2011 brings what I suspect will be the most hated rule ever by fantasy coaches: the substitute. Feel the pain of disappearing points!
A reminder on the structure of these posts: they are intended as a guide to the players who are in consideration for the first game of the season for each team. Please note that the “iffy” and “waiting” lists are always four names long – thus some players are named who you would think are locks in the 21 just to fill out the numbers – and they are not listed in order of likelihood. Also, the “injured” list sometimes includes players who are not still injured, technically, but will not be considered for selection because they have not yet recovered sufficient fitness in rehab from a previous injury.
FB: Clint Bartram, Matthew Warnock, Colin Garland
HB: Jack Grimes, Jared Rivers, Luke Tapscott
C: Aaron Davey, Brent Moloney, Tom Scully
HF: Brad Green, Jack Watts, Ricky Petterd
FF: Lynden Dunn, Liam Jurrah, Addam Maric
Fol: Mark Jamar, Jack Trengove, Colin Sylvia
Int: Stefan Martin, Nathan Jones, Matthew Bate
Sub: Jamie Bennell
Iffy: Bartram, Jones, Bate, Bennell
Waiting: Joel Macdonald, Rohan Bail, Neville Jetta, James Strauss
Injured: James Frawley, Cale Morton, Jordie McKenzie, Austin Wonaeamirri, Robert Campbell, Troy Davis, Jack Fitzpatrick, Tom McNamara, Michael Newton
The injury list looks massive, but it should clear up by round 3 or thereabouts. Bail should be in this side on exposed form alone, but it’s hard to fit him into that midfield.
Tapscott is going to be tried at halfback, apparently. The Demons didn’t seem to want to kick it to James Strauss in the NAB when he sagged off for cheap rebound link work, so we’ll have to wait and see whether Tapscott can have any more luck attracting the attention of his teammates in a backline where Grimes steals all the oxygen.
Jones and Bate to me have drifted well towards the floor of this 21, and should have their places attacked by the kids. If Melbourne is going to challenge for the eight this year, either these two are going to have to lift their game or Dean Bailey will have to find someone who does.
Bennell seems the default subs pick, though I could see Martin reverting back there when Frawley returns, swapping with Jake Spencer.
FB: Nick Smith, Ted Richards, Andrejs Everitt
HB: Martin Mattner, Heath Grundy, Rhyce Shaw
C: Daniel Hannebery, Jarrad McVeigh, Lewis Jetta
HF: Ryan O’Keefe, Adam Goodes, Ben McGlynn
FF: Trent Dennis-Lane, Jesse White, Jarred Moore
Fol: Shane Mumford, Josh P. Kennedy, Kieren Jack
Int: Mark Seaby, Gary Rohan, Jude Bolton
Sub: Byron Sumner
Iffy: Smith, Everitt, Dennis-Lane, Sumner
Waiting: Craig Bird, Brett Meredith, Paul Bevan, Mike Pyke
Injured: Craig Bolton, Daniel Bradshaw, Lewis Roberts-Thomson, Tadhg Kennelly, Nick Malceski, Campbell Heath
Most of this side is locked in, but there are a few interesting little positional battles. Smith versus Bevan, Seaby versus Pyke and White versus Lewis Johnston will result in only one spot each, but I am projecting Rohan versus Sumner for the vacant HBF will be shared from the subs bench.
TDL’s spot may be under threat from Bird or Meredith for structural reasons, if new coach Longmuir thinks the Swans don’t need another Michael O’Loughlin type against Melbourne with their strong spoiling backline.
FB: Beau Waters, Darren Glass, Patrick McGinnity
HB: Brad Sheppard, Eric MacKenzie, Shannon Hurn
C: Andrew Embley, Matt Priddis, Matt Rosa
HF: Mark Nicoski, Josh J. Kennedy, Andrew Strijk
FF: Jack Darling, Callum Wilson, Mark LeCras
Fol: Dean Cox, Brad Ebert, Chris Masten
Int: Quinten Lynch, Scott Selwood, Will Schofield
Sub: Andrew Gaff
I’m cheating a little bit here by assuming that all of the players struggling to get fit for R1 stay out. However, with North’s selection woes being even more pronounced, the opening game is looking like a bit of a bye for the Eagles, so they might be able to afford to give their senior players an extra week to prepare.
What West Coast will need to do is stop the Roos’ pocket dynamoes, which is why McGinnity and Scott Selwood play together to combat Thomas and Harvey. The Eagles backline is a little short, but then again so is North’s forward line.
Gaff was used off the subs bench multiple times in preseason and that’s where I think he’s suited to start with. Especially for Subiaco games, West Coast is likely to try to use the position to inject pace in the second half.
FB: Daniel Pratt, Scott D. Thompson, Brady Rawlings
HB: Michael Firrito, Robbie Tarrant, Cameron Richardson
C: Liam Anthony, Daniel Wells, Leigh Adams
HF: Sam Wright, Lachlan Hansen, Brent Harvey
FF: Lindsay Thomas, Aaron Edwards, Ben Warren
Fol: Todd Goldstein, Jack Ziebell, Andrew Swallow
Int: Cruize Garlett, Gavin Urquhart, Ben McKinley
Sub: Shaun Atley
Iffy: Pratt, McKinley, Urquhart, Warren
Waiting: no one worth mentioning
Injured: Ryan Bastinac, Nathan Grima, Hamish McIntosh, Levi Greenwood, Matt Campbell],, Ed Lower, Marcus White, Ben Mabon, Ben Ross
Suspended: Drew Petrie
LTI: Ayden Kennedy
Cox could set a record for hit outs, as Goldstein will have little to no help at all. North have already hinted they are not going to promote Majak Daw off the rookie list and have made no mention of doing the same for Cameron Pederson, so for the round or two that Petrie and McIntosh are absent, it will be Hansen et al to pinch hit in ruck support.
I am concerned about the lack of run on that bench, but North is not a quick side at the best of times. Atley wouldn’t last a full game on the WACA, which is why he starts in the green bib. There is precious little behind him in the battle for round 1 selection, though.
Let me know in the comments what you disagree with in these projections. Who do you turf out to give Bail a much-deserved guernsey for round 1? Do Rohan and Sumner both play full games, or are they subs fodder at best? How about Gaff and Atley, can they escape the green or red bib?