I learned six things from Sunday’s match. Well not actually learned, but witnessing defining moments that I have firmly believed in for a while. You can agree, disagree but they are really undeniable, in my view.
1 – Jack Silvagni. I have always felt that Jack has been under the microscope of his surname and while he does have the abilities, this has been a hindrance to him. Being compared to the greatness of your grandfather then father places a huge rock on your back that will take some time to shove off. I have watched the game against the Bulldogs, many, many, many, many times and his movement around the ground was better than I have seen from him in a long time. His role in assisting with our goal scorers, his ability to get down on the ground and fight for the ball, was something I knew he had it in him and knew that he just needed more development. Sure, he is not there yet, but that was one hell-of-a-game he played and with time will only get better and better.
2 – Marc Murphy. I understand why Murph took hold of the Captaincy and why he relinquished it this year. I also knew that his stepping down as Captain would free him up to be the player, we all know he is. His game this season so far has been better than I have seen for a while and on Sunday, his game against the Bulldogs was magnificent. His quiet leadership and skill on the day is something all clubs need. That quiet determined little gun of a midfielder who can be anywhere and everywhere and just snap a goal. His goal was the stuff I love about footy. The quick off-the boot kick and landing the ball between the goal-posts.
3 – Zac Fisher. Watching the replay over and over, this player is well, downright outstanding. He is like the fly that just won’t give up on the picnic table full of food. He just buzzes around, head down and goes about his business. He was everywhere and his kick at goal was majestic. I have always loved watching Fisher play, the way he plays, curved over and just goes for it. Sunday’s match was pivotal in showing what an amazing player this kid is.
4 – Michael Gibbons. A player is given the chance to play in AFL footy and to show the club how grateful he is in being given this chance came to the fore on Sunday. He never gave up, never wavered in his role and his goal was like sending thank you cards to the club and supporters for believing in him. I loved the story behind getting him and I love how he is showing why we got him.
5 – Matthew Kreuzer. Without a doubt, without a shadow of a doubt, the Big Man, the Tractor, is one of those players that every single club need and for some, just don’t have. That quiet, unassuming and ego-less player who is vital in the clearances and still has that ability to move around the ground and come down from his lofty height and get the ball and player on the ground. He was magnificent on Sunday. His presence allowed Casboult, Hazza, Jones to be more dynamic around the ground, which they were.
That leads me to the final one: 6 – Levi Casboult. For me watching Casboult is a bit like going to a religious service and I’m not religious at all. When he has a shot on goal, you all hold hands and pray that he slots it through. He has one of the best grabs in the AFL, to my mind. His ability to mark the contested ball is like watching a magnet grab hold of a metallic object. The ball just sinks into his mitts. Then when he lines up for a goal, he has in the past fluffed them. His role in the win on Sunday must never be understated, he was incredible and I’m glad that he is back in the side.
I’m not going to go on about the rest of the team as we all know how amazing they were, but these six were for me, ones that really stood out as players who stepped in and stepped up and who for some, have either gone under the radar or for some, believe should just not be in the side.
What is exciting is that now we are starting to see the fruits of what being patient and developing a playing group with skills and depth.