Quiet day for Thurlow in return

JACKSON Thurlow's first game of 2014 was similar to the first of his career in 2013 in that it was a top-of-table blockbuster played in front of a crowd around 50,000.

Jackson Thurlow. Picture: GETTY IMAGES

Jackson Thurlow. Picture: GETTY IMAGES

But for the running defender from Launceston, that's where the similarities unfortunately ended.

The 20-year-old on Sunday night had his first outing of the season in Geelong's loss to Port Adelaide after a preseason interrupted by hip surgery, replacing fellow defender Andrew Mackie.

Unlike his 17 disposal (including 13 in the first-half) effort against Essendon in round 7 last season, Thurlow could manage just 10 touches this time around.

The 16th selection in the 2012 national draft had roles across half-back on players such as Hamish Hartlett and Matt White, with six of his touches uncontested, a disposal efficiency rate of 60 per cent and two score involvements.

Teammate George Burbury, of Hobart, was particularly lively up front for the Cats in the first half, when he had seven of his 10 disposals.

Burbury ended up applying 20 pressure acts (which included six tackles), having one goal assist and three score involvements.

Clarence's Jack Riewoldt kicked 2.3 for Richmond (out of 7.10) as the Tigers crashed to the Hawks, with one goal assist and eight score involvements in his battle with Josh Gibson.

Riewoldt also took six marks and laid two tackles.

Devonport's Grant Birchall was his reliable self across half-back for the reigning premier, running off Sam Lloyd to collect 26 disposals (22 uncontested) and four score involvements.

But he did feel the pressure slightly, with his disposal efficiency rate of 73 per cent lower than his usual high standards.

On the Gold Coast, the man who has been heavily compared to Birchall, Launceston's Kade Kolodjashnij, continued his classy start to AFL life with a strong showing against Greater Western Sydney.

Playing on Devon Smith, Kolodjashnij collected 20 disposals at the elite disposal efficiency rate of 80 per cent, with 15 of his touches uncontested and he also had four scoring involvements.

Kolodjashnij is averaging 20 touches a game in his first five outings.

Teammates Luke Russell, of Burnie, played forward and had Adam Kennedy as an opponent, collecting 15 disposals, kicking 0.1, laying four tackles and applying 19 pressure acts, while Hobart's Aaron Hall kicked 2.2, had three goal assists and nine score involvements on Zac Williams.

Lauderdale's Mitch Robinson made it at least 20 touches in each of his four games this season with solid performance in Carlton's win over West Coast.

The hard-at-it Robinson, playing a midfield and forward role, and was surprisingly efficient, hitting the target 80 per cent of the time, in his first game back from knee issues.

Evandale's Nathan Grima had an intriguing battle with Matthew Pavlich in North Melbourne's upset win over Fremantle.

Forced to take the responsibility of stopping the Freo skipper with Scott Thompson suspended, Grima can hold his head high after collecting 21 disposals at 86 per cent disposal efficiency, while Pavlich kicked just 2.1, but did have 20 touches.

In Melbourne's loss to Sydney, Dodges Ferry's Jeremy Howe could manage just the eight disposals, six marks and five tackles, but he did find time to take a trademark speccie.

Liam Jones, of West Moonah, has seen his early season good form evaporate after being held goal-less for the second week in a row.

Clarence's Josh Green had 14 disposals and kicked 1.2 for Brisbane in its win over St Kilda in Wellington, while Glenorchy's Jimmy Webster also had 14 touches for the Saints.

 Webster's teammate Eli Templeton, of Burnie, faces up to three months on the sidelines after breaking his left arm just above the elbow in a tackle early in that match.


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