It is a question that so many AFL fans can’t seem to answer. Why is Daniel Menzel currently without a club for season 2019?
It is the opinion of this Mongrel Punter that as a forward, Menzel’s first objective is to kick goals. Everything else is secondary. So how can a player that has booted 104 goals from 52 games be delisted? The answer lies in Menzel’s inability to apply enough pressure, if any at all. An average of 1.1 tackles per match is certainly not good enough in the modern game. But shouldn’t that be cancelled out by his goal sense and x-factor? Doesn't he have more to add?
I’m not going to try to answer why Menzel was delisted; instead I’ll look at each club, and whether or not each team should consider throwing him a lifeline.
Adelaide. The Crows should absolutely be considering picking up Menzel. He hails from SA, and is a perfect short term replacement for the departed Mitch McGovern. Recruits Stengle and McAdam aren’t in their best 22, and their once terrifying forward six needs another string to its bow. What better way to stick it to your cross town nemesis than by grabbing a player of Menzel’s obvious talent!
Brisbane. Cam Rayner will be a superstar. But he’s not there yet. As evidenced by his around the body snap against North Melbourne, Rayner has not yet fully developed the game awareness he needs to push himself into the upper echelon of footballers. A player of Menzel’s capabilities will help in that regard, and take the pressure of Rayner to be great before his time.
Carlton. This may surprise some of you, but I don’t think the Blues need Menzel. Carlton’s main focus should be time, and yes, even more patience. The green shoots of Curnow, McKay, McGovern, Petrevski-Seton and Polson are there - what they need is time to grow together. In addition, Alex Fasolo, a similar player to Menzel, has already found his way to Princes Park. So the Blues are out.
Collingwood. Cox. Mihocek. De Goey. Thomas. Hoskin-Elliott. Stephenson. Varcoe. Enough said. Menzel isn’t needed here.
Essendon. My biggest criticism of Jake Stringer is his inconsistency. Even with his immense talent, he just can’t put it all together for a full season. So if the Bombers already have to deal with that, a player of Menzel’s similar talent but inconsistency would be hard to handle.
Fremantle. Before the trade period, the answer would’ve been 100% yes. But since acquiring Hogan, Lobb and Colyer, I’m not sure if the Dockers need Menzel either. By the time Fremantle is ready to challenge again, Menzel will likely be retired.
Geelong. If the Cats were going to delist Menzel and re-rookie him, they would’ve said so.
Gold Coast. This team is crying out for a goal kicker of Menzel’s talent. For all they’ve lost, the Suns should be offering a two year deal at least. They look devoid of any kind of goal kicking power and Alex Sexton is not ready to carry the load up forward alone.
Greater Western Sydney. Aside from the development of Harrison Himmelberg at the Giants, it seems to be Cameron or nothing. Only 4 GWS players kicked over 20 goals. If the Giants still believe they’re capable of challenging for the flag in the next 2 years, they should be adding Menzel to their books. He’ll certainly come cheaply too, which seems to be the pressing concern for them currently.
Hawthorn. The Hawks have an excellent track record of fixing perennially injured players. It could be argued that Menzel’s injury troubles are behind him, but nevertheless the Hawks would be a great place for Menzel to land. The genius of Al Clarkson could tweak Menzel’s game slightly, and what better way to one up their ultimate rival by getting the best out of a player the Cats couldn’t?
Melbourne. It’s easy to say a spot is open with Jesse Hogan’s departure, but Sam Weideman is the heir to that throne. Melbourne have too much talent languishing at VFL level for it to be worth their while to pick up Menzel.
North Melbourne. Captain Jack Ziebell already fills the spot Menzel would occupy. A fit Mason Wood is the leaping forward capable of 35-40 goals. This leads me to say no.
Port Adelaide. X-Factor and class from Wingard is gone. Port is in need of another match winner capable of changing games off his own boot. Do they also want to risk their SA rival snapping him up?
Richmond. Simply put, Richmond’s pressure cooker game obviously doesn’t suit Menzel. If Townsend can’t get a gig in this forward line, Menzel isn’t getting in either.
St Kilda. Only 4 players got past 15 goals this season. Whereas Carlton have a bunch of young guns that need time to come along together, the Saints don’t have the obvious group of talent. At 27, Menzel’s best is probably just slightly behind him, but Alan Richardson could use his talents forward of the ball.
Sydney. Buddy needs help. He can’t keep dragging Sydney across the line without assistance inside 50. A 40 goal season from Menzel relieves the pressure on Franklin, but also releases the shackles on young guns Ronke, McCartin and Hayward.
West Coast. LeCras out. Menzel in. They’re playing for now, and with Mark LeCras retiring, what better replacement than Menzel?
Western Bulldogs. First year player Billy Gowers was the Bulldogs leading goal kicker in 2018, with 26 goals. Menzel kicked 27 from 7 less games. That stat alone should tell you the Bulldogs are one of the 5 clubs that should be offering a contract to Menzel.
All that said, this would be my top five teams that should be chasing Dan Menzel for 2019.
1. Gold Coast
2. Western Bulldogs
4. Greater Western Sydney
5. Adelaide/Port Adelaide
What do you think? Does Dan Menzel deserve another crack at the big time? Or has the pressure game gone past him?
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