SENIOR Coach David Teague has praised the efforts of new Blue Marc Pittonet and veteran midfielder Ed Curnow in Saturday night’s historic victory against Geelong.
The Blues were able to record their first win at Kardinia Park for the first time since 1996, with a dominant start to the game setting up a memorable victory.
An important piece of the Blues’ early midfield dominance was second-gamer Marc Pittonet.
Following a baptism of fire against Max Gawn in his first game, Pittonet was given no relief when matched up against an in-form Rhys Stanley from Geelong.
However, the 24-year-old once again showed great composure and physicality to rise to the occasion and take another massive step forward.
“The ruckman gets the first opportunity to compete and that’s what ‘Pitto’ does,” Teague said.
“He competes, he follows up and then he puts pressure. What we want from him is a big physical pressure and he delivered that.”
Shouldering the majority of the ruck load for the game, Pittonet finished the game with 36 hitouts, four score involvements, four tackles while also helping the Blues lead the clearances early in the game.
Joining the Blues from the Hawks, Teague spoke positively of Pittonet’s development and hard work since arriving at Ikon Park, believing that if the early signs are anything to go by, he will have a bright future ahead of him.
“You look at the age profile of ruckmen and they sometimes take until they’re 24. I don’t think, from a numbers point of view, they peak until they’re around 27,” Teague said.
“Hopefully he’s got a lot of football ahead of him.”
Meanwhile, coming up against a midfield comprising of two of the competition’s best players in Patrick Dangerfield and Joel Selwood, Teague turned to a familiar face to get the job done.
Playing predominantly on Geelong’s captain, Curnow maintained a strong tag on Selwood, restricting him to just 18 disposals and two clearances for the game.
In a nod to Curnow, Teague called out the midfielder’s ability to rise to the occasion when called upon – highlighting his importance as one of the team’s most consistent.
“He’s done the job before,” Teague said following the game.
“Ed probably plays his best when he has a bit of an edge and he grew up not far from here: I think he likes competing strong against Geelong.
“Joel’s their captain and a good player. You could have sent him to Patrick as well, they’re both obviously been great players for a long time but I thought Ed’s ability to make it hard was really good.”