Published on August 8, 2017 5:57 pm

Sam Darley is one of Richmond’s most efficient ball users in 2017 (Photo by Kadek Thatcher)

STATS CENTRAL: The VFL’s surgeons

Efficiency with the ball in hand is almost make or break in modern football and the Peter Jackson VFL’s most lethal operators in 2017 are the Box Hill Hawks and Richmond.

While Collingwood has recorded a competition-leading disposal efficiency of 73.0 per cent this season and Geelong (72.3 per cent) ranks second, the Hawks (71.8) and Tigers (71.4) have capitalised on their surgical precision better.

Only Box Hill and Richmond are currently in the top eight among that foursome – ranked second and first respectively for disposals per goal while the Magpies and Cats are in the bottom five teams on the same measure. It demonstrates that disposal efficiency on its own can’t be used as a reliable indicator of success if quality ball use doesn’t lead to quality scoring opportunities.

Where Collingwood averages 10 more disposals per game (394) than the next best team, the Tigers average only the 11th-most disposals (346) in the competition.

They move the ball with direction and do it with precision, driven by the likes of Sam Darley (85 per cent disposal efficiency), Steven Morris (84), Hugh Beasley (83), Taylor Hunt (76) and Jake Batchelor (75) coming out of defence.

The Hawks, meanwhile, have been one of the VFL’s most efficient teams for years, reflecting the emphasis on skills at AFL affiliate Hawthorn. The VFL ladder leaders have stood firm in the face of the AFL Hawks’ slide down the ladder in 2017 with a tried-and-true high-possession game style tailor made for good ball users like Teia Miles (81 per cent disposal efficiency), David Mirra (78), Max Warren (78), Brendan Whitecross (78) and Harry Morrison (74).

There seems room for Magpies play-makers such as Lachlan Tardrew (78 per cent disposal efficiency) and Marty Hore (76) to follow the lead of Richmond and Box Hill in using their skills to move the ball daringly as they attempt to break into the finals.

But Geelong’s September hopes are already shot. Players such as Jake Edwards (85 per cent disposal efficiency) and Daniel Capiron (76) will review how the Cats’ efficient ball use only managed to generate the 12th-most inside-50s per game this season before 2018 begins.

 

Round 16 keys to victory:

30: Footscray’s Will Hayes has been known mostly as a goalkicking forward, but his recent emergence as a ball-winner was evident in the Bulldogs’ 13-point defeat of Northern. Hayes recorded team-highs of 30 disposals and nine marks and game-highs of 10 tackles and seven inside-50s against the Blues.

5: Casey was handball happy during its 10-point win against Sandringham, firing off five more handballs than kicks and 47 more handballs than the Zebras. Four Demons were in the top 10 handballers for the round: Jay Kennedy-Harris (24 handballs), Angus Brayshaw (18), Ben Kennedy (16) and Jack Trengove (16).

29: Collingwood pressured Werribee into submission in its 32-point victory, recording 29 more tackles despite also winning 76 more disposals. James Aish led the way for the Magpies with an equal-round-high 13 tackles, while VFL-listed teammates Gus Borthwick (10 tackles) and Jack Hellier (nine) were close behind.

 

Round 16 stats leaders:

KICKS    
Jack Lonie Sandringham 25
Damian Mascitti Port Melbourne 24
Ben Howlett Essendon 22
Tom Wilson Northern Blues 22
Marty Hore Collingwood 21
Josh Smith Collingwood 21
Anthony Brolic Box Hill Hawks 20
Jay Kennedy-Harris Casey Demons 19
Josh Daicos Collingwood 19
Jake Batchelor Richmond 19
Nick O’Kearney Sandringham 19
Kieran Lovell Box Hill Hawks 18
Patrick Lawlor Coburg 18
Will Hayes Footscray 18
Nick Jamieson Footscray 18
HANDBALLS    
Jay Kennedy-Harris Casey Demons 24
Ciaran Byrne Northern Blues 19
Angus Brayshaw Casey Demons 18
Luke Russell Northern Blues 17
Kieran Lovell Box Hill Hawks 16
Ben Kennedy Casey Demons 16
Liam Hunt Coburg 16
Toby Pinwill Port Melbourne 16
Tom O’Sullivan Port Melbourne 16
Jack Trengove Casey Demons 16
Dylan Clarke Essendon 16
Michael Gibbons Williamstown 15
Ben Jolley Williamstown 15
Coby Perry North Ballarat 15
Dion Johnstone Casey Demons 14
MARKS    
Tom Wilson Northern Blues 12
Marty Hore Collingwood 11
Max Warren Box Hill Hawks 10
Mason Cox Collingwood 10
Patrick Lawlor Coburg 10
Sam Dunell Williamstown 10
Alex Boyse Essendon 10
Will Hayes Footscray 9
Ash Close Collingwood 9
Oliver Tate North Ballarat 8
Josh Daicos Collingwood 8
Ben McNiece Essendon 8
Dylan Conway Port Melbourne 8
Kayle Kirby Collingwood 8
Ciaran Byrne Northern Blues 7
HITOUTS    
Nick Meese Williamstown 75
Tom Hickey Sandringham 55
Marc Pittonet Box Hill Hawks 38
Lloyd Meek North Ballarat 36
Tim English Footscray 35
Ivan Maric Richmond 31
Ryan Abbott Geelong 28
Mason Cox Collingwood 27
Lachlan Waddell Port Melbourne 26
Matt Korcheck Northern Blues 26
Sam Draper Essendon 22
Mitch King Casey Demons 21
Tristan Xerri Werribee 21
Tom Goodwin Coburg 19
Nicholas De Steiger Footscray 17
TACKLES    
James Aish Collingwood 13
Toby Pinwill Port Melbourne 13
Ryan Exon Coburg 13
Kade Answerth Sandringham 12
Scott Clarke Port Melbourne 11
Jack Lonie Sandringham 11
Luke Bunker Coburg 11
Will Hayes Footscray 10
Gus Borthwick Collingwood 10
Josh Dunkley Footscray 10
James El-Moussalli Coburg 10
Nathan Wright Sandringham 10
Jack Hellier Collingwood 9
Dylan Buckley Northern Blues 9
Jay Kennedy-Harris Casey Demons 9
2017 LEADING GOALKICKERS
VFL   Last Rnd Total
Kayle Kirby Collingwood 5 38
Dylan Conway Port Melbourne 3 32
Ben Lennon Richmond 3 31
Jordan Lisle Port Melbourne _ 31
Bayley Fritsch Casey Demons 3 28
Ty Vickery Box Hill Hawks 1 27
Alex Boyse Essendon 5 26
Ben Cavarra Williamstown 5 26
Tyson Stengle Richmond 1 25
Andrew Hooper North Ballarat 1 24
Development League   Last Rnd Total
Dale Hehir Box Hill Hawks ** 27
Nathan Gardiner Casey Demons 1 25
Nathan Smith Sandringham 5 24
Samuel De Soysa Port Melbourne 1 23
Corey Rich Sandringham ** 22
Jeremy Gleeson Port Melbourne 3 18
Will Murphy Box Hill Hawks ** 18
James Svarc Coburg 1 16
Tristan Davies Williamstown ** 16
Thomas Wilkinson Williamstown 2 16

 

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