Geelong should take the nuclear option for Matt Rowell and put Brownlow Medallist Patrick Dangerfield on the Gold Coast phenom immediately.
That’s the call from AFL great Kane Cornes, who reckons it will not only give the Cats a crack at nullifying the Suns’ No.1 pick on Saturday but also at lifting their flagging mentality.
At 2-2 for the season after beating Melbourne by just three points last round, Geelong will need to improve when they host Gold Coast (3-1) at GMHBA Stadium.
“I’d go and put Dangerfield on him,” Cornes said on Footy Classified.
“I’ve seen Dangerfield play on [Nat] Fyfe I think for strength-wise and I think Patrick Dangerfield would take it as a challenge to say, ‘Look, you’re going OK young fella but this is how footy is played’.
“I’d like to see Dangerfield go with more defensive attitude, and what that can do for the rest of your group and your [collective] attitude if Dangerfield’s prepared to sacrifice could be huge for the Cats.”
Rowell, 18, has been absolutely sensational thus far in his first season. He just became the first player since Sydney’s Josh Kennedy to poll a perfect 10 votes in three consecutive matches in the AFL Coaches Association player of the year award and sits second in the standings; just one vote behind Brisbane’s Lachie Neale.
With Rowell powering Gold Coast to second on the ladder after the season resumption, Geelong coach Chris Scott admitted that he’ll warrant close attention.
“Someone has to go to him,” Scott told AFL 360.
“He’s just an outstanding young talent. They tend to be though, pick ones, don’t they?
“I don’t mind the look of pick two either, (Noah) Anderson. They’ve got some high level talent and are playing a really good brand of footy at the moment.”
Rowell is suddenly a Brownlow fancy, having possibly notched nine votes in the past three games. He will take on Geelong champion Joel Selwood for the first time on Saturday.
The Cats skipper, who will play his 300th game, has already expressed his admiration for the red-headed Sun. With Rowell leading the AFL for hard ball gets, Scott sees similarities between the young bull and Selwood.
“Joel Selwood was the player that springs to mind, Chris Judd maybe, the first time I’ve seen a first-year player that’s played to that sort of level,” Scott said.
“Maybe there’s some symmetry in Matt coming down to play in Joel’s 300th.”
Rowell seems a shoo-in for the Rising Star Award at season’s end, if not greater honours.
He has said that he is committed to staying long-term at the Suns, in a massive bid to an expansion franchise that has struggled since its inception despite massive draft concessions from the AFL.