It may still only be the pre-season but footy fans had to be pretty happy with what they saw in the opening round of JLT action this weekend.
It was the first opportunity for many of us to see the hyped-up draft class of this year while also getting first glimpses of our favourite AFL teams as they warm up towards the 2019 season.
There was plenty of talking points to come out of the weekend’s action with youngsters playing the house down as well as some teams looking much improved.
Number 1 Pick Shines
Carlton coaching staff, players and fans alike would be licking their lips after this performance on Friday night.
Hyped as one of the best no. 1 picks in years, Sam Walsh certainly showed he belongs at the highest level. Walsh amassed 28 touches to go with eight inside 50s.
He had commentators and teammates blown away with a debut for the ages.
Fox Footy commentator Nick Riewoldt was full of praise saying the youngster “looks like he’s been playing at the level for 10 years.”
Meanwhile, teammate Kade Simpson was left to sum it up perfectly, simply labeling the 18-year-old as a “freak” and was not shocked to see him put on a show.
“He does that on the track so I’m not surprised he’s doing it out here on the bigger stage.” Simpson said.
Demon Duo Firing
While they couldn’t quite topple the impressive Tigers, Melbourne fans would have been happy to see superstar midfielders Clayton Oliver and Angus Brayshaw pick up where they left off last season.
The midfield duo were dominant for Melbourne all afternoon with Oliver putting together 37 disposals, 11 marks and 10 inside 50s while Brayshaw finished with 37 disposals of his own.
Oliver’s performance was so impresisve it drew extremely high praise from Demons legend and ex-skipper Gary Lyon.
“In my time on this earth, I think Clayton Oliver is Melbourne’s best ever midfielder,” he was quoted saying on breakfast radio this morning.
“He’ll win a Brownlow.”
On another level: Oliver is one of the league’s best at the moment.
2018 Battlers Start Well
Both Gold Coast and Brisbane were completely out of their depth last season however the weekend display will have supporters somewhat excited.
Again, it is only pre-season but the Lions demolished an inexperience Hawthorn side by 42 points while the Suns scraped through for a tough 5-point win over the Bulldogs.
The signs were good for Brisbane with their biggest off-season recruit Lachie Neale producing 31 disposals in his Lions debut.
Hawthorn were a long way from being full strength and never really looked like winning
The Suns are stacked with youngsters and high draft picks with many of them putting on a solid showing.
Getting a hard-fought win like they did against the Bulldogs will certainly give the young group confidence heading into the regular season.