Is Richmond's Shaun Hampson the premier ruckman in the AFL? The short answer is no but dig a little deeper and the answer is still no. With the injury to Ivan Maric, the Tigers have thrown support and selected statistical data behind a bloke, who's main attribute he brings to the club is Megan Gale.
Richmond were quoted this week as saying Hampson had "elite numbers from a hit-out perspective". That's fantastic if the AFL committee again tinker with the rules of the game and make touching the ball first from a centre bounce the only way a team scores, but until that time, a players worth to the team will be judged on an all round game where kicking, handball, tackles, goals and effort are also taken into account...unless you are Tom Scully.
Throughout my career I was renown for my "elite numbers" when it came to buying the coach a beer straight after a game and reminding him of costly turnovers some of my teammates had made. This usually worked in my favour till about round three, where I then had to gradually start a player revolt against the coach to keep my place in the side. I didn't need a beautiful woman to accompany me to club functions in order for me to get a place on the team, meticulously compiling a blackmail list of the team selectors was much easier.
One Tiger who wasn't part of the team was boom recruit Chris Yarran who is suffering from a foot injury, cruel wannabe comedians have suggested that it is because when he joined Richmond it looked like he had eaten Colin Sylvia. When questioned about his weight, Chris maturely stated "I'm always happy with my shape". Good for him, fat shaming does nothing for a persons self esteem and it says more about the person pointing the finger than the compulsive eater. Before you call me a hypocrite, I am the first to admit I have struggled with my weight for years. At one point I purchased one of Oprah Winfrey's weight loss books, her main point was that you had to love yourself, I tried that but it didn't seem to burn enough calories and when I did it in the park all I got was pepper sprayed.
In form Collingwood player Travis Varco will also miss the first round with a mystery hamstring injury. The Magpies football manager Neil Balm said; "for some reason he did his hamstring. We're not sure why." It looks as if the AFL's equalisation policy is working when the biggest footy club in the land are at a loss to why a player is injured, unless your Sharrod Wellingham and have had multiple trampoline injuries, its a fairly safe bet that the injury was sustained at training because of added stress to the affected area.
Speaking of equalisation policy Melbourne Demons coach Paul Roos predicted in the future his team, the Giants and the Suns would build big rivalries and play off in grand finals. That's about as an exciting thought as Ross Lyon organising a mates bucks party, two light beers per hour, being berated if you go outside "the bubble" and at some stage Zac Dawson will fall on someone.