Cannons fire up after poor start to TAC Cup season

AFTER six rounds the Calder Cannons sat bottom with no wins and conceded 104 points to their opposition. In the same period, the Cannons managed to score an average of just 57 points – making it an average losing margin of 47.

The lowest pinnacle came with a 100-point belting against the Greater Western Victoria Rebels. The match was at home, live streamed and the Rebels were the only other team yet to win a match. Many thought it might have been the Cannons day, but instead they trudged off RAMS Arena with a score of 5.21 (51).

The next week they pushed Dandenong Stingrays going down by 38 points, then a much improved ‘honourable’ loss to Murray Bushrangers by 19. The Cannons were 0-6 and despite their improvements, were yet to taste victory.

A week later, that sweet taste came, knocking off the Gippsland Power by 32 points and the Cannons never looked back. While their form over the last seven weeks might mirror that of a yo-yo – winning every second week for a 4-3 win-loss record – the Cannons have broken even with their opponents rather than coughed up heavy deficits across the scoresheet.

In rounds 7-13, the Cannons are averaging 31 more disposals per game compared to the first six rounds while also increasing their kicking efficiency by four per cent. Looking at the statistics it is clear the Cannons have opted to look at a higher possession game that is centred around short kicks, because while their effective long kicks have dropped by one, their short kicks have increased by 13.

Calder’s running power has also increased with 19 more handball receives and 20 more handballs per game – 17 of which are effective. Combined with an increase in marks, contested and uncontested possessions, clearances and inside 50s reveal they are firing on all cylinders.

The most remarkable increase is their firepower – averaging 83 points per game. An increase of 26 from the first six rounds, while also keeping their opponents to 84, just one point more – a drop of 20 points per game.

The only two key indicators which have dropped in this time are tackles and rebounds – both defensive measures which is further vindicated by the fact the Cannons have found more of the ball and used it well to stop their opposition penetrating inside 50.

The Cannons have still played five top eight teams in those seven rounds, winning two and dropping a game to the Falcons by a goal after the siren.

With five games remaining, the Cannons are firmly in the hunt for a finals spot and while there might be some top-end talent in some of the other teams, Calder is firing up for a big last month and anything can happen in September.

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