Sydney Swans v GWS Giants
The Swans were successful in their final match of the series, defeating the GWS Giants in Blacktown on Friday night by just under 2 goals. Nic Newman was influential for the Swans, accumulating 27 disposals along with collecting a match high 12 marks. Unfortunately, Newman isn’t relevant like he was last year, a position change from the backline to the midfield has resulted in Newman being available as a MID only. Luke Parker continued his solid pre-season form, recording 26 possessions and 11 marks for a final SC score of 119. Parker is well priced premium at under $550,000 this year and is the perfect option for someone searching for value.
Lachie Whitfield was the clear stand out for the Giants with his ball use and carry off half-back, scoring 141 from 29 possessions, 8 marks and 4 tackles. Josh Kelly pursued his red hot form from JLT 1, achieving 114 points from 26 touches, and at an eye-catching 84% efficiency. Jeremy Finlayson and Zac Giles-Langdon also performed well, bolstering their chances for a round 1 debut.
Collingwood v Western Bulldogs
The Pies were victorious on Saturday, defeating the Bulldogs by a convincing 33 points. Midfielders, Adam Treloar and Steele Sidebottom were prominent for the Pies, scoring 116 and 123 respectively. Mason Cox was dangerous all day, booting 4 goals and registering 145 points. However, Cox probably shouldn’t come under consideration due to his lack of consistency and questionable job security. Sam Murray was unbelievable in the backline, using his speed and kicking skills to good effect, scoring 102SC from 24 disposals, and basically guaranteeing himself a round 1 debut. At $123,000, Murray seems like a genuine cash cow and will feature in many backlines this season.
Tom Liberatore, Marcus Bontempelli and Toby McLean were all handy contributors for the Dogs, along with Aaron Naughton who continues to excite with his intercept marking in the backline.
Port Adelaide v Adelaide Crows
Jack Watts kicked 6 goals for Port Adelaide against the Crows on Saturday and was the difference between the two teams. Watts moved to Alberton in the offseason and is likely to play a critical role in the forward line this year.
Matt Crouch, Bryce Gibbs and Rory Sloane all had limited game time, causing three average scores from the Crows powerhouse players. Rookies Tom Doedee, Darcy Fogarty and Lachlan Murphy are still in round 1 contention after impressing throughout periods of the game.
Carlton v Hawthorn
The Blues notched up their second win of the JLT series with a thrilling 5 point win over Hawthorn. Patrick Cripps was good, without being great, finding his fair share of the ball and notching up 103 points. Kade Simpson played his usual floating half back role but wasn’t as convincing as some would like, scoring only 70 from 21 disposals. Paddy Dow may not be the rookie that we’re in need of, with the 18 year old only managing 8 touches and 26 points. At around $190,000, we need to contemplate several other rookies before making a final call on Dow.
Hawks swingman, James Sicily, did James Sicily things. He started like a house on fire, taking several intercept marks and amassing many disposals before failing to get involved in the second half, gifting the opposition with several reckless free kicks. He recorded a dismal score of just 57. Alarm bells may be ringing folks..
Mid-pricer Jaeger O’Meara was noticeable in the midfield with his superior work ethic and tackling, posting an attractive total score of 90. Tom Mitchell was a ball magnet as usual, finding the pill on 31 separate occasions and scoring 115 points.
Essendon v Geelong
Essendon came back from over 4 goals down at 3QT to overrun the Cats in the final term on Sunday, winning by less than a goal. Geelong midfielders, Joel Selwood and Mitch Duncan led the charge combining for 73 disposals between them. Patrick Dangerfield was only able to manage a quarter of football before injuring himself late in the first term. He scored 44 points in 18 % TOG. Geelong forward Tom Hawkins kicked 5 goals, and Daniel Menzel contributed with 4.
Zach Merrett was Essendon’s best with 30 disposals and a promising final score of 140. Whilst, GWS recruit, Devon Smith, continued his strong form throughout the JLT series, accumulating 22 disposals and kicking 2 goals.
Brisbane v Gold Coast
A wet, scrappy affair resulted in the Suns prevailing over the Lions by 7 points. Lions weapon Dayne Zorko was his usual best, finishing with 33 disposals and a goal. Lewis Taylor and Tom Bell were also significant, with both players recording 100+ games.
Gold Coast players Aaron Hall, Jarryd Lyons and David Swallow competed hard all day, along with young gun Will Brodie who’s firming to be popular rookie option.
Fremantle v West Coast
The Dockers humiliated the Eagles on Sunday night in Joondalup, cruising to a comfortable 62 point win. Lachie Neale was unstoppable, demonstrating just how underrated he is, scoring an enormous 159 points from 36 disposals and 3 snags. Matt Taberner controlled the forward line, taking 12 marks and kicking two goals. Taberner has been one of Freo’s best thus far and is bound to break out sooner, rather than later. One to keep a close eye on. Up and coming youngsters, Bailey Banfield and Andrew Brayshaw both played significant roles and have almost certainly cemented their spot in Fremantle’s best 22.
The Eagles had no standouts for the day, with gun onballers Luke Shuey, Andrew Gaff and Jack Redden unable to get involved in the contest. Forwards Liam Ryan, Daniel Venables and Jake Waterman didn’t set the world on fire, but are all still in round 1 contention.