This is a very tough week for unique free agents as we have 8 teams on the bye in what is, thankfully, the final week of byes. This week’s list is made up of players that could be one-week wonders in your side, stepping in to cover for one of your premium players missing. They either have a favourable match up or are in a fleetingly rich vein of form but are likely to be kicked back to the bench or free agent scrap heap next week. And if they end up being keepers, then that’s a bonus but I wouldn’t count on it. Enjoy, and good luck!

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DEFENDER

Trent McKenzie – Port Adelaide
% owned – 57%
2021 average – 76

The addition of Aliir Aliir and a fit and healthy Ryan Burton into Port Adelaide’s back 6 meant that despite playing all but 2 games last season, McKenzie was on the outer for the first half of 2021. He did get his chance in round 10 and has made the most of it playing every week since.

In those 3 games, McKenzie has averaged 7 marks a game and has opted to kick instead of handball at a very fantasy friendly rate. Of his 51 disposals, 46 have been kicks! This stat has been helped by the fact that McKenzie has taken the most kick ins for Port in his 3 games and like a true fantasy player, has played on 100% of the time.

Finally, this week he comes up against his old side, Gold Coast, who are down on confidence and last week against Fremantle, allowed the likes of Luke Ryan, James Aish and Darcy Tucker to take 30 marks between them, all on the way to solid fantasy tons.

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MIDFIELD

Jai Newcombe – Hawthorn
% owned – 59%
2021 average – 87

What a whirlwind few weeks it has been for 20 year old Newcombe. He went from being one of VFL side Box Hill’s best players, to joining an AFL list, to debuting on a Friday night and setting a record for most tackles by a debutant in AFL history laying a whopping 14. His disposal tally was much more modest at 13 but the fact that he attended 16/25 centre bounces shows Hawthorn are not afraid to throw the kid in the deep end.

Teammate Worpel attended 1 more centre bounce than Newcombe but will miss this week’s clash against Essendon through suspension meaning the new Hawk will have every chance to build on his impressive debut.

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RUCK

Jonathon Ceglar – Hawthorn
% owned – 63%
2021 average – 68.8

What a time to put in a career best performance (and 2nd highest fantasy career score) for Hawthorn’s perennial back up ruckman. Watching youngster Ned Reeves take his spot and play very well in it must have lit a fire in Ceglar and he is a perfect candidate for a one week spot in your side if you own one of the many ruckmen on the bye this week.

Reeves was a late out on Friday night paving the way for Ceglar to come in and surprisingly dominate against one of the competitions hardest ruckman to play on, Tom Hickey.  He recorded the most hit outs on the ground with 35 whilst collecting 20 disposals and kicking a goal in what was a complete performance. It is just the third time in his career that he has recorded 20+ disposals in a game.

Reeves appears to have recovered from him ankle problem but it is hard to see him pushing the veteran back out this week at least. They are up against Essendon this week who in their last two outings have allowed ruckmen to score well. Before the bye, Chol hit a 97 against them in the Dreamtime game, and the week before that, Naitanui posted a handsome 117.

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FORWARD

Steven Motlop – Port Adelaide
% owned – 62%
2021 average – 67.3%

At his best, Motlop is an excitement machine that loves finding the footy but unfortunately for Port fans (Geelong ones too), his worst is the complete opposite of that. It is this hot and cold fluctuation that makes it hard to pick Motlop in any fantasy format but it does make him a great candidate for a one week gig in your squad as he comes up against the struggling Suns this week.

Port have won 5 games by over 30 points this year and across those games, Motlop has averaged 84. In the remaining 7 games which have been a mix of wins by less than 30 and losses, he has averaged 55.

Now, does this mean Motlop only plays well when Port Adelaide beat up on sides, or does it mean Port Adelaide only play well when Motlop is up and about? I’ll let smarter minds than mine work that out, but what I do know is, if you think Port will beat Gold Coast by more than 5 goals this week, get Motlop in!