Category - 2013 – Pre-Season Weekly Wrap
Toby runs through the training reports of teams Port to West Coast. Whos killing it on the track?
There’s not been too much news coming from the Power this past week – or many clubs in fact – as they ready for their NAB Cup campaign. They did have their intra-club though, which I covered in my previous article.
Port did however finalise their leadership group this week, adding in Robbie Gray, despite coming into the season on the back of a knee reconstruction. Hinkley has said though that Gray won’t partake in any NAB Cup games, despite having returned to full training this past week. It’s also unlikely we will see him in round one, with no return date currently set for the forward.
Assistant Coach Alan Richardson has singled out Jarrad Redden as a likely breakout contender in 2013, likening him to cross-town rival Sam Jacobs. His pre-season has been largely incident free and at 200cm and 100kg, looks set for a lot more games this year. He also singled out Jasper Pittard and Andrew Moore as players he expected to see a lot more from in 2013.
The Tigers had their intra-club yesterday in a game of possibles vs probables. By all reports, Cotchin was the best on ground, although who wouldn’t have expected that? Ivan Maric and Brett Deledio were two of the other highlights from the senior group.
Ricky Petterd played well in the ‘probables’ group, being utilised as a running half-back. He played very well and used the ball well – this was actually his position as a junior, so he does know how to play it. He’s priced very cheap in both DT and SC, so could be a tempting option, depending on how he plays in the NAB Cup.
In another positional change, Chris Newman mainly played across half-forward and was impressive. Although, he was quoted earlier in the week suggesting he would be a permanent midfielder this year. Either way, this new role could see an increase in DT scoring from Newman.
In other news Nathan Foley is still recovering from his Achilles injury and is likely to miss at least the first couple of rounds of the season. Jake King and Dylan Grimes are also under clouds for round one.
Hardly any news from the Saints this week after their intra-club game last weekend. There have been no open training sessions since. They play their first NAB Cup game this Sunday against the Crows and Port with a largely inexperienced lineup heading across to Adelaide. Seb Ross missed last week’s hitout with the flu, but he will be playing on Sunday and will be one to watch. Arryn Siposs, Jack Newnes, Cam Shenton, Brodie Murdoch and Josh Saunders will be the main kids to keep an eye on.
The Swans were another club to have their intra-club on Friday, with the coach singling out Tippett, Jetta and Everitt as the standouts. Tippett managed to boot three goals whilst being stood by a combination of Richards and Grundy, which is no easy feat.
Jetta continued where he left off last year, winning his ball on the wing and streaking across the ground at high speed. Everitt was playing half-forward, being manned by first-year player Dean Towers. He took some good marks and delivered the ball well inside the 50, although I’d not even bother considering him in DT or SC considering his history of letting everyone down over the past few years.
O’Keefe also played well through the midfield, going head to head with Luke Parker – O’Keefe managed to take the honours, despite Parker’s tackling pressure every time Keefer went near the ball.
The Doggies were one of the teams to get a run in the NAB Cup last night. Whilst this game will be properly covered in our NAB Cup wrap on Monday, some of the fantasy standouts were Nick Lower, Matthew Boyd, Brett Goodes and Clay Smith.
West Coast Eagles
West Coast play their first NAB Cup game today, with a relatively experienced lineup taking to the field, including returning player Mark Lecras. It will be great to see where the Frenchman lines up in 2013 – if he can play a high half-forward role I think he would be worth considering in DT & SC, but if we see him playing a lot closer to goal, then I think he may prove to be a bit too expensive. Josh Kennedy and Andrew Embley are two other mid-priced options to keep an eye on.
Other than that, not a heap of other info to come from the club this past week
Week commencing 11/02/13:
Jimmy Bartel – has eased into his pre season after a sluggish start and all things going well will play in the second round of the NAB Cup.
James Kelly – is also on the comeback trail from post season surgery. Should play in NAB round 2.
Jed Bews – will be sidelined for 10 weeks due to a foot injury. The young Cat is showing early signs of a stress fracture and will be wrapped in cotton wool for the short to medium term.
George Burbury – is sidelined for the next 6 weeks with a stress fracture in his foot. Disappointing news for a young Cat that would’ve been hoping to cut his teeth in the NAB Cup.
Dawson Simpson – the big ruckman has undergone back surgery and will be sidelined for up to 12 weeks. The move to recruit Hamish McIntosh is looking shrewder by the day!
Hamish McIntosh – Except said shrewd move to recruit McIntosh comes with its own downside. He underwent arthroscopic surgery to drain fluid from his troublesome knee. He’ll be out of action for the next three weeks, so it puts his preparation for Round 1 in some jeopardy.
GOLD COAST SUNS
Harley Bennell – was a dominant force during the All Stars – Tigers clash. He just oozes class and will be a key part of the Gold Coast’s effort to rise up the ladder.
Alex Sexton – is on the comeback trail from hip surgery, has been training well and is firmly in the mix for a round 1 AFL season berth.
Nathan Bock – one of the leagues worst kept secrets (relax, Bomber fans!) was revealed this week when the Suns confirmed that he wouldn’t be playing round 1 of the season proper.
GREATER WESTERN SYDNEY GIANTS
Will Hoskin-Elliott, Jonathon Patton & Dom Tyson – are all looking good as longer term Giants players with players & club reportedly agreeing to new contract during the week with details to be finalised in the coming weeks. Tyson in particular is a boom signing for the Giants given the way the tom-toms (not Scully) were beating about his possible departure towards the end of season 2012.
Jonathon O’Rourke, Lachlan Plowman & Lachie Whitfield – the club confirmed that its 3 prized picks will all get a run during the NAB Cup much to the delight of AFL Dreamteam, SuperCoach & Ultimate Footy coaches during the week.
Setanta O’hAilpin – doesn’t look likely to get a gig during the NAB Cup at this stage as he recovers from his 2012 ACL tear. Is still a chance for an early return during the season proper.
Joseph Redfern – the rookie with the very apt name will miss the NAB Cup due to severe bone bruising.
The Hawks were on their community camp down in Tassie during the week. Winged captain Luke Hodge led a group of players in helping with the bushfire recovery effort, whilst another group of players played king of kids running junior clinics at local primary schools.
Youngsters Jed Anderson & Amos Frank also showed some class during the All Stars – Richmond game.
Aaron Davey – was one of the Indigenous All Stars’ best on Friday night. The Flash followed it up with a good session at Gosch’s Paddock on Monday and his spirits has obviously been buoyed by his effort on Friday night.
Shannon Byrnes & Chris Dawes – the premiership forward duo combined well during match simulation drills during the week. Their forward pressure and skill level shone out.
Jeremy Howe – rolled an ankle after attempting a screamer during training on Monday. Hopefully it is only a minor setback as the Dees can ill afford to lose a player of his quality through pre season tomfoolery!
Tom Gillies & Dan Nicholson – both try their guts out but sadly put in a stinker during training on Monday. Their poor kicking skills are a real threat to the longevity of their AFL careers.
NORTH MELBOURNE KANGAROOS
The Roos are on their community camp in Ballarat this week. Ben Cunnington has been the stand out at training and vice captain Jack Ziebell is expecting 2013 to be a break out season for the solidly built youngster. In other news Majak Daw looks set to be trialled as a key forward during the NAB Cup & Suns’ recruit Taylor Hine remains in the rehab group.
Week commencing 11/02/13:
Saturday, September 15, 2001.
You know how some days just stick in your memory? For me, this was one.
The world had just been rocked by the most visible of terrorist attacks the previous Tuesday, and the world’s media continued said rocking by indulging in wall-to-wall media coverage of the tragedy.
I woke up the following Saturday morning, and my alarm clock radio was blaring out the dulcet tones of Rove McManus’ 9:00AM morning show. I’m not usually a Rove fan, but what he said stuck in my head. It was along the lines that, ‘rather than dwelling on the horror that has taken place this week, I feel like the best way I can honour those who are hurting is to continue doing what I do.’
Not that I would ever attempt to compare the loss of life suffered in that event to the events of the previous week, but I feel like the best way I can help is to keep what I usually do. Not to pretend that the issues don’t exist, but rather to feel like we can start to move through.
Wow. That was verbose – my bad.
Here’s what’s happening in your club that begins with A-F:
Adelaide, along with a number of other clubs, held their intra-club trial match last Friday. The Crows chose to close off their trial to the public, with Coach Brenton Sanderson stating, ‘If closing a session such as today gives us a competitive edge over an opponent in the regular season, I think our members and supporters would understand why we do it.’ Whilst there were no injuries out of the trial, I note that Bernie Vince, Richard Tambling and Sam Shaw were all held out with varying degrees of soreness. They should all be OK for Round 1. With such a fit list, Adelaide staff have indicated that they will try to give “almost every player” on the list playing time.
The story is (as always) Brad Crouch. The young wunderkind rotated through the midfield whilst alternating from half-forward, and you would imagine that his reported maturity will help him adjust to wherever the match day committee want to put him.
Also of note was ex-Sydney player Lewis Johnston, who kicked 3 goals in the side that got thumped – it has been suggested that this could be his chance to seize the spot left vacant by Kurt Tippett
Not a heck of a lot of news out of the Lions’ Den this week, as most press questions centred around some dark, Dank, smelly business. However, the resounding theme out of the Lions’ preseason has been how impressive the rookies have been, and how hard they are willing to work. A couple of players to watch for the future (and/or if the unthinkable happens and Jono Brown strikes some injury problems) are Marco Paparone and Michael Close, who are a couple of tall forwards who have serious engines. The warning, as always, is that big boys take time, but certainly a couple of lads to keep your eye on.
If you’ve been following these recaps for a while now, you’ll know that Carlton are in a very strong position from an injury perspective. Only Chris Judd, Jarrad Waite, Troy Menzel and Andrew McInnes were forced to sit out the intra-club trial due to injury with all but McInnes expected to see some NAB game time. Also sitting out were 6 other senior players, as the Blues took the smart, cautious approach to list management.
The report on the Blues’ website lists Matthew Watson, Pat McCarthy and Kane Lucas amongst the youngsters to impress (although, I believe KP has a different view on the performance of Kane Lucas?). Also, I feel it my duty to point out that we have mentioned both Watson and McCarthy on this site already, which underlines the need to keep up with the awesome pre-season content on Footy Tragic.
Lastly, it is nice to see that Sam Rowe had a forward/ruck role after the rough trot he’s had health-wise. I’d imagine he will find it difficult to break into the Carlton ruck rotation, but he may be able to play a role if he can break into that stacked forward line.
I wonder if all AFL coaches receive the same talking points after their club has an intra-club match? “There are things we need to work on yada yada…as good as we can hope for yada yada…”
Although Collingwood’s injury list is not long, there are still a number of players being eased back into full training. No new injuries were sustained out of the trial, and pleasingly, Clinton Young made a surprise return after his post-season foot injury..
The forward line looks to have added some obvious potency with the addition of the list of Quentin Lynch with Andrew Krakouer and Jamie Elliott all looking good. Young Irishman Caolan Mooney also impressed at times with his footspeed and athleticism, and might be a chance to see some good NAB cup time. Port Melbourne mature-age recruit Sam Dwyer also showed a bit of dash and decision making, and is the sort of quality player that is indicative of Collingwood’s current depth.
In what I’m sure was a quiet week out at Melbourne Airport, the best piece of news came in the form that Nathan Lovett-Murray had been named as the Indigenous AllStars captain. Beyond that, it was doom and gloom, with bonafide stars Jobe Watson and David Zaharakis missing out on the club’s intra-club match, and Jake Melksham landing on his hand, breaking it and requiring surgery. The Bombers expect Melksham to start training again on Monday and a return for Round 2 of the NAB Cup.
I don’t know what the buzz is like about Freo over in Perth, but the more I think about it, the more I like their chances. They’re making all the right noises, keeping injury free and seem to be slowly ramping up to their trial game versus the Crows next weekend. Injury-wise it’s worth noting that Stephen Hill has resumed full training and will be available for selection after recovering from his shoulder surgery. It has also emerged that Lachie Neale has missed training intermittently after suffering heat stroke early in the pre-season.
As expected, their intra-club hit-out was willing, with spots up for grab in the side for any young blokes willing to take-a-chance-take-a-chance- take-a-chance-take-a-chance…(a bad ABBA reference thrown in for good measure.)
Young midfielder Cam Sutcliffe showed tremendous poise and footspeed, as he had a crack on both teams in the match. He’s the sort of hard-running player that can often get a gig mid-year or when the team is short staffed.
A friendly reminder if you haven’t checked out some of the awesome pre-season stuff on Footy Tragic, do yourself a favour and have a look here.
The best news to come from Port this past week is that Robbie Gray and John Butcher have both joined the main group at training after spending all pre-season to date in recovery.
Port also had their first trial match this week, with every Port supporter going home and drooling over Ollie Wines. He was sensational throughout the game, winning plenty of his own ball and looking like a seasoned veteran. His tackling and ball winning were the highlights of his game.
Campbell Heath appears to have been a brilliant acquisition for them. He played in defence and impressed with his ball use and calm head under pressure. He’s not just a shut-down player either, working to win his own ball and distributing it from defence. He could be a very handy player in DT and SC this year.
Jasper Pittard was the other highlight for Port – his skills off half-back were fantastic, as was his run and carry. He has put on plenty of weight since we last saw him at AFL level and looks to have gained some confidence from this. Along with the above two players, Pittard looks set to entrench himself in the best-22 in 2013.
Richmond took a collection of their team to Alice Springs to take on the Indigenous all-stars and were thrashed comfortably. However, as many Tigers supporters will quickly point out, it was not worth four points… obviously. That said, they were missing plenty of key players, with the core of their list being inexperienced youngsters.
Anyway, Dustin Martin was one of the Tigers best, playing through the midfield all game and collecting plenty of the ball (including in the second half!!). Nick Vlaustin was the best of the kids, giving his all to the contest and showing off the sort of hard-nosed football that Richmond recruited him for. Another in the ‘hard-nosed’ category was Steven Morris, who continues to give his body to the cause, despite the score line.
For those interested in Chris Knights, he did play, however hardly saw much of the pill all night. Orren Stephensen had a mare, but was saved by kicking two goals.
The Saints had their first intra-club hitout for the year in Seaford and I was lucky enough to be able to go down. The game had eight 8-minute ‘quarters’ and players swung between each side throughout the game – this did make watching for players slightly harder as by the end of the game, few players had the correct numbers on their backs. There was also no specific ‘probables’ vs ‘possibles’ which made the game a slightly better spectacle. Players that were missing included Riewoldt, Hayes, Dempster, Schneider, Rhys Stanley, Seb Ross, Lewis Pierce, Daniel Markworth and Spencer White.
The player that impressed me the most today was Jack Newnes – his pre-season to date has been fantastic and he was great in the first match simulation. He played mainly on the ball, but also had some time off half-back (he was one of many players to get a go in this sort of role). He uses the ball well and also very cleverly. He was also very good in any one-on-one battles, often outpositioning his opponent to win the ball. I daresay we will see a lot of him in 2013.
Arryn Siposs appears to be the player handed the ‘Brendon Goddard role,’ as it has become known. As a Saints fan, I am very happy with this – we started to see him get his changes in this role at the end of 2012, but it looks like this is where he will start in 2013. He has so much confidence in his ability, but so do him teammates, who go to him frequently. As Goddard often did, he was seen lurking around packs, waiting for the hand off so he could shimmy around a couple of opponents before bombing it forward with great accuracy. He did this a number of times. The flaw of this role is that is often becomes a bit lazy when it comes to attacking a contest, but at only 20 years of age, he has plenty of time to learn. Like Newnes, Siposs looks like he will lock himself into the Saints’ best-22 this year.
Tom Hickey was another standout, absolutely dominating McEvoy in the ruck. Macca just couldn’t get near the ball with Hickey jumping all over him. I honestly wouldn’t be surprised to see Hickey overtake McEvoy as the Saints’ number one ruck this year. Macca’s flaw has always been his ruckwork, so it will be interesting to see how they are both used. Suffice to say, Hickey will be in the round one team.
Sam Fisher played as the main full-back, with Jay Lever at the opposing end. This role for Fisher works quite well considering his age, size and recent injury history. Throughout the game he played on a range of players – tall and small – which has long been one of his strengths, and I believe this is what we will see from him this year. I can see him playing a role similar to what Scarlett did for the Cats – predominantly shut-down, but also a great interceptor and able to run off his man when needed. That said, I think his Dream Team days are over – Supercoach only I think.
Cam Shenton (rookie), played a fantastic role in defence as a small defender. He did play on Milne who booted a number of goals, but his workrate was impressive, as were his skills under pressure. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him get a chance in the seniors in 2013.
Jarryn Geary played midfield and looked quite good. He made some mistakes, but he has become one of the more promising younger saints over the past year. Armitage (close to BOG) and Steven were both also quite productive through the midfield, with Ledger, Saunders and Curren all also getting a go through the guts – Curren impressed me the most of the trio with his ball use, but Saunders was the best of the first-year brigade, throwing himself into every contest – he also had a big voice on the field, encouraging all his teammates along.
Sam Gilbert’s role was very interesting – he played the entire game through the midfield (mainly on the wing). He won quite a bit of the ball, although he often tried to do too much with it, which is often the case. He is dirt cheap, so could be worth looking at closely in the NAB Cup.
Nick Dal Santo played the whole game off half-back and looks in ripping physical shape. As you would expect, he used the ball beautifully and was given the ball on plenty of occasions. He played a very unaccountable role when in the backline, but if this role continues (and I think it will), then I would be looking at him VERY closely for SuperCoach.
Of the forwards, Beau Maiser (Wilkes) and Stephen Milne were clearly the best. Kosi has trimmed right down and I think will still play a number of games this year. Tom Lee was quite disappointing – despite coming across from the WAFL, his frame is hardly any bigger than many other draftees. He had little impact in the forward line before being moved into the ruck for some time, where he wasn’t too effective either. Personally, I am keeping him out of my DT and SC. Saad was also lively up forward and hasn’t changed his run-up! Milera and TDL both had some time up forward, but spent most of their time across the wings. Milera did kick about three goals in five minutes to close the game though.
Hopefully this covers everything, but let me know if you have any questions.
The Swans were another to have a scratch-match this week, with a 40-minute hitout at Lakeside drive. Harry Cunningham, Brandon Jack and Jarrad McVeigh were the standouts from this hitout, according to assistant coach Henry Playfair.
Unfortunately there was very little other info to come out of this match due to it being a closed session.
No intra-club down at the Doggies, but things are progressing well on the track. Nathan Hrovat suffered a slight quad strain on the track this week, however he is expected to be ok in time for the NAB cup – just a minor hiccup. Up until then he had been training with the forwards group.
Jason Tutt continues to train well and should provide some good run and carry for the Dogs in 2013. Looks like he should be able to set himself into the best-22.
Cooney and Higgins are looking the best of the older guys – both have had terrible runs with injury, but both are also in some of the best nick we’ve seen of them in years. Christian Howard is another who has had a strong pre-season to date and we should see a bit more of this coming season – mainly off half-back, but with some stints in the midfield.
West Coast Eagles
The Eagles are looking in good shape this pre-season, with Mark LeCras looking on track to play in the NAB Cup, which is fantastic news for the club and fantasy coaches alike.
Justin Longmuir (Forwards coach) has stated that they will be trialling LeCras and Josh Hill in the forward line together through the NAB, partly putting to bed the hope we will see the Frenchman running through the midfield in 2013.
Longmuir has also stated that Josh Kennedy has been ‘training the house down’ – fantastic news considering almost all of 2012 was a write-off for him with injuries. Jack Darling is another who has been singled out as a player likely to go to a new level in 2013.
Week commencing 04/02/13:
Tom Hawkins – Tomahawk looked in ripping nick during the Cats’ joint training session with North Melbourne. The extra kgs worth of muscle he has put on during the pre season certainly aren’t affecting his mobility.
Steve Johnson – is a gun. Pure and simple. Stevie J had a dominant week on the track. His skill level was impeccable as ever during training sessions and the North Melbourne involved drills.
Daniel Menzel – it was revealed during the week that the young Cat had LARS surgery making it 3 knee recos in less than 18 months! The talented youngster is restricted to very light drills, training away from the main group.
GOLD COAST SUNS
Jack Martin – dominated during the intra-club match yesterday. With Ablett, O’Meara & Swallow, the Suns are building a midfield that could be the envy of the competition sooner rather than later.
Steve May – is an exciting forward prospect for the Suns. There’s a bit of Stewart Crameri about him. All signs this pre season point to a big year for young May.
Nathan Bock – is carrying an obvious limp, stemming from his horrific leg injury last year. Don’t expect him to be back in top form for the start of season 2013.
GREATER WESTERN SYDNEY GIANTS
Will Hoskin-Elliott – the hyphen is back into full training after being laid low through most of the pre season with a hip complaint.
Chad Cornes – had a cyst removed from his knee during the week and faces a 10 week stint on the sidelines.
Lance Franklin – is the sum of the news out of the Hawks this week. Buddy has pulled out of the Indigenous All Stars game with a calf injury which is disappointing for AFL fans. The AFL media were delighted earlier in the week when he delayed contract talks until the end of the season.
Neville Jetta – had a good week on the track & will be looking to cement his place as a half back. His kicking is still iffy but Jetta is having his best pre season yet.
Max Gawn – has been placed on the long term injury list due to a hamstring injury. Not good news for the big man who has suffered a poor run with knee injuries.
Dean Terlich – suffered a minor setback during the week after a nasty collision at training. It shouldn’t hurt his medium to long term prospects.
NORTH MELBOURNE KANGAROOS
The young Roos blitzed the Cats during the week for pace during their joint training session. Ben Jacobs & Jordan Gysberts also impressed on the track during the week.
Week commencing 04/02/13:
Whilst I know this site has broadened its focus this season to address a plethora of non-fantasy football related issues, “I’ve got another confession to make – I’m your fool.” In other words, it’s kind of nice that AFL Fantasy is back.
What’s happening at your club? I’m glad you asked (As long the first letter of your club starts between A and F)
My current (don’t tell my wife) man-crush, Brenton Sanderson has put it best in the past week, when he said “There are always positive themes coming out of Clubs at this time of year, but our boys really are looking good.” The Crows’ player management continues to be first class in the lead up to their February 23 pre-NAB Cup clash against Fremantle. There are no major injury concerns, with Jared Petrenko (shoulder), Bernie Vince (shoulder), Sam Shaw (knee) and Nick Joyce (groin) scheduled to sit out the first round of the NAB Cup.
In case you’ve had your head buried, you will have heard of 19 year old Brad Crouch, who is into his second pre-season and is not only a terrific young player but also has the eye of the coach, having been the first recruit that Sanderson brought to the club at the end of 2011. Injury permitting, he should definitely see game time this year.
Have you tried quality Analysis? Why not try Scotty’s look at Adelaide here? As an aside, this also contains an introductory spiel about Scotty that is quite illuminating.
Despite Queensland’s awful weather, the Brisbane Lions still managed to knock out some impressive training sessions, shifting from Coorparoo to the Colmslie Hockey Centre. Michael Voss pleasingly highlighted the same issue I did from last week (are you reading this Mr Voss?), saying “we build up round 1 so much and you have to remember that round 2 carries just as many premiership points,” pointing out that whilst Simon Black is on track for Round 1, they won’t be taking any risks with him.
A lot of pre-season hype has gone into Sam Docherty, another second-year player looking to make an impact. He has now put on some significant weight, and all reports point to him being in tremendous physical condition.
The other guy I’m keen to see in the NAB cup is Brent Staker, who has so far completed a full pre-season. He knows what is required at this level, and I would not be surprised to see him making significant (if not consistent) contributions to the forward line.
Another excellent list analysis article here from Kristian which will get you ready in time for Round 1.
With the stunning revelation that Mick Malthouse wanted to actually coach his team during the NAB Cup (you know, the job he’s paid to do), Carlton entered their week full of verve and good intention. Andrew McInnes continues to be the only player definitely ruled out of round 1, with Lachie Henderson (hip/groin) and Jarryd Cachia being eased back into full training. However, all reports from Carlton make it sound like that Mick will be spoiled for choice.
The make-up of the Carlton forward line looks interesting, with Jarrod Waite, Sam Rowe and Luke Mitchell all pushing for spots in the tall forward spots – a far cry from the trio of Gartlett, Yarran and Betts. However, the guy I’m backing to make an impact up front is Levi Casboult, whose speed is tremendous and sure hands in a pack situation could be exactly what’s needed.
Because my creativity for these shameless plugs is waning, here’s a rehash – Scotty has a look at the challenges the Blues face in his list analysis, personally endorsed by the Carlton diehard who sits next to me at work. You can endorse it here.
Surely Port Adelaide Chairman David Kock (did I spell that right?) would have been quietly fuming this week as the Magpies announced their new sponsorship deal with Holden (Holden having traditional links to the Power demographic – perhaps they can pick up Lexus?). Kochie’s wrath is the last thing they have to fear, however, as the Magpies again had a large number of players in their rehab group last week, including Nathan Brown, Alex Fasolo, Dayne Beams, Lachlan Keefe and Harry O’Brien. The biggest concern by far is Nathan Buckley’s ‘admission’ that Dale Thomas (ankle) could “still be a couple of months away,” from returning.
There was a bit of buzz around young midfielder Josh Thomas, who is one of those silky-skilled midfielders we love to watch. If D. Thomas is out and Luke Ball takes longer than expected to come up to speed, Josh Thomas will be one to watch, as he is pacy and reads the play well. Also, Collingwood are traditionally not afraid of blooding their young early.
The only time I don’t despise Collingwood is when they’re giving Port Adelaide the irits. You can find out about who else they will give the irits to in KP’s list analysis here.
Whilst trawling through endless club information, I came across the fact that at their Fed Square fan day, their fans “flash mobbed” them. After I got over thinking, “Flashmobbing? Is that still a thing?” this piece of footage made me a) glad that I live in Adelaide and b) amused by the looks on the players’ faces.
The biggest injury scare of the week went to David Zaharakis, who sent shudders through the mostly healthy squad when he limped off during training with a minor quad strain. It soon came to light, however, that it was not the same injury that caused him to miss a tonne of time last year. He is back running again, and whilst he may miss a couple of NAB Cup games, he should be alright for Round 1.
This week’s Bombers hype has centred around comments Hird made on SEN about Joe Daniher, who he considers a young key position player who has the potential to eventually be their Ruck/Forward. The Coach is suitably impressed with the young man’s attitude, but when quizzed about how much game time he’d see, he responded that it’s “hard with a guy that age,” but he “can’t see why he won’t play a lot of football.”
Scotty ‘rips apart,’ the Bombers list here, complete with tables, pretty pictures and promises of wealth, nice looking ladies and a marching band.
Last week saw Fremantle have its first pre-season training session at the ground where they will play during the year – a logistical reality, no doubt, but surely that’s not ideal? That being said, whilst the rest of the country is freezing and flooding, Freo trained in scorching heat, with their rehab group shrinking to “a couple of players.” Their big scare was key midfielder David Mundy, who rolled his right ankle but has since been cleared of any damage.
Defender Garrick Ibbotson has nominated Nick Suban as the best on-track in the pre-season thus far. This is a nice sign for the youngster, who will look to continue strengthening his place in the line-up after he ran a PB in the 3km time trial.
Was anyone else amused by the news that Buddy Franklin is not negotiating his contract until the end of the year? Shall we start calling KP a prophet? Find out here.
Angus Monfries has impressed so far this pre-season, training exclusively as a midfielder, which will be interesting to watch. He has been taking part in all centre square and clearance drills so far this pre-season. Another man in that group is Ollie Wines, who I think we are going to see a LOT of in 2013. Port fans are salivating and I’m not at all surprised – he is so dedicated on the track and already has a body to play AFL from round one.
Matt Broadbent has toned right up and is having a great crack this pre-season. He’s another who we’ve seen bursts of talent from, but nothing consistent, so it would be great to see a true breakout season from him – we know he is no slouch when it comes to winning the ball!
Richmond only have the two players on restricted training; Troy Chaplin and Sam Lonergan, so overall its been a pretty positive pre-season. Interestingly, Aaron Edwards looks to be the new recruit training in the forward line, running through all his drills alongside Jack Riewoldt. Both Ricky Petterd and Chris Knights are training in the midfield group, which is great news if they can manage to get games in what is likely to become a hotly contested best-22.
Shane Edwards has been one to really impress this pre-season – he has gradually improved over the past few years, but 2013 could be when it all comes together. Hardwick is on record saying he is best-22 and should play midfield, so I’m looking forward to seeing how he goes in the NAB Cup – could be a real surprise packet this year and a massive bonus for the Tigers.
Trent Cotchin continues to have an uninterrupted pre-season and should really be in everyone’s round one team. He’s going to dominate 2013.
The main news out of the Saints this week was the announcement of the leadership group, but one consistent between interviews with Nick Riewoldt, Scott Watters and others was the performance of Jack Newnes so far this pre-season. He has been easily one of the standouts on the track, has put on a fair amount of weight and appears destined for a breakout season. He showed some good glimpses in 2012, so it would be great to see him build on that, either off half-back or through the midfield.
There are also plenty of plugs coming for how hard Riewoldt and Hayes have hit this pre-season. That said, they both aren’t training at 100% and will have a heavily monitored NAB Cup campaign.
Most Swans are now back into full training, with only Goodes, Mattner, Shaw and Nick Smith on restricted programs. The Swans had a scratch-match in Coffs Harbour this week, with McVeigh dominant through the midfield and Tippett looked great up forward, managing to snag three goals on Teddy Richards – not a bad effort!
Daniel Hannerbury and Craid Bird are two other players continuing to stick out of the track.
Tom Williams has resumed full training for the Dogs and has immediately joined the forwards group, where he spend a good amount of time in the back-end of last year. Also continuing to train in a new position is Jordan Roughead, who is training as a key defender.
This pre-season has been a lot about putting on weight and muscle for some of the younger players, with Ayce Cordy, Liam Jones and recent draftee Jackson Macrae all putting on significant amounts of weight. Cordy finally looks like he will be able to hold him own deep in the forward line.
West Coast Eagles
The talk is all based around the young West Coast midfield; Shuey, Gaff, Selwood, Masten and Wellingham, all of whom are looking good this pre-season. There is plenty of improvement left in West Coast’s list and a lot of this is going to come from the players listed above. Selwood especially is looking great this pre-season, with Gaff threatening a true breakout season in 2013.
Nic Nat still looks likely to miss the first few weeks of the season, whilst Beau Waters is set to rejoin the main group in the next fortnight, just in time for the NAB Cup.
Week commencing 28/01/13:
Tom Hawkins – The big Cat has bulked up over the pre-season and now tips the scales at 105kgs. The KPF behemoth will be looking to give as many key defenders nightmares in 2013 as he does photographers during pre season, who have to shoot annual photos of him in his manbra.
Jordan Schroeder – the young Cat is looking leaner and meaner this pre season & will be looking to add to his senior games tally. Some in the Cat’s camp believe he is the heir (not hair) apparent to Paul Chapman.
Josh Hunt – has been struck down with glandular fever. The bad news is he will most likely miss a significant chunk of the season thus risking his ongoing spot in the side with youngsters like Thurlow surely to be blooded. The upshot is that while he is laid low with this illness it is slightly less possible that the people from Gunns timber will try and pulp him given the strong resemblance his legs hold to tree trunks.
GOLD COAST SUNS
Harley Bennell – dominated Suns’ training & match simulation during the week like it was New Year’s Eve in Scarborough – except this time, no one could catch him. With a set of wheels every bit as quick as the bike he was named in honour of, Bennell looks set to consolidate his 2012 break out year in 2013.
Josh Hall – jumping Josh narrowly missed out on Australia’s Olympic team for London 2012, which just about makes him the AOC 3rd most decorated athletics team member behind Sally Pearson & Steve Hooker. Hall was spotted ripping up the track during the Suns’ match simulation during the week and looked very lively in front of goals.
Jacob Gillbee – blew 0.137 at a random breath test during the week. Mysteriously, the old “I’m Jacob Gillbee of the Gold Coast Suns, I’m kind of a big deal, so there’s no need for a breath test – you have my word” defence didn’t work! Given most of his team mates don’t know what he looks like, its going to be awkward to try and set up a car pool to training.
Tom Lynch – the young key forward is on the comeback trail from foot surgery & will be looking to increase his training loads in the coming weeks.
Liam Patrick – suffered a nasty hamstring injury during the week at training and needed to be carried from the ground. This puts the mercurial forward’s NAB Cup and potentially early season in doubt.
Tim Sumner – the young draftee is on the comeback trail after a knee injury.
GREATER WESTERN SYDNEY GIANTS
Tom Scully – has had a good week in which he was named the world’s richest vice captain by the Giants. He was also in outstanding touch during the club’s match simulation drills during the week and looks to be thriving on the added responsibility of leadership already.
Dylan Shiel – also stood out during the club’s scratch match with his polished foot skills. Not bad for a bloke who has missed large chunks of the pre season because of a foot injury.
Adam Treloar – looks to be a touch quicker this pre season and was another stand out at Giants’ training during the week.
Josh Growden – is still about a month away from full training as he recovers from a hip complaint. This is worrying as the Giants clearly lack talented young players to cover.
James Stewart – is also in recovery mode after suffering a stress fracture.
Jon Ceglar – the former Collingwood big man consolidated a good pre season to date with another good week on the track. While primarily a ruck, Ceglar has also looked to try and boost his versatility by training in key forward & key defender positions.
Luke Hodge – it has been confirmed that his PCL injury/recovery will see the skipper miss the start of the season again. The days of AFL Dreamteam & SuperCoach stud-dom appear to be over.
Matt Jones – the former Box Hill midfielder trained well during the week & looks a definite upgrade on fellow VFL drafted Dees’ James Magner & Tom Couch. Jones is tall, quick, evasive & has good foot skills. At 25, he is ready to go and could be a good fantasy cash cow option this year.
Rory Taggert – after missing most of last season with bad back injuries, Taggert has had a good pre season. Like Matt Jones he is a big bodied midfielder with a good hoof on him who trained well during the week.
Mitch Clark, James Frawley & Jack Trengove – all missed a main session of training during the week. If this continues it will probably dent the Dees premiership chances in 2013, not to mention start another tanking investigation.
NORTH MELBOURNE KANGAROOS
Drew Petrie – has been training the house down over the past week at training and over the summer at large. Petrie’s mobility has been a stand out during the joint training sessions with Geelong. This bodes well for North as they rarely lose when big Drew is on song.
Lindsay Thomas – like fellow key forward (not) Drew Petrie, LT has trained well during the week. His pace has been a highlight at North training.
Leigh Adams & Daniel Wells – will miss pretty much all of the Nab Cup as a result of pre existing injuries in an effort to get them right for round 1. This could mean a sluggish start to the season proper for these two key midfielders.
Jack Ziebell – will miss the start of the Nab Cup after undergoing minor knee surgery earlier this month.
Week commencing 28/01/13:
It seems that every time I come to write this report, I’m in a semi-depressive state. It makes me broody and irritable – tonight it’s because I’ve just watched the men’s tennis, and I’m not particularly happy with the result. Nevertheless, the thought of sitting in the driving rain at AAMI stadium seems like just the thing to cheer me up.
Here’s what’s happening at your club…
I received my Adelaide Crows membership pass in the mail, and I couldn’t be more excited for the year to start as Adelaide Head Coach Brenton Sanderson returned to the track (and media duties) last week, returning from his European honeymoon – and he liked what he saw. Last Monday’s session saw 45 out of possible 47 players train, with 40 players due to train today (a public holiday). The bottom line is the Crows are mostly all fit.
I (through the magic of talkback radio – yes, I’m a ranty old man) had the chance to ask the Coach, “who is most impressive name we haven’t yet heard of?” Whilst he didn’t provide a name we hadn’t heard of, he did very cautiously nominate Richard Tambling as having a ripper pre-season, saying that he’s “a forgotten name that’s going to have a really good season this year,” indicating that he will play through the half back line and/or on the wing.
For those of you betting on Angus Graham as a nice little smoky option, Sanderson was pretty clear that Graham had a lot of work to do to get into the rotation, mentioning 4 or 5 other guys that could play his role, and stating that “we have a lot of depth now in our ruck stocks.”
Is your iPod stuck on replay? No? Well why don’t you check out Scotty’s list analysis of the Adelaide Crows here?
Despite the weather cooling off up north, the noise out of the Lions is saying that the heat is on…it’s on the street. (No, I don’t really know what that means either.) Key Brisbane big man Matthew Leuenberger is feeling no pain in his leg after his 2012 Achilles injury, but is easing his way back into full training. He has indicated that he is aiming to play the last two games of the pre-season.
Lions’ Vice-Captain, Daniel Merrett, last week said in his press conference that training had been getting, ‘a little narky,’ (testing every journos’ ability to spell the word ‘narky) particularly between the forwards and backs. Merrett himself will play preferred full back this year (effectively ruining any fantasy value he may have had) with recruit Jordan Lisle in the prime position to take his vacant spot up forward. Merrett said that Lisle has matured, was talking a lot more and had improved his fitness – one to watch out for perhaps.
He also indicated that, ‘whilst anything can happen,’ Mitch Golby and Sam Docherty will most likely get some significant time in defense, as they look to lock down their back six (which he lovingly refers to as, “the Men’s Department.”)
Another excellent list analysis article here from Kristian which was, unfortunately, was written before Daniel Merrett started referring to the Backline as ‘the Men’s Department.
The same old theme continues at Carlton in regard to their training methodology, dedicating their time to short, sharp and varied training sessions in order to improve recovery, build their stamina and improve their mobility. Blues defender Jeremy Laidler was on press conference duty last week, and indicated that “most of the boys will be fully available and fit through the NAB cup,” with the exception of Andrew McInnes (knee). (This may imply that Marc Murphy is fit enough to take part in a full training load.)
Interestingly, superboot Matthew Watson has “put on a bit of size,” which can’t hurt his chances of making an impact in 2013. Also, I noted that Jarrod Waite has indicated that he is taking part in his ‘first full pre-season for a long time.’ Obviously that finger injury can’t have been too bad!
Scotty has a look at the challenges Mick (Malthouse, not Gatto) really faces in his Carlton list analysis, personally endorsed by the Carlton diehard who sits next to me at work. You can endorse it here.
‘Glove gate,’ as nobody is calling it, will surely be sending shudders through the Magpies key forward ranks, as they can no longer rely on extra grip their now-banned gloves afforded them. This will be a real disappointment to Magpies’ fans, as I’m sure they were really looking forward to cheering as Quentin Lynch nonchalantly threw his glove off, and will now have to fund other uses for gloves that grip. Last week saw a large number of players (at least 12) in the Magpies’ rehab group, although some of those players are being eased back into full load. Cloke, Thomas and Alex Fasolo were among those who skipped the skills work last Monday.
I was interested in reports that young defender Paul Seedsman has improved the length of his kicking and also his running. It has been rumoured that he may cycle through that elite midfield this season, but even if he doesn’t, he might be one to watch, as he provides another quality rebounding option from defence to compliment the likes of Heath Shaw and Harry O’Brien.
Here’s a question, what can Collingwood fans expect in 2013, apart from approximately a bajillion unnecessary meddlesome remarks from their president? Find out from KP here.
As Steve Alessio joins the number of Essendon alum to return to the back office, head coach James Hird is continuing to make waves of his own, highlighting to the football world that the soft tissue injuries of last season were part of the long term plan (OK, he didn’t *exactly* say that, but he did say that last year’s bulking up, and this year’s subsequent focus on endurance were part of the long-term plan) Whilst the improved training surface at Essendon’s new facility will likely reduce the number of impact-related injuries sustained at training, it’s unlikely to help their ‘two-face’ issue much.
James Hird also indicated that 23 year old Tom Bellchambers would be used as the Bombers’ primary ruckman, with Essendon using veteran David Hille and Patrick Ryder as backups. As Footy Tragic contributor Juzz would know, a ruck strategy led by Tom Bellchambers can be a dangerous proposition (mostly for your own side), and is one to watch as the season unfolds.
Scotty ‘rips apart,’ the Bombers list here, complete with tables, pretty pictures and promises of wealth and nice looking ladies. OK, perhaps I made up the last bit, because it’s late…
I would love to write one of these reports without referencing Ross Lyon and his meticulous preparation methods, but he really does have the Dockers on a tight schedule as he looks to ramp up preparation heading into the NAB Cup. Perth’s notorious hot, dry weather makes for truly testing training terrain (and by “terrain,” I mean, “conditions.” – I was going for the alliteration) and this makes the management of training loads even more critical. I can only assume this is why Lachie Neale, Matt De Boer and Kepler Bradley did not train, whilst a number of players also had a light day (including Zac Dawson and Luke McPharlin). Also, Aaron Sandilands had a ‘minor procedure,’ (undisclosed) but will resume with the main group today.
Jack Hannath, the 201 cm number 8 pick in the 2012 pre-season draft was said to be competing exceptionally well against Jon Griffin, but may struggle to break into Freo’s already stacked ruck division. Still, perhaps he is one to put in the ‘future’ tab in your spreadsheets (Yes, I know you keep a spreadsheet – probably more than one, right?)
Did you hear which key forward is coming to Fremantle next year when he becomes a free agent, according to KP? No? Find out here.
As an aside, I feel like I should mention that AFL Fantasy is open for business this Friday – how are your teams coming along?
Port had their first open training session of the year yesterday and reports are all saying that Hinkley is pushing them hard already, which is good news. All the talk coming out of training is about the kids – Wingard looks terrific and is just such a complete player that there is little doubt he will be in the round one team; he could be one of the big improvers in 2013.
Also likely to be in the team from round one is Ollie Wines who has taken the pre-season by storm and already has an AFL-ready body. He’s a super dedicated kid too, so will certainly get the best of himself.
Of the more senior players, Boak has a great presence on the training track – he is one of the hardest workers, whilst also one of the most vocal. He is fully fit and it will be interesting to see how he performs in 2013 after a slightly disappointing 2012. Matt Broadbent is another looking to carry on his strong 2012 season and appears to be training strongly.
Hamish Hartlett has also put on some bulk and if he can keep his body right should be set for a very good 2013.
The first open training session of the year for the Tigers is Friday, so not a heap of news yet. In some good early news, Nathan Foley is back on the track (just running drills for now), with the hope of being ready for round one. He’s such an important player when fit, so fingers crossed he makes a full recovery soon.
Nick Vlastuin is also really impressing. The Tigers drafted him, hoping he could have an impact early (similar to other recent draftees) and so far this pre-season he has shown that it is certainly a possibility. He can win the ball and has a very solid body for an 18 year-old, so he could be one player to keep an eye on for your round one team.
A bit of news to come out of the Saints this past week after their first open training session last Friday. Jason Blake won the 2km trial, followed by Ben McEvoy and Jack Newnes. Newnes has had a great pre-season to date – he’s put some good weight on and his third placing in the time trial is a very good result for him.
There look to be a few positional changes at the Saints too – Rhys Stanley appears to be the man set to fill the hole at full-back, whilst Jarryn Geary trained with the midfielders and Arryn Siposs looks like he will play the sweeping role across half-back. Saints simply have to give the kids a go in 2013, so some of these players wouldn’t be poor inclusions to your teams, especially if you can get them cheap in draft leagues.
Adam Schneider, Sean Dempster, Spencer White and Sam Fisher all appear to be on limited programs, but aren’t far away from joining the main group.
Ben McGlynn is nearly ready to return to the full training group for the Swans after a calf injury delayed his return from the hamstring injury that ruined his finals campaign last year. So far he has just been running, but is nearly ready to join the main group.
Also just running has been Tom Mitchell, who missed most of 2012 with a persistent knee injury. It finally looks like he is over this and ready to hit the track with the rest of the group. He is a very talented youngster, so hopefully we can see him early in the season.
Daniel Hannerbery continues to be the leader this pre-season – he has been unreal on the track and is doing everything to suggest a massive 2013 lies ahead.
Can I start by scaring everyone and saying Shaun Higgins is in almost the best shape of this life, having slimmed down and having a fantastic pre-season? He’s killing it on the track and looks set for a full midfield role. The dilemmas are going to start if he decides to dominate the NAB Cup… I can just see it now.
First-round draft pick, Jackson Macrae has put on 6kgs since joining the club in November and is doing everything right to get a chance in the seniors early in the year, having also improved on his endurance. The Dogs seem pretty vocal about their ‘rebuild,’ and development coach Ash Hansen said during the week we will see a bit of Macrae and Jake Stringer in the NAB Cup.
West Coast Eagles
Nic Naitanui – how bad is his recovery from groin surgery? It seems we can’t get a straight answer, with the man himself stating this week that he is aiming to play round one, also dismissing theories that he may have osteitis pubis. That said, he is still only on running drills at the moment and is a little while from joining the main group. There’s also zero chance we will see him in the NAB Cup. Though, with 44 trades in Dream Team, starting him may not be a huge risk anyway.
After an interrupted pre-season last year, Andrew Gaff is injury free and training well. Now into his third season, fingers crossed he can truly breakout as a key member of the team.