Former St Kilda skipper Danny Frawley thinks Adelaide star Rory Laird could be one of the great “running backs” in AFL history.
Laird was sensational in Thursday night’s 15-point win against Geelong, getting 43 touches whilst going at 86 per cent efficiency.
It’s Round 17 and Laird has gotten over 30 touches in 12 games this season, even though he missed two games with a fractured hand.
“Is he going to go down as one of the (great) all-time running backs ever? I think he will,” Frawley told SEN Breakfast.
“Was he BOG last night? Yes. The stats don’t lie. You can make a case for Tom Lynch, you can make a case for Rory Sloane, but he’s had 43 touches, 12 contested, he’s had 10 intercepts, 30 pressure points, seven score involvements from the back half.
“He’s the reason why Adelaide can get back into the finals. His ability to get his team going and create the overlap is some of the best running I’ve seen over the last two years.
“I think he is an absolute superstar, Rory Laird.”
Frawley said that Laird’s ball winning ability in the defensive 50 should inspire other teams to use a player in a similar role.
“He is going to create a new position for guys that want to start in the midfield, but go back and see everything in front of them, and run and carry,” he said.
“He’s now the premier back pocket in the game, and I think he’ll go down as the guy that averages the most possessions as a half-back.”
Former St Kilda and North Melbourne great Nick Dal Santo was amazed that the Cats didn’t play an run with role tag on Laird, despite the numbers he has racked up this year.
“You would have thought the Cats would have someone on him as a defensive small forward,” Dal Santo added.
“You know the way Rory Laird plays, you know he starts their ball chain off the half back flank.
“The ability to have over 40 touches – I’m surprised and shocked that teams don’t put a lot more work into him.
“I don‘t know why they don’t respect him, I don’t know why when they’re analyzing they think, Rory Laird won’t hurt us this particular weekend, but when he walks away with 40 and you lose by 15 points, I just can’t get my head around why they don’t put more focus into him.
“Man him up, sacrifice one of your roles or just be ultra-accountable.”