Carlton’s Lachie Henderson is among the important names among possible round 1 selections.
I am breaking this first edition of the team projections up into four posts, because they’re taking me a looooong time to compile. I am including injury and suspension and retirement lists for each team as usual. Keep in mind that these are all projected for round 1, so that some who are currently injured are not labeled as such because I expect them to recover in time.
FB: Chris Newman, Kelvin Moore, Dean Polo
HB: Alex Rance, Luke McGuane, Jordan McMahon
C: Shane Edwards, Shane Tuck, Trent Cotchin
HF: Ben Cousins, Jack Riewoldt, Richard Tambling
FF: Robin Nahas, Mitch Morton, Tyrone Vickery
Fol: Troy Simmonds, Brett Deledio, Nathan Foley
Int: Angus Graham, Dustin Martin, Matt White, Daniel Jackson
Iffy: Edwards, Cotchin, Foley, Cousins
Waiting: Jayden Post, Tom Hislop, Jake King, Will Thursfield
What a train wreck Richmond is going to be this year. Retirements, delistings and deadwood-clearance have left the Tiger list looking like a clump of sodden moggies swimming for dear life in a flood. To make things worse, some of their pitifully small group of good players are suffering injuries: Cotchin and Foley with ongoing tendonitis, Cousins with a hand injury and Deledio with a severe case of should-harden-the-flower-up. Well, maybe that last one is a bit harsh, but this team could do with a bit of Morton’s self-confidence, if not swagger.
For fantasy purposes, this means Martin becomes very important. He’s going to have little or no resistance to entering the starting line up for round 1, even if the aforementioned stars pass fit, given the appalling quality of the mid-range part of the Richmond list. The question for me remains how new coach Damian Hardwick will coach the side. Signs are early that he is going to have to spend a lot of time “de-Wallacing” them out of bad habits. While this may prove to be a hindrance for fantasy scores of those in the side who excel at running and/or passing sideways (see Tambling, McMahon, Newman… need I go on?), other players who haven’t been inculcated into the Terry terrors like Martin may thrive.
A sideshow to this which may or may not prove lucrative for fantasy is who will be Hardwick’s favoured boys, if anyone. Wallace certainly had his favourites and not-so-favoured. There are a lot of journeymen at Richmond who have been “just going”, and it is currently unclear as to whom of these will eventually shake themselves out into first-22 locks. Now is the time for players like Edwards, Adam Thomson. Hislop, Daniel Connors, Post, King, Andrew Collins and Andrew L. Browne to raise themselves up from mediocrity. Let us hope on their behalf that they have it within them.
FB: Paul Bower, Michael Jamison, Aaron Joseph
HB: Jordan Russell, Bret Thornton, Heath Scotland
C: Kade Simpson, Marc Murphy, Andrew Carrazzo
HF: Ryan Houlihan, Setanta O’hAilpin, Chris Yarran
FF: Andrew Walker, Lachie Henderson, Eddie Betts
Fol: Matthew Kreuzer, Bryce Gibbs, Brock McLean
Int: Richard Hadley, Shaun Hampson, Mitch Robinson, Shaun Grigg
Iffy: Russell, Hadley, Robinson, Henderson
Waiting: Robert Warnock, Dennis Armfield, Brad Fisher, Jefferey Garlett
Injured: Jarrad Waite
Suspended: Chris Judd
Waite is making noises about aiming for round 1 but I’m projecting at this stage that he wont get up, though he still may be salvageable for fantasy with a round 2 or 3 start. Jamison is also proppy but he’s got enough time to convalesce. Murphy with a hip problem is the only other major concern.
Hadley gets a gig for the first three rounds but it’s hard to see him surviving once Judd joins McLean and the others unless he can develop another side to his game, though the tagging role is covered by Grigg and Joseph. Robinson is still fringe, even more so after his off-season shenanigans.
Henderson is the big question mark. Does Ratten slot him straight in as a full forward to replace Fevola? Does he go with O’hAilpin or Fisher who have let him down so many times before? Does he sacrifice his ruck division with Kreuzer to fill the hole? Given that in the first round of the NAB the Blues are facing Sydney, who are claiming to be treating the pre-season seriously for the first time in many years, we may not get many easy answers to these questions.
FB: Darren Milburn, Matthew Scarlett, Andrew Mackie
HB: Corey Enright, Harry Taylor, James Kelly
C: Jimmy Bartel, Joel Corey, Cameron Ling
HF: Shannon Byrnes, Cameron Mooney, Max Rooke
FF: Paul Chapman, Tom Hawkins, Ryan Gamble
Fol: Brad Ottens, Joel Selwood, Gary Ablett jnr
Int: Mark Blake, Mathew Stokes, Travis Varcoe, David Wojcinski
Iffy: Varcoe, Byrnes, Stokes, Wojcinski
Waiting: Marcus Drum, Josh Hunt, Tom Lonergan, Nathan Djerrkura
Injured: Steve Johnson
I have potted Kelly before and would normally put him in the iffy list, but all reports are that he’s gunning it in pre-season training. This is bad news for those wanting to see either Hunt or Drum, as he’s filling a defender spot they could conceivably take.
Johnson looks unlikely to recover by round 1 from chronic hip ailments – a common complaint from the extremely aged, let us not forget – while Ottens is nursing the hand he cut on a propeller blade on a boat he was skiing behind. Which is about as silly as the silly season gets. Bad Otto. Also, Simon Hogan ricked his back in preseason and as been in the rehab group.
FB: Henry Slattery, Tayte Pears, Dustin Fletcher
HB: Andrew Welsh, Michael Hurley, Courtenay Dempsey
C: Ricky Dyson, Brent Stanton, Brent Prismall
HF: Alwyn Davey, Scott Gumbleton, Kyle Reimers
FF: Mark Williams, Jay Neagle, Angus Monfries
Fol: Patrick Ryder, Jobe Watson, Jason Winderlich
Int: Jason Laycock, Heath Hocking, Sam Lonergan, David Myers
Iffy: Laycock, Hocking, Lonergan, Myers
Waiting: Tom Bellchambers, Leroy Jetta, Cale Hooker, Jake Melksham
Injured: David Hille
Suspended: Nathan Lovett-Murray, Mark McVeigh
I do not like the news coming out of Windy Hill at all. Hille missing, Laycock setback, Neagle overweight, Gumby proppy, Hurley’s thumb weakened after wrist surgery, Myers twanging his hammy. It looks very much to me like the Dons are going to open the season with a shellacking by the Cats.
You may have thought that Essendon would have a dilemma with what to do with Ryder and Hille in the same side. That won’t be an issue for the first month or so, as Hille will miss round 1 at least and be eased into the side gently. Speculation among fans is that Hille and Laycock will both be asked to play up forward a lot, suggesting that Ryder will keep his #1 spot even when Hille is back to full fitness. One wonders, however, just how effective the ponderous Hille could be as a key forward in these days of high aerobic demands. He’s no Paul Salmon, let’s put it that way. Gumbleton is looking likely to blow over in a soft zephyr as usual at this time of year, while Neagle’s skinfolds have caused some angst on Bomber boards. Gumby in particular is going to be popular in fantasy circles if he manages to survive a NAB game or two, but there are never any fitness guarantees with Gumby.
No, I don’t like putting Dyson on the wing either. Yes, Jetta probably deserves the spot more. Dyson out for McVeigh in round 2, that would be my expectation. Melksham is an outside chance for that spot, which will be a focus for fantasy coaches.
Hooker probably merits a spot too but, like Richmond’s backline, there’s a lot of competition for not enough spots. It’s very much on the cards that Hurley could be switched forward in place of Gumby or Neagle if one of those gets injured, but if that doesn’t happen then Hooker may have to wait until Fletcher retires.
Next up: Melbourne, Hawthorn, Brisbane and West Coast.