AAMI Community Series Review | Blues Vs Saints

Wow, that game was unrecognisable from the footy we saw in 2020. It was all out attack from both sides in what could be a welcome return to high scoring in 2021. Both sides showed plenty, but the Saints were too slick, holding off the fast finishing Blues. Fantasy relevant players were as plentiful as goals, so strap yourselves in as I give you my take.

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Sam Walsh: Lived up to the pre-season hype with an excellent display on the ball. As expected, Walsh played more on the inside attending a heap of centre bounces. He looks much tougher this year as he stood up strong in tackles. Had a quiet finish spending half the last quarter on the bench but it was still a commanding display with 25 touches at the finish. Don’t hesitate if you had him in your side before tonight.

Patrick Cripps: Every year Cripps lures me in, and this pre-season was no different. Priced tastily and with the promise of getting back to being the midfield bull that saw him feature in Brownlow conversations in recent years, I have to say I was disappointed with what I saw tonight. Yes, it was a practice match and yes, he spent a lot of time forward in the absence
of the injured Blues forwards, but 3 kicks from 91% time on ground terrifies me. He’ll probably prove me wrong but I’m not touching him this year.

Zac Williams: I must say I was a sceptic of the notion that this guy was a lock for our backlines. I am, however, putting my hand up early to say I was wrong. This was a dynamic performance that would have had Blues fans salivating. Wearing flashy pink boots, he was everywhere for the first 3 quarters. Like Walsh, he spent most of the final term on the pine but to 3 quarter time was just about man of the match. Finished with 17 touches, a couple of goals and a solid 6 tackles!

Sam Docherty: Doc will be somewhat unique this season which makes him particularly appealing. He accumulated touches in his usual fashion with an excellent kick to handball ratio finishing with a handsome 21 kicks and 6 handballs but was uncharacteristically messy by foot. I lost count of how many times he made unforced errors that lead to turnovers and
in some cases, goals. The main thing I wanted to see, though, was how he’d go without his kick-to-kick mate Kade Simpson and it was a big tick.

Paddy Dow: Was it Paddy Dow or Paddy Wow? Still Dow…for now. I love this kid; everything he touches comes off, he just doesn’t miss a target. He’ll improve a lot this year but not sure he’s going to accumulate enough ball to be worth the investment. I think he’s going to play every game though and at his price point, you could do worse, especially in SC.

Just quickly…

Marc Pittonet: Dominated and looked excellent all game even kicking two first quarter goals but was against the journeyman McKernan and until recently, the unlisted Hunter.

Oscar McDonald: May have found a new home at his new home in the forward line. The former Demon was more than serviceable kicking two goals and, with Carlton’s injury concerns in the forward line, is a real shout for round 1.

Marc Murphy: One for Draft leagues, particularly if you have in-season DPP changes activated. Played forward but zipped around the field without a care in the world finishing with 22 touches and 2 goals.

Adam Saad: Looked great for his new club. Kicked a raking long-range textbook goal and provided plenty of dash but showed nothing to suggest he’ll increase his fantasy output this year.

Jack Silvagni: 3 goals padded out his stats but was a real X factor for the Blues in their second half comeback. Is developing into a very nice footballer. Keep an eye on him.

Zac Fisher: Along with Silvagni, was a real excitement machine in the second half kicking 2.3 for the match. Could he take the next step this year? It’s hard to see with that midfield being so stacked.

Lachlan Fogarty: The former Cat was given plenty of game time and tackled his heart out with a match high 7 tackles. Was pretty handy around the field with 14 touches and should get a gig against Richmond in a fortnight.

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Jack Steele: The newly announced co-captain is priced right near the top this year but I think he’s worth it. With his tagging days well behind him, Steele can go to another level this year based on what we saw tonight. Despite a slow start, he finished with 27 touches and his customary 6 tackles in a dominant display.

Jack Sinclair: Best on ground tonight in a sizzling 4 quarter performance. He has been given a shot at playing off half back and is taking the opportunity with both hands and his bizarrely flowing mullet (Rids will love that). He had a game high 28 disposals (with a goal) and provided so much pizazz running up and attacking each centre bounce. St.Kilda owed a heap of their high octane running style to Sinclair’s game. All that being said, I don’t know how we
pick a guy in our midfield knowing he’s going to be a defender all year. He’ll be first picked in my 2022 backline though!

Jack Higgins: Wow what a game from Higgins. He was very quiet early and then exploded into action with 24 touches, 7 marks and 1 goal 3 behinds. He played high half forward and his positioning was first class, he just always found space. He becomes very relevant after that performance.

Hunter Clark: We can be seduced by stats and just as easily turned off by them in pre- season games but the key here with Clark was his role. With Sinclair controlling the half back line, Clark has found his way into the engine room and even though he started slowly,worked his way into the game nicely finishing with 21 touches and a game high 8 clearances. Plenty of centre bounce attendances suggest he is about to become a full-time midfielder.

Just quickly…

Seb Ross: Looked really good and may be finding his way in the backline with 25 touches and 6 marks but you’d be a brave coach to pick him.

Brad Crouch: Looked alright in his new stripes with 12 touches and 5 tackles from limited game time but hard to make a case for starting him when he’s suspended until round 3. Will be a big scorer this year.

Jimmy Webster: Great to see him out there after injury ruined his 2020 season. He looked composed on the ball with 16 touches and could well be worth a look considering he is cheap as chips.

Brad Hill: Looked irresistible tonight with 25 touches (21 kicks!), a goal and the most metres gained on the ground by a fair way. But what stood out was his running power, no one could go with him and if he continues like that in the season proper, we will have to reassess where he sits in fantasy circles.