I think he was playing to instructions. It was probably a safe option to punch the ball clear of the pack and their dangerous crumbers in Fantasia, Smith and McDonald-Tipungwuti rather than risk a spilled mark and the ball falling to the base of the pack. In the past few games this year we have given up a lot of goals off spilled marks and turnovers in our defensive 50. Essendon is a team with a small forward line that scores off forward pressure and turnovers, especially with no Daniher. Aliir was deliberately spiking the ball towards the boundary line and flanks. Good aggressive defensive football.