Rucks vital in Dockers-Demons clash
The most improved ruckman in the AFL will go head-to-head with the biggest and best when Melbourne travel to Subiaco to take on Fremantle on Sunday.
Demons coach Dean Bailey says the prospect of taking on the Dockers’ two-time All-Australian Aaron Sandilands will be a “great challenge” for Mark Jamar, who has taken giant strides forward in his eighth season.
“Obviously, his (Sandilands’) clearances are great,” Bailey said on Thursday ahead of the clash between fourth-placed Fremantle and 11th-ranked Melbourne.
“I think his palming of the footy has certainly improved significantly and he’s become a massive weapon for them, so it’s going to be a significant factor in the sense of who can win that hit.
“Can we shark Sandilands’ hit or can we make the most of the competitive effort that Mark puts in?
“It’ll be a a great contest.
“I think that with those two blokes at the end of the game, you’d like to think that their effectiveness from their hits is going to be a decisive factor.”
Bailey heaped further praise on Sandilands, 27, who has been widely tipped for a third All-Australian selection this year, although the Melbourne coach didn’t rule out Jamar’s chances of claiming the honour.
“I’ll leave the All-Australian selection up to whoever picks it, to be honest,” Bailey said.
“I think there’s probably a number of ruckmen that you can look at and I’m sure that Mark’s one of those players that the All-Australian committee would be looking at.
“But for me Sandilands is the guy who is out on front – I don’t think there would be too many people who would dismiss that.
“He’s had a fantastic year and he’s a terrific player. He seems to be getting better and better. What he’s been doing in the past couple of years and where he is now, he’s a great concern for all clubs that play against him.”