Going Global – Aussie punter is a CFL All-Star
The CFL has announced the 2021 East and West Division All-Stars. The Winnipeg Blue Bombers lead all teams with 15 All-Star selections. But of course we still await the announcement of the 2021 CFL All-Stars and to see who will be this season’s MOP.
Grace was one of four Aussie punters taken in the first round of the 2021 CFL Global Draft. He certainly deserves his All-Star award. This season he had 78 kicks covering 3,550 yards, with a 45.6 yard average. His 3,240 net yards equated to a league leading 41.5 yards too. The fact that he has no singles to his name may be less of a reflection on leg strength than it is on his ability to make directional kicks.
This makes Grace an excellent quiz question when it comes to CFL Global players. “Who was the first CFL Global player to be elected an All-star?” Which can now sit alongside, the first Global player to score a point in the CFL – which was Mexican kicker Gabriel Amavizca Ortiz who slotted over an extra point in Week 2 of the 2019 CFL season. Or which CFL Global player made the hit of the 2019 Grey Cup? – European favourite Thiadric Hansen.
Countering the doubts about the Global initiative
From the very beginnings of this initiative there have been some doubters. Because people wondered if players would be more than glorified clipboard holders. But these things take time. A lost season did not help the initiative either.
But having the first Global All-Star is a big step forward in legitimizing the concept. You might argue the the league has been taking a punt on this scheme to try and spread its brand. More things like this that highlight success can only be a good thing when it comes to that.
One thing the CFL set out to do with the global draft was increase the quality of players considered from year one to year two of drafting. That one would make an All-Star is perhaps a reflection of success in that area.
From a personal perspective, and as an avowed lover of all things special teams, it is great to see players making a mark in this area.
There was some humour when a few punters were drafted early on in the 2021 Global Draft but I’m sure the Stampeders front office have smiles on their faces about this one.
Now I wonder if we could see a Brit start to make a name for themselves in the future? Only time will tell of course, but, as ever, it will be fun to see it all play out.
Banner Image: Stamps global punter Cody Grace. Image from Jean lefebvre