A LAST-QUARTER comeback almost saw the Blues hand Footscray their first defeat of the season, but a late flurry saw the hosts emerge with an 18-point victory.

See how Daniel O'Keefe broke down the performances of the 11 AFL-listed players who took the field on Sunday. 

2. Paddy Dow 
Stats: 24 disposals, seven clearances, six inside 50s.

Dow played midfield and a touch forward but mainly as a mid throughout the day. As expected, he won the most clearances, particularly in centre bounces: he had five centre clearances for the day, so that’s his blueprint. We know when he’s at his best, he’s winning centre bounce clearances when there’s time and space and he can explode out from there. His forward run patterns were really good off the back of stoppages as well and just his ability in the contest to win the ball - with his hard ball gets - was really strong as well.

Although he won a lot of hard balls, we expect him to put on some pressure when he doesn’t win the ball, and it’s also about keeping the ball in the contest with tackle pressure, so that’s something he’ll work on. He’s really strong when he gets his body work going at stoppages and in the contest, and that’s something he’ll continue to work on and learn and grow in. 

4. Lochie O’Brien 
Stats: 15 disposals (78 per cent kicking efficiency), three clearances

As we see with Lochie every week, he works really hard: it was a really high-volume running game. He's getting some high speeds into his game which is really exciting, finishing with the second most sprints on the team which is pretty impressive for winger. He still played mostly on the wing, but also played a little bit inside too and won a couple of clearances which was great. Where his running ability comes into the equation in terms of clearances and stoppages is when the ball leaves the area, and his ability to spread with intent is generally better than the opposition. He's still kicking really well, whether it's those shorter kicks through the corridor or his ability to roll and get out the back with a bit more length.

It probably wasn’t his best day in terms of where he ran: he ran hard, but in terms of running patterns, we're focusing on not collapsing in and making sure he holds his width. That's not a mindset thing, but more just getting the job done. Unless you can really impact the contest, holding your width and making sure you keep out is the message for Lochie.

7. Matt Kennedy 
Stats: 27 disposals, nine inside 50s, one goal. 

He played a standard Matthew Kennedy game, which was one where he found lots of the ball, applying really good pressure and taking us forward in terms of territory. It probably wasn’t the game he was looking for, off the back of some starting points at centre-bounce stoppages and even some first-give opportunities that he might’ve missed that he usually gets. In saying that, his reaction to get forward and beat his opponent forward and defensively was really good. His stoppage starting points around the ground were really good, particularly at throw ins. His ability to win the ball and his tackling pressure is at a high standard. 

12. Tom De Koning 
Stats: 13 disposals, five marks, 35 hitouts.

In his second game back, Tom played 50/50 in the ruck and forward on the weekend: he still had 35 hitouts despite splitting his time, with the most of those coming in the second half. He probably started a little bit slower than he would’ve liked in the first half but then got going, not just in the ruck but also around the ground, taking some contested marks. His aerial contest was good when he was in there: we just need to find him more opportunities to get himself into aerial contests, because even when he’s not winning them, he’s smashing the pack. We saw a couple of times on the close side of the ground where he just flew across the pack and took some bodies, which is what we expect from the big men.

I’m assuming this will come with playing more games, but a focus for him is his transition between offence and defence. Once the ball turns over either way, it's a matter of how can he get back and get himself in the game more? He’s been out of the game for a while now but this was his second game back and he is getting into the position to receive at times, but he needs to be really demanding with that. Even when he gets a kick down the line, if he’s got a one-on-one look, generally they’ll be a smaller opponent, so he should demand them to kick it to him. All these little things will come: it was a good game, but he’s got more in him and there’s no doubt with more time on the ground he’ll be able to nail it. 

16. Jack Carroll 
Stats: Six disposals.

He came off in the last quarter after playing half forward and midfield for the day. His offensive reaction at the source once the ball left the area and his ability to get out and generally get in front of his opponent was really high. His starting points and body work was really good at stoppages. Something for Jack that we're working on is his defensive impact.

If you’re going through the midfield, we expect our mids to put pressure on at the contest and make tackles. Unfortunately Jack didn’t nail that and his ball-handling and intent at the contest was a bit fumbly. We also wanted to set up in a particular way as a forward group at stoppages, so we want to make sure Jack adheres to that setup, because it certainly helps his teammates when he does. 

03:05 Mins
Published on

VFL R4 | All Carlton goals v Footscray

Watch Carlton's eight goals in its Round 4 VFL clash with Footscray.

Published on

24. Nic Newman 
Stats: 26 disposals, nine marks, four rebound 50s.

It was Newman’s second game back and he played half back the whole game. He played out the full game really well, and he pulled up well too which is fantastic  to see. His ability to lead and organise down there behind the ball with his defensive unit is unreal. We were watching the vision back and all I’ve seen him do when the ball was down the other end was point and direct and be a real leader and help his teammates. We love that from him and that’s something that he’ll always bring, not just at this level but when he gets his time in the AFL. When he’s in a competing position, so one on one or two on two, he generally makes an impact and wins or halves the contest: he’s got that real competitive nature back which is great, particularly after a long stint on the sidelines.

When he hits his kicks, he hits them well and it helps set us up. That’s one thing that is his strength and biggest weakness and for him, he’s probably still getting used to the man on the mark not moving. He maybe took some liberties not getting off the mark as much and therefore the man on the mark made an impact on his decisions with skill execution. That’s a really easy fix and he knows that, so it was a case of getting one or two steps back off the mark so he can use his strength in his kicking. 

29. Corey Durdin 
Stats: 12 disposals, eight tackles, four inside 50s.

Corey played as a small forward the whole game. We’re starting to see what he’s really capable of and what we saw in his draft year back in the SANFL, which was his manic pressure and his ability to lay a number of tackles. He had eight tackles on the weekend, four of those being inside 50 and the other four coming between the arcs. They weren’t just ordinary tackles: some of them were bone-crunching tackles, with his speed and his electricity to get there really quickly really setting us up from a turnover point of view.

His reaction is something that we’re still working on, particularly more defensively: once the ball leaves the area, what can he do to help us set up for when we do win it back? He’s getting looks but if we can get him to hit the scoreboard a bit more, then that will really round out his small forward role in terms of applying a huge amount of pressure as well as with his scoring.

31. Tom Williamson 
Stats: 25 disposals, seven rebound 50s, five tackles.

Tom was one of our better AFL-listed players on the weekend, which is great. He had the job of playing on Jamarra Ugle-Hagan in the first quarter and it was only the first quarter because Jamarra went off injured but he did a really good job on him: he kept him to only two possessions. Jamarra kicked only the one goal early, but it was one where it was a great goal and Tom made the right decision in terms of pressing him prior to that. His ability to compete in the air when he didn’t have the reach on him was really good and he won the ball when the ball was on the ground. When he found himself spare in defence, he set himself up really well and then off the back of that, won some uncontested marks.

He was being really aggressive with his running patterns forward: once we win the ball, he was either bursting forward to be able to receive if he wasn't shooting laterally to provide an option for a switch. Even once he uses it, he follows up to try and get some overlap run again. There was growth from his Essendon game where he coughed up the ball a few times in really dangerous areas: we saw it once again but it wasn’t a theme this time. He certainly showed growth in this area and that’s purely a concentration and decision-making thing.

33. Sam Ramsay
Stats: 18 disposals, four tackles, three clearances. 

Sam played wing and on ball for the majority of the day. His prowess with his kicking skills is really evident and it’s becoming really consistent too, particularly those ones that pop up 20 or 30 metres away that he can get through the air really well: they're the ones he nails the majority of the time.  He’s becoming really daring with his kicks too, particularly through the corridor, so it really helps set us up and puts us in a really good scoring position. His work rate is through the roof: he ran 16.3kms and his metres per minute was 142 metres per minute, so that’s enormous for all the GPS fans out there.

What we reviewed was what he is doing with that run. Part of his patterns, particularly off the ball, is the area Sam needs to hold. When he’s on the far side, he needs to make sure he keeps his far side lane and ensures that it sets us up well to score in the space, but also that he sets up if we do turn the ball over. He just needs to work on his defensive awareness, particularly around the contest: when we don't have the ball, it's making sure of what he can do and where he can set up to either make a tackle or keep the ball in the contest.

36. Josh Honey 
Stats: 11 disposals, four marks, two goals. 

I think Josh Honey is the best player to stand the mark at our Club. With the rules this year, as soon as that play-on call is made, he gets right in front of the opposition’s face extremely quickly to take their time and space away from them. It’s underestimated or under-appreciated but as a coaching group, we absolutely love it. His closing speed is extraordinary and he found himself out the back a lot. When we needed to put up five or six goals in the last quarter, he was pivotal in that, whether he was hitting the scoreboard himself or setting others up.

His physicality was evident and he certainly is playing with that real athletic power. Defensive awareness is something that he’s always working on, so once the ball leaves, what can he do to set up our defence? There's also some decision making with his pressing that we're working on with Josh as well. When the ball is bobbing around, can he press up and take out his opponent or press the contest? 

43. Will Setterfield 
Stats: 25 disposals, three tackles.

Will played a really solid game, in that it may not have been his best but it was also above average. He played inside midfield and also a little bit more wing than previous weeks: when he was in those positions, his ability to hold cover and hold his sweep role at stoppages was really strong for us. A lot of the time, his secondary follow up got him into the game, largely off the back of his positioning. He balanced us up and he generally owned the outside, either winning the loose ball or making a tackle. Something he’s been working on was his ball security, and not coughing it up was really evident.

He’s still giving away a couple of free kicks and this is off his own admission of being a little bit too high. he’s getting looks and opportunities to tackle, but he has to make sure he stays low in the knees and have a stronger connection to the ground and move as they move. Defensive awareness is a bit of a theme for our midfield, in terms of ensuring that we know where the most dangerous opposition is if we don’t have the ball or if the ball isn’t in 50/50 situations.