Tag: matthew primus

Draft Central All-Star Team: Norwood Redlegs

NORWOOD Redlegs have a strong defensive side that would be hard to beat, with plenty of accountable players and those who will make life difficult for the opposition.

THE TEAM:

This Norwood side would be right up there amongst the best of the South Australian sides. The backline is brimming with strong, battle-hardened key defenders who would make life very difficult for opposition forwards. The midfield is similarly workmanlike and features some of the toughest on-ballers to grace the competition. The forward-line is certainly exciting on paper and would pose a genuine threat to even the most dour of backlines.

DEFENCE:

The Norwood backline is stacked with quality key defenders, including Geelong premiership skipper Tom Harley, who has been named at centre-half-back. He is joined by former Swans full-backman Heath Grundy, who is regarded as one of the best lockdown defenders of the modern era. Making his debut in 2006, Grundy played 256 games in the red and white, including Sydney’s 2012 premiership triumph. A rookie selection by Melbourne in 1996, Nathan Bassett went on to play 210 games with Adelaide, finishing his career in 2008 as one of the Crows’ best defenders. He later coached Norwood to back-to-back SANFL premierships in 2012 and 2013. Current Power skipper Tom Jonas has notched up 139 games at Alberton and may prove to be the best defender amongst the starting six by the end of his career. Reliable small defender Jared Crouch joins Swans teammate Grundy in the side. Martin Pike‘s resume of four premierships and 247 games stacks up with the very best, making him a regulation selection.

MIDFIELD:

Whilst the backline consists of modern day players, the Redlegs midfield is largely dominated by stars of yesteryear. Although perhaps better known for his flamboyant hairstyles and off-field allegations, no-one would question the obvious talent of 125-gamer Adam Heuskes, who provided energy and zip from the wing or half-back. He is joined on the opposing wing by Kangaroo Trent Dumont. In 82 AFL games, Dumont has quickly become one of North Melbourne’s most important on-ballers. The centre position belongs to tough midfielder Roger James, who was one of the Power’s best players throughout their successful 2004 campaign. He played 147 games with the Power, kicked 87 goals and is a member of the SANFL Hall of Fame.

Matthew Primus faced some tough opposition but ultimately earned selection as the starting ruckman. In 20 games with Fitzroy and 137 with Port Adelaide, Primus was a dual All-Australian and renowned as one of the competitions best ruckman. Collingwood duo Scott Burns and Tony Francis form a formidable midfield partnership. A club great, Burns captained the Magpies in 2008 and played a total of 265 AFL games in the black and white. He kicked 149 goals in a polished 14-season career and is now seen as one of the best assistant coaches. Francis is a great of South Australian football, who represented the state on five occasions and kicked 103 goals in 142 matches with the ‘Pies. Despite standing just 171cm, Francis was an aggressive tackler and an excellent crumber.

FORWARD:

Despite an abundance of talent down back and throughout the midfield, the Norwood forward line could be the most dangerous of them all. Opponents would be tearing their hair out attempting to shutdown pocket-rockets Orazio Fantasia and Paul Puopolo  – two of the deadliest small forwards of the modern era. Yet for all their razzle-dazzle in front of goal, the pair are both capable of applying genuine defensive pressure. Despite his battles with injury, Fantasia has kicked 110 goals in 75 games with Essendon, whilst Puopolo, a three-time premiership Hawk, has kicked 181 goals in 190 matches. A famous last name at The Parade, versatile Magpie James Aish fits in on the forward flank, having played 82 games at AFL level. Nic Fosdike joins his former Swans teammates in the side by slotting in across half-forward. He played 164 games with Sydney, including the 2005 premiership, and kicked 66 goals. Although often criticised at times throughout his career, versatile tall Ryan Schoenmakers joins Puopolo in the starting forward-line. The full-forward spot went to Crows big man Matthew Robran. A two-time premiership star, Robran was often compared to his great father, Barrie, but overcame several serious knee injures to kick 110 goals in 137 games.

DEPTH:

Current Crow Luke Brown could consider himself unlucky to miss out on a starting position. Brown could be relied upon to negate the oppositions best small forward. Two-time premiership Crow Brett James joins his brother in the side and Will Minson was selected to provide support for Primus in the ruck. The selections of David Pittman and Rodney Maynard take the tally of Crows players to six, whilst two-time Lions best and fairest winner Joel Patfull complements a backline already loaded with tall timber.

Draft Central All-Star Teams: Geelong Falcons

GEELONG FALCONS’ All-Star side is up there with the very best in the country. With stars across every line, the starting 22 features 15 players of whom have at least won a best and fairest or made the All-Australian team. In fact, only three players in the entire team do not have a personal accolade to their name, instead providing some height and depth for the squad.

THE TEAM:

The team itself is star-studded and it is hard to know where to begin. The fact the Falcons have such a strong onball group that the likes of captain Gary Ablett Jnr and Patrick Dangerfield can slide to half-forward flanks – and dominate – is saying something. They have some of the best bookends of the 21st century, and a variety of intercept players and dangerous goal sneaks. In summary, good luck beating this team.

DEFENCE:

The defence will be held down by one of, if not the greatest full-back of the past two decades in Matthew Scarlett. The Geelong legend earned six All-Australians and a best and fairest during his time to go with his three premierships. Holding down the other tall options are Tom Stewart and Will Schofield, who can both be very impressive offensively and defensively respectively.

Providing some defensive attributes and niggle is Steven Baker in the back pocket. He will be able to take over the negating of an opposition small forward, while Collingwood premiership captain and one-time All-Australian Nick Maxwell provides the loose intercept option. He will team up with another legend in the back six, with Luke Hodge also in the starting six thanks to a CV that includes three All-Australians, two best and fairests, two Norm Smiths and four premierships.

On the bench is Lachie Henderson and Matt Maguire, of whom both could play roles in defence, or Henderson could slot up forward as well.

MIDFIELD:

There are elite midfields, and then there is this mind-boggling combination. We already mentioned the rotation of Ablett and Dangerfield off half-forward, and the fact Ben Cunnington, Chris Heffernan and Taylor Adams sit on the pine waiting for their chance says enough about the top-end quality this midfield produces.

On-back, Jimmy Bartel, Travis Boak and Cameron Ling are roving to Port Adelaide two-time All-Australian and one-time best and fairest, Matthew Primus. Bartel finished his career with a Brownlow, two All-Australians and a Norm Smith, while Ling had an All-Australian and best and fairest. Both players tasted success in the 2007, 2009 and 2011 premierships. Boak earned the spot in the midfield with 264 games, 171 goals, 118 Brownlow votes, two All-Australians and two best and fairests, nudging out Cunnington for the starting spot.

On the wings, Jordan Lewis had a 319-game career, and while his accolades are not as high as others, he finished with an All-Australian and best and fairest, playing some of his best years during Hawthorn’s three-peat as part of winning four premierships. Accompanying him on the other wing is former St Kilda now Geelong talent, Jack Steven. While the 183-gamer has battled with injury of late, he has still won four best and fairests and was named in the All-Australian 40-man squad twice.

FORWARD:

The half-forward line is hands down the best half-forward line across the board in these All-Star teams. While you might argue both Ablett and Dangerfield deserve to be playing midfield, it gives the team a better balance that two stars can sit at half-forward and potentially kick bags of goals whilst influencing the game. Between them they have 15 All-Australians, six MVPs, 10 best and fairests and three Brownlows – not half bad.

Then of course there’s Jonathan Brown at centre half-forward. The Brisbane three-time premiership players earned two All-Australians, three best and fairests and a Coleman Medal in his time, slotting 594 goals in 256 games. He teams up with Scott Lucas who managed 471 goals in 270 games, winning a couple of best and fairests and one premiership in his career.

Both Shaun Higgins and Luke Dahlhaus provide some serious X-factor inside 50, with Higgins now up to 220 games and 220 goals, with two best and fairests and an All-Australian. Dahlhaus has 124 goals in 178 games, with a premiership and an All-Australian 40 nomination. On the bench, Devon Smith can come on in bursts and provide that physical pressure inside 50, winning a best and fairest with the Bombers in his debut season with the club.

DEPTH:

With the exception in Stewart, we looked to those with more than 100 games to their names, and the likes of current players, Ed Curnow, Jasper Pittard, Allen Christensen, Gary Rohan, Lewis Taylor and Darcy Gardiner are all still on lists. From past players, Brent Moloney (166 games) has the most with Nathan Foley (154), Leigh Harding (141) and Amon Buchanan (134) the other two with more than 110 games. Looking much further ahead, James Worpel won a best and fairest in his second season with Hawthorn, so in a few years, expect him to be pushing into the side.