Sons of the Suns: mock Gold Coast 22 for Round 1, 2011

The Gold Coast Suns will have something old, something new, something borrowed, something… NRL?

GOLD COAST, AUSTRALIA - MAY 31: Karmichael Hunt walks on the beach after the GCFC AFL Press conference at the North Burleigh Surf Life Saving Club on May 31, 2010 in Gold Coast, Australia. (Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)

I haven’t seen anyone do this quite yet so I thought it would be an interesting exercise to try to fashion a starting 22 for round 1 of the 2011 AFL season for the new Gold Coast Sun franchise.

We know a few things: that the GC17 recruiters led by Scott Clayton will take somewhere between eight and 12 established players from other clubs; that they have more first-round picks in next year’s draft than I’ve had hot dinners; and that they are not going to trade away any of those first-rounders for established stars.

So then, here’s my lash at the 22 that every fantasy coach will be sweating on in six months’ time.

B: Jarrod Harbrow, Karmichael Hunt, Campbell Brown
HB: Nathan Krakouer, Michael Coad, Sam Iles
C: David Swallow, Daniel Harris, Roland Ah Chee
HF: Jared Brennan, Cameron Mooney, Harley Bennell
F: Jack Darling, David Hale, Brandon Matera
Foll: Zac Smith, Michael Rischitelli, Gary Ablett jnr
Int: Steven May, Josh Toy, Daniel Gorringe, Danny Stanley

This team can be broken down as follows.

  • Eight poached AFL players: Harbrow, Brown, Krakouer, Brennan, Mooney, Hale, Rischitelli and Ablett jnr. Other names that are credible chances to appear on this list (according to rumour) are Nathan Bock, Quinten Lynch, Matthew Spangher, Steven Salopek, Travis Boak, Bachar Houli, Shaun Grigg, and David Armitage. If you’re wondering why there are two Cats and two Lions when the rules say that you can only poach one uncontracted player per AFL team, that’s a good question, especially if Clayton wants to hold firm on not trading first round picks. The rumours are strong about all four players, though.
  • Three recycled AFL players: Harris, Iles and Stanley. Like these three, Nathan Ablett is also currently listed for the Gold Coast’s VFL side, but his body is questionable so he may not get up for 2011, especially for round 1. Other possibilities for recruitment from lower leagues include Cleve Hughes, Matt Little and the evergreen Mitch Thorp.
  • Two mature-agers: Hunt and Coad. The former is a complete unknown for fantasy purposes, but the latter will be in every serious DT/SC team in round 1 next year barring injury.
  • Four kids who are already listed for GC: Smith, Ah Chee, Matera and Toy. Smith is going to be the #1 ruck for the Suns and should play out the year if he survives the rough and tumble of weekly battering by established giants. Toy is another 22-game candidate. A smaller player like Matera will benefit from the extra preseason that all four of these lads have had in 2010. Since these players are all likely to be basement rookie price, if they look like they have strong JS (job security) they will be in a lot of fantasy sides as well. Smith, in particular, will be a no-brainer bench ruck.
  • Five 2010 draftees: Swallow, Bennell, Darling, Gorringe and May. All but May will likely be first rounders, so they will attract price premiums. The first two in particular are locked in as the first two picks for GC and should be bought with the same level of confidence as those who snagged Jack Trengove and Tom Scully this year. May will most probably be a zone pick as he comes from the Northern Territory, so he will represent fantasy value. The other two are more speculative at this stage depending on which mock draft you believe, though given that Mooney and Hale are ageing stopgap solutions, you’d expect Scott Clayton to plump for young key position talent. In that vein, the likes of Scott Lycett (202cm ruck) and Lucas Cook (194cm tall forward) may also get snapped up by the GC later in the first round to vie for round 1 selection.

The above is highly speculative of course, but I hope it gives you some indication as to the balance of the GC17 list. Depending on how this year’s trade period goes, the Suns may be able to secure another four signatures of uncontracted AFL players, which would change the mix a lot. Then again that best 22 assumes no injuries, so if a number of those senior players have interrupted preseasons the round 1 side could be looking a whole lot younger.

I could see as much as half of that team making very strong cases, collectively and individually, to be in your fantasy squads next year. How many do you think you will be able to fit in… or even want to? Tell me in the comments.

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