Holes as big as Geelong: 2009 AFL depth chart update

The FanFooty depth charts are up to date with all 738 players ranked by position. Let’s chew over the results.

Here are the links. Keep in mind that these rankings do not take into account whether they are currently injured are not, though in some cases with players who are constantly injured it does have some effect. Nic Fosdike and Tadhg Kennelly are at the bottom of their lists due to having retired.

Adelaide depth chart
Brisbane depth chart
Carlton depth chart
Collingwood depth chart
Essendon depth chart
Fremantle depth chart
Geelong depth chart
Hawthorn depth chart
Melbourne depth chart
North Melbourne depth chart
Port Adelaide depth chart
Richmond depth chart
Sydney depth chart
St Kilda depth chart
Western Bulldogs depth chart
West Coast depth chart

It was Fremantle who had the worst stock of small forwards before the draft, but since they loaded up with WAFL graduates Hayden Ballantyne and Michael Walters, it is West Coast’s stocks in that area that are looking thin. Mark LeCras is the only genuine small forward the Eagles have, with David Wirrpanda on his last legs and more of a defender anyway. With the added issue of how to fit Quinten Lynch, Ashley Hansen, Ben McKinley and Mitch Brown into the forward line, their attacking 50 is looking a tad top heavy this year. The Crows are also looking shaky in the small forwards again this season, with Jason Porplyzia‘s shoulder being the difference between a workable forward line and a forest full of saplings.

VFL Rd 5 - Collingwood v Geelong

As blogged about earlier, Geelong are going to struggle to find height in their backline with no Matthew Egan and Tom Harley to start the season. At the moment Dan McKenna is their third fit key tall back, which is going to be a problem if he’s not ready. The problem with moving Tom Lonergan back is that it then leaves a hole in the forward line that also has to be filled with a no-gamer as well, either Mitch W. Brown or Scott Simpson. Either way, Geelong is going to have to think long and hard about starting a tall rookie through at least the first month of the season, lest their opponents load up on talls and pull a succession of David Hale-like performances out of nowhere.

Meanwhile, their round 1 opponents Hawthorn will also be restricted by the injury to Trent Croad. It is pretty obvious that they would love to play Campbell Brown forward, especially against Geelong where he did very well in Round 17 of last season, but it may be too risky to entrust the backline to Stephen Gilham and Thomas Murphy on their own, even if they draft in Mitch Thorp or Ryan Schoenmakers to help.

At Sydney, there are more holes opening up in their depth chart than there are in the plots of Lost episodes. In the key backs, Ted Richards is their #2 back and Lewis Roberts-Thomson #3 – a shocking turn of events in anyone’s language. No wonder Jesse White is being fast-tracked to play in defence, while everyone seems to have forgotten Ed Barlow, who could hold down one of those spots at a pinch. Behind Barry Hall is a dangerous place to be – just ask Brent Staker – but behind him in the Swans key forward depth chart with Michael O’Loughlin injured are Heath Grundy and Henry Playfair, another couple of ordinary players. Ryan O’Keefe and probably Patrick Veszpremi are going to have to do most of the grunt work. The more I look at that list the more it screams “bottom 4” at me, though whispers are that training drills are focused more on kicking and run-and-carry. Heaven forbid, could Paul Roos actually be trying to play an open game style this year? If so, Sydney’s year could end up looking a lot like Essendon’s 2008, with the coaching staff not able to stem the flow of opposition goals and forced into freeing up the tags just to allow their kids to get a occasional touch of leather. Surely the Swans have to commit to youth this year! I’ll believe it when I see it.

Richmond didn’t do much to help their key forward stocks in the draft, unless you count Tyrone Vickery as a forward instead of a ruck… which Tiger fans may end up doing if Troy Simmonds‘ body holds up this year. The other possibility there is Alex Rance – who was insanely popular early doors with fantasy coaches but has dropped off the radar – being tried as a third forward. With Kayne Pettifer still recovering from his knee reconstruction, the Tigers’ small forwards are also a little light on, which is why Robin Nahas was being watched closely last weekend. Perhaps surprisingly, Adam Thomson is getting lost in the mix of midfielders.

Finally, sometimes you can have all the depth that seems prudent but you can still get caught out by circumstance, as Brisbane is now with its five rucks all out injured. Another argument for free agency, perhaps? Richmond are even better served in that area with five dedicated rucks plus Vickery, while the Hawks also have six.

I am still not sure about some of the ranking decisions I made in compiling these lists, and I am certain that you lot will want to argue the toss with me about a good many of them. Have at it in the comments!

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