Mason Makes His Mark
Friday, February 26 2016 @ 10:55 pm ACDT
Contributed by: Wesley Hull
A huge performance by Collingwood’s American forward, Mason Cox, has Magpie fans salivating and commentators speculating that he should be a certainty to line up in the team’s Round One match. His NAB Challenge performance against Geelong tonight saw him with seven possessions, four marks, including two excellent contested marks, and topped off with two goals.
What the statistics don’t tell you is how much of an absolute menace Cox was in the Collingwood forward Line. His ability to bust open packs with big leaps led directly to two more goals, and his hulking 211cm and 110kg frame put shivers through the cats’ defence. Even more impressive was that Cox spent much of the game matched up against premiership Cat, Harry Taylor.
Cox debuted at the NAB Challenge in 2015 as a genuine rookie – barely having learned the skills of the game. But his journey since recruitment has been astounding, and tonight’s effort was just reward for his dedication and determination.
Cox is the first of the international contingent to be on display in this weekend’s rounds of the NAB Challenge. Carlton will potentially have three internationals in their clash against Essendon on Sunday with Irish duo, Ciaran Byrne and Zach Tuohy selected, as well as another American import, Matt Korchek. Whilst the final run on team is yet to be finalised, all are in the initial squad. It would be an amazing journey for Korchek also should he make the cut. It is his second season linked to the Blues, after having come from a college basketball background in Arizona with the Wildcats. At 208cm, Korchek is also a huge player who may be used in a similar way to Cox at Collingwood.
Richmond has named star Sudanese rookie, Mabior Chol, for his second game when he plays against Hawthorn. After an exciting debut last weekend for the Tigers, Chol may again have a chance to shine. Oleg Markov, born in Belorus, is also on the Tigers’ list for the match. Hawthorn has also named New Zealand prospect, Shem Kalvin-Tatupu. Cut from last weekend’s final list, Tatupu is a highly likely starter this time. His New Zealand team mate, Kurt Heatherley, will sit out this game.