WITH just half a game in the VFL under his belt since round 8, Nathan Grima’s quest to get some miles in his legs before this year’s finals series went up a gear when he returned to the AFL on Saturday.
The 29-year-old, who had been sidelined due to a foot problem since round 8, slipped seemingly back into North Melbourne’s back-half, collecting 17 disposals at 82.4 per cent disposal efficiency and taking nine marks while playing on GWS’ Tom Boyd and having four score involvements.
Teammate Ben Brown, of Devonport, provided a presence in attack for the Roos, kicking 2.0 from six marks and eight possessions, with four score involvements, on Lachie Plowman.
Like Grima, Launceston’s Kade Kolodjasnij was back on the park after an injury-enforced break (due to hamstring issues), and finished as one of Gold Coast’s best with 20 disposals, eight marks at 75 per cent disposal efficiency and three score involvements,
Launceston’s Jesse Lonergan started in the middle and had the challenge of playing on Chris Judd (who had 27 disposals and kicked 2.0).
Lonergan finished with 11 possessions and laid an impressive seven tackles.
Hobart’s Aaron Hall kicked 1.0 and had four score involvements from 10 possessions.
Devonport’s Grant Birchall was at his sublime best in Hawthorn’s win over Melbourne, collecting 26 possessions at 80.8 per cent disposal efficiency with nine marks and seven score involvements.
Dodges Ferry’s Jeremy Howe, playing on the taller David Hale, was solid with 20 disposals and seven marks, while Wynyard’s Colin Garland (11 touches, five marks and four tackles) spent time on Ryan Schoenmakers.
Clarence’s Josh Green was lively at times in Brisbane’s big loss to Adelaide, kicking 2.0 from 13 disposals with Luke Brown as his opponent , while Glenorchy’s Ryan Harwood finished with 17 disposals.
North Hobart’s Sam Darley sealed the deal for the Western Bulldogs with a late goal in its win over St Kilda.
He played a defensive role on Jack Billings, finishing with 17 touches and had six score involvements.
Maverick Weller, of Burnie, tagged Bulldogs skipper Ryan Griffin, breaking even with a 19-possession game to Griifin’s 20.
On Friday night, Clarence’s Jack Riewoldt had an intriguing battle with Cale Hooker as Richmond upset Essendon.
While Riewoldt only kicked 2.3, he had 11 score involvements. took nine marks, collected 15 possesions and kicked a vital goal in the final term just as the Bombers were gaining some momentum.