DEVELOPMENT coach Daniel O'Keefe analyses the individual performances of the 17 Blues who featured in Sunday's reserves scratch match against St Kilda.
1. Jack Silvagni
Jack was great: he played midfield and forward. He had some really great one-on-one compete efforts. I think he had a game-high four clearances for us, and that was only off 40 minutes that he played.
He stirred up his knee: it’s nothing drastic which is a positive but it might just take him a week or two to see how he pulls up. For the time he was on, he certainly made an impact and helped out his mates a lot.
2. Paddy Dow
Firstly, it was just great to have him back. He had been training really hard for the past few weeks and t have him back was sensational. Straight away, we threw him in the midfield and he was his dynamic self where he could sidestep out of trouble and driving really hard through contests.
We didn’t have enough expectations on him, it was just nice for him to get some game time and get through. He probably exceeded expectations to be honest, he seems to have pulled up well. We’ll keep building foundations with Paddy.
4. Lochie O’Brien
Lochie played wing and a little bit of half back towards the end. He ran really well but probably didn’t find the footy as much as he has in the past. It was a very open game and a lot of it was played really fast through the corridor: for someone that was playing on the outside, he found it a bit hard to get into it. Aside from that, he had really good moments when we needed him.
12. Tom De Koning
Tom is one that has played three or four of these practice matches now and he’s building blocks every time. He’s gradually getting better and better. I really loved his follow-up game — his ability when the ball hits the ground from a contest to follow up and put pressure on by a block or a bump, or just get the ball himself and find territory.
Around the ground, he positioned himself well: he’s building nicely.
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16. Darcy Lang
‘Langy’ had heaps of the footy. We tried something different with him: we played him half forward and on ball at the start but then threw him back when we had six defenders: the way the game was played, we had six defenders in one quarters and five defenders the next.
What he did was found a lot of the ball, he’s got some great nous. He had it 25 times and 18 of those were kicks, which was clearly a game-high. It was nice to have his serious experience out there for our younger boys.
25. Zac Fisher
‘Fish’ played half forward and on ball, we started him in the middle. He gave us that dynamic balance on the outside at stoppages, we know he’s got fast feet and that’s what we expect him to bring. We’ve definitely seen some really nice glimpses of that.
For the time he was on the ground, he was dynamic as per usual.
26. Harrison Macreadie
Welcome back to ‘Creads’, it was fantastic to have both him and Paddy back. We’ve got a really tall back line as a defensive group right now and to bring in another key back, we thought the balance would be thrown out. The way he plays and gets involved in the game, he can play small.
His ability to win the ball on the ground and clean up was really good. Again, he exceeded expectations in his first game back: he found plenty of the ball and rebounded well.
29. Cameron Polson
Cam was one of our best players on the ground. He had 18 possessions but the majority of those were really damaging, where he’d drive from half back with his overlap run. He has sensational speed and the way we moved the ball from half back, he was one of the main contributors in that.
He had seven score involvements for us which was a game-high, he stood out in that regard. He’s another one that is building and building.
33. Sam Ramsay
Ramsay has been playing back in the last few weeks, we changed it up and threw him in the midfield and on the wing and it allowed him to play with more freedom. He looked much more comfortable and found a fair bit of the footy early, while he also played the wing role really well where he was able to hold his space and width.
He’s got beautiful skills so the more we can get the ball in his hands, the better off he will be and we will be also.
34. Sam Philp
‘Philpy’ was another one that was one of our better players on the ground. I reckon in the first 10 seconds, he had three disposals and they were clean: his ability to break away into open space with his speed was outstanding.
He doesn’t do much wrong. He still has learning to come in terms of the areas he runs but his pressure acts at the source are second to none. He showed that again on the weekend, he’s going really well.
36. Josh Honey
It’s the same story with Josh Honey every week I think: gee, he’s exciting to watch. He found a bit more of the footy this week and the game was played really open because of the limited numbers on the ground and because it was quite long. He had some space and whenever he gets space, not many people can go with him.
He finished with three goals and three behinds, he probably could’ve kicked five easily. We’re working on that and how we get him to a point where he’s finishing his work, because then we might see something special.
37. Ben Silvagni
It’s the best game I think I’ve seen Ben play. He’s been going well as a key defender over the last few weeks and this week was nothing different. I don’t think any of the key defenders got beaten in the air inside 50 and Ben was a contributor to that. We often had some quick ball movement from the opposition coming in and he was often the way standing under it and cleaning up, which he did for us.
38. Finbar O’Dwyer
Finbar was similar to Ben in that he was able to win a number of one-on-one contests. He’s still learning his craft as a defender but he’s learning pretty quickly. He found a bit more of the ball which is good because we really rate his ball use. The more he can understand our system as a defensive group, which he’s nearly there, the more we’ll see him get into games.
39. Fraser Phillips
Fraser is another one where we if we can get the ball in his hands, he’s going to be better off because he uses it so well. He kicked two, including our first of the game and another really nice snap. Even if he has a quiet day, he pops up and has his moments which is a testament to any player.
44. Matthew Owies
Matty was good: he’s been working on his manic pressure and that was something which stood out to me this week. His ability to win one on ones was sensational. There were four or five times where he was out in space against his opponent and he won the majority of them. Matty is going well and trying to iron out any deficiencies in his game.
46. Matthew Cottrell
Matty Cottrell was really good. We played him across half back to start with and because we played him down there and the way the game was played, it gave him a lot of one-on-one opportunities. He showed that he beat opposition players now, which is something he’s really been working on.
Similar to ‘Pols’, he provided a lot of run and dash for us across half back. He used his hands a bit more than he kicked, but to have the two of them play the way they did was really promising for our ball use.
47. Callum Moore
Cal was one of our best players again: I know I’ve said that a few times with him. His ability to create a contest is exactly what our other forwards need, guys like Owies and Phillips and Honey feed off guys like Cal Moore. He halved and even beat a couple of one-on-two contests which is exceptional and works so well for our team.
He also gives Tom De Koning a chop out in the ruck once a quarter and when he’s in there, he’s like a fourth midfielder when the ball hits the ground. He’s quite a dynamic and versatile player for us.