Published on July 18, 2017 6:10 pm

Kade Answerth (L) is Sandringham's leading tackler in 2017

STATS CENTRAL: Sandy’s suffocating style

Sandringham’s eight-point victory over Port Melbourne at North Port Oval in Round 13 was one of the Peter Jackson VFL’s bigger surprise results so far in 2017.

Coming off three straight finals appearances and a 4-1 record to start the season, the Zebras had fallen away under new senior coach Lindsay Gilbee with six losses in their next seven games.

The high-possession style that carried them to an elimination-final victory over the Borough in 2016 has been missing for much of this season. Driven by the ability of now departed St Kilda-listed players Eli Templeton, Brodie Murdoch and Josh Saunders to find the ball in space and deliver it cleanly into the forward line, Sandringham ranked fourth in the VFL for average disposals and uncontested possessions last year as well as second for average marks and scores per inside-50.

In 2017 though, the Zebras rank in the bottom three teams for all those measures, while their disposal efficiency has fallen from 70.0 to 66.6 per cent – the lowest rate in the competition.

Funnily enough, off-season Port Melbourne recruits Templeton and Murdoch have helped the Borough transition from a primarily contested-ball-winning team to one more resembling how Sandringham potently played in 2016. In Saturday’s clash, they also contributed to their team’s +67 advantage in uncontested possessions and +42 advantage in uncontested marks.

But one thing the Zebras have excelled at this season is their work without the ball, ranking second in the VFL for tackles per game.

Sandringham won the tackle count by 15 against Port Melbourne, the pressure applied by Saints-listers Luke Dunstan (nine tackles), Blake Acres, Nick O’Kearney and Maverick Weller (eight each) helping restrict the Borough to 1.6 (12) in the first half – its lowest score at the long break since 2006 and its lowest at home since 1997.

Kade Answerth has laid the second-most total tackles in the competition (6.5 per game) in 2017, while fellow VFL-listers Myke Cook, Dylan Weickhardt and Jack Noone – in his two senior games back from a broken leg suffered in last year’s semi-final loss to Williamstown – all average four tackles.

It’s a fine way to adapt to less time with the ball in their hands.


Round 13 keys to victory:

30: Richmond has made a run to the top four without relying too much on its AFL-listed players. Eight VFL-listers have played eight or more games in 2017, with Tom Silvestro – who has appeared all 13 times – instrumental in the Tigers’ defeat of Werribee with 30 disposals, 15 contested possessions, nine tackles and five inside-50s.

23: Just as the Hawthorn of old still seems to be alive and kicking, so too is the classic style of VFL affiliate Box Hill. The Hawks controlled play by foot in typical fashion in their win against North Ballarat to record 100 more kicks than the Roosters, with Andrew Moore and Dallas Willsmore (23 kicks each) likely wearing out their boots.

40: He may have also featured in this section last week, but the importance of Michael Gibbons to Williamstown’s victory over Collingwood can’t be ignored. The 2016 J.J. Liston Trophy winner recorded a round-high 40 disposals as well as eight marks, four tackles, four clearances, four inside-50s and four goals in a complete performance.


Round 13 stats leaders:

Brent Stanton Essendon 28
Andrew Moore Box Hill Hawks 23
Dallas Willsmore Box Hill Hawks 23
Michael Gibbons Williamstown 20
Will Hayes Footscray 19
Jake Edwards Geelong 19
Cam O’Shea Northern Blues 19
Brendan Whitecross Box Hill Hawks 18
Tom Wilson Northern Blues 18
Damian Mascitti Port Melbourne 18
Ben Jolley Williamstown 18
Willie Wheeler Williamstown 18
Harry Morrison Box Hill Hawks 17
Brandon Wood Richmond 17
Brandon White Sandringham 17
Michael Gibbons Williamstown 20
Clay Smith Footscray 20
Thomas Silvestro Richmond 20
Callum Brown Collingwood 20
Trent Dumont Werribee 19
Toby Pinwill Port Melbourne 19
James Tsitas Geelong 18
Jackson Ramsay Collingwood 18
Jackson Thurlow Geelong 17
Taylor Hunt Richmond 16
Oleg Markov Richmond 16
Dominic Brew Werribee 16
Brendan Whitecross Box Hill Hawks 15
Lachlan George North Ballarat 15
Ben Moloney Geelong 15
Dallas Willsmore Box Hill Hawks 16
Cam O’Shea Northern Blues 12
James Tsitas Geelong 11
Mitch Lewis Box Hill Hawks 11
Brent Stanton Essendon 10
Glenn Strachan Northern Blues 10
Harry Morrison Box Hill Hawks 10
Matthew Hayball Geelong 10
Will Hayes Footscray 9
Jordan Lisle Port Melbourne 9
Lucas Cook Port Melbourne 9
Matt Dea Essendon 9
Chris Jones Box Hill Hawks 9
Michael Gibbons Williamstown 8
Taylor Hunt Richmond 8
Jason Holmes Sandringham 57
Ty Vickery Box Hill Hawks 50
Nick Meese Williamstown 49
Ryan Abbott Geelong 46
Ivan Maric Richmond 41
Matthew Leuenberger Essendon 40
Mason Cox Collingwood 28
Chris Carey Port Melbourne 21
Jade Cleeland Werribee 19
Matt Korcheck Northern Blues 18
Nick Hausler North Ballarat 16
Tim English Footscray 15
Ayce Cordy Williamstown 13
Wylie Buzza Geelong 13
Rowan Marshall Sandringham 12
Dominic Brew Werribee 15
Jason Pongracic Williamstown 11
Rupert Wills Collingwood 11
Ben Howlett Essendon 10
Clay Smith Footscray 10
Nick Meese Williamstown 9
Trent Dumont Werribee 9
Luke Dunstan Sandringham 9
Ben Jolley Williamstown 9
Thomas Silvestro Richmond 9
James Gow Geelong 9
Wylie Buzza Geelong 8
Jackson Ramsay Collingwood 8
Ben Cavarra Williamstown 8
Maverick Weller Sandringham 8
VFL   Last Rnd Total
Dylan Conway Port Melbourne 2 28
Kayle Kirby Collingwood 1 28
Ben Lennon Richmond 4 27
Jordan Lisle Port Melbourne 1 25
Ty Vickery Box Hill Hawks 2 22
Alex Boyse Essendon _ 22
Bayley Fritsch Casey Demons BYE 21
Nick Larkey Werribee INJ 21
Ben Cavarra Williamstown 3 19
Arryn Siposs Williamstown _ 19
Development League Last Rnd Total
Nathan Gardiner Casey Demons BYE 21
Corey Rich Sandringham 2 20
Nathan Smith Sandringham 3 19
Dale Hehir Box Hill Hawks 2 18
Will Murphy Box Hill Hawks ** 18
Samuel De Soysa Port Melbourne 3 17
Tristan Davies Williamstown ** 16
Thomas Wilkinson Williamstown DNP 14
Josh Corbett Werribee ** 12
Cory Machaya Casey Demons BYE 12


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