Sam Walsh “overtook” Patrick Cripps as Carlton Tagging target # 1, says former Kangaroo great David King.
Walsh was sent off in 21 rebounds to center in the Blues’ season opener against Richmond, more than in his first two seasons, according to King.
His display against the reigning prime ministers convinced King that the former No.1 pick has already become Carlton’s main offensive threat; a rounder player than the sturdy Cripps.
“Sam Walsh, to me, became the # 1 player to be tagged at Carlton. He went straight past Paddy Cripps,” King said on AFL 360.
“Because of the damage he brings to the game, his creativity, his use of the ball. The threat of using run-and-carry.
“And he’s going into center rebounds now – he’s been there 21 times on the weekend; last year he was there for eight in total for the season, 11 the year before.
“And we see just what he can do – so creative. Over 30 eliminations, he’s only done it five times in his previous 40 games.
“So he’s made some giant strides in this preseason period and I just think now the next step is to become a very damaging center forward, not just to get the ball back.”
Although scoring has gone out of fashion, King believes he could come back due to the AFL rule changes that speed up and open the game. The teams have managed to get the ball from their 50 defense to 50 ahead of an attempt on three in the first round, compared to one in five attempts in the past four seasons.
“I think it’s okay [lead to more tagging]given that we’re all waiting to see who’s going to blink first in the coaching department, ”King said.
“If they didn’t tag Dustin Martin, why would they tag Sam Walsh, but that’s the discussion, isn’t it?” I think a team tag – if it’s near you, you take it, you stay diligent.
“But now that he’s going to the center of the rebounds, his whole game has changed, so Sam Walsh’s reach in 2021 is now huge.”
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