Front and Square

FOR football purists, the NAB Cup is the start of the season.

The first AFL Record for the year, live games through FoxFooty and tightening of your AFL Dreamteam and Supercoach thoughts.

And with week one of the NAB Cup gone, here’s this week’s talking points…

Giants stand tall

The AFL’s newest and 18th club, the GWS Giants, were officially on show when they hosted an undermanned Collingwood and a new-look Western Bulldogs unfit at Blacktown, in Western Sydney.

Mastercoach Kevin Sheedy took the reins in his first coaching appearance at AFL level since 2007 and wouldn’t have been disappointed with what his team produced, the Giants just falling short by a combined total of 8 points in two games.

The standouts included draftee Dom Tyson, ex-Port Adelaide ruckman Jonathon Giles, former Melbourne skipper James McDonald, while youngsters Curtly Hampton and Rhys Cooyou impressed with lots of flair and dash.

NRL convert Israel Folau had a limited impact and has been heavily criticized because of it, given his $6 million contract to cross from rugby league.

Unfair criticism by this writer’s standards.

Let’s give the guy a chance to show his wares before we right him off, not many gave Karmichael Hunt a chance yet he proved he was committed to forging a successful career with the Gold Coast Suns in the AFL after calling time on his NRL career with the Brisbane Broncos.

Back to the Giants, they were ultra-competitive and boast alot of talent.

Like the Gold Coast will, they will be a force in the competition in another few years.

Ruthless Tiger deserved 3 match ban

When Richmond midfielder Reece Conca knocked out North Melbourne on-baller Leigh Adams on Friday night, the AFL Tribunal was always going to notice.

Adams was subbed out of the game pretty quickly, adding to Conca’s demise when he was whacked with a 4 match ban, reduced to 3 with an early plea.

What also went largely against the talented Tiger was that this incident happened behind play.

These incidents are pure stupidity and players have to realise that everyone is watching, cameras are everywhere and everytime they engage in an incident like this, they’re taking a big risk that on most occasions are not worth the effort.

Luckless Macaffer becomes second knee victim

Collingwood forward Brent Macaffer suffered the worst when his left knee gave way in a one-on-one contest on Saturday night, which was later revealed that he would require a full knee reconstruction, therefore ending his season before it had even begun.

The former rookie almost left the Pies for greener pastures after a 2011 he’d rather forget but stayed on, and now becomes the second player behind Eagles’ small forward Mark LeCras to require a knee reconstruction.

Every year there seems to be at least one player to break down before round 1, a hard luck story and one footy fans everywhere don’t like to see.

Your club’s verdict

Richmond: impressive in both games against the Roos and Hawks, unlucky not to grab two wins. Defensive pressure a highlight.

North Melbourne: The worst of the three clubs on night one, looked scrappy despite encouraging performances from highly-rated duo Ben Cunnington and Robert Tarrant. Long way to go if they’re to improve on 9th place finish of past two years.

Hawthorn: Pick of the three clubs on the opening night of the NAB Cup, looked sharp and highlight was Lance Franklin being used effectively further up the ground. Former Crow Jack Gunston also gave the Hawks a viable option up front.

GWS: Lots of talent on show at Blacktown, as well as newcomers Tom Scully, Phil Davis, Luke Power, Chad Cornes, James McDonald and Rhys Palmer. Held competitive edge in both games which was pleasing to coach Kevin Sheedy.

Western Bulldogs: First hit-out under new coach Brendan McCartney and struggled after a good start early. A very different Bulldog outfit who were also missing Adam Cooney and Brian Lake. Expected to improve by round 1.

Collingwood: Nathan Buckley took charge for the first time as senior coach and won both games well with undermanned team in. Was missing 13 of their best 22 but youngsters Jackson Paine, Jonathon Ceglar and co impressed.

West Coast Eagles: Looked sharp in both games, scoring highly and taking off from last year’s sudden surge up the ladder. Fielded an inexperienced side early but were just as damaging as the experienced crew. Bryn Weedon and Bulldog recruit Josh Hill impressed in both outings.

Essendon: Showed good signs but finished off both games poorly, which is what would’ve disappointed coach James Hird the most. Really struggled defensively but were also were missing Jobe Watson, Dyson Heppell, Michael Hurley, Dustin Fletcher and Brent Stanton while Stewart Crameri, Tayte Pears and Mark McVeigh only played in game one. Leroy Jetta impressed as a running defender, while rookie Corey Dell’Olio was just as good as a small forward up front.

Fremantle: Appeared a well drilled defensive unit under new coach Ross Lyon, impressing in game one, easily disposing of Essendon. Struggled against the Eagles in game two but supporters should take plenty of positives. Skipper Matthew Pavlich looks set to reprise his role as a key forward once again.


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