Player Watch #26: Cale Hooker

Zach Package

Kyle Langfourd
Sep 21, 2012
24,277
33,276
Parish, Francis
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Essendon
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He looks slow as in defence but throw him forward and he's getting separation like Jeremy Cameron or beating his man back to the goal square.
It’s not the slowness. Key forwards are getting taller and he doesn’t have the spring he once did. Yes he can body them but when someone like a King jumps and extends his arms it’s pretty well game over.

He’s still capable of dominating the right match up though, equal 12th in the comp for total intercept marks and contested marks despite missing games.
 

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JayJ20

Brownlow Medallist
Aug 28, 2016
10,198
14,082
AFL Club
Essendon
Funny thing is I don’t think he was playing forward. He was on May at the time and just followed him up there.

As soon as he kicked it he was straight down back on him again.
I think we’d benefit immensely from having him start forward. We have a game winner playing back when we have plenty of competent replacements.

Our first halves are bad simply because we are inefficient going forward.
 

rumply

Brownlow Medallist
Apr 11, 2002
18,701
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Had a minor panic attack when it looked like Hooker might have injured his ribs, thankfully he went back on so fingers crossed is right to go this weekend.
 

Bunk Moreland

Hall of Famer
Sep 22, 2011
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Essendon
He simply has to go forward. We have the defensive depth we need the target up forward. Happy with either BZT or Hartley.
Our forward line is functioning reasonably around McKernan. He and Hooker are fairly similar types, big marking forwards who stay relatively close to goal.

I reckon things stay the way they are, and we just swing him forward for a different look when required.
 

Red Black and Blue

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Oct 1, 2006
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Melbourne
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Our forward line is functioning reasonably around McKernan. He and Hooker are fairly similar types, big marking forwards who stay relatively close to goal.

I reckon things stay the way they are, and we just swing him forward for a different look when required.
It functions better with both of them up there also the problem is he isn't performing in the back line, he's given up 8 goals in 2 weeks against some questionable opponents.
 

Mr Bultitude

Debutant
Jul 20, 2019
78
104
AFL Club
Essendon
I'm not sure if it's been mentioned, but a highlight to me from Sunday was Hooker's celebration after goal. At the risk of sounding too sentimental you can tell the man loves to play for the club and it means something to him. I get the impression he's great for club culture and belief. Begs the question why he isn't in the leadership group.
 

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The Donners

Brownlow Medallist
Apr 26, 2007
12,951
746
Victoria
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Essendon
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Aston Villa
Might be right on Hooker (though I think he covers the ground better than people realise) but I reckon its a common misconception that slow blokes can play on longer. Problem is that if they lose a fraction of the pace they do have they are finished.

Harvey x2 , Bartlett, Bradley, Johnson, McLeod, Burgoyne, Fletcher, Goodes etc. (of 300 game players) were able to go on because they still had pace despite losing a lot of it. On the other hand the likes of Mitchell and Watson become liabilities when they lose what little they have.
It’s also how they read the play and cover the angles to mitigate their lack of leg speed.
 

MattF185

Team Captain
Jul 16, 2012
421
210
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According to Kingy's handlers we're a 5 goal better offensive and 4 goal better defensive team with Mr Clutch forward.
It does make sense because every time he’s gone forward, it’s deep into the last quarter and we find a way to win the match. I still like the idea of Hooker floating forward, it means teams don’t plan ahead prior to the match and always causes matchup headaches for the opposition. Our defence still looks more assured with Hooker back with Hurley out of the team, albeit his form defensively has been scratchy the past fortnight.
 

MattF185

Team Captain
Jul 16, 2012
421
210
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Essendon
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Our defence changed tenfold when Hooker returned in Round 4, we were a shambles defensively in the first three rounds.
 

Bunk Moreland

Hall of Famer
Sep 22, 2011
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Hooker fwd and Hartley back
This is reality, basically. A lot of key forwards these days are getting toward 200cm and it’s Hooker who plays on them. Take him out and you’re left with Hurley, Francis and Ambrose, who are all 191/192. That’s not always going to work.

If we take Hooker out of defence we’ll often need Hartley or BZT.
 

jmoo wan

01101010 01101101 01101111 01101111
Oct 12, 2007
6,228
17,513
Ringwood
AFL Club
Essendon
This is reality, basically. A lot of key forwards these days are getting toward 200cm and it’s Hooker who plays on them. Take him out and you’re left with Hurley, Francis and Ambrose, who are all 191/192. That’s not always going to work.

If we take Hooker out of defence we’ll often need Hartley or BZT.
200cm vs 192cm... 8cms is really nothing though.

*penis joke*

but it’s not a big deal
 

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