Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Join the conversation: offers five lessons learned from NAB Cup round one action

James Hird ... solid start at Windy Hill. Source: Colleen Petch / News Limited

Join the conversation: offers five lessons learned from NAB Cup round one action

There's not much you can learn from a round-robin fortnight of footy in February that barely resembles the indigenous game.

But that's not stopped us from drawing conclusions before and it's not going to stop us now.

Agree? Disagree? Have your own opinions? Leave a comment below and join the conversation.

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That's out of bounds
The time for experimentation is university and pre-season competitions. But some things, like going barefoot in the communal shower and the latest interpretation of out of bounds, should be avoided at all costs. Seeing experienced AFL players not wanting to go near the Sherrin as it bumbled along the boundary was laughable. And the poor umpires, rusty as they were, were oft guessing as to who it came off last before traversing the perimeter. Sure, the super goal is a bit of fun, but rules are rules. These matches are supposed to prepare teams for the real stuff and that didn't.

What did you make of the rule changes? Have your say in the comments section.

Suns warm up
The punters were jumping out of trees to back the Suns to win the wooden spoon last week but the money has dried up a little since their NAB Cup debut on Saturday night. There's a long way to go and they'll no doubt find things tough in year one, but Guy McKenna has assembled a fairly competitive unit. Well led by stand-in skipper Campbell Brown, ex-Western Bulldogs dasher Jarrod Harbrow and former North midfielder Daniel Harris, the Suns beat Sydney Swans and then overcame Greater Western Sydney to progress in the pre-season competition. Gary Ablett and Nathan Bock will improve them, too. Oh, and No.1 draft pick David Swallow is a jet. If you haven't got him in your Fox Sports Supercoach team then you're not playing to win.

Can the Suns surprise in 2011 or are they facing a long year at the bottom of the ladder? Have your say in the comments section below.

Collingwood cruising
The Magpies will start $3 to win a second straight AFL premiership. It's incredibly short and only diehards will part with their hard earned at this stage of the year. However, the Magpies are every bit as good and played without the slightest indication of a flag hangover. The bodies were fit, the minds were sharp and the new faces slotted in nicely. Chris Tarrant becomes even more important now that Nathan Brown has gone down with a serious knee injury. Richmond 100-gamer Andrew Krakouer knows he has got an unexpected second chance. Mick Malthouse, the king of Moomba, is in a wonderful position to reign again in 2011.

Are the Pies nursing any sort of premiership letdown? Have your say in the comments section below.

Hirdy's honeymoon
One of the underlying factors in the Matthew Knights sacking by Essendon last season was the backlash of the club's members. The fans never warmed to the ex-Richmond captain in his rocky ride at Windy Hill. Appointing favourite son James Hird as Knights' replacement - although messy at times - smacked of tactical genius. It bought the under-fire board some time and won back scores of supporters. The golden child got his tenure off to a solid start with a win and draw against Brisbane Lions and St Kilda. Everything the Bombers can achieve in the pre-season should be enjoyed because in the first five matches of 2011 the Bombers cop Western Bulldogs, Sydney (away), St Kilda, Carlton and Collingwood. The honeymoon could end quickly.

Can Hirdy lead the Bombers up the ladder or will they be grounded for another season? Leave your comments below.

Supercoach secrets
Finding Supercoach gold is what it's all about in the NAB Cup. If you see someone you like keep quiet. He can be your secret weapon when you settle on your team for round one. But we are here to help and identified a few for your. Jared Polec will play plenty for Brisbane Lions and has quality, Ryan Gamble shapes as a cheap investment now he's at St Kilda and Daniel Harris is making the most of his Gold Coast Suns lifeline. Shaun Higgins is healthy again at Western Bulldogs and is class. Adelaide Crow Andy Otten is another on the comeback trail. Jeremy Laidler and Nick Duigan look ready-made options in defence for Carlton. All the rage has been surrounding Tendai Mzungu though, the Fremantle dasher about to become a cult hero.

Who did you spot for Supercoach selection in the NAB Cup or are you playing your cards close to your chest?