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 (well, semi 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 and last season I was spot on!
Take these rankings with a grain of salt however as things change dramatically with injury, form and positional changes across the year. The vast majority of sides are very similarly balanced and are in with a genuine shot at a premiership this season. 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: Tom Stewart, Lachie Whitfield
M: Rory Laird, Ollie Wines, Adam Treloar
F: Tom Lynch, Joe Daniher
R: Jon Ceglar
I: Marc Pittonet, Dion Prestia, Luke Breust, Christian Salem
Eme: Zak Butters, Jacob Hopper, Orazio Fantasia, Jack Lukosius
The Stars will be hoping for ruckman who actually play games for once and if Ceglar and Pittonet can stay on the park, they’ll be a force. The backline is as strong as anyone with the games best partnered by an injury free Whitfield who will lay claim to more midfield time at the Giants. The top scoring midfielder is partnered by two players who have also had the most touches in a season with plenty of mid cover on the bench if injuries run riot. The top scoring forward of last season has plenty of goal kicking partners meaning there are few weaknesses in the line up. Expect a push for another prelim final.
II) CaptDazza – Jolly Jokers
B: Mitch Duncan, Sam Taylor
M: Josh Dunkley, Tim Taranto, Will Brodie
F: Jack Gunston, Daniel McStay
R: Sean Darcy
I: Tom Hickey, Jeremy McGovern, Elliot Yeo, Tyson Stengle,
Eme: Jayden Short, Scott Pendlebury, Sam Darcy, Dylan Moore
Despite once again dipping into the OOFTIT’s late in the draft, there were some decent picks at the top of the draft. The midfield is the centre piece with some guns at new clubs likely to excel and prove themselves elite. Few midfields will be able to compete. Down back they’ll likely be relying on an OOFTIT to come in and replace Duncan who tends to spend more time out injured than on the field these days. Darcy will always be a gun in the ruck and should score well while two forwards who’ve switched clubs could do well in their new structures but we’ll have to wait and see. Dazza will be around in finals and pushing for a premiership.
III) Cookie – The Ingredients
B: Luke Ryan, Bailey Dale
M: Callum Mills, Marcus Bontempelli, Jack Sinclair
F: Charlie Curnow, Toby Greene
R: Rowan Marshall
I: Taylor Adams, Jake Lloyd, Zac Bailey, Cody Weightman
Eme: Darcy Byrne-Jones, Tom Campbell, Keidan Coleman, Noah Cumberland
Cookie will once again have an incredibly strong ruckman to carry the side and he’s paired him with some high flying forwards and strong marking defenders. There are very few weaknesses in Cookie’s line up and he does appear to have a lot of depth for most positions on the bench. The midfield could go either way and probably lacks that real top end talent that consistently breaks the 30 touch barrier but all of them have the potential to be that player including Adams on the bench. The Ingredients will be cooking up a finals position this year.
IV) Blockerhall – Willsie Aeroplane
B: Harris Andrews, Hayden Young
M: Zach Merrett, Josh Kelly, Andrew McGrath
F: Harry McKay, Jamara Ugle-Hagan
R: Brodie Grundy
I: Connor Rozee, Tristan Xerri, Tom Green, Cam Zurhaar
Eme: Ben Cunnington, Matthew Flynn, Jade Gresham, Todd Marshall
There are never many weaknesses in a Blocker lead side but this year may be the one. Question marks will be raised on Grundy’s output sharing the ruck with Gawn though he should always get a game. Can Xerri overtake him by getting the main ruck gig at North? The backline is full of marking power while a Zerrett lead midfield always pumps out possessions. Tom Green will be looking to push McGrath out of that midfield rotation so there’s room for improvement. A lot is expected of Jamara to partner the goal kicking machine that is Harry McKay however Blocker will be expecting a play from Marshall to take the reins in front of goal.
V) FD1016 – Bay Bros
B: Liam Jones, Darcy Moore
M: Jack Macrae, Caleb Serong, Patrick Dangerfield
F: Lance Franklin, Darcy Fogarty
R: Oscar McInerny
I: Mason Cox, Jordan Clark, Ed Langdon, Isaac Heeney
Eme: Sam De Koning, Errol Gulden, Lincoln McCarthy, Liam Baker
The Piglets could be anything this season. They have a lot of talent pushing up to count themselves amongst the elite and if half of them get there, they’ll be playing finals. The big O is a solid ruck option although Cox as the only back up could be dangerous. Buddy will probably play half the games so there will be a lot of weight on Heeney, McCarthy and maybe Danger to step into the forward mix. The top 2 mids are as strong as any but it could come down to match ups for who else gets a gig and we all hope FD isn’t burnt by Danger once again. The defence should be very strong with Clark also able to get a run. This side will challenge.
VI) The Colonel – Wagner War Machine
B: Karl Amon, Aaron Hall
M: Sam Walsh, Patrick Cripps, Seb Ross
F: Jack Reiwoldt, Jesse Hogan
R: Toby Nankervis
I: Eric Hipwood, Matthew Kennedy, Lachie Hunter, Jake Stringer
Eme: Jack Higgins, Luke McDonald, Ivan Soldo, Alex Pearce
The Colonel missed draft night but luckily for him, I picked a fantastic side! He’s already gotten rid of his OOFTIT who would come in very handy this week with Walsh, Hall and Ross injured but he enjoys good depth through the midfield and players who can cover a few positions like Amon. The Richmond ruck set up will have him sorted all year while there’s plenty of firepower up front with depth galore on the bench. Defence will be a little hit and miss depending on Hall’s availability but McDonald and Kennedy are good back up. This side should be involved in finals if they can overcome early injuries.
VII) BomberTroy – Belconnen Bombers
B: Jordan Dawson, Jordan Ridley
M: Jack Steele, Jy Simpkin, Chad Warner
F: Peter Wright, Jack Ginnivan
R: Darcy Cameron
I: Adam Cerra, Ben Keays, Peter Ladhams, Mason Redman
Eme: Ryley Tilthorpe, Kyle Langford, Alwyn Davey, Jye Menzie
Troy has had a year in the game now and has balanced his team much better this year. There’s a lot of scoring power down back with Redman putting on pressure for a spot and allowing Dawson to go into the midfield if needed. Steele is a fantastic mid to accompany some kids pushing into the elite bracket. Cerra will put pressure on too with Keays expecting to spend a lot of time forward at the Crows. The forwardline looks strong although depth could be an issue while Cameron will excel having been granted the No1 ruck position. Overall, a very good squad that should do well.
VIII) Straddo – The Lost Souls
B: Nick Vlaustin, Isaac Smith
M: Darcy Parish, Bailey Smith, Nick Daicos
F: Max King, Nick Larkey
R: Reilly O’Brien
I: Lloyd Meek, Jai Newcombe, Callum Wilkie, Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti
Eme: Zach Guthrie, Oliver Henry, Mitch McGovern, Mattaes Philipou
Straddo has loaded up in the ruck with a quality tapper in O’Brien and a great understaudy who should get plenty of opportunity. He’s also grabbed some decent players down back who love a mark while he’s picked up a relatively young but potentially huge scoring midfield. Newcombe will try to put pressure on for a spot but otherwise the depth may be lacking. Similarly, the depth up forward will be tested heavily with Max King out for a while. If he can find other avenues to score then he should make finals.
IX) MattyT – El Primero
B: Dyson Heppell, Liam Duggan
M: Sam Docherty, Christian Petracca, Luke Parker
F: Taylor Walker, Brody Mihocek
R: Max Gawn
I: Sam Draper, Nic Newman, Shai Bolton, Levi Casboult
Eme: Andrew Gaff, Josh Battle, Isaac Cumming, Harry Sheezel
You would expect big Maxy to continue racking up hit outs with Grundy in the side but will it be to the same level? If he replaces them with more marks up forward then Matty will be happy but if not, he’s still got Draper to pick up the slack. There’s some strength in the midfield but he had to sell his soul to do it, picking up the king hitting Gaff. The forwardline will be interesting with some older heads holding down the fort but can they replicate their past performance again? The backline should be solid though with a few options to rotate through.
X) PurpleThai – Hecklers
B: Shannon Hurn, Adam Saad
M: Lachie Neale, Brad Crouch, Dylan Shiel
F: Charlie Dixon, Aaron Naughton
R: Rhys Stanley
I: Jeremy Finlayson, Matt Rowell, Jamie Elliott, Jason Horne-Francis
Eme: Finn Callaghan, Rueben Ginbey, Zach Tuohy, Sam Powell-Pepper
For their first draft, Thai has done a great job. There’s good balance throughout the side lead by a strong midfield contingent. Neale will be the star of the show but there’s some decent defensive options lead by an OOFTIT. Stanley as the only ruck option may cause problems as I expect Ceglar to take over that role during the season so we’ll see how it goes. The forward combination can kick big bags and Elliott will provide good cover. Overall, not a bad starting squad and they will challenge for finals if things go well.
XI) Awake - Insomniacs
B: Tom Barrass, Jayden Laverde
M: Clayton Oliver, George Hewett, Tom Liberatore
F: Mabior Chol, Tim Membrey
R: Brayden Preuss
I: Matt Crouch, Cam Guthrie, Caleb Daniel, Harry Himmelberg
Eme: Sam Hayes, James Aish, Heath Chapman, Daniel Rioli
With the likely best midfielder in the game, Awake has some strength running through the midfield. If Crouch can get back from injury and actually get a run for Adelaide over their current youth priority plan then they could be incredibly strong. They do lack firepower up forward and will be tested early with Membrey out and Chol competing with the returning King/Lukosius combo at GC. Otherwise the squad looks very strong despite an OOFTIT in the backline.
XII) Slamman – Slammen’s Winners
B: James Sicily, Angus Brayshaw
M: Andrew Brayshaw, Tim Kelly, Dan Houston
F: Bayley Fritsch, Rory Lobb
R: Scott Lycett
I: Nic Naitanui, Josh Daicos, Noah Anderson, Kysaiah Pickett
Eme: Michael Frederick, Jed Anderson, Ed Richards, Alex Witherden
Welcome back Slammo. Unfortunately, we saw a bunch of OOFTIT’s enter the squad late in the draft after a decent job at the front end. The defence will be as strong as any in the comp while Andy will lead things in the middle. It might be a lottery to see who that week will help out in the midfield but he’ll be hoping Lycett returns to form in the ruck this year to feed them enough of the ball. The forwardline is decent although I have my doubts on Lobb amongst a stacked tall forwardline. Slammo will be challenging for finals as he does most years.
XIII) Hypen – Hypen’s Heroes
B: Oscar Allen, David Swallow
M: Tom Mitchell, Hugh McLuggage, Luke Davies-Uniake
F: Mitch Lewis, Nat Fyfe
R: Jarrod Witts
I: Luke Jackson, Lachie Schultz, Josh Ward, Jack Darling
Eme: Harry Edwards, Kane Farrell, Archie Perkins, Sam Switkowski
Back in the DuFFLe, Hypen struck early with some big selections like Witts and Titch who will be the mainstays of his line up. However he faltered towards the end of draft night and picked up some OOFTIT’s to ruin a good thing. There’s a lot of options forward and he’ll be hoping Freo pile on the goals this season while there’s some young talent for the midfield trying to establish themselves as elite. The backline will need some work with few high marking players ready to go big but there’s plenty of potential here.
XIV) Moptop – Lapines
B: Brennan Cox, Will Day
M: Touk Miller, Jaeger O’Meara, Jack Viney
F: Ben King, Izak Rankine
R: Tim English
I: Tom de Koning, Dustin Martin, Josh Rachelle, Ben Brown
Eme: Nick Blakey, Sam Berry, Jack Henry, Jack Scrimshaw
Moppy has ended up with a pretty strong squad despite several people drafting for him on draft night. Touk is a jet in the midfield but he’ll have some heavy lifting to do with a few older heads needing to step up and find plenty of the ball. English struggles to get a hit out but he’ll add plenty of marks around the ground while his defense will add to the marking fun. There are plenty of options up forward but Ben King could be a smokey for best forward this season. I do like the depth of the squad so it will be interesting to see how far he can go.
XV) Ooslumbird – The Knights In Purple Satin
B: Jeremy Howe, Jacob Weitering
M: Stephen Coniglio, Jack Crisp, Travis Boak
F: Jeremy Cameron, Tom Hawkins
R: Todd Goldstein
I: Ned Reeves, Jordan DeGoey, Jarryd Lyons, Daniel Rich
Eme: Ed Curnow, Paddy McCartin, Jordan Sweet, Dayne Zorko
Oos has mimicked the Geelong premiership blueprint this season by picking up a squad full of old blokes. Goldy is coming to the end and Oos will be hoping Reeves steps up while the Geelong pairing up forward will be a strong combo when they can get on the park together. They could use some depth forward but the backline is very strong with Weitering who I was eyeing off as someone I could snare as they slid in the draft adding a lot to the side. There are a lot of question marks in the midfield with many able to have a big one on their day but losing their consistency finding the ball as they are pushed out by younger team mates. This side could really be anything depending on how the old folks go.
XVI) Purple Kit – Kit Kats
B: Matthew Taberner, Blake Acres
M: James Worpel, Will Setterfield, Rory Sloane
F: Charlie Cameron, Tom Papley
R: Mark Blicavs
I: James Rowbottom, Michael Walters, Jamie Cripps, Max Holmes
Eme: Ben Ainsworth, Jai Culley, Sam Flanders, Brandon Starcevich
PK missed draft night and it shows with a team containing no elite players and few half decent ones. They’ve been shafted on draft night and if PK can pull this side into finals, just give them the coach of the season, they’ve more than earnt it. Their stand in coach drafted a midfielder as a ruckman and failed to find any midfielders of note with a couple of fringe players having to step up. Tabs can play forward or back but I’d play him down back for the marking power given the forwardline is the one area there is some depth to the side. All I can say is hit the trade table hard and good luck!