DEVELOPMENT coach Daniel O'Keefe analyses the performances of the 13 Blues who featured in the reserves scratch match against Gold Coast.

4. Lochie O’Brien

Lochie O’Brien was really good on the wing, he played one of his better games for a month or so which was great. His reaction and his running patterns were better than what they have been for a while. Lochie has also really grown in the contest as well, his ability to tackle and crack in — when he’s needed to go, he’s been going. He played the sweeper role at stoppages really well, but he’s continuing to work on some defensive awareness. A little bit out of character for Lochie is that he’s usually a beautiful user of the football but his efficiency was a bit low on the weekend.

Insight: It’s a good shout that his time as an inside midfielder may have helped Lochie in terms of his contest. Particularly over in Perth, we had a couple of games where we had no wings: in a way, we were forced to play him inside. One game over there he had a game-high tackle count which was great for his confidence. He has put on some size and that can only help his confidence: he’s actually playing a little bit that way in terms of cracking in. It’s still a work in progress with Lochie but he’s had some big growth in that area.

7. Matthew Kennedy

Matty played mainly as a midfield and went forward at times as a rotation. He started the game uncharacteristically slow where he wasn’t getting himself into the game and because he’s such an impact player, that played on him a little bit. To his credit, he finished off the game really strong which was fantastic from that point of view. He won more contested ball than anyone else on the ground and his tackling was strong. For him, it was about making sure that he knows he can’t do everything at reserves level, so at times he needs to narrow his focus and accept he can’t get to every contest.

16. Darcy Lang

‘Langy’ played midfield and swapped forward as well. Some of his stoppage balance and body work was really good, particularly when he squeezes his opponent inside the contest and holds outside. His ability to get back and help the defenders was good, but he also balances that with getting forward from a stoppage and getting dangerous. Similar to Lochie, by foot he has been superb all year but that probably dropped a bit on the weekend, but his ground balls were exceptional on the day.

26. Harrison Macreadie

‘Creads’ was one of the better players on the day. His ability to smash bodies in the air was really good but in particular, his intercept marking was fantastic: he cut across several times and he took seven marks for the day. He’s owning space really well at the moment, which makes it hard for an opposition forward to get into their leading patterns. We wanted the players all day to go for their kicks, particularly for the guys in the back half to pull the trigger and go through the corridor or take the game on by foot. He made good decisions with that, but he missed a few which is something which we’re continuing to work on. We love that he was aggressive and he went for them.

01:02 Mins
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28. David Cuningham

Cuningham played in a rotation of half forward and midfield. When we won the ball, he used his burst and ability to break forward like no other: that’s a real AFL trait that he has. The goal he kicked came by running from the middle of the ground, accepting it and kicking it from 40 on the run — it was the perfect way to sum up his game when he’s up and going. We need to support ‘Cunners’ with his start to games: lately, he has started a bit slowly but he has finished off strongly which is a credit to him and his mindset adjusting throughout the day.

03:01 Mins
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33. Sam Ramsay

Ramsay had one of his better games as well, he’s working into some nice form. He’s playing a wing and midfield rotation: he had a wing education session coming into this game with a few others. Straight away, he reacted to some of the things he learned, part of that being his running patterns and also his reaction compared to his opposition player. He’s so dangerous when the ball goes forward and his ability to get into some dangerous space, he’s very exciting for us. We’re working on some of his running patterns when we’ve got the ball: rather than coming back at the footy, we want him to get up the ground and explode a bit that way.

34. Sam Philp

‘Philpy’ had another ‘Philpy’ game. He was really consistent across the board, playing wing and half forward. His compete was fantastic in the contest: when he needs to go, he goes with conviction. His reaction on the wing was a really big improvement, whether it was bursting forward or breaking hard to help the defenders out: he basically did that better than his opponent. We’re working on his balance around the contest, in terms of engaging his opponent more so than collapsing into the contest.

Insight: It is sometimes the case that players who play as an inside midfielder that move to the wing can collapse into the contest, yeah. From an under-18 point of view, you don’t talk about balance too much. For a lot of these players that are coming out of under-18 level, it’s about see-ball, get-ball a lot of the time. Being a coach at that level, you’ve only got them for a certain amount of time so you want them to play with their natural flair. A lot of the time, that isn’t supporting the outside contest: it’s about going to get the footy and showing what you can do with it. ‘Philpy’ is one that learns so quickly and is so receptive, so he won’t have issues with that moving forward.

36. Josh Honey

Josh Honey’s game was one where we certainly saw what his strengths are, in terms of his speed, his ability to break and his intent to get at the opposition. For him, it’s about finishing that off and the detail behind that. He’s a big, strong, powerful lad and we want him to smash bodies and tackle really hard. That’s something we’re working on with him, as well as a couple of leading patterns: he’s really dangerous with ball-in-hand and when he gets out into open space. We’re trying to ensure he sees that space and works into it as no-one can go with him when he does.

38. Finbar O’Dwyer

Similar to Macreadie, he intercepted really well to take five marks and had 12 kicks. He took the game on with his feet and missed a few kicks, but we’ll keep backing in our players to be aggressive if they’re making the right decision and being bold with the ball. His ability to smash bodies and smash the ball was really good, and his outlets - in terms of owning his opponent to make sure they don’t get used - was really good. He’s growing every week.

39. Fraser Phillips

‘Mozz’ was a surprise packet for us on the weekend. He started forward but because we had five Gold Coast players, we said at the start of the day that we may have to adjust our positioning. ‘Mozz’ hadn’t played down back at all this year and lo and behold, he was voted our best player on the ground for the week which was really cool. He competed really well in the air and on the ground, and his ball use was really nice as a left footer back there: he took the game on. He intercepted too, which came from him reading the play really well. Some of his defensive awareness is what we’re looking at with him, but we’ll look to play him down back a bit more in the next few games.

00:53 Mins
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44. Matthew Owies

Matty had another nice game. He kicked a couple of goals and his pressure is certainly becoming a weapon of his, when six weeks ago it certainly wasn’t. It’s great to be able to see how much someone can work on something and then turn that into something that’s going well for them. He’s continuing to bring that pressure and the more numbers on the ground actually supports that. He’s still working on some fundamentals in terms of being clean in the air and on the ground, but for someone like him, if he’s got an area to work on he’ll go to town on it.

45. Hugh Goddard

Hugh had another decent competitive game playing on ‘two-metre Peter’ [Wright]. He did pretty well on him: some of his work in the air was really nice and his ability to get back and help his fellow defenders was evident, and it’s something that plays to his strengths. Some of his decisions in terms of pressing up at the opposition is what we’re working on, but it was a fairly sound performance.

47. Callum Moore

‘Moorey’ actually played across all three lines for the day. He started down back and then changed to a forward-ruck position for the last couple of quarters. He had some really good ‘mate’ acts like blocks and tap-ons to help his teammates out, while his follow-up in the ruck was also good which is a common theme for him. With ‘Moorey’, we’re trying to work on some defensive actions: not just awareness, but his ability to defend lead-ups as well. In the near future, I don’t think he’ll have too many issues with his power and speed.