Category - 2011 – Round 23
A review at all eight games from an AFL Dream Team and SuperCoach perspective, running through all the heroes and villains of each game.
Fremantle vs Collingwood:
- Nick Lower came good at the right time of the year, after letting so many coaches down with his sub-par 11 DT points a fortnight ago. He played this game through the middle and showed again how prolific he can be at winning the ball when given the right task. With half of Fremantle’s list currently injured, it allowed Lower to play on ball and subsequently win himself 37 disposals – the highest number on ground. He was also good around the stoppages, winning 11 clearances. Also finished with 3 marks, 4 tackles and a goal.
- Mick Barlow also continued his decent late-season form, with another 30+ disposal game through the midfield. He should get himself a discount for Dream Team next year, so there should be little hesitation in pencilling the great man in for a starting spot in your squad. He is still probably not at peak fitness, but with another pre-season under his belt, he should be good to go. Finished with 32 touches, but only 3 marks and zero tackles, hence his low-ish score.
- Aaron Sandilands had another decent game, probably surprising a few coaches considering the injury he was coming back from. He unsurprisingly dominated the hitouts against a young Cameron Wood and a seemingly underdone Darren Jolly, winning 37 for the game. His disposal numbers were also high for a ruckman with 24 touches, whilst he also snuck forward for a goal. Good to see Harvey didn’t put him out to pasture, despite their finals hopes being done and dusted. He should also be capable of a decent game next week too against a young Bulldogs side.
- Zach Clarke’s game was pretty heavily effected by Sandilands’ form – he has had a great past month, but with Sandi hitting some form and fitness, Clarke found himself spending far less time through the middle and more time up forward, subsequently killing his scoring potential. He looks a real talent, but will likely struggle to blossom to his full potential with Sandilands in the side.
- Dane Swan continued his awesome form, taking his sensational running game to the wide expanses of Pattisons Stadium. Fortunately, his mid-year spell has done wonders for Dane as he appears to be running out games even better than he was at the start of the year. He picked up 35 possessions and used them pretty well – another area of his game that has improved. With his gut-running and massive tank, he is able to find so much space, hence his large disposal numbers – but it also allows him to find space in the forward line, hence his high number of goals this year – finished against the Dockers with 2 to his name.
- Scott Pendlebury was also very good, winning 36 touches and also booting two goals. He stepped up in Luke Ball’s absence to be the Pies’ best clearance winner too, finishing with eight to his name. There was a lot of talk through the week that he may have been rested for this game, so it was great to see him not only take the field, but have a massive influence too. Along with his large disposal numbers, he also finished with 7 marks and 5 tackles.
- Alan Didak looks to be returning to some good form, right at correct time of year. He played predominantly through the midfield, which was great to see, considering his spent a lot of the early parts of the season in the forward line. He also picked up 31 disposals – a season high for him – and it true Didak form, used his boot to dispose of 24 of them. His DT and SC numbers were reduced though thanks to his zero tackles and lack of goals.
- Dale Thomas had a decent game, although was far from the Pies best, picking up just 28 disposals and 4 marks. The issue coming out of this game though is a high bump he made on Ibbotson, which may be looked at by the MRP. Thomas also has some carry-over points from earlier in the season, so I’d say there will be plenty of coaches holding their breath on this one, as even a minor report could see him miss the last game of the season.
Hawthorn vs Western Bulldogs:
- Buddy Franklin had a great game for the Hawks, although it must be said that it was expected of him, considering the weakness of the Bulldogs’ backline. Still, he worked hard for his five goals – which put him as a clear #1 on the Coleman medal table – and also worked well up the ground, picking up 20 touches and 7 marks. He plays the Gold Coast next week, so those tempted to get creative with their captain choices may not be looked upon as silly for choosing the great man.
- Paul Puopolo played one of the best games of his short career, giving the Hawks plenty of run and carry from the backline. He picked up 27 disposals and 10 marks and typically used the ball well, buzzing around the backline in a not-too-dissimilar style to Johncock or Harbrow. Again, it was great to see one of our 8th defender options playing a massive game when it counted!
- Luke Hodge was very solid through the middle for the Hawks, clearly over all the injury issues that seemed to have plagued him earlier in the year. He was really solid in the clearances in the absence of Mitchell and as usual won his fair share of hard ball, always using it well. He finished with 30 disposals and 1.1.
- Matt Suckling was a real disappointment – he was responsible for the dangerous Shaun Higgins, so unfortunately didn’t get the opportunity to rebound often, being limited to just 18 disposals in the backline. Those coaches who have him would have been furious as he was constantly left out of any kick-to-kick drills in the Hawks backline, finishing with just 6 marks – a low number considering the amount of chip-kicks the Hawks like to do in the backline.
- Matty Boyd was solid as usual for the Dogs, although didn’t continue his massive scoring history against them (has averaged over 120 DT against them in his past five). His struggles came as the Hawks simply dominated the contested ball, with Boyd only managing 11 contested possessions and 4 clearances (both team-highs) from his 35 disposals – both very low numbers for him. Fortunately he managed to win some ball outside the packs too, but it was Hawthorn’s hard-ball dominance that made them the better side on the day… Oh, and Buddy.
- Liam Jones played one of his better games for the Dogs, leading up the ground well and taking some pretty nice grabs – he finished with 7 for the game, 3 of which were contested. There has been a bit of worry where the Bulldogs’ goals will come from post-Barry, so it was good to see Jones step up and contribute, booting 2.1 for the game.
- Robert Murphy was good off half-back, winning his share of the ball and using it very well as usual. He has proven this year that his role can be very lucrative for SuperCoach, but don’t get sucked in for Dream Team – unfortunately he just doesn’t win enough of the ball to score well in DT, but it is his slick ball use that makes him such a good SuperCoach option. Finished with 22 disposals, but only 2 kicks and 2 tackles.
- Pat Veszpremi again came on late in the game as the sub and looked good. But don’t be expecting him to start a game without the green vest on anytime soon. Whilst he is a great impact player, from all reports his fitness is just not up to scratch for AFL level just yet, hence why he is a great impact player as a sub. It would be great to see a full pre-season out of him next year to perhaps build on this weakness, as he definitely has the talent to play the game.
Geelong vs Sydney:
- James Kelly was one of the best for the Cats, attempting to set the scene to start the game, laying an incredible 8 tackles in the first quarter to go with his 6 possessions. He then backed it up in the second term with 10 more disposals – the best of any Cats. He worked hard all game through the middle going head-to-head with Sydney’s workhorse midfielders, picking up a team-high 7 clearances and 25 disposals, as well as his 13 tackles.
- Cameron Ling was also very solid, proving again he can be more than a tagger, but also a big-bodied midfielder with a thumping kick. He really lifted late in the game as Geelong rallied and threatened to win, booting a couple of goals from 7 disposals for the quarter. He finished with 26 touches, 9 tackles and 3 goals.
- Steve Johnson was disappointingly quiet – especially disappointing because Sydney is actually historically his favourite team to play against. He was kept to just 7 disposals to half time by Rhyce Shaw and didn’t even effect the scoreboard til the last quarter with a solitary goal, but unfortunately it was too late from Geelong’s point of view. Shaw has been in very good defensive form this past month, so on reflection, it was no huge surprise that Stevie J was stopped in his tracks.
- Tom Hawkins didn’t do his chances of keeping his spot for the finals much good after a pretty quiet performance, booting just the solitary behind from 13 disposals and 3 marks. I’ve actually quite liked his form over the past month, but with Mooney set to return from suspension next week, the Tomahawk may find himself back out of the squad simply due to the sheer number of Geelong talls.
- Shane Mumford had a brilliant game against his old club, relishing the chance to go back to the Cattery and dominate. He did just that, winning the battle in the ruck against Ottens and West with 39 hitouts, whilst also picking up 22 disposals and 7 tackles around the ground. He is a bullocking, aggressive force in the midfield, and apposed so some ruckman who just focus on the hitouts and the odd handball, Mummy seems to relish the tough stuff, winning plenty of contested ball and laying bone-rattling tackles.
- Adam Goodes, who we all know loves to go up a gear in the final two months of the season, had another ripper game through the midfield, especially in the second half as he helped build the Swans’ momentum to a very important win. His stats sheet was telling – 30 disposals, 9 inside-50s, 7 clearances and 1.3. Simply, he dominated, and it seems that right now there is no one in the competition really capable of running with him.
- Ben McGlynn was great, proving to be one of the match-winners on the day with his ability to find space and cause pressure in the forward half. As is the case with any small forward, his form can be somewhat consistent throughout the year, but when he gets his tail up he can play some brilliant football. Finished with 22 disposals, 9 tackles and a goal.
- Gary Rohan is starting to show some good signs for the Swans in the lead up to the finals. We all saw his potential last year, albeit in bursts, and he has been out of action with injury for most of the year, so it was great to see him come in and provide some good run and spark for the Swans, especially against some pretty good opposition. He could be a beautiful pick-up in Dream Team or SuperCoach next year, so keep him well and truly on your radar. Finished with 12 disposals, 3 tackles and 2 goals.
St.Kilda vs North Melbourne:
- Brendon Goddard was best afield for the Saints, despite a slow start. After the Roos had stacked on five goals in a row and a healthy 20-point lead in the second term, it was Goddard who really stepped up and got the Saints back into the game with some brilliant forward entries and some important 50/50 contests won through the middle. He played predominantly through the midfield, but also played across half-forward in bursts, which is something we have seen work well over the past fortnight or so. He’s not a huge clearance winner, but uses the ball well and is very good at beating his opponents one-on-one. Finished with 31 disposals, 7 marks and 5 tackles.
- Nick Riewoldt showed off some very good form, despite coming into the game with a lot of queries on his fitness. He was also concussed in the third term, so it was great to see him bounce back from that pretty quickly too. Whilst he missed his first shot at goal, all set shots from then on went through the sticks and he seemed to take a lot of confidence from it, booting 5.2 for the night. His marking also seems to have improved, with some of that also to do with better delivery – he had 10 marks for the evening, 4 of which were contested. It was great to see him have some signs of his mojo coming back.
- Justin Koschitzke played a very solid game, booting 3.1, but also set up several others. He is definitely appearing to benefit from his improved fitness, and whilst his awareness may still not be 100%, he at least appears to be making better and faster decisions when the ball is in hand. He has only managed to play half the games this year, so it would be great to see him get some form before finals as the Saints appear to be the side no one else wants to be playing come September.
- Sam Gilbert looked to have some confidence back, taking several very good runs from defence. This year he has been prone to getting caught or turning the ball over, so it was really promising to see his runs result in a positive outcome for the Saints. His ball-winning is still not as high as Dream Teamers may want it to be, I reckon the form is there to suggest he could still be worth considering for next year.
- Jack Ziebell was the best for the Roos, although he has certainly played his last game for the year, due to the fact he will almost certainly cop the wrath of the MRP for his high hit on Riewoldt in the third term. Other than this unfortunate blight on his game, he was great, winning 28 disposals and a game-high 7 clearances. He has come a long way from where he started the year, being subbed off numerous times with many saying he didn’t have the tank for the game. It’s been great seeing him answer those critics recently and already seems to show the maturity that suggests he will skipper the club one day.
- Scott Thompson was good in the backline with his ball use and want to take the game on through the corridor, however he did struggle to contain his opponent, Milne, who was able to continually outdo him for pace. But despite conceding 4.2 to a match-winner in Milne, I actually liked Thompson’s game and he seems to have progressed a long way from where he was a couple of years ago – a stopper whose main motive seemed just to be niggling and pinching his opponents.
- Drew Petrie started the game very well, booting the first goal for the Roos and then another only a little later. He was clearly too strong one-on-one for Dawson, but unfortunately he didn’t get too many opportunities to prove this, with terrible delivery into the forward line allowing the likes of Gilbert and Fisher to drop back and spoil. He didn’t score after half time and only touched the ball once in the last quarter, finishing with 13 disposals, 6 marks and 2.2.
- Brent Harvey had a shocker, as he typically seems to do against the Saints. He was tagged by Dempster who gave him absolutely no room to move or run, causing Harvey to simply crack the sads and complain and sook to the umpires for the entire second half. His temper is one thing that needs to improve – as the captain of the club he should be leading by example, not trying to win each contest by drawing a free kick. Whilst this is not how he goes about it every week, it does seem to be the case when he is given a tag that he simply cannot break.
Brisbane vs West Coast:
- Tom Rockliff played a ripping game through the midfield, continuing to audition to be one of the most selected midfield options in 2012. Not only is he a prolific ball-winner, but he is also a prolific tackler – he won 30 possessions for the game, whilst also laying a game-high 13 tackles. He also notched up 10 clearances. As I have said several times this year, Rocky is Dane Swan II – his ability to work hard and find space is phenomenal, hence why is has become such a Dream Team jet.
- Daniel Rich played easily his best game for the year, which included a phenomenal 12 disposal first-term as he helped set up the Lions’ early lead. He worked very hard through the middle, with his inside-50 work a highlight, putting it in there a team-high 6 times. He has been a much maligned player since winning the Rising Star award in 2009, so hopefully this strong form can continue into next year.
- Luke Power announced to the players pre-game that he would be hanging up the boots at the end of the season, so it was unsurprising how much they lifted for him. He was very good himself, winning 20 disposals, laying 9 tackles and booting a goal, which he celebrated like it was the match-winner in September. He has had a great career, so hopefully they can send him out on a high next week against the Swans (says the Saints fan who wants a home final…).
- Jed Adcock owners would have celebrated when he opened the game with a goal, but unfortunately the performance was probably not as dominating as hoped in that moment. He still played well, minding LeCras when he was both up forward and running through the middle, and probably won on the day, keeping LeCras to just 1.1. Jed picked up 16 disposals and 7 marks of his own.
- Chris Masten played easily one of his better games of his career, winning 31 disposals across a half-forward flank and through the midfield. If there is one thing West Coast have a surplus of, it’s inside midfielders, so it was important for Masten to really prove his credentials in the lead-up to finals, and he did just that. He was involved in many of West Coast’s scores and really helped drive their attacks, also booting 3.1 of his own.
- Matt Priddis was also solid, but what was the most amazing stat of his game was the fact he had 24 kicks and just one handball! Which is especially amazing considering he won 50% of his ball from a contested situation, meaning he would prefer to just slap it on the boot than feed it out to a teammate. He was his usual hard-working self and also laid 6 tackles and booted a goal for the game.
- Josh Kennedy was kept very quiet, which was a real feat for Brisbane, who have been leaking goals to tall forwards over the past number of weeks. He wasn’t helped by a wet track, but still he managed just the 8 disposals, 5 marks and a score-flattering 7 tackles. He was kept to just 1.1 for the game.
- Dean Cox made the journey to Brisbane (it had been suggested mid-week that he may have been rested), but it was clear that Worsfold didn’t want to put too much reliance on his key ruckman. He spent his time rotating between ruck and forward, and whilst he did manage 8 disposals and 16 hitouts, he never really got into the game. He was eventually subbed off in the third term – not through injury, but instead because West Coast wanted to give him the rest. Personally I will take 50-odd points over a zero any day of the week!
Adelaide vs Richmond:
- Bernie Vince was very good for the home side, showing the sort of form we had expected him to take into round one of this year. After signing a contract with the Crows through the week, it was good to see him up and about and leading the Crows midfield brigade, although to no avail. We saw in 2009 how good he can be, and he showed it again today, so hopefully he can take it into next year with him as he could be a great selection from round one in either DT or SC. Finished with 35 possessions, 9 marks and 2.1.
- Nathan Van Berlo continued his awesome recent run of form under the new coach. Since Bickley has taken over, VB’s form has been terrific, averaging 126 DT and 113 SC points over his past five games. He seems to have been given a much more attacking role through the midfield under Bickley and is clearly relishing in the challenge – personally, if I had to trade in one midfielder next week, VB would be my man. Finished the game with 36 disposals, 6 marks, 6 tackles and 2.1.
- Jack Gunston showed some good form up forward, booting 5 goals. His form this year has been up and down, especially with his goal kicking, so it was good to see a bit of a change for the better from him. He is a very bouncy forward who seems to have a lot of athleticism for his height (he is around 195cm), so there is plenty of potential there. Would need a solid pre-season in the gym before you would consider him for your DT or SC though.
- Shaun McKernan had a bit of a shocker, conceding 4.2 to Vickery before being subbed off. He has played up forward in his time under Neil Craig, but has looked good most weeks as a defender since Bickley came to charge. Unfortunately though, he seemed to keep getting lost against the Tigers, conceding a couple of easy goals to Vickery, including the first two Tigers goals of the game when Vickery seemed to have been loose in the forward line – McKernan had just lost him in traffic. To give him some grace though, he is still learning and this has really been the first week where he has been significantly beaten by his opponent.
- Dustin Martin was terrific for Tigers, skulking through the midfield and across half-forward, winning plenty of contested ball and typically using it well. I love the way he goes about it – already he is a big bullocking midfielder, despite being hardly into his 20’s, and is showing plenty of signs that he will be a superstar of the game in the not-too-distant future. He finished with 19 disposals, 9 tackles and 2 goals.
- Robin Nahas was very good, but really turned it on late in the game to help the Tigers run away with the win. He was pivotal across half-forward, with his zip and creativity really troubling Adelaide’s young defenders. He hasn’t been scoring nearly as highly as he did earlier in the year, but his recent form has been just as good, winning enough ball for an influence and generally converting his opportunities. He finished with 3.2 from 16 disposals and 6 tackles.
- Tyrone Vickery was very important up forward, as he has been for much of the year. But for once it was him that was the focal point, rather than Riewoldt. He really got the better of McKernan and repeatedly found space in the forward line, and importantly taking his chances with 4.2. He is a good grab and seems to be developing well as a forward – now Richmond just need to trade for a ruckman so they can keep him there.
- Alex Rance was great again in defence, this time keeping Taylor Walker to just one goal. I have really enjoyed his consistency this year, playing a very key defensive role for the young Tigers and flourishing. He still has the odd brain fade (such as that ‘intentional’ rushed behind in the first quarter, although, that is debatable), but has been really solid in containing some of the best forwards this year, whilst also using the ball well enough himself. Could be one to watch for SuperCoach 2012.
Melbourne vs Gold Coast:
- Brad Green deserves a mention for standing up when he clearly needed to – not just for himself, but also for his club. He wasn’t the most dominant player on the ground, but he certainly asserted himself on the contest with four goals straight – two of which came at very crucial times within the match (start of the third term and halfway through the last once the Suns had mounted a comeback). He clearly had a point to prove after last week’s subbing, so it was great to see him respond, also picking up 18 touches and 9 marks.
- Brent Moloney was very good through the middle, enjoying being pitted against some inexperienced opponents. He won plenty of contested ball and clearances, but also ducked forward for three goals – definitely his best tally for some time. Whilst, like Green, it was against opposition he was expected to stand up against, it was still good to see him leading from the front.
- Sam Blease put some extra pressure on the Rising Star selection panel (who have only two weeks to squeeze in about 10 players) with a breakout game off the half-back line where he won himself 28 disposals and used the ball very well. We have known for some time that this kid is talented, but due to injuries we have never had the opportunity to see much of him, so it was great to see him play such a pivotal role in their first win in a month and a half.
- Cale Morton continued his terribly inconsistent season with a real down match. Last week he was one of Melbourne’s best, but against the Suns he barely had any influence on the outcome, which was disappointing to see considering he is such a talented player. Won himself just 10 disposals from floating around on a wing.
- Michael Rischitelli was his usual workman-like self through the middle, going head-to-head with a series of Melbourne midfielders through the game and often coming out on top. He won 30 disposals – the most of the game – and did his best to give his younger teammates first use. He also laid 6 tackles and booted 2 goals.
- Gary Ablett was solid through the middle, but not as spectacular as hoped against an out-of-form Melbourne outfit. He still managed a very good 28 disposals and 6 tackles, but didn’t have any effect on the scoreboard – one of the areas of his game that has been a real strength this year. Still, he was great to watch, despite not managing to crack the ton in DT.
- Zac Smith was left to be the sole ruckman for the Suns, but got completely smashed in the air, managing just 12 hitouts for the entire game, compared to Jamar’s 39. He did manage to drift forward and boot two goals though, which was good, but his effect around the ground was otherwise nil. His season has been awesome for a first year ruckman, but I bet he’s looking forward to resting up over summer.
- Nathan Ablett was largely ineffective, being gifted a goal from his older brother, but otherwise doing very little else. In his post-match conference, McKenna stated that Nathan has one more chance to prove he should be on the list for 2012 – we know he has plenty of talent, but unfortunately we have just never seen enough of it consistently enough.
Essendon vs Port Adelaide:
- David Zaharakis was great for the Bombers, but especially in the final term when he helped drag them back from despair with a massive quarter when he seemed to pump the ball inside 50 on about a dozen occasions. He has had a great second half to the year and has now well and truly proven his credentials as both a great Dream Team and SuperCoach option. Fingers crossed he is still forward eligible next year, and if so, lock him in!
- Dyson Heppell was great for the Bombers off half-back, setting them up well for each attack with his piercingly accurate boot. I’ll say it again – why the hell do teams not tag him? It seems amazing considering how important he has become to their structure in just his first year. He finished with 26 disposals, 6 marks and one goal, which he worked very hard for, in what proved to be a brilliant farewell game for all his DT and SC owners (as Essendon have the bye next week.).
- Michael Hurley played forward and was very important, booting 4.2 from 7 grabs. For a while it looked like Hird may have to switch him back to defence because of the dominance of Port’s talls, but fortunately they persisted with him up forward and were rewarded. Forward certainly looks like his best position, so hopefully they can continue playing him here.
- Travis Colyer could almost be the first sub to get a Brownlow vote after this performance (although he won’t…) – he came on in the third term and provided the run and dash that seemed to be lacking from Essendon’s game early and really helped turn the contest in their favour. As the Dons then smashed on 7 goals, Colyer worked hard to set up many of them, or at least have some involvement, making him one of the most crucial subs of the year. Finished with 12 disposals 4 marks and 1.1.
- Robbie Gray is the man who will get the votes with his brilliant work across half-forward, booting 6.1 from 20 disposals, 5 marks and 7 tackles. This game reeked of a breakout game, despite the fact Gray has seemingly had a dozen ‘breakout’ games – but although he has had some very good games in the past, this was a game that really showed the sort of dominance he is capable of if he works hard enough. I say it every year, but if he can get his body right, he could be a super pick-up… It’s a big ‘if’ though…
- John Butcher AGAIN had a brilliant game up forward, likely making every Victorian list manager get a little excited… And Port’s start looking up their bank balance. His marking skills are fantastic, and whilst it’s a big call, he already looks capable of having the best set of hands in the AFL, pretty much clunking anything that comes his way (which suits Port’s ‘kick it high and long’ game-plan). He finished with another 4 goals straight (which included one that nearly came off his knee) from 12 touches, 5 marks and 6 tackles.
- David Rodan was very important for Port in the middle after what has been a pretty inconsistent season. His run was very important, and was exactly what Essendon seemed to be lacking until Colyer came on, allowing him to have a very big influence on the contest. He finished with 27 disposals and 5 marks.
- Domenic Cassisi was kept very quiet, going head-to-head with Watson in what was a great battle. As it seems, Watson is the better ball-winner, stealing everything that Dom went near. He still won some outside ball, but really seemed to be struggling in close, managing just 14 disposals for the game – his lowest in some time. However, he still laid his customary 7 tackles.
Footy Tragic Round 23:
In this episode we saw carnage at the selection table, so brace yourself as we run through the changes. Also, captains, debutants, defenders for 2012 and what to do with your Carlton stars. We also interview the AFL Youth Ambassador from Fiji.
All the teams as they are listed for Round 23. How do all the changes effect your AFL Dream Team and SuperCoach in the Preliminary finals?
FREMANTLE V COLLINGWOOD
PS – Fri Aug 26, 6:40pm
HB: Greg Broughton, Michael Johnson, Nick Lower
Milestones: Ben Reid – 50 games
HAWTHORN V WESTERN BULLDOGS
MCG – Sat Aug 27, 2:10pm
In: Shane Savage
Out: Chance Bateman (Soreness)
GEELONG CATS V SYDNEY SWANS
SS – Sat Aug 27, 2:10pm
F: Mathew Stokes, James Podsiadly, Shannon Byrnes
In: Brett Meredith, Luke Parker
Milestones: Jesse White – 50 games
ST KILDA V NORTH MELBOURNE
ES – Sat Aug 27, 7:10pm
Milestones: Jarryn Geary – 50 games
Milestones: Hamish McIntosh – 100 games
BRISBANE LIONS V WEST COAST EAGLES
G – Sat Aug 27, 7:10pm
In: Bryce Retzlaff
Out: Mitchell Clark (Knee)
West Coast Eagles
Out: Daniel Kerr (Back)
Milestones: Chris Masten – 50 games
ADELAIDE V RICHMOND
AS – Sun Aug 28, 12:40pm
MELBOURNE V GOLD COAST SUNS
MCG – Sun Aug 28, 2:10pm
Milestones: Jamie Bennell – 50 games
Gold Coast Suns
ESSENDON V PORT ADELAIDE
ES – Sun Aug 28, 4:40pm
New: Aaron Young (Eastern Ranges)
Kristian runs through all the recent TAC Cup action from the weekend. Which kids are dominating and looking set to be drafted later this year?
TAC CUP ALL-STARS
Welcome to another edition of TAC Cup All-Stars with the second last round coming to a close in what was an interesting weekend. There were a few absolute beltings including the eighth placed Oakleigh Chargers smashing the last placed Bendigo by 114 points.
There were also a couple of ripping games, including the Northern Knights (9th) going down to Calder (1st) by 5 points in what would have put them in the top eight to close out the round. The Knights need a couple of things to go their way now to make the eight, starting with having to beat North Ballarat (7th) this weekend.
Sandringham and Gippsland also played off for a top two spot with Gippsland getting the victory by 4 points in a very low scoring affair. Gippsland now have two points over Sandringham for that second spot, but of course that can change as well.
Out of individual efforts, I’ll start off by mentioning a Tasmanian kid who has rocketed up the rankings lately and could be the pick of the bunch in terms of key position forward talent. His name is Julian Dobosz, from North Hobart. He’s listed at 192cm, but I think he’s a little taller than that now. He kicked 15 goals from 4 games for Tasmania in the Under 18 championships and he kicked another bag of 7 on the weekend. He only started playing footy two years ago, but he’s already shown that he has all the tricks to be able to convert to AFL level. Some people are now saying he may be taken early in the first round of the draft, so it will be interesting to see where the clubs rate him.
Back on to the TAC Cup, and while this kid won’t be relevant for a few years, having only just turned 16, Ben Lennon (no relation to John) played a fine game for the Northern Knights against the highly rated Calder Cannons, kicking 4 goals, with 12 possessions and 4 marks. While it’s hard to say what type of player he’ll be at such a young age, I think he’s got the height to eventually play as a key forward. Definitely make sure you remember this name in a few years!
A player I really like in this years draft, and I’ve mentioned him a few times now is Devon Smith from Geelong. While he didn’t have a standout game by any stretch, in fact he wasn’t even named in the best players, he still delivered ball winning ability and his great knack for kicking goals. He finished with 21 disposals, and 2 goals. 16 of those disposals were kicks, but 10 were ineffective, which probably is the reason for his average game, but normally he’s a solid distributor.
Lachlan Fairley is a North Melbourne father/son candidate this year from the Western Jets. He’s a tall forward who’s had a pretty consistent season, but the constant knock on him is his evident lack of pace that may be a problem at AFL level. Having said that, he had a really good game on the weekend, kicking 4 goals straight, 21 possessions, 10 marks and even 6 hit outs.
Will Hoskin Elliot is hugely rated, as I mentioned back in the National Champs article, and this week he had ‘one of those games’. He amassed 30 disposals, which is huge for him, considering how lethal he is when he gets the ball, and amazingly 27 of those possessions were kicks. He also had 12 marks and kicked a goal, consolidating his position as a potential top 10 draft pick.
Tough, in an under midfilder, Toby Greene continued his rapid rise with a massive game disposal wise for the Oakleigh Chargers in their big win. He racked up 38 touches at 73% effectiveness with also 7 marks.
Potential father-son pick for Hawthorn, Thomas Curran was named best on ground with his 5 goal haul to add to 16 disposals and 9 marks.
In the same game Jack Viney showed why the Demons have locked him away so early with a 31 disposal performance adding up to 121 DT points.
Jon Patton had another quiet game this week, only registering 5 disposals.
The high flyer from Eastern Ranges, Hayden Crozier, had a brilliant game though, with 28 disposals and 9 marks. It was good to see him win a lot of the ball, something I’ve been critical of him in the past.
Finally, Dandenong captain and All-Australian half-back, Matthew Buntine, was back to his very best finally on the weekend with 29 possessions and 8 marks. As always, his disposal efficiency was elite, going at 82%.
Dan runs through all the action from this weekends state-league matches. Which AFL listed players are pushing for a senior game?
There wasn’t a whole lot of relevant action for the Crows in SANFL on the weekend. The most relevant was probably the inaction of Ian Callinan, as his team Central District had a bye, making him a long shot to return this week.
Brodie Martin was the best Crows performer, with 36 touches and 11 rebound 50’s to be named third best in a losing Sturt side. For someone who was such a good kick a few years ago it has apparently gone quite downhill since having his knee reconstructed. He still finds enough of the ball and they have something to work with if he can start hitting targets. If he looks a chance at being best 22 next year could provide excellent fantasy value.
Luke Thompson was named sixth best for WWT Eagles with 17 touches and six marks playing in defence. Ivan Maric was solid as usual for Port Magpies with 11 touches, 33 hitouts and a goal.
While there is basically no information available on the Lions it doesn’t sound like there was much to talk about. They lost by 150 points to the Lions reserves. The Lions only had ten players in the game. Josh Green was the only one to even get mentioned by reserves coach Nathan Clarke as “OK” and he kicked two of the Lions four goals.
That was the Lions reserves last game of the season and they finished on the bottom of the ladder in the NEAFL Northern Conference.
Setanta O’hAilpan had a brilliant return with six goals from his 15 disposals and seven marks in the Bullants gallant loss to the unbeaten Port Melbourne. His performance commanded selection, having not played AFL since Round 11 before missing six weeks with a hand injury and struggling to get back to full form and fitness.
Ed Curnow was listed as best on for the Bullants with 27 touches, five marks and ten tackles. His inside work was really strong, as evidenced by his tackle count, though some of his disposal was a bit wayward.
Kane Lucas had his best game of the year, playing a bit more up in the midfield after spending a bit of time in defence this year. He led the team with 32 touches and 12 marks.
Matthew Watson was excellent in defence with 20 touches and five marks, with a particularly good second quarter. Shaun Hampson played his first game of footy since Round 13 due to a knee injury. He played the first half only and purely played out of the goal square, kicking three goals. Him leaving the field after half time was a big turning point that swung the game in Port Melbourne’s favour.
Youngsters Paul Seedsman and Josh Thomas battled it out for best on ground honours, with the club giving it to the exciting Seedsman, who kicked three goals in the first half. Unfortunately he made a critical error late in the game, where he somehow managed to miss from the goal line while attempting a snap. His game still showed the Pies have plenty of exciting kids coming through though.
Thomas picked up 26 touches and was massive inside, reading Cameron Wood’s ruckwork very well. Wood himself was very good an unlucky not to be named in the bests, after dominating the hitouts all game, especially with Gardiner going off injured before half time.
Jye Bolton was another inside midfielder to perform strongly, with his 27 touches. He’s a certainty to be upgraded off the rookie list at the end of the year. Kirk Ugle is another to keep in mind for next year. He’s not a high possession winner, but is excellent at forward pressure (Collingwood love role players regardless of experience) and has a knack for goals.
With Collingwood VFL having a bye next week in the last round of the season they have played their last game of 2011. No finals for the Pies reserves, but Malthouse has suggested there will be intra club games to keep reserves fit for the AFL finals campaign.
Essendon’s affiliate Bendigo were competitive against the third placed North Ballarat Roosters for the first half, but were blown away comprehensively with a 16 goals to 3 second half.
Cale Hooker played his second game back from the setback he had with his hamstring injury. Oddly the reports are that he was quiet in the first half, but much better in the second half when Bendigo were leaking goals like a sieve. He still looked quite restricted though and not quite ready physically for an AFL return.
Tyson Slattery played in unfamiliar territory in the forward line and wasn’t too bad. First year player Luke Davis was OK in a besieged defence.
Scott Gumbleton’s inability to play in three consecutive weeks continued. He didn’t line up for Bendigo and no reason was given. Recently he’s played two, had a bye, played two, missed two with back spasms, played two and now he’s missed one. He literally has not strung together three consecutive weeks of footy this year.
Fremantle took the step of releasing very few of their players for WAFL action on the weekend due to their extremely long injury list. With only six players taking part in games (four in seniors, two in reserves) none of them were even remotely a chance of playing AFL this year.
With the news on Monday that the Dockers will have seven outs for this Friday’s clash with Collingwood you can see why they were kept out. The Dockers would’ve had a fair idea that if they lost to North, which they did, that they would put the cue in the rack.
Most significantly Nick Lower and Paul Duffield didn’t play (though Lower could be Subiaco aligned, who had the bye), as was Kepler Bradley, Peter Faulks, Jonathan Griffin, Byron Schammer, Ben Bucovaz and Clancee Pearce were kept out. Expect most of their seven ins to come from this group.
Geelong VFL had the bye.
Gold Coast were up against a GWS side missing a number of their better players, so had an easy win. Jacob Gillbee returned from a hand injury that had kept him out for three weeks to be named best on ground. Reserves assistant Shaun Hart says the young small forward who is yet to debut “may still play in the last two rounds.” It’s like their determined to break the Saints record of debuting 33 players back in 1911 (the Suns have debuted 32 this year).
Josh Caddy played another three quarters of footy in his third game for the year. He’d be a long shot to debut given his lack of conditioning, but I guess it’s not impossible, even as a sub just to give the #7 draft pick from last year a taste.
Taylor Hine was good in contested situations and had a heap of tackles to be named second best. Marc Lock, who was their TAC Cup and VFL captain before they entered the AFL kicked six goals. It’s been an interesting year for Lock, who played their first AFL game, but none since. I thought he would be groomed as a tagger, but he might lack a bit of pace for that.
It was a really dirty day for the Box Hill Hawks, who went down to second placed Williamstown by 101 points. Paul Johnson was named best on ground for Box Hill in his second game back from a nine week foot injury. He had to battle against the incredibly experienced Minson and Hudson and while the Seagulls had the better of the midfield Johnson at least had a crack.
Kyle Cheney and Shane Savage were the only Hawks pressing for selection. Cheney just went about his business in a workmanlike manner, while Savage was very quiet in the first half, but worked his way into the game.
Brent Renouf and Xavier Ellis both played VFL reserves. Ellis was crunched in a contest in the first five minutes and was sent to hospital for scans, which came back clear. Renouf played the second half only and got through OK.
Remarkably Ben Stratton is said to be on track to return via Box Hill reserves this weekend in a last ditch effort to be available for Hawthorn’s finals campaign.
Neville Jetta pushed his case for a senior recall after collecting 29 disposals and two goals to be named best on ground for Casey Scorpions in their convincing win over Werribee.
Tom McNamara is in line for a late chance to resurrect his career having transformed into a tall midfielder this year. He hasn’t played an AFL game since the end of 2009. He had 27 touches and was named amongst the bests, along with Matthew Warnock.
Matthew Bate had 24 touches and two goals, though he wasn’t mentioned in an article on the Melbourne site suggesting four players are in the mix to play (Jetta, McNamara, Tom McDonald and Jack Fitzpatrick).
As mentioned above, Tom McDonald and Jack Fitzpatrick did a couple of things to potentially earn a debut in the last two games of the year. McDonald is a midfielder with good skills and Fitzpatrick is a developing tall forward, who would still be a fair way from an impact at AFL level.
Austin Wonaeamirri made his return via Casey reserves after missing three months due to personal reasons (returned home to the Tiwi Islands) and then a mini training block to regain fitness. He hurt his ankle in the second quarter and didn’t return, so that could be him done for the year.
With a top four spot up for grabs one half of North Melbourne’s affiliation, Werribee, were pretty disappointing against Casey Scorpions. Hamish McIntosh was named best on ground for his good job in the ruck against Robbie Campbell and Max Gawn, while also contributing three goals. The Tigers couldn’t capitalise on his ruck work though. McIntosh will receive a healthy discount for 2012 whatever happens, but if he doesn’t play AFL in the last two weeks it’ll make him very tempting.
Ben Ross was the only other Roos listed player to have an impact on the game. He ran hard and took the game on, unlike many of his teammates on the day.
North Ballarat had a pretty easy win against the Bendigo Bombers and the highlight for Roos fans would have been the five goal performance from young key forward Aaron Black. Black had a serious knee injury in his first year on the list, but has shown some signs this year that he could be a player for them.
Cam Richardson knocked up his customary 34 touches and a goal, as he always does at VFL level. Daniel Pratt had 22 possessions, along with seven tackles.
Kane Cornes pretty much did what you’d expect him to do at SANFL level. He had 40 touches for an utterly pathetic Glenelg, who only managed two goals for the whole game against WWT. With the Tigers getting less than 300 disposals as a team, Kane’s effort accounted for 13.5% of the team’s entire possession count (next best was former Cat, Kane Tenace with 23 and no one else over 20).
He was actually the only Power player to be named amongst the best players for their SANFL sides, though Brett Ebert kicked 3.2 from 18 possessions and nine marks for Port Magpies.
It was a disgraceful day for Richmond’s affiliate, Coburg. They lost to Frankston, who have only won three games in the past two years – ALL AGAINST COBURG! Coburg battle at the best of times, but it’s pretty shocking that the only team Frankton can beat is them.
Anyway, Pat Contin was apparently reasonable. Ben Nason was kept as emergency standby for the AFL game, so didn’t play. There were not really any positives…
Tommy Walsh must play! The former gaelic football superstar kicked six goals, including the game winner in the 31st minute of the last quarter against Collingwood. They keep trying and getting not very much out of Tom Lynch and Ryan Gamble, but Walsh has been performing well all year in a variety of roles. He’s worth a shot, but St.Kilda under Ross Lyon have never been one for adventurous selection policy and debuting an Irish kid on the eve of finals would be adventurous.
Alistair Smith was good through the midfield with 30 touches and eight tackles, which was good to see after a pretty inconsistent little patch. Will Johnson kicked a goal, gave the Collingwood cheer squad a spray and a half and then apologised on Monday.
Michael Gardiner’s comeback trail hit a snag. He injured his hamstring in the first quarter and didn’t return, putting serious doubt on his body’s ability to allow him to play footy again. If the scan is no good and rules him out for the season, particularly with Sandy only a marginal chance of playing finals, you’d suspect he’ll pack it in.
Jarred Moore was named best on for the Swans reserves in their 150 point drubbing of the Lions reserves. He only kicked one goal, but dished plenty off with his hard work around the arc.
Brett Meredith will stay in the selection frame, having being dropped after the Swans last game he responded with five goals and was named third best. The hard tackling Nathan Gordon had another productive game up forward, kicking four goals himself.
Trent Dennis-Lane kicked another six goals, but wasn’t named in the best players. It’s not the first haul he’s kicked where he hasn’t been acknowledged, so you can’t help but feel there’s some team rules he’s not sticking closely to.
Tadgh Kennelly provided good leadership and was a positive influence on the group according to coach Henry Playfair. Mike Pyke played his second game on return from injury in a late bid to win a spot in their finals team.
The Eagles didn’t really get as many dominant performances as usual at WAFL level, but they’ve set really high standards this year.
Mitch Brown played well at CHB for East Freo in their upset win over Claremont. He picked up 26 touches and three marks, as well as doing a good defensive job. Bradd Dalziell had it 26 times, along with four marks, five tackles and 2.2, while Jacob Brennan will be in the mix for a debut across half back. He’s had a good season and the father/son selection picked up 20 touches and nine marks.
Koby Stevens was a little down on his usual output with only 17 touches. He’s only played two AFL games in 2011, both as a sub, so looks set to be massively underpriced for next year.
Andrew Strijk was amongst the best for West Perth with 19 disposals, nine marks and 2.2. Promising young forward Scott Lycett started off well, but hurt his knee in the first quarter, which hindered him for the rest of the day. He ended with ten touches, seven marks and 3.2
Williamstown had only nine Bulldogs listed players, due to the number of injuries down at the kennel, but they still easily accounted for the Box Hill Hawks. Mind you, of the nine blokes there was a fair amount of AFL experience with Mitch Hahn, Lindsay Gilbee, Ben Hudson and Will Minson have all played over 100 AFL games (Gilbee over 200 actually). You’d struggle to find a more experienced ruck combo in the VFL and Hudson and Minson combined for 49 hitouts.
Josh Hill had a good game with 23 touches, eight marks, five tackles, two goals and a much improved work rate. Hahn plucked a remarkable 17 marks, along with 26 touches and four goals. Dylan Addison and Sam Reid both managed over 25 touches each too.
Toby runs through all the best Captain choices for both AFL Dream Team and SuperCoach in the Prelim finals. Who will you be locking in for the big score this week?
Well, as we get closer and closer to finals time, the decision of who to make your captain becomes more and more important. Many coaches will be faced with the dilemma of giving the captaincy to Mr. ‘Perma-Captain’ Swan, or perhaps trying their luck with another option. And there are plenty this week. May of the big name midfielders stack up pretty well against their round 23 opponents, so statistically, there shouldn’t be too much risk on picking up someone other than Swan. So let’s get into it…
Dane Swan vs Fremantle:
Dane hasn’t let us down all year, bar those few weeks prior to his little Arizona holiday. His past month has been immense, averaging 145 DT and 146 SC in his past four games alone – so there is absolutely no doubting his recent form. Firstly, to deal with the worries – there has been much talk and speculation through the week already that Collingwood may look to rest a number of their stars against Fremantle this weekend. My take on it? I think a few will be rested, but not many. They got a little close to flirting with form against Brisbane last weekend, and it was clear that Malthouse was not impressed with the results. They looked far from their best and proved they need to maintain the rage heading into finals – for this reason alone, I can’t see many of Collingwood’s A-graders getting a rest. Swan especially, as he has already had a bit of time off through the year, so essentially should have a fresher set of legs than most.
Now, onto the positives – Swanny has a decent record against Fremantle, avering 127 DT and 126 SC against them in his past five games. With the knowledge that Freo will be without many of their stars, there should be little quality opposition for Swan in the middle, meaning he should be allowed to run freely around the wide expanses of Pattersons stadium. He is still the best option of the week due to his consistency, and the only reason you wouldn’t pick him is because you can think of someone better.
Gary Ablett vs Melbourne:
Gary’s past month hasn’t been terrific, but this is mainly thanks to his run of niggling injuries. We got to see him bounce back into some good form against Adelaide though, cracking 140 points in both competitions. This week he is pitted against the lowly Melbourne Demons, whose form over the past month has been somewhat woeful. For this reason, I believe Ablett could be a very good bet for a massive score. He averages good numbers against them – 109 DT and 110 SC – and certainly doesn’t have any issues playing at the MCG. This could also be a game that the Suns are pencilling in as a possible win, so expect the skipper to go all out to bring home the points. Melbourne’s best stopper, Jordie McKenzie, hasn’t been in the greatest form lately anyway.
Scott Thompson vs Richmond:
Scotty T had a day out against the Suns this week, notching up 51 disposals – only two short from the all-time AFL record! So once again, he is another player coming into this round with some solid form behind him, as well as being up against a weaker opposition (although, I say this after Richmond have won two in a row…). Chances are, Daniel Jackson will head to Thommo at the opening bounce, but he has already proven this year that taggers don’t really effect him – he wins a lot of his ball in close, but also has a tank and workrate capable of burning off a persistent tagger. Averages 122 in both DT and SC against the Tigers, so is another solid bet. Also, he loves playing at AAMI stadium, averaging 110 DT and 114 SC at the venue this year.
Matthew Boyd vs Hawthorn:
On paper, the above three names probably scream out a little more than Boyd vs Hawthorn, but his numbers against them deserve paying attention to. Across his past five games against the Hawks, he has averaged 121 DT and 131 SC, including 119 DT and 128 SC when he played them earlier in the year. He is coming off a good game, so it in good form, and whilst he seems to have slipped down the calculations as a captain option recently, he should still be given strong consideration. He is in good form, can win plenty of the ball and comes up against a team he is historically very good against. Certainly worth considering.
Steve Johnson vs Sydney:
Stevie J is back after the week off and comes up against Sydney, statistically his favourite opponent to play. He averages 117 DT and 123 SC against them, including 119 DT and 120 SC earlier in the year. The game is played at Skilled Stadium – a ground where Johnson also has a great record.
Scott Pendlebury vs Fremantle:
Pendles is the warning story of the week – not only is he one of the players rumoured to be getting a rest this weekend, but also his history against Fremantle is poor, averaging just 85 DT and 96 SC in his past 5 games against them.
MY TOP 3 DREAM TEAM PICKS:
1. Dane Swan
2. Gary Ablett
3. Scott Thompson
MY TOP 3 SUPER COACH PICKS:
1. Gary Ablett
2. Matthew Boyd
3. Dane Swan