Written by Anthony Osborn
A Magpie soared, a tall Tiger roared, a Sun shone and a Swan debuted – here’s a recap of how our Tasmanians fared in round two of the 2017 AFL season.
Richmond vs. Collingwood – MCG, Thursday 30/04/17
Collingwood Magpies #38
Floating off the half back line, Howe had another solid game in the black & white stripes. Having picked up 15 disposals, with six of these being intercepts, as well as six marks, four inside 50’s and 8 pressure acts, the valuable utility was one of his side’s better performers in a disappointing loss. This should not come as any surprise, but if it wasn’t for Paul Puopolo, Howe could well have yet another mark of the year nomination.
Richmond Tigers #25
The “Nank” had a terrific first outing in the yellow and black last week and backed it up with another consistent performance against the ‘Pies. Coming up against Collingwood ruckman Brodie Grundy was never going to be an easy task, but Nankervis handled it with aplomb, finishing with 21 disposals, 5 marks, 6 inside 50’s and 18 hit-outs. Although Grundy stole the headlines with his stunning performance, the efforts of the Nank should not be underplayed, with his effort a clear contributor to the Tigers’ win over the old enemy.
Richmond Tigers #8
It was a bit of a yin-yang sort of match for the Tigers’ champion forward, who only had two handballs to half time, but made his mark on the game as the Tigers wrestled control of the match in the third term. Eleven disposals, two goals, six tackles and 17 pressure acts resulted in a solid contribution from the veteran, whose vocal leadership was evident, even when his own form was quiet.
Collingwood Magpies #41
Schade has done more than enough in his opening two matches under Nathan Buckley to suggest that he will be a permanent feature of the Magpies’ back six for the duration of the year. Playing as the third tall down back on Richmond’s boom recruit and his former teammate at the Gold Coast, Josh Caddy, Schade broke fairly even with his dangerous opponent, restricting him to one goal while picking up 15 disposals and six marks of his own. Magpie fans would also love Schade’s intensity around the contest, with his 11 pressure acts indicative of this.
Western Bulldogs vs. Sydney Swans – Etihad Stadium, Friday 31/03/17
Sydney Swans #42
23-year-old Fox, a former Burnie Docker, is the latest Tasmanian to crack the big time in the AFL, having made his debut for the Swans in the grand final rematch against the Western Bulldogs. In one of the biggest challenges imaginable, a Friday night grand final rematch, Fox showed some great signs, picking up 13 disposals, laying three tackles and applying 19 pressure acts in a promising outing.
Hawthorn vs. Adelaide – MCG, Saturday 01/04/17
Hawthorn Hawks #14
The Hawthorn veteran copped a knock to his jaw early in the game, courtesy of a stray Tom Lynch elbow, but bravely played on to be one of the Hawks’ better players in a disappointing team performance. Despite the injury, Birchall provided delivered another polished performance, gathering 22 disposals at 86% efficiency off the halfback flank. The extent of his injury is unknown at this stage, but the prospect of a Hawthorn side without the premiership hero would keep coach Al Clarkson and the Hawthorn faithful up at night.
GWS Giants vs. Gold Coast – Spotless Stadium, Saturday 01/04/17
Gold Coast Suns #10
There were few rays of sunshine for the Suns at the Sydney Showgrounds on Saturday afternoon, but Kolodjashnij was undoubtedly one of them. Facing the explosive firepower of the Giants, Kolodjashnij provided as much resistance as he could muster, while also being a positive user of the ball coming out of defence. With 27 disposals and a goal coming off of the halfback line, Kolodjashnij continue his good form from round one and looks set for a cracking season, even if his team isn’t sitting quite so pretty.
Gold Coast Suns #3
While not quite capturing the dominance of his round one performance, Hall was far from the Gold Coast’s worst, gathering 19 disposals. Hall went goalless from two attempts and did get a lot of his ball backwards of the centre circle, but he did provide a heap of pressure throughout midfield. Hall would be looking to impact games with sharper efficiency of disposal and scoreboard output in future as the Suns look to turn around their poor early form.
Brisbane vs. Essendon – ‘Gabba, Saturday 01/04/17
Brisbane Lions #2
The former Glenorchy Magpie was solid once again in the Brisbane back six, picking up seven disposals himself, but more importantly providing contest after contest for his side. Harwood’s comeback from the knee injury that interrupted his 2016 is well on track, and this Brisbane side is certainly all the better for it.
Brisbane Lions #5
Robinson was quiet early for the Lions but worked his way into the game to gather 26 disposals, five marks, five clearances and a crucial goal just before half-time. The Lions showed a lot of ticker against the ‘Dons, working their way off of the canvas several times, and Robinson delivered a typically tough, physical and competitive match off the half forward flank.
West Coast vs. St Kilda – Domain Stadium, Saturday 01/04/17
St Kilda Saints #44
In his usual defensive forward role, Weller had a solid day in the West, gathering 14 touches, booting two goals and having seven score involvements. Although he hasn’t quite captured some of his blistering form from 2016, Mav is definitely contributing, and the prospect of him taking his game to another level is a tantalising prospect for the St Kilda faithful.
St Kilda Saints #29
Webster played a more defensive role against the Eagles and delivered another solid performance. With 18 disposals, six rebound 50s, 14 pressure acts and 300 metres gained, Webster has built upon his promising round one performance and looks set to recapture and build upon the stellar form he found himself in before breaking down with injury in the middle of 2016.
Geelong vs. North Melbourne – Etihad Stadium, Sunday 02/04/17
North Melbourne Kangaroos #50
The responsibility of being the number one forward at North Melbourne at just 23 years of age could overwhelm many young key position players, however, Brown has taken to the role superbly. Brown kicked three goals, took six marks and provided an aerial target for his midfielders all day, while also creating contests and opportunities at ground level.
Geelong Cats #40
After being a late inclusion against the Dockers last week, Thurlow retained his place in the side and looks set to do so for the coming weeks after another solid performance in defence. The Launceston product had eight disposals at 100% efficiency while also nailing a goal and if Thurlow can get some continuity in his football he will only become more valuable and damaging for the blue-and-white hoops.
Port Adelaide vs. Fremantle – Adelaide Oval, Sunday 02/04/17
Fremantle Dockers #14
Weller was one of the Dockers’ best in a disappointing loss last week, and he delivered another solid performance against the impressive Power in round two, gathering 16 disposals at over 87% efficiency. Weller’s drive off of the halfback line is sure to impress Freo fans, and after generating 478 metres of drive in round two, Weller looks set to have a big 2017.