Our AFL experts Niall Seewang, Jake Michaels and Matt Walsh dissect all of the main talking points ahead of Round 6.
Who is the recruit of the year?
NS: I think Dylan Shiel is just ahead of Brisbane's Lachie Neale because he is more damaging with ball in hand. The Dons paid a king's ransom for him via their trade from GWS but he's worth every penny so far. He is averaging 29 touches, four marks, four tackles, six clearances and a goal a game and is also ranked third in total inside 50s across the league and ninth in total goal assists. There's not many midfielders who can explode from stoppages and break lines like Shiel.
JM: Is this even up for debate? It has to be Neale. He has been absolutely brilliant for Brisbane since crossing from Fremantle, averaging 36 disposals, 18 contested possessions and almost nine clearances per game. I wouldn't be surprised if he was leading the Brownlow Medal after five rounds, so how could there be a better recruit out there?
MW: Serious question, but where would Richmond be without Tom Lynch? When Jack Riewoldt went down with his wrist injury in Round 1, Lynch was there to step up and keep the Tiger Train rolling. If they hadn't snared his services during the offseason, the Tigers might have struggled to kick a score high enough to win more than one of their first five games. He's kicked 16 already this season and is a huge presence and focal point up forward.
Harry McKay or Charlie Curnow - who will have the better career?
NS: McKay. Curnow's highlights package will be more exciting -- hence his ranking at No. 5 in our inaugural Top 20 Must-Watch Players list -- but his forward line partner might have more weapons. At 200cm, he is a contested marking beast but is also really handy below his knees and can relieve in the ruck when needed. It's a toss of the coin but if I was a list manager, I'd go with McKay to build my team around. Luckily for Blues fans, they don't have to decide between one or the other!
JM: Charlie will be the bigger 'superstar' but I reckon Harry will kick more goals by the time they've both hung up the boots. So, I think that answers the question; give me Harry! Having said that, the Blues are very fortunate to have both and they can be key forward line pillars for the club for the next decade. I'll pencil them in to both be 250 game players for Carlton.
MW: The Blues are fortunate to have secured the services of both these big men, but I envisage they'll play very different roles for the Blues going forward. Harry is a nightmare to match up on in the forward 50 and is a better set shot than Charlie, who I suspect will play a Nick Riewoldt, lead-up-the-wing role in coming years. If forced to choose, Harry will be the better player in the long run.
🎙️ Will Bolton last the year 🧐— footytips (@footytips) May 21, 2019
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How should Chris Scott best use Patrick Dangerfield?
NS: As he currently does! I love the way Scott is balancing the present and the future in giving more midfield game time to his younger prospects instead of relying on Dangerfield, Joel Selwood and Gary Ablett to win the midfield battle each week. Dangerfield is a capable forward who can be swung into the centre square when needed, while at the same time, the Cats' next wave of talent can gain invaluable experience when the heat is on.
JM: Midfield. Midfield. Midfield. I really can't understand why Scott plays Dangerfield in the forward line for such long periods. He is the competition's best player who has to play on the ball where he can single-handedly win games for Geelong. There's a reason why you don't see Lance Franklin being played as a key back or Alex Rance getting a run through the midfield. Put players in their best position, and Dangerfield's is easily in the midfield.
MW: You can say what you want about Scott's use of Dangerfield, but I wouldn't mess with a winning formula. He's spending a lot of time forward, but that might be in lieu of needing to manage him later in the year like what Essendon did with Devon Smith last week. If Geelong are in control, pop him forward, let him be a threat there, and if things tighten up you can bring him back into the middle.
Which Queensland team has been most impressive so far this year?
NS: I've been shocked by how well the Suns are playing - I was one of many who stupidly feared they mightn't even win a game this year. Until last weekend's blowout loss to the Crows in Adelaide, they've been tough to score against and they are averaging the third most tackles a game, highlighting their ferocity at ground level. The Lions have played some exciting footy this year but I think most expected them to jump a level or two but it's the Suns who have exceeded all expectations.
JM: I really wish I could have answered this question a fortnight ago. The Lions have come crashing down after a fast start to the season, but I still think they've been more impressive than Gold Coast. Do I need to remind you of that win against reigning premier West Coast? However, if the Suns get up in Saturday's Q-Clash, I might have to reassess.
MW: I think it's pretty obviously Gold Coast. Some didn't have them winning a game all year and their list was described as the worst ever assembled. Preseason expectations were much higher for Brisbane; a September berth was not out of the question and an A-Grade player in Lachie Neale joined the fray. They're both 3-2 heading into the Q-Clash and it's definitely weirder reading that about the Suns.