The Big Sticks
Thursday, 28 April 2016
Subiaco were expected to defend their title with fervor in 2016 but the main question on their ability to do so was surrounding the forward line.
After WAFL Grand Final 131, the Lions lost goal kickers Matt Boland, Chris Deluca and Shane Yarran, leaving a structural hole in the line-up.
Boland, Yarran and Deluca contributed 41.39% of Subi’s points over the back-to-back premiership seasons and if the Lions had any chance of recording a three-peat; the positions would have to be filled.
A front foot forward on the recruiting scene helped the Lions rebuild a structure that can win games.
With the 2nd highest scoring team in the competition and a 5-0 to start the season it’s fair to say the additions have been effective.
Hamish Shepheard has become the focal point of the Lions forward line and is third in the league with 13 goals from five games.
Shepheard was added to the Lions list a week before the start of the season and has been a prolific contributor to Subi’s cause.
Smaller forwards Ben Sokol and Shaquille Mckenzie were also brought to the club in the off-season and have established themselves as dangerous weapons in the forward 50.
Kyle Halligan kicked six goals against Peel Thunder at Bendigo Bank Stadium.
Versatile youngsters Kyle Halligan and Dylan Clark have been handy. Halligan helped the Lions over a strong Peel Thunder side in Round One with six goals and Clark put three past East Perth in Round Two.
There has also been an emphasis on the midfielders to chip in with their attacking ability.
Sam Menegola defined the role of a scoring midfielder last year for Subi and guys like Brett Robinson, Leigh Kitchin and Chris Phelan have continued the trend.
The Lions have recorded 27% of their majors from midfielders this year and an even spread of contributors has proven hard to beat.
Subiaco will face their biggest test this week against South Fremantle who statistically have the best attack and defense so far this season.
The Bulldogs are averaging 101 points a game and have Ben Saunders (15 goals) and Mason Shaw (11 goals) providing big lead up targets.
The Dogs have a slightly superior conversion rate of 51% compared to the Lions 49%. South Fremantle also found a way to win with a inferior conversion rate against East Fremantle last week; which means Subi will need to take their opportunities to put away the red hot Bulldogs.