Dave Cardamone takes a look at what to expect around the league on the eve of Round 18.
Not enough kudos is given to the small lively types of our game. They may not always be front and centre, or even the pivotal men with their flashy moments but their are a number of players in the competition that are integral members of their sides. Eddie Betts and Toby Greene two of the instinctive exceptions considering their goal-scoring ability and distinct class. We have the Coleman, we have the Brownlow, The Bounce has the “Golden Fist” and it’s about time we acknowledged the “Helmets” too. The Paul Puopolo, Caleb Daniel, Tom Papley types. The players under 180cm who do the rough and tough stuff without a fuss. One for mind that goes unnoticed consistently playing his role is Matthew Wright, rarely do you see a week when he goes without kicking a goal, is lively and always provides a target for the Carlton midfielders up front.
All talent no structure?
The question was raised over the weekend whether Greater Western Sydney have the team structure to take them to a premiership. Since the bye round GWS have defeated only the Brisbane Lions followed by two draws and last weeks loss to the Swans. That question is starting to become reality. They weren’t able to maintain forward 50 pressure on the weekend while their back-half structure late in the game relied on Rory Lobb taking key contested marks. Injuries aside September becomes a different ball game and if your relying on a team of champions the champion team will always come out on top.
Did you see that?
Lewis who? Lewis Young, 21 disposals, 10 kicks, 11 handballs, nine marks, 6 of which were intercept marks, the young pup had an incredible first game on the weekend. The attitude he gave to Levi Casboult late in the game, the long sleeves, the skinny youthfulness, it actually reminded me of a young Robert Murphy. One of the best first games we’ve seen in a while, hopefully he can emulate his skippers career.
The events of the last month the resignations of Simon Lethlean, Richard Simkiss and Ali Fahour have left the AFL with some significant boots to fill. Simon Lethlean particularly as football’s operations manager was undertaking some considerable work with regards to the tribunal system as well as the development and growth of AFLW. Looking forward the AFL will have to search far and wide to find candidates with enough experience, credibility and character to fill all three voids. That said it also gives the AFL an opportunity at a clean slate, a chance to start fresh and bring some outside talent in with one eye fixed on the future of football.
Harley Bennell took one small step from overcoming his career- threatening calf issues, and one giant leap towards repaying the faith shown in him by Ross Lyon and the Fremantle Dockers on the weekend. Playing 60 minutes in Peel Thunder’s win over East Perth, Bennell got through the game unscathed, the main priority at this stage. While the focus will no doubt be on his senior return, we must all keep in mind the significant mental toll the reoccurring injury has had. The joy Harley would be getting from just playing football again cannot be underestimated.