Category - 2011 – Round 17
A review at all eight games from an AFL Dream Team and SuperCoach perspective, running through all the heroes and villains of each game.
Adelaide vs Essendon:
- Rory Sloane really looks to have had his midfield time increased lately and it is obviously doing his DT and SC scoring the world of good, despite this only being his second ton this year. He is a very impressive player, with his great tenacity at the contest, ability to win contested ball and also strong tackling skills. I’d say I wasn’t the only one who considered this kid in my starting team this year – fair to say though, I’m glad I didn’t – although he has continued to show signs that his years as a premium aren’t too far away. I loved his game against Essendon as he was one of their real four-quarter performers, racking up 29 touches and 6 tackles for the match.
- Scott Thompson came into this game with a pretty strong history against the Dons and backed it up pretty nicely, picking up 37 touches and laying 7 tackles (although 5 frees against wasn’t awfully impressive). This good game also continues his ripping form at AAMI stadium – a ground where he clearly plays his best footy. We have talked about him as a great premium option this year, but with only three games left to play at AAMI, I would be a little hesitant bringing him in now. Whilst his form on other grounds is still strong, he suffers from a whopping 26.2 DT point differential when playing away from home in 2011 (117.4 average at AAMI, compared to 91.2 average interstate) – certainly enough to turn me off him.
- Daniel Talia was very good in just his second game. He has been highly rated by the Crows for a while, having been taken at pick 13 in the 2009 draft. Injuries have hurt him until now, but with the long-term injury of Phil Davis (he was put on the LTI list by Adelaide this week, meaning he MUST miss the next 8 games – i.e. the season), and the form slump of Luke Thompson, Talia should get first crack at CHB for the rest of the year. He hasn’t risen in price yet, but if you need the cash, he would be an ideal candidate next week. Finished this game with 16 possessions and 5 marks and did a pretty good job at curbing Ryder.
- Graham Johncock controlled the game for the first half and was one of the pivotal players behind the Crows’ early dominance. He controlled the ball well from defense, continually setting up Adelaide’s forward thrusts. Unfortunately for the Crows, he went down with a hip injury in the second quarter and was subbed off, despite trying to get him back out there. This proved to be one of the most pivotal moments of the game, as with Stiffy out of the game, Essendon really were able to flick the switch.
- Angus Monfries really seemed to bounce back from his controversy earlier this week. I will be blatantly honest – I have never really liked Monfries – he has always presented himself as a player capable of doing a lot, but never really pushing himself to get to that next level. However, it seems that if the ‘staging’ stories of the week are to have a positive, it is that Angus may have finally woken up to himself and his own abilities – he doesn’t need to fall to the ground every time someone breaths on him – perhaps he has learnt that a good player would just win their own ball, rather than having the umps hand it to him. And this is exactly what he showed signs of on Friday night – he was impressive, playing mainly through the midfield (another real positive) and working hard to win his own ball and get himself into good spots. He came away as best on ground, with 35 touches, 10 marks and 1.2 He proved he can be a better player, especially if trusted with roles through the midfield as he was tonight.
- David Zaharakis was great, especially turning it on in the second half, and was one of the main catalysts behind Essendon’s resurgence. He is playing a lot more midfield time, with spurts up forward, and is another player looking like he is benefitting greatly from it. He has taken his game to another level this past month, averaging 104 DT points from his past 5 games and looks a promising option for either the run home (although that late bye sucks) or more likely for next year. Finished off this game with 22 touches, 6 tackles and a goal.
- Dyson Heppell was very good again – I just love the confidence this kid exudes, shimmying around his opponents and taking the game on. His teammates look to give it to him at every opportunity and rarely does he let them down, often mowing down another teammate with another great pass. Obviously our concern is how he will hold up for the rest of the year, not having missed a game yet, despite Hird continually talking about resting him. And of course, it must be remembered that he will be missing in round 24 for the league Grand Finals, so there are a possible two games he could be out for between now and the end of the year. A shame, as he has probably one of the most consistent performers for many backlines this year.
- Brent Prismall really looks in trouble to keep his spot in the Essendon lineup, not just for the remainder of the year, but also for next year. He obviously gives his all to the side every time he is given a game, but his decision making is just not good enough when turnovers can prove so costly nowadays. He had 16 disposals, and his direct opponent, Sloane, was one of the Crows’ best. Very disappointing for a guy that once promised to be a Dream Team premium.
Richmond vs Gold Coast:
- Trent Cotchin was a superstar in the first quarter, booting three goals and already sitting on 51 DT points by the first break. Hardwick gave him plenty of time up forward, knowing full well that his class would prevail when the ball hit the ground (there proved to be a 6-goal breeze to one end of the ground, causing each team just to just ‘bomb-it-and-hope’). Unfortunately though, the Suns got on top in the second quarter when they had a the breeze, forcing the likes of Cotchin to only see the ball a couple of times. Cotchin picked up his form in the second half, but unfortunately, whilst his stats were very nice (caused by Richmond just playing tempo footy for the third quarter), he didn’t really amaze like he did in the first term. He finished with 24 touches, 8 marks and the three goals which he booted in the first term.
- Robin Nahas was probably the best and most consistent for the Tigers – as I touched on above, their overall consistency for the game was pretty average and probably cost themselves the game by the sort of footy they played when they had the breeze. Richmond tried a couple of run-with players on Nahas, but none really were effective, with his class and speed being a notch above any of them. He won 28 disposals for the day and overall used them pretty well, which was great to see after he has been well down on form the past month or so.
- Chris Newman was very good for Richmond, but is clearly getting frustrated by their form. He said in an interview a fortnight ago that he was desperate to play finals (he has NEVER played a finals game – a current AFL record, considering the number of games he has played), and over the past 3 weeks he has seen any chance of a 2011 finals berth slip away. He was strong in defense for the Tigers and was aided by the ‘Bomb-it-and-hope’ mentality, cutting off a number of forward entries whilst floating across half-back. He finished with 31 touches and 11 marks for the game, but didn’t walk away a happy man, as evident by the look on his face as the final siren rang.
- Jack Riewoldt was really poor for the Tigers, stood all day by Nathan Bock and beaten pretty thoroughly. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised to find out he was carrying an injury – he is lacking the same leap he had earlier in the year and is really struggling when the ball hits the ground – something I would normally have put as one of his strengths. He finished with just 1.2 from 17 possessions – significantly less than what you would have expected from him against the Suns. If you have him, you must get rid of him, or at least make him your 8th forward – his current form is poor, and if the injury suspicion is correct, he ain’t getting better any time soon.
- Gary Ablett was clearly the big talking point coming into this game – would he play or wouldn’t he? Fortunately for many, he did line up and actually had a very good game. He certainly wasn’t his best, missing a couple of shots at goal that he really should have made, but otherwise he was covering the ground pretty well, still having plenty of stints through the midfield, despite spending more time than usual up forward. He finished the game with 27 touches and 6 tackles and deserves a big kiss on the forehead from everyone who owns him, in thanks for getting up for the game.
- Dion Prestia really impressed me – he wasn’t a massive ball-winner (although he did still rack up 18 touches and 7 tackles), but I thought his work around the clearances was really solid and he won a couple of very important ones in the third term. He works hard and now looks pretty solid at AFL level, having looked a bit shaky earlier in the year. He tackles hard and has a very good kick on him – long, low and accurate. Those who have been cursing him for weeks for stinking up their benches may finally find themselves with a pretty solid dual-position emergency option.
- Sam Iles had one of his best games for the club, taking a purely midfield role as Gary spent a bit more time up forward. He doesn’t often win his own ball, but gets in the right spots to receive the ball from his teammates and usually uses the ball pretty well. He, along with Danny Stanley (who also had a ripping game), are showing what some consistent opportunities at senior football can do for someone after they were both cast off from Collingwood a couple of years ago.
- Tom Lynch had a day to forget, in fact it was probably one of the few times this year when someone may have turned to the coach and pleaded to be subbed off (although he wasn’t). Everything that could go wrong for him, went wrong – dropped marks, mis-kicks leading to a turnover and also the umps seemed to be ganging up on him, paying a Buddy-like 5 frees against him, all of which really seemed like pretty 50/50 calls. He did get pretty frustrated throughout the game, but kept his call enough to play his role well, finishing with a reasonable 14 touches and 5 tackles.
Carlton vs Collingwood:
- Chris Judd was great again, and whilst plenty will likely bring up his average disposal-efficiency, the fact he had 9 clearances, 23 contested possessions (amongst 37 touches) and 5 tackles, you sorta got to give him some slack. He was solid all day for the Blues, but that was to be expected, considering his great history against the Pies. He continued to work hard until the end, and let’s be honest, he’s still a chance for the 3 votes, despite the loss.
- Bryce Gibbs was very good for the Blues, spending the majority of the game through the midfield, rather than off half-back (But don’t tell Virtual Sports that – I want to pick him as a defender in DT again next year!). He spent a lot of his time running with Swan, but as both those guys are prone to do, he zoned off and won plenty of ball whilst floating around on his own. He finished with 27 touches and 10 marks, although considering he played a VERY uncontested game, his SC score wasn’t probably as high as expected.
- Wayde Twomey (Pronounced Toom-ie, FWIW) was very good in his first game, kicking a goal with his first kick, playing predominantly up forward. There was a very interesting story that surfaced on Friday and that was that Twomey had spent all week watching tapes and practicing playing on Heath Shaw – obviously, Shaw didn’t play, so there was speculation that Twomey wouldn’t either. Fortunately he did and we got to have a good look at him – he looks a pretty solid build and spent most of his time chasing and harassing his opponents in the forward line. He should get more games, but considering the amount of depth Carlton seem to have at the moment, he may struggle for consistent games.
- Matthew Kruezer’s form is still very up and down – he is playing good patches through game, but since his second game of the year (against Sydney) he really hasn’t even threatened to dominate. He is still playing up forward, which is part of the issue, but I’d say he is still working back into some form and confidence after his knee reconstruction last year. Those tempted by his price are certainly not being stupid, but honestly, I can’t see him capturing any sort of consistent form between now and the AFL finals.
- Scott Pendlebury was great all game, and whilst he would have a few to compete with, will likely come out as the best on ground for the Pies. After a brief dip in form a month or so again, his form lately has been both of high quality and high consistency, presenting him again as a great captain option. He was, as expected, handed a tag from Carlton (in the form of Curnow), but worked pretty hard through it, still managing 26 touches, 7 tackles and 2.1. So not only are his high disposal numbers great for Dream Teamers, but his ball-use continues to be great, with only one statistical error for the game, making him a beautiful SuperCoach option too.
- Dane Swan was good, but also somewhat disappointing considering he only just cracked the ton. He had a massive first term, picking up 12 touches, but Gibbs managed to slow him down a bit after the break. Whilst he still managed 31 touches for the game, he was down in some of the other stat categories, hence the weakness of his score – he laid only 2 tackles, took just 4 marks and booted just a behind. Although, in saying all this, it does seem remarkable that we feel we should complain about a ton – he just sets the bar way to high, clearly.
- Dale Thomas picked up where he left off last week, pulling out plenty of party tricks and ball-winning skills. Although, he once again forgot one of his party tricks, and that is set-shot goal kicking. We have seen him shank several set-shots this year, or look to pass off, and this was again the case against the Blues – he had one set shot from only 20m out which he shanked – perhaps just as a way of proving to Mick he should only be played in the midfield. We spoke this week on our show about how good an option he is for the rest of the year – considering there are no more Collingwood byes, you can essentially load up on them. He will be an especially tempting Captain option against Gold Coast next week too!
- Lachlan Keeffe played his second game so is now on the bubble – just like in his first game, he played forward in a decoy role for Cloke. He is actually competing pretty well and doing right by the coach, however the concern is going to be his job security (but lets be honest, his scoring potency isn’t amazing either), although he should hold his spot until Dawes returns in a few weeks. If you need a quick bit of cash, he could be your man – just don’t be trading him into any position where you may need to play him on the field.
St.Kilda vs West Coast:
- Leigh Montagna finally bounced back into some form for the Saints, picking up 34 touches and 6 marks in a very strong midfield display. He said himself after the game in an interview – he got off the leash from the taggers, with West Coast focusing their attention on Dal Santo and Goddard instead. He started the game in scintillating fashion, picking up 17 first-quarter disposals, and whilst the Eagles paid a bit more attention to him after that, he still managed to run pretty free for most of the night.
- Jason Gram played one of his best game for the year, starting as a small defender (as he has done for the past month or so), but pushing up the ground a lot in a real rebounding role. He has clearly been told by the coach to clean up his game a bit – gone seem to be the giant loopy kicks he can be prone to and he seems to be focusing a lot more on actually hitting up his own teammates on their chests, rather than kicking 60-metre torps. He finished with 31 touches for the game and 7 marks, and whilst his price actually looks pretty tempting, I’d say there are really some much better options out there.
- Raph Clarke, who has spent the majority of the year either in the VFL or starting as a sub, was another Saint to play his best game for the year. He is a real confidence player, so it was good to see him string some good early plays together early in the night and just improve from there. It is fair to say, Raph has never been a crowd favorite for the Saints (and for the record, I detest ‘fans’ booing their players), so it was nice to see him put a really good game together, and each time he did something good with the ball, you could tell the crowd was getting behind him. He played down back and was constantly used on the wing as an attacking option too – he is one of the Saints’ few players who rarely kick backwards – he always looks to attack. Now, after his many subbings, and the form he showed in this game, his price of under $170k in Dream Team looks awfully tempting as an emergency. Honestly, you would be a brave man – a VERY brave man – but, as I said, he is a confidence player, so the hope is that he could potentially provide some reasonable cover for the rest of the year. By the way, I know I will get shot down for this one, but thought I’d mention it anyway.
- Ben McEvoy had his quietest game in quite a while, and there would certainly be several factors you could attribute this to – firstly, Kosi’s late inclusion sucked a lot of game time out of him (although he did still play 85%), also forcing him to spend a lot more time forwards, but secondly, he was dominated in the ruck and around the grounds by a dominant Cox and Nic Nat. McEvoy’s strength is his aerial ability around the ground, but it seems hard to take a contested mark when Naitanui is jumping on your head. He will bounce back, as I feel is was more the second factor than the first that contributed to his score.
- Dean Cox was dominant for the Eagles, winning 22 disposals and 7 marks, along with 36 hitouts. He was commanding around the ground as the Eagle’s main ruckman, easily beating both of the Saints’ big men. He has been playing a lot of time up forward this past month to exploit plenty of defenses, but with the Saints typically being a side more susceptible to small forwards, I’d have a guess that this is a reason he spent more time through the middle. This was his first ton in five weeks, so it was certainly good to have the big guy back!
- Matt Priddis was great all day – understandably, living in Victoria, I don’t get to see the Eagles live very often, so I was amazed at how great Priddis’ workrate was around the ground. Despite copping the Clint Jones tag, he worked hard between the contests and clearly has an amazing understanding with Cox and Naitanui, sharking so many of their taps. He was a little down on his usual influence, but as I have already stated, he was still very good, picking up 27 touches and 7 tackles.
- Beau Waters, as many of you may already be aware, is one player who’s return I have been eagerly awaiting. His price was pretty high to start the year, but now having finally played his third game (after a long injury lay-off), his price is dipping and looking awfully tempting. His game against the Saints was good, although not brilliant (and I might add, you wouldn’t consider him in SuperCoach), picking up 16 touches and 6 tackles. He played loose in the backline, which is exactly where we want him, although his ball use wasn’t amazing. His breakeven is still pretty monstrous this week (140-odd), so you have another week to check him out. But with the Eagles’ awesome run home, he could be a great unique pick for your backline.
- Jack Darling really struggled for an influence against the Saints – Gwilt sat on him all game until he went off with an ACL injury in the third quarter, but had done a pretty convincing job on him until then, limiting him to just 5 touches and 3 tackles, dragging his price painfully close to $200k. Darling is really way to cheap to be trading out now (unless you have the cash spare), so is probably resigned to playing as your 8th or 9th forward for the rest of the year. The one shining light is, as I mentioned above, the Eagles have a very good run home, so he should manage some reasonable scores through that patch.
Melbourne vs Port Adelaide:
- Ricky Petterd worked hard up forward and up on the wing all day, becoming another medium to absolutely slay Port youngster Cam O’Shea. He has become a pivotal player for Melbourne over this past month after his papers had initially looked stamped, tackling hard in the forward line and also kicking crucial goals. He kicked 3.2 in this game and laid 5 tackles, spending a lot of time up on the wing thanks to the amount of space left to him and his fellow Melbourne forwards by Port Adelaide’s defenders. He’s not the sort of player to target for your team, although it is great to see the guy turn his career around.
- Colin Sylvia owners would have been happy with him bouncing back into some good scoring form, although would still have been a little frustrated that the majority of his time was spent up forward (although he was still on that ball in patches). Luckily, Port’s defensive pressure was poor, allowing him plenty of space to roam and collect possessions, finishing with 25 touches, 6 tackles, 6 marks and 1.1. Also, whilst it’s not great news, an injury to Scully (we don’t yet know the severity), may give him some more opportunities through the middle, at least in the coming weeks.
- Addam Maric played one of his best games for the Dees, slotting through three goals, including two in the first quarter to get them off to a good start. He hasn’t been seen at AFL level since the time Malthouse gave him the cheating slur, so it was good to see him have a good day and ‘stick it to the man,’ so to speak.
- Cale Morton was poor – he played the game like nothing was riding on it, looking completely lazy and as if he didn’t want to put his head over the ball. The frustration comes as we all know how talented he is and how good he could really be. There are rumors that he doesn’t get along with the coach, or doesn’t like the game plan, but whatever it is, it seems like he won’t be playing for the Dees next year by the way he is going about it, and nor would they really want him.
- Chad Cornes really looked to turn back the clock, or at least prove that he is capable of going again next year. He looks fit and dedicated and is in good form – so why or why has he not been in the team all year? He booted 3.2 and had 17 touches, 7 tackles and 5 marks (including one pretty nice speccy), playing the whole game up forward. Unfortunately he isn’t a good DT or SC option, thanks to his job security, which seems a real shame considering this is the first time in the past 3 years he doesn’t seem to be carrying an injury!
- Steven Salopek was another old face who has returned to the Port lineup and was lined up across half-back. I thought he did a pretty decent job all night – the majority of his disposal was solid, he worked hard and did the team things – again, I have no idea why he has been kept out of the lineup for so long. It is a lucrative position that he is playing, so it is little wonder why so many jumped on him in the pre-season (including our very own, Kristian), only to get burned when he was dropped only a few weeks later.
- Domenic Cassisi did a very good job to have the game he did, considering the circumstances around him coming – his wife is giving birth imminently, but he left at the last minute from Adelaide to play in the game, then flew home on the red-eye special to be back as soon as possible. It must surely have been on his mind, but still he made it through the game without it having any noticeable effect on him, finishing with 26 touches and 8 tackles.
- Jay Shultz appears to be the man suffering from the inclusion of Chad Cornes, as he had absolutely zero effect on the game. In fact, he picked up just 7 disposals and didn’t trouble the scoreboard with so much as a behind all night. Justin Westhoff is due back from injury next week, so now Primus is met with a conundrum – does he play all three talls, or does he have to drop one of Cornes or Shultz? So far, he is making noises to suggest he will play all three, but I guess we will find out Thursday night.
Sydney vs Fremantle:
- Jarrad McVeigh was probably the best for the Swans, although it is really hard to choose their best as there was no real consistent four-quarter performer. McVeigh was pretty quiet in the first half, but really came to life later in the game, especially when the Swan started pressing in an exciting last quarter. He matched up with Mzungu on a wing and thoroughly beat him all night (except in the air, where Mzungu excelled), picking up 24 touches and laying a very good 12 tackles.
- Kieren Jack was great in the first half for the Swans, but really faded in the second half (perhaps he is a little underdone due to his injury). He was one of the few Swans who was winning his battles in the midfield, although he didn’t appear to have a direct opponent which he was tagging all game. After a great start to the year, injuries have really hurt Jack’s year and make him a pretty unattractive pick on the run home, despite his price. He will start cheap next year though, so if you feel you must have him, perhaps just wait 8 months or so.
- Adam Goodes was thoroughly disappointing… Again. He played forward, occasionally coming into the midfield, but with very little effect. I got so frustrated watching him in this game as he sometimes simply refused to go for the ball himself, instead laying a sheppard for one of his teammates to get the ball instead – he must have given a dozen sheppards for the game. Yes it is the ‘team’ thing to do… But seriously, you are the dual Brownlow medalist – so do it yourself!
- Jesse White has surely finished his run of games in the seniors after another poor performance. He shows so many signs to make the Swans persist with him, but never steps up when needed. He is continually out bodied by his opponents, despite being a massive unit, and makes his job even harder by always leading into the pockets. Daniel Currie is a Swans youngster who has been killing it in the State Leagues, and has been on the senior list for 5 years (and is yet to debut!) – so surely it is about time to give him a go.
- Nick Lower’s game just about my weekend – and I’m sure I am not the only one who felt that. He played almost the entire game through the midfield, initially seeming to run with O’Keefe, but as the game wore on he just became a ball-winning midfielder in his own right, picking up plenty of ball around the ground to finish with 30 touches and 8 tackles. He is actually very good around the stoppages, whether he is getting a handball out or tackling, so hopefully there are plenty more roles for him like this for the rest of the year. The assumptions of those who didn’t see the game may be that he was rather ineffective, but in fact, he was one of the better players all game, working hard to get the ball and often finding himself in the right places. He also booted the winning goal for Freo, which was just the icing on the cake.
- Nat Fyfe was brilliant all day – he is such a versatile player and appears almost impossible to stop. He played the majority of the game along the wings, but dropped forward and back as needed. He is a beauty to watch – he bounds along with his long gangly frame, but appears impossible to outmark and also has a wonderful kick. The concerns over him are his flimsy shoulders and whether they will stay in their sockets for the remainder of the year, but for the scores he is putting up it is a risk worth taking.
- Greg Broughton continued on his midfield role, hardly even moving into the backline. This is the role his owners have been waiting all year to see him play and he has been doing in beautifully, racking up another 31 touches and 5 marks in this outing. In fact, Sydney attempted to throw a tag on him for a while, but it just made him work even harder to break it. He is now pushing hard to be the most expensive defender in the competition, so if you want him now, you will have to pay. But we know how good he is at winning the ball and has averaged 134 DT points from his past 3 games in the midfield, proving that he could well be worth every cent.
- Paul Duffield on the other hand, was absolutely rubbish. Whilst I like to use the weekly wrap as a way of telling you where your players played, etc, I would really struggle to tell you what the hell he was doing all game as I hardly saw him. The couple of times he did appear, he was down in defense, but did barely anything of note (except a 1-metre kick instead of a handball, which reeked of trying to improve his DT score). His owners will be angry and scorned, especially if they had Lower sitting on their bench – at this rate he looks like an 8th defender or nothing at all.
Brisbane vs Geelong:
- Pearce Hanley was extremely solid for the Lions all game, in a match where his role was dreadfully important. Brisbane played a very attacking brand of football – they were going to beat Geelong by going down the corridor and taking risks – Hanley had a big hand in this with his constant rebounding from defense. The issue with Hanley though is that his form has been a bit bittersweet, considering he seems to have been taking him points from Jed Adcock, who has otherwise been resigned to more defensive duties. Hanley’s form has been very good lately, so could be a good unique pick for the run home, although he tends to be more a consistent scorer than a high scorer.
- Tom Rockliff continues on his stellar form, proving he can match it with the best by cracking out a ton against Geelong. He lined up on the wing, yet still won the most contested ball for the Lions, picking up 13 contested possessions amongst his 30 touches. He has a brilliant fitness base (and clearly an ability to find the ball), so manages to run out games very well, often racking up the most disposals in the last quarter (very Dane Swan-like). He is still an awesome option moving forward and his uniqueness and scoring potency should be two things to make him attractive for the run home.
- Mitch Clark was actually having a great first game back from injury until he poleaxed Jon Brown (who is now done for the year with a facial fracture). Unfortunately, Clark also hurt himself in the same collision, stopping him from having any input on the rest of the game. With both of Brisbane’s tall-targets out of the game, they then had no chance to run over the top of Geelong. Up until his injury, Clark looked very strong up forward on Lonergan, booting 3.3 from 13 possessions and 6 marks.
- Patrick Karnezis was really good again and is surely one of the few youngsters left who deserves a Rising Star nomination this year. He has been really solid around half-forward for Brisbane since his initial inclusion a month ago, booting 2.2 against Geelong. He is a solid mark and as we saw last week, cool under pressure and a hard worker. Too late to get him now, but I envy those who took the punt on him from the start.
- James Podsiadly was brilliant all game, being the third tall forward in as many games to carve up the Brisbane backline (and the second to boot 8 goals). With no Merrett in defense, the job is left to Maguire, Patful and Staker – all of whom are undersized or too one-dimensional. Maguire had Pods for the game and was carved up, with Pods taking big grabs, kicking snaps over his shoulder from the goalsquare and setting up his teammates. It was a clinical display, with Pods finishing with 8.1 from 14 touches and 9 marks.
- Tom Hawkins showed a bit of life with a good performance at CHF for the Cats. He had 6 shots at goal for a result of 3.3, which included 2.1 within 3 minutes at the start of the last quarter, which really started Geelong’s massive finale. He quite easily beat Staker, especially in the air, and looked very confident all game – the trick will now be stringing a few games together for him. Also, with West and Vardy in the team, he won’t be spending any time in the ruck, which I actually think is a big positive for him, as he will better develop with consistency in his role.
- Jimmy Bartel was the best of the mids for the Cats, and if it weren’t for the fact Pods kicked so many goals then he would have been best on ground. It’s been a significant bounce-back in scoring from that 2 points he suffered a month ago and this is why we have repeatedly told you that he is a massive bargain at his current price (and he still is if you are tempted!). He played the majority of this game on the wings, picking up 32 touches, 7 marks and 5 tackles.
- Allen Christensen has been very impressive since his inclusion a month ago and looks like the most deserving of this week’s NAB Rising Star nomination with an awesome game against the Lions. He has been playing across a half-forward flank and through the middle and has no issue picking up plenty of ball, finishing with 25 touches and 8 tackles for the game. He is also very good around the sticks, booting 2.1 for the game. The Cats seem to be renowned for having their kids stand up in big games and Christensen did just that, along with Bartel he was a massive factor in Geelong staying in the contest through the second and third quarters. He has taken a little while to consolidate his spot in the side, but it now looks like it is his to lose.
North Melbourne vs Western Bulldogs:
- Jack Ziebell was sensational, playing easily the best game of his career, picking up 41 disposals, 5 marks, 6 tackles and 1.1 on his way to best on ground honors. He went head-to-head with Boyd in the midfield and really seemed to relish the opportunity, winning 8 clearances and having 50% of his touches contested. He was strong at the contests and worked hard all game – a far cry from the knock on him earlier in the year that suggested he was unfit and didn’t work hard enough. He is still priced very nicely considering he has proved he can score like this, although I’d say he’s far too big a risk to bring in after just one decent game.
- Drew Petrie’s massive game would have been music to the ears of many (unless if you didn’t have him) as he bounced back from his rubbish scores over the past two games. He went to town on Tom Williams, who also suffered an early injury that didn’t help matters, and the Doggies simply had no way of stopping him as he kicked 5.5 from 23 disposals and 11 marks. To the Dogs’ credit, they actually kept him very quiet in the third quarter as they surged to the lead, but as North put pedal to the floor in the last quarter, so did Petrie, who stamped on a massive 65 DT points in the last quarter alone.
- Daniel Wells was another to really impose himself, creating headaches for the Dogs with his run, carry and ball-use. The Dogs attempted to make Cooney go head-to-head with him through the first half, but really, they would have been much better just sending Picken his way, as Coons didn’t quell Wells in the slightest, nor did he win much of the ball himself. Wells finished with 33 touches, 6 clearances and 4 tackles for the game.
- Ben Speight will be dubbed the ‘Super-sub’ for this round, coming on in the last quarter for massive effect, picking up 9 disposals, 4 marks, 2 tackles and kicking 1.2. Not bad for 30 minutes of work! He is a lively type to begin with, but he came into a game that had been pretty high-paced and would have had a lot of tired players around him – so he knew exactly what to do, working his guts out to exploit the pace and energy he brought to the side. It would be great to see a full game from him like this as already he is looking a much better option than Lindsay Thomas.
- Daniel Cross was pretty decent for the Dogs, although it’s fair to say they didn’t have any real ‘star’ performers on the day, like North did. Cross went in hard as he typically did and actually attempted a tag on Wells through the second half (to little effect), but at least Cross was able to win some of his own ball (and kick his first goal of the year!), picking up 25 touches and laying 9 tackles.
- Barry Hall turned back the clock, although his performance went pretty much unnoticed considering Petrie’s efforts at the other end. Barry kicked 5.2, including one beauty when he picked the ball up on the boundary, spun around, ran past two North players at top speed (I would have been a bit scared to tackle him too) and hooked the ball around his body for a great goal. He also made his way into the AFL record books by being the first player to kick 100 goals for three separate AFL clubs – decent stuff!
- Adam Cooney has been in some great form lately, but didn’t have a massive influence on this game. He still won 18 possessions, and actually used the ball very well when he did have it (his forward entries were all class), but just didn’t have enough of it to make his DT coaches happy. It was a dog day for the Dogs midfielders (yes, pun intended) as they all struggled to win much of the ball all day. Don’t jump off this ship just yet though – he will bounce back.
- Andrew Hooper again failed to have a good four-quarter influence, or really, much of an influence at all. He was continually chasing tail all game, trying to harass, but needs to start laying tackles, rather than just threatening to lay them. He kicked one goal, although it was a cheapie, rather than one he worked hard for. Could keep his spot, but at the end of the day, Lukey Dahlhaus is better!
Please see below for the video of Footy Tragic Episode 6! We run through all the teams, captain options and boys on the bubble, as well as checking out who the best midfield options are for the rest of the year. We also discuss what to do with Zac Smith… Plus much more!
Remember too, you can go here for the big-screen version!
The team at Footy Tragic
ADELAIDE V ESSENDON
AS – Fri Jul 15, 8:10pm
In: Henry Slattery
Out: Michael Hibberd (Soreness)
RICHMOND V GOLD COAST SUNS
CAZ – Sat Jul 16, 2:10pm
Out: Jayden Post, Tom Hislop
Gold Coast Suns
CARLTON V COLLINGWOOD
MCG – Sat Jul 16, 2:10pm
New: Wayde Twomey (Swan Districts)
Milestones: Aaron Joseph – 50 games
In: Ben Johnson
Out: Simon Buckley
ST KILDA V WEST COAST EAGLES
ES – Sat Jul 16, 7:10pm
West Coast Eagles
MELBOURNE V PORT ADELAIDE
TIO – Sat Jul 16, 8:10pm
SYDNEY SWANS V FREMANTLE
SCG – Sun Jul 17, 1:10pm
EMG: Jarred Moore, Nathan Gordon, Trent Dennis-Lane
Out: Jarred Moore, Matt Spangher
Milestones: Nick Malceski – 100 games
In: Michael Barlow, Adam McPhee
Out: Josh Mellington, Ryan Crowley
Milestones: Rhys Palmer – 50 games
BRISBANE LIONS V GEELONG CATS
G – Sun Jul 17, 2:10pm
Out: Rohan Bewick, Bryce Retzlaff
NORTH MELBOURNE V WESTERN BULLDOGS
ES – Sun Jul 17, 4:40pm
Out: Lindsay Thomas, Liam Anthony, Shaun Atley
Milestones: Andrew Swallow – 100 games
Toby runs through all the kids about to play their 3rd game and rise in price – so who looks best for your AFL Dream Team & SuperCoach?
Well it’s another week where I’m sure there are plenty of coaches wanting to make a bit of a cash grab before upgrading, but once again it appears to be a week where very little worthwhile downgrade targets are presenting themselves. There are, it seems, only four options – but that said, it is worth noting that one Michael Coad appears very close to playing his third game for the Suns, since his tore his hamstring from the bone in round four. He made a faster than expected return to football, lining up for the Suns’ reserves team last weekend – whilst he may need another week or two for conditioning, he could be a very nice downgrade prospect to keep your eye on over the next fortnight.
Andrew Hooper (Western Bulldogs, DEF)
DT: $96,600. Scores: 61, 45 Break even: -27
SC: $110,200. Scores: 59, 66 Break even: -48
Hooper was an interesting Dream Team and SuperCoach option coming into 2011 – whilst he was priced the same as anyone else to have not played a game in 2010, we had in fact gotten a look at him in last year’s semi final against Sydney, where he kicked one goal and only 5 possessions. The next week against St.Kilda he was a late withdrawal and has not been seen again until a fortnight ago against the Dees.
Despite his defence-only eligibility in DT and SC, he is playing purely as a forward. He is in the team with one specific role in mind, and that is to chase and harass the opposition defenders with his high speed and good tackling technique. However, in his two games so far this year he hasn’t really been much of a ball-winner – in fact, he has had just 20 disposals across his two games. But his role in the team isn’t to rack up the stats, but rather to create goals through his high-intensity in the forward line. He has looked good doing this, but has admittedly floated in and out of his two games so far. His case for team selection will definitely be helped by the fact the Dogs are back on the winners list, with a big thanks to their fresh, energetic looking forward line.
My concern over him would be scoring capacity – he has proven he can score well (43 of his 45 DT points this week were scored in the third quarter alone, which is both pretty good and a little worrying), but as those stats also show, he can have a number of quiet quarters too – this to me almost suggests he could be an ideal sub candidate. Of all the options this week, he is certainly the best – his job security appears solid, and his scoring is also OK.
Summary: Could be a good pick for your very last defence post – will likely play, but the idea isn’t really to have him sitting on the field too often.
Luke Rounds (Collingwood, MID)
DT: $97,600. Scores: 13*, 43 Break even: 23
SC: $110,200. Scores: 11*, 57 Break even: 9
Luke Rounds would have been getting pretty frustrated as he sat on the bench as the sub, patiently waiting for his debut against Hawthorn a fortnight ago. He wasn’t actually subbed on until about half-way through the final quarter, and for a while it didn’t even look like the chance would be made. Eventually he came on, had a few touches and honestly, I hardly even saw him out there. His next game he started on the field and was given the unenviable task of running with Brent Harvey all day and actually did a pretty fair job. He didn’t actually get a ton of the ball himself (11 disposals, 2 marks, 2 tackles), but did a fair job of curbing Harvey’s influence, limiting him to just 12 disposals and 2 goals. Unfortunately though, with the likes of Ben Johnson, McCarthy and Macaffer all running around in the VFL, I don’t see Rounds staying in the team all that long. He is a good half-forward prospect for him, but I just can’t see him being given the opportunities a dream team coach would want in 2011.
Summary: No – like all Collingwood youngsters, he has come in and impressed, doing the role asked of him, but I can’t see him keeping more senior players out of the lineup for long.
Ben Griffiths (Richmond, FWD)
DT: $103,800. Scores: 13, 45 Break even: 26
SC: $131,400. Scores: 19, 63 Break even: 10
It could be argued that Griffiths isn’t really a ‘Bubble Boy,’ considering he actually played 5 games in 2010. The trick is, he actually only averaged 20 DT points (with 4 of those games under 20 points) from those games, meaning his 2011 price was never going to be all that high. He is highly rated at Richmond and they have been gagging to get him into the lineup this year, but it has clearly taken a lot longer than anticipated due to his ongoing issues with injuries.
We all know that key position forwards can take time to develop, and that is clearly the case with Griffiths – as I have already noted, he is highly rated at Tigerland, so getting games won’t be his issue, it will be scoring in them. As a junior he averaged just 7 disposals a game, so there is nothing to suggest he will suddenly turn into a big ball-winner or a Dream Team/SuperCoach stud.
Summary: His price dropped below rookie price last year and the same looks to be about to happen in 2011. If there was ever a stronger case against someone as a Dream Teamer, I’d like to hear it.
Josh Mellington (Fremantle, FWD)
DT: $92,500. Scores: 50, 25*. Breakeven: -1
SC: $103, 600. Scores: 55, 8*. Breakeven: 10
Mellington would have been due to play his third game last week had it not been for the bye. He has looked OK in his first two games and didn’t do himself any harm of getting selected for his third game after a good game in the WAFL this weekend – he collected 15 touches, 5 marks and booted 2.4, being commended for his good forward pressure.
It is hard to judge him on his second game as he was only subbed into the game in the fourth quarter, but he showed some signs in his first game, picking up 11 touches. Competition in Fremantle’s team will become pretty intense over the next few weeks as players return from injury – most notably Barlow, who is said to return this week – so as one of the last players in, and also the fact he is one of the youngest on their list, he could likely be the one facing the chop.
Summary: Shows some good promise, but may struggle to string together too many games, so that is a no for me.
Dan runs through all the action from this weekends state-league matches. Which AFL listed players are pushing for a senior game?
Taylor Walker made his return from a knee injury for Norwood (should this be in the GWS section?) and had 18 touches, eight marks with 1.4. He was reported for a sling tackle and has subsequently been suspended for one week – quite ironic considering he was dropped earlier in the year for his lack of tackling.
Aidan Riley got back into a bit of form after a down few weeks. He had 22 touches and six marks, though oddly no tackles. It’d odd because he’s a hard inside midfielder usually in the thick of it. He was, however, named fourth best for Sturt.
Jack Gunston had 22 touches and six grabs for Central District in a game that will keep him in the selection frame, while one of Neil Craig’s favourites Ricky Henderson returned for the Centrals after a one week layoff with concussion.
With the Crows having the bye Richard Tambling was the only Crow that played the week before to play in the SANFL and he had 15 touches with an impressive eight tackles.
Brent Staker was very impressive in only his second game on return from his LARS knee surgery. He played in defence on Israel Folau, and while Folau kicked four goals, only two of them were on Staker. He might need another week in the reserves before a senior call up, as he spent a bit of time on the bench and his skills dropped a bit late in the game, but he’s staking his claim for a return.
Aaron Cornelius was nearly a late withdrawal with a sore quad, but played through it to be named second best with two goals to his name. It’s almost at the stage where Brisbane just have to see what he’s got and with Retzlaff being subbed off on the weekend he might get his chance in place of him.
Amon Buchanan was good as usual, especially in the clearances. Tom Collier played in defence and kept highly rated youngster Josh Bruce to one goal. Callum Bartlett made his long awaited return from knee surgery and while he was a little rusty, he displayed the ferocious attack at the contest that got him drafted. Xavier Clarke didn’t play, presumably because of that injury he copped last week, but there’s no word on how bad it is.
The Northern Bullants had it all their way on the scoreboard against an embarrassing Sandringham. I really liked the way rookie listed Joe Dare went about it across half back. A lot of Sandringham’s entries weren’t doing anything, but there had to be someone there to cut them off and Dare had it 28 times, along with eight marks.
Matthew Watson provided a lot of the long kicking on rebound. He has been a bit down on form for a little while now, but this was a much better display.
Jarryd Cachia goes so hard at it and had 31 touches and nine tackles. The small ground down at Sandringham would’ve suited him beautifully. The consistent Wayde Twomey had another solid game with 30 possessions and nine tackles.
Ed Curnow returned from his quad injury and played his first game for the Bullants (having completely bypassed them to jump straight into seniors at the start of the year). He didn’t do a whole heap, but he’ll be better for the run.
Unfortunately for the Bullants Brock McLean left the field in the last quarter after rolling his ankle and was on crutches after the game, so it doesn’t look good for the dominant midfielder, who has had a fantastic six weeks in the VFL.
Ben Johnson played a good game showing his usual run and carry. Collingwood will have a few guys looking nervously over their shoulders with an experienced player who can still contribute.
The big American Shae McNamara was named Collingwood’s best, playing in a very different role on the wing. He’s an incredible athlete and the knock on him has obviously been that he can’t read the play in the ruck. Collingwood tried something different and it sounded like a pretty successful first up effort. He would be so far away from senior selection, but I’ll be keeping a keen eye on how he goes in this role.
Kirk Ugle had another very good game with a couple of goals and while he still looks like he’d need to run around to get wet in a shower, he could be some silly chance of getting a game if a small forward got injured. He is a tireless worker in the forward line, which I’m sure the coaches would love.
John McCarthy got plenty of the ball and the coaches must have been happy enough with his game to name him in the bests, but his disposal was a bit scratchy. Brent Macaffer played well enough to stay in the selection frame. Tom Young, after being named on an extended bench two weeks in a row didn’t have such a good game, which might hurt his immediate chances.
I had to put up with watching Sandringham attempt to play against the Northern Bullants and that was enough. I’m glad I didn’t have to also cop Essendon’s affiliate, Bendigo serve up one goal for the whole match against Coburg (who are comfortably outside the Top 8!) It was, by all accounts a dreadful day made worse by the fact it was played at Craigieburn – a ground that makes most games a write off anyway.
Jake Carlisle was pretty much the only positive for the Bombers. He played back mostly on Brad Miller and sometimes the resting ruckman. He took a few strong contested marks in difficult conditions and mixed it in with some authoritative punching. Tyson Slattery was also OK in defence and Michael Ross wasn’t too bad either.
Ariel Steinberg kicked the Bombers only goal, for what it’s worth. Bendigo played on Sunday and with Essendon playing on Friday night in Adelaide it’s a short break for anyone to come in anyway.
With Perth and Swan Districts having a bye and East Perth playing in the Foxtel Cup there weren’t many Dockers in WAFL seniors action this weekend – six to be exact. There weren’t many standout performers either.
Jay van Berlo was the leading disposal winner from the Docker brigade with 22 touches, four marks and three tackles.
Josh Mellington was the only Freo player to have played AFL the week before to take the field in the WAFL during their bye week. He was impressive with his forward pressure and had 15 touches with five marks and 2.4.
Geelong VFL had a bye.
Gold Coast had a huge win over a depleted Sydney reserves in the curtain raiser to their AFL clash later that night.
The big Dream Team and Super Coach news from the Suns reserves is that Michael Coad made a slightly earlier than anticipated return from his major hamstring injury. I noticed during the week that his status had changed straight from indefinite the week before to test. All of a sudden a viable back line downgrade appears. Coad played forward, where he kicked three goals and was named in the best players. He might still need a bit more conditioning, but if Bock misses with injury he might be more of a chance to be rushed back.
Rex Liddy backed up his good game last week with another strong performance, while Maverick Weller won plenty of the ball. Steven May, Tom Hickey and Seb Tape rounded out their best players.
It was a real dog of a day out at Cranbourne this weekend, where the Box Hill Hawks took on the Casey Scorpions. Box Hill only scored three goals for the day (there were some terrible scorelines in the VFL this weekend).
Rick Ladson was named best on ground for Box Hill and battled hard all day. It was a genuine slog with rain pouring down for the whole first quarter. He used it pretty well, given the conditions and will be around the mark for a recall after Hawthorn’s bye.
Taylor Duryea hasn’t been too bad lately and he was the only other Hawthorn listed player named in the bests for Box Hill. He’s been handy in his role across half back.
Max Gawn was dominant in the ruck in awful conditions out at Casey Fields against the Box Hill Hawks. There were a lot of stoppages and he gave the Casey Scorpions first use, especially in the later stages of the game.
Luke Tapscott had his second game back from his hamstring injury and will be a chance to come into the Melbourne side this week. He was hard at the contest, as you’d expect and had a fair bit of midfield time.
Tom McNamara was named best on ground for Casey for a workmanlike performance in the midfield. Matthew Bate kicked a couple of goals and didn’t do too bad in really difficult conditions.
With Melbourne having the bye, Jamie Bennell and Sam Blease were the only two who played seniors the previous week. Bennell has been struggling for form, so this could be an indication he could be out this week, but I don’t think it’s anything sinister with Blease, who played last game as a sub so would just be keeping match fitness up.
North Ballarat had the bye and with North Melbourne’s partial alignment it meant a number of their players weren’t in VFL action, including Cam Richardson. If North make wholesale changes (not really Brad Scott’s style) after their embarrassing loss unfortunately Richo didn’t have a game to prove himself on the weekend.
Similar types that DID have a game played at Werribee and that included Jamie Macmillan returning from those horrible facial fractures he suffered against Adelaide. He had a solid game with 23 touches in the back half.
Gavin Urquhart was also decent off half back and has put together a pretty solid month. Ben Ross was named BOG for Werribee with 19 touches and three goals. Ben Speight kicked a handy three goals and was named in the bests, but left the game a bit early with a concussion – no idea how severe, but they had the game well under control.
Ruck duo Hamish McIntosh and Majak Daw were both named in the bests for Werribee. It was McIntosh’s third game back this season, so with a bit of continuity he’ll be in the mix for selection this week or next week. Daw has been in good form, but as I’ve said before North are lacking in many areas, but the ruck isn’t one of them.
Port only had six players in SANFL seniors action this weekend and only Jacob Surjan had more than 15 possessions. Surjan was actually quite good with 26 touches and 1.2 to be named BOG for Port Adelaide Magpies.
Daniel Motlop kicked four goals from 14 touches. Young ruckman Jarrad Redden had 22 hitouts and seven touches for WWT.
It was a miserable day out at Craigieburn where Coburg hosted Bendigo, but it certainly wasn’t a miserable performance by the Tigers. Mitch Morton pushed his case for a senior recall after three VFL games on return from a bit of personal leave from the club. He displayed plenty of versatility and it’s good to see him get named in the bests without kicking a goal.
David Gourdis ran the show in the backline, keeping gun Bendigo forward Matt Little to only a handful of possessions. He consistently performs so well in the VFL, but doesn’t get much of a run in the AFL. On precisely that point, Shane Tuck was dominant once again with the wet conditions suiting him to a tee.
Angus Graham had the better of Tom Bellchambers in the ruck. It was interesting that he didn’t get the call up with Andrew Browne’s hip injury, so it’ll be interesting to see if he gets a game against GC this week.
The Saints affiliate Sandringham were awful. There were some truly dreadful team performances in the VFL on the weekend and this was the one I witnessed.
Michael Gardiner made his long awaited return from injury and played the first half, blowing out a few cobwebs. He was pretty good in the taps and only collected a handful of possessions around the ground. It sounds like he was pretty happy to get through the half and will look to ramp up his game time in the VFL over the next couple of weeks.
Tommy Walsh kicked the Zebras only two goals of the day and was pretty promising. Saints fans have been crying out for the big Irishman’s debut. In fact, his photo adorned the front page of footytragic.com for the whole off season because of Toby’s love for him.
Robert Eddy was his usual workmanlike self and didn’t give up, but lacked polish. Tom Simpkin had a crack in defence, but that was really it.
Andrew McQualter and Jarryn Geary both traveled to Adelaide as emergencies for the Saints, while their other emergency Arryn Siposs was spotted in the stands at Sandy, but no one seems to have a clue why he didn’t play. Rhys Stanley returned after a four week hamstring injury and left the game with another hamstring injury.
The Sydney reserves lost their first game of the season to the Gold Coast reserves in almost farcical circumstances. They started the game with only 20 players! The reserves game between Sydney and Gold Coast was the curtain raiser to the AFL game between the same two teams and Jarred Moore and Luke Parker both pulled out of the reserves to play AFL that night.
Nathan Gordon kicked a goal, but was sent off before quarter time because he was reported twice in the same game (yes, that’s a real rule in many leagues). Only down to one on the bench the Swans ended up basically playing with no rotations when Lewis Johnston got hurt. He still played a little bit, but was definitely lame.
Byron Sumner was impressive and loves to tackle. He adds a bit of outside pace and can kick goals. Jesse White returned to the reserves and really had a crack. He was named second best and kicked three goals, while Mark Seaby was named BOG for his job in the ruck. In form Daniel Currie didn’t play.
Strangely with two WAFL teams having a bye the Eagles still had a massive 16 players in WAFL seniors on the weekend.
Rookie Andrew Gaff was best of South Freo with 27 touches and four marks. He’s had such a good year for a first year player, but just can’t break into the Eagles side. He’d be very close though.
Mitch Brown on return from a broken thumb had 25 touches and eight marks and was among the best players for East Freo. Bradd Dalziell and Chris Masten were a couple of his Shark teammates named in the best players – Dalziell with 33 touches and nine marks, while Masten had 24 with eight tackles.
Jordan Jones, like Gaff, is very unlucky that the Eagles are up and about with a very small injury list at the moment. He was fantastic for Peel Thunder with 26 touches starting across half back and then moving into the midfield for 11 last quarter possessions.
Beau Waters had his second game back from his elbow injury and got through fine. He had 19 touches and six tackles. The Eagles are flying (high), but Waters should be back either this week or next week, making someone in the side very unlucky (McGinnity or Swift my guess).
The Bulldogs affiliate Williamstown won convincingly in their Foxtel Cup semi final against the East Perth Royals. It was well and truly over by quarter time, as they dominated from opening bounce to final siren in the shortened game.
Patrick Veszpremi kicked four goals and took the game on. He was lively around the big sticks and was working off the ball with good intensity.
Dylan Addison was named best on ground with 20 disposals and a goal. Tom Liberatore worked hard in the midfield for 17 touches. Will Minson and Jordan Roughead dominated the ruck so much that they individually had more hitouts than East Perth did as a team. Mitch Wallis, Jayden Schofield and Brian Lake all didn’t play in the match.
KRISTIAN’S KAPTAINS: ROUND 17
First of all, I sincerely apologise for cursing Gary Ablett on the weekend, and if you made him captain because of my stats, well then I’ll have to say sorry twice. It’s amazing the curve balls that Dream Team throws at us every year, and Ablett getting injured in the first quarter, and get subbed off with a score of 23 will prove to be a major factor in the overall rankings this year.
Round 17 is a very interesting round for captain options. Firstly because Hawthorn has the bye, which rules out Mitchell, Hodge and Franklin, who are all legitimate candidates, and also because the big game between Collingwood and Carlton features the most popular players, and both teams are so good at negating the opposition.
It has been reported that Ablett’s knee has been given the all clear, but surely all the early talk about 3-4 weeks is enough to give him a rest from the captaincy, even though he plays against Richmond this week. There is always a chance he’ll be a late withdrawal even if he does get named.
SCOTT THOMPSON VS ESSENDON
Recent history against the Bombers suggests he is a great option this week. He’s been in ripper form all year after pretty much carrying the entire Adelaide side on his shoulders. He’s coming fresh off the bye, but one would have to think he’s the first player Heath Hocking will go to. Having said that, Trent Cotchin got off his leash quite easily on the weekend, so Thompson shouldn’t really have too many problems, considering his elite inside capabilities. Thompson has averaged 116 DT and 116 SC in his last five games against the Bombers, including a massive 146 DT and 155 SC score in his last outing.
DANE SWAN VS CARLTON
He was brilliant on the weekend, and those who made him captain gained a major advantage. The game against Carlton worries me, in the fact that I can’t see them letting him run around wherever he likes, but now that Carrazzo is confirmed out (probably better news for Pendlebury or Thomas) and just the form he is in, makes me think he might just be a little too good. His recent history against the Blues is outstanding, averaging 120 DT and 120 SC, so really, can you go past him?
MATTHEW BOYD VS NORTH MELBOURNE
As far as safety goes this week, you can’t go past Boyd. He plays the Kangaroos, who generally leak midfield points like a sieve, so it should be party time for the Doggies captain, especially in their recent awesome form. With Cooney back to his best, and Griffen playing well, Boyd is probably third in line for the tag now, which should see him be free to do whatever he likes. His record isn’t brilliant against the Roos, but it’s enough, averaging 108 DT and 107 SC in his last six games against them, including 145 DT and 110 SC in his most recent game last year. Personally, he’s my favourite Dream Team choice this week.
OTHER OPTIONS TO CONSIDER……..
I don’t like Marc Murphy against the Pies. He averages 93 DT and 96 SC in his last five games against them, but his most recent two games have been 69 DT & 79 SC and 67 DT & 79 SC. There are better options out there this week, despite his form. He might be due for a downer.
Chris Judd is in great form, and he should really turn it on this week against the best, especially in SC. He averages 109 SC in his last five games against the Pies.
Scott Pendlebury is another great option, but Carlton worries me. His SC history against them is very good, averaging 126, and a solid DT average of 105.
Brendon Goddard plays WCE this week, which is concerning in itself, but you can’t go past his SC average of 128 against them in his last five games.
Paul Chapman has been frustratingly up and down this year, so it’s hard to trust him. He’s playing Brisbane, so surely he’s in for a big one, but that’s what we said we he played the Gold Coast. An average of 116 DT and 112 SC against them is very good, but this is a very brave pick.
Joel Selwood is back this week, and you can’t go past his most recent game against the Lions of 162 DT and 175 SC! If you’re backing him in to be ready to go after a month off, have no hesitation!
MY TOP 3 DREAM TEAM PICKS:
1. Matthew Boyd
2. Dane Swan
3. Scott Thompson
MY TOP 3 SUPER COACH PICKS:
1. Chris Judd
2. Scott Pendlebury
3. Dane Swan