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NAB Cup week 2 preview

Date

Brent Diamond

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Friday - Etihad Stadium

RICHMOND

While it will be a milestone for Trent Cotchin running out as captain for the first time, it will be somewhat of a change for former skipper Chris Newman, who is set to be released in a midfield role during the NAB Cup.

Midfield coach Danny Daly said: ''Newy was getting a lot of attention from opposition players at half-back last season, which probably limited his effectiveness. This will give him the chance to be released and will revitalise him. He is an excellent user of the football, which will help the quality of our forward-50 entries.

''He's feeling really good about it and looking forward to the challenge … after giving up the captaincy, this is another opportunity for him to play good footy.''

Ricky Petterd, who has shown some form over the pre-season, will make his debut in Tiger colours, along with mature-age ruckman Orren Stephenson, who was delisted by the Cats last year.

Tigers fans will also be looking to see how advanced draftee Nick Vlastuin is and how he may fit into the midfield with already so much talent from previous drafts in the mix.

Watch out for: Dustin Martin. He has been a top performer during the pre-season amid concerns about his off-field behaviour. The club is hoping he's set for a breakout season.

 

MELBOURNE

The Demons' prized draftees Jack Viney and Jimmy Toumpas will showcase their skills on Friday night but coach Mark Neeld has already hosed down talk of early expectations.

''Our plan is not to play those boys every game, be it NAB Cup games or the home-and-away season,'' Neeld said.

''We get lots of information and among that the workload increases every week and every season. It's hard for an 18-year-old to come in and make an impact on every game.

''We want them to be long-term players for the football club, so we don't want to kill them early.''

Mini-draft pick Jesse Hogan has also been given permission to play but as an under-aged selection, cannot play in the season proper until next year. The forward will play for the Casey Scorpions in the VFL this season.

It will be a new-look Melbourne squad taking to the field with mature-age recruits Shannon Byrnes, Chris Dawes, Cameron Pedersen, Dean Terlich and David Rodan adding some much-needed experience to the group.

Watch out for: Shannon Byrnes - starred in an intra-club match last week with five goals and underlined his importance to the team as an experienced recruit who has been there, done that.

 

NORTH MELBOURNE

Majak Daw has produced some remarkable highlights in his three seasons at North's affiliate Werribee but after being elevated from the rookie list, there is more hype to come about his much-anticipated AFL debut.

Daw is one of the most recognisable faces on North's list despite not having played a senior game. But the 21-year-old Sudanese player, who comes out of contract at the end of this season, will be wanting to prove his talent in the big league sooner rather than later.

Drew Petrie believes Daw possesses some amazing skills and athleticism. ''He's definitely a very different type of player,'' Petrie said. ''I know our defenders have found him a really difficult match-up … I haven't seen his athleticism in anyone else before, ever.'' Recruits Ben Jacobs and Jordan Gysberts have been named, along with mature-age ruckman Daniel Currie, and could put some pressure on Daw's chances this year.

Watch out for: Jack Ziebell - the talented midfielder underwent a minor knee operation last month but has made a shock return for the NAB Cup.

 

Saturday

BRISBANE LIONS

Former Hawk Jordan Lisle is expected to be trialled in a forward role during the NAB Cup in a bid to win a regular role alongside Jonathan Brown.

Lisle, who struggled for senior opportunities at Hawthorn and even at the Lions last season, is touted by vice-captain Daniel Merrett as the early front-runner for the position, perhaps ahead of new recruit Stefan Martin.

''That spot will be up for grabs all year I reckon,'' Merrett said.

''Probably Jordy Lisle at this stage, he's probably stepped up. He's definitely matured. He's talking a lot more and he's improved his fitness so from my point of view, he's also up there but also Stefan Martin probably. Obviously we've got him across for a reason to try and fill that void and we'll be looking for Stef to step up,'' he said.

It will be Jed Adcock's first outing as a co-captain in the NAB Cup after winning the role to be shared by Brown.

Injured players Simon Black and Matthew Leuenberger are expected to make returns until at least round three or four of the NAB Cup.

Watch out for: Brent Moloney - The former Demon will wear his coach Michael Voss' former No.3 guernsey and is expected to help the Lions in the centre clearances this season.

 

HAWTHORN

Former Northern Territory Thunder midfielder Jed Anderson has also been touted for an AFL debut this season by coach and captain, and Hawks fans are already licking their lips over the talented indigenous prospect.

The 18-year-old, who was pre-listed by Greater Western Sydney before being on-traded to the Hawks, is set to play in the NAB Cup after starring for the All-Stars against Richmond earlier this month.

''No one knows too much about Jed Anderson at the moment but we're hoping that by the end of the year everyone will know him,'' Hawks coach Alastair Clarkson told SEN radio.

''He's had a great summer for us and I reckon he'll feature at some point throughout the year for us.''

While Anderson has been the pick of the draftees over summer, it has been veterans Brad Sewell and Jordan Lewis who have also led the way during training as the grand finalists looks to go one better in the season proper this year.

Lance Franklin is also set to play in the NAB Cup despite some injury concerns but is not expected to play a major part.

Watch out for: Ryan Schoenmakers - has looked sharp over the pre-season in his bid to hold down a key-position post this season despite the arrival of Brian Lake.

 

GOLD COAST

Suns midfielder David Swallow admits last season was a downer for him given his run with injuries and form, but is confident of turning it around.

He has finally got through a pre-season unscathed for the first time while at the Suns.

''Last year was probably one to forget for me, so [I am] definitely looking forward to this year and hopefully I can string some games together, unlike last year,'' Swallow said. ''The first two years, I've probably struggled to have good pre-seasons, being able to put one together this year was probably pretty important for me.''

Swallow expects the midfield group to step up a gear this year, with draftee Jesse Lonergan set to get a run against the Hawks and Lions, while other draftees, Jack Martin and Andrew Boston, are also poised to have influence early.

Suns assistant coach Dean Solomon said the club was hoping to gain some early confidence from the NAB Cup. ''We're going to be playing to win, to get some confidence and some momentum to roll into round one,'' he said.

Watch out for: Jack Martin - the 17-year-old midfielder has been given permission to play in the NAB Cup after starring in an intra-club match. He is already considered to be in the Suns' best team.

 

Sunday

SYDNEY

Previous Fothergill-Round medallists in the VFL such as Michael Barlow and Ahmed Saad have had instant impacts on their teams and Sydney thinks nothing different of last year's winner Dean Towers.

The former North Ballarat wingman has excellent pace and an amazing leap that triggered the Swans to take him with an early pick in last year's draft. He is expected to have some major game time in the NAB Cup as he aims to break into the premiership-winning team early in the season proper.

Mature-age rookie Dane Rampe, who spent two seasons on Williamstown's VFL list before crossing to UNSW Bulldogs, is also expected to get some game time, along with young draftees such as Tim Membrey.

''There will certainly be some chances for some of our newer players to be running around in our first game in particular,'' coach John Longmire said. ''Probably in the first two games there will be some new faces that the supporters will see, which will be really good and exciting to get a bit of a look at them.''

Watch out for: Tim Membrey - the power forward has the potential to kick big bags on big occasions with eight goals in a TAC Cup preliminary final last year.

 

CARLTON

Brock McLean had only played four AFL matches in 2011, he'd only been called up twice until round eight last year and appeared to be on his last legs at the Blues despite dominating at VFL level.

Then he finished the season playing the last 10 matches with his form surpassing many other midfielders.

Former Blues VFL coach Robert Hyde said last year that McLean's turnaround in form stemmed from becoming fitter.

''Just talking to him, this is the first time that he hasn't had operations over the summer for the last three or four years. He reckons his body's really good and he's just looking forward to having a crack at it,'' Hyde said.

McLean (pictured) has dominated the past two intraclub matches to show he is the most in-form midfielder at the club to date.

Watch out for: Nick Graham - The former Gippsland Power midfielder and Morrish medallist was a standout in an intraclub match last week, with Rob Wiley declaring his progress to be outstanding.

 

GWS

The Giants will roll out their No. 1 selection in last year's draft - Lachie Whitfield - straight away in their opening NAB Cup clash this weekend.

It is in contrast to that of 2011 No. 1 draft pick Jonathon Patton, who the Giants had to wait until June last year to see his potential as a forward.

Giants assistant coach Leon Cameron said Whitfield, considered to be one of the club's best young midfielders, will take time to develop but is already showing great signs.

''Lachie is one of those lads and his professionalism, the way he moves and the way he has settled in Sydney, has just been fantastic and we couldn't be more impressed,'' Cameron said. ''I am really rapt with the way Lachie is going, and it is going to take a couple of years [for him] to mature in terms of size.''

Whitfield will be one of a number of players making their debuts for Greater Western Sydney this weekend. Others set for game-time during the NAB Cup will be former Hawk Stephen Gilham, who is set to bolster the Giants defence, along with former Blue Bret Thornton.

Watch out for: Setanta O'hAilpin - the enigmatic former Blue will make his return in this weekend's NAB Cup after suffering a season-ending ACL injury in round six last year against Carlton.

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