Early 2009 fantasy preview: Adelaide

I know it’s a little silly to do this pre-draft and before trades and delistings have been finalised, but I wrote these up and it would be a shame to waste them. I’ll post one for each team, starting with the Crows. The numbers in brackets after each name are their Dream Team home & away averages (unless Super Coach is specified) and games played in 2008.

Neil Craig made a lot of noise early doors this year about being more attacking, but it fizzled out and the Crows relied on their Wall defence to lock down games like they always did. Admittedly their forwards were decimated by injury, but even when they were fit earlier in the season, we didn’t see an explosion of goals.

I am going to be interested to see how Brent Reilly (64/8) fits back in to the midfield rotation next year if he has an uninterrupted pre-season… with a nice discount he’d look good. Nathan Van Berlo (85/22) was found out a bit in the final this year, I think, so Craig may have a rethink about his structure in the middle. Tyson Edwards (93/22) has pretty much been superannuated already, given his role drifted towards the backline late in the season, so someone needs to replace him in the engine room. Reilly is the most likely to slot in.

I’d be very tempted to go with Brad Symes (80/15) again. He still averaged 5 below his 2006 numbers so he’s under his ceiling, particularly if Andrew McLeod (72/20) slows down again as I’d expect him to. Graham Johncock (77/20) actually improved his average by about 7 points this year, despite getting dropped, and I was surprised to note he’ll only be 26 years old next year… with that chain-smoking habit he looks like a 30-year-old, which turns me off him.

One thing that I think has changed is Craig’s unwillingness to blood the kids. Maybe that was forced on him this year by injury, but I think injuries are almost a given with the Crows now, with that unyielding training regimen that Craig subjects the team to. Obviously Patrick Dangerfield (26/2) is a prime target to get more gametime, and he did everyone a favour with that 7 in R21 to keep his price low, so he’ll be in a shedload of fantasy teams, albeit probably more as Tippett-like bench material than 22-worthy. James Sellar (7/1) will be bargain basement, but I’m not so hot on his prospects unless he shows a bit in the NAB and is named for R1 – which I can’t see happening bar injury, given that they will have to fit the Birdman, Porps, Nick Gill (55/8) and maybe Trent Hentschel (0/0) into that forward line. In fact, Dangerfield and/or Sellar might have to wait until halfway through the season to snag a spot, which would make them no-brainer cash-out targets.

It is also going to be interesting to see if other teams continue to copy Craig’s intra-season training schedule – Geelong’s loss to Collingwood and the Dogs’ mid-season slump can both be somewhat attributed to Craig-esque flog sessions on the track but I don’t know that they were all that helpful.

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