Todd Goldstein just keeps on keeping on, with the veteran ruck adding and developing new elements to his craft with every passing week.
This may be expected of a young player, but the way in which Goldstein continues to improve 264 games into his decorated career is nothing short of astounding.
‘Goldy’ was one of the first rucks of his type early in his career, a dangerous and effective influence around the ground rather than just the big lumbering man in the middle – a trend that’s been copied AFL-wide.
The evolution of Goldstein’s game this season is clear, with the inclusion of a second ruck allowing him to spend more time forward and impact contests all over the ground, with the 2015 best and fairest winner often taking a leadership role in a young forward line.
He’s increased his marks and goals per game from 2020 (3.3 and 0.5 respectively) and even though he’s spending more time forward in 2021, he still ranks seventh in the AFL for total hitouts this season.
Goldstein wound back the clock against Brisbane on Saturday though, dominating a quality opponent in Oscar McInerney, winning the hitout count 53-33 to offer his midfield counterparts first use of the football.
Jy Simpkin was the main benefactor of Goldstein’s subtle tap-work, winning 9 clearances and 17 contested possessions, amongst his 31 disposals.
Like much of North’s list, Goldstein has been steadily improving this season, and David Noble says his strong run of form before the bye has positioned him well for the remainder of the season.
“His (Goldstein’s) last two weeks have been really good … even before the bye I thought he was pretty good in the Saints game,” Noble said.
“Our first possession to clearance numbers are pretty good and it’s no doubt a result of him getting his hands on the ball first.
“His ability to keep giving us first use of the ball … he did a great job.”