What’s better than beating the premiership favourite by 56 points? Doing it while the second premiership favourite goes down in a screaming heap at home to Port Adelaide!
Last year, the Squiggle had a torrid love affair with the Crows, who offered a blistering attack of the kind the squiggle can’t resist, and then, just when it seemed like all sizzle and no steak, and the squiggle’s friends were like, “He’s no good for you, he can’t be trusted, and he rides a motorcycle,” began delivering solid defensive efforts as well. Adelaide were Squiggle’s Flagpole pick from mid-season right up until Round 23, when a catastrophic home loss to West Coast dumped them from 2nd to 5th. And two finals later, they were gone.
But now they’re back! And doing the exact same thing, lifting off vertically, by scoring more than expected while holding their opponent in check.
Adelaide had the best week, but Port’s was also huge. Sure, Sydney have a history of starting the season slowly, but they were still widely expected to account for the Power, and didn’t. As a result, Port bounced right up into Top 8 territory:
There are four teams there all on 11 predicted wins from 8th to 11th, so that will change very easily.
Then there’s Essendon, who answered the question, “So will the Bombers be much better this season?” with, “For now, yes!”
West Coast, Melbourne, and Richmond also had great weeks. In particular, they kicked big scores, even moreso than the rest of the competition. That’s a bit of a Round 1 trend; at least, if two years including this one can make a trend. Last year it faded away, with average scores winding up only a little above the long-term average.
Gold Coast’s week was the worst, despite the big comeback, since they dropped a game to the wooden spoon favourite and probably had the most disappointing result of the bottom 6. But Hawthorn’s was pretty bad, too.
Flagpole! This is a premier predictor that rates performances based on how similar they are to those from past premiership-winning teams. In practice, this mostly means that it cares more about attack than defense, since attacking teams have won a lot of flags over that period, while defensive teams have been coached by Ross Lyon.
P.S. Sorry for the graphical glitchiness that makes GWS and Adelaide’s squiggle lines a bit thin this week. Will be better next week.