Analysis of the flag candidates for 2022

In this article, I’ll analyze who I consider to be the top contenders for this year’s AFL premiership.

I will analyze their strengths and weaknesses and the players who will make or break their campaigns. Let’s get into it!

Melbourne
I have to start with the only undefeated team in 2022 and the reigning Prime Ministers in the Demons.

The Demons have built their success as prime ministers on defense, just as Richmond and Hawthorn did before them.

Steven May and Jake Lever have formed one of the best defensive duos for the past 20 years and Harrison Petty has played the role of the lock-down defender perfectly for the past 12 months.

Melbourne also controls the arches. They are ranked second in the 50s per game.

They tackle their main problem, which is their forward line, and they can then control the ball when they do so. They are ranked second in divestments per game in 2022.

Melbourne has dominated everyone so far this season. Players like Steven May, Clayton Oliver, Max Gawn, Bayley Fritsch and Angus Brayshaw all have their best seasons.

Steven May

(Photo by Bradley Kanaris/AFL Photos via Getty Images)

How do you beat them?

Well, it’s easier said than done, of course, but the Demons can give teams free rein at times, especially this season where they are ranked 12th in clearings per game.

Their main rivals, the Lions, have taken the top spot in game-by-game clearances this season, and teams like Carlton are also proud of this area of ​​the game.

The other area where you can beat Melbourne is their lack of true superstar forward 50 players. For a team that averages close to 58 within 50 per game, an average of 13 goals per game isn’t great.

This is because Melbourne does not have a star high up. Only Ben Brown and Tom McDonald are down there. They have kicked 21 goals out of the 105 the team has scored this year.

They rely heavily on their small and medium strikers such as Bayley Fritsch (16 goals), Kysaiah Pickett (nine goals) and James Harmes (eight goals).

They also rely on midfielders like Christian Petracca (seven goals) and halftime rucks Max Gawn (seven goals) and Luke Jackson (five goals) to do the damage to the center front.

You’d be a brave person to tip against the demons in 2022, but as Leigh Matthews said, if it bleeds, you can kill it.

Opposition teams know how to beat them, or at least have a theory. But whether they can execute it or not is the million dollar question. They will be hard to beat.

Brisbane
The Lions are widely recognized as the number one threat to the Demons in 2022 and it’s hard to argue they aren’t as they have been around target for the past four seasons and most of the list is now at their all-time high. is. †

Brisbane’s MO has been the same for a while now. They are the best offensive team in the league, first in points scored per game and third in within 50’s per game.

They rarely handball (15th in handball league) and have a focus on getting the ball forward quickly, as evidenced by the fact that they are second in kicks per game, yet 12th in disposals per game.

Impressively this season, they’ve done it without Eric Hipwood, who averages 30 goals per season. Charlie Cameron and Joe Daniher have scored 38 goals together.

Charlie Cameron of the Lions celebrates a goal

(Photo by Jono Searle/AFL Photos/via Getty Images)

Zac Bailey is not far behind them with 18 goals in what is the best triple threat in the league.

How do you defeat the lions? Again, it’s easier said than done, and I’m going to make a big appeal and say they have fewer holes in their game plan and in their team than Melbourne.

They score again with complete ease in 2022, they dominate the game, and more importantly, they have now become one of the stingiest defenses in the league.

The defenses of Harris Andrews, Darcy Gardiner and Marcus Adams work well together and it has made them a much better team.

The area where the Lions can be beaten is only in the big games.

Their final record from the past three years has been very poor (except for nearly losses) and proof of the pudding will be in the works in September.

That will answer whether they have learned from their past shortcomings.

It is difficult to pick a team for the premiership as they have underperformed in the finals for the past three seasons, but all signs point to them being the clear second seed in the race for the premiership.

Fremantle
The surprise pack of 2022 has clearly been the Dockers, who are second on the ladder with just one loss after eight rounds.

And compared to Brisbane, the Dockers are the best defensive team in the league and seem to focus more on limiting what you can do with the ball than what they can do with it.

The Dockers are in first place with the fewest points scored so far in 2022 and most of this is down to the perfect back-line collaboration.

Luke Ryan is having another great season, with brilliant interception markings and brilliant run-out from the defensive 50, taking ninth in overall rebound 50’s this season.

Hayden Young has vastly improved in his third year of senior footy. He is another one of those players who has increased intercepting possession and has a nice kick that rarely lets him down.

Alex Pearce (touch wood) is finally coming to terms with injuries and is rarely beaten, while Heath Chapman has improved dramatically in his second season of AFL, taking second overall in intercepts among rising stars.

Fremantle defender Alex Pearce

(Photo by Paul Kane/Getty Images)

The Dockers’ midfield is another position where many players have their best seasons.

That includes Will Brodie (averaging 27 sales per game and seventh in clearances per game in 2022), Caleb Serong (who has an average career high in both divestitures and clearances) and Andrew Brayshaw (who has established himself as one of the players of the League). best midfielders, second overall within the 1950s and ninth in total effective divestments per game).

That midfield works beautifully both inside and out and it’s still without their best player in Nathan Fyfe so there’s plenty of room for improvement.

How do you beat them? The Dockers are still relatively unproven, especially both forwards and defensively.

An argument must be made that the best defenses in the game can outdo them, allowing other teams to attack subsequently.

There’s also an argument to suggest they’re just not done yet, which does have some credibility considering most of those back six have played less than 50 games.

They are not proven, but they are the X factor.

Carlton
The loyal Blues have been waiting for September action for a long time and it looks like this will be the year they can run well into September.

Under new coach Michael Voss, the Blues have the blueprint which is that they dominate the entire game and therefore control possession and pace of play, evidenced by the fact that they are ranked fourth per game and first in divestments per game. contest.

Patrick Cripps is having an absolute season as things stand, finishing third in clearances per game, ninth in clearances per game, fourth in disputed possession per game and sixth in total scoring engagement and averaging nearly two goals per game.

He’s letting Sam Walsh and Adam Cerra ride shotguns this season. Walsh ranks fifth in disposals per game, first in total undisputed possessions, and sixth in effective disposals per game. Cerra has an average of 26 sales per game and is almost perfect if given space.

Sam Walsh

(Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)

Combine that with Matt Kennedy, who averages 25 disposals per game and five clearings, and it points to the Blues having the best midfield in the league when they fire all the cylinders.

Carlton also has the most dangerous forward duo in the league, Charlie Curnow and Harry McKay.

Together they have already scored 45 goals this season. If you can beat them both, you’ll probably beat Carlton, but it’s also very hard to do.

How do you beat them? You beat them by matching them around the match and exposing what I consider to be a relatively weak backline.

Obviously, it’s more difficult than theoretically matching them with them during the match, but if you can get an easy ball within 50, Lewis Young, Adam Saad, Zach Williams, Jordan Boyd and Sam Docherty are very susceptible in one. -on-one matches.

The blueprint is there to beat them, but it’s hard to match it with a midfield made up of Cripps, Walsh, Cerra, George Hewett and Kennedy.

Richmond
Bringing the band back together, The Tigers have played their best footy in over a year in the past two weeks after a few structural changes.

Since the signing of David Teague in the off-season, the Tigers’ forward line has been very functional this season, as evidenced by their second place in points scored per game.

Tom Lynch has found the best form of his career in recent weeks and is now leading the Coleman Medal race, while Jack Riewoldt (13) and Shai Bolton (16) have both been very good.

The defense, which had been a concern earlier in the season, now looks a lot better as Dylan Grimes and Nick Vlastuin come back on the flank to help the two key young defenders in Noah Balta and Josh Gibcus, as well as the continued emergence of both Daniel Rioli and Nathan Broad.

Josh Gibcus

(Photo by Michael Willson/AFL Photos via Getty Images)

The Tigers’ concerns in midfield are not as bad as once feared with their champion Dustin Martin back in the fold, as well as Dion Prestia returning this week.

Shai Bolton has been great there this past month, as has former skipper Trent Cotchin, who is having a much better year than his last couple.

How do you beat them? In the midst.

The Tigers are in 17th place per game and that has been a problem for the last few seasons.

This has been exacerbated by the introduction of the 6-6-6 rule, as well as the stand rule.

This doesn’t allow the Tigers to get players behind the ball as easily as they once did, essentially giving up space.

While it could be argued that in the past the Tigers’ cleanup operations were halted in September, this is still a major concern.

Dominating the game and putting as much pressure on the two inexperienced key defenders as possible is the way to beat the Tigers.

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