With just a few days before the Tigers take on Carlton in AFL Round 1, I thought that I’d provide an insight into what I’m looking forward to this season.
I’m really looking forward to seeing Jack Graham, Shai Bolton, and Toby Nankervis continue their development and build on their 2017 form. Of those yet play a senior game, I’m looking for Ryan Garthwaite, Jack Higgins and Callum Coleman-Jones to see what they can offer on the big stage.
The youth that have gained senior experience over the past two years should now be poised to show the consistency that is required in order to demand their place in the reigning Premier’s team (I still love saying that!). Specifically, I’m looking at Oleg Markov, Corey Ellis, Connor Menadue, Jayden Short, Jason Castagna, and Dan Butler. With the exception of the latter 2, Markov, Ellis, Short and Menadue have had tastes of playing in the seniors but have failed to hold onto their places. These players need to work hard and position themselves so that they can step into the side when regulars start to show lapses in form. Once in the side, they need to show the selectors that need to stay and not be discarded as soon as the player they replaced is ready to resume.
What is to become of Sean Hampson and Reece Conca? From what I hear, the Hampster’s back is still not right so may not see much game time again this year. A fit Conca is an important member of our senior side – not only for his “Conca Cuddles”, but for his aggression at the ball and his tackling. Conca is much maligned, but I believe is in our best 22.
Despite the Tigers winning a Premiership on the back of our speedy, clever mosquito fleet, I would still like to see a second tall forward that can bring the ball to ground so I’m also looking to two of our talls who have been VFL regulars to step up, namely Callum Moore and Marbior Chol. They have both shown good pre-season form but need to put together some consistent form in the VFL to force their way into the side. They have both shown glimpses of what is required and Chol in particular, has shown that he has pace which he could use to great effect in order to run down and tackle defenders. That would put much greater pressure on opposition teams clearing the ball.
Apart from all of the above, what I’m really looking forward to in 2018 is seeing the 2017 Premiership Flag unfurled on Thursday night, and for another finals campaign.
YELLOW AND BLACK BACK TO BACK!