Player Watch #26: Cale Hooker - Currently 4th in the Coleman

Bunk Moreland

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It's remarkable how often he gets separation on the lead against much more athletic opponents. I actually think he's a little bit quicker than he gets credit for given his running 'style'.

Got a jumper he signed in the mail the other week (from that offer if you kept your m/ship last season) . Looking forward to getting it framed 👍
Watching replays, what I reckon it is - and this'll sound a bit stupid - his first step is actually bloody quick. That's where he gets his separation. Also when he gathers a ground ball, you often see him take a quick step that throws an opponent off balance... it's just that first step.

Obviously I'm not comparing them as players but Lockett was a good example of this - obviously not quick, but he has a lightning first step which threw his opponent and got them off guard, or with their weight on the wrong foot... that's all that was needed to get good separation on the lead. Of course Plugger could also give them a shove which would've sent most people into the next suburb.

Would you also believe he somehow rates elite for ground ball gets inside forward 50 😂
I think we've finally found our big-bodied inside mid.
 

Lore

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Watching replays, what I reckon it is - and this'll sound a bit stupid - his first step is actually bloody quick. That's where he gets his separation. Also when he gathers a ground ball, you often see him take a quick step that throws an opponent off balance... it's just that first step.

Obviously I'm not comparing them as players but Lockett was a good example of this - obviously not quick, but he has a lightning first step which threw his opponent and got them off guard, or with their weight on the wrong foot... that's all that was needed to get good separation on the lead. Of course Plugger could also give them a shove which would've sent most people into the next suburb.
That would be because he is very good at reading the ball, right? So he can move before his opponent realises what is about to happen.
 

owen87

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Obviously I'm not comparing them as players but Lockett was a good example of this - obviously not quick, but he has a lightning first step which threw his opponent and got them off guard, or with their weight on the wrong foot... that's all that was needed to get good separation on the lead. Of course Plugger could also give them a shove which would've sent most people into the next suburb.
Quite often you see Hooker give his defender a shove before leading, he's obviously able to pick the flight very quickly and has the timing to know exactly when to push off the defender before going. You don't tend to see him take a long lead the way a Jones does, but over a half-dozen steps wtih his man off-balance he gets 'enough' space. Hands like vices also helps there too.
 

citizen-erased

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That would be because he is very good at reading the ball, right? So he can move before his opponent realises what is about to happen.
smart, strong, experienced enough & good hands.
Seems the foot is getting more accurate too....though that 4th on the weekend was pure fluke. but claim it.

Would love him as our FF anchor for the next 5 years+
 

BrunoV

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This will be the challenge for Hooker.

Not given any space by a guy who can go with him physically (Keefe is a ridiculous physical specimen).
 

Vander18

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I said earlier in the week that I’m not sure how sustainable his form would prove to be.....feel like we will see a few more games like that one.

That said.....you just know he would have kicked that goal in the last.
 

Schnitzengruben

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Yet he's somehow still one of the best forwards in the competition in terms of output.

Interesting.
Sure. He can still take contested grabs (his best attribute) and he doesn't leave 25m out from the goals. I'd be interested to see how often we target him compared to Wright or Jones as well.

I'd argue that his lack of pressure and accountability when the ball isn't in his hands contribute to the oppositions complete ease in transitioning the ball outside of D50.
 

ant555

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Sure. He can still take contested grabs (his best attribute) and he doesn't leave 25m out from the goals. I'd be interested to see how often we target him compared to Wright or Jones as well.

I'd argue that his lack of pressure and accountability when the ball isn't in his hands contribute to the oppositions complete ease in transitioning the ball outside of D50.
I hear what you are saying. There are times in the game where you are watching him and think hell why are we kicking it to a bloke who can not get out of his own way and has virtually zero leading pace. Yet there are other times when he can get one on one and take a mark at crucial times.
It is a strange situation. He looks like he will kick 40 plus goals yet there are plenty of questions about his total lack of pace and how easily he can be taken out of the game by an athletic defender.
Of course it makes it harder for him when we spray the ball around coming inside 50 like we did today but yes I have concerns with the fact he is a plodder that can get exposed .
 

ant555

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It’s incredible how people are lining up to jump on him when he has a quiet game.
Not really. Everyone complains when sides run the footy out of our defense easily. It is going to happen to us whenever sides play an athletic defender on him. He does a great amount of good but his slow pace is also an issue. At a minimum he needs to be bringing the footy to the ground like he did in the pies game.
I will say some of our inside 50 disposal gives him no hope at all which is not his fault.
 

Old Campaigner

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Sure. He can still take contested grabs (his best attribute) and he doesn't leave 25m out from the goals. I'd be interested to see how often we target him compared to Wright or Jones as well.

I'd argue that his lack of pressure and accountability when the ball isn't in his hands contribute to the oppositions complete ease in transitioning the ball outside of D50.
What if the key roll of a forward was to kick goals though. Would that change anything in your view?
 

ant555

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What if the key roll of a forward was to kick goals though. Would that change anything in your view?
If they opposition is running 4 or 5 goals a game out of the defense because of a lack of ability to pressure then you had better be kicking your 3 goals most weeks. It is a conundrum because parts of his game are very good.
 

blitzer

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With Cale we can surely afford to just see how the season unfolds for him before thinking about whether he's got another year in him or not.
The good news is its not like he's really taking the place of a youngster. We are already playing Jones in the seniors every week. Wright is already in the side. So the only guy he's holding out is Eyres who is a first year key forward and doesn't look that close to AFL level right now. The original plans for guys like Hurley and Ambrose well they are just as old (pretty much).

I think his contested marking and goal scoring is worth a lot but there's no denying that defensively he's a liability and there are times he physically can't get to the dangerous spots because he's simply too slow (though its worth noting that sometimes he can get to dangerous spots through brute strength that guys like Jones will get muscled out from). Our forward line definitely benefits from his leadership though. The only other consistent experienced player is Tippa whose a quality player but doesn't strike me as someone who organises a forward line with his leadership.

Overall happy for things to continue as is and assess at seasons end.
 

Lore

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The not-a-mark made it into the AFL website write up 😂

Cale Hooker could've been awarded a free kick inside 50 before what turned out to be the sealer from Hopper when the Bombers tall went to mark on the lead and was nudged under the ball.

But the umpire called play on and Hooker missed out on having a shot to put his team in front.
 

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