With the JLT Community Series comprising of several midweek fixtures, it can be fairly easy to miss out on these matches and allow the SuperCoach scores of several key prospects to sneak under the radar. Fortunately, we at SuperCoach Paige have been keeping a close eye on the two matches that have taken place on Wednesday and Thursday this week, and there has been plenty to take out of both encounters.
The Wednesday fixture saw Carlton host St Kilda at Ikon Park. Whilst most of the fallout from the match occurred with what took place off-field, the happenings on-field were particularly encouraging for Carlton, as they made a positive start to the season with a 22-point win. Meanwhile, GWS and Collingwood clashed in Canberra on Thursday, and after a tight first half, the Giants pulled away in the second half to emerge comfortable 60-point winners.
CARLTON VS ST KILDA
Carlton burst out of the blocks and never really looked troubled against St Kilda and led for the entire match as they got their season off on the right foot. Following a 2017 season ending prematurely due to injury, a discounted Patrick Cripps will be a popular selection for astute SuperCoaches this year and did his prospects no harm with a team-high 120 points in a performance that included 20 disposals and two goals. One of last year’s elite ruckman in Matthew Kreuzer (119) carried on from that strong form whilst Caleb Marchbank (111) was also very impressive but doesn’t have a history of being a consistently-high scorer. Liam Jones (98) re-invented himself as an attacking-minded key defender last year, and that style of play could lead to him being a unique option in defence this year., especially if he can maintain such solid scores. Paddy Dowe (66) impressed in his first hitout for Carlton and could be an interesting option despite a relatively hefty price tag for a rookie.
St Kilda had a disappointing night all in all but there were still some impressive individual performances. Shane Savage (145) was the highest scorer on the ground and could be readying himself for a big 2018 after a couple of solid years as St Kilda seek to make a finals spot their own. Midfielders David Armitage (129) and Jack Steven (125) have often been the driving force of the St Kilda midfield, and they both proved it yet again by scoring big. Paddy McCartin (91) has suffered from multiple concussion scares over the last few years, but if he can get a good run at it he could be a worthwhile selection if he continues to produce similar numbers to what he did on Wednesday night. Hunter Clark (85) was St Kilda’s top pick in last year’s draft and looked comfortable at the elite level, whilst the very next pick in the draft, Nick Coffield (63) also didn’t look out of place.
GWS GIANTS VS COLLINGWOOD
It was a great start to the season for the Giants and an equally disappointing one for Collingwood, as the former ran out comfortable 60-point winners in a dominant second-half display, kicking 10.9 to 3.2. Stephen Coniglio (130) was the highest scorer for the match, but he was pushed all the way by fellow midfield compatriots Josh Kelly (127) and Dylan Shiel (123). Veteran running defender Heath Shaw (113) was also at his best, with 20 of his 22 disposals being kicks. There weren’t many unknowns who put their hand up for a Round 1 selection, but Daniel Lloyd (88) was a thorn in the Collingwood defence all night, with three goals, but fellow forward Jeremey Cameron (72) and Jonathon Patton (51) have had better outings.
Former Giant Will Hoskin-Elliot (116) was Collingwood’s best performer on the night with his quality of disposal making up for his lack of quantity, with his 13 disposals going at 100%. Tom Langon (115) and Josh Thomas (109) were surprise leaders in the scoring charts, with more likely high-scorers in Brodie Grundy (103) and Steele Sidebottom (101) trailing not too far behind with strong performances in the midfield. Taylor Adams (91) also scored well, but with his 23 disposals going at just 65% efficiency, he could’ve scored even better. SuperCoach favourite Scott Pendlebury (60), however, was well below par with the high standards that he has set for himself over a number of years now. However, Pendlebury’s performance wasn’t nearly as disappointing as that of Chris Mayne (8) who conspired to accrue just two disposals – admittedly from only 41% of game time.
The JLT Community Series continues on into the weekend, with Round 1 of the pre-season competition being rounded at with three games. The Western Bulldogs and Hawthorn will do battle in Ballarat on Saturday, whilst Brisbane and Sydney will renew hostilities at Moreton Bay on the same day. Gold Coast and Geelong will round off the weekend on Sunday.
Follow Matthew Donald on Twitter