Player Watch #30: Brandon Zerk-Thatcher

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Big Slam

Debutant
Aug 9, 2020
95
116
AFL Club
Essendon
He’s added some good size to his frame, which is great to see.

Also kept his feet well all game. In previous seasons he’s seemed to go to ground too quickly/easily/unintentionally, something that’s negated his impact.

I really liked his game yesterday. Not spectacular but really, really solid.
 

IHurley

Team Captain
Jan 12, 2016
439
598
AFL Club
Essendon
He's probably just a placeholder given his speed and kicking prowess but more games like that will see him stay on the list as solid depth.

And I agree that his presence made a huge difference to the games of the other defensive talls.
 

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Ambrosia

Brownlow Medallist
Mar 11, 2010
11,794
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AFL Club
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Played ok but looks a deer in the headlights when he has the pill and if anything seems to be moving worse. Not against giving him a few games to see if he can find his feet but if winning games is the goal I think Gleeson would perform better.
 

Megabattimus

Team Captain
Oct 6, 2020
320
325
Narre Warren South
AFL Club
Essendon
Played ok but looks a deer in the headlights when he has the pill and if anything seems to be moving worse. Not against giving him a few games to see if he can find his feet but if winning games is the goal I think Gleeson would perform better.
Gleeson would be a billion times worse. He's not big enough to go with KPFs like BZT can.

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Ambrosia

Brownlow Medallist
Mar 11, 2010
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Gleeson would be a billion times worse. He's not big enough to go with KPFs like BZT can.

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Did Zerk win any 1 on 1s against King? Port got by in 2020 playing Trent McKenzie at FB. Team defence is much more about getting numbers to the drop of the ball then having the size to win 1v1s.

As I said I’m happy to give Zerk development time but your overvaluing 4cm and 5kg if you think he’s currently better than Gleeson.
 

Zach Package

Kyle Langfourd
Sep 21, 2012
25,544
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Parish, Francis
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Did Zerk win any 1 on 1s against King? Port got by in 2020 playing Trent McKenzie at FB. Team defence is much more about getting numbers to the drop of the ball then having the size to win 1v1s.

As I said I’m happy to give Zerk development time but your overvaluing 4cm and 5kg if you think he’s currently better than Gleeson.
Terrible take, having Zerk in the side allowed Francis and Ridley to boss the game and be really proactive in their positioning.
 

Megabattimus

Team Captain
Oct 6, 2020
320
325
Narre Warren South
AFL Club
Essendon
Did Zerk win any 1 on 1s against King? Port got by in 2020 playing Trent McKenzie at FB. Team defence is much more about getting numbers to the drop of the ball then having the size to win 1v1s.

As I said I’m happy to give Zerk development time but your overvaluing 4cm and 5kg if you think he’s currently better than Gleeson.
Did you miss us getting torn apart against Port two weeks ago 'cause we didn't have a big enough backman to compete with Dixon/Georgiades? Or how Freo and North got torn to shreds by key forwards? 1 on 1 defending is back, baby.

In that vein, Gleeson is useless to us except as injury cover because he's bad at defending man on man. He's famously the guy who had his soul ripped out of him by Gary Rohan four years ago.
 

boncer34

Formerly "Doss"
Jul 11, 2005
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Played ok but looks a deer in the headlights when he has the pill and if anything seems to be moving worse. Not against giving him a few games to see if he can find his feet but if winning games is the goal I think Gleeson would perform better.
BZT is there so Francis and Ridley don't have to take the big guys.

Gleeson doesn't do that. Gleeson playing forces Francis to the big guys.

It's not BZT or Gleeson straight comparison it's BZT on bigs/Francis floating vs Francis on bigs/Gleeson floating.

I'd much rather use the BZT/Frang combination.
 

boncer34

Formerly "Doss"
Jul 11, 2005
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Did you miss us getting torn apart against Port two weeks ago 'cause we didn't have a big enough backman to compete with Dixon/Georgiades? Or how Freo and North got torn to shreds by key forwards? 1 on 1 defending is back, baby.

In that vein, Gleeson is useless to us except as injury cover because he's bad at defending man on man. He's famously the guy who had his soul ripped out of him by Gary Rohan four years ago.
That was a free kick to Gleeson.
 

Zach Package

Kyle Langfourd
Sep 21, 2012
25,544
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Parish, Francis
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Gleeson is only useless to us because we have Ridley, who I am beginning to suspect is not entirely human, Francis, Redman and now Heppell roaming the flanks. Dude is AFL standard and I will die on that hill.

Everyone at the club loves him as well, might I add.

Back to Zerk though, I don’t anticipate him playing that much when Stewart and Hurley are available this year, but right now is a chance to make hay for him.
 

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Ambrosia

Brownlow Medallist
Mar 11, 2010
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BZT is there so Francis and Ridley don't have to take the big guys.

Gleeson doesn't do that. Gleeson playing forces Francis to the big guys.

It's not BZT or Gleeson straight comparison it's BZT on bigs/Francis floating vs Francis on bigs/Gleeson floating.

I'd much rather use the BZT/Frang combination.
Against the Saints though Francis was on King most the game and Laverde was on Membrey.
 

Ambrosia

Brownlow Medallist
Mar 11, 2010
11,794
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Terrible take, having Zerk in the side allowed Francis and Ridley to boss the game and be really proactive in their positioning.
Giving much too much credit to Zerk here. We were able to zone off because we dominated around the ball and StKilda rarely got the opportunity to kick to 6v6
 

Zach Package

Kyle Langfourd
Sep 21, 2012
25,544
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Parish, Francis
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Giving much too much credit to Zerk here. We were able to zone off because we dominated around the ball and StKilda rarely got the opportunity to kick to 6v6
I didn’t say anything about him playing well. He’s the only realistic option as a genuine key defender at the moment and we need him to set the backline up properly.

He was ok, given he’s played less than 15 games I’m happy with that.
 

Lore

Moderator ❀
Dec 14, 2015
22,170
28,306
AFL Club
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Drafted end of '17, re-signed in March 2019 before he'd even debuted for the club, glowing reviews, expected to be a long-term player at the club. Debuted in round 22 that year.

Played all of the pre-season games and R1 in 2020, then a self-reported COVID breach led to a one week AFL suspension in R2. Didn't play in the AFL again until round 9, then only missed one game for the rest of the season (probably rested). I'm curious if the club imposed a longer sanction than the official AFL suspension at the start of 2020 or what the story was there.

Started 2021 with an injury-interrupted pre-season, no pre-season games except as an emergency in the last one, then three VFL practice matches and he came in against St Kilda last week.

So he seems to be in the team whenever he's available, yet somehow we perceive him as being at a crossroads with his career, after rave reviews two years ago. What the hell happened?
 

yodellinhank

Brownlow Medallist
Oct 22, 2008
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Drafted end of '17, re-signed in March 2019 before he'd even debuted for the club, glowing reviews, expected to be a long-term player at the club. Debuted in round 22 that year.

Played all of the pre-season games and R1 in 2020, then a self-reported COVID breach led to a one week AFL suspension in R2. Didn't play in the AFL again until round 9, then only missed one game for the rest of the season (probably rested). I'm curious if the club imposed a longer sanction than the official AFL suspension at the start of 2020 or what the story was there.

Started 2021 with an injury-interrupted pre-season, no pre-season games except as an emergency in the last one, then three VFL practice matches and he came in against St Kilda last week.

So he seems to be in the team whenever he's available, yet somehow we perceive him as being at a crossroads with his career, after rave reviews two years ago. What the hell happened?
Too slight
 

owen87

Norm Smith Medallist
Apr 23, 2016
9,984
12,821
AFL Club
Essendon
So he seems to be in the team whenever he's available, yet somehow we perceive him as being at a crossroads with his career, after rave reviews two years ago. What the hell happened?
He played AFL games and didn't seem to be up to the standard?

Looks like he's a good VFL player that isn't quite able to translate to AFL level. He's still young for a KPP so there's time, but he's neither fast enough nor strong enough for the big boys at AFL level (yet).

He did ok against St Kilda, but he still looks like the slowest man in the world when he runs and I wouldn't want him left one out against most FF's in the league.
 

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