Sink or swim: 2010 Round 1 projections v1 (3/4)

Sydney’s Daniel Bradshaw is guaranteed of a spot in round 1, but many traded players aren’t.

Sydney Swans Training Session

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.

Sydney
FB: Lewis Roberts-Thomson, Craig Bolton, Martin Mattner
HB: Tadhg Kennelly, Ted Richards, Rhyce Shaw
C: Nick Malceski, Brett Kirk, Craig Bird
HF: Ryan O’Keefe, Adam Goodes, Jude Bolton
FF: Jesse White, Daniel Bradshaw, Patrick Veszpremi
Fol: Mark Seaby, Kieren Jack, Jarrad McVeigh
Int: Shane Mumford, Heath Grundy, Nick Smith, Trent Dennis-Lane
Iffy: Veszpremi, Richards, Smith, Dennis-Lane
Waiting: Paul Bevan, Ed Barlow, Ben McGlynn, Daniel Currie

Sydney have announced to the world that they’re actually going to take the NAB seriously this year. To me, this indicates that coach Paul Roos is going to use the pre-season cup to challenge some of his players to defend their spots. These players would previously have been protected by the near-religious zeal that Roos applied to the ultra-conservative selection policy of only dropping a bloke if his leg had fallen off… and in the cases of Goodes and Kennelly, sometimes, not even then. The bottom part of the top 22 at Sydney is going to be up for grabs.

I have projected that most of the incumbents win their battles, but you could very easily see Jude Bolton replaced by Bevan, Richards replaced by Barlow, Bird replaced by McGlynn, or Mumford replaced by Currie. Then there are fan favourites Nick Smith, Daniel Hannebery and Brett Meredith, who have dropped down the pecking order with the offseason recruitment of the likes of McGlynn and Josh P. Kennedy, not to mention the return of Kennelly and Malceski from absent 2009s.

I have included Dennis-Lane, not with any degree of confidence outside of the fact that a dozen draftees normally play in round 1 every year, and he’s probably in the top 12 in terms of likelihood. Lewis Jetta could just as easily take that spot, if not one of the established players. Those hoping to see Gary Rohan will not like the news that Roos has already singalled he’s nowhere near ready for senior duties.

St Kilda
FB: Jason Blake, Zac Dawson, Farren Ray
HB: Raphael Clarke, Sam Fisher, Brendon Goddard
C: Jason Gram, Lenny Hayes, Nick Dal Santo
HF: Stephen Milne, Nick Riewoldt, Adam Schneider
FF: James Gwilt, Justin Koschitzke, Sam Gilbert
Fol: Michael Gardiner, Clinton Jones, Leigh Montagna
Int: Steven King, David Armitage, Brett Peake, Steven Baker
Iffy: Clarke, Peake, Gwilt, Armitage
Waiting: Jesse W. Smith, Robert Eddy, Jarryn Geary, Andrew McQualter
Suspended: Andrew Lovett (club)

The lack of list turnover at St Kilda means not much change in this 22 from last year. The main reason for Ross Lyon completely ignoring youth at the pointy end of this draft was that some of the bottom end of the Saints’ top 22 were the ones who let him down on grand final day last year. This means fringe players like Eddy, Geary, Armitage, Gwilt and McQualter will have the blowtorch put on them, with Armitage the most likely to survive the process.

In particular, the combination of McQualter and Gwilt as interchanging small forwards may be broken up in favour of Gilbert as a more permanent option. The thinking behind this is no doubt to free up a halfback rebounding spot for Smith and/or Peake, so it remains to be seen if skimming off Peter’s margins will earn enough to pay out Paul. So to speak.

Students of recent history will guess that Smith won’t be right for round 1, as he never actually played in the first three rounds of any of his four years at North. St Kilda had about as good a run with injury as Hawthorn did in 2008 on their September run, so let us hope on Saint fans’ behalf that they don’t also cop the sort of hiding in the injury room that the Hawks did last year. So far, all seems well.

Port Adelaide
FB: Michael Pettigrew, Alipate Carlile, Jacob Surjan
HB: Nathan Krakouer, Chad Cornes, Jackson Trengove
C: Travis Boak, Domenic Cassisi, Steven Salopek
HF: Jason Davenport, Justin Westhoff, Robbie Gray
FF: Brett Ebert, Warren Tredrea, Daniel Motlop
Fol: Dean Brogan, Kane Cornes, Danyle Pearce
Int: Matthew Lobbe, Matt Thomas, Matthew Broadbent, Hamish Hartlett
Iffy: Pettigrew, Thomas, Broadbent, Hartlett
Waiting: Scott Harding, Tom Logan, Nick Salter, Jay Schulz
Injured: David Rodan, Marlon Motlop
Suspended: Troy Chaplin

The Burgoyne era is over at Port, and their finals run of the previous decade is distant history now. We’re still in the Choco era, inexplicably, so you’d expect Port not to give up early and play the kids. A home game to a rebuilding North is just what the doctor ordered to kick off their campaign.

The departure of the Burgoynes leaves the Power midfield a little thin. Having taken three gun junior midfielders the previous draft in Hartlett, Broadbent and Mitch Banner, it may be that only Broadbent gets up for round 1 this year, with Hartlett suffering glandular fever and Banner not ready yet.

Trengove, who took a year to get over a massive leg muscle tear, is almost like a new recruit this year, and he’ll be fighting for a spot in the backline alongside Chad who will be permanently installed there, with Pettigrew likely the low man. He may very well be dropped for Chaplin after the latter’s suspension lifts in round 2, though, so don’t get too excited over his round 1 debut.

Of the trade-ins, Harding is the best fit as a small crumbing forward, though he didn’t come to Port for that role. Schulz… why is he still on an AFL list? And Jay Nash is a depth player at best.

Finally, I keep hearing from Port fans about how Gray is the best thing since Gavin Wanganeen, how he’s going to burn up the midfield and score a DT ton every week. Sorry, I just don’t see it. He’s not that good. He may get a chance in this midfield, but this group is going to be under the cosh to start with as the main tag will fall heavily on Pearce, so unless Gray has hidden away some Ablettesque ball-winning abilities I can’t see him being a fantasy star.

North Melbourne
FB: Lachie Hansen, Scott D. Thompson, Scott McMahon
HB: Leigh Harding, Nathan Grima, Michael Firrito
C: Levi Greenwood, Andrew Swallow, Liam Anthony
HF: Corey Jones, Aaron Edwards, Lindsay Thomas
FF: Matt Campbell, David Hale, Brent Harvey
Fol: Hamish McIntosh, Daniel Wells, Jack Ziebell
Int: Todd Goldstein, Brady Rawlings, Gavin Urquhart, Ben Warren
Iffy: Edwards, Jones, Rawlings, Warren
Waiting: Daniel Pratt, Ben Ross, Ed Lower, Ben Cunnington
Suspended: Drew Petrie

A lot of hope is being invested in Cunnington and Ryan Bastinac as rookie cash cows, but I would advise caution on these two. On Bastinac, he could conceivably win a forward line spot but with no Petrie for the first two rounds and North making noises about aiming for finals, they need to make a solid start. Thus I think Edwards and Jones will take up the spots that might later be left for Petrie and Bastinac.

As for Cunnington, while the long term signs are good, the hotspot in his foot means that the hierarchy down at Arden St might err on the side of caution. His fitness levels will suffer in any case from the lack of running in the preseason.

Fantasy coaches will be waiting with interest to hear back from North’s week-long camp at Runaway Bay, due to end this Thursday, for media-mooted details of a new game plan. North are an enigma to many footy fans who don’t follow the club, so this will be a welcome departure from the frustrating Laidley years. That is, if they bother to tell us anything.

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