If you have one or more trades at this stage of the season, well done…I envy your discipline! For most of us,obtaining a rookie is now irrelevant, so I thought I’d touch on the role some rookies will play in the last 2 rounds of the season.
This will be my last write up for the year. I look forward to bigger and better things next year! Thanks for all your support and good luck to those who remain in the finals race!
Shall I start Sam Gibson on the field? This is the tough question a lot of coaches will ask themselves this week, so lets look at the facts. Gibbo’s confidence is sky high after 118 against the Pies.He has averaged 112 in his past 5 games, which in comparison,is noticeably higher than popular premos Scotty Thompson – 90, Matty Boyd – 99 and Sam Mitchell – 105. He collects most of his possessions running into space when the game is free flowing. However, I reckon Gibson will find the going tough against Freo this week. The game is likely to be a slow grind from start to finish, which will limit Gibson’s possession count.
Please don’t write off Dayne Zorko! Even though Zorks has only managed to crack the ton once in the last 5 games, he does face the depleted Port Power this week. If Chris Masten can mange 89 as a half forward/midfielder against the Power, imagine what Zorko will do! Big man Jonathon Giles scored 115, albeit against a fellow inexperienced ruckman in Jake Spencer. He will definitely have a tougher time against McEvoy and with his inconsistent scores this year, I’d be nervous if I had to start Giles.
Hats off to Toby Greene who was BOG on the weekend against the Dees. Greene had 38 touches, 4 tackles and 2 goals for a massive 146 in DT. He seems to be getting more confident with every game he plays and he won’t slow down against the Saints this week.
Tory Dickson (75), Jordan Murdoch (76), Ahmed Saad (66), Alex Browne (60), Levi Casboult (81), Andrew Phillips (83), were all named in the bests for their respective sides last week but none really set the DT world alight. Those three-or-more gamers that did impress DT coaches were Taylor Adams (96), rising star Sam Shaw (87) and Clay Smith (109) but don’t sit a premo on the bench for any of these guys.
Brendan Lee had 18 touches and 66 DT points on the weekend which is pretty good considering the Bombers got belted by 96 points. With Essendon’s mounting injury toll, Lee is likely to play in the last two games of the home and away season. Lin Jong showed improvement in his second game, gathering 17 possessions and scoring 65. Jong was named in the bests for the Bulldogs,which suggests he will play in the final two games of the season. If you need to downgrade, its either Lee or Jong. I’d be jumping on Lee.
Other unexciting second gamer scores include Fletcher Roberts(49), Nathan Blee (36), Luke Brown (31) and Tim Golds (28).
Piers Flanagan was the only player to make his debut on the weekend. He scored a mediocre 30 from 9 disposals and a couple of tackles. Pass.
Rookie of the Year – MIDFIELDERS
Toby Greene –This kid is fearless.He goes at the contest like a raging bull and does whatever he has to do to win the footy. His clearance work and tackling skills are very impressive for an eighteen year old. Unfortunately, the AFL’s netball approach to our game prevents Greene from wining this years rising star award and it’s an absolute disgrace as he is a clear winner. He has averaged 95 in DT so far this year, scoring most of his points from kicks. Don’t be surprised if Greene averages 100+ points next season!
Sam Gibson –Since making his debut in Round 12, Gibson has averaged 90 points per game, which includes a vested 17. If we disregard his vested score, Gibson’s average would be98, which is higher than Zorko! His neat disposal and ability to run all day set him apart from other AFL rookies. Whether he has been on the bench or in our starting line up, Gibson has definitely done us proud.
Stephen Coniglio – wins the 50/50 and is a very good decision maker. Last years number two draft pick has averaged 80 in DT, which is probably below what most coaches expected but is still pretty handy. Keep your eye on Coniglio in years to come as I suspect he will develop into a very good contested ball winner, a bit like Lenny Hayes.
Kyal Horsley – burst onto the scene with scores of 101, 123, 95 and 108 but then hit a wall and never recovered. Horsley reads the play well and knows how to the find the footy but his fitness and kicking efficiency both need some work. Most would say that he’s been this year’s best cashcow after reaching $314,000 after his first 5 games.
Dylan Shiel – when you date the coaches’ daughter, you’ve got to be a pretty confident bloke. Shiel has definitely got the strut and he can play footy pretty well too! He has been a consistent performer in DT averaging 73 from 12 games but has merely been backup for many coaches.