Round nine would see another Irish code hopper given an opportunity at AFL level, with a string of good form in the VFL seeing Hawthorn defender Conor Glass claim his first senior appearance for 2019.
Slotting into a backline that kept the in form Giants to just 38 points last week, Glass would have to adapt quickly to pace of the top level as the Hawks looked to produce another excellent defensive performance against the undermanned Tigers.
Unfortunately, it would end up being a poor day for Glass’s Hawks as they were simply outclassed by the 2017 premiers, who ran out convincing 36 point victors.
Coming back into the AFL side, Glass was very solid all day in the defensive half for Hawthorn with his attack on the ball and composure proving a handy asset for the Hawks.
Playing in the back pocket, Glass would end up with 13 disposals at 92% efficiency, whilst also doing a commendable job on the Tigers dangerous small forwards throughout the day.
With the Hawks floating around the top eight, Glass will be hoping to cement himself in the side over the following weeks and help the team push for a finals run in 2019.
Saturday afternoon would see football again return to regional Victoria as Zach Tuohy and Mark O’Connor’s Cats played host to the red hot Bulldogs at their revamped GMHBA stadium in Geelong.
With injuries plaguing the first six weeks of Tuohy’s season, the veteran Irishman would finally return to his best in round nine with an all-round excellent game off the half back flank.
Slotting back into the competition’s best defense, Tuohy simply hasn’t skipped a beat, working well with the likes of Tom Stewart, Harry Taylor and Mark Blicavs to both stop opposition attacks and kick off the Cat’s offensive ball movement.
Tuohy’s afternoon would yield a very solid 19 disposals and three marks at an elite efficiency of 90%, as he clearly helped the Cats defenders walk taller throughout the day.
His reading of the play was also sublime as he got in a number of crucial spoils and managed to hit his teammates in open space up the field when he had ball in hand.
Meanwhile, O’Connor continued to take strides as he looks to lock down a spot in the Cats best 22.
Resolute as always in defense, it’s been really impressive to see the determination by which O’Connor defends as he rarely gives opposition small’s anything and uses his reading of the play to keep dangerous forwards at bay.
Along with his outstanding defensive work, O’Connor again impressed with ball in hand with 12 disposals at 92% to go along with six marks and two tackles in another all-round strong display.
Marvel Stadium would play host to a crucial mid table clash on Saturday Night as the struggling Bombers looked to break their losing streak with a win over the Dockers.
Connor McKenna continued his excellent season on Saturday night, with another 20 disposal performance off the half back flank.
With his trade mark run and dash on display for all to see in an otherwise dour contest, McKenna was crucial in getting the Bombers started off half back, and really gave them a lift with his willingness to take the game on.
Claiming 20 touches and two marks at 70% efficiency, he has clearly improved in his ability to get more of the ball which is in turn seeing him have a greater impact on games.
Elsewhere on Saturday night, Colin O’Riordan’s Sydney Swans would manage to hold off the fast finishing Kangaroos on a chilly night in Hobart for their third win of the season.
The Swans were brilliant for the first three quarters, with their youth playing major roles in them building a strong five goal lead heading into the fourth quarter.
But the spirit and hunger of the Roos would see them almost pinch a famous victory in the dying moments, as they began to finally take risks and play a bold and attacking brand of footy.
After an excellent return to the side last week, O’Riordan was again solid across the wing and half back for the Swans.
Attacking the ball hard and applying great pressure, you could see a sense of comfort in O’Riordan’s game on Saturday night as he began to truly feel like he belonged at the level.
Finishing up with 14 disposals, five contested possessions, two marks and two tackles, O’Riordan played his role superbly for the Swans and was always up for the fight.
His ball use was another major positive, with an exceptional efficiency of 79% showing his ability to hit targets and be relied upon by his teammates.
In the state leagues, GWS’s Callum Brown would continue to show his promise as an exciting forward in the Giants reserves big win over Southport.
With coach Adam Schnieder saying he was “very pleased with his performance” Brown seems to be moving in the right direction as he used his speed and athleticism to claim 11 disposals, three marks and three tackles.
Conor Nash would also impress in the VFL as he hopes to return to the Hawthorn senior side with 14 disposals, four marks and four inside 50’s in Box Hill’s tough eight point loss to Richmond.
Zac Standish – AFL Europe