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Junkyard Devil: 2009 AFL Round 1 fantasy selection teasers

Rookie selection teasers

Dean Laidley is one of many coaches who love to sabotage fantasy hopes by dropping kids too early.

Dean Laidley the Fantasy Antichrist

We’ve all been there. 2007 was one example: Lachie Hansen had just had an excellent NAB Cup, he was named in the Kangaroos team for round 1, then… two paltry Dream Team scores of 21 in each of the first two games with painfully limited time on ground (TOG), then shipped back to the VFL until after the 2007 finals series had started. Or you could take 2008: Scott D. Thompson had solid outings in the NAB series, named for round 1, then… dropped after one DT score of 37 with limited TOG, then not seen again until rounds 6 and 7, and then dropped again until a fourth and last game in round 21.

Is it any wonder that we call North Melbourne coach Dean Laidley the Fantasy Antichrist?

This year we have a new crop of rookies, and Laidley isn’t the only one we need to worry about. Dean Bailey at Melbourne and Neil Craig at Adelaide are both offering us tasty rookie treats, but I suspect we’re being fattened up for the cooking pot, if not the fiery depths of some lower hell. Heck, even at Hawthorn I am not putting any faith in Alistair Clarkson to commit to youth like he did at the start of 2008 with Cyril Rioli, Cameron Stokes and Jarryd Morton. Here’s some kids I am becoming increasingly wary of.

Nathan Grima – North fans all seem to think he’s a lock for the round 1 side, if not for the majority of the year. I remain unconvinced that he’s even in the team until I see Laidley put his name down on the official teamsheet on Thursday night. Even then, Grima’s place seems to be predicated on a long-foreshadowed move of Michael Firrito into the midfield, and I don’t trust that either. You just know that the worst case scenario is that Grima starts getting beaten early, Zac Dawson style, so that Firrito has to occupy the goalsquare to rescue the situation, and Grima will leave grime all over our back benches.

Liam Anthony – The fact that Laidley has been talking him up in the press makes me even more fearful than if he had been shutting up about him. This smacks to me of a typical Laidley stunt. Of course he has to talk up his kids, North needs more members desperately so they’re forced to wheel out the coach to give the fans some hope. Whether this translates into a consistent run of selection in the first eight games is an entirely different matter. It’s the Fantasy Antichrist, you sinners! Make the sign of the cross and repent!

Jack Ziebell – Anyone who is starting Jay-Z in round 1 has to have cojones of steel. You just know he’s going to be named in the extended bench for the Sunday game for promotional purposes, no matter whether Laidley intends to play him or not, so you will have exactly zero idea if he’s going to play or not. If your forward bench emergency is someone like Scott Gumbleton, Wade Thompson or Neville Jetta you could be setting yourself up for a zero without any assurances. Just remember Jay-Z’s sage Dream Team advice: “99 problems, but a bench ain’t one.”

Jared Petrenko – He has become wildly popular as an 8th or 9th fantasy back, and the news today that Graham Johncock will miss round 1 due to a family bereavement will lock Petrenko into the round 1 Crows team. Consider this, however: Petrenko’s spot is either in the forward line in place of Jason Porplyzia (if Jarrhan Jacky is not used there) or in the back line instead of Brad Symes. Porps is due back by round 2 or 3, while Symes is due a week or two after that. With Neil Craig’s historical thriftiness with rookie TOG, can we expect Petrenko to earn enough coin in a maximum of five weeks to justify buying him? Of course you could get lucky, as owners of Bernie Vince did last year when a rash of injuries gave him far more TOG than Craig would have liked to allow. It’s a big risk nonetheless.

Andy Otten – Yes, his preseason numbers have been excellent. “Demands selection”, they say. Like Petrenko, however, Otten could be squeezed out early by returning senior players, particularly the aforementioned Symes. Last year was an aberration with Vince, Porplyzia and David Mackay all representing excellent rookie value. The norm with Neil Craig sides is to stay away from their kids. Without evidence of another injury glut down at Westlakes, you have to look at Otten’s price premium over a Dayne Beams or Mitch Robinson with a hard eye.

Kyle Cheney – Another kid who, while he may very well play the first couple of rounds, doesn’t have any assurances after that. His spot in the Demons 22 is reserved for Matthew Whelan, who could return from his calf injury as early as round 2. Be warned.

Brendan Whitecross – A solid last outing on a half-back flank in the NAB series has him penciled in for the round 1 Hawks team. Unfortunately, he may not last past the return of Rick Ladson, currently scheduled for somewhere between rounds 2 and 5. Best case scenario is that he is eventually replaced by Xavier Ellis some time around round 6. His place in the Hawthorn 22 is most at risk.

I’m pretty sure that I’ve just named at least two of your squad of 30 in Dream Team and Super Coach, if not three or four. How worried are you about these players being dropped in the first six rounds before the usual cash cow culling cut-off point? Are you choosing safer, more boring options like Mitchell Brown or (shudder) Zac Dawson to sacrifice upside for selection consistency? Tell me in the comments.



  1. jack

    March 24, 2009 at 11:27 am

    ablett, bartel, selwood midfield
    is that a good idea to have all 3 in the same team? thoughts

  2. Max Power

    March 24, 2009 at 11:48 am

    Jack: for their individual scoring potential, sure get all three. I would expect them all to average over 100, in the case of ablett and bartel, history says 110 is achievable. The problem is the cost, and how that effects the rest of your team. You could swap an Ablett or Bartel down to another quality mid, and save around 100K to use elsewhere.

  3. Simonoz

    March 24, 2009 at 12:01 pm

    Monty – not trying to be pushy – but Version 8.0 will be out BEFORE the season starts right ?


  4. Greg

    March 24, 2009 at 12:08 pm

    Much more faith in the Melb rookies this year considering wins are irrelevant! Melbourne have enough poor players for Dick Cheney to hang around post Whelan! Jay-Z is the only north player worth risking… and only just

  5. Jesse

    March 24, 2009 at 12:08 pm

    Ziebell for brownlow

  6. m0nty

    March 24, 2009 at 1:15 pm

    Simonoz: I’m thinking a Wednesday night edition so that with the official Carlton and Richmond teams you get the other 14 teams as well, if only unofficial.

  7. Robert

    March 24, 2009 at 2:28 pm

    Does anyone know when Ballantyne will be fit for the Dockers? I really like the look of him and if he will be available in rounds 2 or 3 I will put him in now to save a trade

  8. korza

    March 24, 2009 at 2:40 pm

    Hey Monty since the afl site is a moral to crash come late thursday,i feel like i am a sitting duck and at the mercy of the gods (Laidley & Co).Could you do me a favour and say a prayer.

  9. The Fone

    March 24, 2009 at 3:16 pm

    I do agree with the Rookie “Restriction” theory of Laidley.

    Jesse… just skimming, but is that the second time you’ve said Ziebell for brownlow???
    I’m torn between laughing and spewing… :S

    I do have him in my team however (lol) with Taylor Walker as Em. (confident with statistics pointing to him over Hentschel only backed up by what Bomber said about Neil Craig on 927.

    Andy Otten – who has looked very solid and Adelaide are re-shaping, must get games. Beams as Em.

    Although Presti is a terrible dt player, as an emergency he is a certain 20-40 points for only $20K more. Better than a big fat 0.
    Grima as 9th defender.

    Couldn’t help but slot in Sidebottom (8th mid) but considering Rich… just unsure about each player’s game time potential.

    And… As i need to get rid of GumbyTonne (as 9th fwd) due to injury im a little iffy on Mitchell Brown (WCE) & Dzufer (BL) … thoughts?

  10. Bomber

    March 24, 2009 at 3:23 pm

    Mitchell Brown is averaging 82 SC points over 3 games (60, 106 and 81) in the pre-season. He’s locked for sure.

  11. ryab

    March 24, 2009 at 3:30 pm

    bomber, where did you find stats like that of Mitchell brown. Also for other other nab challenge games? Thanks

  12. The Fone

    March 24, 2009 at 3:39 pm

    i too would like that info Bomber…

    where the???

  13. nix

    March 24, 2009 at 3:46 pm

    Lets not worry tooo much about the rookie backs, if you throw another 100k at that problem you are kissing 25 – 30 points away elsewhere.

  14. Brad

    March 24, 2009 at 4:21 pm

    And me also please Bomber, cough it up mate!

  15. sox

    March 24, 2009 at 4:22 pm

    Some of us got access to champion data stats for all NAB games…….

  16. Brad

    March 24, 2009 at 4:29 pm

    Tipping you are not going to share then Sox?

  17. Hippo

    March 24, 2009 at 4:55 pm

    Guys just go to the herald sun AFL page and its in there were you can download a xls spreadsheet with all the shit on there:

    “Your guide: Supercoach NAB scores”

    to easy!!!!!!!!!!

  18. ZergMinion

    March 24, 2009 at 4:55 pm

    There are now two places you can find a link to the NAB challenge champion data stats (that I know of), one is a post on a popular online afl forum, and the other is the news site that’s been posting SC stats for the NAB cup (although they’re doing a good job of keeping it hidden…it was much easier to find this morning).

    They’ll probably email the stats to all SuperCoach players tomorrow like they did last year anyway 🙂

  19. ZergMinion

    March 24, 2009 at 4:56 pm

    Or do what hippo said…so much for fun 🙂

  20. Hippo

    March 24, 2009 at 5:00 pm

    haha i do like your way better, like a little treasure hunt, should not have been so obvious

  21. korza

    March 24, 2009 at 5:04 pm

    Inside info from Westlakes, Petrenko is a now go. Not injured, quote “team balance”. Maybe a horses for courses type player planned for this bloke.

  22. Brad

    March 24, 2009 at 5:04 pm

    You beauty Hippo.
    Got em. Cheers

  23. pascoe

    March 24, 2009 at 5:17 pm

    i have had the pre-season stats each week for ages now. you guys need to try harder to look

  24. James

    March 24, 2009 at 5:36 pm

    @korza, is that Petrenko is ‘now a go’ or a ‘no go’?? And you realise that if you’re wrong you will be hunted down by irate DTers

  25. The Fone

    March 24, 2009 at 6:30 pm

    .. here here!

  26. Leigh

    March 24, 2009 at 7:08 pm

    I think this article is very suspect.

    Liam Anthony = ball magnet. will play and will dominate, get him in your starting side!

  27. tim baddock

    March 24, 2009 at 7:11 pm

    thats rubbish leigh

  28. korza

    March 24, 2009 at 8:10 pm

    Play Petrenko at your own peril.He is definately a no go.

  29. Pom

    March 24, 2009 at 8:43 pm

    so hogan seems a solid pick?

    may not play round one but 15 games sounds very handy….

    wade thompson or jeff garlett being elevated yet?

  30. Simonoz

    March 24, 2009 at 10:17 pm

    Thanks for the heads up Monty on V8.0….


  31. T-Lads

    March 25, 2009 at 12:00 am

    is dale thomas a good buy?

  32. Doc

    March 25, 2009 at 1:03 am

    I’d love some opinions on the following scenarios

    1- Krakouer in forward line, Bartel and T. Tuck in mid
    2- T Walker in forward line, Swan and K Cornes in mid


  33. hamish

    March 25, 2009 at 8:45 am

    alex rance is a definite starter for round 1! herald sun says terry wallace will hit the ground running with a raines,mcmahon,bowden,rance backline which will can run carlton off their feet

  34. Mr Gor

    March 25, 2009 at 10:01 am

    haha “99 problems but a bench ain’t one”

    i’m just gonna run the risk with these rookies (Petrenko, Ziebell, Anthony, Cheney, Broughton, Hill).

    I’d rather pick these guys and have cash in the bank than choose the likes of Geary, Dempsey, Hentschel, etc. and be in the same situation. A couple of zeros in the opening rounds isn’t gonna hurt me, I’m pretty sure the major prize is out of my reach.

  35. Andy

    March 25, 2009 at 11:41 am

    ziebell wont get many games because look who the coach is ….. Dean Laidley the Fantasy Antichrist

  36. hamish

    March 25, 2009 at 1:46 pm

    its amazing how the fantasy antichrist coaches the best dreamteamer in the game! boomer harvey

  37. Robert

    March 25, 2009 at 1:53 pm


  38. Nige

    March 26, 2009 at 12:55 pm

    An article has just been released on Herald Sun Superfooty website claiming Anthony and Ziebell have been confirmed for Sunday’s game

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