Aiming at round 1: team projections for R1 2009 AFL season, version 2.0

After many requests, here’s an update of how I think selection will pan out for the opening round of 2009.

There have been a huge amount of changes made since my previous post on this subject, back in the first week of December. I’ll list them with as much accuracy as I can muster, as well as updated lists of “iffy” players whose selection is most at risk, and “waiting” for those who are eyeing off their own spots from the sidelines.

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

In: White, Jackson
Out: Adam Thomson, Richard Tambling
Iffy: McMahon, Schulz, Coughlan, Cotchin
Waiting: Thomson, Jake King, Shane Edwards, Tambling

Jackson was nominated by coach Terry Wallace on radio recently as being in the Tigers’ best 18 when fully fit, and he has been burning up the track so he gets in on current form. White has also looked great at Punt Road recently. Tambling has been struggling mightily with groin problems, and Cotchin hasn’t been much better with his ongoing achilles issue. Thomson is the unlucky one, but I daresay he’ll probably be slotted in for Cotchin anyway if the prized draft pick doesn’t improve. I still don’t see Andrew Raines getting near the Tigers’ best 22, with King at least in front of him at this stage. As for Alex Rance, I am glad to see I bullied the vast majority of you into dropping him in the Fanplanner. 😉

Kangaroos Training Session

Carlton
FB: Chris A. Johnson, Michael Jamison, Bret Thornton
HB: Andrew Carrazzo, Jarrad Waite, Heath Scotland
C: Adam Bentick, Chris Judd, Kade Simpson
HF: Ryan Houlihan, Matthew Kreuzer, Andrew Walker
FF: Eddie Betts, Brendan Fevola, Chris Yarran
Fol: Cameron Cloke, Bryce Gibbs, Marc Murphy
Int: Shaun Hampson, Richard Hadley, Shaun Grigg, Paul Bower

In: Hampson, Houlihan, Hadley, Bower
Out: Robert Warnock, Jake Edwards, Brad Fisher, Nick Stevens
Iffy: Scotland, Hadley, Grigg, Johnson
Waiting: Jordan Bannister, Setanta O’hAilpin, Edwards, Mitch Robinson

I made the silly mistake the first time of including Stevens, but he’ll miss due to suspension. Warnock and Fisher won’t get up from their injuries, and Scotland may join them if he doesn’t get a wriggle on from his adductor surgery rehab. Houlihan seems to have enjoyed a resurgence in popularity in everyone’s eyes with his 20% fantasy discount, even getting some nice press lately. Bower is an important player to free up rebounders like Carrazzo and Johnson, while Hadley provides some much-needed experience. Edwards is on the fringe, and may replace Walker if that shoulder doesn’t settle down. The interesting on is Robinson, who may play in place of Stevens and then get dropped the week after, so there’s significant fantasy risk.

Hawthorn
FB: Brent Guerra, Stephen Gilham, Thomas Murphy
HB: Luke Hodge, Campbell Brown, Grant Birchall
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: Simon Taylor, Mitch Thorp, Travis Tuck, Ben McGlynn

In: McGlynn, Thorp, Taylor
Out: Brent Renouf, Rick Ladson, Cameron Stokes
Iffy: Campbell, Hodge, Lewis, McGlynn
Waiting: Stokes, Jarryd Morton, Josh P. Kennedy, Renouf

Xavier Ellis is even further out of this team than I thought last time. Ladson has been struggling with fitness at training, reportedly. You could throw in any two of Tuck, McGlynn, Stokes, Kennedy, Morton, Beau Muston and Brendan Whitecross into those last two spots and be just as credible at this stage, though not the draftees Liam Shiels and Shane Savage. Campbell is no guarantee to recover from his hand problems so the Hawks might have to go into the grand final rematch with a ruck combo of Taylor and Renouf… scary stuff. Hodge and Lewis will likely get up for the game like the warriors they are.

Geelong
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 Lonergan, Mathew Stokes
Fol: Brad Ottens, Gary Ablett jnr, Joel Corey
Int: Mark Blake, Simon Hogan, David Wojcinski, Max Rooke

In: Lonergan, Hogan
Out: Tom Hawkins, Shannon Byrnes
Iffy: Milburn, Hogan, Lonergan, Gamble
Waiting: Josh Hunt, Byrnes, Mitch Brown, James Kelly

The Tomahawk was still hobbling around in a moon boot the last time I saw, so I have to err on the side of caution and slot Lonergan back into full forward. Hogan is perhaps an optimistic pick, given that it’s probably hard to see him tipping out Byrnes or Gamble, but he’s got to debut some time and it might as well be in a big game.

Collingwood Magpies Training Session

Collingwood
FB: Heath Shaw, Nathan J. Brown, Tyson Goldsack
HB: Nick Maxwell, Ben Reid, Harry O’Brien
C: Alan Didak, Scott Pendlebury, Tarkyn Lockyer
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, Marty Clarke, Anthony Corrie

In: Reid
Out: Simon Prestigiacomo
Iffy: Reid, Rocca, Wellingham, Corrie
Waiting: Shannon Cox, John Anthony, Dayne Beams, Steele Sidebottom

Plenty of fantasy coaches are stowing both Beams and Sidebottom on their centre benches. I’m not projecting either to break into the team just yet, though if it’s one or the other it looks from training reports like it’s Beams who is first cab off the rank. Collingwood have mad ea lot of noise about how Presti is great for their structure, but I’m not buying it. In Brown and Reid they have their back spine of the future, and they have to play them. If Presti plays it’s an indication that Mick Malthouse is thinking short-term about job security. In the same vein, I know the Pies have traditionally played better with Rocca in the square straightening them up but I suspect that like Tadhg Kennelly, half of Anthony’s mind is in Tampa with his brother and his own NFL punting career, and I like the look of the side with Anthony in there anyway. Whether Malthouse has the backing of the board to take those decisions for the long-term interests of The Club is another matter.

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

In: Mackay, Gill
Out: Brad Symes, Patrick Dangerfield
Iffy: Gallman, Gill, Johncock, Doughty
Waiting: Aaron Kite, Trent Hentschel, Taylor Walker, Jared Petrenko

Symes fell off the wagon, of course, and Dangerfield has been rebuked in public by coach Neil Craig about his fitness levels. Johncock’s wagon needs fixing, while I think enough has been said on this blog about the battle between Gallman, Kite and Petrenko. I’m still being stubborn about not including Walker the messiah, as I’m wary of him being a March champion like James Sellar was last season after his performance in Abu Dhabi.

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

In: Henderson, Collier
Out: Cheynee Stiller, Sam Sheldon
Iffy: Henderson, Collier, McGrath, Selwood
Waiting: Albert Proud, Jason Roe, Stiller, Scott Clouston

I’m sticking with Hooper because he’s their best specialist small forward, even though he’s off in la la land at the moment. Third talls in both attack and defence are hotly contested at Brisbane at the moment, with three competing for each spot, though as with Adelaide it seems few fantasy coaches are paying any attention, judging from the Fanplanner. Proud is every chance to get a new lease of life under Michael Voss, though he’d have to unseat an established player like Selwood to do it.

West Coast Eagles Training Session

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

In: Wilkes, Brown
Out: Adam Hunter, Chad Fletcher
Iffy: Wilkes, Hansen, Stenglein, Staker
Waiting: Josh J. Kennedy, Jamie McNamara, Matt Rosa, Matthew Spangher

I’m projecting Hunter not to recover from his off-season surgeries, though I’m not sure Worsfold will go with Wilkes at CHB. Hansen has been in the press assuring everyone he’s going to be started from the square, though this sounds like wishful thinking as it leaves McKinley and Brown with more running than is perhaps suited to their games.

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

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

Nothing has changed, which is a blessed relief to Saint fans well versed in early preseason injuries.

Sydney
FB: Lewis Roberts-Thomson, Craig Bolton, Paul Bevan
HB: Nick Malceski, 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, Jarred Moore, Jared Crouch, Kieren Jack

In: Moore, Crouch
Out: Tadhg Kennelly, Craig Bird
Iffy: O’Loughlin, Grundy, Shaw, Crouch
Waiting: Bird, Ed Barlow, Luke Ablett, Daniel O’Keefe

I had already ruled out Leo Barry from the first team so his persistent knee injury doesn’t change things. Crouch over Bird is a Roos-type decision in my mind, though perhaps I’m being a little too harsh there. I like Jack to take up some of the rebounding slack from Kennelly along with Shaw.

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

In: Newton, Dunn
Out: Ricky Petterd, Russell Robertson
Iffy: Maric, Moloney, Dunn, Wonaeamirri
Waiting: Addam Maric, Petterd, Jack Grimes, Clint Bartram

I’m still not sure on the Melbourne backline. Training reports suggest that Maric is ahead of Grimes, with Petterd not going all that well, but there are still some heavy stat-getters to be fitted into that back six as well. Maric may yet be brought in for structural reasons, to combat one of the Kangaroos small forwards. Robertson is a fair way behind the rest in fitness at this stage, with “Juice” Newton being groomed to play the Neitz role. Dean Bailey has his favourites, and they will become more apparent this year, I suspect.

North Melbourne Kangaroos Training Session

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

In: Josh Smith, Jesse W. Smith
Out: Aaron Edwards, Scott D. Thompson
Iffy: Ross, Josh Smith, McMahon, Swallow
Waiting: Lachie Hansen, Matt Riggio, Ed Lower, Thompson

The replacement for the naughty Edwards has not been announced, with Josh Smith as a frontrunner and Hansen making a strong showing. Jesse W.’s spot is contingent on continued fitness gains.

Port Adelaide
FB: Michael Pettigrew, Alipate Carlile, Mitch Farmer
HB: Peter Burgoyne, Troy Chaplin, 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, Paul Stewart, Robbie Gray

In: Farmer, Stewart
Out: Jacob Surjan, Nick Salter
Iffy: Farmer, Stewart, Gray, Salopek
Waiting: Surjan, Salter, Marlon Motlop, Jason Davenport

The two changes are purely speculative at this early stage. I’m stil not sold on Davenport wearing teal this early. It is not certain that Gray and Ebert can play in the same side, with their roles being so similar, so that will be interesting to track in the NAB if Ebert is not rested.

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

In: Neagle
Out: David Myers
Iffy: Hurley, Nash, Lonergan, Neagle
Waiting: Tayte Pears, Ricky Dyson, David Zaharakis, Hayden Skipworth

I’m supporting Nash over Myers and Hurley over Pears, though perhaps I’m on an island there. Any combination could work. Playing three of those four doesn’t seem to be an option if coach Matthew Knights is serious about this four-tall structure. The decision may be taken out of his hands if Neagle keeps on picking up niggles, as he seems to do weekly at training. The temptation to let Neagle limp along at Bendigo and play Skipworth in the high small forward role that Adam Ramanauskas made look so easy late last year may be too tempting.

Fremantle
FB: Michael Johnson, Antoni Grover, Marcus Drum
HB: David Mundy, Luke McPharlin, Roger Hayden
C: Garrick Ibbotson, Paul Hasleby, Brett Peake
HF: Kepler Bradley, Matthew Pavlich, Daniel Gilmore
FF: Chris Mayne, Chris Tarrant, Des Headland
Fol: Aaron Sandilands, Rhys Palmer, Ryan Crowley
Int: Byron Schammer, Andrew Foster, Steven Dodd, Clayton Hinkley

In: Dodd, Gilmore, Hinkley
Out: Dean Solomon, Hayden Ballantyne, Josh Head
Iffy: Gilmore, Hinkley, Foster, Peake
Waiting: Scott Thornton, Head, Adam Campbell, Nick Suban

Again, I forgot Solomon would be suspended for round 1 last time. It’s probably wrong of me to exclude both Campbell and Ryan Murphy, but that’s the only way to fit both Bradley and Gilmore in the structure and I think coach Mark Harvey knows that he needs to figure out which one is his genuine #2 ruckman. That situation may get worked out in the NAB anyway. I’m not buying the talk of Tarrant to half back, as they already have more half back rebounders than they know what to do with without creating another one. Then again this is Fremantle, and they’re a little weird. 😉

Western Bulldogs Training Session

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, Jarrad Grant
Fol: Ben Hudson, Adam Cooney, Matthew Boyd
Int: Will Minson, Callan Ward, Dylan Addison, Josh Hill

In: Grant, Ward
Out: Scott Welsh, Jason Akermanis
Iffy: Eagleton, Everitt, Hill, Ward
Waiting: Tim Callan, Jarrod Harbrow, Sam Reid, Stephen Tiller

Sick of being known as the team of half back flankers, it seems the Bulldogs want to become the team of young tall forwards. The youth policy is in full swing in that forward line, as we will no doubt see during the NAB.

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.

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