Many coaches whacked the VC on the Bont last week but were left relatively disappointed with a subdued score of 99. However, this slight blip on the radar speaks volumes of our high standards for the new star of the game.
This week he’s got another chance to shine on the Friday night stage with a crucial game against the Cats. Over his career, he hasn’t quite dined out on Geelong, with a top score of just 92 since the start of 2015. But at the moment, the Cats don’t seem like quite the team as we have come to know, and have conceded big scores to Pendlebury (149) and Merrett (137). Could Bontempelli be another left-footer to construct a big one against the Cats?
Admittedly, the reigning Brownlow medallist is playing at an underwhelming level for his lofty standards (only averaging 96 in his last 3), but you just feel like there’s a monster score around the corner. Last season, Danger was at his explosive best in both games against the Dogs, with scores of 173 (at Etihad) and 144 (at Simonds), collecting maximum votes on both occasions.
Back down at the Cattery, this game could be the fire starter for the champ’s season.
JOSH P KENNEDY
In a similar ilk to Dangerfield, JPK’s start to the season has left his owner’s slightly disappointed, with his early season form waning in correspondence with Sydney’s uncharacteristically weak start.
The new skipper historically does his best work in the middle part of the season, and all of the signs suggest this customary form could be replicated once more.
What’s more is that his team looks as if it has rediscovered its tenacity, and a resounding 42 point win over Roos could be part of a Sydney resurgence. His return to Etihad could prove fruitful for JPK and is seems he may have got his mojo back.
After eight rounds, Tom Mitchell tops the league in disposals, with his ball gathering abilities allowing him to produce quality fantasy scores on a regular basis. Last week he produced his best score of the season, with 135 against the Lions. This week he plays another struggling side in Collingwood at the MCG.
Although the former Swan has been one of the Hawks’ best, opposition teams generally don’t bother to delegate a defensive tagger to him, most often targeting outside runner Isaac Smith. If your VC loophole option doesn’t work out, Mitchell is one of the more reliable options to capitalise on.
Excluding Tom Mitchell, the player to have the most of the ball in 2017 is Rory Laird, who has clocked up 37 disposals in both of the Crows recent losses in the past two weeks to the Dees and the Roos.
His team will once again go in hot favourites against the Lions – a team which Laird has a good record against, scoring in excess of 130 in the last two times he has faced them.
We often overlook the half-back as a legitimate captaincy option due to his defensive classification, he has proven his scoring can match it with the best mids.
2016 saw the emergence of Lachie Neale as one of the most prolific ball winners and fantasy performers in the game. However, the return of Fyfe in 2017 into the Fremantle midfield meant there were still questions marks over Neale’s credentials as a premium option. But his captain has done nothing to hinder Neale’s scoring, in fact, it has helped.
The Docker has averaged 131.8 over his last 5 games and has made it a habit of standing up when the game is on the line. He’s a great option playing at home against the Blues this week.
LEFT OF CENTRE
Stefan Martin always scores well and is at his preferred ground in the GABBA this week.
Bouncing back in the past two weeks has been Zach Merrett, and it is hard to imagine any reason for him to not continue his form this week at Etihad on Sunday against the Eagles.
Crows gun Rory Sloane has had a couple of down weeks after his barnstorming start, but his record against Brisbane is unbelievable and makes him extremely hard to ignore.
Clayton Oliver must now be considered as one of the game’s elite, with his 142 against the Crows just another gem of a performance in his brilliant scoring sequence.