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Round 1 team projections for 2009 AFL season

Round 1 team projections

One of the biggest issues in fantasy footy these days is the angst that the AFL has caused to fantasy coaches with its scheduling, by having a round 1 season opener on a Thursday, bare minutes after the full round 1 teams are announced, causing a massive overload on the servers of fantasy competitions as every man and his dog rejigs his squad based on the selections made by the real clubs. Thus it is vitally important to avoid the 160 minutes of maelstrom prior to the 2009 season by guessing in advance what round 1 teams will be.

My projections here are rather conservative, so don’t be hugely alarmed if your favourite players is not there. These guesstimated teams are based on everyone being healthy and firing in each team’s squad (beyond already-announced long-term injuries), which is almost never the case at every club so the fringe candidates will most likely get a look in. I’ll also list the “iffy” players whose spots will be under threat in the preseason, as well as the list of players lining up to take their spots.

FB: Jordan McMahon, Will Thursfield, Joel Bowden
HB: Chris Newman, Luke McGuane, Kelvin Moore
C: Richard Tambling, Shane Tuck, Trent Cotchin
HF: Mitch Morton, Matthew Richardson, Brett Deledio
FF: Cleve Hughes, Jack Riewoldt, Nathan G. Brown
Fol: Troy Simmonds, Kane Johnson, Nathan Foley
Int: Adam Pattison, Jay Schulz, Adam Thomson, Mark Coughlan

Iffy: McMahon, Schulz, Coughlan, Hughes
Waiting: Jake King, Shane Edwards, Daniel Jackson, Matt White

FB: Shaun Grigg, Michael Jamison, Bret Thornton
HB: Andrew Carrazzo, Jarrad Waite, Heath Scotland
C: Bryce Gibbs, Chris Judd, Kade Simpson
HF: Matthew Kreuzer, Brad Fisher, Jake Edwards
FF: Eddie Betts, Brendan Fevola, Chris Yarran
Fol: Cameron Cloke, Nick Stevens, Marc Murphy
Int: Robert Warnock, Andrew Walker, Chris A. Johnson, Adam Bentick

Iffy: Bentick, Fisher, Edwards, Grigg
Waiting: Jordan Bannister, Setanta O’hAilpin, Adam Hartlett, Richard Hadley

This is by far the most important matchup for round 1, seeing as it will be the only game for which we have set 22s on the Wednesday before the fun and games begin. Yarran is a lock not only in the Carlton team, but for every serious fantasy team out there once he’s inevitably named for the Blues. Tigers coach Terry Wallace is in a contract year with his job on the line, so he’s going to take a very hardline approach to selection at the beginning of the season in the hopes of getting off to a flier, which means no Tyrone Vickery in my opinion. I think Thomson is going to be in the Tiger team for round 1 to justify trading for him (coaches are stubborn like that). I’m not picking Coughlan with any confidence whatsoever, as there are a host of kids waiting to snag that spot and he’s no guarantee to be fit. Carlton’s lineup looks more settled to me, with their fringe players not exciting me a whole lot. They will also want to make a good first impression with a strong side, though I expect them to get beaten.

FB: Brent Guerra, Stephen Gilham, Grant Birchall
HB: Luke Hodge, Campbell Brown, Thomas Murphy
C: Jordan Lewis, Sam Mitchell, Clinton Young
HF: Cyril Rioli, Lance Franklin, Stuart Dew
FF: Mark Williams, Jarryd Roughead, Michael Osborne
Fol: Robert Campbell, Brad Sewell, Chance Bateman
Int: Brent Renouf, Rick Ladson, Travis Tuck, Cameron Stokes

Iffy: Murphy, Tuck, Stokes, Renouf
Waiting: Mitch Thorp, Ben McGlynn, Josh P. Kennedy, Simon Taylor

FB: Tom Harley, Matthew Scarlett, Harry Taylor
HB: Darren Milburn, Andrew Mackie, Corey Enright
C: Cameron Ling, Joel Selwood, Jimmy Bartel
HF: Steve Johnson, Cameron Mooney, Paul Chapman
FF: Ryan Gamble, Tom Hawkins, Mathew Stokes
Fol: Brad Ottens, Gary Ablett jnr, Joel Corey
Int: Mark Blake, Shannon Byrnes, David Wojcinski, Max Rooke

Iffy: Milburn, Byrnes, Rooke, Hawkins
Waiting: Mitch Brown, Nathan Djerrkura, Josh Hunt, Tom Lonergan

I’m assuming here that Xavier Ellis is either injured or underdone for round 1, and that the Cats won’t risk both Hawkins and Lonergan in the same side, with Hawkins representing the future. I’ve speculated a lot on this blog about the long-term replacement for Trent Croad, but despite the hopes of many fantasy coaches for a spot for Thorp, I suspect it may mean that Gilham and Murphy won’t have to fight over one spot any more, and will both play. Both clubs will be putting their strongest sides on the park, as this game will mean a fair bit, so no room for draftees. The only possible spot I could foresee is if Milburn drops off in the preseason (or another Cat defender gets injured) where there’s a small chance that Brown could be blooded early in the manner of Taylor. I mention McGlynn and Kennedy as fringe players with Stokes and Tuck in their sights but anyone from Jarryd Morton to Beau Dowler or Brendan Whitecross could bob up. Watch those pre-season training reports.

FB: Heath Shaw, Simon Prestigiacomo, Tyson Goldsack
HB: Nick Maxwell, Nathan J. Brown, Harry O’Brien
C: Alan Didak, Scott Pendlebury, Marty Clarke
HF: Leon Davis, Travis Cloke, Dale Thomas
FF: Sean Rusling, Anthony Rocca, Paul Medhurst
Fol: Josh Fraser, Shane O’Bree, Dane Swan
Int: Cameron Wood, Sharrod Wellingham, Tarkyn Lockyer, Anthony Corrie

Iffy: Prestigiacomo, Rocca, Rusling, Lockyer
Waiting: Shannon Cox, John Anthony, Ben Reid, Steele Sidebottom

FB: Graham Johncock, Ben Rutten, Greg Gallman
HB: Brad Symes, Nathan Bock, Andrew McLeod
C: Richard Douglas, Scott Thompson, Chris Knights
HF: Bernie Vince, Scott Stevens, Simon Goodwin
FF: Jason Porplyzia, Kurt Tippett, Tyson Edwards
Fol: Ivan Maric, Brent Reilly, Nathan Van Berlo
Int: Jonathon Griffin, Robert Shirley, Patrick Dangerfield, Michael Doughty

Iffy: Gallman, Doughty, Dangerfield, Tippett
Waiting: Aaron Kite, Trent Hentschel, David Mackay, Nick Gill

Of all coaches, Mick Malthouse is perhaps the most reliable in blooding youngsters in big games, so there’s every chance he’ll roll out the red carpet for Sidebottom’s debut in this rematch of last year’s final. Dayne Beams isn’t out of the question either, perhaps in place of O’Bree if MM really wants to shake things up. Prestigiacomo’s time may prove to be over, but I think he suits the Magpies’ structure for this game at least to combat the talls that Neil Craig will no doubt throw at them, so unless Anthony shows a lot in the NAB I think Presti is in for round 1 at least. I’m pretty bullish on Reid getting a gig in place of either Rocca or Rusling depending on injury, but he’s behind them if both are fit. As for Adelaide, I predict that Hentschel won’t quite be match fit for round 1, which will be a reprieve for Tippett who may also hold out Gill due to his versatility in the ruck. I’m tipping Gallman to beat Kite in their battle, while Mackay would be unlucky to miss out in favour of older heads if none of the likes of Doughty, Edwards or McLeod succumb to injury. Dangerfield is more of an emotional pick: Craig will want to showcase him, I feel.

FB: Josh Drummond, Daniel Merrett, Joel Patfull
HB: Cheynee Stiller, Joel Macdonald, Ashley McGrath
C: Tim Notting, Jed Adcock, Travis Johnstone
HF: Luke Power, Jonathan Brown, Jared Brennan
FF: Sam Sheldon, Daniel Bradshaw, Rhan Hooper
Fol: Matthew Leuenberger, Simon Black, Michael Rischitelli
Int: Jamie Charman, Bradd Dalziell, Troy Selwood, Daniel Rich

Iffy: Hooper, Sheldon, Stiller, Patfull
Waiting: Lachie Henderson, Albert Proud, Tom Collier, Jason Roe

West Coast
FB: Brett Jones, Darren Glass, Mark Nicoski
HB: Beau Waters, Adam Hunter, Adam Selwood
C: Andrew Embley, Daniel Kerr, Chris Masten
HF: Chad Fletcher, Ashley Hansen, David Wirrpanda
FF: Ben McKinley, Quinten Lynch, Mark LeCras
Fol: Dean Cox, Matt Priddis, Tyson Stenglein
Int: Mark Seaby, Brad Ebert, Shannon Hurn, Brent Staker

Iffy: Hansen, Hunter, Stenglein, Fletcher
Waiting: Josh J. Kennedy, Mitchell Brown, Jamie McNamara, Matt Rosa

Silly old Hooper getting suspended for a month isn’t going to help his chances in his positional battle in the newly open Lions forward line, which means he’s going to have Henderson breathing down his neck, if he isn’t already on the outer. The backline still looks like a work in progress to me, with seemingly inevitable injury likely to take the decisions out of Michael Voss’ hands and giving a chance to Collier. Justin Sherman has dropped off the waiting list, in my opinion, based on his poor 2008. The Eagles have traditionally gone very old in early games since their flag year, with a lot of fantasy coaches disappointed in early rounds this year with John Worsfold’s faith in his premiership players. The tickets have just about run out for players like Stenglein and Fletcher, though, and the sooner we see the future of the franchise in Kennedy and Brown instead of tired old stagers like Hansen and Hunter, the better.

St Kilda
FB: Matt Maguire, Max Hudghton, Sam Gilbert
HB: Raphael Clarke, Sam Fisher, Brendon Goddard
C: Jason Gram, Lenny Hayes, Leigh Montagna
HF: Jason Blake, Nick Riewoldt, Farren Ray
FF: Stephen Milne, Justin Koschitzke, Adam Schneider
Fol: Steven King, Nick Dal Santo, Luke Ball
Int: Michael Gardiner, Robert Eddy, Clinton Jones, Steven Baker

Iffy: Ray, Eddy, Jones, Baker
Waiting: David Armitage, Sean Dempster, Jarryn Geary, Andrew McQualter

FB: Lewis Roberts-Thomson, Craig Bolton, Paul Bevan
HB: Tadhg Kennelly, Ted Richards, Martin Mattner
C: Amon Buchanan, Brett Kirk, Rhyce Shaw
HF: Michael O’Loughlin, Ryan O’Keefe, Patrick Veszpremi
FF: Adam Goodes, Barry Hall, Heath Grundy
Fol: Darren Jolly, Jude Bolton, Jarrad McVeigh
Int: Jesse White, Craig Bird, Nick Malceski, Kieren Jack

Iffy: O’Loughlin, Grundy, Shaw, Roberts-Thomson
Waiting: Ed Barlow, Leo Barry, Jarred Moore, Luke Ablett

Funnily enough, this Saints side looks the most settled of any team, perhaps because I don’t rate the depth players in their list at all. Baker is speculative, but I think he’s important to their structure as they don’t have a better tagger – albeit that Jones is maturing in that role. I can’t see much excitement for fantasy purposes out of the Saints’ kids at this stage. On the Swans, I’m taking a big punt with this 22 and predicting that premiership star Barry will be sidelined this year, in the manner that Mathews was this year, to promote youth. Sadly for the Swans, I fear that injuries are going to tear their structure apart this year with a list six months older per player than any other. That means opportunities for roughies like Barlow, Daniel O’Keefe and Brett Meredith sooner rather than later.

FB: Paul Wheatley, Colin Garland, Stefan Martin
HB: Ricky Petterd, Jared Rivers, Matthew Whelan
C: Brad Green, Brock McLean, Matthew Bate
HF: Cameron Bruce, Brad Miller, Aaron Davey
FF: Colin Sylvia, Russell Robertson, Austin Wonaeamirri
Fol: Paul Johnson, Cale Morton, Nathan Jones
Int: Mark Jamar, James McDonald, Simon Buckley, Brent Moloney

Iffy: Buckley, Moloney, McDonald, Petterd
Waiting: Jack Grimes, Clint Bartram, Lynden Dunn, Daniel Bell

North Melbourne
FB: Scott D. Thompson, Michael Firrito, Josh Gibson
HB: Daniel Pratt, Drew Petrie, Daniel Wells
C: Adam Simpson, Daniel Harris, Andrew Swallow
HF: Matt Campbell, Corey Jones, Lindsay Thomas
FF: Scott McMahon, David Hale, Aaron Edwards
Fol: Hamish McIntosh, Brady Rawlings, Brent Harvey
Int: Gavin Urquhart, Sam Power, Ben Ross, Leigh Harding

Iffy: Urquhart, Ross, Harding, Swallow
Waiting: Shannon Watt, Ed Lower, Matt Riggio, Jesse W. Smith

These are two of the harder teams to project, because the Demons are just as likely to throw three or four kids up front to prove their commitment to youth and please the fans eager for change, while North is always an enigma. The Kangaroos’ ability to go tall or small up forward will probably mean that Grimes becomes a matchup play, I fear, meaning that if the Demons don’t think the Roos will go small then the popular Grimes will be wasted in a lot of Fanplanner teams. Petterd is safer, I think, provided his fitness holds up. I’m not solid on whether Buckley will play either, with Bartram and Dunn in particular having strong claims to be picked instead of him. You could probably pick three at random from between McMahon, Urquhart, Power, Lower, Riggio and Harding and they’d have as much chance of playing in round 1 as any other combination. Ross and Swallow should be firmer, though you never can tell under Laidley’s watch.

Port Adelaide
FB: Michael Pettigrew, Alipate Carlile, Jacob Surjan
HB: Peter Burgoyne, Toby Thurstans, Domenic Cassisi
C: Travis Boak, Chad Cornes, Kane Cornes
HF: David Rodan, Justin Westhoff, Danyle Pearce
FF: Daniel Motlop, Warren Tredrea, Brett Ebert
Fol: Dean Brogan, Steven Salopek, Shaun Burgoyne
Int: Brendon Lade, Josh Carr, Nick Salter, Robbie Gray

Iffy: Surjan, Carr, Salter, Gray
Waiting: Marlon Motlop, Tom Logan, Jason Davenport, Matthew Lobbe

FB: Andrew Welsh, Dustin Fletcher, Michael Hurley
HB: David Myers, Patrick Ryder, Jay Nash
C: Kyle Reimers, Jobe Watson, Bachar Houli
HF: Leroy Jetta, Adam McPhee, Scott Lucas
FF: Alwyn Davey, Matthew Lloyd, Angus Monfries
Fol: David Hille, Brent Stanton, Mark McVeigh
Int: Jason Laycock, Sam Lonergan, Andrew Lovett, Scott Gumbleton

Iffy: Hurley, Nash, Myers, Gumbleton
Waiting: Tayte Pears, Ricky Dyson, David Zaharakis, Jay Neagle

These two sides have some strong kids coming through, making them potentially very popular among fantasy coaches… if they can guess which way the selection committees are going to go. I’ve got Surjan as a back pocket here but I fully expect Marlon Motlop to challenge for that position in the preseason. Davenport is every chance to debut early for his new club, as coach Mark Williams loves to do with his recycled players. Port’s training sessions are hotbeds of positional power plays at the moment, but the one kid who I don’t expect to see in round 1 is Hamish Hartlett. He’ll continue his SANFL apprenticeship at West Adelaide, recovering from shoulder surgery with a January restart, before he’s unleashed. For Essendon I’m not overly confident on Hurley playing, with Pears a big chance to keep that spot for now, so don’t rely on my guess. Gumby is also highly uncertain to play round 1 despite great early reports from Bomber training sessions, with Neagle just as likely to front up instead. Their best 22 looks a lot better than the crud that Matthew Knights had to pencil in at the end of the 2008 season! Here’s hoping for their sake that injuries don’t dictate selection nearly as much in 2009.

FB: Michael Johnson, Antoni Grover, Marcus Drum
HB: David Mundy, Luke McPharlin, Roger Hayden
C: Garrick Ibbotson, Paul Hasleby, Brett Peake
HF: Dean Solomon, Matthew Pavlich, Des Headland
FF: Chris Mayne, Chris Tarrant, Hayden Ballantyne
Fol: Aaron Sandilands, Rhys Palmer, Ryan Crowley
Int: Kepler Bradley, Byron Schammer, Andrew Foster, Josh Head

Iffy: Drum, Peake, Foster, Bradley
Waiting: Steven Dodd, Scott Thornton, Clayton Hinkley, Daniel Gilmore

Western Bulldogs
FB: Lindsay Gilbee, Brian Lake, Dale Morris
HB: Ryan Hargrave, Tom Williams, Andrejs Everitt
C: Ryan Griffen, Daniel Cross, Nathan Eagleton
HF: Robert Murphy, Mitch Hahn, Daniel Giansiracusa
FF: Shaun Higgins, Brad Johnson, Scott Welsh
Fol: Ben Hudson, Adam Cooney, Matthew Boyd
Int: Will Minson, Jason Akermanis, Dylan Addison, Josh Hill

Iffy: Welsh, Eagleton, Everitt, Hill
Waiting: Jarrad Grant, Callan Ward, Tim Callan, Jarrod Harbrow

I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised, but when I look at the side Freo is likely to pick and the fringe players who miss out, they may have a better team by swapping in the fringe players. Peake in particular has way more games than his form merits, while the battle between Bradley and Gilmore for second ruck will be as interesting as watching two runts fight over the last dog biscuit. Drum should be played, though he may not be for reasons only known to those coloured purple. The only other kink is that if Mark Harvey twigs that the Dogs are a small team, he may try to oversize them by stacking his forward line with Ryan Murphy and Adam Campbell. For the Bulldogs, I struggled at first to find iffy players, but once you look at their structure, they are lacking in certain areas. The big question will be whether Grant is given his hero’s welcome, which should be leaked through the papers before the official announcement if we’re lucky. Eagleton is ageing, while Everitt went backwards a little this year so there could be chances for the two Callans, Ward and Tim. Meanwhile, Harbrow is a nice player but hard to fit into a structure that is looking to go taller, not smaller.

So, who are you looking for as your round 1 debutantes? If the above teams end up being correct, how many of your squad of 30 in the Fanplanner will be playing? Argue the toss with me in the comments below.



  1. Big Jim

    December 11, 2008 at 8:03 am

    Monty – re “I’m pretty bullish on Reid getting a gig in place of either Rocca or Rusling depending on injury, but he’s behind them if both are fit” – an article on the Collingwood website suggests that Ben Reid may be used in defence in 09 instead of up forward –

    something to think about in terms of both him and Rusling.

  2. m0nty

    December 11, 2008 at 9:45 am

    Yes Jim, I mentioned that in the December training reports post. Sounds intriguing.

  3. Dazza

    December 11, 2008 at 10:52 pm

    Splitting hairs here Monty but you have Farren Ray at HF and the Saints have made is very clear that they recruited Ray to play off HB to free up Goddard and Gram.

  4. Bob

    December 12, 2008 at 1:02 pm

    Iffy:Milburn(still a star) Lockyer(Possible captain and still one of the best players at the club) McDonald(Possible captain and best defensive mid they have) O’Loughlin (while Roos pushed out a few older players this year none of them have ever had the status of him, he is legend, you dont drop legends)

  5. Team_Lactose

    December 12, 2008 at 10:27 pm

    Just want too get people reactions on the “BIG Q STIK” @ 404k I think he is extremely consistant, my only concern is can he hold his price????

  6. Henry

    December 19, 2008 at 12:00 pm

    Cousins in the line up for richmond now?

  7. Pingback: FanFooty blog » Blog Archive » Sam Sheldon suffers glandular fever

  8. Nath

    January 8, 2009 at 1:54 pm

    Brent Macaffer for Collingwood could easily play round 1.

  9. TRS

    January 9, 2009 at 5:03 pm

    Disagree with that Nath, the Pies are very strong in the small-med forward department. He’s shown a lot at VFL level to earn his elevation, but to break into the seniors for round 1 would be a big surprise IMHO.

  10. Shooter

    January 15, 2009 at 1:53 pm

    Solomon won’t be in Freo’s best 22 for the first few weeks due to suspension. I’d also prefer Gilmore to Bradley as the back-up ruck option.

  11. SpikeSetsFire

    January 18, 2009 at 9:48 pm

    Hey Monty, I know you’re a busy man and such, but what are the chances we get a little update for this? It’s more just out of interest as to how you’ll change the Tigers line-up with Ben Cousins coming in. Does Tambling get bumped?

  12. m0nty

    January 18, 2009 at 10:05 pm

    Yeah, I’ll probably wait until after the first week of the NAB, Spike. Pretty useless to change things now.

  13. SpikeSetsFire

    January 18, 2009 at 10:39 pm

    Ok. No problems. Keep up the good work! =)

  14. Pingback: FanFooty blog » Blog Archive » Round 1 team projections for 2009 AFL season, version 2.0

  15. BinMan

    February 2, 2009 at 2:14 pm

    Collingwood has more holes than a second hand dart-board!

  16. Castro

    February 2, 2009 at 2:21 pm

    Did someone forget to tell us that there is a new team introduced to the VFL. It consists of St Kilda players from 11-40 and even in the VFL they would struggle to win a game. They have the worst list in the league by a country mile!

  17. BinMan

    February 2, 2009 at 2:25 pm

    They should have traded for Rhyce Shaw since they are topping up like Sydney, now thats bin!

  18. Castro

    February 2, 2009 at 2:31 pm

    They don’t need him as there recruiting department has it spot on with Zac Dawson, Gardiner, Schneider, Begley, Dempster & Ray. Now that is quality. They should be sponsored by the “Brotherhood of Saint Lawrence!”

  19. BinMan

    February 2, 2009 at 2:38 pm

    I think Carlton is now sponsored by Visy (the recyclers) – as they have more recycled players than St Kilda.

    I think the St.Kilda reserves side would beat Carlton if you take Judd out. Carlton are also Bin!

  20. GimmeSomeTeeth

    February 2, 2009 at 2:44 pm

    To all Collingwood supporters,

    Please forgive me for not being able to deliver your gifts last Christmas. The truth is that Rudolph and the other reindeer just couldn’t carry the sleigh all that way with 50,000 sets of false teeth, not to mention the new forward line, back line and midfield you asked for in your letters to me. I promise you that St.Albans, Sunshine and Broadmeadows will be at the top of my delivery route this coming Christmas.

    Love Santa

  21. BinMan

    February 2, 2009 at 3:20 pm

    Santa – Can you add a new Wig in your sack for Joffa?

  22. BinMan

    February 2, 2009 at 5:18 pm

    Richmond FC Round 1 Team

    B Pass Pass Pass
    HB Pass Pass Pass
    C Pass Pass Oakleigh-Nicols
    HF Pass Pass Cleve Hughes
    F Pass Pass Pass
    Foll Pass Pass Pass
    Int Pass Pass Pass

    Coach – Spin-Doctor (Wallace)
    Recruitment – Gun resource – Greg Miller

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