The big difference on-field last week was Daniel Wells. He played off half-back most of the night, and consistently set-up attack for North with great decision making and defence splitting kicks. Exactly what had been missing most of the season to-date.
After watching him cut up Port, I can’t help but wonder if half-back is where Wells should be playing? Instead of moulding Wells in the shape of Chris Judd or Leon Davis, perhaps Andrew McLeod and the revitalised Aaron Davey are better role models? Wells has struggled under a heavy tag, but that’s a whole lot easier to shake at half-back. And he becomes the go-to man running out of defence, naturally bringing himself into the game and allowing his penetrating kicks to dictate play. I say keep him there.
Matty ‘Flash’ Campbell
The other missing ingredient from North has been polish, speed and accuracy in the forward line. Flash delivered it in spades. Lindsay Thomas looked heaps better with Flash worrying the defenders. Then he strained his hammy (the other one).
Had a great first match of the season. Seems capable of filling the role that Wells occasionally played in the midfield. Line-breaking runs and accurate, penetrating kicks: scarce in North ranks up until last Saturday. It made me wonder why selection was delayed 6 rounds. Apparently he’s got a bit of attitude around the club … ?
Asked about playing four ruckman in one team (Hale, Petrie, Goldstein, McIntosh) Laidley made an interesting comparison to St Kilda with Gardiner, King, Riewoldt and Koschitzke. No-one seems to question them, why do people question North’s selection? Fair point I reckon.
Playing career best footy. I can’t believe supporters were calling for his head after the off-field dramas in the pre-season. He was always going to be a great team contributor.
Deserved nominated for the Rising Star Award this week, but will miss out on the Geelong game with ‘leg soreness’. More likely he’s just getting rested up as the coach has eluded to a number of times. After a big workload in the first 7 rounds it’s probably a sensible decision.
Set to debut against Geelong, I’m surprised to see him get the call-up so quickly. The Dale Thomas lookalike (in both hair and playing style) from North-East Victoria was earmarked as a development player in the pre-season. While known as a game-breaker, Laids didn’t see him doing it for a season or two at AFL level, particularly with his slight frame. A couple of good matches in the VFL and now he’s thrown to the wolves: Geelong at Geelong. I’m looking forward to seeing how he goes.
Just like the team, I wouldn’t write him off just yet. He’s still extracting great performances from on an exciting young list. Deserves at least another year.