Laird is 178cm, just like McGrath, so he’s definitely a small defender. I’m not sure about Laird’s lockdown abilities, but I suspect their style would be similar, high possession & carry and run.
I assume, by small defender he means a lockdown-first player as opposed to a rebounding specialist HBF
I think the point is Laird doesn’t really play a lock down role and play on the opposition’s best small forward.
McGrath does that, plus still provides an attacking contribution
So, what does a key defender do?
lol, I get it, but it just doesn’t make sense to say he is not a small defender because, you know, he’s small.
Anyway, I like the idea of McGrath playing as a defender, it essentially allows us to add another runner like Clarke or Mutch.
This isn’t an overstatement. He actually does have the movement, vision, pace and 360 degree game of Gary. Not saying he’ll be as good as the best midfielder Ive ever seen but he does share characteristics.
McGrath doesn’t have the freak core strength to break tackles that Gary or all the recent elite elite midfielders have had. Martin, Dangerfield, Fyfe, Ablett, Judd all have one thing in common - they’re all freakishly strong and hard to tackle because of that.
At least, not at 19 years old, anyway.
Ablett’s hard to bring down in a tackle, but his real strength is stepping around the opposition player within arms reach and making them look foolish
He’d made a science out of fending off too, well before Martin.
Ablett also would have been playing VFL at that age and was just a small fwd/HFF’r
Ablet is an interesting comparison. I suspect though he was always bigger built then pidge. Ablet is bigger through the hips and has a lower centre of gravity.
Pidges biggest asset vs Ablet and what makes him so unique is the defensive part of his game. Pidge can absolutely blanket a good player yet still be very damaging the other way.
I don’t think he will be ever as good as Ablet Jr as a pure mid. But I think pidge has more strings to his bow, and will become a more rounded player then Ablet.
Pidge. Better mark (bigger leap) , quicker hands, more top end pace, better defensively.
Ablet. Stronger(bigger frame), harder to tackle, more explosive, better kick.
When pidge gains enough bulk and strength to better stand up/brake a tackle. He will have much more time to use the ball and become much more damaging. If that part of his game ends up even half as good as Ablet he will be elite.
Fark we have some talent on our list who are not even near there potential yet. Daniher, pidge, Stringer and Franga. Absolute elite tallent
Give the kid time that core will come.
Ablett’s defensive game.
No need to be smart. And nor will he in his prime either. All these guys were freaks at breaking a tackle at 19. I just can’t see him being anywhere near that “type” of player.
But I must be smart. It’s my nature.
Also… I’m just about positive McGrath will not reach the heights of GAJ. And it has nothing to do with his tackle-breaking abilities, but more to do with the simple fact that hardly anyone ever will. Not difficult to make that bet. Doesn’t take a genius. Doesn’t even take a smarty.
Not that I’m saying Canada can end up like GAJ, but did GAJ at 19 look like he was going to become prime GAJ?
No but you could see he had freakish evasive skills and X-factor as a small forward. McGrath will be a ball magnet kill you with a 1000 cuts kind of player (or whatever the saying is). Can’t see him ever being someone who will rip a game apart in 5-10mins. Doesn’t mean he can’t be elite.
McGrath has amazing evasion and side step and he is incredibly quick in the first few metres. Also has amazing vision and awareness.
I see no reason why he cannot be a match winner, where he breaks a game open in a short burst. He has shown some signs he is capable.
He will not be a breaking tackles beast, but who cares.
Nowhere near the evasive skills as the other mids I mentioned at the same age. Hence why I don’t think he can be an Ablett style player. Outside Ablett yes…Inside win-ball break-tackle burst-from-stoppage goal-from-50 Ablett no. Just doesn’t have the X-factor. Will be a consistently terrific midfielder over a long time for us though.
McGrath has scope to be anything. Good thing is, his skill set is unique to him. Gets ball in traffic. Lightening fast reflex and release. Change of direction with 1 step - changes the flow of play as a result. Defensively outstanding. Fast. Versatile. Good decision maker with and without ball in hand. Not worried about the length of his kicking. Being the pro he is, I expect that to improve too.