Sam Walsh has to win the NAB rising star
The conversation for who should be crowned the rising star this year has been ongoing, but the reality is Sam Walsh should be a runaway winner.
Connor Rozee (Port Adelaide) and Sydney Stack (Richmond) have had fantastic debut seasons for their clubs, and they are undoubtedly future stars of the competition, but it simply doesn’t compare to the body of work Walsh has been able to accomplish in a Carlton team that has struggled for the majority of the season.
Walsh is averaging 25.7 disposals in his first season in the Blues midfield and has made a seamless transition to AFL level.
His performance during Carlton’s loss against West Coast on Sunday saw him finish as the leading possession getter on the ground with 31 disposals whilst also kicking an impressive goal late in the first quarter.
The fact that Walsh has performed so admirably in a team that lost their coach at the midway point of the season shows the class and maturity of Walsh, who already looks like a superstar.
Melbourne’s disastrous season has almost slipped under the radar
The Demons were under some heat early on in the season as they slumped to the lower end of the ladder, in a season that many expected them to make the jump into premiership contention.
It wasn’t long before it was evident that 2019 was going to be a year to forget for the Dees and everyone had to come to terms with this, but no one could have predicted anything this quite bad.
The Demons sit in 17thposition and the only side that is below them is the Gold Coast Suns, unbelievable when you consider this is the same team that made a preliminary final against eventual premier West Coast last season.
The Demons’ list is obviously good enough to play finals football, it is very much so a wasted season, and yet it has quickly become normal for us to predict a loss from Melbourne each week which only makes their fall even harder to fathom.
When you consider the amount of pressure sides such as Adelaide, Port Adelaide and Essendon have faced this season despite still being in the finals hunt, the way the Demons 2019 performance has been accepted from the outside is a little surprising.
The top four may already be set
We still have three rounds of football left in the season, but the current top four could very well be the one that remains at the conclusion of round 23.
Geelong have been brilliant all season and despite their upset loss against Fremantle, are still eight premiership points and percentage ahead of Greater Western Sydney in fifth position; even only one win from their remaining three games could be enough to hold on to a top four spot.
Brisbane, West Coast and Richmond are the form sides of the competition and they round out the rest of the top four, and whilst the Tigers aren’t on the same amount of premiership points as the three above them, they are arguably the best performing team in the league right now.
The Giants and Pies both can still mount a charge to a top four berth if things go their way in the remaining weeks of the season, yet both have had their injury struggles, especially Collingwood, and they’ll be relying on one of the sides above them slipping up whilst winning their own remaining games.