This was a fun game with which to end the preseason. It was a low scoring arm-wrestle but highly entertaining with both clubs apparently giving it their all. Here are a few final notes to finish your preseason homework before the next podcast drops:
Played midfield. Looked explosive around stoppages and racked up plenty of possessions from limited game time. I’d be interested to know if the reduced TOG was deliberate to ease him back into senior footy and it’s only a practice game anyway, or if it was because he’s not quite fit enough after an interrupted preseason (and an interrupted 2019). Got through the game unscathed though which is the most important thing.
Also played midfield. More handball-happy than usual but he sure stands out with that ridiculous haircut. Can’t miss him and neither did his teammates. His price is awkward in salary formats after a mini-breakout last year from a handful of games, but he’s a very interesting draft prospect.
Darcy Fort & Rhys Stanley
Fort played half a game and performed admirably enough to put Rhys Stanley under pressure. Geelong’s ruck situation is an interesting one but the bottom line is that Smith leaving doesn’t necessarily mean Stanley is #1 all season.
Loves playing kick to kick with his teammates and might be an underrated option in fantasy formats this year. The role is definitely still there for him.
He’s actually pretty good at football, in case anyone had forgotten.
He’s also actually pretty good at football too. Not as good as Dangerfield, but still pretty good.
This is what track-watchers wanted to see heading into round one. Double figure tackle numbers and not anchored inside forward fifty – although he did spend plenty of time there. Enough to be concerned? Probably not.
Has his time finally come? Solid midfield minutes in both Marsh games and ooh ahh he’s looked good doing it. McGrath seems suited a little more outside than inside but the intent and endeavour is definitely there.
You’ll enjoy having him in your team just so you can say his name every week. Bit of luck and he’ll make you some cash too. 12 of his 18 possessions were interceptions and he read the play like a player with many more years of experience.
That’s premiership player Jacob Townsend, by the way. He did not play the inside midfield role that we hoped he might, but he did play very well as a pressure forward. The same role in which he won a premiership medal. Playing in a premiership. Premiership player Jacob Townsend, that is. Anyway, he might have earned himself a spot for round one on that performance but his scoring will still be heavily reliant on goals if he’s dancing around the forward pocket.
The Eagles welcomed the Bombers to Perth and to some strange weather for an entertaining pre-season clash which saw the visitors impress early and hold on for an 8 point win. There was a 20 minute break early in the second quarter due to safety concerns amid lightning storms in the area meaning the game was played in mostly wet conditions.
Both sides were missing a bevy of stars opening the door for some lesser lights to shine and shine they did! Whether some of these players get the same opportunities when both sides are at full strength remains to be seen and must be considered when assessing these performances.
This was our first look at the young gun in blue and gold and I honestly expected him to blitz it causing everyone to scramble to rush him into their fantasy sides (like Bont and Petracca last week). He started very slowly though, and with the likes of Gaff and Yeo missing, it was strange to see him playing so much off half forward early.
Essendon’s mids were well on top in the first half so it wasn’t surprising to see Kelly move into the preferred midfield role in the second half. This is when he really started to sparkle, getting his hands on it 13 times in the 3rd quarter, and finishing the game with 27 disposals and a goal. Set for a big year once he finds his groove at his new home.
Looking for a POD mid? The new Eagles captain just always gets it done and with Kelly’s arrival, should say goodbye to taggers for good. Had 31 touches and 4 tackles in this game and like Kelly, will thrive at the feet of Naitanui. Gun.
Deceptively good. Played midfield most of the night and was his usual busy self with 28 touches but I still feel when the full Eagles midfield is on the park, he’ll spend more time forward. Worth a look late in Drafts and I’m tipping he will be in everyone’s forward line in 2021.
Started very slowly due in part to the heavy conditions but warmed into the game quickly. Took 7 marks on a wet night and even though he is a year older, looks set for another big year in fantasy. Will be a solid option again.
It is so nice to see the big fella in full flight again and we all have our fingers crossed he can have a healthy season. As expected, his minutes were limited, and his first bench rotation came within 5 minutes of the start of the game! His time on ground was 51% but when on the field, he commanded the stoppages and looked solid with 11 touches and 28 hit outs. Should be a popular R2 option but will be frustrating to own as it’s difficult to accumulate points while warming the bench!
Read our full preseason take on him from the 50 Most Relevant Series here.
A round 1 bolter and a real option for our R3 spot. He did some nice things and stayed involved throughout even capping the performance with a goal. Can he leapfrog Vardy and Hickey to be the Eagle’s back up for NicNat? I think he can!
Had a huge night kicking 6 straight and relishing the space and attention with Darling and Allen missing. He is looking sharper and more agile than he has in years but for context, he was up against the single gamer in Zerk-Thatcher. At his price, he could be a good cash maker early in the year.
I’d heard great things about this kid and, with it being suggested he could play on the wing this year, he was firmly on my watch list. The role on the wing was there but for a 6 foot 4 winger, I must say I didn’t notice him a great deal. He didn’t get a lot of ball collecting 11 disposals but did look clean and composed. He’s still very young and if he keeps that role, remains relevant as a rookie, particularly with that handy DEF/FWD dual status. Let’s have another look at him in Marsh 2 when some of the other midfielders return.
He looked good and provided great run and carry off half back, but he turned 30 last year and I can’t see him suddenly becoming relevant for us.
He did enough to suggest he’s going to be one of the big improvers this year, but I don’t think I was the only one worried early as he only attended 1 centre bounce in the first half. He was tackling hard (finished with 6) and was throwing his weight around a bit as he looked up and about and pleased to be fit again. But he needs to convert that into more fantasy points if he’s going to come even close to replicating his 2018 season.
Thankfully, he had a big second half as he was given more midfield opportunities attending 8 centre bounces and collecting 14 touches. Will be better for the run as this was his first game since round 8 last year.
Ultimately with Devon, the test we needed to see is did he add defensive pressure and tackle? The answer to that is he did!
Read our full preseason take on him from the 50 Most Relevant Series here.
I absolutely loved his game as he was solid throughout the 4 quarters and played a fantasy-friendly game. He was never far from the ball and even snagged a nice snapped goal in the 1st quarter. Finished with 29 touches and 4 tackles from just 65% game time. Fits the bill for a breakout perfectly.
Could be one of the stories of last years mid-season rookie draft (after GF hero Marlion Pickett) as he looked very much at home on the big stage albeit a pre-season stage. He looked fantastic playing high half forward and was all over the ground laying tackles and taking important marks. He only played 65% of the game but still had 20 touches, 7 marks, 7 tackles and kicked 2.2. I’m not sure the same opportunities will be there in the season proper, but this performance has made me take notice.
Very much under the radar in fantasy circles perhaps after not quite delivering on his potential last season. He looked the real deal in this game though, as he commanded the half back line dashing up and down the ground and even took some of the kick in duties.
He had a good spread of stats with 21 touches, 7 marks and 5 tackles and could be a nice unique option. The only concern is the impact of Saad and Mckenna on his role and scoring output when they return. One to watch.
He is so great to watch when he’s on, but I just wish he got more involved on the outside. His lack of +6’s makes him hard to consider with the competition for midfield premo spots is so tight. Had 27 touches, 6 tackles but no marks and is probably more relevant in the sense that when he plays this well, the taggers should go to him and leave Merrett alone.
Speaking of Merrett, he barely got out of second gear and had lowish time on ground at 65%. He was very busy early with 8 touches in the first quarter but wasn’t heavily involved beyond that. It doesn’t matter though, he’s a proven fantasy jet. If he was in your side before this game, just keep him there and enjoy him.
Read our full preseason take on him from the 50 Most Relevant Series here.
What an absolute shame he has lost dual position status! He looked brilliant tonight playing big midfield minutes and getting involved in everything, particularly early. Had a massive first half with 16 disposals and even though he slowed down after that, would definitely be in the votes (if there were any). I don’t think I can pick him in the midfield, but Bombers fans can get excited because I think this will be his year.
After being in and out of the senior side last year, it’s hard to know where Langford’s at. If this performance is anything to go by, he can say goodbye to his VFL days for good because he was excellent.
Playing mid-forward, he was all over the ground and stayed involved all night with 25 touches and a goal. It’s hard to see him being trustworthy enough for salary based comps but one to watch in Drafts.
One to consider if you don’t trust Jacobs or Naitanui. He looked ok and held his own against his more fancied opposite ruck in NicNat. I’m not sure he’s worth the risk though and not convinced he’ll keep a healthy Bellchambers out.
Acting captain for the night and like Hurn started slowly in the rain. Worked into the game well but was put on ice at 3 quarter time and was even seen with ice, strapped to his leg. Hopefully, just a precaution as the Bombers have enough players battling to be fit for round 1. Finished with 12 touches and 5 marks.
The former Giant and Tiger barely got a look in as he played forward for the first 3 quarters with little impact. Had a great chance to finish off some good work with a goal in the third quarter but fluffed his shot. He was given a good run on the ball in the last quarter attending nearly every centre bounce and was very involved but didn’t look confident when dropping a sitter in his defensive 50.
Finished the game hobbling off with a proppy knee which thankfully didn’t look too serious. It’s hard to see him getting a permanent spot in the midfield with some of the performances of others but his price point keeps him relevant. Wait and see.
Lewy & Checkers from Lane Kicking are back with their take on some Essendon Bombers on their AFLFantasy watchlist.
BREAKOUT: Darcy Parish – $589,000 (MID/FWD)
Make or break year for the former Pick 5, has been tempting us each year with the promise of “more midfield time” but has always been underwhelming with just 6 tons in his 74 game career. Averaged 28 disposals and 7 clearances in his draft year, so fingers crossed he can get his numbers back towards that, there was a brief patch last year where he put together consecutive 30+ disposal games and had a 5 game rolling average of 95 between Round 10-15. The advantage here is his DPP because while a lack of tons won’t cut it in your midfield, some consistent high 80s and 90s could be handy up forward
TRACK: Andrew McGrath – $554,000 (MID)
Moved into a more permanent spot in the midfield last year, but it did very little for his fantasy game, only adding 3 points to his average. 4th year in the competition, 60+ games under his belt, we know how much potential he has, track the pre-season games to see if we can expect any improvement in 2020
ROOKIE: Mitchell Hibberd – $197,000 (MID)
Three words that get fantasy coaches lips watering “Mature Age Midfielder” and 23-year-old Mitch Hibberd is the juiciest of them all. Previously on North Melbourne’s list, he played just 4 games off the half-back flank for an average in the 40s. Went back to the VFL and moved back into the midfield last year, averaging 99 fantasy points. At 190cm tall he could be very handy in what is quite a small midfield, watch his pre-season and if named Round 1 you would almost have to start him
UNDERDOG: Tom Cutler – $496,000 (MID)
Sharing some similarities to Mitch Hibberd, Tom Cutler stands at 192cm and 95kg and comes to the Bombers as a very handy candidate to add some height and size to their midfield and will be used as a two-way runner on the wings. We also saw Essendon’s midfield get decimated by injuries last year with Heppell, Smith and Fantasia missing at different stages, so some very smart recruiting trading for 24-year-old Cutler and drafting 23-year-old Hibberd to add some ready-made options to their list.
Cutler was starved of opportunities at Brisbane, playing just 3 games in 2019, but if we go back to 2018 he reeks of fantasy potential, showing ceiling with a 142 and a 126, plus averaging 7 marks a game in the midfield, including 14 in Round 16 against Carlton. Keep a close eye on the ball magnet, while we are unsure if he will break into the side for Round 1, he does have some potential to be a handy cash cow
With just two rounds remaining in the 2019 fantasy footy season coaches focus is in one of three things. Firstly, you’re in contention for winning the overall rankings prize focussed on winning your league or you’ve already started to prepare for 2020.
In this article, we look at some players that have held down a specific positional status in 2019 but won’t have in 2020.
From the beginning of the preseason, it was obvious that Caleb was getting a role change at the kennel. The coaching staff love his poise and skills coming off the back flanks and his teammates all season have looked to get the ball in his hands as frequently as possible. He’s been one of the better forward options for us this season and could become even more valuable as a defender in 2020.
Travis Boak – Lose FWD
Like many of our top-scoring forward of the year, it’s been because of an increase in midfield time where the former skipper has moved back to an almost exclusive midfield role for Port Adelaide. This year he’s averaging 30 possessions a game, up from 21 and 22 the previous seasons.
Jack Billings – Lose FWD
Others may disagree, but I don’t see how Jack retains forward status next year. Especially since the bye, he’s playing the vast majority of game time on the wing and as such his scoring consistency has increased. The only negative is he’s probably too much midfield now to be a forward in 2020.
Tim Kelly – Lose FWD
Playing as a pure midfielder… The simple choice here for champion data. Say farewell to one of the best forwards of the year.
James Worpel – Lose FWD
Much like Tim Kelly above the Worpedo has enjoyed a breakout second season in the AFL and has thrived as a pure midfielder in 2019. While fantasy coaches and Hawks fans alike mourned the lost season for Tom Mitchell this year it did create the opportunity for Worpel to take greater midfield responsibility. We won’t be seeing this kid with DPP again anytime soon, he’s locked into the Hawks midfield unit now.
Really pretty simple explanation this one, since coming into the Saints team in round 2 he’s been the sole ruck at St Kilda all year. Say ‘bye’ to him as a forward, but hello to another ruck that can average over 100.
Josh Dunkley – Lose FWD
The first 6- 8 weeks of the year he was playing as a forward that would get the occasional midfield rotation. However, over the past few months, he’s been a lock inside the Bulldogs midfield and is one of the key reasons they find themselves currently inside the top 8.
Gary Ablett – Gain FWD
This will be one of the easier selections for champion data in the offseason. This year he’s moved back into an identical role that the little master started his football career as which is a classy and creative small forward. Gaz is still getting some midfield minutes, so at best he’s a MID/FWD for us next year. This is a possibly relevant gain, especially in SuperCoach. The big question mark won’t be in that format will he average 90+, but rather will he play enough games to be a viable option?
Andrew McGrath – Lose DEF
Playing as an outside midfielder off the wing for Essendon. Sadly he hasn’t boomed yet as the fantasy player that keeper league owners especially would’ve liked.
Brad Ebert – Gain FWD
Sadly injury has impacted his season, however throughout the preseason and early season we saw a clear role change. From wingman to this new role-playing from half-forward he looked very fantasy footy friendly. Between rounds 1-6 we saw him deliver multiple tons and had just one score under 90. One to keep an eye on as he could also pick up an injury impacted discount with him playing just 11 games this season.
Sam Lloyd – Gain FWD
This was a shock that he didn’t have it this year. The former Tiger barely played as a midfielder in the Yellow and Black and has spent his time as a bulldog much like at Richmond as a goal-kicking forward.
Once a pressure small forward, but the coaching staff at Gold Coast love his hardness and pressure inside the midfield. He’s been one of the most underrated forwards this year, but sadly next year he’ll just be a midfielder.
Lachie Whitfield – Lose DEF
It was always only ever going to last one season. With the return of Zac Williams, Lachie moved right back into the midfield this year and is an absolute certainty to not be defensive eligible in 2020. However, he might be a sneaky chance to gain forward status, he spends a lot of the time starting at centre bounces inside forward 50 and then pushing up the ground. Depending on Champion Data’s selection criteria he might just be a surprise forward entry.
Hugh Greenwood – Gain FWD
Depending on the AFL websites and social media accounts you follow it seems that Hugh is destined to depart the Crows and head for club able to give him some greater longer-term security. Regardless of where he plays his footy next season, he should be awarded forward status (possibly even M/F DPP) given the amount of time he replaced the role of an injured Tom Lynch in the Crows side. Watch which team he moves to (if any) especially if an inside midfield role is available he could be one of the most relevant fantasy players that change clubs in the trade period.
If it wasn’t for Sam Walsh he’d be the clear favourite for thew Rising Star award in 2019. The current DPP option though has been spending a majority of his time creating havoc inside the powers forward 50 and will not be defensive eligible next year.
Aaron Naughton – Gain FWD
In 2018 he was a developing star of the AFL as a key defender, however, for all of this year he’s been playing a lone hand as a forward target for much of 2019 inside the Dogs forward line.
Josh Battle – Gain DEF
With injuries down back constantly in 2018 and St Kilda brimming for tall forward options the move in the preseason was to take a developing tall forward and develop them into a defender. Battle was given the chance to prove himself early in the year and has thrived as a defender capable not just of locking down on opposition talls, but also intercepting possession to set up the Saints forward movements. Lock him in for a defender next year, and for SuperCoach draft players especially he’s one to watch.
The Cats and Bombers kicked off the second week of JLT matches under lights at a chilly GMHBA Stadium. For fantasy coaches, this was our last chance to get a look at some very relevant players, and we learnt plenty from the match.
Just under 70% game time for the goat, but did some nice things with his limited time on the ball. At times he looked a little lost in the role inside forward 50, but to be fair Gazza was blowing out any preseason cobwebs with the match. Sadly with him playing the majority of game time forward, he’s not a viable starter in your team.
I love what he brings to the Cats line up with the potent combination of defensive pressure and XFactor. The departure of Lincoln McCarthy has opened up a small forward role, and right now Miers is doing everything directly to grab it. Keep an eye on this cash cow, he doesn’t have a huge ceiling, but I think he has robust job security.
Sigh! Do we really need to do this, he honestly has to be in your side. Five clearances, ten inside ’50s, eight score involvements and 30 disposals all of 3/4 of footy. Just do it… Pick him!
Played just 50% game time but look super impressive and played liked he belonged inside the Geelong midfield unit. Five clearances, nine of his 17 possessions were contested, barring something drastic I think we’ve got a big basement priced cash cow capable of playing on the field.
Five clearances, five inside ’50s, 28 disposals and the dilemma for fantasy coaches is no to ponder whether or not Tim Kelly is a genuine top 6 averaging forward in 2019. If he maintains the midfield minutes from tonight across the season, then he must be in the conversation.
Last week he came onto Fantasy coaches radar with a strong debut performance for the club. He backed it up again tonight with five rebounds 50’s and making good decisions in traffic and space vast beyond his experience. The Cats have a ripper, and even when Zac Tuohy comes back into the side from injury, I can see him maintaining his time in the team.
Wound back the clock with a vintage performance. Selwood started on the wing lined up against Dyson Heppell but quickly inserted himself into the centre bounces. 38 disposals, 7 tackles and a huge 11 marks for the Geelong captain reminded fantasy coaches than when he’s given the time and space he can score as well as anyone.
Didn’t play any of the first quarter and ended up playing just 59% of the match. In that time he managed 23 possessions, six clearances and three inside ’50s. I think if you were looking for reasons not to start him you probably found them. Even though he won plenty of the ball his lack of tackle pressure and marks in a very open game could send alarm bells ringing. Equally, if you were already bullish about him, this game would’ve given reason to be optimistic that he’s ready to explode in 2019.
Has been a fantasy scorer historically (all be it pre supplement scandal), but the arrival of Dylan Shiel should allow him to fly even further under the radar. Got plenty of uncontested ball and wouldn’t be the worst unique starting squad option if you want someone with no ownership.
Still working his way back to full fitness, took some nice contested grabs but most encouragingly he spent some time as a relief ruckman. Whether that was due to help get some more time into his body or is a genuine role the Whoosha wants to let him grow into we’ll have to wait until the round one side is named. At this stage it’s SuperCoach only he should still be tempting you, but given his preseason I can understand you looking elsewhere.
Like many Bombers he’s still making his way back to full fitness. I saw nothing this week that would give me the confidence to start him in any format of the game. Make him an upgrade target, based on his preseason you cannot start him.
Has come on in leaps and this preseason and is indeed building a case to be locked into the Dons best 22. Nine of his 17 possessions were contested, five rebound 50’s and a goal to top it all off. As a cash cow, he’s a little pricey as a defender, but he’s certainly showed over the JLT Series that he could score well.
This kid is a future star of the competition. I love the role he has within the side as a wingman and will have some fantasy relevance for many years to come. He’s worthy a sneaky AFLFantasy starting squad spot 😉