Hille Of Discontent: 2009 NAB round 3 review, 1 of 2

The high bump by David Hille has overshadowed the NAB Cup semi final for frantic fantasy coaches.

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Josh Fraser contests with David Hille

Hille’s high bump on Shane O’Bree, using a leading elbow to a player whose head was over the ball, is just the sort of thing that leads to a charge by the match review panel. The complication with Hille is that even if he gets a minimal charge of rough conduct with 125 demerit points – which under normal circumstances would be able to be reduced via the 25% reduction from an early plea below the threshold for a suspension – Hille is carrying a 10% point loading from a striking conviction in round 2 of 2006 against Mitch Clark. This loading, which will expire in a few weeks’ time, would mean that he couldn’t reduce a level 1 charge below one week’s suspension. A level 2 charge could be pleaded down to one match, however.

If we assume that Hille will miss round 1, and like me you were counting on him fronting up for your fantasy side as the #2 fantasy ruck in the comp, what to do? The answer for me lies in the young Richmond ruckman Angus Graham. As I said in this week’s team projection post, Graham has received a public endorsement from coach Terry Wallace that he will play most games as the Tigers’ second ruckman, unseating Adam Pattison. Given the 160 minutes of maelstrom we are likely to encounter before round 1, Graham is the best bet to be a warm body to fill Hille’s big shoes for one week, in a game which will probably be lucrative for fantasy purposes. This suspension, if it does come, doesn’t rule out Hille for me, though I suspect for many of us the temptation to save a bit of money in favour of Troy Simmonds or Drew Petrie would be too strong.

Elsewhere in this game, Steele Sidebottom and Dayne Beams both put their name right under the nose of Michael Malthouse for consideration for round 1. I still think Beams is more likely to get a gong than Frontbum, purely because the Magpies need more inside mids. There’s no doubting Sidebottom’s DT potential, though, so he’s likely to find his way into a significant portion of teams at some point during the season.

Scott Lucas had another Barry Crocker. He really is playing poorly: unfit, positioning himself all wrong, getting in the way, looking old and slow. On current form, he is going to struggle to keep Jay Neagle out of the side, and it would probably be better for all concerned if he spent half the season at Bendigo sorting out his fitness while Neagle and Scott Gumbleton got the run of games they need for their development. As for Neagle, Matthew Lloyd‘s game staying put in the goalsquare proved that whoever is standing at full forward for the Bombers this season, they’re probably not going to be worth spitting on for fantasy purposes because even Lloyd couldn’t get a kick.

Hayden Skipworth started as he did in the last two weeks, and though he slowed down as the game wore on, he’s looking solid. Jason Winderlich backed up his performance last week by topping the Bomber DT scores once again this week. Bachar Houli didn’t record a single mark and handballed more than he kicked, again proving his Super Coach specialism. Anthony Corrie just didn’t get enough of the pill, something that is starting to count against his round 1 prospects with the likes of Beams and Sidebottom knocking on the door. Meanwhile, Travis Cloke only did well when playing on younger, smaller opponents. Some things never change!

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