Sport AFL Gold mine of defensive success stories lies in WA

Gold mine of defensive success stories lies in WA

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The success of 22-year-old Marcus Adams at the Western Bulldogs is confirmation more AFL clubs should target the WAFL for mature key defenders.

Originally from West Perth, Adams is ranked third in the competition for contested marks, and already is an integral component of the Bulldogs’ defensive structure.

He took 15 marks in Sunday’s blockbuster against the Hawks – and had 20-plus disposals for the second week running.

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Adams is the latest in a line of successful defenders who cut their teeth in the WAFL.

Ben Stratton (R) towelled up Jake Stringer last week. Photo: Getty
Ben Stratton (R) towelled up Jake Stringer last week. Photo: Getty

Against the Bulldogs, East Perth product and triple-premiership player Ben Stratton blanketed Adams’ teammate and All-Australian forward Jake Stringer.

And arguably the best key defender in the past decade has been Harry Taylor.

Geelong swooped on him at pick 17 in the 2007 draft as a 21-year-old from East Fremantle, and Taylor seamlessly slotted into an AFL structure, armed with a body capable of competing with the league’s best key forwards.

Look for East Perth captain Kyle Anderson, and former AFL-listed players Blayne Wilson and Josh Bootsma to come under consideration in this year’s draft.

Must watch
Adelaide v Sydney. It’s the first big test for the Crows midfield, while the ageing Swans defence will have their hands full with the likes of Taylor Walker, Eddie Betts and Josh Jenkins. This is clearly the game of the round.

Most at stake

Collingwood. A loss to Melbourne will spell doom for the Pies, who entered the season as finals fancies. On paper they should beat the Demons, but the Pies have problems in defence.

Will happen
Geelong will towel up Essendon. The Cats’ big bodies in the midfield will be too much for the Bombers. Another 10-goal defeat is definitely on the cards.

Won’t happen

Fremantle won’t defeat North Melbourne. The Kangaroos are ranked second for clearances, while the Dockers are 14th. Without Aaron Sandilands, they’ll be 0-4 and in serious danger of missing the finals.

One to watch
Aaron Young. A massive beneficiary following the scrapping of the substitute vest, the 23-year-old has booted seven goals in the past two weeks as a hit-up forward. With Jay Schulz and Chad Wingard on the sidelines, he looks to have cemented his spot in the Port Adelaide side.

On Sunday, Jack Ziebell equalled Jude Bolton’s record of 19 tackles in a game. Could we see a 20-tackle game by a player this season? Big numbers are common at the moment.

Feeling the heat

How much heat would Damien Hardwick, Ross Lyon and Nathan Buckley be under if they hadn’t signed contract extensions in the pre-season? After initial high hopes, supporters are starting to get restless.

Pick me
With 36 disposals and three goals for Werribee on the weekend, North Melbourne youngster Mason Wood could be on the cusp of his first AFL game since Round 8 last year. He’s in the extended squad for the Roos.

The whisper
A banned Bomber has reportedly toured the Holden Centre and met with Collingwood recruiters.

Don’t set the IQ
The Q-Clash. A shoot-out ensued last time these two sides met, but given current form, the Suns will easily dispose of their local rival.


Alex Paull also writes for – footy and fantasy analysis unravelled.

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