A couple of troubadours at one time wondered where Joe DiMaggio had gone, but if they were to update the song, it might be to ask Reilly O’Brien where he had been.
As the backup ruck for the Adelaide Crows, he has been limited since 2016. He made the senior side for Adelaide in Round 3 of the Toyota 2019 AFL Premiership competition when the veteran Sam Jacobs went out with a knee injury in Round 2.
O’Brien is making the most of his new lease and is currently in the league’s top-10 in hit outs and marks per game in the current season.
Nothing finds favour faster than a rucker who takes marks.
He is just 23, so he has plenty of fuel in his tank and he was instrumental in Round 7 in the narrow win by the Crows over the Fremantle Dockers. He collected figures of 22 disposals, five marks and 44 hitouts in the game to be seen as one of the best players on the Adelaide Oval. Those who had turned out to see some points scored must have went home disappointed, as the 51 – 34 win by the Crows was not exactly a scoring extravaganza by any imagination and the two clubs combined for 26 points in the first half.
In the NFL, they say that offense wins games, but defense wins championships, but if that philosophy had any impact on the Adelaide/Freo game, someone should have informed the players that there was no championship on the line.
O’Reilly will face a test when the Crows play the Power Saturday night.
Port has been using the tactic of tagging solo flyers this season with a combination of Scott Lycett and Paddy Ryder. They held the Dee’s Max Gawn down in Round 1 and they will be looking to take advantage of O’Reilly relative lack of experience when the battle of Adelaide bounces.