Friday, September 23, 2011

North Melbourne Kangaroos - Drew Petrie - All-Australian

Congratulations Dish!

During the week Drew Petrie was named on the interchange bench for the All-Australian team for the first time in his career.

I'm going to look at how the 2nd round draft pick from Ballarat recovered from 3 separate broken foot injuries in 2010 to reach career best form.

During the early 00's under Coach Dean Laidley, Petrie was literally Mr Fix It and roamed from forward to defence to the ruck and back again as the team needed him. This was great for plugging up holes but it gave Petrie no continuity in 1 position and also disguised how well he was doing. He would get 10+ hit outs, 2 goals and several telling marks in defence. If he had played the same position for the game his dominance would have been easier to see however it was diluted around the ground like a weak coffee.

So under 2nd year coach Brad Scott, Petrie has been given the focal forward position as his for the midfield to target on their inside 50's. Petrie was always going to take time finding his feet (pun intended) and missing the 1st game of the season against the Eagles to a dubious suspension didn't help.

The Roos were smashed the following week by Collingwood so it's no surprise the supply to the forward line was limited and so was Petrie's influence. It was 2 weeks later against Richmond that Petrie gave us a glimpse of what he was capable of being the main forward target. He kicked 6 goals from 17 kicks, 8 marks, 4 hit outs and an impressive 4 inside 50's. Although the Roos lost it wasn't due to lack of effort and output for Petrie. Petrie showed that when the supply was quality he is a hard man to match up on and this made most of the teams double up or even triple up making Petries 48 goals for the year all the more impressive.

Petries season just simmered along nicely with him kicking 3 or more goals in 9 out of 24 games (Over a 3rd) including 5 agianst the Bulldogs in arguably the Roos best win of the year and 4 in the last game of the year again against the Tigers. Petrie kicked 5 goals 5 in the Bulldogs game and probably should have kicked 7-8 goals but there's no denying he able to get his hands on the ball. In 5 separate games he registered 20 or more possessions and in 9 games he pulled down 8 or more marks in a game.

Speaking of getting his hands on the ball Petrie was able to use his 197cm/103kg frame to pull down several hangers and if he wasn't in a position to take the mark he invariably busted the pack open bringing the ball to ground allowing the other North forwards the chance to score. I'm not sure if it's a record but Petrie was nominated for the Hungry Jack's Mark of the Year on 6 separate occasions. Yep that's over a quarter of the games Petrie played for the season. This also includes 3 of the last 5 games he played.

One interesting fact I stumbled upon was that in the 5 games Petrie kicked 4 or more goals they won 4 only losing the game to the Tigers in round 5 in the last minute. And in the 9 games Petrie kicked 3+ goals they won 6 losing 3. The losses include a 1 point shock loss to the Swans, the Tigers loss and a Geelong pumping where Petrie was almost a lone force for the whole game.

Massive bucket of win for Petrie, well done!

Ruckman Todd Goldstein and Roo midfielders Andrew Swallow and Daniel Wells were named on the 40 man All-Australian squad and although it was no surprise that Swallow and Wells didn't make the team I was a little disappointed Goldstein didn't make the team. In past years it has been hit and miss whether they select 2 pure ruckmen to the team and Dean Cox who was selected to the 22 man team had an arguably better season than Goldstein but I firmly believe he was one of the top 20 influential players in the AFL this year. Goldstein registered the 2nd most hit outs in a season for 2011so if his form continues he is a lock to make the team before his time is done.

The preliminary finals are this weekend. Collingwood vs Hawthorn and Geelong vs West Coast So good luck to the winners who will play off in the Grand Final next weekend.

The Brownlow medal for the best player in the league as voted for by the umpires is Monday and although it's all but Chris Judd's I'll be keeping an eye on Daniel Wells for a possible top 5 finish in this his most consistent year to date.

Until then hail to the hanger!

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