Build me a midfielder!

You can't build a midfielder without Michael Collins, according to Dave. 198315 Picture: ROB CAREW

TYLER: Okay gentlemen, Let’s Talk Sport, another edition I am looking forward to, three fantastic topics today.

Let’s jump straight into it…


The first one… I am loving footy (AFL) at the moment. I feel the key forward is back in business. I am going to read you the top 10 of the Coleman at this stage: Tom Lynch (27), Charlie Curnow (25), Jeremy Cameron (24), Peter Wright (23) – only seven behinds from him too, little fun fact – Max King (21), Harry McKay (20), Aaron Naughton, Buddy Franklin and Joe Daniher equal on 19.

There are four players on 19, but for this topics sake we will exclude him (Charlie Cameron) from the list.

Is the key forward back, Dave, and to whatever your answer is… why?

DAVE: Well looking at the stats Tyler, you would have to say yes!

Is it because there is a lack of smalls at the moment, or could it be the stand rule having an impact. Could the disposal going inside 50 be a bit cleaner and the key forwards are getting a better look under less pressure. It could be a lot of things; but a few are emerging too, big guys, 200 centimetres plus, Harry McKay, Peter Wright, Max King, when they are all on song they can’t be stopped.

LACHIE: I think the term ‘forward’ changes and I think it is not what we would think as traditional, like your Ablett’s, Hudson’s and Dunstall’s; I don’t think it’s coming back, I think it has evolved.

The ball coming in is more caressed and they’re a bit more up the ground. Tom Lynch came up the ground and got 25 disposals on the weekend, you would rarely see Ablett get 25 unless he’s kicked a massive bag.

DAVE: What about you, Tyler?

TYLER: I think those numbers would suggest they’re back, but I also think the difference between the top and bottom is as big as it’s been in my lifetime.

Lynch has kicked 13 in two weeks and should’ve kicked more against West Coast, so the chance to bag out and kick seven or eight is starting to return.

But I really do like your point about the stand rule, Dave, I didn’t think of that.

DAVE: I went to Collingwood v Gold Coast last Sunday and Gold Coast doesn’t have an amazing forward line, but I did notice how Collingwood’s defensive structure allows the forwards to have a lot of space.

Lynch tore Darcy Moore a new one on the weekend because they did give him more space and the delivery was precise.

TYLER: Yeah fascinating you say that on the Suns, on this list number 10 has 19, but Levi Casboult has 18.

DAVE: He actually could’ve nearly won them the game last week, he took seven or eight marks inside 50, so it wasn’t a huge surprise to me that Lynch came out and did that against the Pies.

LACHIE: I spoke to Nick Cox (Dandenong Stingrays girl’s and boy’s head coach) and asked “do you have to change players positioning because the way the game is moving?”..he said with the game evolving you have to move and you can’t be a stay at home forward anymore, you have to move up the ground.

TYLER: Beautiful, love the name drop and Nick Cox was a two-time Eastern Football League best and fairest winner, Lachie, you could almost say he was the perfect midfielder.

That brings me to my second topic…

*Tyler admiring his segue*

I was watching Patty Cripps on Sunday night have 35 disposals and two goals, he has moved to 17 votes in my Brownlow predictor.

And 13 goals is his career best in a season, he has that already, and it made me think… his ability to kick goals now is why he is currently the best midfielder in the game.


So, Dave, we have heard of ‘build a bear’ back in the day, bring it back, and build me a midfielder.

You can’t use the same club and you can’t use the same player, here are the categories I want: Endurance, ball-winning, finishing in front of goal, outside ability and inside ability.

DAVE: I am going to go back through players I have seen over the years. Endurance, I haven’t seen anyone gut-run like Madi Andrews from Berwick, he was unbelievable.

Ball-winning ability, probably back seven or eight years ago – he is still playing good footy now for Bunyip – Dylan Quirk. As a kid he just racked up best and fairest awards and he always had the ball in his hands.

Finishing, I think Justin Berry (Cranbourne) got a mention a couple weeks ago, I think he made a VFL Team of the Year with Frankston, then he came to Cranbourne in his late 20’s and his finishing from anywhere inside 50 was elite.

Outside, from the last two years doing West-Gippsland, Jaxon Briggs from Cora Lynn, he’s absolutely electric when he gets motoring; I don’t think I have ever seen a bloke with more speed.

And finally, I can’t have a midfield that doesn’t include Michael Collins from Narre Warren.

Now I’m bending the rules here, Tyler, I am claiming Dylan Quirk as a Bunyip player so I can use ‘Collo’ as a Narre Warren player.

He was 6’3, 105kg, if I saw him charging at me and the ball I don’t want to go near him. In interleague in 2012 against Goulburn Valley, one versus two in the state, there was a ball on the wing 10 metres from the coaches box. The best midfielders in country footy were going for it, six hit the contest simultaneously and Collo was the only one left standing. Seriously, I could not believe the intensity of that hit…I still remember it!

LACHIE: You can just smell the passion from Dave about Collo can’t you, Tyler?

TYLER: Yeah you can, I think that is the first time I have heard the height and weight of local players, how does he know this about Collo? Dave, are you at the Collin’s family dinner on Sunday nights? (Laughs)

LACHIE: Was it roast chook, Dave? (Laughs)

DAVE: Boys some of the things that bloke did on the footy field. I know he is widely regarded as Narre Warren’s greatest after 60 years, but some of the things just made you cringe, the hits were fair but that hard. Toughest midfielder I have ever seen with a growing admiration for Brendan Kimber as well.

TYLER: Lachie, build me a midfielder!

LACHIE: Endurance I am going with Nick Derbyshire from Cranbourne. He is incredible, continues to run with the ball, not afraid to take a few bounces.

Ball-winning I am going Shakore Bragg-Taylor from Springvale Districts, big boy, not afraid to get his head over it. He just wins it for his team; it’s not always handballs, but the tap ons.

Finishing I am going Hamish Browning from Lyndhurst, he often pops up and kicks a couple of goals.

Outside I am going Corey Phillips from Hampton Park, he too isn’t afraid to take a few bounces and pushes himself, he is a great kick too.

And inside I am going a ruckman, Dylan Chapman from Doveton, former Officer, he doesn’t get enough credit, he gives his side first use and backs it up at ground level.

DAVE: Alright Tyler! This is your topic mate, you better deliver, what have you got? Pressure is on. I did notice you raise your eyebrows at a few names there, are you worried about spelling?

TYLER: Excuse you Dave, I can spell Kodithuwakku, so I can spell anything Dave.

Here is my ultimate midfielder: Endurance, Nick Battle (Devon Meadows), never stops running. Ball-winning is Kyle Martin (Noble Park), he is probably the epitome of this list as the perfect midfielder, but anyway.

Finishing ability inside 50 – particularly on the snap – I am going Trent Cody (Narre Warren), it seems to be whenever they need a goal too.

Outside I have gone with Jafar Ocaa from Beaconsfield, but JJ Peni is another good option on the outside, former Pakenham now Nar Nar Goon, left footer too.

And finally, inside, I don’t think there is a better inside mid over the last five or so years in this region than Travis Tuck (Berwick), he just bullied the SEFNL and AFLOE inside.

Great players there boys, I think if we lined up our three mids there inside the centre square, I think we would win a lot of premierships.

My final topic boys… I am covering EFNL this year and Rowville, they are 4-0 after being 2-7 last year. I am not counting chickens, it’s a long season, but I want to hear some great sporting revivals…


LACHIE: I have a couple here, Emma Raducanu was an amateur tennis player and got a wild card entry into the US Open last year and then won.

Cristian Volpato, a soccer player that was denied by everyone, he is a dual citizen to Australia and Italy. He is playing for Roma under Jose Mourinho and came on in the 86th minute recently and scored a goal, proving everyone wrong.

Finally, Walter Lindrum…he was a snooker player.

DAVE: Hey hey. Get your facts right… he was a billiards player!

TYLER: You have gone individuals here Lachie, this is interesting.

LACHIE: Yep, billiards player, he was a no one and was playing in halls and went to England to play. He was being watched by Bradman, he went from 1933 to 1950 without a loss! They had to change the rules for him because he dominated for 17 straight.

TYLER: Dave what have you got for me?

DAVE: I am going right to grassroots and going Tooradin Netball Club.

TYLER: Love it.

DAVE: Didn’t win a game for basically five years and brought in a few players… bang! I think they have lost about five games in five or six years since, that was a massive turn around, you used to go there and they would lose 90-12.

And being a Magpies supporter, going back to 2018, Buckley was under pressure to keep his job and ended up playing in a grand final. The season didn’t start like they were a grand final side and they just emerged. There was a big win in Adelaide in round four and everything just snowballed from there.

TYLER: You boys have missed the big ones here…

Leicester City, what a revival that was, on the cusp of relegation and then turned around and won the league.

Then from a local angle, Pakenham and Doveton a couple years ago. I am fairly sure they had a combined 2-36 record or something in 2018 and then moved into the Outer East and played off in a grand final at the end of the year.

That is the end of this edition of Let’s Talk Sport. Dave is yet to confirm or deny whether he was at the Collins family roast on Sunday, but we will just have to continue this discussion in his edition next week.