Bound For Glory News presents the team of the week for round three.
We’re three rounds into the 2014 season and what do we know?
Carlton are cooked and it’s time for Mick to cut the dead weight – of which there is plenty – and blood the kids.
Richmond join the Blues as another club who looked to have taken a step backwards. Uninspiring in the first half of the Bulldogs, showed more in the second half but wasn’t enough in the end. Have to win against the Pies this Friday to keep the pressure off.
Choking away close games looks to be a thing of the past for North Melbourne after the Roos turned a 10-point three quarter time deficit into a nine-point win against the fittest side in the AFL, Port Adelaide.
St Kilda proved they aren’t the next Melbourne after all with a gallant effort to go down to the Eagles out west. So bright is the future of St Kilda that Chris Pelchen almost grabbed a spot in the back pocket in this week’s team.
All this might just be pointless though. If Hawthorn continue to play as they did on Friday night in dismantling Fremantle nobody can stop them and to try would be to embarrass yourself.
B: Michael Hibberd, Tom Lonergan, Mark Baguley
HB: Sam Mitchell, Steven May, Jordan Lewis
C: Heath Hocking, Ben Cunnington, Tom Liberatore
HF: Luke Parker, Lance Franklin, Adam Treloar
F: Dean Cox, Tom Hawkins, Paul Chapman
Foll: Shane Mumford, Gary Ablett (C), Joel Selwood
Int: Mitch Duncan, Luke Dunstan, Jamie Elliot
Sub: Daniel Giansiracusa
Michael Hibberd: If we were naming the All-Australian team tomorrow, Hibberd and his partner in crime Cale Hooker are two of the first picked. Hibberd is yet to be beaten in 2014. Troy Menzel, his opponent on Sunday night, didn’t have the worst game with 13 disposals and two goals, but Hibberd well and truly won the contest.
Tom Lonergan: If you let Travis Cloke get going then you’re in for a bad time. Tom Lonergan ensured Cloke was reduced to a bystander in a game where he could have proved the difference.
Mark Baguley: Baguley has been underrated for too long. He gets the job done week in, week out. With no fuss, no flashy stuff and no excuses, he’s proved to be an excellent recruit for the Bombers. He had the job on Jeff Garlett and the speedster had just five touches while Baguley gathered 26.
Sam Mitchell: Once the Ryan Crowley tag was lifted Mitchell took the game by the throat, finishing with 36 disposals.
Steven May: Shutting Jonathan Brown out of a game isn’t the herculean task it once was but the nature with which the 34-gamer dominated the veteran was ominous. May is unlucky to miss out on a spot in my current All-Australian team, but if he continues to play like he did on Saturday, the 22-year-old will be there come the end of the season.
Jordan Lewis: Admittedly putting Lewis on the back flank is a stretch but he couldn’t not be in this team. With 37 possessions and 10 clearances, he made Freo miss Nathan Fyfe and Michael Barlow.
Heath Hocking: He saved the best game of his career for his 100th game. He tagged Marc Murphy, and even though the Carlton skipper had 21 disposals, he was restricted to 62% efficiency. Hocking had 28 disposals of his own and was easily best on ground.
Ben Cunnington: At 22 years old and 74 games into his career Cunnington is already scarily good. 19 of his 30 disposals on Sunday evening were contested, and he also had nine clearances and six inside 50s. Looks a different man to the one who fronted up against Essendon in round one.
Tom Liberatore: His old man played 283 games and won a Brownlow. It is a tough act to follow but there’s every chance he’ll be better than Tony. He’s 21 and already the best contested ball player in the competition. I can’t recall anyone having as much of an impact with 24 disposals as Libba did on Saturday. 14 of those were uncontested, 12 were clearances and he laid 12 tackles.
Luke Parker: 26 touches, nine clearances and four goals. It was the perfect half-forward game. Parker was best on as the Swans finally grabbed their first win of the season.
Lance Franklin: This is the Franklin Sydney are paying $10 million for. Just as it was in round one, he looked threatening early with a long bomb goal – but this time he went on with it.
Adam Treloar: Treloar was another who was shoehorned onto a flank. There isn’t a team who wouldn’t kill to have his kid on their list. There may well have been two of him on the park on Sunday so great were his numbers, 33 disposals – 21 of them contested – as well as 11 clearances, 14 tackles, five inside 50s and four rebound 50s.
Dean Cox: Just when it was beginning to look like age might be getting the better of him Cox reminds us why he’s considered one of the greatest ruckmen to ever play our game. He gave Tom Hickey another lesson in tap work, finishing with 34 hitouts to the young St Kilda ruckman’s 13.
Tom Hawkins: He was the difference in an 11-point game. He booted three goals in the final term to hold off the Magpies who were going in for the kill.
Paul Chapman: He and Jason Winderlich are going to get along just fine. Each of them snagged four goals in Winderlich’s return from injury but for his 23 disposals ‘Chappy’ gets the nod. The Bombers ought to sign him up for six years and play him as the sub.
Shane Mumford: He fell a mere three hitouts short of Gary Dempsey’s all-time record of 63. His ruck dominance alone would have been enough for him to earn a spot this week but the big man laying nine tackles was the icing on the cake.
Gary Ablett (C): What can be said that hasn’t already been said? He will be the best of all time once it’s all said and done. Enjoy him while it lasts.
Joel Selwood: The Geelong captain threw himself relentlessly at contests trying to will his side over the line and got them there in the end. Love him or hate him, you have to admire how he wears his heart on his sleeve.
Mitch Duncan: Yep, Stephen Wells has done it again. The best game of Duncan’s career came when the Cats needed it, against a side who have had the wood over them for the last two years. Duncan stood up with 30 disposals and is unlucky to find himself on the bench here.
Luke Dunstan: Dunstan is a Luke Power incarnate. I can’t bring myself to believe he’s just 19 and just played his third game. He was best on against a potential top four side in West Coast.
Jamie Elliott: Elliott is another who is unlucky to find himself on the bench. He kicked five and very nearly won the game for the Pies.
Daniel Giansiracusa (substitute): He only had the four disposals, but two of them were goals which the Dogs would’ve gone down to the Tigers without. Gia as the sub is beneficial for all involved. He can win games for the Dogs coming on late and gets to extend his own career.