Scott Clayton just had the greatest week of his life building Gold Coast’s list. Fantasy coaches could only watch on in awe.
One of the great things about fantasy football is that you get to feel like you’re not only a coach, but a president, recruiting manager and list manager all in one. Well, we’ve all been one-upped this week by Scott Clayton, list manager for Gold Coast FC and evil genius. He has masterminded… wait, no, that’s not really giving credit where it’s due. The AFL has given Clayton a bazooka, and Clayton has fired it. At the end of trade week, the rest of the club list managers are spreadeagled before him like defensive linemen playing the Minnesota Vikings. Although one of them is lying there with a smile on his face, as we shall see in the club-by-club review.
Adelaide: Richard Tambling (Richmond) for Adelaide’s end-of-first round compensation for losing Nathan Bock, and a third-round NAB AFL Draft selection (#50). Sam Jacobs (Carlton) for Adelaide’s second-round draft selection (#33) and fourth-round draft selection (#67).
Jacobs in and Griffin out is an upgrade at second ruck behind Ivan Maric, but second ruck is the least important position in football, especially next year with the new substitute rule. Some pundits would have Jacobs going past Maric on the ruck depth chart though, which would be interesting for the Crows but not for fantasy as neither player has a second string to their bow. Bling is a fascinating player to me, with upside as great as Andrew McLeod but the potential to powder completely. His assets of speed and fine disposal skills are better suited to Adelaide’s game style which emphasises halfback rebounding. Brad Symes hasn’t fulfilled his fantasy potential in that area and Graham Johncock was the defender who stepped his game up this year, so there’s a spot there for Tambling to start off a wing and/or half back flank in the manner of Stephen Hill. There are two main concerns for me: Tambling’s inability to break a tag, although in a better side this may not be a problem; and his ongoing injury issues. Tambling had treatment before the 2010 season for compartment syndrome, a very painful and debilitating injury affecting both his legs. I fear this may be another case of Mark Williams or Jesse W. Smith, who were both traded and have since barely got on the park with chronic problems. Still, a drop of 30 points in both comps this year from his one good year in 2009 will interest some fantasy coaches, especially if he looks good in preseason.
Brisbane: Gold Coast’s first (#5 and #25) and second-round (#27) draft selections for the Lions’ end of first round compensation for Jared Brennan and a first-round selection (#10). Rohan Bewick (Gold Coast pre-listed) for the Lions’ third-round selection (#48). End of first round Gold Coast draft compensation from Bulldogs for Justin Sherman.
The 21-year-old Bewick averaged 82.3 in Dream Team playing for West Perth in the WAFL this year across 16 games, with 20 touches, six marks and a goal per game. In the mould of Dale Thomas, there would be a rough chance of him qualifying as a CTR/FWD if Champion Data decides to be nice, which would definitely put him on the radar of fantasy coaches. As it is, given the general trend towards cut-price fantasy midfield benches, he could find his way onto a lot of them next year as the new Tom Rockliff or Ben Nason type.
Carlton: Andrew Collins (Richmond) for Shaun Grigg. Second-round draft selection (#33) and fourth-round selection (#67) for Sam Jacobs. Jeremy Laidler (Geelong) and second-round selection (#41) for second-round selection (#36) and third-round NAB AFL Draft selection (#53).
Laidler is a prime candidate for a discount to put him at a tasty price next year, and if it wasn’t for the emergence of Kane Lucas, I’d be all over the ex-Cat. I’d need to see what the new pecking order is down at Cardboard Park before committing to him. I’m not sure there will be a defined one anyway, with Lucas fighting it out with Laidler and Bret Thornton for that third tall defender role, which has been problematic for Carlton ever since they found out Thornton wasn’t much chop. Like Lucas in 2010, Laidler may only get a third of a season’s worth of games.
Ceglar may be slightly mature at the age of 20 by the time the season starts, but I’d hold my excitement. Barring an LTI to Darren Jolly or Leigh Brown I can’t see Ceglar getting much of a run. Might be worth stashing at #4 ruck as a handcuff if you’re going to buy Jolly, though.
Apparently 2011 is the year that James Hird is going to take a long, hard look at the Bomber list and figure out who can play, which is why he’s only going with the bare minimum of three draft picks. I would have thought that it was pretty bloody obvious even from this distance that the list needs a clean out, but you’ve got to give Jim at least one chance I suppose.
Fremantle: Received Peter Faulks (Gold Coast pre-listed) and Gold Coast’s fourth-round draft selection (#61) for pick 55. Received Tendai Mzungu and second-round draft selection (#44) from Gold Coast for second-round draft selection (#38 overall). Received second-round draft selection (#43) and third-round selection (#55) for Chris Tarrant and third-round draft selection (#44). Received Jonathon Griffin (Adelaide) for fourth-round selection (#61).
Fair dinkum, does the Freo hierarchy have some pull on Scott Clayton or what? GC have gifted the Dockers with two mature-agers via the dodgy “pre-listing” mechanism for a handful of beans, which is the closest thing to AFL-approved draft tampering that the competition has seen. On the flip side, Freo got screwed by Collingwood on the Tarrant deal, but that’s not what fantasy coaches want to hear about, they’re all about the ongoing search for the new Michael Barlow. So, can Mark Harvey’s sweet, sweet drafting run continue? Mzungu averaged 104.6 in DT in 20 games for Perth in the WAFL this year as a running defender for a pretty poor side, racking up 19 kicks and nine handballs with seven marks and a tackle per game. That spells to me not Barlow, but Greg Broughton as the template for another fantasy superstar who will hold up backlines across the major comps. Job security would be the concern for me, as barring a graceful exit by Roger Hayden I’m not all that solid on Mzungu getting consistent games in a halfback corps that already boasts Hayden, Broughton, Paul Duffield, Nick Suban and Stephen Hill, with rotations by the likes of Jay van Berlo and Matthew de Boer who have greater versatility, plus others like Garrick Ibbotson and Dylan Roberton. Yes, Freo have a lot of half back flankers. Meanwhile, Faulks is an obvious replacement for Tarrant and/or the ageing Grover, with his fantasy value much the same as Alex Silvagni this year. If he’s named in round 1, I can see him appearing in a poultice of teams and then being stashed as #3 bench back to accumulate cash.
Geelong: The Western Bulldogs’ third-round draft selection (#57) for Nathan Djerrkura. Gold Coast’s first-round draft selection 15 for mid-first round Gary Ablett jnr compensation pick. Received second-round draft selection (#36) and third-round selection (#53) from Carlton for Jeremy Laidler and second-round draft selection (#41).
Hawthorn: David Hale (North Melbourne) and third-round draft selection (#52) for Hawthorn’s end-of-first-round compensation pick for losing Campbell Brown to Gold Coast, and a fourth-round draft selection (71). Kyle Cheney (Melbourne) and a fourth-round selection (#66) for a third-round selection (#52).
No and no.
Melbourne: Third-round selection (#52) for Kyle Cheney and a fourth-round NAB AFL Draft selection (#66).
Rightfully trusting their youth policy.
North Melbourne: Hawthorn’s end-of-first-round pick (received as compensation for Campbell Brown) and a fourth-round selection (#71) for David Hale (North Melbourne) and a third-round selection (#52). Cameron Richardson (pre-listed Gold Coast) for pick 35. Ben McKinley (West Coast) for pick 86.
McKinley is essentially the same player as Hale: good for WAFL/VFL, but doesn’t have the defensive game in the big league and gets exposed for workrate and pace off the mark. Richardson is a different matter, a mature-ager who won a premiership with Kangaroo-affiliated North Ballarat in the VFL this year and will also feature prominently for fantasy this year, not least of which due to the words of Brad Scott as told to the AFL web site: “He’ll play as a 23 year-old next year and we think he’ll have an immediate impact. He’s a 189cm half-back flanker and wingman. He’s strong overhead and we think he can play a variety of roles.” In fantasy terms, that’s an engraved invitation to start in your back seven.
Port Adelaide: Simon Phillips and second-round draft selection (#35) from Gold Coast for second-round Gold Coast draft compensation selection for losing Nathan Krakouer.
After being burnt by Wade Thompson and being underwhelmed by Robbie Gray and Cameron Hitchcock, can fantasy coaches stomach another small crumbing Power forward? The former Sydney Swan and most recently Norwood “goalsneak” in the SANFL is mature-aged, and there might be an opportunity for him if Daniel Motlop does walk out from Alberton. Personally I can’t see myself picking him, but a good pre-season will make him moderately popular.
Richmond: Adelaide’s end of first round compensation selection for losing Nathan Bock to Gold Coast plus a third-round draft selection (#50) for Richard Tambling. Carlton’s Shaun Grigg for Andrew Collins.
Grigg is not a fantasy player.
St Kilda: Inactive.
Once bitten, twice shy.
Sydney: Andrejs Everitt for Patrick Veszpremi and pick 73.
I feel Everitt is not going to be relevant for fantasy in that current Swans set-up.
West Coast: North Melbourne’s fifth-round draft selection (#86) for forward Ben McKinley. Confirmed father-son draftee Jacob Brennan for its last selection (#130). Third-round Gold Coast draft compensation selection from Collingwood for third-round draft selection (#45).
Brennan is another medium-sized backman who needs to develop his body before he truly fits the Eagle mould. Experiences in recent seasons with Scott Selwood and Brad Sheppard show that first-year West Coast defenders are usually not great for fantasy purposes.
Western Bulldogs: Justin Sherman (Brisbane Lions) for end of first round compensation pick for losing Jarrod Harbrow to Gold Coast. Patrick Veszpremi (Sydney Swans) and a fourth-round draft selection (#73) for Andrejs Everitt. Nathan Djerrkura (Geelong) for a third-round draft selection (#57). Confirmed father-son draftees Mitch Wallis (#22) and Tom Liberatore (#40).
Wallis and Liberatore have been selling like hotcakes in the Fanplanner, though that may ease off with the aforementioned wave of new mature-agers. The other three are yet more small-forward-cum-midfielder types, of which the Bulldogs already had too many, albeit the retirements of Nathan Eagleton and Brad Johnson plus the possible delisting of Josh Hill means they arguably needed a bit of a top-up. I am declaring those tricky tricoleur types off limits for my teams after getting torched by Shaun Higgins and Robert Murphy.
Overall, as suspected, the 2011 fantasy landscape is going to be filled with mature-age cheapies and Gold Coast kids, making the guns-and-rookies structure almost mandatory. You can choose to see this as a bad thing that makes the game more boring, or enjoy the ride as you fill your squad with three Barlows, two Broughtons and half a dozen Suns. See you at the draft in November!