ESSENDON veteran James Kelly has no doubt that defenders turned forwards Cale Hooker and Harry Taylor will become more and more valuable attacking options as the season progresses.
Kelly knows how good a defender Taylor is, having played alongside him in two premierships at the Cats and is watching Hooker's progress at the Bombers from close quarters as a teammate.
He said the moves of both were serving the greater good of the team, and in time the quality of the veteran defenders would shine through in the forward 50.
"If Harry and Cale are not there and not legitimate marking threats, everyone just gets in front of Joe (Daniher) and everyone just gets in front of Tom (Hawkins)," Kelly told AFL Exchange Podcast.
"It is about the whole balance of the team."
Hooker made some errors against Richmond on Saturday night, but he has kicked 16 goals in 10 games and proved a good foil for Daniher as he emerges as one of the most dangerous tall forwards in the game.
Taylor did not kick a goal against Port Adelaide after kicking five goals a week earlier against the Western Bulldogs and finished the game with just seven disposals, after a poke in the eye forced him from the ground during the last quarter.
Kelly backed them to play good football up forward in the remaining 12 games.
"Those guys are both smart guys," Kelly said.
"They will just continually get better. A midfielder who goes and plays at half back doesn't nail it in his first 6 weeks or 10 weeks. It takes time like anything."
Also on the AFL Exchange Podcast this week:
- Why James Kelly is in favour of bringing State of Origin back to the AFL
- Is the huge amount of comebacks this season are a trend or an anomaly?
- Do any of North Melbourne's youngster's have the potential to become superstars?
- Why Paddy McCartin could be on the same development path as Tom Hawkins', with James sharing his memories of a young 'Tomahawk'
- The weekly schedule of an AFL player