Player Watch #10: Ben Cunnington - 2019 Syd Barker Medallist

andana

Norm Smith Medallist
Feb 1, 2008
6,673
7,258
AFL Club
North Melbourne
Sarah a bit late to the show.

Is this the game's next superstar? Veteran in rare nick
He's already won two best and fairests but could North's midfield bull get even better?
By Sarah Black - 2 hrs ago
AFL.COM


ONLY a select few players can lay claim to being a superstar of the AFL competition.
Could North Melbourne hard nut Ben Cunnington be the next to reach the highest echelon?

Kangaroos coach Rhyce Shaw believes his two-time club best and fairest is raring to go in 2020, and will be a key part of a midfield which Champion Data recently rated second in the League.

Cunnington is already coming off a career-best season, averaging 26.6 disposals, with a relatively unique breakdown of 8.6 kicks and 18.0 handballs per game.
But Shaw has revealed the 28yo mid - who has always had questions over his fitness and endurance - has worked extremely hard over the summer and his match simulation form has been exceptional

"His form in our match [simulation] and game sense drills is second to none, so I'm looking forward to seeing what Ben can produce early on in the season.
"I think he's someone that we're going to rely on pretty heavily and hopefully he can take us a fair way."
 

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Heaps of fun

Brownlow Medallist
Sep 13, 2013
17,523
37,868
AFL Club
North Melbourne
I get the concept of 'stretch targets' but that's a very high bar to set per match.
He has kicked 12, 13 and 14 goals in a season before. If he has improved his fitness and spends more time on the grass and less on the pine 20 isn't insane. That said I don't see it happening, mostly because if he's staying on the field he's better for us around the ball that up forward.
 

LuvtheKangas

Brownlow Medallist
Mar 11, 2006
15,341
31,658
AFL Club
North Melbourne
I get the concept of 'stretch targets' but that's a very high bar to set per match.
He has kicked 12, 13 and 14 goals in a season before. If he has improved his fitness and spends more time on the grass and less on the pine 20 isn't insane. That said I don't see it happening, mostly because if he's staying on the field he's better for us around the ball that up forward.
"per match" ...
 

Kimbo

Brownlow Medallist
Dec 14, 2002
18,907
27,626
AFL Club
North Melbourne
Other Teams
Sturt, Liverpool
Sarah a bit late to the show.

Is this the game's next superstar? Veteran in rare nick
He's already won two best and fairests but could North's midfield bull get even better?
By Sarah Black - 2 hrs ago
AFL.COM


ONLY a select few players can lay claim to being a superstar of the AFL competition.
Could North Melbourne hard nut Ben Cunnington be the next to reach the highest echelon?

Kangaroos coach Rhyce Shaw believes his two-time club best and fairest is raring to go in 2020, and will be a key part of a midfield which Champion Data recently rated second in the League.

Cunnington is already coming off a career-best season, averaging 26.6 disposals, with a relatively unique breakdown of 8.6 kicks and 18.0 handballs per game.
But Shaw has revealed the 28yo mid - who has always had questions over his fitness and endurance - has worked extremely hard over the summer and his match simulation form has been exceptional

"His form in our match [simulation] and game sense drills is second to none, so I'm looking forward to seeing what Ben can produce early on in the season.
"I think he's someone that we're going to rely on pretty heavily and hopefully he can take us a fair way."
I don't think Sarah is late to the show. I think this headline reflects an increased expectation on Cunners to become truly elite.

Whether that's a case of self-reflection on his part, that he belongs in that company, or that he's being encouraged to see himself that way, by Shaw or other coaches, I don't know. In fact, I don't know if that's the case at all... I'm surmising, based on what I've heard and seen from and about Cunners in the off season.
 

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Dirty_11

Norm Smith Medallist
Jan 28, 2014
7,771
15,822
AFL Club
North Melbourne
Other Teams
Shinboners
Cunners must not be significantly subdued by a heavy tag, probably more up to his team mates than him actually, but i'm sure he will be singled out for some attention at various stages, failure to prepare is preparing to fail.
Cunners' heavy tag came whilst Higgo was injured. If teams want to tag Cunners and let Higgo run amok unchecked then so be it.

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The acurate one

Club Legend
Jan 23, 2019
1,415
7,115
AFL Club
North Melbourne
"who has always had questions over his fitness and endurance - has worked extremely hard over the summer and his match simulation form has been exceptional".

I believe I've already said that Shaw got stuck into him about his fitness and his inability to run both ways consistently. He ( Shaw) also feels this is the reason we often have patches where we get scored against heavily.

Cunner's wasn't the only midfielder to get a bake. Will be one of the most fascinating years in along time for us North supporters.
 

TennisPlayerAndy

Klay Thompson's Rehab
Apr 1, 2008
41,091
57,690
AFL Club
North Melbourne
Other Teams
Liverpool, Raiders, GSW
"who has always had questions over his fitness and endurance - has worked extremely hard over the summer and his match simulation form has been exceptional".

I believe I've already said that Shaw got stuck into him about his fitness and his inability to run both ways consistently. He ( Shaw) also feels this is the reason we often have patches where we get scored against heavily.

Cunner's wasn't the only midfielder to get a bake. Will be one of the most fascinating years in along time for us North supporters.
Not enough mids covering the field.

Easy transition. Goal.

And there was ten years of this shit!
 

DesertRoo

Premiership Player
Feb 11, 2013
4,821
9,373
AFL Club
North Melbourne
"who has always had questions over his fitness and endurance - has worked extremely hard over the summer and his match simulation form has been exceptional".

I believe I've already said that Shaw got stuck into him about his fitness and his inability to run both ways consistently. He ( Shaw) also feels this is the reason we often have patches where we get scored against heavily.

Cunner's wasn't the only midfielder to get a bake. Will be one of the most fascinating years in along time for us North supporters.
Am I the only one who thinks Cunners is a proud man and would’ve sorted this out ten years ago if the discussion was had respectfully?
 

JeanLucGoddard

Brownlow Medallist
Aug 21, 2018
12,003
28,393
AFL Club
North Melbourne
"who has always had questions over his fitness and endurance - has worked extremely hard over the summer and his match simulation form has been exceptional".

I believe I've already said that Shaw got stuck into him about his fitness and his inability to run both ways consistently. He ( Shaw) also feels this is the reason we often have patches where we get scored against heavily.

Cunner's wasn't the only midfielder to get a bake. Will be one of the most fascinating years in along time for us North supporters.
I like Shaw's apparent policy of supporting and nurturing the younger blokes and challenging the older blokes.
 

Event Horizon

Brownlow Medallist
Sep 24, 2002
19,458
8,237
AFL Club
North Melbourne
Other Teams
Arsenal, Victory
There are teams who go consistently week in week out. They are the ones that finish top 4 and play off for the flag. And then there is North, that didn't often lose 2 in a row under Scott, and was always likely to bounce back after a shitful performance. That's the difference between finishing 7-10, and top 4 and Cunners has been a big part of that mindset IMO.
 

susurrar

Team Captain
Apr 30, 2018
316
784
AFL Club
North Melbourne
Interesting discussion and I'm eager to see if there really is any noticeable improvement in his running capacity.

Cunners works as hard as anyone at the club and always has. Over the years, he's worked extremely hard on his running one on one with Jona, our conditioning guy, so much that they've become good friends. You can hear Cunners single him out in his B & F speech.

I think whatever weaknesses he has in this area are clearly unlucky physical limitations and not due to a lack of effort, but we'll see...
 

ferball

Premium Platinum
Jul 24, 2015
14,755
27,154
AFL Club
North Melbourne
Interesting discussion and I'm eager to see if there really is any noticeable improvement in his running capacity.

Cunners works as hard as anyone at the club and always has. Over the years, he's worked extremely hard on his running one on one with Jona, our conditioning guy, so much that they've become good friends. You can hear Cunners single him out in his B & F speech.

I think whatever weaknesses he has in this area are clearly unlucky physical limitations and not due to a lack of effort, but we'll see...
Its probably more about pushing him into working even harder on his weaknesses than him not working hard enough to begin with.
 

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