Western Bulldogs vs Geelong:
This was a brilliant match, pitching two of the best teams in the comp up against each other - and it was also a fantastic way to start the Preliminary Final weekend in Dream Team. Some big scores from some popular players got many teams off on a good foot - Joel Selwood was brilliant, and again, Ablett racked up the possessions. Their hard work was fruitless, however, as the Dogs ran over the top to come out victors. Brad Johnson and Adam Cooney were the Dogs best – Johnno has really put the clock back over the past few weeks – he has been in some great form! The only worry is that he will be up against the miserly Pies next Sunday in the all-important Dreamteam Grand Final! Another player who impressed me for the umpteenth time this season was Callan Ward – he is getting better and better each week and looks so composed under pressure. For me, barring injury, he is a lock for 2010.
Get on: Joel Selwood – for those still with one roll of the dice left, Selwood could be a great addition to any midfield – he is in form and only has Fremantle to play next week at Skilled Stadium.
Get off: Paul Chapman - I have been celebrating all year as Chappy has been taking home the cream for me. But once again, at the business end of the season, he has let me down… Not again Chappy!
Injury: Paul Chapman - Didn’t want to break tradition, so injured his hamstring early in the game. Apparently it is only very minor and is a chance to play this week!
Carlton vs Melbourne:
Jeffrey Garlett – You Star! I knew there was a reason that I chose the little man at the start of the year, and his 114 points was just the boost my team needed to get over the line! Aside from Garlett, several other Blues had brilliant games – Gibbs was the best of the lot, closely followed by Murphy and Judd… and of course, Fev’s seven goals straight wasn’t too bad either! Carlton are looking in great form, although I worry about how they will fare against Adelaide – whatever you do, do not trade in Fev this week – he comes up against Ben “the Truck” Rutten this week, who generally does a great stopping job on him! For the Dees, they never looked like getting over the line, although a few young stars battled on all day – Sylvia looked good off half back (which allowed Davey to play through the midfield) and Russel Robertson looked dangerous in his second last game. For the kids, I am keeping an eye on Cale Morton – he has shown great scoring potential in the past, but lately has been given less attacking roles. If freed up next year, he could be one of the great smokies of 2010 – keep an eye out!
Get on: Chris Judd - wasn’t his best game, but the good news story for Judd came from Adelaide, where Robert Shirley (who always has the wood over Judd) did his Hammy. This means, if you have Judd, you can sleep easier in the build up to round 22.
Get off: Brock McLean - Why he played as a forward is beyond me! If this is where he plays next week against the Saints, he will get three possessions!
Injury: Richard Hadley is done for the year after breaking his arm. Ricky Petterd was shut down after hurting his groin – probably won’t be risked against the Saints. Also, Matthew Whelan injured his hamstring, drawing an end to his career, due to his retirement earlier in the week.
Adelaide vs West Coast:
This game was dominated by Adelaide’s midfield, with Thompson, Goodwin, Vince, Knights and Edwards all dominating on their way to tons. Strangely for a team who kicked 18 goals, many of their key forwards looked out of touch for the majority of the night, with most of them scoring disappointingly low. The revelation of the game was Michael Doughty, whose game off half-back was brilliant – he is a classically underrated player, yet was one of their most important in this game. For the Eagles, it was great to see Tom Swift leading the way with 111 points – he has had a rather ineffective year, but has really grown to the pace of the game in the past month. He was a massive ball-winner as a junior, so it is great to see him able to convert that at a senior level. Adam Selwood was again one of their best – pencil him in as a player to watch pre-season next year – if Woosha decides not to use him as a tagger, jump on!
Get on: Scott Thompson - loves to play Carlton, and if this game was anything to go by, he is in great form. He is a superb DT player, so is unlikely to let you down!
Get off: Matt Spangher – One of the worst smokies of the year – was tipped pre-season to play on the wing, but it never eventuated. Is never going to be much more than a GOP (general ordinary player).
Injury: Robert Shirley - pulled a hamstring, which sounded like music to the ears of Judd owners – his tagging skills won’t be missed by Judd next week.
Brisbane vs Port Adelaide:
What initially looked like a blow-out for Port Adelaide instead turned out to be a miraculous win by the Lions. There weren’t any significant stand-outs for either team, as players tended to drift in and out of the contest most of the night. We are talking about two of the most inconsistent performers from 2009! One of the best players for Brissie was Ash McGrath, who has turned his defensive game into a fantastic rebounding one – he has played some great attacking football over the past month or two. Highly consider him for 2010 if this role continues, which it should! Equally impressing was first-year Lion, Jack Redden, and it isn’t hard to tell why Vossy loves him so much – he is rough and tough and loves to get under packs. He is a quality footballer – though he is playing so well that he will be way too overpriced in 2010. From Port, Boak was again a highlight – he is a young star and will be their midfield general in the next year or two! Write him on your 2010 list in pen (and maybe even highlight it!) – he will be a star – only needs to stay on the park a bit longer!
Get off: Matt Thomas - I have always hoped he will be a great DTer, because he is a great player. But he just does all the hard stuff, and DT doesn’t reward hard stuff! I hope to be proven wrong on Matt, because he could be a great midfielder if given the chance!
Injury: Daniel Merrett: Big “Sauce” succumbed to a hamstring injury that he looked to have carried into the game. May miss a week.
Richmond vs Hawthorn:
Finally, we got a game where several of the biggest 2009 DT disappointments all shone - Luke Hodge (114), Buddy Franklin (131), Brett Deledio (139) and Troy Simmonds (110). Some coaches must have been jumping out of their seats to see these scores from boys they’ve been cursing all year – I know I was! Of them all, Franklin was the best, scoring 5.6 – whilst inaccurate, anyone able to kick five goals is a star! His work rate was also exceptional! I just can’t wait to see him next week against the Bombers as the Hawks fight for their spot in the finals! This match also welcomed back two players who have been out of the game for a very long time – Max Bailey from Hawthorn and Graham Polak from Richmond. Both looked rusty, but it was great to see each of them back out there and even working hard underneath the packs. Whilst Polak is more a good story than a good DT story, Bailey is one to keep an eye on. If fit, 2010 promises to be his year – he could well take over the number one ruck mantle, meaning he is a great option for third or fourth ruck!
Get on: Lance Franklin: Buddy wants to play finals - you can smell it! And now with the Essendon game being an elimination final of sorts, expect him to come out with guns blazing!
Get off: Shane Edwards - For such a good user of the ball, I wonder why they don’t want it in his hands more. Watch for his pre-season in 2010, although many got sucked in this year!
Injury: Nothing of significance!
St.Kilda vs North Melbourne:
For the second week in a row, St. Kilda were ripped apart by the opposition’s inside midfielder. This week, Andrew Swallow took the honours with 33 disposals, eight tackles and 152 DT points - the highest for the round. At least this week the Saints players DT points didn’t fade away - key players Goddard, Riewoldt, Sam Fisher and Montagna still made it to the ton, despite their teams lack of effort on the field. Those coaches displeased with the late withdrawal of Hayes were soon feeling happy when number one choice emergency, Liam Anthony made his way to 124 points! His best score so far in his short career. Drew Petrie also played a brilliant game, getting the better of both Zac Dawson and Sam Fisher through different parts of the game. With Melbourne at the MCG next week, hopefully the Saints can pull their fingers out and come home with some massive scores.
Get on: Nick Riewoldt – the built up anger at these two losses must be amazing! With no-one to match up on next week, he should carve Melbourne up to the tune of at least 120 points!
Get off: James Gwilt – Did nothing in the twos to deserve his spot, and nothing in the seniors to justify keeping it.
Collingwood vs Sydney:
Sydney again put the clamps on, shutting down the total disposals of an otherwise dominant Collingwood! Many Collingwood favourites were heavily tagged, resulting in several poor scores – Pendlebury, Swan and Didak were the worst hurt (as were all the coaches who put any of these three Captain!). For Sydney, a rejuvenated Adam Goodes was brilliant at CHF – “Please DT Gods, Please make Adam Goodes eligible as a forward in DT 2010!!!” One of the positives at Sydney at the moment is the amount of kids they have coming through – several look quite promising, especially Hannebery and O’Dwyer – it could be worth keeping an eye of both of these kids for next year.
Get on: Adam Goodes – Those looking for a point of difference for the Grand Final may consider – with Merrett out, the Brisbane defence will be stretched – Goodes may be able to whack an extra ton onto your scoresheet!
Get off: Mike Pyke – The first man in the history of the game to average less than Presti! I wouldn’t consider for 2010 – he only seems to know the ‘no possession’ style of football.
Injury: Jarred Moore - injured his ribs in a marking contest and will probably sit out the last match.
Fremantle vs Essendon:
This was a very low-scoring DT game, especially for one played at Subiaco! The Dons looked to have partied a little too hard after defeating the Saints last week, and didn’t look like they had come to play. Fremantle on the other hand looked very good - many of their younger players shared the ball well and loved taking on the game. David Mundy set the scene with his work rate and ability to break the lines – he had close to his best game of the year, showing coach Mark Harvey he wants to be part of their future. Another young-gun who turned it on was Nick Suban, who was brilliant along the wing with his run and carry and piercing left boot! He looks to be a star of the future (2010 perhaps??)! From Essendon, no-one was particularly impressive. Many of the players to star last week were flat – Watson and Monfries the main offenders. I worry now about the Bombers chances against a rampaging Hawks – especially after a trip to Subiaco. I wouldn’t be trading any bombers in this week.
Get on: Nick Suban – I loved his game, and really like watching him play and break the lines. Keep an eye on him for next year – his confidence and fitness has really built over the last month of this season.
Get off: Angus Monfries – Prefers to play for a free kick than mark a ball. Is too inconsistent for my liking. Can turn it on against the top team one week, then do nothing at all against the team second bottom on the ladder.
Injury: Alwyn Davey – looked to have broken his collarbone late in the match – if so, his season is over. Jarrod Atkinson – Injured his calf late in the match – doubtful this week.