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Opinion

Each club's state of affairs before the AFL restart: Part 4

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Roar Guru
9th June, 2020
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Here’s how Hawthorn, Melbourne and North Melbourne are shaping up ahead of the restart.

Hawthorn Hawks

The five most talented players

  1. Jonathon Ceglar has the potential to be renowned as one of the top ruckman in the competition if Round 1 of season 2020 is any indication. Ceglar has now made the No. 1 ruck position his own now Ben McEvoy appears to be embracing his new role as a defender.
  2. Jaeger O’Meara has the ability to be a key player for Hawthorn and arguably already is. If he can play to his optimum level, Hawthorn will be tough to beat.
  3. James Worpel has plenty of ability and showed as much in 2019, when he won the Hawthorn best and fairest and stood up in the absence of the injured Tom Mitchell.
  4. James Sicily has immense ability. He’s an attacking defender who has the capacity to provide a lot of run out of defence.
  5. Tom Mitchell didn’t look like he was coming back from injury in Round 1; his performance was reminiscent of when he won the Brownlow Medal in season 2018.

Most adaptable player
It’s tough to decide whether Isaac Smith, Ben McEvoy, Shaun Burgoyne, James Sicily, Jon Patton, Ricky Henderson or Chad Wingard are more adaptable. At this stage it’s difficult to go past Shaun Burgoyne, as he kicked three goals in Round 1. He could even play on a halfback flank if he had to.

Who needs to lift?
Tom Scully needs to prove that he still belongs at AFL level. He has the ability and the potential but just needs to improve and prove that Hawthorn recruiting him was the right move.

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What has to alter?
Nothing much based on Round 1. Mitch Lewis should be a regular part of the Hawthorn forward line. He’s so talented and has the capability to be one of the best key forwards in the game. James Cousins also has the capability to be a regular in Hawthorn’s starting 22 to add depth to their midfield.

Tom Mitchell

Tom Mitchell (Michael Willson/AFL Media/Getty Images)

Melbourne Demons

The five most talented players

  1. Michael Hibberd, if he plays to his optimum level, can alter the fortunes of the Demons if Round 1 is any indication.
  2. Angus Brayshaw has so much talent but is being played in different roles when he should be a permanent part of the midfield. He proved how talented he is in 2018, when he finished third in the Brownlow Medal.
  3. Ed Langdon has the ability to be the Melbourne Demons best midfielder if he can play at his maximum consistently.
  4. Clayton Oliver is an immensely talented midfielder. He showed this in 2019, and expect him to replicate that form in 2020.
  5. Max Gawn leads by example. He has the capability of being in the All Australian team this season if he can play to his potential.

Most adaptable player
Tom McDonald has the capability of playing as a key defender or in his current role as a key forward, which he is probably more suited to.

Who needs to lift?
Angus Brayshaw finished eighth in the Melbourne best and fairest in 2019. He has more talent than that. Michael Hibberd needs to attack every game the manner in which he played in Round 1, when he amassed 31 disposals.

What has to alter?
Adam Tomlinson would benefit from playing as a second ruckman as he has the height to do so, standing at 193 centimetres tall. His primary role should be as a key forward.

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Jack Viney needs to play a different role, perhaps as a defensive forward, as he shows so much endeavour. He showed he doesn’t need to be captain to lead from the front in Melbourne’s first game of 2020. He almost tries too hard and could benefit from a change of role.

Michael Hibberd could benefit from playing as a key defender. Mitch Brown would benefit from a permanent part of Melbourne’s best 22 in the forward line.

Max Gawn of the Demons celebrates a goal

Max Gawn (Dylan Burns/AFL Photos via Getty Images)

North Melbourne Kangaroos

The five most talented players

  1. Todd Goldstein has the capability of being renowned as one of the best ruckmen in the competition if he can play to his capacity.
  2. Ben Brown could be in the calculations for the All Australian full-forward position in 2020.
  3. Robbie Tarrant is a pivotal part of the North Melbourne team. The vulnerabilities of the side would be exposed in defence if he wasn’t available – that’s how much the Kangaroos rely on his ability to play to his capacity as a key defender.
  4. Ben Cunnington carries the North Melbourne midfield on his back at times. He helped them get over the line in Round 1.
  5. Shaun Higgins is capable of being classified as elite. He could be in the AFL All Australian squad of 40 in 2020 if he can play to his optimum level.

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Most adaptable player
Majak Daw can play as a defender or as a second ruckman or even as a forward. Unfortunately Daw is currently injured. The only other player is probably Shaun Higgins and Jack Ziebell, who can both play up forward and in the midfield. North Melbourne don’t have many options as far as adaptability is concerned.

Who needs to lift?
Shaun Atley isn’t playing to a level he is capable of. There’s also Aaron Hall along with Luke McDonald Jasper Pittard who need to improve.

What has to alter?
Nick Larkey should play as a second ruckman and Ben Brown needs to play as a permanent forward. Mason Wood should be a permanent part of the North Melbourne forward line. Dom Tyson should also be in the conversation when referring to any changes that need to be made as he has the capability of being in North Melbourne’s best 22.