Great white hope: Demons finally have hero in Hogan
JESSE Hogan has been delivering on all fronts for Melbourne this season.
Take for instance the line he apparently fired back at Bulldogs skipper Robert Murphy during their teams' clash at Docklands a few weeks back.
The story goes, while the big lump of a lad was lining up for goal in just his seventh game, the veteran Dog couldn't help but try to get into his ear, saying: "You can't miss this, you're Melbourne's great white hope."
Full of poise, Hogan's response was precise, kicking truly and then adding "and there's your great white hope" as he pointed to the Bulldogs bench where Tom Boyd sat.
The 195cm Hogan finished the game with 21 disposals and three goals ... 200cm Boyd with one solitary handpass, which ended up in opposition hands, and one proverbial kick up the backside.
Some 'great white hopes' just take a little longer to turn potential into performance ... if at all.
Melbourne's had a few but this one looks the goods.
After being picked up in the 2012 mini-draft for 17-year-olds, which also saw Gold Coast select Jack Martin, the West Australian won a best and fairest with Melbourne VFL affiliate Casey in 2013, aged 18, before being sidelined throughout 2014 with a foot injury.
After a career-best five goals in the Demons' narrow loss to St Kilda last week, he has now slotted 22.8 in his debut season, and taken 24 contested marks, ranking him behind only Travis Cloke (28) and Nat Fyfe (26).
While Melbourne is exactly where it was on the ladder this time last season - 15th with a 3-8 win-loss record - you can be sure the optimism among the Demons' faithful is a hell of a lot higher, thanks largely to a 20-year-old.
And that's all fans of struggling teams can ask for, that their side is heading in the right direction ... generally towards a big marking forward.
With the utmost respect to Tom McDonald, 22, who looks every bit an All-Australian fullback, more memberships will be sold on the back of Hogan crashing packs like Wayne Carey or Jonathan Brown, than McDonald executing a spoil.
Despite being the punchline in the Murphy-Hogan exchange, the 200cm Boyd, who was traded to the kennel with much fanfare from GWS - and a multi-million dollar contract - still offers the Bulldogs great hope, alongside Marcus Bontempelli and Jake Stringer.
The Giants still have Jeremy Cameron and now Cameron McCarthy, while 2014 No.1 draft pick Paddy McCartin and Josh Bruce are leaving St Kilda supporters confident of life after Nick Riewoldt.
Brisbane fans are hoping Jono Freeman and Daniel McStay can become their go-to guys over the next decade, while Gold Coast has Tom Lynch and Peter Wright, even if Charlie Dixon succumbs to wining and dining by rival clubs.
Carlton is the concern. The Blues have big midfield unit Patrick Cripps, but no beacon up forward.
GREAT AND NOT-SO GREAT WHITE HOPES
KEY FORWARDS SELECTED WITH HIGH DRAFT PICKS SINCE 2000
Nick Riewoldt (SK) (2000 Draft #1) 288 games
Jarryd Roughead (HAW) (2004 Draft #2) 217 games
Lance Franklin (HAW/SYD) (2004 Draft #5) 215 games
Travis Cloke (COLL) (2004 Draft F/S) 227 games
Tom Hawkins (GEEL) (2006 Draft F/S) 156 games
Josh Kennedy (WC) (Trade from Carl 2007) 151 games
Michael Hurley (ESS)* (2008 Draft #5) 111 games
*Now playing defence
Matthew Kreuzer (CARL) (2007 Draft #1) 107 games
Jack Watts (MELB) (2008 Draft #1) 105 games
Andrew McDougall (WC) (2000 Draft #5) 43 games
Luke Molan (MELB) 2001 Draft #9) 0 Games
Tim Walsh (WB) (2002 Draft #4) 1 game
Llane Spaanderman (BL) (2003 Draft #18) 3 games
Fergus Watts (ADEL/STK) (2003 Draft #14) 6 games
Beau Dowler (HAW) (2005 Draft #6) 16 games
Cleve Hughes (RICH) (2005 Draft #24) 16 games
Mitch Thorp (HAW) (2006 Draft #6) 2 games
Scott Gumbleton (ESS) (2006 Draft #2) 35 games