Player Watch #13: Nik Cox

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Lore

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Won the 2k and grew up playing on-ball, wing and half-back, happy to play wherever he can make the most impact.

Take us through the 2km time trial. How thrilled were you to win that?

“It was a pretty good feeling. I was lucky a couple of boys in Patty Ambrose and Dylan Clarke didn’t run it, because I know they’re pretty good runners. I just stuck behind 'Langers' (Kyle Langford) and tried to keep behind him and then took over in the last lap. It’s something I sort of had my goals set on. I wanted to, if not win it, post a really good time, because my running is a strength. I really wanted to do well in that.”

Is there anyone in particular who’s taken you under their wing this pre-season to help you improve?

“A lot of people have been awesome and guiding me into everything. I've spent a lot of time with the mids, so I think a person I’ve always been playing on is Brayden Ham or Tom Cutler and they’re always telling me where I need to go and what I need to do and reassuring me of what I’m doing right, what I’m doing wrong and telling me how to rectify it. So those two boys have been awesome. Also, 'Pidge' (Andrew McGrath), Langers and Zach Merrett have been really great at guiding me into places I need to be and making me feel comfortable. I never feel confused or unsure of where I need to be because they’re always looking to help you which is pretty awesome.”

You’ve mentioned you’re training with the midfield. Is that the position you see yourself playing in?

“I don’t want to put a roof or cap on where I can play, because one of my strengths is my versatility. I grew up playing a lot on the wing and half-back and then I moved into key position roles and I’ve even spent a lot of time on-ball in the midfield. Wherever I’m needed to play or wherever I can have the biggest impact, I want to be there. I think something I need to understand more are the roles, so I can sort of be thrown around. I’m not someone who needs to be stuck in a position. I feel like I can adapt pretty well in a game and I feel like that’s one of my biggest strengths.”
 

owen87

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Won the 2k and grew up playing on-ball, wing and half-back, happy to play wherever he can make the most impact.


Says he’s been training a lot with Cutler... getting advice from Cutler...

Oh dear.
 

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owen87

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It’s probably a bit of both, but I’m trying to decide if an 18yo winning our time trial is awesome or an indictment on the rest of our list (yes I know a few didn’t run).
I’d imagine most players drafted with very high aerobic capacity get slower as they add weight.

Blicavs is something like 20kg heavier than his racing weight for example.

Cox should always have strong running capacity, but as he adds weight to compete strength-wise he’ll slow down.

Guys like Francis are the opposite, have the natural size and strength but take time to build the tank.
 

owen87

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I’d imagine most players drafted with very high aerobic capacity get slower as they add weight.

Blicavs is something like 20kg heavier than his racing weight for example.

Cox should always have strong running capacity, but as he adds weight to compete strength-wise he’ll slow down.

Guys like Francis are the opposite, have the natural size and strength but take time to build the tank.
Didn’t finish;

I think young guys are coming in having had more and more focus on their distance running to get them AFL ready, so it’s becoming quite common to see a draftee take out (or come close to taking out) the time trials.

Ambrose would probably keep Cox honest on the running track, but in a football sense would absolutely monster him.

The good thing is all three of our first round selections have AFL standard tanks, so we know at worst they can handle the running component (unlike Francis, who needed to build that up over time) and it’s a matter of building strength to compete with AFL bodies and whether they can actually football.

Cox’s 2km time from the combine is absolutely top shelf, you’re talking only a guy like a fully fit Tom Scully or lighter Blicavs being in the ballpark for being clearly quicker.
 

blitzer

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I’d imagine most players drafted with very high aerobic capacity get slower as they add weight.

Blicavs is something like 20kg heavier than his racing weight for example.

Cox should always have strong running capacity, but as he adds weight to compete strength-wise he’ll slow down.

Guys like Francis are the opposite, have the natural size and strength but take time to build the tank.
Some guys carry the extra weight no problem and others dramatically slow. There's also some weird cases where some players seem to lose their pace but then re-gain some of it. eg Langford bulked up and got really slow and now this preseason he seems to have got a bit quicker again (although not like he was in his first year or two when he was still really skinny). Some guys also get faster from when they are drafted but that's probably mostly a matter of improved fitness more than anything.

Also if Cox stays as a winger I'd imagine he wouldn't bulk up nearly as much as he would if he became a KP.
 

BrunoV

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It’s probably a bit of both, but I’m trying to decide if an 18yo winning our time trial is awesome or an indictment on the rest of our list (yes I know a few didn’t run).



If he's still doing low 6 minutes (i.e. between 6:10 and 6:00) I am not sure that beats Ambrose, it would be close. That's essentially in the top echelon of runners in the AFL. Low 6 is very bloody quick for an AFL player.

There are players who are sub 6 all the way down to a kid from GWV, I think, last year who was 5:30 (possibly even 5:20s). These sorts of times are not really "sportsman" times. They're the times of specialist runners who train to run, not for strength, hits, explosive power, etc so for an AFL player to be running them is pretty extraordinary. That's relative to existing training techniques because times are continually falling across the board and I suspect they'll do so so a few generations of new recruits to come (e.g. the 4 minute mile used to be a thing).

It's conceivable Cox could go to any of the clubs that do not have someone sub-6 (which I'd say is at least 10 other clubs) and win that time trial. He's an elite runner and young kids tend to be better at the time trials because they're not carrying mature AFL weight.

The indictment is that we've just drafted 4 kids who would all be top 10 time trialist and that of the good runners we do have they're fringe players or otherwise not in the middle of the ground. I can't prove it but my hunch is that we have had the fewest 6:30 to 6:15 runners, which is quality AFL endurance, in the league and generally the worst set of runners in the AFL.
 
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Bunk Moreland

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Didn’t finish;

I think young guys are coming in having had more and more focus on their distance running to get them AFL ready, so it’s becoming quite common to see a draftee take out (or come close to taking out) the time trials.

Ambrose would probably keep Cox honest on the running track, but in a football sense would absolutely monster him.

The good thing is all three of our first round selections have AFL standard tanks, so we know at worst they can handle the running component (unlike Francis, who needed to build that up over time) and it’s a matter of building strength to compete with AFL bodies and whether they can actually football.

Cox’s 2km time from the combine is absolutely top shelf, you’re talking only a guy like a fully fit Tom Scully or lighter Blicavs being in the ballpark for being clearly quicker.
If he's still doing low 6 minutes (i.e. between 6:10 and 6:00) I am not sure that beats Ambrose, it would be close. That's essentially in the top echelon of runners in the AFL. Low 6 is very bloody quick for an AFL player.

There are players who are sub 6 all the way down to a kid from GWV, I think, last year who was 5:30 (possibly even 5:20s). These sorts of times are not really "sportsman" times. They're the times of specialist runners who train to run, not for strength, hits, explosive power, etc so for an AFL player to be running them is pretty extraordinary. That's relative to existing training techniques because times are continually falling across the board and I suspect they'll do so so a few generations of new recruits to come (e.g. the 4 minute mile used to be a thing).

It's conceivable Cox could go to any of the clubs that do not have someone sub-6 (which I'd say is at least 10 other clubs) and win that time trial. He's an elite runner and young kids tend to be better at the time trials because they're not carrying mature AFL weight.

The indictment is that we've just drafted 4 kids who would all be top 10 time trialist and that of the good runners we do have they're fringe players or otherwise not in the middle of the ground. I can't prove it but my hunch is that we have had the fewest 6:30 to 6:15 runners, which is quality AFL endurance, in the league and generally the worst set of runners in the AFL.
Thanks gents :thumbsu:
 

owen87

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The indictment is that we've just drafted 4 kids who would all be top 10 time trialist and that of the good runners we do have they're fringe players or otherwise not in the middle of the ground. I can't prove it but my hunch is that we have had the fewest 6:30 to 6:15 runners, which is quality AFL endurance, in the league and generally the worst set of runners in the AFL.
This.

Many of our Best-22 aren't noted for their running capacity, so we have to choose between guys that can football, OR guys that can run, whilst other sides have guys that can run AND football.

The positive for me is that whilst we know Cox is an elite runner and is winning the TT, that Langford was able to go with him for a large portion of it. Having Langford with a genuine top-tier tank playing a Wing role gives us a potential marking target and link player that we've been desperately needing.
 

Bunk Moreland

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Yeah just got these off the AFL site, from the combine

Harry Sharp (Rebels > Brisbane) 5:28
Fraser Rodman (Dragons > Melbourne) 5:52
Liam Kolar (Knights > undrafted) 6:02
Nik Cox (Knights > Essendon) 6:03
Sam Berry (Power > Adelaide) 6:10

Apparently Blicavs' best during his football career is 5:39, so Sharp is low flying (he's also a former steeplechaser). His 5:28 beat the previous combine record by 15 seconds. At AFL clubs, many seem not to do 2km trials any more - or don't publish the results.
 

BrunoV

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Yeah just got these off the AFL site, from the combine

Harry Sharp (Rebels > Brisbane) 5:28
Fraser Rodman (Dragons > Melbourne) 5:52
Liam Kolar (Knights > undrafted) 6:02
Nik Cox (Knights > Essendon) 6:03
Sam Berry (Power > Adelaide) 6:10

Apparently Blicavs' best during his football career is 5:39, so Sharp is low flying (he's also a former steeplechaser). His 5:28 beat the previous combine record by 15 seconds. At AFL clubs, many seem not to do 2km trials any more - or don't publish the results.

Rantall (Pies) was something like 5:45 and the record before Sharp and set in 2019. I suspect Phillips and Sidebottom are both sub-6.

Finn McGinness, also 2019, has dead heated at something like 5:58 with someone else I can't name off the top of my head.

Blicavs 5:39 at something near 100 kgs is pure madness.


Edit: correction McGinness was 5:51 and Rantall was 5:50.
 
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Lore

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Yeah just got these off the AFL site, from the combine

Harry Sharp (Rebels > Brisbane) 5:28
Fraser Rodman (Dragons > Melbourne) 5:52
Liam Kolar (Knights > undrafted) 6:02
Nik Cox (Knights > Essendon) 6:03
Sam Berry (Power > Adelaide) 6:10

Apparently Blicavs' best during his football career is 5:39, so Sharp is low flying (he's also a former steeplechaser). His 5:28 beat the previous combine record by 15 seconds. At AFL clubs, many seem not to do 2km trials any more - or don't publish the results.
The 2020 draftees (particularly the Victorian ones) couldn't football most of the year so many of them focused on building their running capacities instead, since it was all they could do in lockdown to make themselves more attractive to clubs. It's possible that they would be generally better runners than the average draft crop in a normal year...
 

brutus76

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He kicks both feet, super skills and doesn't mind going for a hanger - could be the Dustin Fletcher wingman version - which is pretty awesome seeing he's 200cm dammit! Training with the mids means they obv. think he's got something and could be an X factor player like the Perkinator.

 

Godzke

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without digressing, google says Blicavs is 198cm and 100kg and Nic Nat is 201 and 110kg ... surely Nic Nat is not that much heavier than Blicavs
 

Jade

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Nic Nat has a less pronounced version of the Joe Danihers - in that he was extremely good for a very short period of time; and has been average to good for the rest.

I’d be close to labelling him overrated.
 

owen87

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Nic Nat has a less pronounced version of the Joe Danihers - in that he was extremely good for a very short period of time; and has been average to good for the rest.

I’d be close to labelling him overrated.
He’s done two ACL’s to be fair
 

Haychh

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Nic Nat has a less pronounced version of the Joe Danihers - in that he was extremely good for a very short period of time; and has been average to good for the rest.

I’d be close to labelling him overrated.
He played some very good footy last year. Far from overrated.

Would’ve loved to see the heights he could’ve got to had he not been injured so much in his prime years.
 

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