lewis Melican and Oliver Florent. The forward line needs fixing big league. Lance Franklin is carrying the line-up and he cannot be expected to do so despite his class. Sydney badly needs a fit Daniel Menzel who has had an interrupted pre-season. Menzel has proven goal kicking abilities and would lift much of the scoring weight off Franklin’s shoulders. Tom McCartin is another player who needs to be back playing senior footy. But what I saw on Friday night in terms of the Swans forward zone was a ghost town. There was nothing there. Despite having more inside 50 metre entries than the Crows (55-52) the ball was all too easily rebounded out by a ferocious Adelaide defense. I don’t buy coach Longmire’s post game assessment of simply making skill errors, I saw some serious application errors in terms of pressuring your opponent, especially in the forward zone. The final quarter you could see Crows defenders A, forming lines behind the goals to stop and clear any forward play, B, when it was kick out time The Crows players moved to either side of the field and weren’t covered by the Swans forwards. Successful Sydney forward lines were notorious for keeping the ball inside their 50 m arcs. Not this team. Not in 2019.

Can Swans coach John Longmire turn things around? Photo: Jodie Newell

Adelaide looked good but can they carry this through?

The Crows looked great on Friday night. After a disappointing week and loss to Hawthorn, this road win should work wonders for their confidence. There was a steely determination to win the ball, tough D, Taylor Walker moved well, Rory Sloane an absolute ball magnet. Brad and Matt Crouch were sensational. The pleasing thing surely for coach Don Pyke was it wasn’t Eddie or Tex who did much of the work, it was other players such as Paul Seedsman, Riley Knight, Wayne Milera and David Mackay who stood up when it mattered. Even with “Sauce” Jacobs off with a leg injury for part of the game the Crows managed the ruck well. I liked how they moved the ball through the centre of the SCG a bit like a rugby league team, running in fast surges like a line. It was very hard to stop from a Sydney standpoint, and I haven’t seen the Crows play like this. The question is can they sustain the form. They won well at the SCG last year, but dramatically faded away and pre-season controversies engulfed their season. They looked very different this time around and I’m confident, if they stay fit, they will be thereabouts.

Bryce Gibbs being “interrogated” by Roaming Brian Taylor. Photo: Jodie Newell

Field umpires were terrible, Score reviewer brilliant

After a reasonable start and with all the new rules and position changes, the umpires seemed to just pop up every now and then, but during this game, it was the bad old days. Simon Meredith was woeful. He has form against Sydney and on the biggest stage. Many Swans fans will have bad memories about the standard of umpiring he is capable of AKA the 2016 AFL Grand Final which heavily favored the Western Bulldogs. Even on the following Monday of that game, the AFL said the umpiring was not up to standard. Fast forward to 2019 and Mr Meredith was at his hair pulling best on Friday night (27-17 in favour of Adelaide). He got plenty of decisions wrong, and please this new running 50m rule on the mark is a joke stretching a penalty to 100 metres isn’t a good look and the spirit of the players on the mark is one of total confusion as was the case of Colin O’Riordan. Surely the umps can chill and get the penalty set to give both teams an opportunity to deal with it. In terms of the score review there is a bloke who deserves much kudos. Andrew Scovell is his name and he knows all about umpiring duties, both in the capacity of being a field umpire and goal umpire. Originally hailing from Adelaide, Scovell clearly has an understanding of the nuances and ball behavior in and around the goal areas. He was called upon to make 3 scoring review calls and got them right as per usual. We’ve yet to see any bad calls made by him over the past few seasons. He understands the ebb and flow of the game , he doesn’t wait too long on making a decision. Even Channel 7 commentator Bruce McAvaney made mention of his work during the call on Friday night. Tells you a lot about this bloke’s eye for the game. Job well done Mr Scovell, keep it up.

Lewis Melican deserves a mention

We are going to mention young defender Lewis Melican this week. We thought he played a pretty reasonable game keeping Tex Walker to only one goal. Melican worked hard against a bigger opponent and he wasn’t the worst in terms of his application to the contest. The kid’s only played 5 games in the past two seasons so I reckon he did very well all things considered. We asked coach Longmire about his game and he was nonplussed with his effort which was surprising considering who he was up against for much of the night. Thought he would have learnt a great deal and got some confidence out of his efforts.

VALE Mike Willesee

Another end of an era in the media world with the recent passing of Mike Willesee. He was old school journalism, up and at the subject and he went for the jugular. He was devoid of agendas that today’s journos are all too ready to embrace, particularly of the left. Mike Willesee understood the news game and what his audience wanted to hear. His infamous questioning of Liberal leader John Hewson about the GST on a cake, tore shreds off Hewson who grabbed defeat from the jaws of victory in 1993. The football angle was also a massive part of Mike’s life. He was a club president and was there when the Swans were going through some very tough times in the 1990’s. He was Sydney Swans through and through and will be sadly missed by many Swans people. It was a nice touch on Friday night to see his name on the players run-through banner. He definitely was a true believer.



About the Author

Jodie Newell
Love reporting on sports, politics, history and music