Official Thomas Hazelton

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I hope he wasn’t training to play at NSW Cup intensity - neither he nor Fitz should be happy with themselves if that was the case
Debuted the year before and Fifita (22 games) and Tolman (21 games) had just retired - plenty of games in the season to be fighting for
 
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I hope he wasn’t training to play at NSW Cup intensity - neither he nor Fitz should be happy with themselves if that was the case
Debuted the year before and Fifita (22 games) and Tolman (21 games) had just retired - plenty of games in the season to be fighting for
Not sure why he would have been if he was training with the first grade squad, which he was
 

Sparkles

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Hazelnut has shown so much promise in both attack and defence it's hard to believe he was meant to be our 2nd string backup forward at the beginning of the year. Big fella has the body of an impact forward with the motor/mindset of a workhorse he's been such a boon for us this season.

A really underrated part of his attack is his ability to isolate smaller guys especially on the oppositions goal line. A perfect example of this was his try against Bulldogs.

View attachment 29288
As Hazelton is running onto the ball he identifies that Mahoney and Okunbor are both turning inwards expecting to make initial contact with Waddell (on Mahoney's left) looking to wrap Hazelton's legs after initial contact is made

View attachment 29289
Hazelton runs into the defensive line but much to the Bulldogs surprise he actually throws a left foot step, isolating Mahoney in a 1 on 1 situation. Due to him bracing for first contact, Okunbor is now in a position where he can't immediately rush over to aid Mahoney make the tackle

View attachment 29290
Due to the massive size difference Hazelton comfortably muscles through the contact with Mahoney. Waddell now realises his job is no longer to wrap the legs but to make the initial tackle which he wasn't prepared for.

View attachment 29291
Since there's no longer anyone directly in front of him and no one could wrap his legs, he uses the fact he's built like a gazelle and carries both Mahoney and Waddell over the line with him.

This wasn't a one off thing either. In the very next game against the Dragons he put a step on and got Sloan in a 1 on 1 situation for another try. Even on Thursday against Cows he got his try due to some Brailey excellence which got Hazelton in another 1 on 1 situation with Dearden. His ability to identify the little guy in the defensive line and use footwork a big fella like him simply shouldn't have is surprisingly consistent. He has 5 line breaks this season (to put it into perspective AFB has the most line breaks of any prop at 8) and all of them have come off isolating guys significantly smaller than him and just putting the foot on the gas or throwing a step.

As for his defence can't really say anything that hasn't been said. He does all the little things perfectly and for a guy averaging only 23 minutes he has a lot of try savers/forced errors. I wish he was more willing to make the initial tackle and use his size cause he's a lot stronger than he seems to think. Pretty sure he also makes the most tackles of any player in the comp per minute as well (0.777 per minute was the exact number from memory) so at the very least statistically, he is the most involved defender in the entire comp in comparison to the minutes he plays.

His game isn't perfect and there's a lot of room for improvement but for a guy who spent the preseason training to play at the intensity of NSW Cup he's smashed everyones expectations. He's only gonna get better and hopefully he'll be a big part of this Sharkies outfit for years to come.
Very good mate. That all your work?
 

TrindallGoat

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Very good mate. That all your work?
Cheers lad yeah most of it is from me, though the tackles per minute is from a mate of mine who’s putting together a spreadsheet where he ranks every player in the comp based on tackle efficiency and tackles per minute. Been a huge fan of Hazelnut since his cup days so I like to overanalyse everything he does 😂
 

Sevshark

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Cheers lad yeah most of it is from me, though the tackles per minute is from a mate of mine who’s putting together a spreadsheet where he ranks every player in the comp based on tackle efficiency and tackles per minute. Been a huge fan of Hazelnut since his cup days so I like to overanalyse everything he does 😂

First day on the forum and he's going for the Super Moderator's throat
 

Sparkles

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Cheers lad yeah most of it is from me, though the tackles per minute is from a mate of mine who’s putting together a spreadsheet where he ranks every player in the comp based on tackle efficiency and tackles per minute. Been a huge fan of Hazelnut since his cup days so I like to overanalyse everything he does 😂
Nice one. Welcome aboard!
 

TrindallGoat

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I hope he wasn’t training to play at NSW Cup intensity - neither he nor Fitz should be happy with themselves if that was the case
Debuted the year before and Fifita (22 games) and Tolman (21 games) had just retired - plenty of games in the season to be fighting for
Yeah rereading my post I’m not sure why I worded it like that. Should’ve said he’s still adjusting to playing first grade in general.

His footwork and line running has translated beautifully from NSW Cup but his ability is to pump out big stints without looking tired and his willingness to put on big shots has (understandably) taken some time to begin to show itself.
 

BurgoShark

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Hazelnut has shown so much promise in both attack and defence it's hard to believe he was meant to be our 2nd string backup forward at the beginning of the year. Big fella has the body of an impact forward with the motor/mindset of a workhorse he's been such a boon for us this season.

A really underrated part of his attack is his ability to isolate smaller guys especially on the oppositions goal line. A perfect example of this was his try against Bulldogs.

View attachment 29288
As Hazelton is running onto the ball he identifies that Mahoney and Okunbor are both turning inwards expecting to make initial contact with Waddell (on Mahoney's left) looking to wrap Hazelton's legs after initial contact is made

View attachment 29289
Hazelton runs into the defensive line but much to the Bulldogs surprise he actually throws a left foot step, isolating Mahoney in a 1 on 1 situation. Due to him bracing for first contact, Okunbor is now in a position where he can't immediately rush over to aid Mahoney make the tackle

View attachment 29290
Due to the massive size difference Hazelton comfortably muscles through the contact with Mahoney. Waddell now realises his job is no longer to wrap the legs but to make the initial tackle which he wasn't prepared for.

View attachment 29291
Since there's no longer anyone directly in front of him and no one could wrap his legs, he uses the fact he's built like a gazelle and carries both Mahoney and Waddell over the line with him.

This wasn't a one off thing either. In the very next game against the Dragons he put a step on and got Sloan in a 1 on 1 situation for another try. Even on Thursday against Cows he got his try due to some Brailey excellence which got Hazelton in another 1 on 1 situation with Dearden. His ability to identify the little guy in the defensive line and use footwork a big fella like him simply shouldn't have is surprisingly consistent. He has 5 line breaks this season (to put it into perspective AFB has the most line breaks of any prop at 8) and all of them have come off isolating guys significantly smaller than him and just putting the foot on the gas or throwing a step.

As for his defence can't really say anything that hasn't been said. He does all the little things perfectly and for a guy averaging only 23 minutes he has a lot of try savers/forced errors. I wish he was more willing to make the initial tackle and use his size cause he's a lot stronger than he seems to think. Pretty sure he also makes the most tackles of any player in the comp per minute as well (0.777 per minute was the exact number from memory) so at the very least statistically, he is the most involved defender in the entire comp in comparison to the minutes he plays.

His game isn't perfect and there's a lot of room for improvement but for a guy who spent the preseason training to play at the intensity of NSW Cup he's smashed everyones expectations. He's only gonna get better and hopefully he'll be a big part of this Sharkies outfit for years to come.
Cheers for that. What you are describing there is someone running an “unders line”. Tom does it really well.

Should note too that a lot of these sort of plays come off passes from McInnes. He is doing some of the work in helping isolate defenders. I’d say it’s something they work on together.

I’ve done a lot of work ok tackles per minute adjusted for possession rate (tackles per minute of defence). Tom is 3rd on the Sharks after McInnes and Rudolf (see page 212 of the Tudolf thread). I reckon all 3 would be very high compared to the rest of the league.
 
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