For the past two weeks the red herring has been the naming of defender Jed Bews at full-forward, with the 25-year-old holding up his end of the bargain by kicking a goal in his return match against Adelaide. Of course, with just seven goals in his 73-game career, we don’t think the selection spearhead is likely to win the Coleman any time soon.
But what really caught our eye ahead of the Adelaide clash was that best and fairest winner and potential All-Australian Mark Blicavs was named in the ruck. Of course, Blicavs had not played there all season until the Cats grew sick of losing the clearances against the Crows and threw him into the ruck where he changed the game, allowing Geelong to turn around a 20-point deficit and win by 27.
He had only been named in the ruck once previously – in round four against the Giants – when he didn’t contest the ruck.
THE ROUND 15 SPRINT – BRAYSHAW v FISHER
The stories of the Brayshaw boys heading out of Christmas day to complete 100 hundreds in order to build their fitness have been told but rarely has their value been so obvious as late in the Demons’ nail-biting win over Carlton on Sunday.
Unfortunately for Melbourne midfielder Angus Brayshaw he was forced to find something he did not know he had in the final minute when a Mitch Hannan kick stopped like a nine iron centimetres from the goal line, forcing Brayshaw into a footrace with Carlton’s Zac Fisher to see whether he could soccer through the sealer.
Post-game Brayshaw appeared exhausted revealing it was about as tired as he’d ever been on a footy field, he and Fisher holding an in-game audition to be involved in this year’s grand final sprint.
“I would have loved for it to go through,” Brayshaw said.
“Mitch Hannan kicked it and I started parallel to him and was in his periphery and I knew that he hadn’t seen me so the first 20 metres were hard yards and I thought, ‘this is definitely going in’, so I maybe stopped for a metre and then it sucked back so there were another 20 metres to go.”
With Fisher recording a 20-metre sprint time of 3:03 seconds at the 2016 draft combine and Brayshaw laying down a time of 2.81 seconds in March 2014 (having missed the combine with an ankle injury), clock watchers would have fancied Brayshaw.
But Brayshaw wasn’t confident and, given the Telstra tracker showed he was the only player on the ground forced into two repeat sprints, he had reason to doubt himself.
“I am not sure who I was racing against but money was he was faster than I am,” Brayshaw said.
Fisher’s steady state is strong, running 2.7 kilometres in the game at high speed and averaging 8.9 kilometres an hour throughout the match, although he was not one of day’s four players to hit a top speed above 30 kilometres an hour.
The pair hit the line together with Fisher’s hand beating Brayshaw’s foot to the ball, leading to a brilliant decision on the goal line from former AFL player David Rodan, who backed his judgment to make a call without the need for a score review, which was crucial in giving Carlton a chance to tie the scores.
SYMMETRY OPEN LIKE A 7-11
Footy fans have long memories so many brains went straight to the 1999 clash between Shinboner of the Century Glenn Archer and everyone’s favourite Saint Lenny Hayes during Hayes’ first game when Roos skipper Jack Ziebell cannoned into St Kilda youngster Hunter Clark on the wing at Hobart on Sunday.
However the similarities didn’t stop with the bone-jarring bump with keen footy fan @APH1991 pointing out the numbers shared between the four players gave the two incidents 20 years apart a certain symmetry.
Round 5, 1999
No. 11 Glenn Archer (North Melbourne) v No. 7 Lenny Hayes (St Kilda)
Round 15, 2019
No. 7 Jack Ziebell (North Melbourne) v No. 11 Hunter Clark (St Kilda)
Pick 11 Hayes
Pick 7 Clark
Norm Smith medallist
Archer (1996), Hayes (2010)
Clark (mandatory), Ziebell (bandaged)
Peter Ryan is a sports reporter with The Age covering AFL, horse racing and other sports.