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2009 fantasy smokies club by club (2 of 2)

2009 smokies, ME to WC

This is part two of my fantasy “smokies” post (see part one), where I comb through AFL lists searching for gold among the river mud, as every fantasy coach does at this time of year.

Any hope that you might have been holding out for Sam Blease to be a smokie for round 1 should have been snuffed out by this article from, which sets out in no uncertain terms that the kid will be sent to the weights room until he bulks up to somewhere well above 70kg – not to mention that like fellow Demon draftee Jack Watts, he’s finishing Year 12 this year. With every man and his dog on the backs of Ricky Petterd and Jack Grimes, and to a lesser extent Rohan Bail, that doesn’t leave a lot of room on the Melbourne list to find a smokie. You might expect to see Liam Jurrah‘s name here but that’s too much of a stretch for mine, his body and mind need some work before he’s ready I think. Melbourne training reports keep talking up James Frawley, and he’s my pick as their foggiest smokie. Priced at an average of 43 in both Dream Team and Super Coach, the nephew of Danny has been leading team sprints, which is no mean feat for a 193cm key defender. I would be careful of expecting too much out of him, but he has potential in Super Coach in particular.

North Melbourne
One look at the WAFL statistics from last year tells you who the smokie for the Kangaroos should be: Liam Anthony. Whether he’ll get games or not is an entirely different story. Dean Laidley doesn’t like smokies.

Port Adelaide
I’ve already banged on about the Power midfield and how blessed they are with fantasy depth, so I won’t go on about it. How about Nick Salter? Two games last year with only 53% time on ground (TOG) and not much scoring leaves him at a nice price this year. I currently have him as third on the Port Adelaide depth chart in the key forward list, just ahead of Matthew Westhoff and Matthew Lobbe. Westhoff junior has one extra game under his belt and arguably better form, while Lobbe has burned up the track in the preseason. Admittedly the Power forward structure may not always need a third tall, with Daniel Motlop being used in the square and Brett Ebert as a lead-up flanker, but Warren Tredrea is every chance to break down yet again leaving a spot open for Salter or one of the others. Like Whitecross of the Hawks, Salter has a lot of obstacles in front of him, but that just makes him a rarer smokie if he does come good.

Another name I’m seeing a lot in training reports is Daniel Jackson (edit: oops, not Connors). He’s leading the sprints at training and looks to have bulked up, as many young Tigers have done. The Richmond side will be a tough one to break into this year – you try making a best 22! – but if he’s named for round 1 then I will be looking very closely at him.

St Kilda
I’m not seeing much value in the rookies outside Nick Heyne, and he’s no smokie, so I’m going to go out on a limb here and nominate Farren Ray. Yes, he’s priced at 72.7 in DT and 64.5 in SC so he’s not cheap, meaning that you’d have to buy him as a keeper. If he’s still classed as a midfielder it’s hard to make a case for him, with the outside chance of him being reclassified as a back. Halfback flank is where the Saints will play him though, I feel, so it would be accurate if Champion make that decision. I can see a scenario where Ray is given the job that was allocated to Raphael Clarke late in 2008, freeing Clarke to shift up the ground. This is still a longshot, admittedly, but it’s the best I can pluck out of the Saints list.

I’m going to keep on pushing Ed Barlow until he comes good. 47.5 in DT and 55.1 in SC from 7 games in 2008 was down on his 2007 numbers, though he got only 67% TOG. I am hanging on grimly to early reports that he was the natural replacement for Adam Goodes, and with Goodes likely to be played forward for much of the time in 2009, I can see Barlow getting more midfield rotations. Has been disappointing so far but he wouldn’t be a smokie if things were all rosy.

Western Bulldogs
I think Callan Ward still qualifies as a smokie. With figures in 2008 of 6 matches at 41 in DT and 33.3 in SC from 59% TOG, he’s got aging midfielders like Nathan Eagleton in his sights this year. His updated weight for this year will be interesting, as his 2008 weight of 76kg is not AFL-ready. If he is discounted significantly in VirtualSports competitions, his relevance will shoot up.

West Coast Eagles
It appears a reasonably large amount of Fanplanner coaches are taking their chance on Mitchell Brown and Tom Swift based on glowing training reports, so I can’t talk them up as smokies under good conscience. This is a hard one, actually. The Eagles blooded a lot of youngsters last year for a lot of games, so there’s not much value among the second-year crop. Consensus among Eagle fans is that most 2008 draftees will be WAFLed for the entire year, with the possible exception of Swift. My nomination is Josh J. Kennedy, who did admittedly get 86% TOG in his 7 games in 2008 for averages in the low 60s in both comps, suggesting that he might not have a huge amount of improvement left, but I think Quinten Lynch will be used closer to goal this year with JJK given the old Ashley Hansen lead-up role. What of Hansen himself? Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn.

Now, I know you won’t want to give your smokies up in the comments, but please don’t blow smoke where it isn’t warranted. It’s murky enough in this fog of war without mischievous coaches putting up smokescreens! Tell me your thoughts on the above in the comments.



  1. Pingback: FanFooty blog » Blog Archive » 2009 fantasy smokies club by club (1 of 2)

  2. elliot

    January 15, 2009 at 3:22 pm

    I think you may have got your names mixed up Connors has been on a modified program almost all pre season.
    I’ve been to several training sessions and haven’t seen him run at all. You may be thinking of Jackson who also has red hair and put a bit of bulked up alot. Jackson has been leading the time trails at the Tiges but his skill level still needs some work.

  3. m0nty

    January 15, 2009 at 3:28 pm

    Hmm, actually you’re right elliot. Too many Daniels.

  4. elliot

    January 15, 2009 at 3:36 pm

    Any word on Vezpremi and how he’s going?
    Drafted as a midfielder and with Goodes moving into the forward line opens a spot for Vez.


    January 16, 2009 at 3:10 pm

    Hi Monty,

    McKinley was a revelation for WC at FF. I know we had a lot of injuries last year which is probably a large reason why Lynch spent so much time in the midfield – however I reackon given his success in the midfield in 2008 (plus his errant kicking inside 50m) – he may play more of a wingman role in 2009 similar to Richo. He is listed with an average of 84 – however from Rd 6 – when he began to spend more time in the midfield – went on to average over 90 – which puts him in Steve Johnson territory.

    We will need to watch the NAB Cup games obviously to get a better idea of how he will be used – but at $404K may be a decent low-priced gun for 2009. Maybe not a smokey – but worth a look?

    Your thoughts?

  6. m0nty

    January 16, 2009 at 3:34 pm

    Just not a price I am comfortable paying for a key position player, Straya.

  7. drewriffic

    January 16, 2009 at 11:14 pm

    Don’t go McKinley, I would have thought. I think he had boosted statistics on the back of a bad team with no decent scoring options, and won’t improve on his price this year.

    In terms of Farren Ray, I think quite a few people will be jumping on him to try and repeat the Martin Mattner success of last year. May prove to be less of a smokie than you might think…

  8. dylan

    January 17, 2009 at 12:59 am

    um guys im pretty sure his talking about lynch since his at 404k

  9. dylan

    January 17, 2009 at 3:42 am

    hey monty this had nothing to do with the topic but do you think goodwin may be able to be picked as a forward line player?

  10. XztatiK

    January 17, 2009 at 3:49 am

    He should be IMO.

  11. Simon

    January 17, 2009 at 11:53 am

    I think Davenport is a mature aged rookie ready to step up to a 70-80ppg average. I believe he will get plenty of chances at Port. I also don’t think he’ll be a smoky after the NAB cup.

  12. Nath

    January 17, 2009 at 12:11 pm

    Which one do people think will play the most games?

  13. Chad

    January 17, 2009 at 1:20 pm

    Agree Simon, i have davenport in my 22

  14. Lakey91

    January 17, 2009 at 2:47 pm

    crowded port MF doesnt worry you about davenport?

  15. Warnie

    January 17, 2009 at 4:37 pm

    Maybe it’s because Chad knows the Port midfield is awful… and a rookie will be able to walk into it! 😉

  16. m0nty

    January 17, 2009 at 4:50 pm

    Big call Warnie. I rate the Port midfield, and a lot of other people do too.

  17. STRAYA

    January 17, 2009 at 5:15 pm

    I was talking about Lynchy dylan – and although he could be seen traditionally as a KPP – I am keen to see how he is played in the NAB.

    In regards to Nath’s comments – I think most people will have a lock on M Brown and N Suban in the Backs – but who to have as a cheap 3rd?

    I hear alot of talk about Grimesy being a lock for many coaches – but I haven’t read anything about his form or chances of playing. Similarly not a heap on Kite either. There was an article on Petrenko the other day:

    Levi Greenwood may be anothother smokey to add – but alas falls under the Laidley curse 🙁


  18. Simon

    January 17, 2009 at 8:22 pm

    The midfield could nearly be classified as half forwards and half backs these days.

  19. Lakey91

    January 17, 2009 at 10:33 pm

    I rate th PA midfield very highly too monty. Think they might even be able to surprise a few and slip into the eight even with the players theyve got. But is there room for davenport?

  20. josh 17

    January 19, 2009 at 12:46 pm

    as a port supporter, i see boak, davenport and hartlett having big parts to play in the midfield this year. even before he arrived at port, i had followed davenport throughout his time in the vfl, and he is a freak around the goals. i’m talking motlop sort of magic. i wouldnt mind him supporting ebert and motlop on a half forward flank then pushing into the midfield for bursts, which probably isn’t great for dream team. thoughts?

  21. Scuzzlebut

    January 19, 2009 at 9:04 pm

    Its hard to believe a guy that averaged 32 touches in the VFL last year wouldn’t become a regular right away. Davenport’s a great kick, and can play all over the ground. I reckon he’ll play and score well. He’s 23, 6 foot and > 80 kg – he’s ready made. I’m surprised at the lack of love for him. Port’s midfield is good, but it’s not impenetrable. He’s on my bench.

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