5 talking points: Round 5
14 Mar, 2018
In a new addition to the 2018 AFL New Zealand Premiership, each week we will delve into some of the key talking points from the previous round.
In this week’s talking points, we chat about the players who are putting their hands up for the 2018 Premiership Best and Fairest award, will there be additions to the New Zealand ANZAC squad next week and did we pick the wrong McKenzie to take out the Golden Boot?
Giants finish in style!
In 2018, the Central Giants set themselves a goal to finish off each quarter strong and boy have they done that!
For the majority of their games, the Giants have been the last team to score in each quarter. This has been setting themselves up to be motivated at each break and put doubt into the oppositions minds.
In round 5 last weekend, the Giants piled on 8 goals in the final term to blow the Crows away and took a three goal margin at three quarter time to win by 67 points at the final whistle.
The remaining three Premiership sides could find themselves putting the Giants under pressure by combating the Giants attacking style of play and beating them at their own game.
Who has put their hand up for the NZ squad?
With the announcement of potential additions to the New Zealand squad coming next Tuesday, we take a look at some Premiership players who may have caught the eye of the New Zealand selectors.
Cantabrian and Central Giants defender Dean Smith continues to impress in his first season of the Premiership. Playing in defence, Smith is always a good option to go to under pressure and doesn’t shy away from a contest.
Fellow Giant Chris Bailey has managed to keep himself injury free and is playing some great footy off the half back line.
So far this season, Wellington based Alex Awatere has been awarded two best on grounds in a row and is proving to be one of the up and coming defenders in the competition. The 19 year old has great defensive pressure and gives it 110% each time he is out on the field.
Maybe we had the wrong McKenzie for Golden Boot?
Central Giants Captain Sam McKenzie kicked himself into contention for the 2018 Golden Boot after kicking five goals against the Crows during round 5 last weekend.
At the beginning of the season, Sam’s brother James was labelled the favourite to take out the award and still sits atop the leaderboard with 14 goals.
Sam now sits on 5 goals behind James and there will no doubt be a little bit of brotherly banter thrown back and fourth over the next four rounds.
With his confidence up and the potential to bag another couple of five goal hauls, the award might be handed to the McKenzie nobody was talking about.
Can the Saints cause another upset?
The Southern Saints take on the Western Crows in Round 6 and after their upset win over the Northern Suns last Sunday, can they claim another scalp and make it two from two?
With a much more settled midfield and a backline that is firing, the Saints will push the Crows all the way in their bid to revive their season.
The game kicks off 11.30am at QBE Stadium.
Midseason Best and Fairest report card.
We have hit the halfway mark of the this year’s Premiership and highlight the players who have made an impact and are putting their hands up to be contenders for the 2018 AFL New Zealand Premiership Best and Fairest.
Blake Nahu from the Central Giants started the season with a hiss and a roar and has continued that form throughout the season.
Fellow Giants midfielder Josh Cunliffe has also impressed this season. Cunliffe has continued to develop after returning from the International Cup in August last year and features in the Giants best most rounds.
New Zealand midfielder Shane Leat has been a consistent standout for the Western Crows in every round this season and would be favourite to take out the award if it was handed out today.
Joel Brown has stepped up his game to another level in 2018. The Northern Suns speedster has been named in their best most rounds and has been the shining light in the midfield.
Andriu Sucu and Ryan Marsland have been the Southern Saints best players so far this season. The ever consistent Sucu continues to dominate the backline and every opponent he comes up against. While playing in his first season, Ryan Marsland has shown versatility playing in the midfield and also being an option to kick a goal.
*The views expressed in this in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of AFL New Zealand.