In a new addition to the 2018 AFL New Zealand Premiership, each week we will delve into some of the key talking points from the previous round.
This week, we talk about the Saints defensive woes, are the Crow’s Premiership contenders and have we found New Zealand’s next Captain?
The Saints defensive woes!
During the 2017 Premiership, the Southern Saints conceded an average of only 35 points per game!
After the first three rounds in 2018, they are already conceding more than double that at an average of 83 points per game.
They say that Premierships are won on defence, so if the Saint’s want to go back to back, they will have to step up their defensive game over the next six rounds.
Crows the real deal?
After their 79 point victory over the Saints, the Crow’s are looking more and more like a Premiership side.
They have won two out of their first three games and are playing consistent footy.
Jay Johnson, Shane Leat and ruckman Ty Smith are tearing up the midfield while small forwards Zac Maio, Jake Tucker and Te Kopa Tipene-Thomas are doing the damage up front in the forward line.
The Central Giants are forming to be their main rivals for the 2018 Premiership and if the Crow’s can continue to play attacking footy, they could be once again lifting up the Premiership Cup on April 15th.
Goals Goals Goals!
So far, this season has produced 102 goals from the first three rounds which is up from the 2017 competition.
All four sides are playing more attacking football this year which is producing more goals and traditionally the scores have increased throughout the season.
With just under 300 goals kicked in 2017, the 2018 Premiership is on track to better that number which is a positive for New Zealand footy.
Consistency key for Leat.
New Zealand midfielder Shane Leat has been a standout in the first three rounds of the Premiership.
The 24 year old is the only player in the competition to feature in the ‘Team of the week‘ in every round so far this season after his consistency week in, week out.
Leat works hard for the footy with second, third and fourth efforts and pressure around the contest.
New Zealand’s next Captain?
Could Sam McKenzie be New Zealand’s next Captain?
The new Central Giant’s front man is creating a new culture within the team on and off the field and it’s paying off.
The Giant’s sit at the top of the ladder with three wins to start the season and are the current favourites to win this year’s Premiership.
The New Zealand forward has been apart of the national team for the past five years and with the 2020 International Cup only two year’s away, McKenzie could put his hand up for the top job if he continues to show his leadership skills.
*The views expressed in this in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of AFL New Zealand.