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TOPIC: Pre-Season Squad Rankings

Bizkit Pre-Season Squad Rankings 3 months 2 weeks ago #1

Now that the fun and chaos of the draft has ended, I’ve had a chance to go over each team’s best line up and assess the squad ahead of Rd 1. As always, I’ve ranked my own side No 1 because you have to back yourself in for the big dance.

Take these rankings with a grain of salt as things change dramatically across the year and the vast majority of sides are very similarly balanced. They may however show you where you need to look to strengthen your squad at the trade table and how you stack up against everyone else.

I) Bizkit - SoS Superstars
B: Luke Ryan, Brandon Ellis
M: Tom Mitchell, Zach Merrett, Adam Treloar
F: Tom Lynch, Charlie Cameron
R: Jon Ceglar
I: Rhys Stanley, Zak Butters, Luke Breust, James Sicily
Eme: Dan Houston, Dion Prestia, Jack Martin, Ben McEvoy

I can’t see many midfields matching the strength of this side so you can almost guarantee 90 points a game right there. I’ll probably need it to counter the poor ruck combination but at least there’ll be consistent scoring there regardless of injuries. The forwardline is full of goal scoring and can match anyone while the same goes in defence. The depth throughout the side is impressive and I’m once again confident going into the season before reality hits about Rd 4.

II) Straddo – The Lost Souls
B: Sam Docherty, Darcy Moore
M: Jack Macrae, Matt Crouch, Tim Kelly
F: Matthew Taberner, Josh J Kennedy
R: Rowan Marshall
I: Peter Ladhams, Nick Daicos, Michael Frederick, Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti
Eme: Darcy Fort, Nic Newman, Max Lynch, Josh Treacy

Straddo managed to dirty his side by picking up OOFTIT’s later in the draft to fill out his squad and as a result, it looks bloody strong. Marshall will be a solo ruck early although there will be questions later in the season once Ryder returns. The midfield could be as good as any but injuries could really hurt with only the rookie Nick Daicos providing cover. There’s a lot of forward options and picking the right combination will win him games while his backline should be lock and load.

III) Ooslumbird – The Knights In Purple Satin
B: Jordan Clark, Heath Chapman
M: Darcy Parish, Nat Fyfe, Lachie Whitfield
F: Max King, Mitch Georgiades
R: Max Gawn
I: Ned Reeves, Jordan de Goey, Jaeger O’Meara, Jason Horne-Francis
Eme: Will Brodie, Hugh Greenwood, Ryan Burton, Paddy McCartin

If they get their line up right, Oos could be the side to beat. You’re always a contender with Gawn leading the ruck and with a couple of the best young key forwards in the comp leading the way, things are looking good even if there’s little back up. The midfield could go huge although there are some questions there. The backline is probably the toughest area to predict and it will be a battle naming the right blokes there at the right times.

IV) Blockerhall – Willsie Aeroplane
B: Mitch Duncan, Lachie Hunter
M: Lachie Neale, Josh Kelly, Bailey Smith
F: Jeremy Cameron, Jack Gunston
R: Marc Pittonet
I: Tom Hickey, Lachie Weller, Tom Green, Ben Brown
Eme: Nic Newman, Mason Cox, Karl Amon, Harry Perryman

As I say every year, Blockers side looks imposing. He’s got some top tier midfielders and can afford to throw a couple into defence to try and wrack up some big scores. For once, his forwardline lacks depth and he’ll be relying on Gunston to get back to the player he was a couple years ago. While he has options in the ruck, they’re not the match winners others have. Look for Blocker to feature deep in finals again.

V) The American – Infernal Imposters
B: Isaac Smith, Jordan Roughead
M: Rory Laird, Andrew Gaff, Dom Sheed
F: Toby Greene, Orazio Fantasia
R: Sean Darcy
I: Rory Lobb, Seb Ross, Michael Walters, Christian Salem
Eme: Jarrod Berry, Dan Butler, Liam Shiels, Chad Wingard

The Imposters suffered at my hands as I bestowed a couple of OOFTIT’s on their line up however all around, it’s a very strong squad. There may be some players missing early games but they have some of the strongest depth in the competition and shouldn’t have much trouble covering. Darcy is the upcoming star ruck of the competition and with Laird and the OOFTIT’s there should be points galore. Smith and Roughead are marking machines while Salem, Walters, Wingard and Berry are some of the most versatile back ups in the comp. Replacing Greene and potentially Orazio early shouldn’t be too much of a problem with plenty of goal kickers in the squad.

VI) CaptDazza – Jolly Jokers
B: Jordan Ridley, Jeremy Howe
M: Jack Steele, Sam Walsh, Hugh McLuggage
F: Aaron Naughton, Tom Papley
R: Oscar McInerney
I: Nick Naitanui, Matt Rowell, Izak Rankine, Nick Haynes
Eme: Dylan Shiel, Tarryn Thomas, James Worpel, Alex Witherden

There was less of an OOFTIT flavour this year although Nicnat is likely to warm the pine. Some astute drafting down back will go a long way while a decent midfield will be in play as Rowell and Shiel substitute for Walsh in the first month or two of the season. There’s a fair bit of depth in most positions outside of the forwardline which will be hoping for very few injuries.

VII) Cookie – The Ingredients
B: Tom Stewart, Bailey Dale
M: Ollie Wines, Jy Simpkin, Jayden Short
F: Taylor Walker, Liam Ryan
R: Jarrod Witts
I: Tim English, Jack Viney, Jade Gresham, Cody Weightman
Eme: Mitch Robinson, Josh Rotham, Paul Seedsman, Luke Dunstan

Cookie has a couple of options in the ruck with the returning Witts a likely high scorer. Lead by Wines, there will be a lot of pressure on Sympkin, Short and Viney to get 25+ touches and keep the side in the contest. Down back there are few better defenses and there should be some high scores. An OOFTIT leading your forwardline is never a good sign and Tex missing the first few weeks due to racist comments will stretch the side early meaning Weightman will start forward.

VIII) MattyT – El Primero
B: Dyson Heppell, Sam Menegola
M: Clayton Oliver, Marcus Bontempelli, Tim Taranto
F: Jake Stringer, Jack Lukosius
R: Scott Lycett
I: Peter Wright, Ed Langdon, Jack Billings, Lincoln McCarthy
Eme: Tom de Koning, Sam Collins, Luke Davies-Uniake, Sam Switkowski

Matty’s picked up a consistent ruck and with Oliver dishing it out of the middle, he’ll be tough to beat. There’s some good mid depth although he’ll be hoping Taranto doesn’t become too much of a focus up forward for GWS without Greene. Heppell and Menegola can rack up marks at will while Stringer and Lukosius are a bit of a gamble forward however one I’m backing in. Lukosius is the best kick in the AFL and is a ready made forward. He’ll need him to fire because there’s not much else left to kick goals.

IX) Snail – Ruby Tuesdays
B: Brody Mihocek, Rory Sloane
M: Taylor Adams, Aaron Hall, Caleb Daniel
F: Tom Hawkins, Josh Rachele
R: Todd Goldstein
I: Matthew Flynn, Dayne Zorko, Wayne Milera, Jamarra Ugle-Hagan
Eme: Jordan Sweet, Matt Deboer, Sam Powell-Pepper, Alex Neale-Bullen

Snail has somehow amassed an imposing and well-balanced team over the course of draft night. Goldy is as consistent a ruck as there is but if he’s not getting as many hit outs as needed, Flynn is a good alternative. The midfield is solid with a number of older heads able to find plenty of the footy and churn out big scores. I do like the combination of Rachele up forward in his first season with the seasoned veteran Hawkins although there isn’t a lot of forward depth after that unless Jamarra gets a few games.

X) BomberTroy – Belconnen Bombers
B: Jacob Weitering, Charlie Ballard
M: Jake Lloyd, Christian Petracca, Josh P Kennedy
F: Joe Daniher, Jack Reiwoldt
R: Sam Draper
I: Tristan Xerri, Nick Hind, Jye Caldwell, Harry Himmelberg
Eme: Jake Kelly, Kyle Langford, Jayden Laverde, Ben Hobbs

For a first-year player, Bomber has drafted extremely well. A solid young ruck, gun key forwards and marking machines down back are a great start. The midfield will be underlined by the form of two Sydney stalwarts and this will be where he makes his charge for finals. If they stay fit and play well, he’s in. If not, start planning for next season because there’s a lack of depth to replace those midfielders.

XI) Pollyanna – Hooley Dooleys
B: Aliir Aliir, Steven May
M: Stephen Coniglio, Patrick Cripps, Dustin Martin
F: Charlie Curnow, Lachie Schultz
R: Toby Nankervis
I: Jacob Koschitzke, Andrew McGrath, Zac Bailey, Tyson Stengle
Eme: Isaac Cumming, Jake Lever, Brayden Maynard, Connor Rozee

Big Nank is a solid ruck but often misses games and that will be a big weakness for our resident cat lady. There are options galore in defence and the midfield is populated by injured stars who should be back to their best. If they all do what they should, Polly will be cruising towards the finals. The forwardline has plenty of options but few are big goalkickers so it will be another year of guess work for Polly when picking her team.

XII) FD1016 – The Piglets
B: Scott Pendlebury, Brodie Smith
M: Touk Miller, Josh Dunkley, Jack Crisp
F: Tim Membrey, Tom McDonald
R: Brodie Grundy
I: Mabior Chol, Patrick Dangerfield, Adam Cerra, Errol Gulden
Eme: Bailey Banfield, Blake Hardwick, Cam Raynor, Zach Tuohy

The Piglets will be relying on a ruck and midfield dominance to take them to September glory. There’s little back up for Grundy so she’ll be hoping he stays fit all year but he hasn’t had much trouble with that in the past. The backline will likely be filled with marking midfielders running off half back as midfielders dominate FD’s squad. Unfortunately, that’s left some holes up forward with some players able to chip in for a goal but few likely to score a bag.

XIII) Moptop – Lupine Anchors
B: Jack Ziebell, Jack Scrimshaw
M: Andrew Brayshaw, Ben Keays, Brayden Fiorini
F: Bayley Fritsch, Jesse Hogan
R: Reilly O’Brien
I: Sam Hayes, Noah Anderson, David Mundy, Nick Larkey
Eme: Will Day, Jack Henry, Shane McAdam, James Rowbottom

I can see how the Anchors could be an incredibly strong team but I also see a lot of question marks. O’Brien is a strong ruckman while Brayshaw is set to go to another level with Fritsch in the same boat. However, can Keays maintain his form with Crouch back in the side, will Fiorini get enough games in a stacked GC midfield, can Ziebell maintain his form as he ages and can Jesse get on the park?! If there are positive answers to these questions, then Moppy will go far.

XIV) Purple Kit – Kats
B: Will Hoskin-Elliott, Steele Sidebottom
M: Jarryd Lyons, Brad Crouch, Travis Boak
F: Lance Frankin, Charlie Dixon
R: Stefan Martin
I: Brayden Preuss, Shai Bolton, David Swallow, Kysaiah Pickett
Eme: Keiran Briggs, Jordan Dawson, Jeremy Finlayson, Jeremy Sharp

There may not be a better forward combination in the comp although it could be rare that they share the forwardline in a given week. Luckily there’s plenty of depth and with a few decent midfield options, they’ll never be short of points. I do worry about the ruck with neither a big scorer or likely to start as the number 1 ruckman. This team could easily finish top or bottom 4 and I don’t know which.

XV) 391 -
B: Harris Andrews, Daniel Rich
M: Cam Guthrie, Luke Parker, Jacob Hopper
F: Harry McKay, Jamie Elliott
R: Paddy Ryder
I: Andrew Phillips, Jack Redden, Joel Selwood, Gary Rohan
Eme: Ben Cunnington, Ed Curnow, Jarman Impey, Oleg Markov

A strong defense and forwardline on the back of Andrews and McKay will have a lot of work to do. There will only be bit part ruckman until Ryder returns to the side and even then, he will share duties with Marshall meaning ruck issues will be the norm. The midfield is decent without breaking into the elite tiers of other squads but there’s a fair bit to like. A little more forward depth wouldn’t go astray given the injury prone nature of his starting forwards.

XVI) The Colonel – Freedom Fighters
B: Shannon Hurn, Hayden Young
M: Callum Mills, Caleb Serong, Tom Liberatore
F: Isaac Heeney, Jarrod Brander
R: Luke Jackson
I: Lloyd Meek, Angus Brayshaw, Oliver Florent, Noah Balta
Eme: Luke Dahlhaus, Jack Newnes, Sam Reid, Brandon Walker

The Colonel might have made a mistake on draft night by ignoring the lead ruckman of the competition and placing his faith in Jackson playing mostly forward or Darcy getting injured so Meek gets a gig. Outside of this, he’s gone for the youth option and we’ll have to wait and see if it pays off. His midfield is full of emerging stars although Mills is a proven gun. Down back there’s an OOFTIT leading the way but I like the chances of Young grabbing a few more marks this season. The forwardline will be interesting too but Balta has shown a bit up forward during the pre-season.
Nathan: When did you get balls?
Simon: I've always had balls you've just never seen them.
Nathan: That's the gayest thing I've ever heard.
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TheColonel Pre-Season Squad Rankings 3 months 2 weeks ago #2

Glad to be ranked last so no expectations.
Tried to pick up a topline ruck but all gone by the time I got to make a pick !!
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ooslumbird Pre-Season Squad Rankings 3 months 2 weeks ago #3

Top effort, Biz, and you are right, there's not much between each side, there will be some tough times ahead for all!
I think last year was about the closest we've had, and this time around promises much of the same.
Much appreciation for a good read and at the same time a concise and well written pointer to each squad.
You did an excellent job drafting the American's side plus your own, and I am picking the American if he doesn't cop a few injuries to get the chocolates first up.
All the best for the season (please be gentle with the Knights!)
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Bizkit said You Beaut

Bizkit Pre-Season Squad Rankings 3 months 2 weeks ago #4

I think I was the only coach not to pick a ruckman ahead of you Colonel so that means 13 ruckman had gone leaving at least 4 clubs main ruckman left to get (I don't count OOFTIT's because I know you've got more class than that). Not a great spot to be in but there were still options. I liked a lot of the rest of your squad but someone had to be last ranked!

Cheers for the kind words Oos. I dare say your side will be the one that needs to take it easy and not belt everyone by too much.
Nathan: When did you get balls?
Simon: I've always had balls you've just never seen them.
Nathan: That's the gayest thing I've ever heard.
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blockerhall Pre-Season Squad Rankings 3 months 2 weeks ago #5

I'm expecting bigger things from Ben Brown forward, and Cox may surprise with functioning eyes and motivation. I was planninging Gunston or Weller to feature as Backmen, and Hunter as my midfield Coach of the Year disrupter. Generally agree with those rankings, nice work, your midfield deserves short odds, and the rest fits. I'm happy I have some upside.

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Bizkit, pollyanna said You Beaut

Straddo Pre-Season Squad Rankings 3 months 2 weeks ago #6

Wow, this is by far my highest preseason rating from Biz. My view is that there's maybe too many inconsistent performers, so I expect that some weeks could be great but others could be depressingly embarrassing, at least from a coach of the round perspective. Probably need a better coach to get the most out of them.
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blockerhall, Bizkit said You Beaut

Snail Pre-Season Squad Rankings 3 months 2 weeks ago #7

I’m going to let Bizkits comments go to my head! There.... that felt better!!
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pollyanna Pre-Season Squad Rankings 3 months 2 weeks ago #8

Paddy is the best ruck the AwFL has seen since Polly Farmer. Problem is what those drug experimentalists did to him at Essendon - now, half a season at best with only a handful in that he dominates. Tough but true. Still, he was going to be pick #3 for me....GORN.
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Matty T Pre-Season Squad Rankings 3 months 2 weeks ago #9

Matty T
I think that this is the first year that The BIZ Review hasn't just said "absolute shambles" under El Primero.
I just wanna beat Slammo in the DuFFLe
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purple kit, Mercury, Bizkit said You Beaut
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