This was a fascinating contest to round out the pre-season games. Gold Coast essentially dominated the game but were nearly undone by terrible conversion in front of goal. Geelong, being the experienced side it is, took advantage of the missed Suns opportunities and found themselves in front early in the second half. The young Suns found their kicking boots in time though and stormed home to a 23-point win.
In some formats, he is a million dollar man, so it was important for those potentially parting with such a large sum of their salary cap, that he delivered. Long story short, he delivered. 32 touches, 9 tackles and 2 goals were his main stats and watching him run from contest to contest with his incredible work rate was enough for me to say he’s set for another uber-uber premium season!
It was interesting to see what prospective coaches needed to see from the young Sun gun in this match to convince them that he will start in their squads. Some just needed him to get through the game unscathed and others wanted to see more of the fantasy game we saw when he burst onto the scene in 2020. He did all of that and more, and actually looked like a different player without the excessive strapping on his shoulders and what appears to be a nice haircut.
Rowell was hard at the ball and in the thick of the action at the coalface, extracting the ball and giving off to the outside runners. He finished with 27 disposals (18 contested) and 7 tackles and scored a fantasy ton across the formats without even taking a mark! The marks will come as he gets more games under his belt and starts to find position on the outside as well. Marks or no marks, he is priced deliciously and will be extremely popular after this match.
There has been a lot of chatter about Caleb Serong being an obvious 3rd year breakout candidate but not enough has been spoken about Noah Anderson. He was absolutely everywhere in this match but slowed in the last quarter, finishing with 25 touches (19 kicks) and would’ve scored much higher had he not given away 5 free kicks. Will be a unique pick, but I’d back him in for the big year.
Available as a forward this year, and playing a new role off halfback, Weller looms as a nice differential to the more commonly picked players. If you are basing his selection on this game, however, you might want to look elsewhere. The role is there but it didn’t look like they were trying too hard to get the ball in his hands coming out of the defensive 50. He did take 4 out of the 6 kick ins (playing on 3 times) but Geelong’s accuracy in front of goal really limited his scoring. He still had 18 touches for the game but only took 2 marks. Still a great option for Drafts but that’s probably it at this stage.
Did enough if you are wanting to start him at R2 (especially now with the Preuss news) from only 54% game time. He only collected 7 disposals and 1 mark for the game but was the dominant big man on the ground recording the most hit outs in the game with 29 and impacted the contest plenty. Will have his work cut out for him in round 1 up against Naitanui which is worth considering before locking him in as R2.
Powell has steadily improved his output every season and now in his 5th season, can be considered fantasy relevant. Unlike Weller, he was involved in most defensive rebounds for Gold Coast and was busy up the ground too. He finished with 20 touches, 7 marks and 5 tackles, and can be pushed up your Draft rankings comfortably.
Fiorini is an interesting player. Historically has been an absolute magnet when he plays but doesn’t use it well enough to hold down a spot in one of the league’s cellar dweller sides. He was the opposite in this match as his game was more about quality over quantity which will hold him in good stead for round 1 selection. Playing more of a half forward role in the first half he was largely unsighted but set free in the second half saw him collect 16 touches in the second half. He finished the night with 23 disposals and 5 tackles but to me looked much more dangerous with ball in hand than we’ve been accustomed to. I don’t think he should be dismissed as a unique starter in Classic comps this year despite his price tag.
The forward role is real and consequently; his fantasy game is dead. He kicked 3 goals and looked excellent for the Suns but he should no longer be considered in the fantasy world. At least not this year anyway.
This wasn’t the game potential Dangerfield owners wanted to see as he recorded just the 17 disposals and spent lots of time forward. He kicked 2 goals but didn’t read the ball or the play well in the forward role especially early in the game when supply was at a minimum. So, the question remains, is this going to be how Geelong play Dangerfield this year or is it just a case of Gary Rohan not playing and it being a pre-season match? We’ll find out in round 1 I suspect but either way, you can expect to see Dangerfield gain forward status again this season but until then, it’s hard to make a case for him in Classic.
Whizzed around collecting touches at will as he has done the last couple of years and shows no signs of dropping his output this year. Had 32 touches, kicked a goal, and even took some kick outs! A fairly safe pick if you want to stand out from the crowd but you’re more likely to pick him in your Draft side.
It’s the younger Guthrie I was more interested in tracking in this game and thankfully I didn’t have to look too hard to notice him. With the Geelong defence under siege for most of the first quarter, Guthrie saw a heap of footy and collected 9 possessions for the term. He looks a different player to the baby-faced youngster who played a career high 13 games last year as he has put on some size and is now putting himself in good spots to find the ball. It’s worth noting Tom Stewart and Jack Henry weren’t playing and will likely steal points off Guthrie when they return.
Still, the younger Guthrie looked good for his 25 touches and it’s also worth noting, his brother Cam didn’t start putting out decent fantasy scores until he had reached 40 career games, which is the figure Zach will be approaching early this year. A Draft sleeper that will surprise a few this year.
Sam De Koning
The kids down at the Cattery are so interesting because they likely have the talent but haven’t seen much in the way of senior footy due to Geelong always being a top 4 side. De Koning was excellent in this match showing poise and composure I did not expect from the 204cm backman finishing with 19 disposals and 5 marks. Like Guthrie, his scoring opportunities received a bump in the absence of Stewart and Henry, but I think we saw enough to suggest this cash cow will be playing round 1.
Holmes is another highly touted youngster that should see more opportunities this year after playing 9 games last year, including the finals series. He didn’t look out of place in this match collecting 23 touches but unfortunately is priced in no man’s land and won’t be considered for any fantasy squads this year. Will be a player to watch for the future.
The back pocket hard nut had an excellent game seemingly opposed to Rankine but running off him and doing as he pleased. He will have similar games like this but then also very low scoring games when made more accountable. 25 touches and 6 tackles but he is no more than a handy Draft guy.
Wow! Selwood saw what Callum Mills did in just 41% game time and said, “hold my beer, er, um, Gatorade”. In just 37% game time, Selwood turned back the clock scoring 83 DT/AF points and 93 SC points! Does this mean he’s a must have under-priced premo? Certainly not, but it’s just a reminder there’s still some legs left in this old Cat. Look to snap him up late in Drafts.
Had to give a quick mention to the flighty forward arriving at his third club. After 4 goals in the practice match last week, all eyes were on Stengle for a potential F5/F6 spot in our squads. Unfortunately, he was a victim of his role and the lack of supply for the Geelong forwards and was very quiet early. He warmed into the game to finish with 10 touches and a goal, but I think some very low scores can be expected this year which will look ugly on our fields.
The word out of Geelong is Cameron is as fit as he’s been in years (isn’t everyone?) but I’d believe it on this game’s form. In a tough match for Cats forwards, Cameron presented high up the field and helped connect the ball to the deeper forwards. Finished with 3 goals and 16 touches and will improve his output drastically from last year.