Short back story: before the weekend just passed, I fully intended to run with a traditional “guns and rookies” team this year. The only players I had priced in the $200K-$500K bracket were Sam Walsh and Zac Williams. But….after watching JLT2 very closely, it hit me just how dry the rookie well is this year, particularly in the forward line. So I tore the whole thing down and started from scratch.
Simpson is the type of safe, boring pick I usually avoid and then regret not making. Hurn was a sound performer for me last year and should benefit from the kick-in rule, and Williams is an obvious choice that I see as a potential top 10 defender at season’s end. Brodie Smith has burnt me before, but after seeing the way his teammates are looking to get him the ball up close last Friday night, he’s finally made his way into my team too. I think the rookies I’ve selected are all in line for a game in round 1, although a couple are looking a little shakier than they were a week ago!
I originally had Macrae, but the rookie drought unfortunately meant I had to find cash somewhere, and I think I can target him as an upgrade option. Cripps and Neale didn’t require much thinking, and I expect big seasons from Coniglio and Matty Crouch. I’ve gone with only four premo mids because I trust the midfield rookies more than the other lines, and I’m following Father Dougal’s mantra of letting the cows determine structure. Not totally convinced on James Cousins, and he’ll be the one to go if I need to splash some cash elsewhere at the last minute.
No mucking about here, I’ve gone for the two Big Kahunas. Grundy allayed any injury fears I might have had, and he’s a lock. Based on his preseason, Preuss is going to struggle to crack best 22 at the Dees, so I have no qualms at this stage in picking SuperMax. I’ve gone for Bines as the R3 loophole option, as he has the R/F flexibility I’ll need if I decide to grab some ruck cover later on.
Can’t remember why I picked Dangerfield….
Heeney has finally had an uninterrupted preseason and should hit the ground running this year. Mundy and Boak are proven performers that I predict will spend more time in the midfield this year, and they help my bye structure as an added bonus. Rookies are problematic on this line, hence the four premiums, but Setterfield and Drew should score well enough.
BYES AND OTHER STUFF
I count 13 “keepers” in my team (including Williams), with the bye split at 2-6-5. Not ideal, and Hurn or Neale may be swapped for a round 14 bye player if I end up deciding that I care enough about bye structure.
I think this will be my team for round 1, pending team sheets. The only changes I may consider are Brodie Smith and Cousins out, Collins and Libba in. I have tried very hard to ignore midpriced players this year, but the cornerstone of the GnR strategy is having reliable R’s, and I’m just not convinced by most of this year’s crop. Very few seem to have that vital combination of job security and scoring power, so I’ve had to relent and include Smith (at this stage) as a compromise in my backline. Don’t let me down, Brodie!
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