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Time ticking away for O'hAilpins

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Journalist Jake Niall has an interesting piece on the Real Footy website regarding Carlton's Irish O'hAilpin brothers. Niall discusses the players' futures with Carlton football operations manager, Stephen Icke. Whilst Icke plays down the angle that the Blues' patience is running out, Niall makes a persuasive argument that this author tends to reluctantly agree with.

Whilst we've long noted the achievements of Setanta (pictured leftmost) and Aisake, we've also questioned whether their conversion to first choice AFL footballers will be a success. General opinion amongst the football public has ranged from those Carlton faithful sure they will be champions, to sceptics who say they won't be around in 12 months. So how are their careers progressing?

As Niall points out, Setanta is now 25, with one year on his contract to go, after five seasons at the club. Aisake, at 22, may have more time to make the transition, but remains behind his brother. Both are amazing athletes (Aisake is listed as 201 cm, a questionably low 86 kg and and yet an impressive endurance athlete). Both have looked likely to fill ruck or key position places. But with a hurling background rather than elite Gaelic football, perhaps the change is too much.

Setanta has 36 senior AFL games to his credit, and still shows glimpses of enormous talent. But he has often been used in the ruck where, to be brutally honest, he struggles to win a tap. In defence he has had solid games on big name players, but other times struggles with body position and one on one tactics. His hands do not appear safe enough for a key forward role. If he is to establish himself as a 150 game player it looks like defence is most likely.

The truth is that Carlton's patience is borne of desperation given their poor playing stocks for many years. It's highly unlikely any other club would have persisted with Setanta. Aisake has yet to play a senior match of the Blues. The harsh reality is that each year AFL clubs will cut 5 to 10 players from their list. At the end of 2008, unless both Irishmen make gains - Setanta establishing a regular position and Aisake making at least a cameo appearance, the Carlton hierarchy will surely wonder whether there are still 5 or more other players that should be cut ahead of the brothers. Nevertheless, it is possible that they will continue into 2009. But without significant improvement, the hurling experiment may then come to an abrupt close. International footy fans will closely watch their every game and cheer them on in every contest - it's not too late for them to become first rate players at Carlton.

Niall's article is Trial and error. You can also vote in our poll in the right hand column.

Meanwhile Carlton's other Irish recruit, rookie Michael Shields, recently got his first set of wheels in Australia, with the assistance of a Carlton sponsor. See Peter Stevens helps Shields drive away.

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Time ticking away for O'hAilpins | 5 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
Time ticking away for O'hAilpins
Authored by: Troy Thompson on Monday, April 14 2008 @ 08:43 am ACST
Setanta Sports article that suggests that reports of the O'hAilipns demise are premature - here.
Time ticking away for O'hAilpins
Authored by: Brett Northey on Monday, April 14 2008 @ 04:16 pm ACST

Yes, but the quotes of denial are from the same article by Jake Niall, so not really a fresh rebuttal, and besides, clubs generally won't flag that a player is on their last chance so early in the year. Still, with reasonable form they would both be a good chance for 2009 - I for one hope so. Nice to see Setanta back in the team and getting to play in Carlton's first win after their long losing sequence - that can only help his form.

The Irish article has a related story at the side from late 2007, which I gather refers to Carlton as a "Canberra-based club". Of all the suggestions of mergers and relocations in recent years, I think we can safely assume the Blues will not be departing for Canberra!

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Brett Northey - Co-founder and Chief Editor of WFN

Time ticking away for O'hAilpins
Authored by: JMS on Tuesday, April 15 2008 @ 03:03 am ACST

I'd never suggest Setanta's another David Rodan, but some players just get shafted by bad coaching and turn out much better elsewhere. The best games I've seen Setanta play are at halfback, where he gets on his bike and runs the ball up the ground. Very few of his direct opponents (tall guys) can catch him, and at his size, moving fast, he's hard to tackle. But he still gets played in the ruck and up forward, where he just flat out sucks. Maybe, like Rodan, he's at the wrong club.

Time ticking away for O'hAilpins
Authored by: Troy Thompson on Tuesday, April 15 2008 @ 08:30 am ACST

Last night on Footy Classified Brett Ratten said that he will be using Setanta as a tall forward - and that he felt that was more Setanta's natural game and where he was more comfortable.

Time ticking away for O'hAilpins
Authored by: Brett Northey on Thursday, April 17 2008 @ 01:46 pm ACST

Interesting that so far about 70% of our poll respondents think one or both of the brothers will have good AFL careers.

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Brett Northey - Co-founder and Chief Editor of WFN