Kicking is key for clipped Seagulls

The Williamstown Seagulls sit third on the VFL ladder after ten weeks, with six wins, three losses and a bye. The side is set up well for a sixth straight preliminary finals appearance and a first flag since 2003. Despite this their work in front of goal could be of concern at the business end of the season.

The Seagulls were thoroughly outplayed by the Box Hill Hawks on Sunday afternoon and will be looking to bounce back when they travel to Punt Road at lunchtime on Saturday.IMG_1591

When examining the statistics from the 62-point loss on Sunday afternoon there are three things that stand out.

  • Box Hill had 79 more marks than Williamstown.
  • Williamstown had six more inside 50’s than Box Hill [57-51] however 49 of the 51 entries for Box Hill came on the rebound.
  • Despite only having seven more scoring shots Box Hill kicked 19.8 to their opponents 8.12.

It is the accuracy in front of goals which could cost the Seagulls as the season goes on. Sunday afternoon was the sixth time in their nine games this season when they Seagulls have kicked more behinds than goals. Through their first nine games of the season the Seagulls have a cumulative score of 120.139 (859). That’s the fourth highest scoring total in the VFL this year behind Box Hill, Port Melbourne and Essendon. So how can the Seagulls improve their accuracy to kick a competitive score every week?

It comes down to confidence. The volume of behinds scored it clearly more than Andy Collins would want, and as with the twelve behinds on Sunday, a lot of them have been rushed.

Through the first six weeks of the season the biggest joy in watching the Seagulls was the fluidity they showed when using the corridor and moving the ball into their forward 50. In the last month it appears the level of confidence has dropped, with entries into the forward 50 often resulting in trying to find an easier target rather than having a shot for goal.

Is shooting for goal on every forward entry the answer? No, it isn’t. For me it is about weighing up the options. While the shot from closer to goal likely to be a higher percentage shot than a shot from distance, the chances of a mark may not be as high, which can lead to turnovers.

The Seagulls have scored 14 or more goals on five occasions this season, with the last occasion being the home clash against Coburg in late May. Since then the Seagulls have scored 11 (against Geelong), 9 (against Footscray) and 8 (against Box Hill). In a further show of their dominance, the Seagulls had 7 more scoring shots against Geelong and 19 more in their game against Footscray.

What does this tell us? Williamstown are one of the most potent attacking teams in the VFL and they have generated more scoring opportunities than their opponent every week this year with the exception of last Sunday, the opening round against the Northern Blues (a one point victory) and their local derby against Werribee (a two point loss).

The Seagulls have the results on the board. Those results show that they are statistically and performance wise one of the best teams in the league across the last few years. Facing the struggling Richmond Tigers on Saturday could be perfect timing for a group who are looking to get their confidence back, with the Tigers reeling after their last quarter collapse against Footscray last weekend.

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