Rhyce Shaw is doing his senior coaching aspirations no harm
If North Melbourne are unsuccessful in their bid to lure club champion and current Sydney premiership coach John Longmire back to Arden Street – then they may not have to look too far for the next alternative.
Since taking over as interim coach following the departure of Brad Scott, Shaw has reinvigorated a North Melbourne side that looked destined to finish the season toward the bottom end of the ladder, winning three of their four games with him in charge and even more remarkably mounting an unlikely push toward September following a 2-7 start to the season.
The Kangaroos’ are playing tough and uncompromising football under Shaw and their stunning resurgence was highlighted on Saturday, dismantling second-placed Collingwood by 44 points at Marvel Stadium.
They face a winnable game against St Kilda this weekend before facing Essendon the following week in a game that could really influence the top eight.
Longmire is still the man North Melbourne should be targeting, but if they can’t get him to commit Rhyce Shaw’s case continues to grow more compelling.
This week’s showdown is season defining for both teams
Both Adelaide teams enter showdown 47 with plenty to play for, Adelaide return home following a disappointing loss to Geelong, whilst Port Adelaide’s loss to the Bulldogs means a win against the arch-rival on Saturday is crucial.
The Crows are sitting in sixth position on the ladder, they simply must win if they want to keep their top four chances alive and secure a double chances at the end of the season.
A loss against the Power could see them vulnerable in the top eight, but a reasonable run home will ensure they definitely play finals.
The Power’s fate is not so certain, a top four chance looks all but gone with finals now the only real possibility for them, and the fact that they squandered a winnable game against the Bulldogs last weekend means they must win against the Crows as they currently sit outside the eight by percentage.
All of the Power’s remaining games are against teams that are still a chance of making September – which makes their every game from here on in extremely important.
Gold Coast look set for more pain before improvement
A 3-1 start to the season could’ve been enough to suggest that the Suns would be a competitive outfit in 2019 but a ten game losing streak as we enter round sixteen has shown otherwise.
The Suns currently sit at the bottom of the AFL ladder, with Carlton now sitting above them, and it looks like things could stay that way given the more impressive turnaround from the Blues in recent weeks.
The Suns led at quarter-time of their match against the Swans at the SCG on Saturday, before trailing by less than goal at half-time, but a last half fade out ensured that there would be no repeat upset win against the Swans as there was last year.
Suns coach Stuart Dew is the man tasked with developing the Suns into a team that can thrive on the Gold Coast and contend for finals and whilst they haven’t been smashed on a weekly basis by opposition, their downward spiral from the early rounds of the season has ensured there will be little joy for Suns fans this year.
In their ninth season in the competition the Suns are yet to make an appearance in September, and whilst that wasn’t anywhere near expected of them in 2019, it’s less than ideal for the AFL.