Purple beret: Dockers v Eagles wrap

Colin Sylvia summed up the lacklustre Fremantle effort, but he had less excuse than most.

Gary Ablett jnr's bald headThere wasn’t much to write home about from the Fremantle side in the Joondalup trot, let alone write about for this match wrap. Colin Sylvia, best known in footy circles for wearing a beret to an AFLPA meeting, turned out to be the most disappointing of a sorry looking lot with a 29/16. Players like David Mundy (65/49) and Nathan Fyfe (103/99) can be forgiven slow starts given their preseason is as much as a month behind that of the Eagles, but there is no good reason why Beret Sylvia wouldn’t have wanted to impress his new coaches in purple, let alone fantasy coaches thinking of picking him up this year. Hmm.

Everyone was impressive on the Eagles team, apart from Dom Sheed who was just as anonymous as Beret in the first half. Sheed had a much better second half of 49 in DT to reach 61/36, but one wonders if his first half form is more indicative of how he would go against a team giving a genuine Dockers-style effort in the real stuff. Another player whose number look better from second half junk time was Elliot Yeo, who didn’t have much to do down back and should have been able to get forward for more touches in the first half. His second half of 45 DT to total 72/69 flatters his game. ALready priced at around 60, he’s not fantasy relevant even if he makes the Eagles side for mine.

Right, that’s the bad news out of the way. On the positive end, of course it’s Xavier Ellis everyone was watching after he started on the wing and was in everything in the first part of Q1 for a 36 DT quarter. While he was eventually subbed off early in Q3 with what looked like a non-serious sore jaw knock for a 72/75, given his massively discounted price compared to what we know his ceiling to be, he is far more likely to overcome the recent Eagles record of recycled outside mids who fail to live up to hype – think Jarrad Oakley-Nicholls and Bradd Dalziell. He deserves a place in your starting midfield for now, over some of the high profile draftees.

Aaaand… there’s not much more to be said about this game. Some Eagle kids got some big scores like Mark Hutchings (106/94) and Jamie Cripps (99/91), but won’t score anything like that in round 1 even if they make the 22. Scott Gumbleton (39/28) played a typical Gumby game, showing patches but mostly just contesting without looking like actually marking many. Tendai Mzungu and Sharrod Wellingham had an interesting battle on a flank, with neither likely to rise to premium status.

I should mention Aaron Sandilands (71/80) to finish. As I said during the game in chat, my preferred ruck foursome in salary cap this year is Matthew Lobbe, Tom Hickey, Billy Longer and Fraser Thurlow. Lobbe rucking practically solo is a lock given his improvement late last year, while there is a case to be made for 211 over Hickey but I am personally not buying it. Hickey has more upside as a #1 ruck, and while he hasn’t strung together a full season as yet, he’s more of a chance IMO to play out 22 games than the Bruce Reid built-from-matchsticks body of Sandi – plus you get the handcuff of Longer in case Hickey does fall over. The only Sandilands handcuff is Zac Clarke, and you can’t spend the money required to have him on your bench.

Of course you could decide to go with tried, tested, reliable, good old Dean Cox (74/69 to HT then subbed for a rest). Rumours of his fantasy irrelevance are most definitely exaggerated. Nic Naitanui is by no means guaranteed an injury free season this year, so a Cox/Lobbe combo is arguably the preferred option for conservative coaches.

How about you, what are your thoughts on your ruck four this year? Is the X-man a lock, or don’t you trust him with his Shaun Higgins-like ability to attract band-aids and vests? Have you ever worn a beret, even just for a few seconds for fun? Let me know in the comments.

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