Main content

Mid-season review: Midfielders

A Fish and Cripps household Housemates and teammates Patrick Cripps and Zac Fisher talk about their living arrangements.

WITH the first half of the season already behind us, we take a look back at Carlton’s first 13 rounds of 2019.

Who has impressed for the Blues, and who still has more to show?

2. Paddy Dow

Following on from a promising debut season, Paddy Dow has etched himself a place in the Carlton midfield over the opening rounds as a promising player for the future.

Dow’s key strength this year has been in his intensity around the contest, averaging 1.4 clearances and 20 pressure acts over the first half of the season. His trademark burst was on display with his running goal against Hawthorn in Round 6.

However, the young midfielder’s best performance came early this year, finishing with 23 disposals and a goal in the Blues’ Round 2 clash with Port Adelaide.

3. Marc Murphy

Marc Murphy returned to his consistent self in 2019, celebrating his 250th game in the season-opener.

Despite missing three weeks through injury, the experienced Murphy has been dependable in his outings with an average of 23 disposals and 5.3 marks.

His best undoubtedly came in the Blues’ Round 5 win over the Western Bulldogs, finishing the day with 28 disposals and a classy goal for his efforts.

 

4. Lochie O’Brien

Second-year midfielder Lochie O’Brien heads into the bye with a fortnight of impressive performances behind him to build off. 

Despite an inconsistent start to his 2019 campaign, the 19-year-old impressed against the Bulldogs in Round 13 with 516 metres gained — a team-high.

Handy on the wing with an average of 12 disposals, O’Brien has shown his ability to also impact the scoreboard with four goals to his name so far this season. 

5. Sam Petrevski-Seton

Sam Petrevski-Seton has shown significant development in his third year in Navy Blue, playing all 13 rounds this year.

With 43 consecutive games under his belt, Petrevski-Seton’s pressure has risen through the midfield, averaging 4.7 tackles and 3.5 intercept possessions a game. In recent weeks, he has also spent time lining up across half-back. 

His best coincided with the Blues’ first win over the Bulldogs, racking up a career-best 35 possessions (25 contested) and a goal for his part in the victory.

 

7. Matthew Kennedy

Matthew Kennedy’s start to the season was delayed with a shoulder injury sidelining him over the opening rounds.

Getting his first opportunity at senior level in Round 10, the young midfielder was impactful with eight contested possessions and three clearances.

An asset through the centre, Kennedy has plenty more to show in 2019. He’s shown some impressive patches for the Northern Blues, averaging 25 disposals over his five VFL games.  

8. Matthew Kreuzer

Despite missing the first four rounds with knee injury, Matthew Kreuzer made a valiant return in the Blues’ Round 5 clash and hasn’t looked back since. 

Kreuzer slotted back into the midfield with his ascendency in the ruck at its best, averaging 30 hit outs and 5.5 clearances in his eight outings.

It only took Kreuzer a week to hit his stride after his return, racking up 20 hit outs, nine clearances and a goal against Hawthorn in Round 6.

 

9. Patrick Cripps

Co-captain Patrick Cripps has reached new levels in 2019, arguably in career-best form over the opening half of the season. 

Cripps has led from the front for the Blues consistently, with the midfield bull averaging 28 disposals and 6.2 tackles a game. 

The skipper pulled out his best performance of 2019 - and arguably the best individual performance of anyone this season - when his team needed him most.

Cripps willed Carlton to a rousing come-from-behind win against Brisbane, finishing with an astounding 38 disposals and a game-high four goals to seal the four points. 

16. Darcy Lang

Following a delayed start to the year due to a foot injury, Darcy Lang has spent the opening rounds of 2019 building form in the VFL with the Northern Blues.

Lang’s best performance for Northern came against Frankston in Round 7, collecting 30 disposals and a goal for his role through the centre.

His first opportunity at senior level came against Essendon in Round 11, but he has plenty more to show before the season is out.

 

18. Sam Walsh

It would be hard to find a first-year player with a more impressive debut season than No.1 pick Sam Walsh.

A ready-made footballer, Walsh has hit the ground running in his first season in Navy Blue – remarkably playing every game so far and performing with aplomb.

Undoubtedly the youngster’s best performance came in the Blues’ Round 12 victory over Brisbane, with the youngster integral in the 15-point win. He collected 32 possessions (14 contested) and six clearances.

25. Zac Fisher

A key member of a young Blues midfield brigade, Zac Fisher has become a consistent contributor in his third year in the side.

Fisher was one of the many Blues to have a day out against the Western Bulldogs in Round 5, rising to the occasion in the 44-point victory.

Finishing the day with 28 disposals, seven clearances and a goal, it was the pick of the bunch for the ‘slippery Fish’ — and there’s plenty still to come. 

 

27. Matthew Lobbe

Despite only playing two senior games in 2019, Matthew Lobbe remains a reliable ruck option for the Blues when called upon.

Dependable for the Northern Blues over previous rounds, Lobbe has averaged 24 hit outs and four tackles a match while providing great leadership for a young line-up.

Cracking 100 AFL games earlier this season, the veteran ruckman will be looking for to capitalise if an opportunity presents itself in the back half of this year.

28. David Cuningham

David Cuningham’s form is key evidence of an improved young Carlton list, with his increased impact in 2019 undeniable. 

Despite an injury-interrupted start to the season, the midfielder-turned-forward has shown a combination of power and skill in a breakthrough season at AFL level.

Cuningham has shown the rewards of a full pre-season, featuring in his first season opener in Round 1 and posting career-best figures in disposals, goals and score involvements.

His most impressive performance to date came in the Blues’ Round 8 meeting with Collingwood, finishing the day with 23 disposals and two goals.

 

29. Cameron Polson

With a strong Carlton midfield contingent forming, Cameron Polson’s opportunities at senior level have been limited so far in 2019.

The third-year Blue has played three senior games this season, with his pressure the hallmark of his game. Spending his time rotating between the midfield and forward lines, Polson has averaged 16 pressure acts at AFL level.

With plenty still to show, Polson will be hoping his promising run of form in the Northern Blues earns him another call-up in 2019. 

34. Andrew Phillips

Ruckman Andrew Phillips has been a consistent performer in the VFL while providing dependable support of Matthew Kreuzer so far in 2019.

Starting the season in the senior side, Phillips - who has played three games at AFL level this year - has been building impressive form for the Northern Blues, averaging 25 hit outs and nine disposals.

A constant threat in the air, Phillips has shown he can make an impact when called upon at senior level. With Kreuzer and Lobbe to compete with, selection pressure at the centre bounce is stronger than ever.

35. Ed Curnow

Spending the majority of his season up forward, Ed Curnow has added another string to his bow in 2019.

The veteran has been versatile over the first 13 games, transitioning seamlessly from an offensive to tagging role when needed.

With four goals against Sydney in Round 3, Curnow has already posted a career-best goals tally for the season. However, his best individual performance came against the Lions in Round 12, returning to familiar territory to tag Lachie Neale out of the contest in the second half.

43. Will Setterfield

Off-season recruit Will Setterfield hit the ground running in his first season in Navy Blue after moving from the Giants last year.

Combining a return to action after a lengthy injury layoff with a two-match suspension, Setterfield has built into the season strongly. Averaging over 17 disposals a game, he has also had four inside 50s and two clearances per game as he continues to get used to the AFL environment.

Building back to form after his return, the young midfielder’s best came in the Round 13 clash with the Bulldogs after collecting 24 disposals and five marks.

46. Matthew Cottrell

Selected by the Blues as a supplementary pick-up on the eve of the 2019 season, Matthew Cottrell is looking promising at VFL level.

Averaging 13 disposals and five marks over his seven outings for the Northern Blues, Cottrell looks a positive future prospect after an interrupted beginning to the season.

The former Dandenong Stingray has had a solid last fortnight, named in the best on two straight occasions for his performances as a hard-running wingman.