Otten Not Forgotten
OTTEN NOT FORGOTTEN
With all the hyperbole about the Walkers, the Betts, the Sloanes, the Lairds and the Crouches many of the lesser known players of the flag favourites have also lifted their game a notch or two to lift the team to their exalted position at the moment.
One such player is Andy Otten (not to be confused with the plural who cost the Cats a flag with his selfish play in 2008) a forgotten player amongst the galaxy of Stars in the Crows murder. With a tad over 80 games since 2008 he has been a lost soul in recent years.
The former runner-up in the NAB Rising Star (2008) the talented utility has had a wretched run with injuries culminating with knee injuries that kept his out of top football for nearly all of seasons 2015 and 2016.
Three knee reconstructions later he has returned to senior football and is fast becoming the jack-of-all-trades in the talented lineup. Filling holes for coach Pyke in a variety of positions.
Starting the year in the back half his lumbering walk and run belighs his ability to be in the right place and the right time where his ability to take the front position and either mark or push the ball to team mate. One must also mention his big backside which also looks out of character with a top footballer. On top if this he has a sound football brain. Watching him closely the last two weeks he also does a lot of unheralded bullocking work.
With the injury to Josh Jenkins he has been switched forward to relieve Jacobs in the ruck and to be a marking forward. Without starring he has done the job admirably and kicked goals as well.
One wonders what his position will be when Jenkins returns.
Be that as it may it has been a great return for a player who looked like his career was over in 2015-16 and one that deserves the plaudits of friend and foe alike.
Coach Pyke is reluctant to change a winning combination and in the four matches so far changes have been minimal. His philosophy must be that winning form is good form so why change.
When you look at the makeup of the Crows this year very little has changed in regard to personnel the main factor being is that the lesser lights have got better. Players such as the Atkins, Camerons, Kellys, Hamptons have lifted their games which in return has lifted the team. It is hard to see veteran champion Scott Thompson regaining his spot in the team and what about the other Crouch Brad?
The Crows certainly are flying as one this year.
As I predicted at the start of the season they will be hard to beat for the flag. The only provision I have is that Sam Jacobs will need to be monitored every week so that he is not “done” before the finals commence.