Brisbane’s Brendan Fevola is one of many new Paddlepops eager to front up in maroon colours.
I am breaking this first edition of the team projections up into four posts, because theyâ€™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: Jared Rivers, Matthew Warnock, Cameron Bruce
HB: Joel Macdonald, James Frawley, Aaron Davey
C: Jack Trengove, Brent Moloney, Jack Grimes
HF: Brad Green, Matthew Bate, Colin Sylvia
FF: Liam Jurrah, Brad Miller, Addam Maric
Fol: Mark Jamar, James McDonald, Cale Morton
Int: Stefan Martin, Colin Garland, Nathan Jones, Ricky Petterd
Iffy: Maric, Petterd, Miller, Trengove
Waiting: Tom Scully, Clint Bartram, Jamie Bennell, Kyle Cheney
Injured: Austin Wonaeamirri, Jack Watts, Sam Blease
This is a fairly conservative projection. Dean Bailey just got a two-year contract extension, so he may be feeling more adventurous than this 22 suggests. I have only put one draftee in there, as Trengove has taken the eye of everyone who has watched training so far. You would think if there’s only one spot available, the Melbourne hierarchy would err on the side of caution with Scully given his fractured patella last September.
This time last year some noted pundits had Paul Johnson in their plan teams, and some even had them starting in round 1 with the expectation of a break-out year. He was a damp squib. The Dee fans have certainly gone off him, and prefer the flexibility of Martin behind Jamar. The debate may be moot for round 1 due to injury concerns over Johnson, but this looks like being a positional battle that is of no consequence to fantasy coaches in any event.
Demon fans are also of the opinion that a number of players who may start in round 1 will have been gently superannuated by the time round 22 comes around. Miller and McDonald are two names that keep getting mentioned here, with Watts and Scully murmured as long-term replacements. This may be the case, but we’re talking here about round 1 and neither youngster will be pressured before they’re ready.
FB: Campbell Brown, Stephen Gilham, Brent Guerra
HB: Luke Hodge, Ryan Schoenmakers, Grant Birchall
C: Liam Shiels, Sam Mitchell, Xavier Ellis
HF: Michael Osborne, Beau Dowler, Jordan Lewis
FF: Rhan Hooper, Jarryd Roughead, Cyril Rioli
Fol: Simon Taylor, Brad Sewell, Shaun Burgoyne
Int: Brent Renouf, Josh Gibson, Beau Muston, Rick Ladson
Iffy: Ladson, Hooper, Ellis, Muston
Waiting: Clinton Young, Brendan Whitecross, Jarrod Kayler-Thomson, Thomas Murphy
Injured: Max Bailey, Cameron Stokes
Suspended: Lance Franklin, Chance Bateman
Retired: Trent Croad
Plenty of Hawks who got lots of games in 2009 are going to miss out in 2010, providing the club has a better run with injury. This means the likes of Travis Tuck, Garry Moss, Jarryd Morton and Matt Suckling don’t even appear on this list. If training reports are anything to go by, however, there may still be a smokie on the horizon for Hawthorn watchers in the form of mature-age rookie Kayler-Thomson, the 24-year-old midfielder from WAFL side Perth.
I am projecting Young as not developing the required fitness by round 1 after chronic hip problems plus osteitis pubis. Rumours about his long-term demise keep circulating. I’m not supporting them, suffice to say he’ll be eased into the season. Similarly, Whitecross might not make up the fitness gap on his rivals after his hip surgery.
I have included Hooper here but I’m not convinced about the Hawthorn forward structure. Dowler as third forward will be a downgrade from the departed Mark Williams, while you’d expect either Osborne or Ladson to play defensive forward roles at different parts of games. Rioli is expected by many to push into midfield a lot more, which leaves the Hawks without much in the way of crumbing skills at the feet of Roughie and Buddy. Hooper’s demeanour and apparent fitness level at training suggests that he still has a way to go before he reaches the standard that Alistair Clarkson would want. This will make Clarkson’s decision on which rookies to promote in place of Croad and Bailey interesting. Wayde Skipper is not doing much in the pre-season, but the Hawks may have to bite the bullet given their low ruck stocks. The aforementioned JKT is looking like a strong candidate, which leaves Moss as a dark horse.
FB: James Hawksley, Daniel Merrett, Joel Patfull
HB: Ashley McGrath, Matt Maguire, Josh Drummond
C: James Polkinghorne, Daniel Rich, Jed Adcock
HF: Jared Brennan, Jonathan Brown, Justin Sherman
FF: Travis Johnstone, Brendan Fevola, Amon Buchanan
Fol: Mitch Clark, Simon Black, Luke Power
Int: Matthew Leuenberger, Cheynee Stiller, Michael Rischitelli, Brent Staker
Iffy: Stiller, Hawksley, Maguire, Staker
Waiting: Jamie Charman, Andrew Raines, Tom Collier, Jack Redden
Injured: Xavier Clarke, Callum Bartlett, Troy Selwood
This side has been remade by coach Michael Voss, so it’s one of the hardest to judge for round 1 prospects. Will Staker, Buchanan and Maguire join Fevola as debutantes for their new club all at once? Along with Raines, all but Fevola of these newcomers could be said to be fringe players, depending on how you rate the rest of the Lions list. Maguire’s fitness will be his main concern, with early signs being solid. Buchanan only played more than 18 games twice in nine seasons with Sydney. Staker was fringe at the Eagles, whose list is inferior to Brisbane’s at the moment. All will get their chance nonetheless.
The recruitment of these journeymen means a bunch of young Lions may fall by the wayside. Collier, Cornelius, Pearce Hanley, Todd Banfield, Sam Sheldon, Tom Rockliff and Albert Proud all have much harder times getting into the Brisbane seniors after Voss’s offseason trade drive. Fantasy coaches might have to wait until injury strikes for these players, some of who show great promise for fantasy, to get consistent selection.
FB: Mark Nicoski, Darren Glass, Eric MacKenzie
HB: Beau Waters, Mitchell Brown, Shannon Hurn
C: Bradd Dalziell, Daniel Kerr, Brad Ebert
HF: Tom Swift, Josh J. Kennedy, Sam Butler
FF: Ben McKinley, Quinten Lynch, Mark LeCras
Fol: Dean Cox, Matt Priddis, Chris Masten
Int: Nick Naitanui, Andrew Embley, Matt Rosa, Adam Selwood
Iffy: Rosa, Butler, McKinley, Dalziell
Waiting: Tim Houlihan, Brad Sheppard, Matt Spangher, Luke Shuey
Fantasy coaches have had problems in recent years with John Worsfold and his faith in players that took him to the last Eagles premiership. Their numbers are dwindling now, with David Wirrpanda, Tyson Stenglein and Chad Fletcher gone this offseason, but the likes of Brett Jones and Ashley Hansen remain, clogging up the list where many fantasy coaches (and Eagle fans) would like to see younger bodies.
Exactly where Dalziell fits into the pecking order is still somewhat of a mystery. He is competing with Masten for the fastest on the track at the club, which is a good sign for both players. Swift’s spot could easily be taken by Shuey or Sheppard, but Worsfold’s history is that he probably won’t find room for more than one or two of them, at least before injuries start hitting. Then again, with Kerr and Waters in the side there’s every chance of setbacks before a ball is bounced.
I have put Swift and Butler in as half forward flankers but neither is a specialist at the position, which is why LeCras is named at a forward pocket instead of the midfield as was being mooted earlier in the preseason. At some point in December, Woosha remembered to have a look at his list and discovered that he didn’t have any small forwards at the club other than LeCras, and so he has admitted in public that there’s no point continuing the charade that LeCras would be put anywhere else. One would imagine that a part of the training drills in the months leading up to round 1 will be trying to manufacture a crumbing and/or defensive forward out of at least one of the kids.