The world of AFL related media is vast, dynamic and fast-paced. If you aren’t engaged on a daily basis, you’re bound to miss something in the flood of news articles, opinion pieces, videos and social media posts – and how relevant are they all to your SuperCoach team anyway? This pre-season, we’re solving your problem. Each week we’ll give you our take on the most SuperCoach relevant media.
At the start of February, during pre-season of Season 2018, a group of NMFC midfielders were involved in an interviewed video conducted by the media team at NMFC, called “Midfield Update”. What makes this video particularly enticing is that last year’s Syd Barker Medallist, Shaun Higgins, praised the efforts and determination of a very specific and relevant player during this year’s pre-season. This player was no other than popular Shinboner, Luke McDonald. Higgins clearly stated during the interview that “L-Mac has taken his game to a whole new level this pre-season”. A statement that can only send positive signs to Supercoachers around the country. Mitchell Hibberd was also another one to further comment on who he thought was “ripping up the track” thus far by confirming the facts set by Higgins, enlightening the media and it’s viewers that “L-Mac has had pretty big pre-season”.
McDonald played the full 22 games of 2017 and was able to increase his SC average by 20 points from the year before. McDonald averaged 84 by seasons end after a permanent switch to the midfield halfway through the season, where he relished the new role and took his game to a whole ‘nother level. He averaged an impressive 95 SC points and 24 disposals in the last 5 games, which are promising statistics for the young gun.
L-Mac achieved career highs in an abundance of categories which included disposals, contested and uncontested possessions, tackles, metres gained, effective disposals, clearances, goals and score involvements. This only indicates that McDonald is determined to improve numerous areas of his game.
Nathan Hrovat was quick to comment on L-Mac shortly after the clubs Intra Club match on the 9th of February, stating that McDonald has “ spent the majority of his time training in the midfield with the likes of Ziebell and Cunnington”. The statement from Hrovat is definitely an encouraging sign heading into 2018, signifying that McDonald is expected to continue playing in the midfield.
McDonald was a standout in the Intra Club match, attending every centre-bounce and every stoppage as an inside midfielder throughout the first three quarters, before being managed after clashing heads with a teammate deep into the third. McDonald collected 9 possessions alone in the first quarter and was exceptional around the contest. He attacked the ball with great intent and was able to break numerous tackles giving him the chance to get back on his trusted, booming left foot.
His best position is most definitely in the midfield, and last year wasn’t the first year that he’s played exceptionally well there. It was also evident during his junior years playing for VIC Metro and the Oakleigh Chargers. He had the ability to accumulate the ball regularly and was able to impact games with his footy smarts, elite kicking, speed and power.
With a shallow and young midfield at North Melbourne, expect L-Mac to take full advantage of his new role. It’s his position to lose, but I’m anticipating another rise in career averages this year for McDonald. At 23, McDonald is entering the prime of his career, and with his new DPP status of DEF/MID eligibility, and an appealing price tag of $461,000, it may be difficult to look past this up and coming Roo. I suggest you watch his JLT series closely, and highly consider him as a realistic option heading into Round 1.
McDonald was named in the U22 “Young Guns” All-Star 40-man Squad for the first time in 2017, rewarding his efforts throughout his break-out year.