The bombardment of huge news stories this week has left us footy fans not knowing where to look. Who would’ve thought we’d see Geelong hero Patrick Dangerfield pull the rabbit out of the hat at full-forward on Saturday, only to outdo himself in a hilarious press conference as he continues to draw speculation over his availability for Friday’s top of the table clash? How about Dusty’s tightrope with the MRP? Or Rory Sloane’s battle to get over his concussion suffered in the top end, or Pendles’ finger? And all of that before I even mention Fyfe’s long term commitment to the Fremantle Football Club.
There’s been no shortage of content for journalists to deliberate, and as such, many of the lesser lights may have been left in the shadows. A testament to this notion is a young man by the name of Alex Witherden, who shone brightly for the Lions.
He collected 28 disposals against the Tigers to earn himself the nod for the Round 17 Rising Star nomination. The Geelong Falcons product has been a revelation for the youthful Brisbane side, with his efficiency by foot and decision making slotting him in perfectly into senior football, so much so that Chris Fagan and his assistants have given him the kick-out duties. However, we may still be understating his elite talent. If it were not for a broken leg in his draft year it is almost certain that the 18-year-old would have found himself sniffing around the top-10 pick range, but the injury meant he slid to pick 23, where the Lions gleefully pounced. The media loves to pump up the efforts of early picks like Andrew McGrath, who himself has been excellent, but from what we’ve seen, Witherden has matched him, as possible even surpassed him.
His four-game average of 87.5 was given a nice boost by his 109-point game against Richmond and the youngster now sits at $263,800 with defensive and midfield eligibility. Many coaches were fortunate enough the snaffle the young gun when he was on the bubble and have enjoyed his $146.5k increase, but should those who missed out put a line through him? From what we’ve seen, the Lion cub appears locked in the best 22 and an average in the 80s appears to be quite achievable. What’s not to say he couldn’t be excellent bench cover across multiple lines? I do not believe it’s too late to jump on this rising gun at a very affordable price, at least give him a look!