A sweeping change has come over the way the game is being played.
The change maybe related to the restrictions COVID-19 imposed, but whatever the cause, the AFL now has more football in its make up.
It is far more rugged with an increased need for durability.
In his post-match media interview last Friday following the last gasp win over Collingwood, Greater Western Sydney coach Leon Cameron said:
"It was a big win for us, but it wasn't pretty."
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Seldom has there been a more honest appraisal.
But, it took both teams to make it ugly.
The little monster Toby Greene said the trend for the Giants.
On and off the ball he was ugly. He played to win regardless of the consequences.
The two point win by GWS was a cracker. Wouldn't appeal to the purist.
The hurly burly, body on the line stuff will, however, win applause from the blood thirsty.
So who, then is most likely to exploit the "new brand" of AFL?
GWS and Collingwood certainly can.
I include Richmond and the Western Dogs.
Maybe Port Adelaide and the young bloods, the Brisbane Lions.
Forget the rest.
They will have their moments but won't sustain them.
The time for self preservation is for the history books.
Prepare to spill blood or stay at home.
Sydney Swans are a far cry from finals consideration.
They succumbed so meekly to the Dogs.
Sure, they had their chances to draw close, but not win in the last quarter.
Five shots at goal for a five point dividend.
Why, because the Western Bulldogs had knocked the stuffing out of their shooters stripping them of confidence. Crude in their efforts.
No point in blaming Swans forward coach Stevie Johnson.
He wasn't on the receiving end of a three quarter mauling.
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