Category - 2012 – Round 1
After many months planning and preparing my team, like everyone else, I was absolutely pumped to see the season proper finally get underway.
But now that we’re here, we’ve now got the responsibility of monitoring our teams, and in order to do that we need to know what’s going on at all times throughout the season. Whether that be injury, suspension, form slumps, debutants we need to aware in order to best manage our team. However, it’s also important to be aware of who’s actually playing well. This has its obvious benefits, whether that’s making the right captain decision or trading in a bargain, every advantage we can get helps.
This part of being a fantasy coach has always come easy for me. I pride myself on my football WATCHING ability and round 1 was indeed no exception, having viewed every game played. It certainly didn’t take long for the cream to rise to the top as all the regular names in Ablett, Pendlebury, Franklin, Murphy and Mitchell etc went about their stuff and proved their worth right from the get go.
But no one set the bar quite as high as Bomber midfielder Brent Stanton. Having averaged an enormous 142 AFL Dream Team points in his last three Round 1 encounters Stanton was fast growing a reputation for coming out of the blocks as hard as anyone.
He certainly didn’t let the 1.22% of all dream team coaches down that own him (why?1), recording a near perfect game from a fantasy stand point. He tallied a total 35 possessions, 7 marks, 5 tackles and 2 goals, while receiving 4 free kicks and giving away none to the opposition. Topping off the Stanton performance was his incredibly high kick:handball ratio of 2.9. The final result: 153 AFL Dream Team points and 180 SuperCoach points. Brent Stanton – the king of Round 1.
Aside from being a Bomber, Stanton’s a local lad and I’ve always had a soft spot for him. I’ve never understood why a blue collar player like Stants that busts his gut as hard as anyone could be jumped on at any given chance, and be so prone to criticism.
He might not be the prettiest player out there, his kicks might not always spin the right way, but you only have to look at the numbers to see how hard he works, and he’s one of the few you can rely on to give his all week in week out and rarely miss games.
I just don’t understand why nobody picks this guy. Take the name away, and you’ve got a player aged 25 that’s coming off a season where he averaged the 4th highest across all players in the second half of last season (118.1 points per game), a player that’s proven to be as durable as any, and a player that’s once again had an excellent pre season leading into the year.
I just can’t believe that only 1 % of teams own the bloke, he’s a scoring machine. Anybody?
Dan’s Rookie Review
Well, after a long pre-season of writing about what I think the rookies could do this year, it’s time to have a look at what the rookies actually did do. How many dud calls did I make? Was I onto something with a few of these lesser likes? How glad am I that I decided at the last second not to post my already written article on Jarrad Boumann?
GWS vs. SYDNEY
There were 18 rookies playing in this game. Too many of them are fantasy relevant, so I guess I might as well write about all of them. FML.
Adam Kennedy (MID/FWD) – Kennedy looked good mopping up across half back. He won 28 possessions and was a benefactor of some chip chip in defence, which helped aide his 11 marks, as he tonned it up in AFL Dream Team and SuperCoach. He had a pretty underrated pre-season and while he has still ended up pretty popular he’s probably not as well represented as he should be.
Toby Greene (MID) – In our show before this game we suggested on Footy Tragic that Greene would be just as good an option as Coniglio and Tyson. Well, it’s a good start for that claim, but there’s still a long way to go. Greene played a typically tough game and was I thought he was the best GWS youngster on the ground, ending with 99 AFL Dream Team and 84 SuperCoach.
James McDonald (MID) – The veteran proved he still has a little bit in the tank, however those hoping for him to bang out a quick 6-8 games to get a sharp price rise will be feeling pretty flat with his two week suspension. His inside work look as solid and the year off probably did his body some good. How long that can last is the big issue with the 35 year old, but I guess he has another two weeks off to rest his body (yeah, I can’t look at that as a positive…I want a price rise).
Tomas Bugg (DEF) – I was a little sceptical regarding his body, feeling that he might be a little bit slight for a long and sustained impact at AFL level this year. He looked quite comfortable in defence and will be a nice little cash cow by the looks of things. He might be one they rotate a bit, but with his talent it’s reasonable to expect him to play enough games in a short enough period of time to be of real use for his owners.
Jonathan Giles (RUC) – Those testing out the strategy of starting Giles as second ruck will feel vindicated by his good showing against one of the AFL’s tougher ruckmen, Shane Mumford. For all of the hype and expectation on Giles it’s hard to believe that was his first AFL game, but he looked like he belonged, as he had all pre-season. If you don’t at least have him on the bench, why the hell not?!
Curtly Hampton (MID/FWD) – Hampton worked pretty well to take seven marks and managed to generate the first shot on goal for the Giants. Unfortunately, as with the rest of his night he couldn’t find the big sticks, which would’ve really helped his score along. His SuperCoach score was a disappointing 49, but in AFL Dream Team he compiled a handy 77 in a roaming half forward role.
Tim Mohr (DEF) – Kristian and Toby howled me down for this one. Most of my other friends howled me down too, but I don’t mind Mohr. Sure, he lacks composure and runs a little bit like a new born giraffe, but he simply must play every week. I must admit I didn’t actually expect him to find the ball, so that’s a nice little bonus, but he got involved in a few passages of play where the Giants just chipped it around in defence to conserve a bit of energy. Win.
Jack Hombsch (DEF) – The smokey in my SuperCoach defence, Hombsch had a solid, but unspectacular showing. He also got involved in a bit of uncontested chipping, which padded his stats a little. He wasn’t too bad, but I’ve got a little bit of concern he could be one of the first to make way in their defence. He’s a very promising tall defender though and I think they’ll want to get him a few games early on to back up Phil Davis and Mohr.
Will Hoskin-Elliott (MID) – The hyphen had a pretty good first half, but I thought he faded out of the game a bit. I also noticed him running past a few contests, which he is a little bit prone to do. He kicked it pretty well and scored in the 70s for AFL Dream Team and SuperCoach.
Devon Smith (MID/FWD) – I was a little disappointed by Dev’s score, but it had a lot more to do with his role than his actual game. He seemed to be playing pretty deep in a forward line that didn’t see much camera time. He’s a competitive little bastard though and I still back him in to be an excellent choice. 69 and 54 as his scores isn’t too disastrous and five tackles is a good sign that he can stay involved even if he’s not finding a heap of the ball.
Adam Tomlinson (BAC/FWD) – I wasn’t too impressed with Tomlinson’s game. My Dad was less impressed with my advice two minutes before lockout to play him over Bugg. He just struggled to get involved up forward and ventured up to the wing to get a few touches. Like Smith, he was probably more a victim of a forward line that wasn’t getting much supply.
Stephen Coniglio (MID) – Despite his meagre score I thought he had a good game. He showed a bit of class around the ball and displayed good vision in traffic and quick hands. Unfortunately class and vision don’t score points (in a specific sense anyway). His owners would’ve been hoping for more than a 53 AFL Dream Team and 58 SuperCoach score for his higher price tag, but I thought the signs were pretty good with him.
Jacob Townsend (DEF) – This bloke just loves it, doesn’t he? He’s another one who had a game I was far more impressed with than his score suggests. He cracked in hard and looked to really enjoy getting under the skin of Sydney players. He cut his head open going in hard and you get the feeling he kind of enjoys getting his head hit ie. he’s a bit of a nutter. He’ll be fun to watch, but I reckon his 42/40 score will be around his standard.
Jeremy Cameron (FWD) – Super talented kid, but it’ll take a little while for him to dominate games, similar to Sam Day for Gold Coast last year. There’s a couple of glimpses of brilliance, but he had to take five marks to earn his eight disposals, which suggests to me it’s going to be pretty tough going considering he’ll be commanding some pretty handy defenders.
Dylan Shiel (MID) – He was always a huge risk to be subbed off after having such a limited pre-season. He started off so well in the first quarter, but ran out of steam very quickly after starting to receive a bit of closer attention from the Swans midfield. He’ll still be a great pick this season, in my book, but it looks like he will need a few weeks to work his fitness up. He did play in a practice match for GWS reserves last weekend – hopefully that was just for fitness and not an indication that he’ll be heading back to the NEAFL.
Nathan Wilson (FWD) – Barely sighted apart from his booming goal. He played deep forward, so barely saw it.
Dom Tyson (MID) – Started as the sub and with his heavy price tag presumably left a lot of AFL Dream Team and SuperCoach teams just before lockout.
Israel Folau (FWD) – Each touch looked $1million. Actually wait, that’s just how much they were worth. I still think he’ll be OK and overall put up better numbers than fellow convert Karmichael Hunt in his rookie year. I’d be expecting these scores in the 20s for a little while longer though. Playing as the second ruck will help him engage in the play a bit more, I feel.
Harry Cunningham (MID) – He started as the sub and considering we knew that before lockout, like Tyson I assume he ended up being a late out for a lot of fantasy coaches.
RICHMOND VS. CARLTON
Brandon Ellis (DEF) – The occasion might have got to him, because he didn’t look as comfortable as he had in the NAB Cup. He’s still worth keeping around though, because I think he already stored a couple of credits in the bank over the pre-season and is less likely to be dropped than Morris.
Steven Morris (DEF) – Did they really need to replace Mitch Farmer with another player who plays exactly like Mitch Farmer? Morris isn’t one you’d expect to find much of the ball anyway, so the thing that hurt him was a low tackle count (two). Tackles will be his main form of scoring, but I guess it’s hard to catch Garlett to actually tackle him. If he gets another game this week there’s a decent chance his opponent won’t be as quick, but I’m worried about Webberley lurking (who is also rookie priced, mind you).
Paul Bower (DEF) – Well, he’s basically rookie priced, so he fits the bill for this article. I still can’t help but feel he’s just holding a place until Michael Jamison and Nick Duigan are back. Jamison and Duigan both got through a VFL game on the weekend too. If I were a Bower owner I’d be as nervous as he looks when he actually gets the nut in his hands.
HAWTHORN VS. COLLINGWOOD
Jarrad Boumann (DEF) – Looked terrible and lacked intensity. He’s lucky his direct opponent, Chris Dawes also looked pretty ordinary. They wanted him to take a tall opponent to allow Josh Gibson a bit of freedom, but I’m sure you can get a custom made 200cm witches hat. Subbed off.
Marty Clarke (DEF) – It wasn’t a fantastic first game back for Clarke. His kicking wasn’t quite as sharp as it was a few years ago. Is it possible that footy has changed so much in the couple of years that he’s missed that this brand of footy is foreign to the one he learnt a couple of years ago? I’m giving him a chance, because he learnt the sport so quickly first time around, so he must be pretty adaptable. Collingwood do have a lot of players to come back though, so as they start returning the pressure on him to keep his spot will start becoming greater – for now he’s safe.
Jackson Paine (DEF/FWD) – He was pretty quiet, but did a couple of things that didn’t look too bad. As I pointed out with Clarke, there’s a lot of Pies to return from injury, but structurally Paine isn’t looking too bad in this team. Chris Dawes really struggled as second ruck, so they may opt for Cameron Wood, Jarrad Witts or Jonathan Ceglar to play that role. Unfortunately for Paine, that’s more like to force him out than Dawes himself.
Paul Seedsman (MID) – Started as the sub and came on late for a few touches. He’s not in many teams and he’ll be one of the first out of their team for returning players. I still don’t mind him as a player though. I reckon they’ve got one to keep an eye on, but maybe not for fantasy purposes, because by the time he’s ready to make an impact his price would have had a few rises (if he gets that far this year).
Peter Yagmoor (DEF) – Literally didn’t touch the ball. He was spotted on camera a couple of times though, slightly less than the trainer stationed in the back pocket. Surely the first to get dropped.
MELBOURNE VS. BRISBANE
James Magner (MID) – One of the only Melbourne players to show some aggots in an otherwise pathetic display. It was a wonderful fantasy display, managing a ton in both forms of the game and I’m glad I came around to him after having early reservations. He did hurt his ankle late in the game and hobbled off. There’s been a distinct lack of information early in the week on this one, but hopefully it’s not bad enough to keep him out. He does strike me as a very tough customer though.
Josh Tynan (DEF) – A pretty ho hum performance, but far from their worst. There’s a lot more dead wood to cut before him, so he’s every chance of getting a second game this week.
No rookie priced players.
GOLD COAST VS. ADELAIDE
Karmichael Hunt (DEF) – After scoring so poorly last year he stayed cheap enough to be pretty much rookie priced. He looked a lot more comfortable than in any game last year and wasn’t too bad in the midfield, scoring 63 in AFL Dream Team and 54 in SuperCoach. It’s going to be a slow process, but his job security would be better than any other defender in or under his price range. I gave him a thought admittedly, but it would’ve only been as a bench option and I couldn’t justify his slightly inflated price tag to sit on the bench.
Aaron Hall (FWD) – He won enough of the ball, but just didn’t fill in enough other columns to boost his score. 17 touches for 55 points in both formats of the game is a bit disappointing, as he only managed three marks, one tackle and no shots on goal. He still looks impressive, but for fantasy purposes needs to get some numbers in those other stats.
No rookie priced players.
NORTH MELBOURNE VS. ESSENDON
No rookie priced players in this game.
FREMANTLE VS. GEELONG
Josh Mellington (FWD) – At half time I was worried I might have put some people onto a bad smokey. I’m still not convinced, because three goals really padded his score. He was missing for most of the game and only collected five possessions, but along with those crucial three goals he laid five tackles for a respectable 55 AFL Dream Team and 65 SuperCoach score. He’s not going to get three goals every week, so he’ll need to start finding more of the ball, but at least his place in the team is safe for now. I do have him in my SuperCoach team, so it’s not like I deserted ship for all of you who are starting to worry about him.
Cameron Guthrie (BAC) – Like Mellington, he didn’t find heaps of the ball, but his score was boosted by a high tackle count (7). I thought he had a serviceable game, but not spectacular so it was good that he managed 61/79 in each format. He did enough for Geelong to keep persisting with in the short term.
Billie Smedts (BAC/FWD) – What’s with all the kids in this game not finding the ball, but pulling out scores based almost entirely on tackles? Well, I guess it was an extremely tough and contested match. Playing in defence Smedts didn’t get a heap of it, but had a reasonable enough game. He had nine touches and seven tackles, but wasn’t used in any sort of sweeping up role, which would disappoint his owners, as would his zero marks.
Orren Stephenson (RUC) – It was a tough assignment for the Big O on debut against Sandilands and he really battled before getting subbed off in the third quarter. Let’s see how he goes against someone who can’t be legally declared a skyscraper, but after his uninspiring pre-season there are some warning signs that he’ll only be good for hitouts and not much else.
WESTERN BULLDOGS VS. WEST COAST
Clay Smith (MID) – Wow! What an impressive debut from the boy from Bairnsdale. Clay Smith kicked four goals and showed ferocious attack on the contest. Despite having a whole pre-season of poor SuperCoach scores and strong AFL Dream Team scores he managed a 102 in SC and 79 in DT. Unfortunately some serious cramping got the better of him in the third quarter and he was a forced substitution, but should be OK for this week. Apparently four goals isn’t quite good enough for a Rising Star nomination. Hmmmm…
Tory Dickson (FWD) – 12 touches for a return of 37 in AFL Dream Team and 30 in SuperCoach isn’t a great return. He missed an easy opportunity in front of goal, took three marks and laid zero tackles. I’m not overly concerned, because his NAB Cup started similarly frustrating (he kept getting to good spots and just missing getting on the end of it) before working his way into it. With the step up in intensity I’m thinking that this will similarly take him just a little bit of adjustment to find his bearings. I still think he’ll be fine, but until I see a spike in his scoring I’ll keep him on the bench, rather than trying to predict his breakout game.
No rookie priced players.
PORT ADELAIDE VS. ST.KILDA
This is actually the only game that I completely missed, so unfortunately I’ve only got stats and reports I’ve heard on these guys. As with all other games anyway, feel free to add your own comments.
Jarrad Redden (RUC) – Those that stuck with Orren Stephenson instead of Redden (or am I the only one?) will have been spewing to see Redden win about the same amount of hitouts as The Big O’s total AFL Dream Team score. Along with 12 touches and three marks Redden put together a solid 68/71 before being subbed off in the third quarter. Why? I can only assume because he was cooked because they didn’t have another full time ruckman in their team.
Chad Wingard (MID) – It sounded like he was pretty exciting from some bits I heard on the radio, but he for his 16 touches he only put it on the shoe three times. It was only his first game, but hopefully Port have a development coach that will explain to him that a kick is +3 and a handball is +2 in AFL Dream Team. This isn’t typically how he plays though, so I wouldn’t be too worried from an overall perspective.
Terry Milera (FWD) – Impressive looking debut for the slight bodied Milera. After a quiet first term he worked his way into the game beautifully, ending with 17 touches, six marks, three tackles and a goal. That’s a pretty good return for 74 AFL Dream Team and 85 SuperCoach. I must admit, he’s one I never really considered due to his skinny frame, but if he can stay pretty durable he might turn out to be a good unique rookie this year.
Well what a fantastic start to the season from the Footy perspective. But fair to say, the enjoyment hasn’t been shared quite so much with fantasy coaches, with several pre-season stars falling on the first hurdle of the season.
Now, time to go through the games one by one – without any further ado, here is my first weekly wrap of the year!
Carlton vs Richmond:
- Bryce Gibbs proved we shouldn’t have let the fact he is not a DPP dissuade us from selecting him, with a fantastic game through the midfield. He played alongside Deledio, but won plenty of ball himself and used it very well. Finished with 22 possessions and 10 marks.
- Matthew Kruezer was the star of the show, playing the majority of game time through the ruck. He follows up his own ruck work so well and has no trouble finding the pill – if Rutten can continue to play him in this position then he is going to be a good scorer this year. However, the return of Warnock in the coming weeks does scare me.
- Mitch Robinson had a pretty quiet outing, relying on some late possessions and a goal to help make his score respectable. His final score was clearly well down on what his owners would expect, but it must be remembered that he only played one game in the pre-season. He will improve as he warms into the season.
- Kane Lucas, after some really promising signs in the pre-season, started the game as the sub, which was a real disappointment. He looked good when he came on, but that green vest was a clear indication that he only sits in the outskirts of their best-22.
- Trent Cotchin was fantastic for the Tiges – he was ultra classy through the midfield, but also drifted forward to great effect, booting two goals. Cotchin has been progressing rapidly year on year, so it won’t be a big surprise if he takes his game to another level again in 2012. He will be a great supercoach option this year especially.
- Jack Riewoldt continued his good pre-season form with an impressive 4.3. He is venturing up the ground throughout the game, but what I like is that he often has purpose to it – he doesn’t just find himself on the wing for the sake of some possessions. Rather, he always manages to influence the contests he takes part in. On the games we’ve seen, 2012 may see him return to his Coleman-winning best.
- Bradon Ellis was a great disappointment to many coaches, especially the thousands who had him sitting on their fields over Bugg. He simply looked a bit daunted at times throughout the game, but this is an issue which can be rectified pretty easily. He will come good, so don’t panic trade him or anything like that – unfortunately it just appears it may take a little time.
Collingwood vs Hawthorn:
- Scott Pendlebury was the star of the game, and despite being on the losing team, should be a strong contender for the three Brownlow votes. He was simply in everything through the midfield, winning plenty of clearances and contested ball – he looks capable of taking his game to another level again in 2012. He finished with 33 disposals, 6 tackles and 2.1.
- Dane Swan, whilst he didn’t quite reach the heights we know he is capable of, was still pretty good. Plenty of cheap touches, which we love, and looked to be covering the ground pretty well. He was certainly much better than in the pre-season. There were a number of concerns over his start to the year through the NAB cup, but after plenty of good signs in this game, I reckon we will be seeing more of the Swanny we love in 2012.
- Marty Clarke was pretty good for the Pies – he wasn’t a huge ball winner, but he didn’t really look like a guy who had been out of the game for a couple of years. He moved well and used the ball efficiently. His score of 61 looks like it will be about par for him this year – not bad for o 7th or 8th defender.
- Jackson Paine was good up forward for the Pies, taking three grabs and kicking 1.1. Whilst he didn’t set the world on fire, the signs were good enough that he would play a number of games this year. He is a good build and looked to fit the structure pretty well.
- Sammy Mitchell has started from where he left off last year, with another fantastic performance through the midfield. He had 32 disposals and 8 tackles for the night and was a key to the Hawks’ victory. He has proven himself to be one of the great premium midfield options which you simply cannot ignore.
- Lance Franklin – what a superstar! He is such a job to watch. Whilst Buddy started the game pretty quiet, he worked his way into it by the second quarter and really started to dominate, eventually kicking 5.3 from 21 disposals. He kicked some fantastic goals too, including one beauty from outside the 50. His form looks brilliant so far – a real worry for the 40% of teams that didn’t decide to start him!
- Grant Birchall looked very good off half-back for the Hawks, setting up a number of Hawthorn attacks with his penetrating left boot. The fact he cracked the ton in DT was a great sign, considering last year was the first time he became a legitimate DT option. He could be a great point of difference in any backline!
- Jarrad Boumann was not nearly as good as we had hoped, being smashed by Dawes early and then being subbed off. Obviously, he cannot be judged on one game along, although I’d be feeling a little nervous that he may not be getting a gig next week anyway!
Melbourne vs Brisbane:
- James Magner clearly gets first mention here, as he did from the coach. Mark Neeld stated after the game that Magner was his best midfielder and he wasn’t far wrong – in his debut game, the ‘Magnet’ picked up 23 disposals, 4 tackles and 2 goals. He isn’t the classiest player, but he goes in hard and won’t die trying. If you don’t have him in your Dream Team, then you are a fool.
- Jack Trengove was another Dee who could hold his head high after the game. He competed well around the ground and adds an element of class to their lineup. If he had more support around him, he would be a fantastic DT or SC pickup, but my concern is he will attract a lot of attention from opposition coaches this year.
- Jack Grimes was a somewhat surprising inclusion for the game, and frankly, he might as well have not played. Whilst he managed 15 disposals, his direct opponent, Tom Rockliff, absolutely dominated him as he almost refused to man up. Will still be a good fantasy option though and should get more game time in the coming weeks.
- Aaron Davey was poor, refusing to give a yelp when the game was up for grabs. My money is on him playing VFL next weekend – I cant see how the coach could validate that performance.
- Tom Rockliff was the real X-Factor for the Lions, booting 3.5 as a semi-permanent forward. With no Jonathan Brown for the Lions, they seem to be rotating other key players through the forward line in the hope that something sticks. Fortunately, Rockliff really got away from his opponent and helped to win the game off his own boot. I’d want to see him play more midfield games though for DT purposes, but the odd game like this won’t hurt anybody!
- Pearce Hanley was really impressive, running off half-back and through the midfield. He is a very good user of the ball and already appears to have improved him game from last year. The highlight of his game was a beautiful goal from outside 50m, whilst he also finished with 23 touches and 9 marks.
- Simon Black put on a vintage display through the midfield, despite copping a tag from Jordie McKenzie. He picked up 30 touches and laid an incredible 10 tackles. Whilst he may be a little old to put in your Dream Team or SuperCoach, it’d great to see the good man still running around.
- Matthew Leauenberger played the majority of the game as a key forward, which is really not very exciting from a DT or SC perspective. With Hudson at the club now, it appears like Leuey will assume Mitch Clarke’s role at FF, which is a shame as scoring will simply not be good enough or consistent enough.
Fremantle vs Geelong:
- Nat Fyfe was clearly the best of the Dockers. Watching him closely, it’s interesting to note that his disposal would only just be OK, whilst his ability to read the game is simply phenomenal. He works hard to find space all day and also has the ability to do something pretty special with ball in hand. Finished the game with 30 disposals, 7 tackles and 2 goals.
- Aaron Sandilands looked back to his dominant best in the first half, but faded as the game went on – this is mainly due to his lack of pre-season. He is simply unstoppable in the ruck and in the air – it’s amazing watching how many marks he plucks in packs – no one can ever get hear his reach. I reckon he may take a few more rounds to really get going, but the signs are pretty positive so far.
- Paul Duffield was very good off half-back, playing the role which made him a fantasy favourite in 2010. He played a very attacking game and provided plenty of overlap to his teammates, often starting a run of play in the backline, only to be on the other end of it when it came to the forward line. He is a hard worker, so hopefully 2012 can be another big year for him.
- Greg Broughton was disappointing, being sent to do a defensive job on Stevie J the most of the match. Many coaches jumped on board with the hope of increased midfield time, although already it appears like he will be thrown into defence as needed this year – not great for his fantasy output.
- Joel Selwood had a great first game as skipper, even though that Cats didn’t come home with the win. It was a typical game from Joel as he picked up 33 touches through the midfield. I am surprised he is not more popular this year – but then again, if you do need a premium midfielder this year, then you should strongly considering this man.
- Andrew Mackie played an interesting role, switching between half-forward and half-back for most of the match, often finding himself without an opponent. He hasn’t been a very good DT or SC player for a few years, but a role like this could really turn him around. I’m looking forward to seeing him again next week.
- Corey Enright was just about unsighted for most of the match, I direct effect of no pre-season. There didn’t appear to be any issues when he had the ball in his hand, but the issue was more getting it into his hands in the first place. He managed to finish with just 11 disposals for the game.
- Orren Stephenson was a bit of a worry, being subbed off in the third quarter with just 3 disposals and 10 hitouts to his name. He had very little effect one the game and was often beaten in the ruck by big Sandilands. Fortunately, Trent West had a pretty quiet game too, meaning the Big O will likely get another gig next week – fingers crossed he can really take it with both hands then.
Gold Coast vs Adelaide:
- Is it any wonder that Gary Ablett was the best of the Suns? No, probably not. He was prolific through the midfield, picking up 42 disposals and booting two goals whilst going head-to-head with various Adelaide midfielders. He manages to win so many disposals, but also uses the ball so proficiently, making him a must-have for both DT and SC.
- Jared Brennan took up a new role for 2012, roaming across half-back, and looking pretty efficient. He is certainly not the most defensive of players, but he is very good at setting up attacks from the backline. He’s career stats suggest he is wildly inconsistent, although this role does typically lend itself to Dream Team and SuperCoach. Certainly keep an eye on him.
- Dion Prestia is one of my favourite players on the Suns list – he is so quick and skilful, but also fantastic at the clearances, often running off with the ball before it has even hit the ground. He will certainly be a very good player. I actually toyed with him in my SuperCoach this pre-season, and whilst his price proved too high to justify, there does look to be plenty of improvement to come from him in 2012.
- Karmichael Hunt played through the midfield as advertised and wasn’t too bad. He still looks a little lost out on the field with where to run, etc, but he at least managed to win himself a bit of ball (15 touches to be precise). With the dearth of defence rookies this year, oddly you could do much worst than Khunt.
- Kurt Tippett dominated from the first bounce, smashing his opponent Steven May every time the ball went in his area. Kicking let him down a bit, but he still managed to finish with 4.3. When Tippett did get on top of his opponent, the Crows did all they could to leave him one-out in the square, giving him every opportunity to dominate. With no pre-season behind him, this was a very promising start to the year, although I have reservations about him backing this up week on week.
- Scott Thompson dominated the midfield possessions, with 39 touches for the game – a little short of his 52 touches from last time he played the Suns. We have talked about him quite a bit this pre-season – he is such a consistent scorer with one of the highest ceilings in Dream Team, yet year after year he seems to be ‘unique.’ Pounce now before your mates do.
- Ian Callinan was very impressing, despite the fact he was incredibly wasteful in front of goal, booting 2.5 for the afternoon. He was a huge ball winner in the SANFL, so we have had our fingers crossed that this would be translated to AFL level – so far this year the signs have been good. He is fairly priced, so the risk isn’t huge – in fact, in my opinion he is much less risky than similarly priced Porplyzia.
- Jason Porplyzia was one of the disappointments of the round, unable to get much of the ball as the Crows cleared out their forward half for the dominant Tippett. He finished with 17 disposals and once very late goal, which helped save him a bit of face.
North Melbourne vs Essendon:
- Lindsay Thomas was the highest scorer for North, but may I please make the point that he is not at all fantasy relevant. He does manage the occasional big score, but the majority of games are marred with inconsistency. He looked lively across half forward, booting 2.2 from 18 touches – and incredibly, 17 of these touches were kicks!
- Daniel Wells was exciting for the Roos and he really appears to have developed some consistency between games – an issue which has clearly plagued him for years. I don’t mind him too much as an option, but there probably are better players for similar cash.
- Hamish McIntosh and Todd Goldstein both appear to be nullifying each other this year, as when not in the ruck, each big man appears to struggle. If either were the solitary ruckman in a team, then I would be all over them, but this tandem partnership just not appear to be working.
- Brent Stanton was not only one of the best players for the game, but also the round; he also managed to finish on 180 SuperCoach points – the highest of any player in round 1. He was everywhere through the midfield and clearly has no issues in finding space – something he did numerous times throughout the game before taking off down the wing. He finished with 35 disposals, 7 marks, 5 tackles and 2 goals – big ticks in every category.
- Paddy Ryder more than held his own against the two North big-men, winning both in the air and around the ground. He had a poor 2011, but more games like this could really put his name forward as a legitimate premium ruck option this year. As we have discussed on the site, the premium/rookie ruck strategy has the benefit of allowing you a look at who is the best ruckman in the early parts of the year, or any big improvers. Ryder could be the man here if this form continues – although his price won’t remain so low for long!
- David Zaharakis seemed to take and eternity to warm into the game, but once he did he looked very good. He played mainly through the midfield and has many strings to his bow. Finished with 25 touches and 6 tackles, and after a quiet pre-season he is now a very unique selection. Must consider.
- Dustin Fletcher, the next player to be signed to a five-year deal. The old guy’s still got it – his last quarter was amazing and saved Essendon the match.
Western Bulldogs vs West Coast:
- Clay Smith was another young gun to really impress in round one, with a 13 possession, four-goal game before being subbed off with cramp in the third term. The new coach clearly loves him and is not afraid to play him on the ball, and fortunately, Smith didn’t let him down – he certainly won’t die trying. If you missed out on him this pre-season, it’s not too late to jump on before his price goes up.
- Matthew Boyd was solid as ever for the Dogs and a great captain choice for those happy to bank on his super pre-season. Only one tackle was a bit of a surprise, but he still finished with 38 touches and 6 marks whilst going head-to-head with Priddis.
- Brian Lake would have to be one of the biggest disappointments from the weekends’ games, managing just 29 DT and 30 SC points. He played at full back, which was no surprise, but there just appeared to be little energy to his game, similar to how it was last year. It has been a while since he has played AFL (bar the NAB cup), so hopefully he is just warming up. That said, another game like that and he is straight out of my team
- Josh Kennedy was the best of the Eagles in his first game of the year, booting 7.1 on the inexperienced Markovic. He has had an extremely limited pre-season, so this result was somewhat surprising, although we do know he has the talent. Unfortunately though, as a key forward, Dream Team isn’t really his game.
- Dean Cox started the year in good fashion with the solid ton. He played a lot of time at full-forward, whilst still rotating up through the ruck. He finished with 16 disposals, 5 tackles, 22 hitouts and 2 goals. Personally, I’m not a huge fan of his forward role (it does work against a young/inexperienced backline though), so it will be interesting to see how he goes this year.
- Daniel Kerr was surprisingly quiet for the first game of the year – he was given an extremely tight tag by Liam Picken, who kept him out of the game almost entirely, forcing John Worsfold to sub him off – a real indictment of his quality of game. He will surely bounce back though in the coming weeks.
Need to get something off your chest? Particularly disappointed about someone’s performance? Or on the other hand, over the moon about a unique selection or a beautifully consistent premium?
Well this thread has been posted for you. How good is it to have the footy back?!
Note: Please refrain from swearing… (if you can!!!)