There were many strong performer’s this pre-season but who stood up amongst the bunch over the last two weeks?
Zero Hanger takes a look at each team’s best performer, did we get it right?
Just edging out his brother Brad Crouch and fellow star midfielder Rory Sloane, Crouch had back to back weeks of 30+ disposals as well as nine tackles in the Crows’ win over the Giants that sent them two from two in their JLT campaign. The Crows midfield looks like a force to be reckoned with in 2019.
The de-listed Sun looked right at home in the Lions’ midfield along fellow recruit Lachie Neale. Lyons racked up 26 disposals in each of the Lions’ wins over the Hawks and the Dees, and the ex-Crow booted five goals over the two weeks in the Lions’ impressive outings. Lyons looks as though he will cement his spot in the exciting young Lions line-up.
Last year’s pick one has certainly impressed early this year, as the youngster looked classy in his first hit-out against the Bombers in the pre-season opener collecting 28 disposals and eight inside 50’s. Walsh was impressive in Monday’s match against last year’s runner-ups, Collingwood, who were too strong claiming a four-point victory. Walsh gathered 23 disposals and six inside 50’s, and this young gun is a lock for a round one debut.
Following on from an impressive 2018, the Pies have arguably the best midfield in the competition heading into 2019. Sidebottom is one of the many stars of the Pies’ midfield who collected 34 disposals and a goal in their first hit-out since going down in the Grand Final last year. The Pies went on to win the game by an impressive 27 points. Collingwood was given a scare against the Blues, who went down by four points at the hands of the Pies. Sidebottom oozed class with 31 touches and a goal as well as ten marks.
The Bombers had a disappointing JLT series, going down to both the Blues by nine points in JLT one and the Cats by 28. Andy McGrath stood out in both matches racking up 25 disposals and two goals against a young Carlton side as well as 22 a week later. The 20-year-old has shown poise in his first three seasons at the Tullamarine and will be one to break the lines in 2019 for the Bombers.
After missing the back end of 2018 after sustaining a broken jaw courtesy of Eagle Andrew Gaff, the 19-year-old has had a strong start to the 2019 season. Although the Dockers were unable to win either of their games against the Pies and Eagles, the former pick two was a shining light in a couple of dull performances gathering 25 disposals and four tackles against the Pies to go with 22 touches and 6 tackles against an impressive Eagles outfit.
The Cats superstar has reportedly had a big summer shredding 4kg over the pre-season, and the Brownlow medalist was a standout performer in the Cats’ loss to the reigning premiers in JLT one with 29 disposals, five tackles, and a goal. Dangerfield was able to back it up a little under a week later in the Cats’ 28 point win against the Bombers at GMHBA stadium collecting 30 disposals and another goal, the superstar is set to return to his best in season 2019.
The Suns’ had an average JLT series downing the Dogs by five points in the young sides first hit out before being punished by the Swans a week later. Braydon Fiorini stood up as a candidate to cement his spot in the Suns’ engine room, with 26 disposals and three tackles against the Bulldogs in slippery conditions, and the former pick 20 was a standout performer in Gold Coast’s 42-point loss collecting another 26 disposals and a goal.
The Giants midfielder has more than impressed early, with 35 disposals in the Giants’ first win of the year against the Swans to go with ten tackles and a goal. The WA product was able to back up his performance a week later with another game-high 37 disposals in their loss to the Crows. With Coniglio out of contract at the end of the year, he may be jacking up his price with more performances like these.