Infotainment Factory: The cheeky Saints formation tweak you missed

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Sunday, 7 April 2019

The cheeky Saints formation tweak you missed


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With all nine games in the book, Round 3 of the AFL season is done and dusted and what a brilliant round it was.

Round 3 saw several teams come into their games with an 0-2 record and consequently pulling out a win to keep their respective seasons on the line.

Geelong continued its brilliant start to the season with an outstanding road win at Adelaide while the West Coast Eagles reminded everyone just what a force they are by defeating Collingwood at the MCG.

With Round 3 complete, here's five things we learned from this week:

Teams are set to attempt to bend the rules

Collingwood captain Scott Pendlebury flirted with the idea of teams tweaking the 6-6-6 starting formations and with the game on the line, St Kilda rolled the dice against Fremantle.

A Jack Billings goal with just eight seconds remaining left the Saints needing a miraculous centre break and mark to try and overcome a five-point deficit.

Prior to the centre bounce, the Saints seemingly deliberately had a warning against them for having an extra forward in its forward line.

The official warning forced the umpire to throw the ball up rather than the traditional bounce, giving the Saints a little added time to get the perfect clearance.

St Kilda

The use of a deliberate warning was discussed briefly by Pendlebury on the Jock and Journo podcast last week after the Tigers had gotten away with an extra defender in the backline against the Pies in Round 2.

"You get one warning, which I think is going to create chaos, because if you get one warning you may as well burn one warning a game," Pendlebury said.

"It gives you a little bit more time to reset.

"I wonder now whether (clubs will exploit it), because clubs are all over this sort of stuff."

Slowly but surely the 6-6-6 is having its intended effect

The AFL brought in the 6-6-6 starting formations to make the game fast-paced and more attack and the early results suggest that it is working.

The average team score over the first three rounds of the season has increased by almost 10 points per game across the entire league.

Round 1 saw several dour, low-scoring games with teams averaging just 78.67 points per game with three teams managing to reach three figures.

Orazio Fantasia

However, after a three-point increase in Round 2, teams exploded offensively in week 3, with the average score across the league rising to 88.38 points per game.

In comparison to Round 1, four teams managed to reach the three-figure mark, with the Eagles, Cats and Swans all reaching over 90.

The Lions and Lachie Neale are to be feared

We saw the signs in the side's terrific JLT Series performance, but the Lions have arrived.

Chris Fagan has had a few years to implement his changes and to improve the culture around Brisbane, and the wheels appear to be well and truly in motion.

The Lions have done well to surround their obvious young talent such as Cam Rayner, Eric Hipwood and Hugh McCluggage with seasoned veterans such as Luke Hodge.

But no acquisition has been bigger for the Lions than former Fremantle midfielder Lachie Neale who continued his effortless accumulation of the football.

Lachie Neale

After being the understudy to Nat Fyfe in Fremantle, the 25-year-old has enjoyed a seamless transition to his new home, averaging 38.3 disposals in the first three rounds.

Not only did Neale tally up 43 disposals in the Lions' impressive win over Port Adelaide, he had 25 contested disposals and operated at a disposal efficiency of 84 percent.

So far Brisbane is the most unlikely of the undefeated teams, but scalps against three finals fancied teams in West Coast, North Melbourne and Port Adelaide prove that Fagan's men are no joke.

There is another test this week with a resurgent Essendon side waiting at the MCG. Win that and there will be no more doubting of the Lions.

The Eagles are the undisputed flag favourite

With Collingwood fully healthy and in rampant form after a Round 2 belting of Richmond, West Coast could have been forgiven for folding at the MCG.

Then again, they probably could have been forgiven for folding in the Grand Final in the absence of Nic Naitanui and Andrew Gaff.

However, with Collingwood's fans at their raucous best, the Eagles once again bested perhaps Victoria's best premiership hope with aplomb.

The Eagles exploded to life after a slow start, kicking six goals in the second term to arrest the momentum and central to it was Gaff.

Andrew Gaff

After the Eagles won without him, it could have been easy to forget the quality Gaff brings to the premiers and he set about reminding fans just why he was chased so hard by the Kangaroos in the off-season.

With Gaff returning, many wondered how the man who benefited the most from his absence, Dom Sheed, would adjust to having his midfield running mate alongside him, but Sheed adjusted with aplomb.

The Grand Final hero collected 24 disposals and kicked three vital goals to put the Magpies to the sword once again.

The knock on the Eagles even in their Cousins-Kerr-Judd years was an inability to get results consistently at the MCG. For this group, the home of football clearly holds no Demons.

A week is a long time in football

What a difference a week makes.

Essendon came into its Round 3 clash against the similarly winless Demons looking bereft of any semblance of a game-plan after two listless performances in the opening fortnight.

However, from the outset the Bombers' energy was different and reminiscent of what made them a feared side in the back half of 2018.

Port Adelaide

The Bombers came into Round 3 with its season on the line while Collingwood came into Round 3 as the overwhelming flag favourite.

The two sides leave the third week of the AFL season with identical records.

With the obvious improvement of Brisbane, Gold Coast, St Kilda and Carlton, there appears to be no easy outs for teams this season. Bring your best or get beat.

While that will frustrate teams at the top of the ladder who have become accustomed to feasting on the league's easy-beats over the years, having such a competitive league should thrill fans.

With all nine games in the book, Round 3 of the AFL season is done and dusted and what a brilliant round it was.

Round 3 saw several teams come into their games with an 0-2 record and consequently pulling out a win to keep their respective seasons on the line.

Geelong continued its brilliant start to the season with an outstanding road win at Adelaide while the West Coast Eagles reminded everyone just what a force they are by defeating Collingwood at the MCG.

With Round 3 complete, here's five things we learned from this week:

Teams are set to attempt to bend the rules

Collingwood captain Scott Pendlebury flirted with the idea of teams tweaking the 6-6-6 starting formations and with the game on the line, St Kilda rolled the dice against Fremantle.

A Jack Billings goal with just eight seconds remaining left the Saints needing a miraculous centre break and mark to try and overcome a five-point deficit.

Prior to the centre bounce, the Saints seemingly deliberately had a warning against them for having an extra forward in its forward line.

The official warning forced the umpire to throw the ball up rather than the traditional bounce, giving the Saints a little added time to get the perfect clearance.

St Kilda

The use of a deliberate warning was discussed briefly by Pendlebury on the Jock and Journo podcast last week after the Tigers had gotten away with an extra defender in the backline against the Pies in Round 2.

"You get one warning, which I think is going to create chaos, because if you get one warning you may as well burn one warning a game," Pendlebury said.

"It gives you a little bit more time to reset.

"I wonder now whether (clubs will exploit it), because clubs are all over this sort of stuff."

Slowly but surely the 6-6-6 is having its intended effect

The AFL brought in the 6-6-6 starting formations to make the game fast-paced and more attack and the early results suggest that it is working.

The average team score over the first three rounds of the season has increased by almost 10 points per game across the entire league.

Round 1 saw several dour, low-scoring games with teams averaging just 78.67 points per game with three teams managing to reach three figures.

Orazio Fantasia

However, after a three-point increase in Round 2, teams exploded offensively in week 3, with the average score across the league rising to 88.38 points per game.

In comparison to Round 1, four teams managed to reach the three-figure mark, with the Eagles, Cats and Swans all reaching over 90.

The Lions and Lachie Neale are to be feared

We saw the signs in the side's terrific JLT Series performance, but the Lions have arrived.

Chris Fagan has had a few years to implement his changes and to improve the culture around Brisbane, and the wheels appear to be well and truly in motion.

The Lions have done well to surround their obvious young talent such as Cam Rayner, Eric Hipwood and Hugh McCluggage with seasoned veterans such as Luke Hodge.

But no acquisition has been bigger for the Lions than former Fremantle midfielder Lachie Neale who continued his effortless accumulation of the football.

Lachie Neale

After being the understudy to Nat Fyfe in Fremantle, the 25-year-old has enjoyed a seamless transition to his new home, averaging 38.3 disposals in the first three rounds.

Not only did Neale tally up 43 disposals in the Lions' impressive win over Port Adelaide, he had 25 contested disposals and operated at a disposal efficiency of 84 percent.

So far Brisbane is the most unlikely of the undefeated teams, but scalps against three finals fancied teams in West Coast, North Melbourne and Port Adelaide prove that Fagan's men are no joke.

There is another test this week with a resurgent Essendon side waiting at the MCG. Win that and there will be no more doubting of the Lions.

The Eagles are the undisputed flag favourite

With Collingwood fully healthy and in rampant form after a Round 2 belting of Richmond, West Coast could have been forgiven for folding at the MCG.

Then again, they probably could have been forgiven for folding in the Grand Final in the absence of Nic Naitanui and Andrew Gaff.

However, with Collingwood's fans at their raucous best, the Eagles once again bested perhaps Victoria's best premiership hope with aplomb.

The Eagles exploded to life after a slow start, kicking six goals in the second term to arrest the momentum and central to it was Gaff.

Andrew Gaff

After the Eagles won without him, it could have been easy to forget the quality Gaff brings to the premiers and he set about reminding fans just why he was chased so hard by the Kangaroos in the off-season.

With Gaff returning, many wondered how the man who benefited the most from his absence, Dom Sheed, would adjust to having his midfield running mate alongside him, but Sheed adjusted with aplomb.

The Grand Final hero collected 24 disposals and kicked three vital goals to put the Magpies to the sword once again.

The knock on the Eagles even in their Cousins-Kerr-Judd years was an inability to get results consistently at the MCG. For this group, the home of football clearly holds no Demons.

A week is a long time in football

What a difference a week makes.

Essendon came into its Round 3 clash against the similarly winless Demons looking bereft of any semblance of a game-plan after two listless performances in the opening fortnight.

However, from the outset the Bombers' energy was different and reminiscent of what made them a feared side in the back half of 2018.

Port Adelaide

The Bombers came into Round 3 with its season on the line while Collingwood came into Round 3 as the overwhelming flag favourite.

The two sides leave the third week of the AFL season with identical records.

With the obvious improvement of Brisbane, Gold Coast, St Kilda and Carlton, there appears to be no easy outs for teams this season. Bring your best or get beat.

While that will frustrate teams at the top of the ladder who have become accustomed to feasting on the league's easy-beats over the years, having such a competitive league should thrill fans.

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