In case you missed it: Clarkey’s Quarterly Review Part One: Adelaide to Fremantle
Part two of the quarterly review. How will your team do?
Somewhere in the cosmos; British Standards Institute computer programmers, the Mayans and Nostradamus are having a meeting. The consensus is, that while they may have all unsuccessfully predicted the end of the world at some point, they were never silly enough to foretell Geelong’s demise.
Despite key recruits Josh Caddy, Hamish McIntosh and Jared Rivers having minimal impact as well as Steve Johnson missing the opening rounds of the season – the Cats haven’t missed a beat in 2013. Harry Taylor has been huge, Taylor Hunt was stepping up prior to injury and Matthew Stokes is in career best form.
Lead by inspiration skipper Joel Selwood, Geelong were still hungry enough to get the better of the Hawks, Roos and Blues in games that could’ve gone either way in the opening three rounds. Since then, they have dispatched Sydney, Western Bulldogs, Richmond and Essendon with authority.
Despite the departures of key players in Ablett, Ottens and Scarlett in consecutive years – the Cats keep on keeping on.
Forecasting to the end of Round 13
While it would’ve been folly to write off such a great team, even the most optimistic Cats supporters would be pleasantly surprised with their team’s undefeated start to the season. With their draw, 4-3 or 5-2 wouldn’t have been an outrageously disrespectful pre season prediction to this point.
With Collingwood (MCG), Port (AAMI), Gold Coast (Simonds), GWS (Skoda) Brisbane (Gabba) you’d be brave to say that the Cats couldn’t go through the next ‘quarter’ undefeated. At worst they’ll be 10-2 at the beginning of round 14.
With their old warhorses still dishing up quality, some key players to return as well as youngsters such as Christensen, Duncan, T Hunt, Motlop, Murdoch, Smedts and most recently Jackson Thurlow starting to have a consistent impact Geelong’s demise doesn’t look imminent.
GOLD COAST SUNS
After probably taking a backward step in 2012 the Gold Coast Suns have improved vastly in 2013. In their first two seasons in the competition the Suns won just three games in each, 7 rounds into 2013 and they’ve already equalled that feat.
Gary Ablett is still the undisputed champion player in the competition and Rory Thompson and Charlie Dixon are having breakout seasons. Harley Bennell has also picked up where he left off last season. Zac Smith is more of a presence than the 2012 model.
The Suns have been authoritative in pummelling GWS and Melbourne, were unlucky to fall short against the Lions and had an impressive comeback victory against the Saints in the opening round.
Forecasting to the end of Round 13
While most pundits would’ve expected an improved performance from the Gold Coast in 2013 it would’ve been bold to expect a 3-4 start to the season. Less than 3 wins wouldn’t have been completely unexpected or unacceptable (a loss to GWS might’ve).
The Suns have a tough run over the next ‘quarter’ with the Bulldogs (Metricon), Hawthorn (MCG), Geelong (Simonds), North (Metricon) and Essendon (Etihad) to come – it’s hard to see Gold Coast racking up wins.
The Suns will be 3-9, 4-8 or 5-7 come round 14. No better.
During 2012 the Giants exceeded most expectations by winning two games. The common thought was that if Gold Coast could only scrape 3 wins with Gary Ablett and a number of talented players in their prime – what hope did the Giants have with Callan Ward, a bunch of kids and a few old hacks?
GWS will be more competitive in 2013 but it may not translate into wins – percentage is a more accurate guide. While the odd thrashing such as the loss to Adelaide may still happen the magnitude of defeats should reduce over time.
Callan Ward has been the Giants’ best again, while Sam Reid’s form has been a pleasant surprise and Jeremy Cameron continues to have football lovers referring to him as the next Carey.
On the flipside; Tom Scully is still looking an expensive flop, Jon Patton’s ACL was devastating and Jon Giles is having a dose of the second year blues.
Forecasting to the end of Round 13
Their bottom of the ladder status should come as a surprise to no one, nor their winless status. The only real opportunities for a sneaky chance of victory were against the Suns & Dees. The Suns’ midfield is simply too good for the Giants at this point in time and Melbourne should’ve always won at the MCG.
The Giants will lose to Hawthorn (MCG), West Coast (Skoda), Carlton (Etihad), Geelong (Skoda) as well as Port (Skoda) and will be 0-12 come round 14.
The Hawks have just one blemish on their 2013 season; a loss to Geelong, which should come as no surprise to anyone as Hawthorn are the Cats’ bitches.
Buddy Franklin’s contract status hasn’t seemed to affect the team, however his personal form has taken a dip over recent weeks – although it isn’t quite at Travis Cloke circa 2012 levels just yet.
Sammy Mitchell just keeps on keeping on and Luke Hodge is having a stunning renaissance for a player who looked cooked at the end of 2012.
Losing Cyril Rioli to a hamstring injury was a cruel blow as he was having all the makings of a genuine break out year.
Ryan Schoenmakers ACL injury was also a tragedy for a much maligned young player who was beginning to finally find his feet at this level.
Overall, Hawthorn are looking in good shape and they are due to get some players back and they could well be on their way to avenging last year’s Grand Final loss.
Forecasting to the end of Round 13
The problem with being a really good side is there is usually only one way to go. Most would’ve expected 6-1 or 7-0 start to the season for the Hawks.
Hawthorn has a golden run with the draw over the next few weeks which should go a long way to securing a top 4 finish, which is essential for any club’s hopes of premiership success.
With GWS (Aurora), Suns (MCG), Melbourne (MCG), Carlton (Etihad) and West Coast (Etihad) to come the Hawks should cruise to a 10-2 record at the absolute worst by the end of the next ‘quarter’.
Horrific is the word that best sums up Melbourne in 2013. While most pundits might’ve been sceptical about the Dees prospects – it was hard to imagine Melbourne being worse than they were in 2012.
Lo and behold the club has firmly secured its status as the AFL’s incompetence limbo champions.
To recap the Dees were smashed by Port, hung drawn quartered and burned alive by Essendon, blasted by the Eagles, belted by Brisbane’s teenagers, walked over by Carlton and vaporised by the Gold Coast.
Complete blushes were only saved by a 12 goal quarter against GWS but overall it has been ugly and surely the Giants would have to start favourites when they next meet.
The club is now faced with the unthinkable prospect of axing a coach in the second year of his contract; the club can’t afford to sack Neeld and can’t afford to keep him on for a multitude of reasons.
The only shining lights this season have been Michael Evans, Colin Garland, Max Gawn, Jeremy Howe, Matt Jones, Nathan Jones and Dean Terlich – but how many of them would be anything but fringe/role players at better clubs? It’s a hopeless mess.
Forecasting to the end of Round 13
1-6 was just about the worst possible outcome when assessing the Demons’ prospects to this point of the season before AFL 2013’s first bounce.
With Richmond (MCG), Freo (Subi), Hawthorn (MCG), Pies (MCG) and Saints (MCG) to come there are no wins on the horizon for the MFC. The only ‘snowflakes chance in hell’ is against the Saints in round 13 – but St Kilda play honest footy and play for their coach which is enough to beat Melbourne by 8-12 goals at the moment.
Melbourne will be 1-11 after the next ‘quarter’.
NORTH MELBOURNE KANGAROOS
The Roos have begun to slowly turn around their fortunes after a luckless start to 2013. North had their chances against Collingwood, should’ve beaten Geelong and could’ve beaten Hawthorn. The only genuinely poor performance for the season was the third quarter against Sydney in round 3.
Andrew Swallow has been terrific, Scott Thompson has looked in All-Australian form at full back, Todd Goldstein is back in form and Lindsay Thomas is having a career best season. Majak Daw is providing some real x-factor up forward an is a genuinely exciting prospect.
With Daniel Wells and Brent Harvey yet to hit peak form as well as scope for improvement in the likes of Ben Cunnington, Kieran Harper, Jordan Gysberts and Ben Jacobs – things are looking up for the Roos.
It is important for North to now get some wins on the board to push for the finals as being an honourable 9th is little consolation to restless fans, see: Tigers, Richmond.
Forecasting to the end of Round 13
While they have been good 3-4 is probably where most of us would’ve had North at this stage of the season. Playing three of last year’s top 4 teams plus the Cats was never going to be easy – to their credit North have notably closed the gap between themselves and the competition’s upper echelon.
As stated above North now have to translate some of these good performances into wins. With West Coast (Subi), Adelaide (Etihad), St Kilda (Etihad), Gold Coast (Metricon) and Fremantle (Subi) coming up – the Roos will be backing themselves to win 4 of those matches. At worst they’ll win 3.
It’s budget week and with the 7th round completed of the 28 week AFL season; what better time to reflect on how your club has fared in 2013?
Adelaide have endured a disappointing opening stanza to the 2013 season. In hindsight with Kurt
Tiprat’s Tippett’s departure, a tougher draw and increased opposition attention, this year always loomed as a bit of a banana peel for the Crows. However, for a team that was a whisker away from a Grand Final appearance less than 8 months ago, a 3-4 record is lacklustre.
Up until his season ending knee injury, Taylor Walker struggled; this has also been compounded by the poor form of Jason Porplyzia. The ‘crisurtunity’ caused by the Mullet’s absence will give the likes of Josh Jenkins, Shaun McKernan, Lewis Johnston and Tom Lynch (who made an excellent start against the Giants) the chance to nail down a key forward role.
The backline has offered no rebound out of defence, they desperately need players such as Matthew Jaensch, Jared Petrenko or Bernie Vince to be cutting opposition teams up from half back – all have been fringe players this year and are at a crossroads in their respective careers.
Finally, Sam ‘Sauce’ Jacobs has looked a shadow of the dominant ruckman he was in 2012 and it’s actually making Angus Graham look a viable alternative.
Forecasting to end of Round 13
The losses to Essendon and Port were a shock; the Crows would’ve been budgeting for a 5-2 or 4-3 record at the beginning of the season. However, there is room for improvement – the likes of Callinan, Douglas, Jaensch, Porplyzia and Vince need to start playing like role players rather than fringe dwellers. As mentioned above, Sam Jacobs is also a far better player than what he is dishing up at present. Ultimately, the loss of Walker has ended any faint premiership hopes. Finals are still a possibility.
Over the next ‘quarter’ season they face St Kilda (AAMI), North (Etihad), Fremantle (AAMI), Sydney (AAMI) & Richmond (MCG). Sadly for Crows fans there’s a fair chance they’ll be 4-8 come round 13.
In 2013 the Lions seem to be channeling the Carlton teams of the mid 2000’s. Dominant in the pre season and deplorable when the real stuff rolls around. For a team expected to make real strides this year and push towards the top eight, their performance has been – a narrow win against Gold Coast and an effective bye against an awful Melbourne – short of a complete disaster. They’ve been flayed by the Dogs, brushed aside by the Crows, crushed by North, thumped by the Swans and knocked out by the Eagles.
They have had injury worries but the sheer magnitude of the defeats against any decent opposition, the over reliance on Jonathan Brown up forward and Simon Black as the creative architect in the midfield are obvious problems for Michael Voss in his fifth year as coach.
Forecasting to end of Round 13
The upshot is that they still have Daniel Rich to come back and Simon Black is yet to return to full fitness as well as the fact that they have played four of last year’s finalists in the opening 7 rounds (not to mention they get to play the awful GWS at home and get another bye against Melbourne).
However, they would have expected to knock over the Bulldogs in round 1 and would’ve hoped for at least one win against either Adelaide or West Coast at home. After their strong pre season form, most would’ve expected to see the Lions batting at 3-4 or 4-3 rather than their paltry 2-5 record.
With Essendon (Etihad), Carlton (Gabba), Collingwood (Gabba), Fremantle (Subi) and Geelong (Gabba) to come in the next ‘quarter’, an optimist might see them winning a game. I don’t. They’ll be 2-10 come round 13.
The overuse of the word “process” by Mick Malthouse has been one of the more annoying soundbites of 2013. But truth be told the Blues haven’t been too bad this year.
Whilst a 3-4 record is hardly world beating stuff, Carlton was competitive in their first three losses against good opposition and were brave after being cruelled by injury in their loss to St Kilda.
They appear to be a better drilled team under Malthouse and are learning to work hard both ways. They have also managed to dispatch average opposition with relative ease.
The improvement in the all round games of Armfield, McLean and Walker has been noticeable and it is important for this middle tier to improve quickly en masse to somewhat negate the effect of Chris Judd’s rapidly fading powers.
Forecasting to end of Round 13
In 2010 Mick Malthouse guided Collingwood to a flag with disciplined structures carried out critical mass of good to very good players creating depth in spades.
Carlton’s success will ultimately depend on the likes of Betts, Garlett Gibbs, Judd, Kruezer, Murphy, Waite, Walker and Yarran playing to their ultimate potential as well as Armfield, Carrazzo, Hampson, Henderson, Jamison, Lucas, McLean, Robinson, Scotland, Simpson, Touhy, Warnock playing their roles well.
With Port (Etihad), Brisbane (Gabba), GWS (Etihad), Essendon (MCG) & Hawthorn (Etihad) coming up the Blues should be at least 6-6 after the next ‘quarter’.
If Brisbane is channeling Carlton of the mid 2000’s, Collingwood are channeling Hawthorn of 2009/10 – talent isn’t really the issue, motivation and fitness is. The Pies look a shadow of the team that lost just 7 out of 51 games in 2010/11.
The most bizarre thing about it is that the individual performances of the key midfielders namely Pendlebury, Swan, Beams (2012) and Sidebottom have been as good as or better than during the Pies’ days of domination.
However, as a collective the manic pressure that was characteristic of the Pies during the final years of Malthouse’s tenure has been missing. Opposition teams have scored more heavily against the Pies as a consequence.
It doesn’t help that Luke Ball, Darren Jolly and Nick Maxwell have missed important chunks of seasons with injuries. Nor does it help that Harry O’Brien, Ben Reid and Dale Thomas haven’t been able to consistently reproduce their 10/11 form. The Pies have also struggled to develop immediate replacements for the X-factor that Alan Didak and Leon Davis brought to the team in 2010/11.
The losses to Essendon, Fremantle & Hawthorn were generally uncompetitive and un-Collingwood like and the natives are restless.
Forecasting to end of Round 13
With three games against 2012 finalists and one road trip in the first 7 rounds the Pies would’ve hoped for better than a 4-3 start to the season.
With Nick Maxwell, Luke Ball and Dayne Beams to come back into the team, Collingwood will be hoping for an improved output.
With Geelong (MCG), Sydney (MCG), Brisbane (Gabba), Bulldogs (Etihad) and Port (AAMI) coming up – Collingwood should be 7-5 or better at the end of the next ‘quarter’.
Horrible season off the field, excellent season on it – it’s the curious case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Peptide. For all the chaos surrounding the club, the players have reacted wonderfully well, waltzing to a 6-1 record.
Even the most optimistic Essendon supporter would’ve been cautious to predict the club’s victories over Adelaide, Fremantle and Collingwood.
The addition of Brendon Goddard as well as the further development of Dyson Heppell and David Zaharakis has given the Bombers a much needed injection (nyuck nyuck nyuck) of class through the midfield and half back.
Michael Hibberd, Jake Carlisle and Tom Bellchambers are enjoying break out seasons and with the skipper consistent as ever the Bombers have shot up (nyuck nyuck nyuck) in most pundits’ premiership estimations.
Forecasting to end of Round 13
As stated earlier, the wins against Adelaide, Collingwood and Fremantle were very unexpected pre season.
You also wouldn’t have been completely insane in the pre season to think that Melbourne might’ve had a sneaky chance in round 2 given the Bombers were their bogey side.
Wins against the sliding Saints and the horrible Giants at Etihad would’ve been a minimum expectation internally, but externally most would’ve had the Bombers at 1-6, 2-5 or 3-4 at this stage of the season.
With Brisbane (Etihad), Richmond (MCG), Sydney (SCG), Carlton (MCG) and Gold Coast (Etihad) coming up, there are a couple of banana peel games thrown in there for the Dons. This second stanza of 2013 could make or break their top 4 chances but at their 6-1 form the Bombers should be 10-2 by the end of the next ‘quarter’.
Considering that Pavlich and Sandilands have missed most of the season, the Dockers are tracking wonderfully well at 5-2, not to mention they had the Bombers beaten at half time in Round 3.
Ross Lyon has brought structure and most importantly confidence to Freo. In 2010, under Mark Harvey, the Dockers took a skeleton side to Launceston and were soundly thumped by Hawthorn – in 2009 the Saints did the same thing under Lyon and beat the Hawks. That’s a credit to Lyon coached teams, not a knock on Harvey, as most clubs would’ve experienced similar outcomes given the same personnel input.
Fyfe, Hill, Mundy, McPharlin, Pavlich and Sandilands when fit make up Freo’s star core, the rest of the team is generally rounded out by good to average role players in Ballantyne, Barlow, Bradley, Crowley, Dawson, Deboer, Duffield, Griffin, Ibbotson, Johnson, Mayne, Mzungu, Pearce x2, Spurr, Suban and Walters – Lyon is maximising their output.
Forecasting to end of Round 13
Freo have had their fair share of injury woes: Sandilands is forever absent, Pavlich was underdone and is now injured, McPharlin and Fyfe have missed intermittently and now Bradley as well as Griffin are gone with season ending knee injuries. However, channeling Monty Python’s Black Knight and Robert Patrick in Terminator 2, Lyon’s Dockers just keep on keeping on in the face of seemingly hopeless odds.
So far they’ve easily beaten the Eagles, Bulldogs, Suns and Pies along with a narrow win over Richmond. 3-4 wouldn’t have been a bad start for Freo, 5-2 is excellent.
The Dockers face Sydney (SCG), Melbourne (Home), Adelaide (AAMI), Brisbane (Home) and North (Home) during the next ‘quarter’. They should win at least 4 out of those 5 games to be 9-3 come round 14.
Round 7 – The Weekly Buzz
Another fascinating week of football presented to us this week, with some scares, some surprise results and some unlikely heroes (none of whom play for any teams I manage.)
Here’s what happened at your club this weekend:
Adelaide (defeated Greater Western Sydney)
Tom Lynch – So, last week Toby offered me Tom Lynch for Jack Grimes in our keeper league. I scoffed at him, saying that Lynch was a bit of a joke, and Grimes, of course is a long term keeper. In keeping with my form this year, Lynch promptly proved me to be a fool. There will be one name on the Advertiser today, and it will be Tom Lynch with 10 goals. It doesn’t matter that it was ‘only’ GWS, the kid is the answer to all of Adelaide’s forward woes…didn’t you hear?
Patrick Dangerfield – In such a big win, there were so many contributors, but did you hear who led the Crows in contested marks? Not Lynch, not Jenkins, not McKernan – Dangerfield. The kid is a freak, who unlike Lynch, has posted these sorts of stats before, and will definitely do it again.
Sam Jacobs – Will be thankful that the Crows had such a huge win, as it takes the pressure off his personal form for another week. His fantasy owners, however, will realise that Jacobs has been well below his best this year, and posted another modest game rucking against Jonathan Giles. Regressed slightly from an improved game against the Hawks.
Brisbane (defeated by West Coast)
Pearce Hanley – Looking all the better for his one week holiday, Hanley was a ball magnet, not only reading the play well, but driving the ball inside attacking 50 eight times. As he breaks lines with his pace, he has become one of the most important players in the Lions’ defence.
Justin Clarke – A rookie priced player that I must admit to not knowing anything about, I enjoyed his anticipation in defence as well as his ability to do the hard things well, as he played on the resting ruck. I don’t know that you should expect scores so high on a regular basis, but he could be a handy late downgrade option.
Simon Black – Whilst it was wonderful to see the Champion back, it was disappointing to see him in the Green vest. I’m sure that won’t last long, as he rebuilds his fitness base, but I can’t help but feel that Brisbane could have used his poise when the Eagles came back at them.
Carlton (play St Kilda, Monday Night Football)
Robbie Warnock was the standout for the Blues and the one ruckman that really pulled his weight for the team. He was huge in the ruck and especially dominant in the last quarter, with his clearances and tap work nearly getting the Blues over the line. I was concerned about his place in the team when Kruezer returned, but now the only concern should be is where do they play Kruezer. Warnock was so dominant in the midfield, there is no way he can be shifted out of the team.
Chris Judd was well tagged in the first half by Nick Dal Santo, but bounced back strongly in the second half. He was another of the Blues’ catalysts to the come-back, willing his team through the middle as they dominated clearances. The Saints didnt allow him too much space either, proven by the fact he finished with zero marks for the night.
Matthew Kruezer was the real disappointment, returning for his first game from injury, but looking no where near ready. If Waite had not gotten suspended last week, i daresay he would not have been playing. Still, the Blues rushed him back and it showed. With Warnock dominating the ruck, Kruez was left to float between the forward and back lines, only managing to get his hands on it 6 times.
Collingwood (defeated by Fremantle)
Steele Sidebottom was the one and Magpie who managed to push past the 30-disposal mark with a total of 33 touches. He was industrious all day, a far improvement from his round 6 display against the Saints, and was one of the key contributors as the Pies fought their way back into the game. Hopefully a game like this can be enough to forget his round-6 indiscretion.
Travis Cloke continued to prove his point to me about why I should never trust him in my dream team. After a whole year of suffering in 2012, I bit the bullet a few weeks ago only to receive three weeks of up-and-down form. Against the Dockers, Cloke managed to kick his way to a poor score, registering a paltry 4 behinds for the game. What a jerk.
Heath Shaw had a reasonable game, but decided to book himself a one-week holiday thanks to a rabbit-punch to the balls of Ballantyne. We can argue for weeks on how much young Balla may have deserved it, but at the end of the day, the last think I deserve is another donut in my backline. What a jerk…
Essendon (defeated by Geelong)
David Zaharakis – Must have thought he was in for a grim night when he saw Taylor Hunt wander over to him, but was freed up after Hunt’s unfortunate injury to pick up 31 (largely uncontested) possessions. Injury-free, he can now comfortably come into fantasy football considerations in all forms.
Brendon Goddard – “Let Goddard be Goddard,” should be the cry that rings out over Tullamarine as Goddard was again was mighty for the Dons, as BJ did what BJ does. (No, I’m not really sure what that sentence actually means either). He played largely unaccountable football, but he is effective and creative with his uncontested possession, and will continue to be the A1 premium defender in the land.
Alwyn Davey - Provided limited spark up forward, kicking a goal before being subbed out of the game with a hamstring strain. Dons will be looking for more output from the likes of Davey to improve their scoring efficiency and output.
The Essendon Conditioning Staff – Actually, I have no idea who is responsible for the decision to rest 6 of their first choice players coming into such a big match, but I would like to suggest that 6 changes to a side has a far too unsettling effect to the balance of any side. Geelong do the ‘resting’ thing perfectly, and they taught Hird and Co a lesson in rotation.
Fremantle (defeated by Collingwood)
Garrick Ibboston returned from injury to play his first game of the year three weeks ago and has been a ball-accumulator since. Against the Pies he sat behind the ball, intercepting his way to 29 disposals from 12 marks. He’s become a wonder in Ultimate Footy category leagues, so make sure you check your free agents list!
Michael Walters continued his fantastic early-season form with a best-on-ground display, solidifying his early bid for All-Australian honours. His last quarter was especially sensational as he booted a couple of goals that truly sunk the Pies comeback. He’s only getting better every week and could prove a handy bridging player for Dream Team, or alternatively you should snap him up in UF if he’s a free agent.
Jonathon Griffin was the sad story of the night, rupturing his ACL early in the game. With Sandilands also still on the sidelines, the rucking duties will need to come down to Jack Hannath and Zac Clarke in the coming weeks – it will be very interesting to see how they stand up.
Geelong (defeated Essendon)
Steve Johnson – I could not get that anecdote out of my head – you know the one, where Johnson was asking everyone on the field whether they wanted to pay for their tickets to the Stevie J show by “Cash or Card?” Friday night against the Bombers was another effort like that, as he continued his stellar 2013 form. If you missed the boat on getting him into your team, I’d suggest that it may be a touch too late for you.
Matthew Stokes – Speaking of blokes with stellar 2013 form, Stokes is having a blinder of a year. He was very influential in this match, and popped up precisely when needed, picking up 11 marks and 3 goals. Consistency is the key for him, as he consolidates his place as a veteran small forward lynchpin.
Taylor Hunt – Charged with looking after David Zaharakis for the evening, he copped a knock to his right shoulder that saw him subsequently subbed out of the match. The Cats will be sweating on the fitness of their key tagger, given their horrendous lack of depth ‘down the freeway.’ (Sarcasm Font re: Lack of depth.) Zaharakis, incidentally, was close to best on ground for the Bombers.
Gold Coast (defeated Melbourne)
Gary Ablett was great as usual, having his standard amount of “oh wow, Ablett!” moments throughout the game. Melbourne tried to run a couple of players with him (Dunn and McKenzie), but neither were able to curtail his influence. He didn’t kick any goals, but his 38 disposals and 6 tackles was enough for a huge score.
Jaeger O’Meara already looks like a polished professional footballer. The way he is able to run and take opponents on with all the confidence in the world, before shooting a bullet-like pass into the forward line is amazing. He will be the best player in the competition in a few years – no doubt about it. There are simply no other players in the competition at his age that even come close to his skills.
Jarrod Harbrow was really the only Sun kept relatively quiet, yet he still managed to bob up late to kick a goal and inflate his score a bit. The Suns had so many options in the backline, it didn’t really seem to matter than Harbrow was nullified, although I doubt his owners share these sentiments. It always sucks when your player doesn’t join in when all his teammates are partying.
Greater Western Sydney (defeated by Adelaide)
Callan Ward – I thought Ward battled hard all day to provide some leadership and grunt on ball, without much success. He did, however, kick a couple of goals and was the only one on his team to hit double figures in the contested possession count. Gave it a crack.
The rest of the team – Not too many highlights. Scoreline says it all.
The Crowd – Poor, no doubt. Must be disappointing to play in front of so few people.
The Coach – In case you missed it, Kevin Sheedy is now officially the crazy old uncle that everyone tries to ignore at the family reunion. I suspect this bit of casual racism is actually an attempt to deflect attention from the embarrassment of his players, but it’s definitely in poor taste.
Hawthorn (defeated Sydney)
Jordan Roughead played an awesome game, essentially as a high half-forward cum midfielder (no, not a ruckman, a MIDFIELDER). He played one of the most dominant games we’ve seen from him as he continually ran off his opponents, getting the ball up the ground and delivering it well into the forward line… or just booting a 50m goal as he did on most occasions. Finished with 27 touches, 8 marks and 4.2.
Luke Hodge also played a ripper game through the midfield, picking up 32 touches and 5 tackles. He was a fierce ball-winner through the midfield and really helped set the Hawks up early. His form this year has been either very hot or very cold, so fingers crossed he can settle around the hot range as the Hawks look so much dangerous when he’s in this sort of form.
Lance Franklin was applauded for getting the monkey off his back by booting a few goals, but essentially that was all he did. He has a super-easy run coming up over the next month, so coaches are now faced with a pretty tricky dilemma. To Buddy or not to Buddy?
Melbourne (defeated by Gold Coast)
This is left blank intentionally. Please keep moving.
Colin Sylvia, whilst banking himself a handy 114 DT points, also banked himself a 3-week holiday with a crude elbow to Jared Brennan’s head. It’s rubbish like this that makes Sylvia a poor option I DT and SC – there is just too much bad mingled in with the good.
Chris Dawes played his first game for the club and was hardly sighted. Whilst you could argue that he couldn’t do much about the ball being kicked 10-metres over his head every time the Demons went forward, he also didn’t do too much to win himself the ball when it hit the ground. Many scoffed when the Dees handed over the first-round draft pick for Dawes… In fact, everyone scoffed. So it seems everyone was right.
North Melbourne (defeated Western Bulldogs)
Majak Daw – I confess – I was one of the punters who simply did not understand the hype around Majak Daw. I was one of the ones who, in my head, labelled him as overrated. Newsflash: The Kid can play. Sure, he got good delivery from his midfield, but the fact remains that he racked up 18 touches, and kicked 6 goals 4 behinds, and was a major weapon for the Roos. It will be interesting to see how he deals with all the hype, but his future looks bright, particularly if he can improve his disposal.
Drew Petrie – Has quietly gone about his business all year, and with the emergence of young Daw, forms a power forward partnership that will have a few backlines feeling a little scared. Petrie kept presenting all day, and chimed in with 3 goals to play a nice foil to the Majak show.
Daniel Wells - Wells as sub makes sense from a number of standpoints, but I don’t know that one of your premier on-ballers should be spending too much time in any vest in the absence of an injury. Whilst it is a decision that raised a few eyebrows, the proof of the pudding is in the eating…so while the Roos win, Brad Scott can tell us all to get stuffed.
Port Adelaide (defeated by Richmond)
Jarrad Redden – Battled manfully against Ivan Maric and Orren Stephenson, and was useful around the ground as well in the centre square. He was energetic, and I do wonder if he won’t keep his place in the side, given his versatility to go down forward if required. Will be an interesting experiment to watch.
Sam Colquhoun – In his debut game, he looked like he belonged. I’m not sure what that means, given that his side were comprehensively beaten, but young Colquhoun showed some good skills and the occasional skerrick of poise, and will garner a lot of interest if he keeps his spot.
Hamish Hartlett – Was one of the Port young guns who looked way below his best – credit to Daniel Jackson for the keeping Hartlett accountable. He looked listless and unable to break the tag as he muddled his way to 10 largely ineffective touches. I’m sure he’ll bounce back – he’ll need to if Port are to regain some form.
Richmond (defeated Port Adelaide)
Dustin Martin – There are some days you just watch this kid, and shake your head wondering how good he can be. This day was one of those days. He led all-comers with 33 possessions and chipped in with a goal. I’m sure fantasy coaches would like to see him run riot like this more consistently, but I suspect Richmond fans don’t care, as long as he does it every couple of weeks.
Brett Deledio – I must say, I felt genuinely sorry in a situation where I would usually have mocked a bloke. Turn the clock back a week, and Deledio looked like a lost, scolded little puppy on the Sunday Footy Show as he spoke about the fact that Nathan Brown had given him worst on ground. In hindsight, Deledio was always going to respond with a blinder – it says a lot about the character of the man that he conducted a workshop in Power domination.
Chris Knights – You probably have all seen the footage by now, as Knights somehow dislocated his knee whilst kicking a goal in the second quarter. From a pure football view, it’s pretty disappointing for a bloke who was just starting to look like he was settling into his new surroundings. We wish him well.
St Kilda (play Carlton – Monday Night Football)
Jack Steven played his best game in Saints colors, amassing a career-high 39 disposals – 19 of which were contested. He played a great four-quarter game, playing a huge hand in the Saints’ upset win. His season to date has been a bit underwhelming, but there has been talk in the media this week that Watters gave him a bit of a rocket this week about progressing beyong a B-level midfielder. More games like this will certainly help him take the next step.
Ben McEvoy was another Saint to play his best game for the club – whilst he was soundly beaten in the ruck (as he is most weeks), his work around the ground was fanastic. Watching him live, it was incredible how much ground he covered and his workrate throughout was phenomenal. At one point late in the game, he received a solid bump which took him to ground – but despite this, he pushed through the paid to take a couple of very important grabs, preventing some Carlton forays forward.
Jarryn Geary was another Saint to play a strong game, but it should be noticed that he has been playing a new role these past few weeks; tagging. He’s been doing a great job too, but it is severely limiting his own output. Whilst he seemed a decent half-back option earlier in the year, I’d be offloading him asap if he is still in your team.
Sydney (defeated by Hawthorn)
Josh Kennedy had somewhat of a return to form as Sydney’s best midfielder. He picked up 30 touches and laid 7 tackles, whilst also booting 2.1. His bigger body really stood out against Hawthorn, allowing him to win so many more clearances – it also really helped him up forward. I wouldn’t be getting too excited about this form just yet though – for now it’s just one game. However, if it can continue, he is well underpriced from what he is capable of.
Adam Goodes had a good game statistically, although did seem to rack most of his touches up late in the game when the contest was over. We all know Goodes doesn’t really come good until the second half of the year anyway…
Nick Malceski’s great form this year has now lead to greater attention from the opposition. He was tagged pretty heavily by the Hawks, being restricted to just 11 touches and 3 marks. He should bounce back, but this added attention is likely here to stay.
West Coast (defeated Brisbane)
Scott Selwood – Selwood continued his elite year picking up 23 highly efficient touches playing head to head with Brent Moloney. I’m always impressed by big tackle (number) and Selwood’s certainly match up, with 10 – this makes him an interesting (albeit expensive) proposition for your chosen fantasy game.
Mark Hutchings – The Powerade shower has come in for some attention this week, and Hutchings was the proud recipient of one of them, a winner in his debut match. Had a nice first up game, but will need to improve his usage if he’s going to hold his spot.
Andrew Gaff – Again was shut down by a lockdown player, and this time it was Mitch Golby who did the damage. With such depth in the Eagles squad, Gaff really must to elevate his game not only to maintain his spot, but also for the Eagles to be the favourite we all thought they would be.
Western Bulldogs (defeated by North Melbourne)
Ryan Griffen – Griffen returned from his shoulder injury, and whilst they still got pumped, the Dogs look like a whole different team with Griffen at its heart (particularly early on). He not only picked up the “cheap” uncontested possession, but he won plenty of his own ball (16 contested possessions and 9 clearances). A joy to watch.
Lukas Markovic – A quick word on Markovic, who started in defence lining up on Majak Daw. However, when it became clear that he was going to get smashed, he was moved into the forward line, and provided a viable avenue to goal. It always takes an effort to respond after being beaten down, and kudos to Markovic for having a crack.
Adam Cooney – Had a quiet one, and struggled to work his way into the game. Didn’t seem to be hampered in his movement, so would expect him to bounce back soon enough.
Tom Liberatore – Did his job, but that’s not enough for the Buzzards. Would have traded him out this week, but Trent Cotchin decided to have his little rest, so I was stuck with little Libba for another roun…what do you mean this post isn’t about my fantasy team? Oops.
How have you fared thus far? Let me know your thoughts as well as your plans for the week ahead?
1: Jackson Thurlow:
What is it with Geelong and developing quality kids? They’re doing a reverse Melbourne and producing a gem with every pick, the latest being the sixteenth selection in last year’s draft, Jackson Thurlow. He may have faded late but when the game was getting away from the cats in the second quarter Thurlow stood tall and offered plenty finishing with thirteen disposals at 77% efficiency, four marks, three inside fifties and two tackles in his first half of AFL footy. Another debut for a Geelong prospect, another gun unleashed.
2: Geelong’s Second quarter:
Speaking of jealousy, if the Cats recruiting and development division doesn’t make opposition blood boil with envy then their on-field exploits should. Twenty-one points down and seemingly under siege the Cats all of a sudden flicked the switch to remind us all that they’re the Lords of transition football. All it took was a ten minute burst prior to half time to see Essendon’s great work undone and their healthy lead a distant memory. In the Footy Tragic preview we noted that the Bombers pressure would have to stand up for four quarters and it did early as Essendon accumulated twenty tackles in the opening term, in the second quarter though the Bombers efforts wilted and they would register just the five tackles to go with fifteen turnovers.
After a string of losses there was plenty of attention on the Tigers this week and matters only got worse when they’d have to travel to take on an in form Port Adelaide minus their captain Trent Cotchin. Any concerns were quickly put to rest though with Richmond smacking the Power with an eight goal opening quarter. The backbone of the Tigers scoring punch this season has been their exploits at stoppages. Ranking second behind only Hawthorn in points from clearance differential the Tigers were at their extracting best sourcing thirty-seven points from clearances in the first term thanks largely to Shane Edwards who was responsible for kick starting three goals. Richmond’s stoppage work was superb but it was their usage around the ground which was even better with the Tigers accumulating a whopping two-hundred effective kicks (second highest among all teams this season) at a kicking efficiency of 79.3% (highest among all teams this season).
4: Michael Walters:
When Collingwood took the lead early in the fourth quarter the Dockers needed a hero to step up and attach the cape for some serious wharfie time. Enter, Michael Walters. The livewire forward kicked two of his four goals late in the final term to sink the Magpies and further stamp his claim for an All Australian Guernsey. Walters is averaging career high’s across the board but it’s his offensive firepower which has been so valuable. The twenty-two year old now has nineteen goals on the season, leads the Dockers in score involvements and is getting it done defensively as well with 3.3 tackles per game.
5: Majak Daw:
The hype has been suffocating and now we know why. Never has a man given me hot flushes like that on a football field since the great Wayne Carey, there’s isn’t a clean towel left in this establishment. We knew Majak was capable of the odd jaw dropping piece of brilliance but who the hell saw that coming on Saturday afternoon? I still double-take every time I see a headline or highlight referencing Majak kicking six goals, then I remember that he could have easily kicked ten. Eighteen disposals, seven marks inside fifty, four hitouts, four tackles and six goals exceeds anything that even the most enthusiastic Majak supporters could have predicted and it was fantastic to see. There’s still a long way to go but we’ve got a sniff of what he’s capable of, if he can find some consistency, look out.
1: Essendon’s third quarter:
With the contest in the balance and neither side taking the wheel the good old fundamentals of the game would become the key and it was Essendon who failed to implement them. The Bombers would amass more disposals, more inside fifties, more scoring shots and would use the ball better in general play but would ultimately let themselves down when it came to kicking the footy between a pair of posts. Essendon would finish the third quarter with one goal from their eight scoring shots (two behinds were rushed) compared to the Cats who would kick six goals from their seven scoring shots. Accuracy has been costing teams games of footy forever (Fifteen year later and 8.22 still haunts me) and it cost the Bombers a boat load of momentum on Friday night.
2: Chris Knights Injury:
Talk about the ultimate bittersweet moment. Richmond supporters saw their emotions morph into the “Giant Drop” at Dreamworld five minutes before half time after Knights snapped a classy goal only for the camera to pan back and show footage of the former Crow in serious pain. The slow motion replay not only destroyed appetites across the nation it confirmed the worst for the Tigers with Knights likely out for a significant chunk of the season. The silver lining is Nathan Foley made it through unscathed on his way to thirteen disposals in little more than a half of game time.
3: The Second Quarter between Brisbane and West Coast:
With Richmond and Port Adelaide winning the early remote battle a switch to the clash up north couldn’t have been more ill-timed. The second quarter was a lamb shank bonanza with players spraying the pill all over the place and seemingly missing targets on purpose. At half time only fourteen of forty-two players on the field had a disposal efficiency greater than 70%. Brisbane finished the second quarter with more ineffective kicks than effective kicks which never happens, and West Coast weren’t far behind. I’d watch twenty minutes of Gary Rohan injury montages before sitting through that quarter again.
4: Collingwood’s Fourth Quarter Rotations:
The Jon Griffin injury was a disaster for the Dockers but it gave Collingwood a prime time opportunity to dominate in midfield. To the Magpies credit they did exactly that generating six goals from clearances to zero from half time until Caolan Mooney put them in front in the final term, but it was the middle period of that final quarter which brought about numerous brows being furrowed, specifically my own. Collingwood appeared to have all the momentum before deciding to simultaneously rest Scott Pendlebury on the bench whilst leaving Dane Swan up forward essentially putting the entire onus on a stoppage unit consisting of a bunch of guys who aren’t great at stoppages. It resulted in Zac freakin Dawson looking like the most capable clearance player in the competition and it saw the Dockers crush the Magpies in a quick five minute burst where they kicked three consecutive goals to kill the game. Am I just salty because I wagered on Collingwood to cover the second half line which they failed to do by just two points? Of course not… Am I lying? Possibly.
For years they’ve been the go to stat and darlings of the special comments commentary caper, now they’re just a number with false meaning. What happened, clearance indicator? How worthless are you now? Like the high school crush who turns up at your ten year reunion with three prams and an extra forty kilos, clearances are no longer the number one desire and have now been replaced with the sleek and sassy turnover. Essendon finished with a +19 clearance advantage on Friday night, they lost. Collingwood finished with a +15 clearance advantage on Saturday night, they lost. The days of clearance infatuation are over, these days we’re all yearning for those sexy points from turnovers.
You can follow Scott on Twitter: @ScottyBarby
GEELONG CATS v ESSENDON
Friday 10th May, 7:50pm, Etihad Stadium
B: Andrew Mackie, Tom Lonergan, Corey Enright
HB: Cameron Guthrie, Harry Taylor, Taylor Hunt
C: Mitch Duncan, Jimmy Bartel, Steven Motlop
HF: Allen Christensen, Steve Johnson, Billie Smedts
F: Mathew Stokes, Tom Hawkins, James Podsiadly
Foll: Trent West, Joel Selwood, James Kelly
Int: George Horlin-Smith, Jackson Thurlow, Jordan Schroder, Mark Blicavs
Emerg: Josh Hunt, Josh Caddy, Joshua Walker
In: J.Schroder, J.Thurlow
Out: J.Corey (knee), J.Murdoch
B: Kyle Hardingham, Dustin Fletcher, Michael Hibberd
HB: Dyson Heppell, Jake Carlisle, Mark Baguley
C: David Zaharakis, Jobe Watson, Jason Winderlich
HF: Alwyn Davey, Scott Gumbleton, Brendon Goddard
F: Michael Hurley, Stewart Crameri, Nick Kommer
R: Tom Bellchambers, Jake Melksham, Ben Howlett
Int: David Myers, Heath Hocking, Cale Hooker, Nathan Lovett-Murray
Emerg: Paddy Ryder, Jackson Merritt, Tayte Pears
In: N.Lovett-Murray, J.Winderlich, M.Hurley, D.Heppell, J.Carlisle, D.Fletcher
Out: D.Hille, B.Stanton (groin), C.Dempsey (ankle), L.Jetta, T.Pears, J.Merrett
PORT ADELAIDE v RICHMOND
Saturday 11th May, 1:15pm, AAMI Stadium
B: Cameron O’Shea, Alipate Carille, Campbell Heath
HB: Lewis Stevenson, Tom Jonas, Dom Cassisi
C: Kane Cornes, Travis Boak, Matthew Broadbent
HF: Chad Wingard, Jay Schulz, Angus Monfries
F: Jake Neade, Justin Westhoff, Robbie Gray
Foll: Jarrad Redden, Hamish Hartlett, Brad Ebert
Int from: Oliver Wines, Andrew Moore, Sam Colquhoun, Kane Mitchell
Emerg: Paul Stewart, Tom Logan, Daniel Stewart
In: A.Moore, J.Redden, S.Colquhoun
Out: B.Renouf, M.Lobbe, P.Stewart
B: Steven Morris, Alex Rance, Troy Chaplin
HB: Chris Newman, Brandon Ellis, Bachar Houli
C: Shaun Grigg, Shane Tuck, Daniel Jackson
HF: Brett Deledio, Shane Edwards, Jake King
F: Luke McGuane, Jack Riewoldt, Dustin Martin
Foll: Ivan Maric, Nathan Foley, Nick Vlastuin
Int: Chris Knights, Jake Batchelor, Orren Stephenson, Robin Nahas
Emerg: Aaron Edwards, Matt Dea, Matt White
In: S.Tuck, N.Foley, R.Nahas, O.Stephenson, J.Batchelor
Out: M.White, R.Petterd, T.Cotchin (knee) , T.Vickery (concussion), D.Grimes (foot)
BRISBANE LIONS v WEST COAST EAGLES
Saturday 11th May, 2:10pm, Gabba
B: Mitch Golby, Daniel Merrett, Ashley McGrath
HB: Joel Patfull, Justin Clarke, Elliot Yeo
C: Jed Adcock, Brent Moloney, Pearce Hanley
HF: Dayne Zorko, Jonathan Brown, Josh Green
F: Rohan Bewick, Jordan Lisle, Ryan Lester
Foll: Matthew Leuenberger, Tom Rockliff, Jack Redden
Int: Simon Black, Andrew Raines, James Polkinghorne, Sam Mayes
Emerg: Sam Docherty, Billy Longer, Jack Crisp
In: A.Raines, J.Lisle, S.Black
Out: A.Cornelius, B.Longer, M.Paparone
B: Eric Mackenzie, Darren Glass, Will Schofield
HB: Shannon Hurn, Mitch Brown, Brad Sheppard
C: Matt Rosa, Scott Selwood, Andrew Gaff
HF: Mark LeCras, Jack Darling, Sharrod Wellingham
F: Josh Hill, Josh Kennedy, Nic Naitanui
Foll: Dean Cox, Matt Priddis, Luke Shuey
Int: Jacob Brennan, Bradd Dalziell, Mark Hutchings, Ashley Smith
Emg: Jamie Cripps, Ashton Hams, Callum Sinclair
In: M.Rosa, M.Hutchings, B.Sheppard
Out: D.Kerr (knee), C.Masten (foot), C.Sinclair
WESTERN BULLDOGS v NORTH MELBOURNE
Saturday 11th May, 4:40pm, Etihad Stadium
B: Dale Morris, Jordan Roughead, Lukas Markovic
HB: Liam Picken, Tom Young, Jason Johannisen
C: Tom Liberatore, Matthew Boyd, Nick Lower
HF: Clay Smith, Liam Jones, Daniel Giansiracusa
F: Luke Dahlhaus, Robert Murphy, Dylan Addison
Foll: Will Minson, Adam Cooney, Ryan Griffen
Int: Jason Tutt, Mitch Wallis, Mark Austin, Daniel Cross
Emerg: Koby Stevens, Christian Howard, Tom Campbell
In: D.Giansiracusa , R.Murphy , R.Griffen , L.Markovic
Out: K.Stevens, C.Howard, J.Stringer (soreness), J.Macrae (soreness)
B: Scott McMahon, Scott Thompson, Jamie Macmillan
HB: Aaron Mullett, Michael Firrito, Brent Harvey
C: Daniel Wells, Shaun Atley, Ryan Bastinac
HF: Aaron Black, Majak Daw, Sam Wright
F: Lindsay Thomas, Drew Petrie, Leigh Adams
Fol: Todd Goldstein, Andrew Swallow, Jack Ziebell
Int: Ben Cunnington, Sam Gibson, Taylor Hine, Will Sierakowski
Emer: Brad McKenzie, Lachlan Hansen, Kieran Harper
Out: N.Grima (soreness)
HAWTHORN v SYDNEY SWANS
Saturday 11th May, 7:40pm, MCG
B: Josh Gibson, Brian Lake, Luke Hodge
HB: Brent Guerra, Ben Stratton, Grant Birchall
C: Liam Shiels, Sam Mitchell, Bradley Hill
HF: Paul Puopolo, Lance Franklin, Shaun Burgoyne
F: Jack Gunston, Jarryd Roughead, Luke Breust
Foll: David Hale, Brad Sewell, Jordan Lewis
Int: Michael Osborne, Isaac Smith, Taylor Duryea, Jonathan Simpkin
Emerg: Kyle Cheney, Max Bailey, Matt Spangher
B: Nick Malceski, Heath Grundy, Nick Smith
HB: Marty Mattner, Ted Richards, Jarrad McVeigh
C: Lewis Jetta, Ryan O’Keefe, Ben McGlynn
HF: Dan Hannebery, Sam Reid, Kieren Jack
F: Adam Goodes, Mike Pyke, Luke Parker
Foll: Shane Mumford, Josh Kennedy, Jude Bolton
Int: Tony Armstrong, Craig Bird, Jed Lamb, Dane Rampe
Emerg: Mitch Morton, Tommy Walsh, Jesse White
FREMANTLE v COLLINGWOOD
Saturday 11th May, 5:40pm, Patersons Stadium
B: Lee Spurr, Zac Dawson, Michael Johnson
HB: Garrick Ibbotson, Luke McPharlin, Alex Silvagni
C: Tendai Mzungu, Ryan Crowley, Stephen Hill
HF: Michael Barlow, Chris Mayne, Hayden Ballantyne
F: Matt de Boer, Jack Hannath, Michael Walters
Foll: Jonathon Griffin, Clancee Pearce, David Mundy
Int: Hayden Crozier, Nick Suban, Paul Duffield, Danyle Pearce
Emerg: Tom Sheridan, Tanner Smith, Cameron Sutcliffe
B: Nathan Brown, Ben Reid, Nick Maxwell
HB: Marty Clarke, Heath Shaw, Harry O’Brien
C: Steele Sidebottom, Dane Swan, Dale Thomas
HF: Jamie Elliott, Quinten Lynch, Brent Macaffer
F: Ben Kennedy, Travis Cloke, Sam Dwyer
Foll: Darren Jolly, Scott Pendlebury, Jarryd Blair
Int: Andrew Krakouer, Josh Thomas, Paul Seedsman, Caolan Mooney
Emerg: Jordan Russell, Jarrod Witts, Marley Williams
In: N.Maxwell, C.Mooney
Out: T.Goldsack (hip), J.Witts
GREATER WESTERN SYDNEY v ADELAIDE CROWS
Sunday 12th May, 1:10pm, Skoda Stadium
B: Tim Mohr, Stephen Gilham, Adam Kennedy
HB: Toby Greene, Joshua Bruce, Sam Reid
C: Adam Treloar, Callan Ward, Lachie Whitfield
HF: Jeremy Cameron, Jonathan Giles, Rhys Palmer
F: Devon Smith, Adam Tomlinson, Taylor Adams
Foll: Dean Brogan, Tom Scully, Jacob Townsend
Int: Zachary Williams, Stephen Coniglio, Dylan Shiel, Sam Darley, Aidan Corr, Shaun Edwards, Samuel Frost
In: D.Brogan, S.Darley, A.Kennedy, S.Edwards, L.Whitfield
Out: C.Hampton, T.Bugg
B: Andy Otten, Ben Rutten, Luke Brown
HB: David Mackay, Daniel Talia, Brent Reilly
C: Brodie Smith, Scott Thompson, Bernie Vince
HF: Patrick Dangerfield, Shaun McKernan, Jason Porplyzia
F: Tom Lynch, Josh Jenkins, Matthew Wright
Foll: Sam Jacobs, Richard Douglas, Rory Sloane
Int: Nathan van Berlo, Ian Callinan, Jarryd Lyons, Rory Laird, Ricky Henderson, Matthew Jaensch, Sam Kerridge
In: N.van Berlo, I.Callinan, R.Henderson, R.Laird
MELBOURNE v GOLD COAST SUNS
Sunday 12th May, 4:40pm, MCG
B: Lynden Dunn, James Frawley, Dean Terlich
HB: Daniel Nicholson, Tom McDonald, Colin Garland
C: Rohan Bail, Jack Viney, Matt Jones
HF: Jeremy Howe, Chris Dawes, Colin Sylvia
F: Luke Tapscott, Max Gawn, Shannon Byrnes
Foll: Jake Spencer, Michael Evans, Nathan Jones
Int: Jordie McKenzie, David Rodan, James Strauss, James Sellar, Dean Kent, Aaron Davey, Troy Davis
In: A.Davey, D.Rodan, J.Sellar, C.Dawes, T.Davis
Out: J.Grimes (collarbone), J.Trengove (calf)
B: Trent McKenzie, Thomas Murphy, Sam Day
HB: David Swallow, Rory Thompson, Greg Broughton
C: Matt Shaw, Gary Ablett, Jarrod Harbrow
HF: H. Bennell, T. Lynch, Jesse Lonergan
F: Charlie Dixon, Stephen May, Aaron Hall
Foll: Zac Smith, Jaeger O’Meara, Dion Prestia
Int: Jack Hutchins, Brandon Matera, Jared Brennan, Luke Russell, Danny Stanley, Tim Sumner, Campbell Brown
In: C.Brown, L.Russell, S.May, J.Hutchins, T.Sumner
Out: M.Rischitelli, K.Hunt (hamstring)
ST KILDA v CARLTON
Monday 13th May, 7:40pm, Etihad Stadium
B: Nathan Wright, Sam Fisher, James Gwilt
HB: Sean Dempster, Dylan Roberton, Jack Newnes
C: Leigh Montagna, Nick Dal Santo, Arryn Siposs
HF: Ahmed Saad, Rhys Stanley, Jarryn Geary
F: David Armitage, Nick Riewoldt, Stephen Milne
Foll: Ben McEvoy, Sebastian Ross, Jack Steven
Int: Brodie Murdoch, Jimmy Webster, Tom Hickey, Terry Milera, Farren Ray, Clint Jones, Josh Saunders
In: F.Ray, J.Gwilt, T.Milera, J.Webster, T.Hickey
Out: J.Koschitzke (suspension), S.Gilbert (knee)
B: Chris Yarran, Michael Jamison, Lachie Henderson
HB: Zach Tuohy, Dennis Armfield, Simon White
C: Kane Lucas, Mitch Robinson, David Ellard
HF: Chris Judd, Andrew Walker, Jeff Garlett
F: Ed Curnow, Shaun Hampson, Matthew Kreuzer
Foll: Robbie Warnock, Marc Murphy, Heath Scotland
Int: Kade Simpson, Brock McLean, Eddie Betts, Jaryd Cachia, Andrew Carrazzo, Levi Casboult, Aaron Joseph
In: A.Carrazzo, M.Kreuzer, A.Joseph, L.Casboult
Out: J.Waite (suspension)
I was really happy with the way the bet was going, Footy Tragics. Until both of Richmond’s ruckmen got injured within 45 seconds of each other in the third quarter when Geelong had just started to get some rhythm. Cotchin’s inability to walk from the get-go didn’t help either. He’s kind of important to The Tigers.
This week, our $100 free bet from Sportsbet will be divided into three separate investments, as we desperately go in search of a winner. Each bet, will have a different punting mindset. One will be an aggressive multi, where we go in search of that big dividend in attempt to cure cancer with the stroke of a digit. Another will be all about your pre-drinks before a night out on the town, as we declare a wager unbeatable. The odds will be skinny, much like my girlfriend. You should see her collarbones…But I digress… Finally, our third wager will be an omen bet, based on an odd sequence of events while I walked my dog during the week.
The good teams don’t win every week. And some of the top 8 aspirants are actually mediocre to shithouse. We are looking to capitalise on that fact here:
WESTERN BULLDOGS +27.5 ($2.70) pick your own LINE
BRISBANE +42.5 ($1.38) pick your own LINE
FREMANTLE +30.5 ($1.25) pick your own LINE
CARLTON -23.5 ($1.92) @ THE LINE
Melbourne v Gold Coast EITHER TEAM UNDER 15.5 ($2.55)
$35 @ $22.80 = $798.10
My Girlfriend’s Collarbones Multi
We all need beer, some of us are happy to pay for it, others aren’t. Take this bet on if you want to drink for free this weekend. Adelaide have had a horror run, but Dangerfield is about due to take his skinny jeans off for a couple of hours and win a match off his own boot.
No Leonard Hayes = No St.Kilda. Kreuzer back in makes up for Waite out. The Blues are certain to get the win here.
ADEALIDE to WIN @ $1.05
CARLTON to WIN @ $1.25
$35 @ $1.32 = $46.30
This week I marveled at the run and carry of my kelpie cross staffy, Zara. A four year old brindle, her muscles rippled as she scooped up ball after ball, completely disregarding her well bred opponents as she lay the ball at my feet. It was business as usual until we started moving towards my car out on the main road. Zara took quite an interest in a dead adult kangaroo on the path to the car park. Zara is a particularly strong bitch, and when I finally pried her away from the dead roo, she took his head with her and bolted for two narrow gum trees as far apart as goal posts. The whole thing just felt like Drew Petrie.
$30 to WIN on the Western Bulldogs ($9)
$30 x $9 = $270
We at Footy Tragic expect all of these wagers to get up – a lazy $1014.40 of profit for The Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia. If not, perhaps we should consider getting all of our readers involved in our decision making moving forward…
Two undefeated premiership contenders in Essendon and Geelong going head to head on the Friday night footy stage, what more could you want? Well, apart from room to seat the remaining masses locked out of the Stadium?
The Bombers season has been marinating in drug related shenanigans from the get go and unless you’re a sucker for pessimism you should be completely bored of the entire ordeal, I know I am. On field Essendon have been anything but mundane on their way to a perfect record although they were less than impressive last week as they jogged over the line against a winless GWS side.
The Cats on the other hand have conquered the art of rejuvenation, throwing egg onto the face of the many pundits who doubted the quality of their playing list and gave the green light for a Saints like free fall.
Chris Scott’s patience and the clubs discipline to adhere to a set plan of blooding young talent in order to keep their squad challenging for flags has to be applauded. With wins over last year’s grand finalists in Hawthorn and Sydney, and victories over top eight contenders Carlton, North Melbourne and Richmond, it would take a brave man to suggest the Cats won’t be amongst it come the tail end of the season.
There’s been plenty to like on field from the Bombers this season and when it comes to their statistical output the narrative is no different. The numbers may appear overly sautéed in positivity due to a couple of contests against the competitions easy beats but to see Essendon remaining continually productive up forward would be relieving for supporters.
The Bombers have found consistency in recent weeks accumulating a healthy fourteen marks inside fifty in each of their previous three games. A huge reason for this has been the injury-free exploits of former cotton wool enthusiast Scott Gumbleton. Gumbleton has nine goals and ten marks inside fifty since being selected to face the Saints, ranking fourth in the competition for marks inside fifty per game. This has brought about a slight predicament for the Bombers at the selection table as to whether or not Ryder, Crameri, Hurley and Gumbleton can be housed in the one forward line.
Geelong is versatile in defence and can handle any forward setup; Essendon going in too top heavy could play into the hands of the Cats and ease the pressure as they transition out of defence. Good form can often trump balance though and it’s warranted in this case (more on this later). It will be interesting to see how Hird operates at the selection table this week.
As for how the Bombers operate expect to see plenty of quick movement via short kicks and playing on at all costs on Friday night. Essendon are equal league leaders in uncontested marks, lead the competition with over 91 short kicks per game and play on the third most of any side.
Foot skills are everything to the Bombers, they lead the AFL in total kicks and effective kicks, whilst ranking fifth for kicking efficiency. Once they start locating runners in space on the outside it’s usually all over red rover and there was no better example of this than when they broke the Docker and Magpie midfields during their respective second halves.
The Bombers usage moving inside fifty will need to be at its crisp best as Geelong’s experienced heads Corey Enright, Tom Lonergan and Joel Corey all rank top twenty for interceptions, with the best play reader in the game Harry Taylor floating across the backline as well. How the battle plays out in the Bombers forward fifty is one area of heavy intrigue given Essendon are first in goals from marks this season with 32 in total.
The beauty of Essendon is that they don’t shirk the tough stuff either, ranking second for contested possessions per game. Often in heavyweight bouts the lesser likes tend to drift out of the game, overcoming this and finding a spread of contributors will be a priority for the Bombers as only Jobe Watson (7th) and Brendon Goddard (47th) are in the top fifty individually for contested possessions per game whilst Joel Selwood, Allen Christensen and James Kelly are all in the top 25.
Ruck duo Tom Bellchambers and Patty Ryder will no doubt be at their dominant best and the Cats combination of Mark Blicavs and Trent West shouldn’t be of much concern, but what will be at the forefront of the Bombers objectives will be addressing their clearance issues.
Both Geelong and Essendon have been lacklustre all year ranking 12th (Essendon) and 18th (Geelong) for clearances, although the Cats have been improving in recent weeks. Personnel wise both clubs only have one individual (Jobe Watson and James Kelly) inside the top thirty for clearances per game, with Watson the only Bomber inside the top 50.
Although statistically the Cats haven’t been as impressive as the Bombers on the whole they’ve been effective in the areas that matter. Keeping it simple, Geelong are on average winning more ball than their opponents (+13.9 disposals), being more direct (+10 inside 50s) and finding targets up forward more often (+3 marks inside fifty). When you strip the game bare that’s what you want to see.
When you dig even deeper into the Cats what you find is a supremely skilled side who limits risk. Geelong is 17th for ineffective kicks, second in kicking efficiency, third in marks, and leads the league in handballs and overall disposal efficiency which should come in handy as the Bombers lead the AFL for fewest opponent effective kicks per game.
The Cats classy disposal sees them sitting equal first in the competition for marks inside fifty with Tom Hawkins (16) and Harry Taylor (12) leading the way, although opportunity could be limited this week with Essendon second in the league for fewest marks from goals allowed giving up just 17 in total this season (behind only Adelaide). Jake Carlisle, Cale Hooker (equal second for interceptions) and Michael Hibberd (fifth for interceptions) have been the primary source of the Bombers great defensive efforts to date.
Defensively the Cats have arguably been the league’s benchmark and against the Tigers last week their prowess was on full display as they forced Richmond into 60 turnovers from which they generated 15 goals. It shouldn’t come as a surprise with Geelong opponents leading the league in turnovers from kicks with 21.5 per game. The Bombers skills have stood up thus far but there’s no question this will be their toughest test to date.
Both Essendon (509 points) and Geelong (450 points) have sourced more than 65% of their total points from turnovers this year so composure with ball in hand and defensive pressure will need to be at a premium Friday night.
When you look at output from stoppages things start to get interesting with Geelong scoring more points from stoppages than the Bombers this season but at the same time have experienced a -41 point differential compared to Essendon’s +22 point differential. This isn’t surprising when you factor in each team’s strength of schedule and the weaker midfields the Bombers have faced.
Essendon’s opponents this season have totalled a combined points from stoppages differential of -232 on the season with St. Kilda (+15) the only side they’ve faced who have experienced a positive return.
The Cats opponents have totalled a combined points from stoppages differential of +295 on the season with the Western Bulldogs (-52) the only side they’ve faced who have a negative output.
Last Time They Met
Last time Geelong and Essendon played the Bombers would start favourites with the bookies but it was the Cats who took the spoils and in doing so kick started the Bombers free fall from finals locks to league whipping boys.
Geelong’s 67 point win triggered a run of seven straight losses for the Bombers with the Cats midfield at their best. Despite Essendon owning the hitout count 42-26 the Cats would finish with a +32 contested possession differential, totalled 84 more effective disposals, 24 more inside fifties, won the clearances battle 41-27 and outscored the Bombers from stoppages 51-19.
Geelong would have 24 marks inside fifty from which they kicked 12 of their 20 goals as Tom Hawkins starred with five majors. Jobe Watson played a lone hand for the Bombers on his way to 29 disposals and eight clearances as Mitch Duncan had a career night for the Cats finishing with 31 touches, seven marks, six inside fifties, six one-percenters, four rebound fifties, two goal assists and a goal.
We all know what happened to Essendon late last year and we’ve seen them bounce back in season 2013, so to a degree the above result can be taken with a grain of salt.
Who will Win and Why?
Geelong’s best is better than Essendon’s best in most areas but with both teams so potent on the counter attack a quick burst of scoring could bring either side undone.
Both teams are slow starters with Essendon winning three opening quarters and Geelong just two so a quick start could be the catalyst for a win although neither has lost a third quarter this season with the Bombers also undefeated in final quarters.
As good as the Bombers have been the Cats are a step up on the competition they’ve faced to date. Question marks loom over whether or not Essendon’s usage can withstand a turnover forcing outfit like the Cats for the duration of a game. Geelong has had success at breaking down all comers to date and the possible absence of Brent Stanton won’t help the Bombers cause either. The outside midfielder is crucial to Essendon’s attack and leads the competition for inside 50s, is equal 5th for goal assists and averages 17.2 uncontested possessions per game.
Skill wise Geelong is the benchmark of consistency. In five of their six opening rounds the Cats have produced 143, 145, 138, 143 and 153 effective kicks at a kicking efficiency of 69.1%, 69.4%, 67.3%, 67.8% and 67.7%.
Meanwhile Essendon have seen their output yoyo week to week and in the last fortnight have given up season highs to opponents in effective kicks, uncontested marks and kicking efficiency, the primary areas that you can’t afford a lapse in when facing the Cats.
Since 2003 Geelong holds an 8-1 record against the Bombers at Etihad Stadium. Expect both teams to be amongst it come September and there’s no doubt Friday night’s contest will be a close one, but as of right now the evidence holding the most weight falls in favour of the Cats.
Tip: Geelong by 14 points.
You can Follow Scott on Twitter: @ScottyBarby
There are just some weeks you can’t get a break. I managed to win all five of my AFL Fantasy Leagues, which are a heady mix of “novice” leagues and pro” leagues, but still managed to stink. In my Ultimate Footy League, my already understrength team was absolutely decimated by the late withdrawal of Lenny Hayes, and the unfortunate injury to Jack Grimes (who I traded for). I can only imagine the frustration of actual coaches, when they look at their side and wonder why their teams underperform. I, like Mark Neeld, have no idea why.
Anyways, on that vastly depressing platform, it is with mournful regret that I bring this week’s buzz…coming live from Struggletown, from where I suspect I’m not the only citizen this week.
Adelaide (defeated by Hawthorn)
Patrick Dangerfield – There are times when I have no words about Danger. Fortunately, my verbose counterpart over at the Analytical Brunch, @ScottyBarby, is never short of quality verbiage, and he had a few about Dangerfield – “The star midfielder racked up thirty-five disposals (twenty contested), nine clearances, eight marks, five inside fifties, four rebound fifties, three tackles, two goals and 43,594 shaken fists from those who just traded him out of their fantasy squad.” He was, by far, the best Crow on the field, and probably also the best player at AAMI from either side.
Sam Kerridge – There are a number of Crows who I thought were brave or promising in this match, but one from left field is Sam Kerridge. The Crows’ well-documented challenges up forward have seen Coach Sanderson move to experimentation mode, as he challenges Malcolm Blight for the creative positioning award, as Kerridge played on a half forward flank. I thought he showed great movement against Grant Birchall, and hurt the Hawks the other way too.
Richard Tambling – I felt betrayed by Richard Tambling, whose case I have been pushing all year. He looked like a guy who had been given a last minute chance (he had been) but was not really ready to take it with both hands. His pace and skill level were well below where I had expected them to be, and i wouldn’t be surprised If his appearance was a one-off.
Shaun McKernan – Speaking of guys who failed to take their opportunity, McKernan has the perfect chance to audition for the vacant forward spot. We got a glimpse of why he didn’t get it in the first place, as he struggled to pick up the pace of the game.
Jason Porplyzia – It hurts my heart to write this, because Porplyzia is one of my favourite players of all time, but it’s hard to see how this version of Porplyzia fits into the side. He seems slower, but not wiser, struggles to get his hands on the ball, and then struggles to use it once he gets there. A couple of times on Saturday he tried to assert himself on the contest, and failed even to do that.
NB: I’d like credit for not including the umpires in this section here. That Scott Thompson free kick on the half-line was all sorts of devastating for me.
Brisbane (defeated by Sydney)
Pearce Hanley was easily the best for the Lions, seemingly the only player keeping them somewhat competitive in the first half. His speed and ball-use down the wings was fantastic as he continued to take the game on and set up scoring opportunities, even in patches where Sydney had all the play. This was a great way to bounce back from his suspension in a week where so many other defenders let us down.
Ryan Lester is going to be a popular man over the coming days as coaches try and work out whether or not he is a legitimate fantasy option. Personally I can’t see games like this being a regularity, although it was quite impressive. He worked off his opponents quite well and often went third man up in contests, although he didn’t really stand out to me as having an amazing game. He may be worth considering in draft based competitions, but that is about where I would leave it.
Dayne Zorko had us all excited in his return last week, however it now unfortunately seems to have been just an anomaly. He sunk back to his mediocre early-season form with another uninspiring game. He picked up just 11 touches, but his score was saved from being a total disaster by his 6 tackles. Until we see some good form consistently, I couldn’t justify bringing him in.
Carlton (defeated Melbourne)
Marc Murphy was the best for the Blues, dominating through the middle with his class and ball-winning ability. He finished with 28 disposals and hurt the Dees with every single one of them. He also kicked a handy three goals to buffer his score nicely. His start to the year has felt rather innocuous, as the Blues have taken a little bit of time to start up their own engines. Fortunately, a game like this one could be all they needed to kick start their year. Watch to see if Murphy continues to improve from here, and if he does, jump on board!
Jarrad Waite returned from injury, and whilst being far from their best, competed well and didn’t get himself reported or injured – a good return game in anyone’s books (although perhaps bonus points for Waite…). He really helped their structure and lead to the ball well, coming away with 14 touches, 10 marks and 2.2. He’ll be better for the run and should only improve from here.
Chris Yarran continued his up and down form, unfortunately delivering us a ‘down’ game today. He was played up forward, but just couldn’t get into the game with both Garlett and Betts combining for 8 goals; unfortunately Yarran seemed to be the third wheel and unable to get a touch.
Collingwood (defeated St Kilda)
Dale Thomas was handed a new role across half-back and excelled, winning 34 touches and laying 8 tackles. He has taken a few weeks to seemingly get back to full fitness, but he returned in fantastic fashion against the Saints. His couple of quieter games have helped lower his price, so now is the time to jump on board if you are keen. In this role he could be destined for some hefty scores!
Scott Pendlebury was super through the midfield and the Saints just couldn’t contain him, despite the fact he wore the Clinton Jones tag for the full four quarters. He was so clean with his ball use too, hence his fantastic SuperCoach score. He’ll be fighting it out with Ablett all year for preferred captain choice each week.
Steele Sidebottom was held very quiet after his huge game last week. He still played mainly in the front half with Jarryn Geary following him around. He had very little influence on the game at all, managing just the 10 disposals.
Essendon (defeated Greater Western Sydney)
Brendon Goddard - One of a handful of Bombers who can hold their head up high with a four quarter effort, Goddard did what Goddard does, and is fast establishing leadership credentials within this group. He is solid gold, and should be owned in all formats.
Michael Hibberd – Continued what could now be considered a breakout year, after a slow first half, he lit up the Bombers’ backline, picking up 29 possessions (82.8% efficiency). Hibberd is now one of those players who do the small things well, evidenced by his 5 one percenters and can be used comfortably across half back, and rotating through the mids.
Jobe Watson – Will not appear here very often, but Coaches relying on Jobe for a great game against Kevin Sheedy would have been very disappointed with his output. Credit should be given here to Jacob Townsend who, if I recall correctly, has a couple of big scalps to his name. Jobe managed to exert some influence late in the game, but that wasn’t hugely evident on the stats sheet.
Brent Stanton – Suffered with an adductor injury in the second quarter, and was subbed off in the third as a precautionary result. I guess the lesson here is not always to rely on your fantasy guns against the expansion teams – if they catch so much as a cold, they will not be risked.
Fremantle (defeated Gold Coast)
Luke McPharlin – Is not the guy I ever thought I would be writing about in a fantasy context, but given the backline carnage from this round, I thought it relevant to mention that McPharlin was outstanding in his role on Charlie Dixon, on his way to 21 disposals. He used the ball wonderfully well, and was the key avenue to attack from the Dockers’ backline. A sneaky, short term backline play perhaps?
Hayden Crozier –Crozier is a young man who had a lot of injury problems last year, and is a good news story if he can maintain his spot. He was especially good early, and gave the Dockers some nice spark up forward. He had a tremendous preseason and is on the bubble this week, so is worth watching if you’re after a forward rookie(ish) priced player.
Danyle Pearce – He’s been so good this year, yet in the week where there was a whole lot of backline pain, he seemed to return to the Port incarnation of himself that would see him drift in and out of games (OK, so he had a knock on his foot, but we make no excuses at Footy Tragic, so why should he?). Watch his status closely before committing to a long term fantasy relationship.
Geelong (defeated Richmond)
Steve Johnson – I have a confession to make – I brought my tickets to the Stevie J show, and I’m loving every minute. Providing he can keep fit, Johnson is one of the best players to own in fantasy football, as you can afford yourself a smile with every touch. He scored his third consecutive massive fantasy score, and gave Cotchin an absolute bath with 31 touches, 5 tackles and 2 goals.
Allen Christensen – While he’s been in the system since 2011, Christensen is another player who seems to have elevated his output this year, and this was arguably his best game to date. He dominated the contested possession count, and picked up 6 clearances and 6 tackles as well. With the likes of this bloke, as well as guys ;like Murdoch, Horlin-Smith and Caddy, the future looks pretty good down at Kardinia Park.
Tom Hawkins – Kicked 2 goals, but I thought struggled a touch against Troy Chaplain. Fortunately, the Cats have about a bajillion other avenues to goal, so Hawkins can afford to have the odd off night, however Geelong fans will prefer to see him kick a bag sooner rather than later.
Gold Coast (defeated by Fremantle)
Danny Stanley - Had a great year last year, but has struggled with injury thus far. He played in a forward pocket on Lee Spurr, and accumulated the pill quietly, and used it efficiently – what you would expect from an experienced campaigner. Will be a nice play in the backline if he can continue to get some games.
Jaeger O’Meara – Again, looked like he belongs at this level, he played on David Mundy (who I consider one the comps elite midfielders) and held his own. Most impressively, he laid 9 tackles, which is some sort of feat for a kid (perhaps only matched by the tenacity of Jake Neade)
Charlie Dixon – Has had a great run – an improbable run…and now it’s over. OK, maybe that’s a little 3 AM enforced, West Wing inspired melodrama, but Dixon struggled in this round, partially due to the rolled ankle he picked up in the 3rd quarter, and partially due to the tremendous role played on him by Luke McPharlin. Plenty will be watching Dixon’s progress closely this week to make sure he’s fit again…for some, I suspect, it won’t matter.
Greater Western Sydney (defeated by Essendon)
Tom Scully – I listened to the preview of this match, where the commentators were debating just what to do with Tom Scully. They all agreed that Sheedy should a) let him just play without too much of a job, b) play him one-on-one against Jobe Watson and c) the result would never be in doubt. They were wrong on all three counts, as Scully played on Stanton/Goddard, and excelled in winning his own ball as well as doing the job right. Commentators – wrong. Who would have thunk it?
Jeremy Cameron – Anyone who has watched the Giants when this boy plays will not find this as any huge surprise, but Cameron is a talent. I mean, he’s a proper talent. He presented the Giants with a lead up target, and rewarded their effort with 6 goals straight – just the reward for hard work. Will do well to maintain such a high output, but he had a tremendous game against the top of the table Bombers’ defence.
Tim Mohr – Not traditionally a high stat getter, he picked up 24 against the Bombers, and showed the requisite desperation required of a proper backline player. Still had a beard to behold.
Sam Reid – Someone has to make all the mistakes, and on this day, it was Sam Reid. Without doubt, he’s a quality player, but sometimes you just can’t do anything right, and 7 clangers was a bit of a disappointing return for a player with promise. Worth mentioning that he also picked up 7 tackles and 7 inside 50s, so it wasn’t all bad….
Hawthorn (defeated Adelaide)
Sam Mitchell – What a luxury the Hawks have when they can play their fiercest contested ball player across half back! 23 of Mitchell’s 29 disposals were uncontested, and the Hawks were able to use Mitchell’s ability to read the play to their advantage as their onballers got on top of the Crows.
Isaac Smith – I like the game of Smith, who had one of those matches where he just appeared to be popping up everywhere he was needed. He ran, and tackled hard, and even bobbed up for a goal – he’s probably not consistent enough for a DT or SC option, but he makes a fun draft-based option.
Lance Franklin – Again, Scotty touched on this in his Analytical Brunch on Sunday, but Buddy looks like a man with a lot on his mind. He played an arrogant, lazy game on Saturday night, expecting to outmuscle Daniel Talia, who simply refused to be beaten when wrestled, and read the ball better on almost every occasion. Those considering him as a bargain should also consider that sometimes, an underpriced option is underpriced just because they stink.
Jack Gunston – Forgive my indulgence here – but I have never booed someone as vociferously as I did Gunston on Saturday night. My angst his heightened when I look at a struggling Crows forward line, and see how classy and smooth moving Gunston is at the other end. He doesn’t get enough of it to be any sort of fantasy option, but gee he’s fun to watch (if you’re a Hawks player).
Melbourne (defeated by Carlton)
Matt Jones was good for the Dees and even better for the wallets of his fantasy coaches. He started relatively slow with just 17 DT points in the first half, before ramping up his ball-winning in the second half, picking up a whopping 91 DT points. Jones seems runs to the right places and can win his own ball, which is obviously some great skills to have, and skills which are highly beneficial to us in AFL Fantasy. Hopefully you started him in round one as his price has now skyrocketed!
Michael Evans is another young Dee who has impressed with his ball-winning ability. He played solely through the midfield, picking up 19 disposals and 7 marks; those who picked him up on the bubble a fortnight ago will have already experienced over $150k worth of price rise from him, which is clearly fantastic.
Jack Grimes is clearly the big buzzkill, going down early in the game with a shoulder injury. It’s never good seeing a player loaded into the ambulance part way through a game, so fingers crossed for a speedy recovery from him!
North Melbourne (defeated Port Adelaide)
Ben Cunnington – I really enjoyed a bit of Cunnington, as he was ruthless in his tenacity at the ball. He won 8 clearances, 5 stoppages and 20 of his 25 disposals were contested, which is a super effort. Is not typically the guy who wins plaudits in the Roos’ engine room, but was important nonetheless. Worth a look in SuperCoach and Ultimate Footy.
Andrew Swallow – Went one on one with the great one, and came out level. Swallow is an outstanding player, and played an outstanding match, again being super influential inside and outside the contest. At $26, he has to be an outside chance for the Brownlow
Aaron Black – I must confess to not knowing a heck of a lot about young Aaron Black, except he was looking good before he suffered a corky. If you’re one of the 1,622 who have him in DT, then you’d better watch his progress this week…
Port Adelaide (defeated by North Melbourne)
Travis Boak - I feel like I write about this guy every week, but Boak is the Michael Clarke of Port Adelaide – sure, he was a good player before he was Captain, but hasn’t he elevated his game since the leadership was bestowed upon him? He is the perfect unique premium-priced midfielder for mine, as his lowest score in AFL Fantasy has been 91, knocking out 100s every weekend.
Robbie Gray – Through gritted teeth, I have to admit that Robbie Gray has been an important “in” for the Power. He seems to provide spark up forward, and even though he wasn’t great statistically, he will be a great underpriced option on the bubble this weekend. Worth a punt.
Justin Westhoff – Useless for the second week in a row, it’s hard to work out just where he’s going wrong, as he fights for every possession. Is it his work rate? Is it his role? Or is it his beard? (That’s a thing, isn’t it…Jack Watts?) Regardless of the reason, owners will want him to snap out of his dramatic funk sooner rather than later as his price plummets.
Rookie priced Backs – You know who I’m talking about, and you know why. Quite frankly, i can’t wait to trade them all out.
Richmond (defeated by Geelong)
Dustin Martin – I just love watching this kid go about his business. He of the Neck Tattoo showed again why he is rated so highly by those at Tigerland, as he prowled about the forward line, picking up a couple of goals and pushing into the midfield.
Jake King - King must be super fit, as I never see him stop running hard. He spent 96% of the game on the ground, and I didn’t see him ease off his workrate once. He was rewarded with 4 goals, but it was his fight that impressed me most. 4 goals was a very handy return after a short stint on the sideline.
Tyrone Vickery – The roller coaster ride that is Tyrone Vickery’s season took another turn for the worse, as he was hit in the head by Steve Johnson. It clearly played on his mind, as he went missing in the last half, and was subbed off in the last quarter.
St Kilda (defeated by Collingwood)
Nick Riewoldt again put in a gallant effort for his losing side, pulling down 11 marks amongst his 19 disposals and 4.1. Collingwood is typically one of his bogey sides, so it was great to see him continue his great recent form into this game. Seeing this early season form continue regardless of the opponent does certainly bring in the discussion of whether or not he should be a trade target. If anything, he would have been expected to drop in point scoring this year, not jump up significantly!
Dylan Roberton would have to have his name on the ‘most improved’ list for 2013. After being picked up by the Saints as a delisted free-agent at the end of last year, Roberton has played every game and been one of the Saints’ most reliable defenders. He is not only stopping his opponents, but running off them quite well – he picked up 21 disposals and 5 marks in this game, plus a bonus goal. He may not be a target in DT, but is worth considering in SC and Ultimate Footy.
Nick Dal Santo has been one of the bigger disappointments to start the year; in years gone by he has been a consistent premium option, however so far this year he has been anything but that. He has hardly impacted any games so far this year and is playing like someone who has been told his club is ‘rebuilding.’ He simply looks like he is going through the motions at the moment. If you have him, offload him, if you don’t, I wouldn’t be bringing him in anytime soon despite his tempting price.
Sydney (defeated Brisbane)
Daniel Hannebury was great for the Swans, winning more than his share of contested ball, whilst also using it well on the outside. He picked up 32 touches in another great display, roaming around the midfield and half-forward line. His scores may not quite be big enough to bring him in this year, but I daresay he will be a must-have in 2014.
Nick Malceski is one of the in-form half-backs in the competition at the moment and he showcased his skills again against the Lions, picking up 27 disposals (22 of which were kicks) and 5 marks. He is used so frequently whenever the Swans go forward, so his is ending up with so much of the ball. You could do much worth than considering him.
Josh Kennedy continues to disappoint his owners with another sub-100 score. He seems to be floating in and out of games this year but is yet to grab one by the neck as he did so consistently in 2011. He still managed 24 touches, but it wasn’t up to the standards he has previously set for himself.
West Coast (defeated Western Bulldogs)
Matt Priddis bounced back from the concussion he sustained last week, dominating the clearances, despite copping the (attempted) tag of Lower. He won 29 disposals and laid 7 tackles in what was his best game of the year. He still had the low score from round 5 in his rolling average for another week, so if he keeps some of this form up, pounce on him whilst he is cheap!
Dean Cox was great in the ruck and around the grounds, despite being beaten in the hit-out count by Minson. He also copped a knee to the face early in the game, leaving him a bit dazed, yet he still managed to bounce back to kick four goals amongst 14 disposals and 9 marks.
Josh Kennedy, despite finishing the game with a decent score, left us frustrated for the first three quarters. Fortunately, he was able to bob up to boot 4.1 in the second half and buffer his score. Remembering this is the team he booted 10.3 against in 2011, so we did have high expectations!
Western Bulldogs (defeated by West Coast)
Clay Smith continued his good recent form, winning the most disposals of any Bulldog (26 touches) and generally using it quite well (although he does have a habit of just throwing it on the boot). He’s cemented himself within this young midfield and could be a good target in games such as Ultimate Footy.
Will Minson, despite being beaten around the ground, was very good in the ruck duals, winning 38 hitouts. He’s another player worth considering for Ultimate Footy category based leagues, although I don’t really like his five frees-against!
Christian Howard played his first game for the year and hardly had any influence with just 9 disposals and 1 tackle. He showed such great fantasy potential a couple of years ago, but he has certainly gone down the pecking order since.
1: GWS First Half:
After a disappointing loss in the Expansion Cup it was imperative that the Giants came out firing against the league leaders and showed some punch, and to their credit that’s exactly what they did. As pigs took to the skies the Giants went into half time with a +13 contested possession differential, +9 effective kicks differential, were dominating in the ruck department, smashing the Bombers in clearances and took a 21 point lead into the main break.
Tom Scully resembled a player worthy of his contract, Jeremy Cameron looked like (and probably still is) the second coming and for once the back line was holding firm.
There’s no question that their second half was underwhelming and Sheeds will no doubt press stop on the VCR and set fire to the tape at half time when they do the review (I’m convinced Sheeds still owns a VCR), but second half aside the signs were encouraging and it was great to see the potential on show and in full flight.
2: North Melbourne’s First Quarter:
It was all backs laps and sack taps for the Kangaroos after they delivered a first quarter that screamed finals football. With the pressure of the Footy Tragic preview weighing them down and to a lesser extent their season on the line, North Melbourne fired out of the gates like an overzealous pack of Apple fanboys craving a line to stand in at a new product launch.
The Kangaroos showed us that they are who we thought they were; a finals calibre side a step off the contenders pace. Then the second half hit and the identity changed again with North looking more at home as a young team who leaves the front door open after half time and is prone to falling over when the heat gets turned up.
We saw North’s best and worst in the space of an hour on Saturday afternoon, and we saw some Mafia level influenced umpiring. The Kangaroos best is good enough to beat anybody, their fetish for playing three-of-four quarters tells us they still have a ways to go. On Saturday they managed to win despite playing just twenty minutes of good footy where they piled on eight of the first nine goals, it was their fifth first quarter won in six games.
3: Geelong’s Second Half:
Well, from the 25 minute mark of the second quarter onwards to be precise. The Cats kicked the final four goals of the second term and double flushed all of the Tigers first half momentum down the boggy crapper (Salute to Theme Park).
When Ivan Maric and Tyrone Vickery vacated due to injury Geelong took full advantage at stoppages and would win the quarter clearance battle sixteen to eight on their way to a comfortable forty-four point win. The Cats have proven to be masters of the counter attack this season and Saturday night was no different as they sourced fifteen goals from turnovers compared to the Tigers five.
4: Adelaide and Patrick Dangerfield:
With their backs against the wall and five-hundred players injured (Tex is worth 500 players) Adelaide would have been forgiven for being blown out of the water. Sure, the Crows might have come up short against Hawthorn but it was great to see them compete.
Despite having a forward line that would fail to strike fear into the Dubbo under tens Adelaide took the fight to the Hawks and if it weren’t for a lacklustre start they could have pulled out the four points. It feels like it’s been a while between drinks so it was great to finally see a trademark Danger’splosion out on the field too. The star midfielder racked up thirty-five disposals (twenty contested), nine clearances, eight marks, five inside fifties, four rebound fifties, three tackles, two goals and 43,594 shaken fists from those who just traded him out of their fantasy squad.
5: Allen Christensen:
Christensen has become a driving force in the Cats engine room and his work all over the ground has been superb this season registering career highs in disposals, goals and tackles per game. Bundy is doing it all and Saturday night the full arsenal was on display as he tallied up 28 disposals (18 contested), six clearances, six tackles, four marks, three inside fifties and three goals.
It’s unfair that Geelong keep turning over quality players. When was the last time a new name from the Cats left you disappointed or underwhelmed? Even Olympic runners who haven’t played the game since U14 are quality. I had a whole bunch of Mark Blicavs gags loaded in the gun, now they’re worthless.
1: Collingwood’s Second Quarter:
Probably the least Collingwood performance I’ve seen from the Magpies in a long time. For a side that plays more direct than most it was awkward (and boring) watching them trying to navigate the Saints zone with back and forth chip kicks.
Collingwood practically spent an entire quarter going nowhere. You can find their output below, it’s superb. Superbly static considering how much uncontested ball they won, how well they used it, and how few inside fifties they generated. The Pies were reportedly ecstatic with their performance on Friday night. If anything it left me with more doubt. I’m still not sold on this Collingwood outfit but that could soon change with Luke Ball and Dayne Beams set to return in the next fortnight.
2: Scott Thompson’s War with Umpires:
There’s no doubt that the hands in the back free kick paid against Thompson flipped the game upside down and squashed the Crows momentum, but who is really at fault here? Scotty Thompson forgetting that Netball rules apply to Scott Thompson in all fourth quarters isn’t an acceptable excuse.
In my opinion the umpire made the correct call, it was clearly obstruction against Scott Thompson. A Goal Attack cannot be throwing their second pair of invisible hands around like that. It was the second week in a row that a free kick has been paid or not paid (the mugging from Andrew Carrazzo last week) to Thompson in front of goal late in the game.
As was the case against Carlton ghost hands sapped any momentum from the Crows and resulted in a quick switch and goal to Hawthorn down the other end. We need to have an intervention so these two parties can kiss and makeup.
3: 2013 Buddy:
Sign a contact, you son of a bitch! Maybe it’s just me, but everything about Buddy this season feels (and looks) awfully 2012 Cloke-ish… We all know how the Travis Cloke contract saga played out with the worst element being we were robbed of seeing a star at ease and fully focused.
The old winning form is good form narrative applies to a degree given the Hawks are 5-1 and rolling along very nicely, but outside of the odd flash of brilliance Franklin just doesn’t look like the same threatening force of old and his frustration was on show against the Crows Saturday afternoon with Buddy now totaling 0.7 in the last fortnight.
For what it’s worth (we are only a quarter through the season) Buddy is averaging his lowest disposal and tackle numbers per game since the 2009 season, fewest marks and goals per game since 2006 and fewest marks inside fifty since 2008. After the Grand Final rematch next week the Hawks play GWS, Gold Coast and Melbourne before the bye. There’s nobody else like Buddy in the game, hopefully that stretch of weaker competition awakens the great man from his slumber.
4: Gold Coast Turnovers:
Here are the Suns quarter by quarter turnover splits: 14 – 13 – 22 – 11. That’s sixty turnovers, with thirty-seven of them disposal related. After showing the Giants whose boss, the Suns confidence should have been sky high, especially when you consider they were running into a depleted Dockers outfit.
In their defence, no side applies a stranglehold like Fremantle but eleven players experiencing at least three or more turnovers left the Suns as their own worst enemy. Even Gary Ablett gave discipline the finger finishing with a game high four free kicks against. It was just an all-around performance to forget for the Suns. Charlie’s beard didn’t fire, there was barely a single highlight and the contest felt over in the opening minutes.
5: Friday Night Lockout:
Essendon versus Geelong has all the makings of the game of the season. Both teams undefeated, Friday night stage, blockbuster matchup, capacity crowd! Of 50,000? Why is this being played at Etihad Stadium? You could fill two stadiums with the amount of interest this heavyweight bout will generate.
Call me out of touch but there’s nothing I love more than a blockbuster at the ‘G. It just adds that extra aura of importance and buzz. Someone’s “0” has got to go (draw pending), place your bets, fellow Tragics! For the record I think Geelong gets the spoils but we should be in for a dandy either way, a 40,000 keen supporters left outside the gate dandy.
You can follow Scott on Twitter: @ScottyBarby
I’m not even going to go into last week’s bet, Footy Tragics. I’m too excited about the end of Round 5. We’ve got some form to look at. And from this round on it’s going to get easier and easier to take a position on a game. We can expect value. We can expect the term “certainty” to be thrown around. We can expect to back the odd winner. Last year, I abstained from punting on football until Round 7. This year, I’m happy enough to be out there in Round 6. This week, our $100 free bet from Sportsbet for The Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia will be invested with optimism.
The first match of this week’s three-legged multi will involve Collingwood and St. Kilda. Neither has been setting the world on fire. The Saints are definitely a side in decay, but they aren’t a team full of Dal Santos. Leonard Hayes is still a force to be reckoned with and Nick Riewoldt has showed signs this year that his best isn’t completely beyond him. While Riewoldt hasn’t got the best track record against the Pies in recent times, he still managed two goals late last year when an umpiring decision went against them in the dying seconds to cost them 2 premiership points, and another two goals the time before late in 2011 when Collingwood’s 14.5 was too good for the St.Kilda’s 10.10. Collingwood are riddled with injury and blokes who aren’t fully fit. Toovey is gone for the year. Beams, Maxwell and Young are out. Shaw and Daisy Thomas aren’t fully wound up. Jolly is back from some time out and I’m not convinced Dane Swan is up and running either. St.Kilda don’t have much, but if they can force a genuine contest, they are in the match and I think they will go better against the Pies than people think. Collingwood’s form and injury woes clearly haven’t been a factor in determining their quote of $1.18 head to head. We can get a 42.5 point head start with the Saints and still get $1.40. (into $1.35) Hopefully Lenny can bring Dal Santo and Montagna into the game early, to guarantee some involvement from them.
The second leg will involve the Kangaroos at the surprisingly short quote of $1.41 for the win against the Power down in Tassie. If it were in Melbourne, the line of 17.5 would be tempting, but the poor old Roos have got no supporters and no coin, denying them the luxury of a bankable 4 points here. Port Adelaide used their get out of jail free card last week when they should’ve been down by ten goals at half time against West Coast. They looked completely outclassed at home in the first half, despite the addition of Wines and the improvement of Wingard, Hartlett and Westhoff to name a few. Their birthday run should end this week against a side that squandered massive opportunities against Collingwood, Geelong and Hawthorn.
The final selection concerns the Cats and the Tigers on Saturday night. Geelong had the week off last week against the Bulldogs while the Tigers almost stole a fourth unimpressive win after taking no risks with King and Chaplin. Those two return, while Chapman and Hawkins are big inclusions for Chris Scott’s men. These two sides have been mismatched for about five years. The result a foregone conclusion. But last year Richmond showed they’d made the necessary improvement to at least scare a complacent Geelong side when they rocked up and almost knocked them off at Skilled Stadium. It’s a hoodoo that has lasted since 2006, and Richmond might not be ready to overcome it, but it is a hoodoo that’s going to be broken this year or next as those Geelong stars in their early 30s fade and Richmond’s budding elites in their early 20s mature. This clash may well prove to be the match of the round, and it can only be so if The Tigers can get within the line of 17.5. So the final selection this week will be Richmond at The Line ($1.92)
This Week’s $100 Investment
St.Kilda at a LINE of + 42.5 ($1.35)
North Melbourne to WIN ($1.41)
Richmond at the LINE of +17.5 ($1.92)
Multi odds $3.65