Category - Kristian’s Team Wraps (2011)
Adelaide, Brisbane, Carlton, Collingwood, Essendon, Fremantle, Geelong, Hawthorn, Melbourne, North Melbourne, Gold Coast, Port Adelaide, Richmond, St.Kilda, Sydney, West Coast
We’re into the last stretch now for finalising our Dream Teams for season 2011 and I’m pleased to say I’ve finally locked in my team bar a couple of rookie selections I’m waiting on! Planning has really given me a big head ache this year, trying to combat the byes, Gold Coast, and not sacrificing my point scoring just for the sake of having dual position players in my team but I’m extremely happy with the combination I’ve come up with, and I dare say it might raise a few eye brows.
The Western Bulldogs are the final team in my series of articles for this pre-season and although I’m extremely bullish about the Dog’s chances this season, I think early on, their Dream Team relevance is largely insignificant.
There are a lot of awkwardly priced players from the Bulldogs this season; they’re either too expensive for their potential output, they’re just not going to be in the top ten players in their respective position, or they just have major job security issues. The three players I’ll talk about shortly are probably the only exceptions in my opinion and even then I’m not quite sold on at least two of them.
The Bulldogs have bolstered up their depth significantly over the off-season with the additions of Patrick Veszpremi, Justin Sherman, Nathan Djerrkura and rookies Mitch Wallis and Tom Liberatore. While it’s great for the Doggies, this creates massive uncertainty about who is actually their 18th best player through to their 30th. There is a real competition for spots going on and I wouldn’t be gambling too much just yet, especially with their awkward shared bye with St.Kilda and Brisbane.
If I were a Doggies supporter I wouldn’t expect anything less than a Grand Final appearance this year, and I really think this season is the Bulldogs best chance yet.
I won’t lie; Ward is every chance to be in my Dream Team at lock out. He’s had an excellent pre-season, hitting the 80′s in all his NAB Challenge matches and playing right in the guts. He’s shown his a big time player with his performances in the finals last year and I have a feeling Rocket won’t forget that. Ward produced great numbers in the under 18′s as a 17 year old and he’s also proven his Dream Team worth in a few games in his short AFL career. He possesses a high tackle rate, a nice kick to handball ratio and he also takes an impressive amount of marks for a pure midfielder. With the new sub rule, Ward should see a great increase in game time as well as natural development that will assist him this year. Also the fact that he plays in a top four side makes him all the more attractive and I’m expect nothing less than an 80 average this year, which would be astronomical given his super cheap price.
Vesz really has stood out to me this pre-season. He’s looked really sharp from the get-go and from all reports he should be lining up in the forward line from round one. Unfortunately, I don’t see him getting a role in the middle at all due to the strength of the Doggies in there which is a bit of a shame from a Dream Team aspect. For those that are still keen to pick him though, he did average 98 points in the TAC Cup from 11 games, averaging 20 disposals and 3 goals a game. This probably won’t translate into AFL just yet, but it definitely shows what he’s capable of.
This will be a very risky selection early on, but one that could pay off in a big way. Djerrkura is probably battling away for the last 2-3 spots on the Doggies list, even though I’ve included him, but that’s because I really rate him. He was a massive ball winner as a junior and although it hasn’t translated in his short four game AFL career, I saw some glimpses during the Cup and Challenge matches that it was coming. His role has been mainly off a wing to half-back, as well as involving himself in a lot of ‘sweeper’- type plays. He has the scope to average 70+ this season, and if I could be guaranteed that he’d play the first ten games he’d most likely be in my team right now.
KEEP AN EYE OUT FOR……..
Shaun Higgins is the obvious forward line choice when he’s fit. His bye combining with Nick Riewoldt though is a bit annoying and he could be a good upgrade option later.
Tom Liberatore is an absolute ball magnet but he’ll have very limited opportunity early on. He’d be relying on good VFL form and injuries to get a look in.
Lukas Markovic has had quite an impressive pre-season and he’s ready to go. Unfortunately he’s behind Lake, Morris and Williams in the pecking order for a key back position.
Jayden Schofield is a tough nut taken pick 74 in last year’s draft. He’s had a really good start to his career so far and isn’t afraid to lay out a sledge or two!
Justin Sherman is so cheap for his potential output, but he’s had an interrupted pre-season with injury. I really think he could blossom with the Doggies and become a really good Dream Teamer in the future.
Zephanier Skinner is an exceptional talent from the Territory in a much similar mould to Liam Jurrah. He’s pretty skinny at the moment, but he’s impressed in the game he’s played so far, kicking 4 goals in one particular NAB Challenge match along with 88 Dream Team points. He’ll be in and around the mark for a game all year.
Brennan Stack is an interesting one, and from what I’m hearing is a very good chance to line up round one on the half-back flank. I really don’t rate his football ability all that much but I must say he’s looked the goods in the backline the past few games and scoring decent enough too for his price.
It’s unfortunate Mitch Wallis’ job security early on is so uncertain, as I’m sure he’d be locked into most Dream Team sides if he was assured a round one gig. He averaged 110 Dream Team points in the National Champs and almost 130 in the U/18′s for Calder including an incredible 47 possession game in the Grand Final. He’ll score very well if he plays, but hopefully Eade holds him out enough to become an awesome downgrade option.
A lot of people I know rate Easton Wood a chance to significantly increase his average a lot this season but I don’t really see it. He wasn’t really a big ball winner at juniors either, only averaging the 17 disposals a game.
KRISTIAN’S BEST 22
**NOTE: PREDICTED ROUND ONE TEAM**
FB: Dale Morris, Brian Lake, Lindsay Gilbee
HB: Easton Wood, Tom Williams, Robert Murphy
C: Ryan Griffen, Daniel Cross, Adam Cooney
HF: Daniel Giansiracusa, Liam Jones, Shaun Higgins
FF: Patrick Veszpremi, Barry Hall, Jarrad Grant
R: Ben Hudson, Callan Ward, Matthew Boyd
INT: Liam Picken, Will Minson, Nathan Djerrkura, Brodie Moles
EMER: Brennan Stack, Tom Liberatore, Zephanier Skinner
Adelaide, Brisbane, Carlton, Collingwood, Essendon, Fremantle, Geelong, Hawthorn, Melbourne, North Melbourne, Gold Coast, Port Adelaide, Richmond, St.Kilda, Sydney
WEST COAST EAGLES
The second last team we’re looking at this pre-season are the winners of the wooden spoon in 2010, the West Coast Eagles.
There is really not a whole lot to say about them, apart from the fact they were the most disappointing team in the competition last year only winning four games with such a huge home ground advantage that they have up at Subiaco. John Worsfold was even talking up their finals chances in the early part of the pre-season, but little did he know, there is absolutely no class on this list anymore.
I really don’t see a whole lot of improvement in them this year either. You really can’t teach guys like Ebert, Masten, Priddis, Dalziell, Rosa and Adam Selwood how to kick this far into their career and players like Gaff, Smith and Sheppard are too young and raw to majorly influence games with their good skills. Luke Shuey stands out as a real class act though and will be their most influential midfielder this season. Shannon Hurn is really one who should step up, as he’s their best kick of the footy alongside LeCras, but he’s been really disappointing in my opinion.
It’s ok to have your blue collar midfielders, but West Coast simply have too many of them, and a real focus on their drafting in the next few years should be on elite disposers of the footy.
From a fantasy perspective, it looks pretty grim too. They have a shared bye with Sydney and Melbourne in round five, and then their next bye is in round fifteen, so from that aspect it isn’t too bad, but as I’ve said, West Coast is by far and large the worst kicking side in the competition and this means their points will be deflated because they simply can’t hold on to the thing!
I’d stay well away from trying to get too smart with West Coast players, but there are two guys you should look at, one because he’s an out and out champion, and the other should get games at a rookie price.
This man really doesn’t need much of an introduction. He’s the best ruckman of our time, possibly ever, and he’s back to the form of his life for a little encore. Some people had written him off last year, yet he still managed a pretty handy season playing every game. He averaged 17 disposals, 23 hitouts, 4 marks and 85 Dream Team points in 2010 pretty much playing at 80% with all his post-season surgeries catching up to him. This year he’s back, at the age of 29 (not old at all), and looking like he’s back to his form of 2008. In my opinion he’s an absolute ‘must have’ in the rucks and he won’t let you down.
Dan wrote about him yesterday, so I’ll keep it pretty brief, but I’ve locked him into my side, pending selection of course. I really rate his scoring ability as a first year player and he’s ready to go. I also agree with Dan in the fact that his best role is a roaming half-forward/wingman and I think that’s the way West Coast will play him. He’s really impressed in the pre-season so far, and he’ll be a great cash-cow for you. I think he’ll possibly be a bit unique too.
KEEP AN EYE OUT FOR……..
You’d have to be a pretty brave person to pick Sam Butler, but he’s had a really solid pre-season and we know how well he can score.
Bradd Dalziell needs the opportunity and he should get it this year. He could be one the best Dream Teamer’s in the competition if he got a decent enough amount of game time.
Brad Ebert looks primed for a Dream Team break out year as well, but you don’t want to pick too many Eagles. They have a lot of potential superstar Dream Teamer’s, but they all can’t kick and are in danger of getting dropped when things go south.
I was big on Andrew Gaff’s chances to start round one and play well early on in the year but this seems really unlikely now. He has been largely unimpressive in the NAB Cup/Challenge games and it looks like he’ll start the season grinding it our in the WAFL.
If you’re into looking for potential ‘break-out’ candidates, then Josh Kennedy could be one as a forward. All signs point to a big year for the former #4 draft pick.
Daniel Kerr is looking less and less likely to play round one and possibly couldn’t be in until round six or so. If you were thinking he was a massive bargain, I’d think again.
Unfortunately West Coast is not good enough for Mark LeCras to play in the midfield, but if ever he does, jump on board.
Chris Masten is as cheap as chips and has apparently had a very good pre-season, but he isn’t the greatest Dream Teamer out there and there are more than likely better options.
If only Scott Selwood was a bit cheaper and listed as a defender/midfielder. I can’t go there unfortunately.
I was really into Brad Sheppard early on in the pre-season but have since been put off a little. He’s playing off the half-back line and not getting enough cheap stuff. Maybe next year will be his time.
I really like Ashley Smith as a player, and he knows how to find the footy. He could be a nice little unique in your backline this year if he’s named round one.
KRISTIAN’S BEST 22
**NOTE: PREDICTED ROUND ONE TEAM**
FB: Sam Butler, Darren Glass, Eric Mackenzie
HB: Beau Waters, Mitch Brown, Shannon Hurn
C: Brad Ebert, Scott Selwood, Chris Masten
HF: Jack Darling, Josh Kennedy, Andrew Embley
FF: Mark LeCras, Nic Naitanui, Andrew Strijk
R: Dean Cox, Luke Shuey, Matt Priddis
INT: Koby Stevens, Matt Rosa, Brad Sheppard, Tom Swift
EMER: Ashley Smith, Bradd Dalziell, Andrew Gaff
Adelaide, Brisbane, Carlton, Collingwood, Essendon, Fremantle, Geelong, Hawthorn, Melbourne, North Melbourne, Gold Coast, Port Adelaide, Richmond, St.Kilda
Hey all, now officially only nine days to go until the season kicks off and I’m getting pumped! Did the Tendai Mzungu news ruin your entire weekend? I tell you what, lucky I had the Future Music Festival to distract me or else it would’ve been a dark few days!
We have three teams left to review and for today, it’s the Swans. I’ve been telling my mates all summer, Sydney is the only team that can beat the Pies! My BIG prediction for the year is Sydney to make the Grand Final and Adam Goodes to win a third Brownlow ($51).
The Swans just quietly almost made a preliminary final last year and I don’t think anyone even noticed. They had the Doggies on the ropes in the first half of that semi, and they were unlucky not to come away with the win.
Sydney comes into season 2011 losing their great captain in Brett Kirk, but they’ve acquired Andrejs Everitt and two of my favourite draftees from last year in Jed Lamb and Luke Parker. They have some serious young talent on their list, mixed in with all their under rated superstars, and they’ll be right up there again this year, even with the new coach.
From a fantasy perspective, they’re not all that relevant as they play on the congested SCG for half of the year and that tends to lessen the amount of Dream Team points available, but you definitely don’t want your captain playing against the Swans either, unless his name’s Gary Ablett who tears them apart.
Sydney’s byes come in rounds five and nineteen, both that contain three teams sharing that bye. In round five they share it with Melbourne and West Coast, and in round nineteen they share it with Brisbane and Richmond. Taking a look at that, there shouldn’t be too many problems at all if you’ve loaded up on some Swans players as they don’t share their bye with Dream Team relevant sides.
The Hawks must be ruing that they let this guy go for so cheap now. I think he’s ready to set the competition alight and this will transform into some serious Dream Team form this season. He’s only priced at an average of 74, but I would not be surprised if he’s pushing the 100′s come round twenty-four. Although it was only against Greater Western Sydney, he put in a scarily good performance with 13 disposals, 6 marks, 3 tackles and 3 goals for 84 Dream Team points and 274 Super Coach points in only 40 minutes of footy! To prove it wasn’t a one-off, against the Pies in the NAB Cup semi-final, he gathered 30 disposals, albeit 20 by hand, and a healthy 93 Dream Team points. The Swans style suits Kennedy to a tee, and with Kirk now gone there’s a greater responsibility for him in the midfield, and the great thing is, he won’t get tagged. Jump on board and he’ll dish out some monster scores!
Normally, I tend to stay away from second year players in my Dream Team, but I’m slightly tempted by Rohan this season. He’s not expensive at all and his forward/midfield dual positioning could prove extremely handy during the course of the year. Rohan’s had a pretty good pre-season campaign, and he’s all but cemented his spot in the Swans side, surprisingly in the backline. With Malceski, Mattner and Kennelly all struggling for fitness, Rohan is one of the guys Longmire is looking at to step up. I see his job security being a slight issue when all of those guys are available again, but until then he should be pretty safe. To make the selection worthwhile, you’d probably expect an average in excess of 65, otherwise you’re probably better off looking at some other options in the price range, but playing in defence should see him score slightly better than he normally would in my opinion.
KEEP AN EYE OUT FOR………
Craig Bird could easily be in the Swans starting line up and he comes at a pretty cheap price. He probably won’t get sufficient game time to increase his average significantly but he was a big ball winner as a junior.
Andrejs Everitt will slot into the half-back line now that Nick Malceski and Tadgh Kennelly are out through injury. He had a very good game on the weekend and is definitely a player who could be a great pick for your Super Coach side especially.
Adam Goodes is in outstanding pre-season form, kicking ten goals in the last two weeks. He’ll probably play up around centre-half forward again with short stints in the middle.
If Craig Bolton and Lewis Roberts-Thomson were fit, I’d say Heath Grundy would be a great choice. With those two being out, unfortunately he’ll have to be more accountable.
Kieran Jack is ready to enter elite Dream Team status. He had an awesome end to 2010 averaging 107 in his last seven home and away games.
Ben McGlynn could be a forward line smoky for Dream Team this season. He’s an integral part to the Swans set-up and he’ll score nicely.
It’s about time Brett Meredith cemented his place in the side but it doesn’t look like happening early. He’s more of Super Coach specialist anyway.
Ryan O’Keefe had groin surgery early on in the pre-season and only now is he slowly starting to get back into it. He should still play that midfield role but I think he’ll be a mid-season upgrade target.
Luke Parker was a great pick for the Swans in last years draft as he suits the way they play perfectly. He’s a goal-kicking midfielder that loves to tackle, much like Josh Caddy. He averaged 98 for Dandenong in the TAC Cup last season and he’ll be a Dream Team star for many years. I expect him to get a few games this season.
Rhyce Shaw is extremely cheap this pre-season but he seems to fallen out of favour with the Swans. He should play round one, but his position in the side is very shaky if he doesn’t perform.
Byron Sumner has capped off a brilliant pre-season and has shot up into contention for a round one debut. He won’t be a massive scorer nor will his job security be all that great though.
KRISTIAN’S BEST 22
*Predicted Round 1 Team*
FB: Nick Smith, Ted Richards, Martin Mattner
HB: Gary Rohan, Heath Grundy, Andrejs Everitt
C: Daniel Hannebery, Kieran Jack, Jarrad McVeigh
HF: Ryan O’Keefe, Adam Goodes, Lewis Jetta
FF: Trent Dennis-Lane, Daniel Bradshaw, Ben McGlynn
R: Shane Mumford, Josh Kennedy, Jude Bolton
INT: Mark Seaby, Rhyce Shaw, Paul Bevan, Jarred Moore
EMER: Craig Bird, Byron Sumner, Jessie White
ST KILDA SAINTS
Is anyone willing to write off the Saints just yet?
It’s a definite ‘no’ from me. Disregarding all the off-season troubles they’ve had this summer, which really shouldn’t have any type of effect on their on-field performances, I think they have a slightly better team on paper this year. Yes they’re one year older, but I think the problem the Saints had last year, mainly in the Grand Finals, was their lack of leg speed and forward potency.
I also think some of their young guys, who are now a bit more mature, will be able to lift them up just that extra cog like Ben McEvoy, Alistair Smith, Rhys Stanley and David Armitage, as well as their new forward recruit in Ryan Gamble.
This team, statistically, has been the best performed side over the past two years, yet their 0-3 record in Grand Finals doesn’t paint a pretty picture. The window is still most definitely open, they’ll be around the top four and pushing hard come finals time. There is a real log-jam between their 18th best player and their 30th best player, but that just goes to show the quality of their list and that they shouldn’t be under estimated.
From a Dream Team perspective, the Saints are probably my favourite side to watch. From round 16 last year, I had six St Kilda players in my side (Nick Riewoldt, Sam Fisher, Sam Gilbert, Leigh Montagna, Lenny Hayes & Brendon Goddard), and watching the points just tick over continuously when they played was awesome!
I’m not sure whether Ross Lyon will switch their game plan around (I hope not), but if he does it’ll cost them some points as the Saints just love playing the short sideways kick game, which is Dream Team paradise.
When they don’t have the ball though, they’re pretty ferocious with their tackling, which is also another major asset for Dream Team and it’s little wonder why they were ranked 2nd in the competition for most Dream Team points scored over season 2010.
Lastly, from a bye’s point of view, St Kilda feature in that crucial round four bye with the Bulldogs and Brisbane. That will cause some headaches, especially for coaches starting Boyd and Montagna/Hayes in their midfield or Riewoldt and Higgins in their forward line. You’ll have to think of some type of strategy to counter this as it could prove costly if there are a few early season injuries/suspensions. St Kilda’s second bye is in round fourteen which should be a non-issue as they’re by themselves and then you can load up on your St Kilda premiums after then for a sprint home!
I guess if Gilbert moves forward, there’ll have to be a player who gets more of the cheap stuff in the backline and my educated guess is that it’ll be James Gwilt. I really have no statistics to back this up, nor has he really shown any form of breaking out in a statistical sense, but if you take a look at my predicted best 22 below, he is probably the best kick out of the lot of them, including Jason Gram’s mongrel punts. There have been a few games where Gwilt has shown some rebounding skills, especially in the 2010 finals series and he looked quite comfortable in that role. I personally won’t be going there as I can’t fit him into my structure, but if you’re feeling a bit adventurous, take the punt on him.
I’m really sceptical about Gamble for some reason but I’ll include in him in here anyway as it looks like he’ll be extremely popular. My concerns lay with the fact that Schneider and Koschitzke will not be in the Saints round one line-up and if Gamble has a poor start to the season, he could be out of there quicker than what he got in. He has an inflated price as well and it’s not as if he’ll score any much more than your average rookie, in my opinion anyway. I think his ceiling is around a 65 average, which is still solid, but I don’t think his job security is as solid as it seems and there could be some better, cheaper options out there. That extra 70K you don’t spend on Gamble could prove invaluable down the track.
KEEP AN EYE OUT FOR………
Ben McEvoy’s a bloke that really hasn’t had a good track record in terms of Dream Team, but opportunity can achieve wonderful things. He should take the mantle as St Kilda’s number one ruckman, which will dramatically increase his game time as well as the benefits of the new sub rule. He works into space well and a 75 average is not beyond him this season.
Jason Gram is probably a little under priced for what he’s capable of. We saw he can average mid 90′s back in 2009, but his pre-season form has been a bit under-whelming in my opinion.
Sam Fisher is in the same boat as Gram, except I’ve liked what I’ve seen so far. He should be getting back into the 90 average with Gilbert moving forward.
Sam Gilbert moving forward could potentially be disastrous for his fantasy scoring. So I’m saying keep an eye for him in 2012!
I’ve been called mad, and probably rightfully so, but I like Andrew McQualter. IF he ever played full time midfield, he’d be a Dream Team superstar, but I don’t think he’ll get that opportunity at the Saints. I remember back in his junior days, he was maintaining a 40 disposal average!
David Armitage teases us every year and although he has a great Dream Team game, I really don’t see him getting enough game time ahead of the Saints superstars to average 90+ which would be what you’d be looking for if you picked him.
Alistair Smith is a tackling machine and will score nicely if given games. I’ve liked what I’ve seen of him so far this pre-season and if he keeps it up it won’t be long before he’s in for some of the Saints fringe players.
I really didn’t like Tom Lynch as a junior and really nothing has changed. You’d think he’d be in the Saints best 22 by now with their glaring need for some leading forwards but he hasn’t stepped up. If he does pull his finger out at some stage, well then he could be a handy forward bench option.
Nick Dal Santo is in ripper shape this year and I wouldn’t be surprised if he has a career best season coming up. I think he’s a possible Brownlow smoky.
Dean Polo is a good stat getter if given opportunity. If Raph Clarke goes down injured, or anyone else in the backline for that matter, he might get some games at a cheap price. He can play on talls and smalls, so that’s one of his advantages, as well as the fact Ross Lyon knows how to get the best out of his players.
Jack Steven is another guy who could plenty of opportunity this season. If he gets midfield minutes jump on, but if he was playing his forward role like last year, steer well clear.
Rhys Stanley another guy you should be considering! Especially if you’re taking Drew Petrie, he could be a handy dual position link instead of Hale.
Last but not least, Daniel Archer has played every pre-season game to date and has been pretty solid for the Saints. With Kosi out indefinitely, he could be a shot at a few games early on.
KRISTIAN’S BEST 22
FB: Steven Baker, Zac Dawson, James Gwilt
HB: Jason Gram, Sam Fisher, Raphael Clarke
C: Leigh Montagna, Lenny Hayes, Brendon Goddard
HF: Adam Schneider, Nick Riewoldt, Sam Gilbert
FF: Ryan Gamble, Justin Koschitzke, Stephen Milne
R: Ben McEvoy, Nick Dal Santo, Clinton Jones
INT: Jason Blake, Farren Ray, Andrew McQualter, David Armitage
EMER: Alistair Smith, Jarryn Geary, Brett Peake
So we’re up to those mighty Tigers! This will be a tough challenge for me keeping this 100% unbiased but I’ll try my best!
Although the Tigers finished 15th last year, there was a real sense of optimism that things were changing for the better at Punt Road. After a humiliating first nine rounds (Toby’s currently at a Rihanna concert, so it wasn’t that bad) for rookie coach Damian Hardwick, the team suddenly took a turn and won six of their last thirteen games; a feat most would’ve considered impossible half way through the season.
People often align Richmond’s mid-season turn around with Jack Riewoldt’s break out year, but I think the backline and midfield played a major part in that. Chris Newman, Daniel Connors, Brett Deledio, Shane Tuck, Shane Edwards and Trent Cotchin all arguably had their best seasons to date, and with the addition of first year midfielder Dustin Martin, all these players did well to kick it to Jack in space, where he is most dangerous. Obviously this won’t happen anywhere near as much as opposition teams will look to double and triple team Riewoldt but I think he’ll be playing a bit further up the ground this year to prevent him from being completely shut out of games. I’ll write a bit more about Jack from a Dream Team perspective a bit later on anyway.
I must say, having grown up supporting a side that has been mostly incompetent off the field, it’s so refreshing and satisfying to finally see the Tigers get their hands on some of the best youngsters in the land. Ever since the Draft began to about 2004, Richmond’s recruiting had been nothing short of deplorable but since Francis Jackson got the top job as Richmond’s head recruiting officer, the Tigers scouting stocks have risen remarkably. If the Tigers were to ever be successful in the coming years, it’ll be the 2006 Draft and the 2009 Draft that people will look back on and realise where it all began.
In the off-season the Tigers also traded pretty aggressively sending away Richard Tambling for a future ‘end of first round’ draft pick and pick fifty-one in which they drafted half-forward Dean Macdonald. They also acquired Shaun Grigg from the Blues and sent away Andrew Collins. I must say I was highly sceptical of this trade early on, but having seen Grigg through the pre-season and now watching his first two games for the Tigers, I think he’ll be a major asset for the Richmond midfield. I think Bachar Houli will also prove to be a great get in the pre-season draft as he has certainly impressed so far.
Despite being tipped by many to again be holding up the rest of the ladder, Richmond again becomes a significant part of Dream Team this year for a couple of reasons. It’s not because they have a great amount of premiums, but alternatively they should have a decent amount of ‘bargains’. Damian Hardwick blooded twelve new players last year, and while the Tigers should have a more settled line up this season, I could imagine there are still plenty of spots for the young guys to show what they’ve got.
Another positive in taking a few Richmond players this season is their bye. The Tigers first bye isn’t until round eleven, so any cash cows you’ve selected will have had more than enough time to peak in price before you trade them off. However in round nineteen the Tigers share a bye with Brisbane and Sydney, so it would probably be a good idea to keep it to one Richmond premium for the rest of the season even though Brisbane and Sydney are prominent Dream Team sides.
Just on another note as well, I’ll hopefully be heading down to Visy Park this Friday to see the Tigers take on the Crows, so if you’d like me to keep an eye out on any specific players for you, just leave a comment below and I’ll be on to it!
Many of you in the cyber world would know me by ‘The Cotch’ and in season 2011 we’ll show you why! All the way back in 2007, Trent Cotchin was my absolute favourite player from the draft and when his name was read out by the Tigers, I had to wipe away the tears. He’s been hampered with injury since he was 17 but has still managed 43 career games in 3 years and a respectable Dream Team average of 70 without completing a full pre-season. Finally, entering his fourth AFL season, Trent has completed the entire summer and a burst into stardom is imminent. He had limited game time against Port Adelaide last week, and he managed 80 points but his game against Hawthorn should have you putting him deeply into your thoughts. At quarter time he was on 56 Dream Team points, and then 89 at half time. We’ll have to wait until Wednesday for Fantasy Freako’s weekly wrap to find out his final score, but what I do know is he finished on 153 Super Coach points, a match high in a team that lost by seven goals. He was basically everywhere; starting in the midfield, kicking a goal, helping out in defence and even taking contested marks! A 90-100 average is what you should expect from Cotchin this year. I trust him not to let you down if you select him. Unfortunately I don’t think I’ll be able to fit Cotch into my structure this season, but I’ll think he’ll be in my future Dream Teams for many years to come!
There aren’t many exciting midfield rookie prospects this season in Dream Team (in my opinion anyway) but as far as job security goes, Conca’s a pretty safe bet. He was Richmond’s first selection in the 2010 Draft (pick six overall) in what many described as a ‘reach’ by the Tigers. I think if you look further into the footy circles you’ll find Conca would’ve been snaffled up by Essendon at pick eight or at the very latest, Port Adelaide with pick sixteen. Conca’s role at Richmond in his first season will be off half-back, releasing Deledio and Connors into the midfield. It all seemed to click for him on Friday night against Hawthorn where he was on 59 Dream Team points at half time. He has a pretty good history of knowing how to win the ball, averaging 80 Dream Team points in the National Champs and 130 points in his two WAFL Colts games last season. I see Conca more as a Super Coach special though. He tested as one of the best kicks at Draft Camp and backed that up with a stellar National Championship campaign averaging 103 Super Coach points and the best disposal efficiency out of any other midfielder at the carnival. You’ll be paying a little bit more for him as he was a top draft pick, but it should be worth it, as I see him playing as many games as he’s fit for and he should score pretty well for you as he’ll be eased into the big time with a nice little role off half-back.
People often have a misguided opinion as to what injury prone is. Josh Drummond is injury prone, Nathan Foley is not. The difference is Foley suffered a bad injury two years ago, and it has taken this long to fully get over it. Before that, Foley had played 83 out of a possible 86 games. Durability is not the issue here but more the fact of whether he’ll be able to get back to his best football. I think he might’ve answered that question immediately scoring 55 Dream Team points in a half of footy against Port Adelaide last weekend. I watched that game and I noticed no signs of Foley being hampered by that injury at all. He was very active in the play and was going in as hard as ever. Again, like Cotchin, I’m not sure if I’ll be able to fit him into my structure but an 85+ average from Foley is not beyond him this season.
KEEP AN EYE OUT FOR………
David Astbury’s playing a nice link up role from centre-half back this season, and he scored very nicely against the Blues and the Pies in the first pre-season hit-out. He has neat disposal so the Tigers defenders won’t be worried about giving the pill to him.
Jake Batchelor is another draftee who should see a lot of game time this season, possibly as early as round one. He’ll be good for a 50-60 average playing off half-back.
Daniel Connors has been playing off a wing this pre-season. A midfield move looks likely.
Brett Deledio should also see much more midfield time as well.
Tom Derickx is 50/50 for a round one debut. With Vickery showing great signs up forward, there may not be a need for a third big guy in the side.
Bachar Houli is playing exclusively off half-back and pushing up into the middle. He’ll score some huge numbers this year in that role.
Mitch Morton may be forced to play off half-forward this season to help out Jack but he’s still getting some decent minutes off a wing.
Jack Riewoldt may play more up centre half-forward this season, which I think is a great thing for his fantasy numbers.
Watch out for Pat Contin if he gets rookie elevated. He’s a massive ball winner and has been one of the leaders on the track in the pre-season.
KRISTIAN’S BEST 22
FB: Kelvin Moore, Luke McGuane, Chris Newman
HB: Bachar Houli, David Astbury, Reece Conca
C: Daniel Connors, Trent Cotchin, Brett Deledio
HF: Mitch Morton, Jack Riewoldt, Shaun Grigg
FF: Jake King, Tyrone Vickery, Troy Taylor
R: Angus Graham, Dustin Martin, Nathan Foley
INT: Shane Tuck, Daniel Jackson, Shane Edwards, Jake Batchelor
EMER: Alex Rance, Tom Derickx, Pat Contin
Adelaide, Brisbane, Carlton, Collingwood, Essendon, Fremantle, Geelong, Hawthorn, Melbourne, North Melbourne, Gold Coast
PORT ADELAIDE POWER
Much like the Brisbane article earlier in the year, it’s very difficult to analyse how effective Port Adelaide players will be for Dream Team this year since they had such a poor season in 2010. You may look at their win/loss record and think ‘but hey, they won ten games’, but after round seven when they started the season on fire, they were nothing short of deplorable. Especially from a team that always promises so much and set such high standards for themselves. Five of their ten wins of the season came in the last six games; so they were all ‘junk time’ wins and you shouldn’t read too much into their win/loss record.
I had the opportunity to watch them on Friday night against the Tigers, who were pretty under-manned, and the Power got run over the top of in the second half. The match also didn’t paint a pretty picture for their Dream Team scoring either, with Justin Westhoff being their highest scorer (79). They turned the ball over way too much, especially in their defensive fifty.
I wouldn’t be expecting too much from the Power this season. They’re definitely not a finals contender anymore and we must remember Matthew Primus is in his first year of coaching, even though his team showed some good signs after he took over as caretaker coach later on in the season. I think they’ll range anywhere from a maximum of a tenth place finish (purely based upon home ground advantage) to even being a wooden spoon contender.
It’s a real shame Port Adelaide don’t have many Dream Team relevant players this year, especially potential ‘cash-cows’, because they’ve been dealt one of the better fixtures in relations to the byes. Their first bye isn’t until round twelve and that is more than enough time for a player’s price to peak so you can trade them out and get optimum value. Also what’s so good about their byes is that none of them are in the ‘shared’ rounds. Ben Jacobs would’ve been the perfect rookie, but he was one the first curve balls Dream Team 2011 threw at us when he got struck down with a severe case of glandular fever. From what I’m hearing, we’ll probably see him in the second half of the year, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. He’ll be a very handy down grade option.
Much of Port Adelaide’s game plan under Primus at the end of last season was mainly based around the contested footy. I don’t expect them to be holding on to the football and playing the possession game. I think he’ll try and sort out their stoppage situation first as they got absolutely smashed from the centre square ball-ups last year. This definitely won’t be good news if you are looking at guys who like the uncontested ball like Matthew Broadbent and Paul Stewart but your usual suspects in Travis Boak, Kane Cornes and Domenic Cassisi will maintain their averages.
I really shouldn’t be considering this guy but unfortunately I still am because I saw him play pretty well on Friday night. He only played the second half and he scored 41 points, which was a fairly decent effort considering Port hardly had the ball in the third and fourth quarters. He played in the midfield the entire time and he ran really hard, even going down in defence a couple of times to receive the get out kick. If he can develop that dimension to his game he’ll be a really good scorer. We already know he can kick goals but I’d also like to see him tackle a bit more too. He seems to like to do the fancy stuff a bit too often when you’d just like to see him do the hard stuff. If he’s fit and healthy, I see no reason why Gray couldn’t average at 85 at the very minimum this year with his increased midfield time, but that’s a big IF.
This is a player who I’ve been waiting for to get consistent games and finally we might see it. I was banking on him getting picked last year for round one but he wasn’t, forcing me to make a last minute change and select Mitch Farmer instead. He’s another guy who I took particular interest to on Friday night and I was happy to see him spend the majority of time in the guts. He was doing a tagging job on Foley when he was on but it must be said, Foley got on top of him for the forty minutes he was on the ground. He scored a reasonably solid 55 DT points, but there is plenty of upside in him. The game was very down on skill level and Broadbent likes to get free and runs the wings. On the wider grounds he should see much more uncontested ball, therefore boosting up his scores to around a 75-80 average. He has the defender/midfield dual position as well which is always handy. For the Super Coachers out there, I think he’s a very good option.
KEEP AN EYE OUT FOR……..
Jarrad Irons will hopefully get rookie elevated and play some games in 2011. He was very impressive on Friday night playing predominantly in the midfield with a score of 45.
If you’re looking at Chad Cornes be wary because there’s every chance he’ll be Port Adelaide’s substitute player for this season.
Marlon Motlop has apparently had a top pre-season, but I haven’t been impressed in the practice matches. He’s rookie priced though so if he gets picked round one he’ll be hard to pass up.
Cameron O’Shea could see some games in the Port defence this season.
Jasper Pittard should play a lot this season but he’s probably more Super Coach relevant.
Steven Salopek seems to be finally over his shoulder issues and he could really step up and go back to a 90+ average.
Daniel Stewart really impressed me on Friday night playing as a second ruckman. He took some very nice contested grabs.
KRISTIAN’S BEST 22
FB: Troy Chaplin, Alipate Carlisle, Jacob Surjan
HB: Jarrad Irons, Jackson Trengove, Paul Stewart
C: Kane Cornes, Domenic Cassisi, Travis Boak
HF: David Rodan, Daniel Stewart, Robbie Gray
FF: Daniel Motlop, Jay Schulz, Cameron Hitchcock
R: Dean Brogan, Steven Salopek, Danyle Pearce
INT: Hamish Hartlett, Justin Westhoff, Matthew Broadbent, Chad Cornes
EMER: Matt Thomas, Jasper Pittard, Tom Logan
Adelaide, Brisbane, Carlton, Collingwood, Essendon, Fremantle, Geelong, Hawthorn, Melbourne, North Melbourne
GOLD COAST SUNS
I’m guessing this was the article everyone has been waiting for and I apologise for not posting it up last week, but since the Gold Coast unexpectedly advanced through to the second round, I thought I would give it another week and have a look at some new players.
This will be a slightly different set up than my previous articles. I’ve decided I’ll give a preview of every single player on the Suns list instead of giving a detailed look at their upcoming season as a team, because realistically, we don’t know how they’ll go.
Having said that, I am quietly optimistic the Suns will surprise a lot of punters out there and not win the wooden spoon, therefore leading to more Dream Team points for our rookies!
Gold Coast players hold all the cards to you winning the car this year and if you’re serious about your Dream Team it is imperative that you study up! I currently have seven Gold Coast players in my team because the cash generation will just be massive!
On the other hand, Gold Coast’s byes take place in round one and in round nine. This could cause massive problems for people like me who will be loading up on Suns players as we won’t know who will be in their best 22 until round two. It makes Dream Team 2011 all the more interesting though!
Anyway, let’s begin on the all-important players!
You’d have to be brave to pick up Junior from the start but that’s not to say I’ve released him from my thoughts just yet! I actually think Gazza will average somewhere close to what he did last year but my main concern is he hasn’t completed the whole pre-season. You really don’t want to be taking an underdone premium into your line up until you’ve seen how they’re travelling. Either way, you can’t win the car without a fully fit Ablett, even without the star-studded Geelong side. The Gold Coast kids will be looking for him at every opportunity.
Straight up, I’d stay well away. Nathan averaged a miserly 36 from his 9 games in the VFL last year and even when he became a premiership player in 2007, he only averaged 51. He’s got a bumped up price in Dream Team so he won’t be the cash cow you’re after. If you were going to pick him, you’d have wanted to see him play at least one of Gold Coasts games in the NAB Cup, but it wasn’t to be. I personally think he’ll be lucky to get many games this year.
ROLAND AH CHEE
Ah Chee’s a nice little defender who had a pretty good year down at the VFL for the Gold Coast as a rookie listed player. I think he was unlucky not to get drafted in 2009 when he was clearly Northern Territory’s best player in the National Championships. He averaged a solid 58 from a back pocket in the VFL last season. I wouldn’t expect too many games though from him this year.
Harley will definitely be suited more to Super Coach than Dream Team at this early stage in his career. Everything he does is so effective and he’s already shown his class in Gold Coast’s three games so far this year. If you’re worried about his job security, don’t be. He’ll definitely get games and he will most likely play a roaming half-forward role. Harley won the Larke medal for being the best division one player at the U/18 Championships for Western Australia averaging 20 disposals, 2 tackles and 2.5 goals from his 5 games. He also displayed his ball winning ability in his debut for the Peel Thunder seniors in the last round of the season with 25 touches, 5 tackles and goal.
I’m very optimistic about Bock’s fantasy numbers this season. The young Gold Coast defenders will be feeding him as much of the ball as possible. He’s proven he can match it with the elite for the last five seasons, especially in 2009, where he averaged 25 disposals and 7 marks per game. I won’t be picking him from the start however, but he will definitely be an upgrade option in the defence after round ten when Gold Coast has completed both of their byes.
I jumped on board Brennan last year from round one and it was looking like an inspired pick until he got injured and Brisbane just fell apart. He’s definitely got the game to average 100+, but again like Bock, it probably wouldn’t be a good idea picking Gold Coast premiums from the start until you have a good luck at them in the first few rounds and see how they structure up etc. Brennan could very well ‘unleash’ up at the Gold Coast and it will be great for the AFL in general. He’s such a gifted player.
When I was looking through some of my stats, I was stunned to find out Brown averaged 80 in Dream Team in 2006. Not bad for a lock down back pocket player. I’m not promoting him in Dream Team by the way! The way he played against GWS two weeks ago, I’d be surprised if he plays 22 games going by how hard he went at the footy. He definitely wants to make a statement and I’ll think he’ll relish the leadership role, just not in a fantasy footy sense.
It is unfortunate Caddy is a ‘midfield only’ selection this season as he spent a lot of time up forward for the Northern Knights. Josh is one of the toughest midfielders you’ll come across but he’s got a lot of class about him as well. As a junior, a right-footed Luke Hodge comes to mind when I see him. If he gets games, he’ll score very well, as he demonstrated on Sunday night, scoring 40 from about 30 minutes of footy. He knocked up 9 disposals and 4 tackles in that time playing in the midfield. I’m just not sure about the amount of game time he’ll receive as I reckon he’s a candidate to be Gold Coast’s ‘sub’ with the new rule. Definitely keep an eye out for him in the next two weeks in the Challenge matches, because he could be a very handy midfield bench option that is ready to go and will score well.
I know many people who locked him into their Dream Teams before it even opened. I definitely didn’t and he’s still not in my team. Coad is 27 year old recruit from Sturt in the SANFL. He was runner-up in their best and fairest in 2009 and then got selected to play in the Gold Coast’s VFL team last year. Coad definitely shows solid Dream Team ability for a key position back, averaging a respectable 77 from his 8 games including a match in round 3 where he scored 159. I do have my reservations about Coad though, and I have a feeling Guy McKenna does too. For a 27 year old, he does give me the impression he’s a bit of a ‘deer in headlights’ and it’s been exposed at AFL level in the past two weeks. He seems to be VERY slow across the ground, and he’s been caught holding the ball quite a few times already. At his age, he won’t get any better, and I wouldn’t be surprised if the coaches opt for a younger key back. I’d be cautious picking him.
Crawford’s currently on the rookie list but I really like him as a strong full back. You wouldn’t pick him up in your Dream Team but he certainly provides a competition for spots amongst Coad and Hutchins.
Sam Day, Gold Coasts number three draft pick in 2010, holds a lot of expectation on his shoulders. There has been an extraordinary amount of hype surrounding him, but he’s never really lived up to it as a junior in my opinion. Sam’s a freakish all-round athlete, knocking back overseas scholarships in both basketball and baseball to pursue an AFL career. I think all these commitments may have affected his junior performances and the Gold Coast obviously saw past that to take him so early. He hasn’t shown the ability yet to be a goal kicker but he’s very good around the ground and he’s pretty much ready to go, standing at 196cms tall and weighing in at 96kgs. To be totally honest, I wouldn’t be surprised if he becomes a centre-half for the Gold Coast. I wouldn’t be picking him in my team at his inflated price as he won’t score that well and he probably won’t get consistent games.
Joseph Daye has the potential to be an Andrew Mackie type player for the Gold Coast, except I think he’s fallen down the pecking order this pre-season. He is a very nice height for a half-back and he could possibly play a key position if needed. The problem with Daye is he is an extremely outside player. It’s good from a Dream Team point of view, but his kicking is not up to scratch for AFL level. I remember him being one of the better kicks at U/16 level, so his decline is rather interesting. He did average 65 in the VFL last season but I’d stay away from him.
Now we’re talking! I’m a big fan of Dixon even though he might not be a prominent Dream Teamer. Still, you’ll get him really cheap and he should be good for a 50 average. For the Super Coachers out there, jump on! Dixon kicked 22 goals from his 14 games in the VFL last season as well as averaging 55 Dream Team points and has shown excellent goal kicking and marking ability right through his juniors. Dixon is even good for a few tackles a game. He will be there round two as the Suns starting full forward.
Flanagan is a skinny but tallish midfielder originally from the Geelong Falcons. He’s predominantly an outside player with below average foot skills and I wouldn’t expect too many games from him this season.
Everybody, including Collingwood supporters should be looking at Fraser this season! I must say, he looks in the best shape of his career, and you could probably squeeze one more solid Dream Team season out of him before he gets on with age. He should take the number one ruck mantle to begin with as well as floating up forward to help their young guys out and give an option. He comes at a ridiculously low price, so even if he averages 75, he’s done he’s job for you. If he gets injured, most people will have Zach Smith on their ruck bench anyway, and he’ll be more than capable of filling the void.
I was hoping to get a good look at Gillbee this pre-season, but it wasn’t to be. He’s a very intelligent half forward with a great set of hands and a very good kick. He knows how to find the footy, by leading up the ground and providing a target for his midfielders, even though he only stands at 185cm tall. Gillbee’s also a great tackler. In all matches in his last three seasons he’s averaged five tackles a game. If he can show some good signs in the QAFL early in the season I don’t see any reason why the Suns won’t be play him as they definitely need some hit up targets up forward.
Gorringe is still a very raw prospect and we won’t see the best of him until at least another five years down the track. I thought he was quite impressive on Sunday night against Cox and Naitanui but I don’t think the Gold Coast will be prepared to expose him just yet. If he plays, which I think will be unlikely, he won’t score that well. I’d look else where for ruck cover.
Harbrow comes into the Gold Coast line up straight after his break out season with the Bulldogs. I think it was a terrific pick up by the Suns as Harbrow has instantly become one of the best rebounders in the competition and possesses a lethal left foot. He’ll be vital to the Gold Coast’s defence this season as their young guys will most likely struggle to rebound 50 under AFL pressure. A steady head that knows how to twist out of trouble and break the lines is exactly what they need. From a Dream Team perspective, he comes at a hefty price after averaging 87 last year. I’d hold off from selecting him at the start and see how he copes with the pressure of being one the best players on the team first.
If you don’t have him in your team, you won’t win the car, simple. Harris has flourished with his new opportunity after being delisted by the Kangaroos two seasons ago and is now playing some of the best football of his career at the age of 28. He is a ‘must have’ player for both Dream Team and Super Coach averaging 107 and 120 points respectively in the VFL last season, completing a stellar year. Harris began this season where he finished last year, scoring 42 and 45 in the two shortened matches in the Gold Coast’s first hit out. Harris was rested on Sunday night. Daniel is of the biggest ‘locks’ in Dream Team 2011!
Tom is an extremely talented ruckman but he won’t be getting many opportunities this season. He won’t be Dream Team relevant anyway, as he’s not a big ball winner at all. There are much better options than young Hickey.
Hine is another Gold Coast player I was looking forward to watching but he unfortunately has not gotten the opportunity in their first two matches so far. Taylor is a fleet footed rebounding defender with pretty good skills and good ball winning ability. He had a very solid season in the VFL last year averaging 16 disposals and 54 Dream Team points. Hine is probably more suited to Super Coach but given the opportunity, he could be handy in both forms. Unfortunately I don’t see the opportunity being there this season.
I have never been Karmichael’s greatest fan as a footballer from what I saw from him last year, but he’s come on in leaps and bounds so far this season! He’s hasn’t put a foot wrong on the field yet and he seems much more comfortable making quick and correct decisions, either by hand or by foot. I definitely won’t be picking him in my team, but I can see why people would select him. He should play every game barring injury and be solid bench cover. I can’t see him averaging more than 45-50 though. In Super Coach however, I think his ceiling is much higher!
This is the man I can see taking Coad’s place in the Gold Coast line up. He’s been given some good opportunity by Guy McKenna already and I think he’s been quite solid at full back. The only relevance he has to Dream Team however is keeping Coad out of the side.
Sam Iles has won two best and fairest awards at VFL level in the past two years; for Box Hill in 2009 and the Gold Coast in 2010. He averaged 88 Dream Team points last season playing in all 18 games. Two months ago I would’ve said Iles would be a certainty to be in my team but now I’m not so sure, having not been picked for the past two weeks. I’m really not sure what is going on there but I would definitely have him in Gold Coast’s best 22. This is definitely a situation to watch in these last few weeks of the pre-season.
Hayden’s a Dream Team superstar of the future, that’s for sure. He’s still only 18, and he averaged 20 disposals from 14 games in the VFL last year and 66 Dream Team points. Jolly played his junior footy in South Australia and he consistently hit the 30+ possession mark right through U/16 and U/17 level. So far in the pre-season he’s been solid without being fantastic. He’s definitely someone you should look at taking for your midfield bench and he’ll provide you with an average of around 60-75. Jolly should also be marked down for early opportunities as well.
He’s been terribly inconsistent in his short career and I really don’t see any value from a fantasy footy point of view. He should get regular games off the half-back flank but he’s never really been a big ball winner apart from that little four week patch at the start of 2009. He still comes at a pretty cheap price but there is much better value in the cheaper Gold Coast Suns defenders. I won’t be picking him.
Liddy is a pretty exciting half forward flanker but his disposal lets him down. He makes up for it though with his tenacity. He’s fairly small in height but he’s got a quite a big frame so he’ll be able to stand up to the AFL bodies with no trouble at all. He averaged a modest total of 60 in the VFL last season so if he gets games early he’ll provide a decent scoring option for your forward bench. Rex got his first go at it on Sunday and I was quite impressed with his efforts. Twelve disposals and a few tackles was not a bad return, but I don’t think he’ll be starting in the Suns final squad.
Lock has captained Gold Coast for the past two seasons now at the age of 19. He won their best and fairest in 2009 but last year dropped his numbers slightly with the jump up to the VFL. He’s a 192cm midfielder that plays predominantly outside but surprisingly he’s not really a good Dream Team player. He did average 61 points in the VFL and for the price you’ll buy him for this year, those numbers should be more than enough to make some decent coin. You’d think he should be in line for regular games which makes him a pretty safe bet for you midfield bench.
Another highly rated forward the Suns snaffled up early in the draft, Tom Lynch from the Dandenong Stingrays has been a late bloomer, only really taking his footy seriously last year as well as having quite a significant growth spurt to now be 199cm tall. He was very impressive in the TAC Cup in 2010, averaging 15 disposals, 6 marks and 2 goals as a hit up centre-half forward. He’s a Dream Teamer to watch out for in the future, but not in 2011.
Out of the five Gold Coast rookies, Magin is the most likely to play and have an impact in season 2011 for the Gold Coast. He’s been tried in a whole range of positions but I think a high half-forward is his best go. He averaged a respectable 59 in the VFL last season from 15 games and he’s done very well in his pre season campaign so far. Alik is listed as a defender in Dream Team, and he’ll come cheap, so definitely watch him if he gets picked!
I love this guy! He is pure jockey size at 174cm and only 61kg, but he is lightning quick and a super smart footballer. He had quite the stellar year in the VFL last season averaging 17 disposals, 4 marks, 2 tackles, 1 goal and 75 DT Points from a forward pocket. They are some impressive numbers from a kid his size. He’s shown no signs of stopping this year either, impressing in every one of the three games he’s played so far. His size seems like it won’t be an issue, as he knows how to use his body, and most importantly he knows how to read the play. Matera will be one of the most popular picks in the forward line in 2011.
I liken May to Jack Darling. Was physically bigger than all the other guys as juniors, but now they’ve all caught up and he can’t bully them anymore. This season will be a development year for him and I don’t see him really having any impact. There are much better forward rookies out there.
Guy McKenna really rates this guy; I know that for a fact. He’ll get game time as long as he stays fit, and he becomes about the sixth Gold Coast midfielder you can choose from your bench. Originally from the Western Jets in Victoria, he completed a great season for them in 2009 which led him to being selected as a 17 year old pre-draft player from the Gold Coast. He averaged 19 disposals, 5 marks, 4 tackles and a goal a game for the Jets, and then transferred that form to the Gold Coast in the VFL last season. His statistics were almost identical, which indicates he’s more than capable against the bigger bodies, and he averaged 77 Dream Team points to boot. McKenzie is definitely a ‘must-consider’ in your note book.
Lewis is a tall, loping centre-half forward who is no where near ready for AFL. Stay well away!
The challenge is to find out who is the Gold Coasts second ruckman, Nicholls or Smith? The stats say Smith by a mile but he hasn’t played a game yet and Nicholls has played all three. While he’s no where near a good Dream Team scorer just yet, he did some very nice things that could turn out nicely in Super Coach numbers and also keep Zach Smith out of the team. I’m not sure what McKenna’s up to, but this is another situation to look out for.
We have another excitement machine in the competition folks, Liam Patrick. He’s 23 years old and was recruited from the QLD/NT zone selections last year. He managed to sneak in 9 VFL games, although he didn’t really impress at all, which might leave him down the order of selection to start with. I wouldn’t be selecting him personally, because I still think he’s very much an unknown quantity. He may get games on pure talent alone though, but don’t expect him to set the Dream Team stats alight.
Prestia is another one of my favourites from the 2010 Draft. I was so rapt when he got selected in the top ten, making him the shortest top ten draft pick of the past decade. He was just super in the TAC Cup in 2010, averaging 29 disposals and 5 tackles a game against players that tower over him. He needs some more polish on his disposal, but his tenacity at the footy makes you not take notice of his deficiencies. I’ve been extremely impressed with how he’s slotted into the Gold Coast team and most importantly his Dream Team numbers have not taken a hit since making the transition from U/18′s to AFL. I think Prestia would be one of the coach’s favourites, and he wouldn’t let Guy McKenna down. Expect Dion to play most of the games this season and average a solid 65-70. What makes Prestia’s selection more enticing is the fact he has forward/midfield eligibility. Jump on board!
He improved significantly last season at the Lions, taking out the best and fairest award. He increased his 2009 Dream Team average of 70 to a remarkable 96. He should be able to maintain that sort of average leading into this season, but there is absolutely no value in selecting him until we know how he’ll cope with the new coach and environment.
Russell’s another one of Gold Coast’s 17 year old pre-draft players. He’s a 185cm midfielder with below average foot skills, which got terribly exposed at VFL level last year with a kicking efficiency of just 49%. I wouldn’t expect too much game time for him this season in my Dream Team, or with the Suns.
Shaw’s on the totally opposite spectrum of kicking skills to Luke Russell, this guy’s a great disposer of the ball. On Sunday night he registered 104 Super Coach points for just 7 disposals! His main position is off the wing but unfortunately he doesn’t get enough of the ball. I doubt whether he’ll get many games this year but if he does, chuck him straight in your Super Coach defence!
This guy’s giving me heart attacks with only 25 days until the season starts! Where are you Zach? I’d predict he’d be in just about everyone’s ruck bench, but he’s been a no show this summer and no one knows why! Smith is one of the most talented ruckman running around and he completed a fantastic season for Gold Coast in the VFL last season at just 21 years of age. He took on the number one ruck position, and flourished, with career best numbers in almost every statistic. He finished the season with a Dream Team average of 74; not bad for a rookie ruckman at all. Anyway, from looking like being a certain starting ruckman for the Gold Coast, to not playing anymore, has certainly got me scratching my head. Hopefully Guy McKenna’s just resting him up for the big season ahead.
No. Don’t even consider. I don’t like under sized key position players.
This former Magpie is a ball magnet if he gets opportunity. He averaged 79 in the VFL last season playing mainly as inside midfielder. So far this pre season he’s looked to be getting freed up across half forward, and it seems it will increase his fantasy score output. Stanley scored a whopping 72 points in 40 minutes of footy last week and I reckon just about every Dream Teamer locked him into their backline straight after that performance. He’s just about the must have player in terms of cheap backline buys.
Jack’s another key defender on the Gold Coast Sun’s list but his Dream Team game is totally non existent.
Talk about stepping straight into AFL and dominating. David Swallow will be an out and out superstar of this competition, and watching him and Gary Ablett Jnr go around together will be absolutely frightening. To think he’s still only 18 and has already two years of senior football experience makes you wonder just how good this kid could get. You HAVE to him in your team this year, even if it’s just to enjoy the ride. Don’t worry about the price; he’ll average 85+ anyway. He played 15 games in the VFL last year and averaged 82 Dream Team points. With Gazza, Rischitelli, Brennan and Harris next to him now, a step up on that is inevitable. Set and forget. Chuck a few bucks on him now for the Rising Star too, before he’s $1.01.
Seb is one of the rookies who have really stepped up this pre-season in the Gold Coast defence. He was pick thirteen in last years national draft and he hasn’t disappointed. Tape plays as a third tall in defence that reads the play well and has excellent closing speed. He has elite kicking efficiency; an average of 80% over 2010. He won’t be a big Dream Team scorer, but he’ll do very nicely in Super Coach, and you must have him. He’ll play lots of games in 2011.
Jeremy played for the Geelong Falcons in 2010 mainly as a third tall in defence. He’s a very good reader of the play and gets himself into good positions to spoil without giving away free kicks. He played half a game on Sunday night and did OK, but he isn’t a Dream Team proposition and I’d assume the Gold Coast would want to develop him in the QAFL first.
Thompson played very well on Sunday, booting a super goal and laying five tackles. Not bad for a bloke that’s 200cm. I don’t think he’s ready just yet though, but he has extraordinary talent.
Unfortunately Joel has no where near the amount of talent as his brother, although he does have a great leap! He’s being trialled in defence and it’ll be interesting to see how he goes. He has no Dream Team game though.
Here’s another 17 year old pre-draft recruit for the Suns, and I reckon he’s the best out of all of them. Josh Toy is an 80m player. He runs 20 and kicks 60, to a team mate. He’s very much like Shannon Hurn, but he’s better. Toy knows how to find the footy, he get’s into the right positions and he reads the play so well. For his size, he’s very good over head too; I’ve seen him take quite a few contested marks from opposition kicks in defence. Toy has the all-round Dream Team game, and he’ll go close to a 70+ average this year; a more than handy result for a rookie defender. He only played the four VFL games last season, for an average of 72. Make sure you lock him into your team, you won’t regret it.
You won’t see many players dominate a U/16′s carnival like Weller did back in 2008. He averaged 28 disposals, 6 tackles, 5 inside 50′s, and 181 Super Coach points over a four game period. He was just awesome. A hip injury and a groin injury riddled his 2009 season, and he didn’t play a game of footy that year. Then in 2010, he got picked up as a 17 year old from the Gold Coast and played 17 out of 18 games in the VFL averaging 14 disposals and 52 Dream Team points. One hopes he can get back to his best footy but I think the Gold Coast will let him settle in for this year, and we probably won’t see much of Maverick until 2012.
Wilkinson’s a running back pocket/half-back flanker in a similar mould to Campbell Brown. He’s a tackling machine, but his kicking cannot be relied upon deep in defence. He’s very much a development player.
KRISTIAN’S BEST 22
FB: Campbell Brown, Jack Hutchins, Josh Toy
HB: Jarrod Harbrow, Nathan Bock, Karmichael Hunt
C: Jared Brennan, Gary Ablett, Michael Rischitelli
HF: Danny Stanley, Josh Fraser, Harley Bennell
FF: Brandon Matera, Charlie Dixon, Alik Magin
R: Zachary Smith, David Swallow, Daniel Harris
INT: Marc Lock, Dion Prestia, Nathan Krakouer, Sam Iles
EMER: Trent McKenzie, Sebastian Tape, Josh Caddy.
NORTH MELBOURNE KANGAROOS
Next up on the list are the mighty Kangaroos!
North Melbourne had a fantastic season in 2010 under rookie coach, Brad Scott. They finished the season overall with an 11-11 win/loss ratio, and were pretty unlucky to miss out on the finals.
I’ll come straight off the bat right now and say I wouldn’t expect them to get too much better just yet, very much like Melbourne, and I wouldn’t be surprised at all if they went slightly backwards this year.
I watched their games closely on Sunday, and although you can’t really take much out of pre-season games, and the fact they played two very good sides, I couldn’t help but notice that their skills are no where near up to scratch yet for a top eight side. When you look at their current midfield, and half back line (which is pretty much the midfield these days), I can only name three guys that would be very good kicks in Daniel Wells, Jack Ziebell and Brent Harvey. Then you look at the other players, most of which are very high draft picks, in Levi Greenwood, Ryan Bastinac, Shaun Atley, Gavin Urquhart Ben Cunnington, Andrew Swallow and Liam Anthony, and you notice none of them are very good disposers of the ball by foot. I’m not saying they’re bad footballers, definitely not, but there’ll be a very big need for elite disposers at North Melbourne when they think they’re ready to start challenging. For the moment, they’ll win their fair share of games on pure talent alone, but when it comes to the crunch, and they’re playing the top teams in the competition, their skills will inevitably let them down. To back this statement up, in season 2010, against the top four teams in Geelong, Collingwood, St Kilda and the Western Bulldogs, North Melbourne lost six out of six matches by an average of 66 points. Not much else has to be said.
While this article is about North Melbourne, I just wanted to make one thing clear. Make sure your captain every week is playing the Kangaroos! Brad Scott likes to set up a zone in the defensive half, and whatever the opposition want to do in their back half, he’ll let them do it. Geelong last year broke the world record for most disposals in an AFL match ever, with an incredible tally of 505. The Kangaroos also let Brian Lake run his own show in round nine, collecting 41 disposals from full back and a lazy 190-odd Dream Team Points.
Final note on North Melbourne before I head to the players is the byes. The good news is they don’t share their bye with any other clubs, but their first rest is in round three, which could become inconvenient for people who will stick with Petrie even though he’s now suspended for round one. It means he’ll only play one game out of the first three, and if he’s only in there to generate cash, well you’ll be getting off to a fairly slow start. The other bye is in round 21. I couldn’t imagine this would be a huge problem for anyone considering there are really no stand-out premiums for the Kangaroos this season.
This guy, after only 17 games of senior AFL football, is already considered a Dream Team premium by many; unbelievable really. You couldn’t really argue against that anyway if you tried. In those 17 games, he’s averaged 24.5 disposals and 95 Dream Team points and he’s also number one in the competition for disposals per minute. His durability is a concern however as he’s had two relatively long term injuries in only two years at North Melbourne. Still, he’s massively under priced, and could be one of the bargains of the year. Another factor that may worry you as well is that I’m still not 100% sure he’s definitely in North Melbourne’s best 22. I personally would have him in there but he has poor disposal efficiency at only 55% and I’m not sure how much patience Brad Scott has.
Greenwood gave us a slight glimpse of what could come in 2011 when in round 22 last year against Melbourne he racked up 39 disposals and 139 Dream Team points. He presents excellent value this season, priced at an average of 71 and having the added bonus of the defender/midfield dual position eligibility. Levi’s now established himself as one of the Kangaroos prime midfielders so his job security is pretty high if you’re worried he might get dropped. I’m not sure however if he’s a natural Dream Teamer. Most of his disposals are by hand but we’re lucky he makes up for that discrepancy with his outstanding tackling. He looked very good on Sunday, but he had 9 handballs and 0 kicks, which is a little worrying. I’ll continue to watch him very closely during the remainder of the pre-season because he could be an awesome unique selection.
I think it’s fair to say another ‘rookie’ locked himself into everyone’s Dream Team for season 2011, and this time it’s for the forward line. Richardson was excellent, arguably North’s best player in both hit outs. He definitely knows how to find the footy and he really looked like a leader out there for the Kangaroos young defence. There is nothing surer than Cam getting games this year so there’s no need to stress over the fact he might miss games. If you want to know a bit more about Richardson, Dan wrote a fantastic feature article on him under the category of ‘Dan’s Draftees’.
KEEP AN EYE OUT FOR……..
Look, I’m not Shaun Atley’s greatest fan, but if he gets games he should score pretty well if he stays true to TAC Cup form. I won’t be picking him though as he already looks a little lost at AFL level.
Matt Campbell might start getting some midfield time which could see him increase his 2010 average of 52. You’d have to be pretty brave to pick him though due to his injury woes.
I think Cruize Garlett will finally establish himself as a regular in the Kangaroos line up. He’s a very good ball winner, so watch his NAB Challenge games closely.
I am a massive fan of Kieran Harper. He may not score that well in Dream Team, but he could be a very good Supercoach option if he gets games. I’m banking on him dominating the VFL early.
Look out for for Jamie Macmillan if he gets games. He knows how to find the footy.
Drew Petrie is more a headache than anything else this pre-season. I’m actually happy he got suspended. It means I have a VERY good reason not to pick him.
Ben Ross is another potential ‘smoky’. If he gets games, which is probably unlikely, he’ll score well.
Robbie Tarrant was extremely impressive on Sunday. He scored very well, taking a lot of marks, especially from opposition kicks. I love a player who can read the play; ultimately it means he’ll score well. The only question is if his shoulders are 100%.
KRISTIAN’S BEST 22
FB: Brady Rawlings, Scott D Thompson, Nathan Grima
HB: Michael Firrito, Robbie Tarrant, Cameron Richardson
C: Cruize Garlett, Andrew Swallow, Daniel Wells
HF: Jack Ziebell, Drew Petrie, Brent Harvey
FF: Aaron Edwards, Lachlan Hansen, Lindsay Thomas
R: Hamish McIntosh, Liam Anthony, Levi Greenwood
INT: Todd Goldstein, Leigh Adams, Ryan Bastinac, Ben Cunnington
EMER: Matt Campbell, Scott McMahon, Ben McKinley
Again, I’ve decided I’ll move on and not write about the Gold Coast until they get knocked out of the NAB Cup, as another look at the Suns will help me write a more informed preview about them at AFL level, rather than just judging them on their VFL form of last year – apologies if this throws anyone off!
Now we’re officially half way through the pre-season articles, bringing me up to the Demons!
Much like Hawthorn this season, Melbourne is expected to improve significantly this year and push hard for the top eight. Much like Hawthorn, I’m still a little sceptical as to how far the Demons can go this year. I think people these days put too much pressure on young players, and they expect them to perform at an elite level straight away based on their talent alone. Melbourne has quite a lot of players in this category, and I’ll happily list them. Rohan Bail, Matthew Bate, Jamie Bennell, James Frawley, Max Gawn, Jack Grimes, Jordan Gysberts, Neville Jetta, Liam Jurrah, Jordie McKenzie, Cale Morton, Ricky Petterd, Tom Scully, James Strauss, Luke Tapscott, Jack Trengove, Jack Watts and Austin Woneaemirri are all under the age of 23. That is quite a list of young talent, but these guys won’t be playing their best footy until at least the age of 24. Melbourne is still a few years away from being a premiership contender, but they’ll still improve slowly. If I were a Melbourne supporter, I wouldn’t be too disheartened if the Dees finished outside the eight, the inconsistencies will still be there with a young squad. I’m not writing the Demons off either. They have the ‘talent’, like Hawthorn in 2008, to catch teams on the back foot, if coached right. I’m not so sure Dean Bailey has the creativity that Alistair Clarkson had with the Hawks in 2008 though.
Melbourne’s 2010 season would be marked down as a resounding success. They un-earthed some future stars of the competition in Tom Scully and Jack Trengove, they have possibly added three more years to Brad Green’s career playing as a forward and some guys snuck under the radar in Rohan Bail and Jordie McKenzie. They managed 8 wins for the season, and one would think if Brent Moloney, Cale Morton, and Ricky Petterd were fit all season, they may have just scraped in for a finals berth. They were also the only team all year to really take it up to Magpies, probably being really unlucky to not come away with a win in both encounters.
There are quite a few interesting stats to come out of Melbourne’s season and it will help give us an idea of how they play and where the flaws lie in their game plan. Melbourne laid 69 tackles per game in 2010, but they were ranked 16th in the competition for forward half tackles. This tells me the ball spends a fair amount of time in their back half. To back this statement up, their inside 50 differential against their opposition was ranked 16th in the league as well, for the fourth consecutive season. Melbourne’s defence was under siege all year, but they held up remarkably well. It’s no surprise to find out that they rank number one in scores launched from defensive 50. I think a large reason for these skewed numbers is that the Demons turn the ball over regularly in their back half; in fact, they have the worst turn over rate in the competition behind centre. It’s little wonder why I think the football world and Melbourne fans still need some patience as these kids will continue to make mistakes as they learn to try and play their natural game but also play within Dean Bailey’s game plan. To win eight games with those statistics so ridiculously skewed out of their favour is a major credit to the Demons. Some might say they were lucky, but if you make the most of your opportunities, that’s good football. Whoever’s in charge of the backline down at Melbourne is doing a mighty fine job.
In the draft, the Demons went tall, looking for a big forward to try and help out Jack Watts. I think half way through the year Dean Bailey discovered Watts’ best position, and ultimately they went out to recruit some big key forwards in Lucas Cook and Jeremy Howe. Jeremy Howe is particularly exciting, and I know quite a few clubs had him on their radar in the pick 30-50 range.
There are a few very Dream Team relevant players for the Demons this year and it is important to consider their byes, because they come in very important rounds. Melbourne is one of four clubs with Fremantle, Brisbane and Sydney, to have both their byes in the ‘shared’ rounds. Melbourne share their round five bye with Sydney and West Coast, which shouldn’t be too much of a problem, but then their round sixteen bye is shared with Fremantle and Adelaide, which could cause a few head aches for all the Dream Team coaches out there. Let’s have a look at a few of those players now!
I’ve been waiting for him to absolutely rip the competition apart and set himself amongst the elite on the park, but most importantly his Dream Team input. His major problems have been his commitment and his ability to stay on the park fully fit for an entire season. It’s yet to happen in his seven year career. What makes me think it will be a different case this year? Nothing really; I’m basing my trust on his pre-season form and then after that all I can do is hope. He has the perfect Dream Team game and would have no problems averaging 110+ over the season. You’ll be paying a hefty price for him so there is a lot of risk involved in this selection, but Dream Team is not a game for the faint hearted. Pick him!
Another one of Melbourne’s players that can go on and average 100+ but has injury concerns hanging over his head. Jack looked great in the Demons first NAB Cup hit out off the half back flank. He was the go to man the entire night, but I doubt the opposition will be that lenient to him in the proper season. I’m yet to see how he’ll deal with a tag which will no doubt come his way this season, as he’s too creative when left alone. He won’t come too expensive, as he only averaged 82 last year, but to justify picking him, you’d have to be fairly confident he’ll average 90+. I’m still on the fence, and it will be good to have another look at him this weekend.
I’ll put my hand up and say I’m a critic of Jack Watts. As a junior I felt he was a bit of a ‘school yard’ bully, being a bit too tall and strong for the other guys. Now he’s out of his comfort zone where he’s the small guy and I think we can all agree he didn’t adapt too well. Jack Watts won’t be playing his best footy until he’s 24, as I said earlier, but I don’t think he’ll eventuate into the player Melbourne thought they had drafted. This is not a slight on Jack Watts, more so the fact I would’ve picked a few other players ahead of him at pick one. Still, he’s a fine player, and should become a great Dream Teamer with the role he’ll be playing. I’d expect him to push up to the wings to provide a marking option and I see no reason why he shouldn’t average 75-80 this season. Just don’t expect big bags of goals though.
KEEP AN EYE OUT FOR……..
Jordan Gysberts will receive a nice little discount after only playing three games last year. In those three games he averaged 21 disposals and 70 Dream Team points. He could be a handy cash-cow.
Brad Green looked super fit in the Demons first match. He was pushing up the ground a bit more too. Don’t be surprised if he improves on his 99 average of last season.
I’ve been keeping an eye out for Clint Bartram all pre-season hoping he’d get some midfield time. It seems unlikely, but watch out if he does.
Matthew Bate has such a good Dream Team game, but he can’t seem to put it together. Take a good look at him this weekend.
Jamie Bennell should get some increased midfield minutes this season. He could boost his average up to 75+.
Jeremy Howe could be in line for some games this year. He’s an excitement machine, much in the mould of Russell Robertson with a massive leap.
Brent Moloney is the perfect age to have a career best season. Watch closely.
James Strauss could find himself waxing in the backline with Jack Grimes. Hopefully he doesn’t turn the ball over too much or he’ll get dropped.
Luke Tapscott is one hell of a unit. I fear he may get injured because of it. I’m not sold on his job security either.
There is only one way the arrow is pointing for Tom Scully and Jack Trengove. Up!
Rookie Dan Nicholson has impressed this pre-season. Watch out if he gets elevated, he has the handy back/mid eligibility too!
KRISTIAN’S BEST 22
FB: Colin Garland, James Frawley, Clint Bartram
HB: Jack Grimes, Jared Rivers, Joel Macdonald
C: Aaron Davey, Tom Scully, Cale Morton
HF: Brad Green, Jack Watts, Lynden Dunn
FF: Ricky Petterd, Liam Jurrah, Matthew Bate
R: Mark Jamar, Jack Trengove, Colin Sylvia
INT: Brent Moloney, Nathan Jones, Jamie Bennell, Jordie McKenzie
EMER: Rohan Bail, James Strauss, Austin Woneaemirri
Don’t forget to check out Kristian’s other team wraps:
You were probably expecting me to write about the Gold Coast today, but I thought I’d wait until Tuesday so I can get my first real good look at them on Saturday night and write a more informed piece on how I see them structuring up. Therefore, we’re now up to the Hawks!
There is a lot of optimism surrounding the Hawks this season but I can’t say I’m feeling the same way, yet. Why would they improve this year when they were expected to do so last year? They ended up getting bundled out in the first week in finals quite convincingly. They also improved their list significantly last year, obtaining Shaun Burgoyne and Josh Gibson, while Ben Stratton was a much needed revelation in the backline.
I guess the positivity surrounds their last ten or so games in 2010 when they made a late run for the finals, but let’s not forget this team won a premiership in 2008. Are there really any excuses for their poor form over the past two seasons? I know I might be going in a little too hard, but a team just doesn’t lose talent. They still have sixteen premiership players on their list. Something is telling me that in 2008 they were nothing but geniuses, winning a flag through a brilliant game plan, or there is something seriously wrong above the shoulders. For those two reasons I’ll be staying well away from the Hawks until they prove to me they can be a force again, because having players you know can average twenty points more than what they currently are is just frustrating.
Hawthorn over the past few years hasn’t been the greatest Dream Team side either. Their kick to handball ratio is incredibly low which means less kicks and therefore less marks. They have their few Dream Team stars in Luke Hodge, Lance Franklin, and to a lesser extent Sam Mitchell, but then they take a massive dip. Their end of game stats are intriguing to look at. There are the usual suspects at the top of the ladder, but then there are quite a lot of players with scores of fifty or less. If you’re looking to pick that break-out player at Hawthorn just be wary, for some reason they probably won’t score as well as you want them to. I think it’s just a heavily reliance on their star players and it definitely translates into their inconsistency in the win/loss columns.
Another reason to stay away from picking too many Hawks players early is the fact they have a shared bye with Geelong and Fremantle in round six. It will be a potential disaster round for people who can’t help themselves jumping on the Hawthorn bandwagon. As I’ve said with a few other clubs, I’m much more comfortable waiting to see what the Hawks dish up in the first eight or so rounds and then make my decisions for the rest of the season from there. It’s a very long season!
Their draft was pretty good considering the picks they had. Isaac Smith will prove to be a really good player for them, and I think he’ll be an integral part to their structure straight away without putting too much pressure on him. David Hale was a strange pick up in my opinion, and you would’ve thought he was the best player in the competition during trade week considering all the media coverage that deal recieved. I guess he could prove to be a decent pick up, but I certainly wouldn’t have been head over heels for him when they could do just as well in the draft.
For what it’s worth the Hawks showed some great signs from their young guys in their first hit out on Sunday night. I was particularly impressed with their endeavour and run. Shaun Burgoyne and Cyril Rioli would have to be two of their most important players, because when they’re ‘on’ they get a lot of drive and creativity out of those guys. I’d like to see at least one of them playing across half back because their back six is very ‘vanilla’ when it comes to giving run, in fact they don’t offer much at all. When I give my personal ‘best 22′ I’ll show how I’d like to see Hawthorn line up because there is something missing and I’ll do my best to pin-point it on paper. Now on to the players……
I’ve always been a big fan of his and it won’t be long until he improves his average significantly because he’s such a good ball winner. The only thing stopping him from averaging 80+ this season is his role. He spent all of last year and so far this pre-season playing a half forward role. He really didn’t settle into that role all that well, but he looked great on Sunday night pushing up more into the midfield. In the Hawks intra-club match a couple of weeks ago, he also kicked four goals and got quite a few possessions hitting up. He’s priced at an average of only 58 and he’s a defender, so it shouldn’t be too difficult slotting him into your line up somewhere if you see him improving. His job security is pretty good for now as he’s been one of the stand outs on the track, but unfortunately it’s not guaranteed until really establishes himself.
I reckon he’s the ideal replacement for Campbell Brown in the Hawks backline this year, and he did his selection chances no harm with two solid performances on Sunday night and featuring in the best players in the Hawks intra-club match. He’s another mature age recruit from Norwood, and you’d suspect the Hawks will play him given his experience. He probably won’t be a major ball winner at AFL level, even though he averaged 20 disposals from 24 games at SANFL level last year, but he should average 50-60 and be the perfect backline emergency player for your team. His defensive pressure is first-class, and he’ll give some much needed run out of the Hawthorn backline. Even if he isn’t named round one, he’ll more than likely dominate VFL and be straight in the Hawks line up right away.
KEEP AN EYE OUT FOR……..
Lance Franklin’s role will be intriguing. I’m yet to be convinced that if he pushes up into the middle that his scoring will increase. History also suggests he’ll get suspended sometime this year. A lot of people I’ve spoken to seem to be of the opinion that he’s a ‘lock’ pick but I’ll need to see what Clarkson wants to do with him first. I’ve had him most years, and he’s incredibly frustrating but the fact that there aren’t many options in the forward line this year means I might end up picking him anyway. He certainly has the potential to average 110+.
Max Bailey had a good outing in the clubs intra-club match. When fit, I rate him as their best ruckman, so he could be an option for your ruck bench.
Grant Birchall is yet to average 80 or more. He has the game to go up a level, so he’s a wait and see for me depending on whether or not he gets any midfield time.
Xavier Ellis also has the potential to step up, but I won’t be picking him until I’m assured he’s definitely in their best 22.
Brad Sewell is incredibly cheap this year, priced at an average of 82. I wouldn’t be surprised if he averages 100+ once again this year after getting the wake-up call he needed in 2010.
Isaac Smith should get games, but I wouldn’t expect too much from a scoring perspective. He isn’t a massive ball winner but his forward/midfield eligibility makes him more enticing.
KRISTIAN’S BEST 22
FB: Paul Puopolo, Stephen Gilham, Ben Stratton
HB: Cameron Bruce, Josh Gibson, Shaun Burgoyne
C: Grant Birchall, Sam Mitchell, Cyril Rioli
HF: Brendan Whitecross, Lance Franklin, Chance Bateman
FF: Isaac Smith, Jaryd Roughead, David Hale
R: Max Bailey, Brad Sewell, Luke Hodge
INT: Jordan Lewis, Michael Osborne, Brent Guerra, Clinton Young
EMER: Xavier Ellis, Brent Renouf, Ryan Schoenmakers