Nathan Buckley’s five takeaways from Round 20

The Buck Stops Here.

Nathan Buckley has gone through his five biggest takeaways from the weekend of footy.

Buckley has touched on Sydney, Patrick Dangerfield, the Tigers-Lions thriller, Joel Selwood and Carlton.

Swans have reinforced their DNA

“We’re going to start with the Swans.

“They have had what I would suggest is the most under-the-radar month, but potentially have set themselves up for the finals and a real crack at the flag in 2022.

“I think they’ve had a relatively easier draw, but the fact is they’re a good young team that have now reinforced exactly what their DNA is – and their DNA is pressure.

“They’re the number one pressure team in the competition across the season, they’re the number one team in the pressure differential across the last month, and three of their best five performances for the year have come in their last four games.

“They’ve ramped up. They’ve narrowed their focus on, ‘We’re going to put absolute heat on the opposition and that’s going to kickstart our game’.”

Dangerfield looms as final X-factor

“Patrick Dangerfield becomes such a massive X-factor.

“He’s a champion of the game, he’s obviously been a consistent contributor to his teams both in Adelaide and Geelong, but his performance on the weekend highlights what he could be over the next six or seven weeks.

“Finals are about contested ball and winning key contests and that’s what Patrick Dangerfield can provide.

“He’s a clearance beast. We haven’t seen the need for him to go forward yet in amongst Cameron, Hawkins, Stengle, Close, who have got a really established forward line that are scoring heavily. He can still go forward and do that.

“He only played 63 percent game time across those four quarters.”

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Storylines out of Tigers-Lions thriller

How good is footy? I just loved to see this game and there were so many storylines that came out of it.

“Since they (Brisbane) have been a top four side, they haven’t played that much footy there (MCG).

“Their first half looked like it had answered that – Daniher and Hipwood stand up, Cameron kicks straight, Rayner looks up and about, their midfield are giving them supply. That’s a story out of it.

“Bailey’s injury concern is one. Dylan Grimes’ injury, what does that mean for Richmond?

“But Richmond stands up… they raise the fight. They out pressure one of the top four sides in the competition and they’re able to turn around a 42-point deficit to get it done.

“Noah Cumberland kicks five goals, Lynch stands up, Riewoldt stands up, Shai Bolton… what’s he going to be? And as ‘Fages’ (Chris Fagan) said, celebrating the 300th game of Shane Edwards.

“There was so much to like about that game.”

Selwood’s 350th game

“The fourth one is about Geelong and Joel Selwood and how they handled that.

“I look at it from afar and look at the Geelong footy club, not just about their on-field performances but their admin, how they set themselves up off-field, how they handle different situations, I think they do it with class and I thought what we saw with Joel Selwood after the game on Saturday night was amazing.

“The jury is out around finals performances, but that’s still there for them to chase.

“Geelong handles crisis as well as anyone. They’re a tight-knit organization on and off the field and they get things done.”

Where Blues must improve

“I think they’re a very interesting study.

“12 wins has put themselves in a position where they have a crack at playing finals, they’ve been touted as top four, will they miss the eight? There are a few question marks for the next three weeks against them as they take on Brisbane next week, then Melbourne, then Collingwood. Three blockbusters to finish the season off.

“I think we’ll see that game in Round 23 (against the Magpies) and I reckon we’ll see it repeated in the first final.

“Carlton is the second-best contested ball side in the comp, they’re the second-best clearance side in the comp, they’re the ninth-worst offense, the 11th-worst defense in terms of defending transition.

“In contest they’re great, in stoppage they’re great, in transition it’s always been a watch to see whether they can build an effective and efficient unit to play the transition game, which is where sides like Geelong and Richmond and Collingwood lately. and Melbourne have been elite.

“The jury is out on that. They still need to develop that, and they need to improve if they’re going to challenge the best sides when they get to September.”





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