The NAB Challenge made it’s way across the Bass Strait this evening, where Hawthorn hosted North Melbourne in what ended up being a blowout at Aurora Stadium.
The reigning premiers ran out 65-point winners in Launceston, underlining why they’ll be hard to budge as they prepare to defend their crown this year. North Melbourne were bitterly disappointing, and for an offseason that has been built up with hype and talk of a top four finish, they only managed three goals in the first half and seven in total for the match.
The Hawks put in a strong side with only Brian Lake, Grant Birchall and Ben Stratton missing, whilst Luke Hodge played just 60% of game time.
Sam Mitchell – If he’s not entrenched in your back six – you don’t know what you’re doing. He should be your first picked defender now with back-to-back scores of over 100+ SuperCoach points. You’re effectively getting a premium midfielder for free given he’s eligible to be picked as a defender. He finished the night with slick figures of 28 disposals including an off-the-charts disposal efficiency of 89.3%. His five clearances, four rebound 50’s and two marks paved the way to another high scoring game.
Will Langford – Had the job on North Melbourne dangerman Jack Ziebell this evening, and despite keeping him to just 12 disposals, he also hurt him offensively, collecting 19 possessions of his own and using the ball effectively at 78.9%. His three marks, four clearances and a whopping six tackles were ultra impressive, and after a fairly decent game last week against Brisbane, he is firming for a spot in our SuperCoach backlines at just $123,700 since scoring 105 SuperCoach points.
Matthew Suckling – Didn’t get a huge heap of disposals due to starting with the green vest, but he was damaging when in possession. The Hawthorn super boot was elite in his ball use tonight, with a disposal efficiency of 75% from the quarter and a bit of footy that he was on the park for. His seven marks were of quality, and although he notched just the two rebound 50’s, it was his ability to push further up the ground and use the ball well, hitting up a target on each occasion that he went inside 50. He only finished with the 25 SuperCoach points after starting as a sub.
Liam Shiels – Just another lazy 100+ SuperCoach score to round out what has been a super start to his 2014 campaign. Liam Shiels has returned scores of 100 and 135 SuperCoach points in the past two weeks, and could prove to be one of the better unique options this season. Along with his 30 disposals, Shiels had 10 contested possessions, five marks, five inside 50’s and three goals in a best afield performance. All this, and he only spent just the 67% time on ground, which is frightening when you consider how much more of the game he could’ve played.
Cyril Rioli – Oddly, or perhaps logically enough – Cyril Rioli has now played two consecutive games off half back, underlining that perhaps a new position in the season proper may be turning it’s head out. Rioli was a class above when released off half back. The once SuperCoach relevant player, who’s burned us all with injuries over the past few years had 20 disposals running at a solid 85% disposal efficiency. He didn’t stop there, laying three tackles and had a game-high nine marks. Rioli spent 75% time on ground, and finished with one rebound 50, two rebound 50’s and two goal assists. He could be the Andrew Walker of 2013 if his new position is anything to go by, it’s very SuperCoach friendly especially after scoring 90 SuperCoach points.
Ben Cunnington – the blue-collar midfielder is a workhorse, and that was reflected tonight by his whopping 11 tackles and six clearances. Of his 21 disposals, 12 were contested! To add to what was a sensational evening for Cunnington, he also demonstrated just how well he covered the ground, finishing with two marks, two rebound 50’s, five inside 50’s for 99 SuperCoach points. .
Jack Ziebell – Big question marks now will surround coaches who plonked him in their sides after last week’s game against Carlton. If tonight was anything to go by, it was that Ziebell didn’t like the extra attention and just about rolled over after a hard tag from Hawthorn youngster, Will Langford. Ziebell just couldn’t get into the game, and as a result he finished with 12 disposals and two clearances and five tackles for only 61 SuperCoach points.
Luke McDonald – This kid can play. Last week against Carlton he finished with 20 disposals, and backed that up with another 19 tonight. Just like Sam Mitchell, if he isn’t entrenched in your back six – you don’t know what you’re doing. His six marks, four rebound 50’s and three tackles were a feature, whilst also pushing up the ground – he finished with two inside 50’s and 69 SuperCoach points.
Daniel Wells – Was North Melbourne’s highest disposal getter, and only one of two Roos to manage 20+ disposals tonight. Daniel Wells spent just the 64% time on ground and had eight clearances and three marks. However, of his 23 disposals, 12 were contested whilst going at 73.9% disposal efficiency for 87 SuperCoach points.
Scott Thompson – You can’t even pigeon-hole Scott Thompson as just a key defender. He did it all tonight, showing poise in the air, a calm head in traffic, nous at ground level and precision when rebounding from the back half. In a rare occasion, Thompson went at a ridiculous 100% disposal efficiency! His 15 disposals consisted of five contested possessions, an equal team-high six marks and two rebound 50’s. He also finished with a team-high six one-percenters, which are SuperCoach luxury points. It reflected in his scoring, finishing with 81 SuperCoach points.
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