This may be one of the worst opening rounds fantasy coaches will everÂ have to endure.Â The lockout madness (which was expected), the exclusions of our favourite rookies, horrific injuriesÂ and last minute omissions were the main negative points to come out of the opening round, in a fantasy sense. Dream Team and Super Coach sites went into meltdown just hours out from the opening bounce, only after we heard that it wasn’t going to happen and the sites were reformed.
Dayne Beams and Greg BroughtonÂ were left out ofÂ their respective sides after ripping up the track over the pre-season. To make matters worse for those who had Beams and Broughton, Mitch Robinson scored a lazy 90/109 (DT/SC)Â in Carlton’s 83 point demolition of the hapless Tigers, Bomber Michael Hurley scored 69/91, Lion Daniel Rich 83/84 and Crow Jared Petrenko 66/65.
If you haven’t heard about it by now, Ben Cousins toreÂ his hamstring in theÂ same match. He could be looking at up to four weeks on the sidelines, and for those fantasy coaches who were silly enough to include him, the possibility of Â a valuable trade down the gurgler. A more popular fantasy pick, Andrew Raines also limped off to the dismay of his owners. His ankle will also be costing him 3-4 weeks out of action. To go some way to make amends, this could open up a spot for Alex Rance to be included.
Dean Laidley has once again let us down. Less than 48 hours after promising us of Jack Ziebell and Liam Anthony as certain starters for Sunday’s match, news filtered through early Sunday that the latter had been left out. Anthony had suffered a stress fracture in Friday’s training session, been named later that day and then pulled out of the match. What is wrong with Laidley? Another coach had also let us down: Michael Voss. He confirmed his star midfielder, Simon Black would start on Saturday night and then Black’s fantasy coaches had to watch on in agony as Jamie Charman ran out onto the Gabba in place of the former Brownlow medalist.
Some positive news to come out of Round 1: the emergence of rookies Robinson, Rich, Hurley, and Ziebell;Â better quality footy thanks to the new rule changes; andÂ high crowd attendances.
Carlton 23.12.150 def Richmond 9.13.67
After finishing season ’08 in 9th spot once again, the new season brought hopeÂ for the Tigers. For Richmond fans on their way to the season opener against the Blues they were talking about finals, Ben Cousins, Richo and maybe, just maybe its first piece of silverware for 29 years. On their way home they would have been thinking, how did we lose by 83 points? What happened to Benny Boy? Terry Wallace’s head might have been a majorÂ talking point also.
Carlton were rampant all night. They had stars all over the ground. Â (96/108) up forward booted five goals, Jarrad WaiteÂ (79/116) dominated and ran off Matthew RichardsonÂ (114/100) all night and kicked three important goals. The Blues’ young and improving midfield were the nucleus of their attack, with Marc Murphy, Bryce GibbsÂ (110/100) and Chris JuddÂ (101/136) compiling 81 touches between them. Matthew KruezerÂ (100/91) looked comfortable in the ruck, taking two contested marks and kicking 1.0. If you had told Brett Ratten before the game that the Blues would win comprehensively by 14 goals and Brendan FevolaÂ (67/64) would only record two himself, he would have laughed in your face. That was the truth, the Blues didn’t need Fev on Thursday night. Carlton also successfullyÂ blooded four debutantes: Robinson (13 disposals + 3 goals), Sam Jacobs (20 hitouts), Aaron Joseph (10 disposals) and Jefferey Garlett (10 disposals + 1 goal).
Luke McGuane did a decent job in controlling Fev, in one of only few positives to come out of the night for the Tigers. Mitch Morton booted four goals and led hard all night. 59 clangers and a tackle count of 82-54Â would have angered Terry Wallace, as his job comes under fire.
Star Man: Marc Murphy. He ran ragged all night notching 28 disposals at ease, six tacklesÂ and two goals.Â He played wide of Nathan Foley, whoÂ was no match for him as Murphy scored 122/150.
Shocker: Joel Bowden. Not the worst on ground by any stretch, but for those fantasy coaches who picked him he only returned 50/53, nowhere near where his average needs to be. He played forward for most of the night,Â which didn’t allow him to pick up his cheap kicks across the half-back line.
Geelong 15.21.111 def Hawthorn 16.7.103
Geelong escaped with a narrow eight point victory in the Grand Final rematch on Friday night. The Cats looked like the Geelong of old in the first three quarters as they controlled the middle of the ground and hit targets willfully. The opened up a 41 point bufferÂ early into the last quarter before they fell asleep and allowed the Hawks back into the match. Lance FranklinÂ (107/119) and Jarryd Roughead (70/77) took full advantage of Matthew Scarlett‘s injury to kick the last six goals of the game between them. Geelong’s winning margin would have been significantly greater if it could have kicked straight, they recorded 15.21 for the night. Geelong’s share of goalkickers would have pleased Mark Thompson, with 11 players getting on the score sheet.
Gary Ablett jnr graced the MCG with ease in the first half. He was allowed to go wherever he wanted,Â which helpÂ set up Geelong’s early lead. He picked up 23 first half touches to prove his status as the game’s number one player. When the game was on the line late, he somewhat went missing, having only four disposals in the last term. His fantasy scores read 123/162.
The Geelong midfield were awesome. Joel Corey (102/125), Paul Chapman (112/121), Jimmy Bartel (108/99). The forward line showed glimpses, Ryan Gamble looked good in the first quarter in kicking 2.2, Cameron Mooney got enough of the ball but wasn’t overly efficient. Steve Johnson was superb, roaming the half-forward line, setting up goals and kicking two himself.
Some credit must be given to the way Hawthorn fought back hard late. Anyone would have thought the game was all over at the 5th minute of the last, before their key forwards started to fire. Sam Mitchell (111/127), Travis Tuck (110/125) and Chance Bateman (121/123)Â were also good.
The game was somewhat marred by the reports of Andrew Mackie, Luke Hodge, Max Rooke and Simon Taylor.
Star Man: Brad Ottens. Ottens took full advantage of the Hawks depleted ruck stocks, scoring massive fantasy scores of (124/175) for a ruckman.
with a whopping 7 free kicks and 14 contested possessions from only 71% TOG.
Shocker: Luke Hodge. 20 touches wasn’t a bad effort but the six clangers cost him dearly. There wasn’t much in his report. His premium price was not reflected in his scoring (76/57).
Collingwood were upset by four points by a relentless Adelaide on Saturday at the MCG. Adelaide looked a lot fitter and more of a complete package as they ran over the top of the Pies. The Crows young midfield, which included the likes of Bernie Vince (131/92), Nathan Van Berlo (96/79) and Chris KnightsÂ (90/104), got the job done.
The old campaigners at the Crows also led by example, showing that they do have a good mix of youth and experience amongst their ranks. Simon Goodwin (90/123), Tyson Edwards (127/129) and especially Andrew Mcleod (109/78)Â were instrumental for the Crows and showed they had not lost anything over the pre-season.Â Youngsters Petrenko, Patrick Dangerfield (68/79) and Andy Otten (69/85) would have impressed Neil Craig.
The Crows used a similar zone to Hawthorn of last year, and the Pies looked uncomfortable breaking through it at times. The Pies didn’t use the ball well at all, turning it over at important stages of the match, in particular the last term. Collingwood had too many players down for the day, with big names Paul Medhurst, Dale Thomas and Travis Cloke not scoring well. The Collingwood fans will say the umpires caused their loss, but deep down the players will know it was their fault, they didn’t come away with the four premiership points.
Star Man: Scott Pendlebury. Showed what he can do when he gets going and amassed a total of 119/116. Moved around the MCG at ease, picking up a lazy 29 touches.
Shocker: Kurt Tippett: Showed promise in the pre-season with some handy scores. A popular rookie last season, but did nothing on Saturday, scores of 29/16.
Brisbane 14.11.95 def West Coast 13.8.86
Michael Voss started his coaching career in style with a nine point win at the hands of West Coast. Fantasy coaches wouldn’t have been happy as Simon Black was left out as a late withdrawal. West Coast started strongly with Mark LeCras and Ashley Hansen looking the part early. Brisbane fought back hard after half-time, possibly from Voss’ first spray?
Travis Johnstone (140/156)Â shone in the absence of Black, as he roamed the ground picking upÂ 37 touches, 7Â marks and two goals. The usual suspects of Joel MacDonaldÂ (129/139) and Bradd Dalziell (112/89)Â were prominent.
Star Man: Luke Power. He is into another AFL season and continues to look strong. A whopping Super Coach score of 172 and 133 in Dream Team was excellent. If you are getting 35 touches out of this man, Brisbane will have a very high efficiency rate, as he uses the ball superbly.
Shocker: Daniel Kerr. A fairly popular fantasy pick this season, he didn’t deliver. Scores of 42/54 would not have impressed his fantasy coaches.
St Kilda 12.8.80 def Sydney 9.11.65
When you think of these two sides, you think slow, boring, physical footy. Saturday night proved much of the same before Sydney eventually blew the game apart in the last half, before a spirited Sydney fightback brought the result back to 15 points. The Swans went to sleep throughout the middle stages, at one point going 78 minutes without a goal.
St Kilda had stars in the middle of the ground in Luke Ball (101/118), Farren Ray (100/125) andÂ Brendan Goddard (99/128). Sam Gilbert (90/134)Â played superbly down back forcing ROK to limited ball use.Â Justin Koschitzke (96/124) played well up front, kicking two goals and looking fit.
Star Man: Nick Dal Santo. Was easily the best on ground, picking up 27 touches and laying five tackles. His fantasy scores weren’t bad either: 115/161.
Â Shocker: Nick Riewoldt. Craig Bolton did a fantastic job in limiting him to only one shot on goal from 9 disposals. Yes he did succumb to an injury, but missed 25 minutes of game time at best.
North Melbourne 15.11.101 def Melbourne 10.7.67
It was always going to happen, Melbourne be competitive for the first half and then North Melbourne pull away late in the last. It pretty much did happen, but Melbourne can take some positives out of their fighting 34 point loss as they weren’t blown out of the water.
Leigh Harding (150/142)Â was awesome and veryÂ grittyÂ for the Kangas. Hamish McIntosh (121/153) was way too good forÂ Jake Spencer in the ruck all day, kicking three important goals.Â Â Adam Simpson (97/95) showed he has lost nothing with age,Â and he compiled aÂ decent performance. Daniel Wells (94/82) was also good, playing up forward at times.
James McDonald (123/120) and Brent Moloney (104/126)Â were good for the Demons in the middle. Ricky Petterd (93/85) showed that he could be a perfect candidate to replace the injured Raines in your back lines.
Star Man: Hamish McIntosh. Starting ruckman in many fantasy teams delivered. The question will be whether he will be able to do this week in week out and against quality rucks.
Shocker: Brent Harvey. Not the worst on ground at all, but didn’t perform for his fantasy coaches. Starting as captain for many fantasy sides (including mine) he could only manage 72/54.
Port Adelaide 15.17.107 def Essendon 9.12.66
Port Adelaide always looked in control of this match, cruising to a 41-point win. Daniel Motlop kickedÂ four and Justin Westhoff three in a clinical display. Motlop (109/117)Â showed off some party tricks to delight the AAMI Stadium fans. Peter Burgoyne (122/138)Â did as he pleased collecting 32 touches after dislocating his finger early. The Cornes brothers provided decent performances, Chad (87/64) and Kane (89/92).
Essendon were unable to find any true goalkickers for the day. Scott Lucas (78/67) and Matthew Lloyd (24/16) were unable to assert themselves, kicking only oneÂ goal between each other.Â Brent Stanton was good (125/86) and Hayden Skipworth (124/110)Â provided great value for money. Jobe Watson (110/112) was also good for the Bombers.
Star Man:Â Peter Burgoyne. Best on ground thanks to his high fantasy scores.
Shocker: Matthew Lloyd. Couldn’t get a sniff as Carlile did the job. Only the nine touches and no shots on goal.
Western Bulldogs 25.7.157 def Fremantle 13.16.94
This could be another long year for the Dockers. Late Sunday, they copped a 63-point hiding from an in-form Western Bulldogs outfit. It was an entertaining match, with the space and size of Subiaco used effectively by the Western Bulldogs.
The Dogs were too quick and too strong, especially through the midfield. Daniel Giansiracusa (129/162) and Ryan GriffenÂ (91/105) showed great run and carry and were two of the Dogs most important players. Shaun HigginsÂ (107/141) showed why he was so popular amongst fantasy coaches in the pre-season. Matthew Boyd (102/158)Â was good for the Dogs, picking up 33 touches. Lindsay Gilbee (124/118)Â may have a different role up forward this year, but that didn’t stop him scoring well.
No one performed overly well for the Dockers. Steven Dodd (95/100) was their highest fantasy scorer. Usual performer Matthew Pavlich (78/64) was well below his best.Â Brett Peake turned around his usual spuddish form, to score 83/103. Paul Hasleby (64/63) wouldn’t have impressed his fantasy owners, but he will be better for the run.
Star Man: Daniel Giansiracusa. Again unstoppable two goals to add to 28 touches.
Shocker: Will Minson. Did absolutely nothing, 30/28.
What are your thoughts after this first frantic week of fantasy footy?Â Which sidesÂ played well? Who didn’t ? Who were the fantasy stars and who are going to be gone with your first two trades this week?