Practice Match Review: Brisbane Vs Geelong

On a beautiful Thursday evening in Ipswich, the reigning premiers Geelong took on the Lions at Brighton Homes Arena. We’ve got plenty of fantasy-relevant names to discuss, so let’s check out my game review.

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Josh Dunkley

Everything you wanted to see from Josh Dunkley was on full display tonight. The midfield role was evident. He won centre clerances; he tackled, and when he did drift forward was involved in impacting the scoreboard and did it all without breaking out of second gear. Keep the game simple; start Dunkley. I can only foresee an injury as the reason he isn’t one of the top-scoring forwards in 2023. 

Cam Rayner

The halfback role that was mooted in the preseason eventuated for Cam Rayner. His speed and class were on display. He’ll share his time through this line with Daniel Rich, Conor McKenna and Kiedean Coleman. On paper, that’s a powerful rebounding core. All can be elite with the ball by foot. The challenge is they’ll potentially clip the scoring capacity of each other and make it very hard to own any of them across all formats, not just in classic but drafts and daily fantasy.

Will Ashcroft

Is Will Ashcroft as special a talent as he’s been touted? Oh, you bet he is! This kid is going to be something special. The perfect combination of power & precision, speed and smarts. He will be an elite player in the AFL very soon. So lock him into your side. While he might not his the scoring ceiling years of Sam Walsh and Nick Daicos from their debut seasons, I wonder if he’ll be far behind. 

Lachie Neale

This a perfect reminder from Lachie Neale to the SuperCoach community. Sleep on him at your peril. 31 touches, a goal, all while barely breaking a sweat. The newly crowned skipper will again lead from the front and through the midfield in 2023. He’ll cop a few tags throughout the season, but we know by season’s end, he’ll be among the top SuperCoach scorers again. 

Darcy Wilmot

Darcy spent his time running across the wing, and while he didn’t get a high volume of opportunity with the ball, he did look composed and functioned well within the Lions structure. He’s no lock inside the best 22, but I’d be surprised if he isn’t named in round one.

Hugh McCluggage

On our most recent podcast, Kane articulated a point beautifully. He stated that practice games like these often suit the more outside and athletically gifted players. It’s often due to the need for more defensive pressure and intensity. So it’s no surprise that a player with Hugh McCluggae’s skill had a good game. Both teams were barely getting out of first gear. 

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Tanner Bruhn

Last week Jack Bowes was the standout that the fantasy community jumped on, and I suspect it’ll be Tanner Bruhn this week. The former Giant had plenty of midfield opportunities and looked composed with the ball. I’m not convinced he’ll get the volume of midfield opportunities in the season proper when they have their full complement of midfielders available. But he’s a decent late-round selection within your drafts. 

Esava Ratugolea

I liked the look of Esava Ratugolea. He held the key position spot in the backline well but didn’t just look to defend. Instead, he used his athleticism and strength to impose himself on every opportunity to intercept he could. It’s worth noting that in this match, Sam DeKoning did play predominantly as a key position forward in the second half. I would’ve loved to see how the Cats and Stewart would use these two in the backline for a match. Regardless, it looks probable the Cats will give him a go in round one, and for DreamTeam and SuperCoach, his RUC/FWD status will make him a viable option for us. Copped a decent knock to the head the cut him open, so did spend plenty of time off the field in the third term.

Tom Stewart

Can I cntrl C & cntrl V the sentiments from Lachie Neale and place them here for Tom Stewart? He was exactly what we have known and loved about him over his career. He found space to chop off the lions movements inside forward 50. He intercepted beautifully and was ever-reliable with the ball in hand. Over the season, he will have multiple 150+ scores, but that’s not in doubt. The question coaches will continue to process is whether I should start him or make room for him as an upgrade. 

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Max Holmes

As Tanner listed above, I liked the look of Max Holmes. You can see why the Cats rate him so highly internally. He’s a clever footballer who makes good decisions consistently. I’d be looking at him if he retained MID/FWD DPP this season. But with the volume of strong other stepping-stone midfielders, he looks destined to be a daily fantasy and draft pick.