Player Watch #26: Cale Hooker

eth-dog

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Or... did I go from "happy for him to explore his options as he is nothing more than depth" to "would still prefer others in the team before him" lol.
Probs time to let it go.
"He fills me with fear" is now "would prefer other options"? Filling someone with fear and "has played plenty more poor games" is far closer to what I said than "I'd prefer other options". Probably time to tone down the hyperbole if all you wanted to say was "I'd prefer other options".
 

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Towno78

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"He fills me with fear" is now "would prefer other options"? Filling someone with fear and "has played plenty more poor games" is far closer to what I said than "I'd prefer other options". Probably time to tone down the hyperbole if all you wanted to say was "I'd prefer other options".
Except for the part where there was no hyperbole.
Harts playing fills me with fear because he is a defender who is not very good at defending on a consistent basis. He is depth, I'd prefer Brown in his role (if not needed up forward) as well as Ambrose. I'd play him before Zerk if we had to, and I'm still quite positive about our side as a whole with him in it.
These are my thoughts on Harts, it is consistent with what I've said today and to the end of last season. No change.
Deal with it.
 

eth-dog

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Except for the part where there was no hyperbole.
Harts playing fills me with fear because he is a defender who is not very good at defending on a consistent basis. He is depth, I'd prefer Brown in his role (if not needed up forward) as well as Ambrose. I'd play him before Zerk if we had to, and I'm still quite positive about our side as a whole with him in it.
These are my thoughts on Harts, it is consistent with what I've said today and to the end of last season. No change.
Deal with it.
Mate, I'm an expert on hyperbole, because I'm oft-prone to it as well. "Filling me with fear" is hyperbole when all you want to say is "I'd prefer other options". I'd describe playing someone like Ham as that because it's highly likely that he's not at the point of being AFL standard. You can't honestly blame others for seeing that and thinking tht you've gone OTT.
 

Liberator

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Not with that hair he ain’t ... Hartley that is.
What did it say on the packet? ‘70’s kitchen orange’? ‘Smashing pumpkin’? ‘Autumn mist’? It’s like a manga, or a Scooby-doo shade of orange.
Anyway, Harts would have to be in the mix to take Hooker’s spot. I feel Towno78 when he says his defending fills him with fear... He seems fearful and bereft of courage himself sometimes, Harts; clingy and holdy giving away frees, lacking the stolidly destructive defensive tendencies of Ambrose, and nowhere near Hooker under a high ball or in a contest of strength. Other times, he looks a lot more positive and much more ready to attack the ball. And he has an absolute cannon of a boot, which might become more important this year. He’ll get chances this year.
Brown I prefer as a mobile forward, but has proven before he can rack up marks in the defensive 50. In the mix.
Zerk - too early, but I’d like to see some game time in JLT2 anyway: I really rate this kid, and he is really filling out (nothing on Hooker though!)
Maybe Hurley/Ambrose/Francis/and maybe Ridley enough height?
 

blitzer

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Not looking good for Hooker with hamstring into calf. He'll almost certainly need to be managed very carefully for the rest of the year. I'd suggest he'll need 2 VFL matches to get some touch and form once he recovers before going into our senior side. He might not return til ANZAC day potentially if they take it all conservatively.

On the bright side we really do have a wealth of quality depth options and still have Hurley and Francis to lead our key defenders. Looking at our opponents we won't struggle too badly for height until round 5/6 against Brown and then Cox. Though if Gawn rests forward it could be rough. I reckon we'll end up playing Hartley to be honest. Even though I don't always love his defending, his kicking will be great with the new rules. Ambrose, Zerk and Ridley are all options. I expect Ridley to be in the side regardless.

I am curious if Francis could play on the bigger guys. I reckon he could. Though I don't think we could use him on Ben Brown because of his elite endurance.
 

TheGreatBarryB

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Oh don't get me wrong, he's our best key defender, I just think everyone is overreacting. Hartley and Ambrose are competent AFL key defenders and people are acting as if they're Austin Lucy.
Like Ambrose, especially against bigger mids who go forward. Struggles a bit against taller types. Lot of teams will play a second ruck so Hartley’s height will come in handy. Too many times he just doesn’t go for marks with confidence, even happened last Thursday.
 

owen87

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The doom and gloom about Hartley is a bit melodramatic. He’s a competent stopper at AFL level when that’s all he’s asked to be.

Brown is a good intercept mark but not the one on one defender Hartley is, and Ambrose lacks the height to take the 200cm talls - but is better on the running forwards and at ground level.

Hooker is one of the best contested marks in the game, reads the play exceptionally well, is much stronger than Hartley, and is a back line general.

Hartley can’t replace all that, but he can break even with most tall forwards / ruckmen when the rest of our team actually applies pressure.
 

kelvin_sheedy

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Absolute disaster. A lot is going to be left to Ambrose with Francis and Ridley chiming in.

Hartley not capable. Hurley just can't give that marking presence or move the ball on quick enough or kick it well enough.
 

Bjchan13

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Huge loss but i think he'll get back and have a good year. I feel like this is the reason Hartley is on the list still. Back up if chook goes down. So back him in and let him show what hes got. Ambrose more of a Hurley/frang replacement. Thatch probably still a bit raw. Back 6 for round 1 still looks ok. But hooker will always be a big loss.

Saad Hartley Ridley
Francis Hurley Mckenna
 

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Fridge16

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Not a huge issue, we have plenty of depth in that area and it gives us a chance to look at it and see what works. I love Hooker but feel he is the type of player that will fall off a cliff as he ages. I am happy to see how Hurley and Francis work with either Hartely or Ambrose in. Good sides still win grand finals with depth / role players. And he is only out for 4 weeks.
 

Lore

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Not a huge issue, we have plenty of depth in that area and it gives us a chance to look at it and see what works. I love Hooker but feel he is the type of player that will fall off a cliff as he ages. I am happy to see how Hurley and Francis work with either Hartely or Ambrose in. Good sides still win grand finals with depth / role players. And he is only out for 4 weeks.
It’s still a couple of weeks until round 1 anyway so it might not even be 4 rounds lost.

We certainly tried a few combinations in defence last year, and actually we have less injuries in defence atm than what we had going into round 1 last year. Everyone is available except Dea and Hooker atm. Obviously Goddard has retired too. But there’s Ambrose, Brown and Hartley. Francis played a few games at the end of last year and should be looking to back that up. Gleeson is finally kind of healthy, Ridley and Zerk are options as well. That’s before we even get to smalls.

The main issue is that we don’t have any proven alternatives to Hooker. Hopefully one of our many options steps up to the plate.
 

TheGrizz

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I dare say that the choice of Hookers replacement may come down to matchups on the opposition.

Harts goes better agsins the taller, 2nd ruck types such as Dixon and Jon Patton, whoch offers a point of difference to Hurley and Francis.
Ambruise takes the shorts 190+ types that are a bit more mobile. Unfortunately for him that is also the brief for Franga and Hurls and so Harts is probably the better fit.

Personally i would like to see Zerk get a shot in Round 1 as he is 196cm and reasonably mobile but with finals the expectation and our slow start last year i doubt they take the risk with a debutant key defender in round 1 v GWS.
 

owen87

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I dare say that the choice of Hookers replacement may come down to matchups on the opposition.

Harts goes better agsins the taller, 2nd ruck types such as Dixon and Jon Patton, whoch offers a point of difference to Hurley and Francis.
Ambruise takes the shorts 190+ types that are a bit more mobile. Unfortunately for him that is also the brief for Franga and Hurls and so Harts is probably the better fit.

Personally i would like to see Zerk get a shot in Round 1 as he is 196cm and reasonably mobile but with finals the expectation and our slow start last year i doubt they take the risk with a debutant key defender in round 1 v GWS.
BZT would get monstered by AFL KPF's at the moment, he looks promising but it's nearly heavy enough yet. Hartley has the physical maturity to stand his ground well enough at least.
 

TheGrizz

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BZT would get monstered by AFL KPF's at the moment, he looks promising but it's nearly heavy enough yet. Hartley has the physical maturity to stand his ground well enough at least.
I am not saying BZT is ready to play 22 games this year. I dont think his physique is ready yet for that.
But making your debut at round1 is arguably the best time to do it as the pace is a bit slower (long layoff) and the tempo/fitness of the game around you isnt as high as maybe round 9-14 when everyone is in full flight.

Obviously it depends on matchups, but for example Harrison Himmelberg probably lines up in round 1, and BZT has taken bigger opponents (bulk/strength wise) than him at VFL level.

I am not saying I would back him to hold down a KPD post all of this year, but a debut is not out of the question this year if the match up is right, at least in my opinion.
 

owen87

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I am not saying BZT is ready to play 22 games this year. I dont think his physique is ready yet for that.
But making your debut at round1 is arguably the best time to do it as the pace is a bit slower (long layoff) and the tempo/fitness of the game around you isnt as high as maybe round 9-14 when everyone is in full flight.

Obviously it depends on matchups, but for example Harrison Himmelberg probably lines up in round 1, and BZT has taken bigger opponents (bulk/strength wise) than him at VFL level.

I am not saying I would back him to hold down a KPD post all of this year, but a debut is not out of the question this year if the match up is right, at least in my opinion.
No sense in rushing BZT to play AFL level imo; let him play VFL in a settled position / role and develop that confidence we see in guys like Hooker / Hurley that makes them so good at AFL level.

Hartley / Ambrose / Brown would all be ahead of him for the role at AFL level I'd guess, and I'd like to see BZT build towards late season as a debut on VFL form. Too often we've thrown guys around and shuffled them in / out of the AFL side for 'development' instead of just letting them settle in to a role and develop in their best position.

Francis was similar, moved around a lot early days, then settled back where to gathered momentum and continuity. I still think he'll be a dangerous utility that can play forward / back and even stints through the middle, but there's no need to rush that.
 
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Difference is Hurley was drafted as a defender. Knights thought he was more valuable as a forward but Bomber Thompson eventually got him back where he belongs.

Haven’t heard of Stewart having any experience in defence. Doesn’t appear to have the strength to hold down a KPD spot for mine.
 
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