COLLINGWOOD and Essendon could spring a surprise or two ahead of today’s blockbuster Anzac Day match at the MCG with three emergencies missing from yesterday’s VFL match.
Tarkyn Lockyer and Leigh Brown, both omitted from this week’s team, did not take their spot in the 30-point loss to the Bendigo Bombers at Victoria Park yesterday.
While Essendon’s Alwyn Davey was also a no show.
It also emerged yesterday that Richmond utility Graham Polak has been missing from VFL action for the past fortnight because of a death in the family.
He is expected to resume in the Coburg Tigers senior team next week
“His form’s been Ok,” Tigers football manager Craig Cameron said.
“He’s just got to keep going the way he has been and keep pushing for selection. He’s not that far away I don’t think.”
For the Tigers, bannished Richmond midfielder Daniel Connors emerged as one of the stars of Coburg’s break-through win against Box Hill yesterday.
Connors, who is serving a club-ban of eight matches for misbehaviour at a Sydney hotel, finished with 28 disposals and his physical presence in the midfield helped reignite the team in the final term.
Dean Polo kicked the match-winner and was best on ground for the Tigers with two goals from 21 disposals.
Polo started in defence in which Hawks rookie Luke Breust – who finished with five goals – dominated on him before being moved up forward.
Jordan McMahon had 21 disposals but went out of the game when it mattered most.
Beau Muston and Gary Moss were the best Hawthorn-listed players for Box Hill, while emergency for today’s clash against North Melbourne – Jarrod Kaylor-Thomson – didn’t take his spot.
Meanwhile, Collingwood, will be disappointed with midfielder Shane O’Bree’s game despite his 24 disposals.
Magpies VFL coach Gavin Brown said: “He was Ok. I’m sure he would’ve liked to have been better.”
Brown praised the work of midfielder Tyson Goldsack who was one of the Pies’ shining lights in its loss to Bendigo.
Jay Neagle kicked two goals for the Bendigo Bombers with Bombers development coach and Bendigo coach Shannon Grant suggesting it was one of his best performances.
“I thought Jay’s work rate today was probably the best I’ve seen at my short time at the footy club. He did some damage closer to goal and was a focal point up forward,” Grant said.
Grant said Brent Prismall “worked really hard defensively” and said he was pleased with the efforts of Sam Lonergan and Bachar Houli.
Dumped Bulldogs ruckman Will Minson started slow for Williamstown but finished with 29 hit-outs, 15 disposals and 14 tackles in its one-point loss to Sandringham.
“When we needed the players to lift at half time, I thought he was actually one player that played with more physicality,” Bulldogs development coach and Williamstown coach Peter German said.
“He’s come back to a different style of football especially today with the wind, it’s a far cry from Etihad Stadium with a roof over it.”
“He grabbed a couple out of the ruck. He did alright but I would’ve liked him to start with the same urgency,” he said.
Josh Hill finished with 17 disposals in a midfield role.
“He’s an opportunist,” German said.
“We tried to play him further up the ground and he’s got to come to terms with the work rate required.
Normally when you play forward you only really have that pressure in front of you.”
St Kilda ruckman Adam Pattison was brilliant for the Zebras with 22 disposals and eight marks in defence. He also had a stint in the ruck with six hit-outs
“I thought Pattison in the ruck was really strong. Some of his tackles and his pressure,” Saints development coach and Zebras coach Andy Lovell said.
Ben McEvoy (16 disposals) and Rhys Stanley (12) also continued to impress.
Jack Steven and Robert Eddy were late call-ups to travel to Adelaide with the Saints, who take on Port Adelaide last night.
And Geelong midfielder Matthew Stokes, shrugged off any injury concerns during the week, to shine with 34 disposals and a goal in the midfield in the Cats’ 91-point win over Frankston. Melbourne ruckman Paul Johnson was best on ground for Casey Scorpions in its one-point win over North Ballarat.
By Brent Diamond, The Sunday Age