Who’s the best in the land?
There has been a shuffling of the card deck in the MPO division in Australia in the last couple of years. Some have been developing their games in isolation, some have gained overseas experience while others have switched in from Ultimate and brought their advanced throwing skills with them. So, coming into the business end of the ADG tour we are all wondering ‘who is the best MPO player in the land?’ Well, we are about to find out. Over the next couple of months, most of the MPO players who have been ‘in the conversation’ for this title, will be teeing off against each other in the NSW Open in Molong, The Eruption in Mount Gambier and the Australian Disc Golf Championships in the Sunshine Coast.
Here’s some of our contenders.
If Bayney continues at the same rate of improvement as the last couple of years, where he’s gone from novice, to MPO and then solid international performances, then it’s game over. But it’s called an improvement curve, not an improvement line, for a reason, and maybe he’s coming to the shallower part of his. Nevertheless, it’s been a wild ride for the former Ulti player from Brisbane: after finishing second in the Sizzler and the Aussie Champs, he won the Vic Open, the Yeronga memorial and the Pine Rivers Open before jumping on a plane to play the European Open, the WFDF team Worlds, The Estonian Open and the Pro Worlds. After all that tough competition and experience he’ll be battle hardened and carved out of wood. He’ll be in Molong, The Volcano and at the Sunny Coast as well as playing the lead-up, River City Ruckus in Queensland.
Our reigning national champ has put together an impressive year with six wins, one of those being the big enchilada. He is also yet to get his feet dirty come the time to stand on podiums. Dylan is another one whose game is still in its growth phase so even in the six-month time lapse since the February nationals he will quite likely have improved. He’ll be playing the NSW Open, The Eruption and the Nationals.
It’s been a quiet couple of years for the three times Aussie and one time New Zealand champ. Covid, a growing professional career and becoming a dad have taken his focus off the game slightly, as has an elbow injury that has restricted his ability to throw forehand shots. He had an uncharacteristic 18th placing in the February Nationals that must have had him asking the other guys on the 5th card ‘so what you all talk about back here anyway?’ His showing in Inverleigh no doubt had something to do with him being a TD of the big show as well. But Patty has still had a pretty solid year with a second place in the Two Heads, a win in Mt Baw Baw, fourth in the Vic Open and second in the South Aussie Open. He’s signed up for The NSW Open, The Eruption and the Nationals and it seems that elbow is starting to feel a little better. It’ll need to be if he wants to shut down this revolution in Aussie MPO.
The little kid from Perth is not so little anymore and has dominated the scene on his side of the land, only stepping off the podium recently at the Alex Rebooted tournament. He won the big one, the Perth Open over a strong local MPO field and had other wins in the Mundilorian and the Hermit Kingdom Open. He won the Eruption last year and is returning to the volcano in October as well as heading out to Molong earlier that month, plus he’ll be in the Sunshine Coast in November.
After third in the Aussie Champs and fifth at the Vic Open, the Victorian peeled off four wins before jumping on the plane to Estonia and doing Australia proud at the WFDF Team Worlds. Top level match play competition steels the mind like nothing else so, like all players who have returned from overseas, expect the David Perry who has returned home to be a much tougher competitor than the one who left. He’ll be in Molong, at the Eruption and in the Sunshine Coast in November.
Jordy’s been quiet lately. He’s left the US tour van life and is carving a different path with disc golf no longer on the centre screen. The lefty has only played 4 tournaments with year with a win at the Red Tail Open early on, a forgettable performance at the Fantasy Park Open, a win at the Rob Hancock Memorial and finishing second to Blake Houston in his only ADG major for the year, the Perth Open. But taking the time off work and travelling to the Sunshine Coast isn’t a small commitment from WA, so we can expect a well prepared and switched-on Jody at Tunnel Ridge ranch for the nationals. He’s a seasoned, experienced pro who with plenty of lead card experience in the ADGC.
Chilly is focussing just on the Nationals at this end of the year and has competed sparingly over the last couple of years. But he’s another one that will have come back from the WFDF Team World forever changed by the experience and, on his day, can match it with anyone. He’s had 8 wins in two years that have included one win and one podium in majors. He’s also had a recent win at the Dubbo Charge.
From the ACT, Jade Brady has had a solid competitive year and some big showings in the big events. He followed up a tope 10 place at the February Nationals with a close second at the Vic Open with a host of other podium finishes and wins in the Jesmond Jam and the Queensland Open in Townsville. He was still a but of an unknown at the Vic Open but nobody is saying ‘who the hell is Jade Brady?’ anymore.
The recently crowned King of Salisbury is another who played some international disc golf this year and come back with a hard stare minus a few rough edges knocked off his game. Tim has played a lot this year, including the Am worlds and the Am USDGC, he’s only had to slum it with the great unwashed off the podium five times out of 16 events played. Plus, for those of you who like to use recent form as a guide when you are making your predictions, his highness has just won three tournaments in a row.
After winning his home major, The Sizzler, in the ACT in February, Austin has out together a solid year, with three podium finishes, top ten placings in the February Nationals and the Vic Open and rounded it out with a win at the WGE Sydney event. He’ll be in Molong, at the volcano and in the Sunshine Coast this year, plus is heading over for the NZ championships in March next year. That’s not the schedule of someone who’s indifferent about his performances and, after only his second year in MPO, Austin is another player in the steep part of his improvement curve.
Another one of our Sugar Gliders, the Aussie Disc Golf Team that did so well at the WFDF Team Worlds, Aaron Moreton had deepened his connection and commitment to the game in the lead up to competing in Estonia and will no doubt have been made a better player for the experience. He’s saving himself for the Nationals in November though, so we won’t get a read on his form until then.