An NRL team that would run rings around the Cats
AFL players kick with both feet – that’s a fact, not a metaphor – so it’s difficult to believe that a full-scale poaching war will follow the Karmichael Hunt defection.
In a typical game of league, only two or three players put boot to ball and the rest couldn’t hit a barn door with a Sherrin. This is clearly a problem for the AFL.
There are other problems, like the fact that league players are built for speed and power, not endurance.
Does this make AFL the superior game? Barry Hall seems to think so. He said during the week that league players would find it harder to play AFL than he would to play league. The mental health leave clearly isn’t helping Barry to the extent that we had hoped.
But you shouldn’t even begin to compare footy codes, because it rarely ends well. In this spirit, I give you a team of 18 current league players who, given a few hours of kick-to-kick with Buckley and high tea with Demetriou, would dismantle the best the AFL has to offer.
FULLBACK: Billy Slater
Lightning fast runner with hands that stick to the ball like Araldite. Saves as many points as he scores.
BACK POCKET 1: Ben Creagh
Plays in the second row but can outrun most backs. Plenty of size and speed to protect his smaller men.
BACK POCKET 2: Nathan Hindmarsh
Not exactly a gazelle, but loves tackling. Could struggle at first to adapt to the AFL “catch and kiss” defensive style.
CENTRE HALF-BACK: Matt Cooper
Tall, quick and a natural defender. Harder to shake off than a tequila hangover.
HALF-BACK FLANK 1: Johnathan Thurston
Sublime ballplayer who would always find a way to rebound the Sherrin out of the defensive 50. A niggling player who could tie up possession in tight situations.
HALF BACK FLANK 2: John Sutton
Gives plenty of protection for Slater and Thurston to run the ball out of trouble, but has plenty of skills of his own to get it to the midfield.
MIDFIELDERS: Jarryd Hayne is made for the centre position. His balletic efforts in Origin was proof he could succeed in any sport from darts to NFL. Bronx Goodwin takes one wing position and Wendell Sailor the other, if only to show that fat blokes can still play footy.
CENTRE HALF FORWARD: Justin Hodges
A total nuff-nuff, but hard to go past in a position that requires a tall frame, athleticism and marking ability. You wouldn’t ask him to be your best man, but a savage competitor and match winner nonetheless.
HALF FORWARD FLANK 1: Israel Folau
Only knows how to catch a ball above his head. The man the AFL should really gunning for.
HALF FORWARD FLANK 2: Brett Stewart
Fast, creative, able to turn the most mundane situation in a game into points.
FULL FORWARD: Greg Inglis
A freak. Too big, too strong, too much for any full-forward in the AFL to handle.
FORWARD POCKET 1: Benji Marshall
Not big by any means, but Marshall has more steps than AA. Possesses ball skills more often seen in the NBA and would be perfectly suited to a crumbing role.
FORWARD POCKET 2: Hazem El-Masri
Safe in the air. Kicks like a mule.
RUCKMAN: Willie Mason
Big, immobile, workshy. Talk about a perfect fit.
RUCK-ROVER: Anthony Watmough
A highly-strung ball of muscle who feels ripped off on the six days a week he’s not asked to play. Would specialise in testing out the ribs of opposition ruckmen.
ROVER: Preston Campbell
Harder to get than Austudy. One of the smallest men in league, but also the bravest. Has a knack of running at the biggest men on the field and coming out the other side intact.
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