Suns keep it simple

PLAY in front, chase, don't lead to the pockets are just some of the messages football coaches  preach season after season.

They were the words I heard plenty of times from my first footy coach, David 'Spider' Webb at North Bendigo in the late 70s.

It does not matter whether it's AFL, Loddon Valley, or Bendigo under-12s, playing the basics is always important.

I am always amazed when a team is on a losing streak that coaches will talk about returning to the basics.

If the basics are so crucial, then why stray from them.

Watching the opening four games of the AFL across the weekend provided a stark contrast in tactics.

After just one game and some are predicting a lean run for Collingwood, Carlton and Richmond.

What was more exciting was the stunning victory by Greater Western Sydney Giants against Sydney Swans, and Gold Coast's performance to beat Richmond on the Suns turf.

As I watched the clash at Metricon Stadium unfold I was mighty glad I am not a Tigers fan.

The Tigers have a highly-skilled midfield and strong-marking forwards.

Why Richmond kept on going sidewards or backwards had me perplexed for many minutes.

Direct football is the hallmark of successful teams across all leagues.

Direct football is the hallmark of successful teams across all leagues

The powerful line-ups which won flags for Carlton in the 70s, Hawthorn in the 80s, and then later Brisbane and Geelong did not over-possess.

At times I can understand holding on to the ball when there's not many options upfield.

Gold Coast's ability to get numbers back and then counter-attack really hurt the Tigers as the contest went on.

It's only one game in, but Gold Coast showed it will be no pushover, home or away.

Dual Brownlow medallist Gary Ablett leads an on-ball bridge at the Suns that is rapidly on the rise.

Jaegar O'Meara, pictured, played every match on his way to winning the Ron Evans Medal as the AFL's Rising Star in 2013.

Game one of a new season and O'Meara again featured in plenty of the Suns attacks, as did Dion Prestia and David Swallow.

For while there was plenty to like about Gold Coast's play, the same cannot be said for the Tigers.

Key forwards Jack Riewoldt and Ty Vickery had little impact on the match, but then again supply was often disjointed or poor.

Richmond fans are among the most passionate going around.

When up and about the "yellow and black" is a stirring sound and sight.

The Tigers did not kick off the season in a way they wanted to, but it's just one game.

I have no doubt the Tigers will bounce back, but the jury's out on whether they are a top-four contender.

What the weekend did prove is anything can happen.

It's what makes everything about football so great ... win or lose. 

High possession game has flaws under pressure

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