WHILE he won't be available this weekend, David Cuningham took significant strides forward in the VFL last Saturday.
In the second 2021 edition of Carlton Coaches' Corner, development coach Luke Power analysed the performance of Cuningham, who impacted the game both offensively and defensively in the practice match victory.
It was an impressive showing by Cuningham against Williamstown, laying 11 tackles and slotting two goals before a head knock in the last quarter ended his day.
This was the second consecutive game that Cuningham had played for the VFL side, with Power noting that his defensive intent was a key feature of his performance.
"It’s great that our players get an understanding that they can still impact games without having the ball in their hands and that’s across our entire list. David did that with 11 tackles, [showing] some great technique where he gets his head in close and goes in with intent," Power said.
"That was a really pleasing part of his game that we can attribute defensively and off the back of that, we thought he got really good looks offensively and that brought his attributes into play."
To go with his 11 tackles (the most of anyone on the ground), Cuningham amassed 16 disposals and five marks, having a balanced impact on the inside and outside of the contest.
In terms of whether Cuningham will be a pure on-baller or forward, Power said the jury is still out on whether he will play a sole position in the near future.
"I know that in match committee that we discuss it a lot and that’s why it’s really important that he learns the patterns of both," he said.
That time of the week again.— Carlton FC (@CarltonFC) April 6, 2021
Get up to speed with how the 12 AFL-listed players fared in @CarltonReserves' practice match win over Williamstown.
"I think that the best players in the game have the ability to be able to go inside and then be able to go forward and David certainly has the attributes to do that."
Because of the AFL concussion protocols, Cuningham won't be eligible for selection for the next 12 days, including this weekend against Gold Coast at senior level and Box Hill in the final VFL practice match.
Power said that if Cuningham produced the kind of performance from the weekend consistently, he would do his chances of AFL selection no harm.
"We want to see him be able to overlap and run and be able to get involved in our ball chains," he said.
"We’ll look to get him back as quickly as possible and if he can put some more consistent efforts in like he did on the weekend, both offensively and defensively, I’m sure that he’ll be putting his hand up for selection pretty soon."