(It just wouldn’t be fair to leave this as a comment in the Forum, had to have its own thread……Thanks Jack!)
I was in the stands, armed with a transistor radio, headphones, and a pen + paper. Here’s some of what I noticed:
* Cripps has taken to splitting his time between the midfield and forward line very well; like Dangerfield and Martin, it doesn’t look like it’s going to hold his scoring back.
* Dow, Clark, and Coffield all looked great from a rookie standpoint. Dow in particular attended a lot of centre bounces, and was also dangerous up forward.
* St. Kilda’s game-plan looks about the same as last year.
* Carlton’s, on the other hand, has evolved quite a bit. The defensive aspect of the game is still there, but our ball movement was much slicker. Unlike last year, when we played a stop-start, kick-mark game, we played on whenever we could, tried to move it through the corridor as much as possible (even coming out of defence), and we were much happier to run, carry, and handball than we were last year. By JLT standards, our pressure was also very good, particularly early.
* Carlton’s forward line functioned really well. New forward coach David Teague, who was previously in the same role at Adelaide, looks to have made his mark already.
* It looks like it will be a group effort, rather than a single player, who replaces Docherty. Simpson picked up some of the slack (and took a lot of the kick-ins), but Byrne (18 disposals at 100 % DE, 5 contested) and Marchbank (25 disposals at 76 %, 7 contested) look to have taken on a lot of the running/distributing role. Cunningham, O’Brien, Mullett, and Thomas also played behind the ball, but Daisy’s decision making was often poor, so I would be surprised if he stayed there for long. Picket and Garlett used their speed to run off half-back when they were in defence (which was usually when the rest of the team was also there).
* Garlett looked great before he injured himself. On the bright side, his body language would appear to suggest that the injury isn’t too serious.
* As expected, Charlie Curnow spent most of his time forward, but still also spent a good chunk of time in the midfield. He and Cripps also spent some time in the middle together, so it doesn’t look like one of them will have to be forward for the other to play midfield. His 66 wasn’t spectacular, but it looked more like pre-season rust than anything concerning. At this stage, I’ll still be starting him.
* Matt Kennedy looked good, even if his 57 didn’t reflect that. In 64 % TOG, 15 disposals (7 contested) at 80 % DE is nothing to sneeze at. Keep an eye on him.
* As others have noted, Armitage looked terrific. He’s a risk, but at $310,100, he’s worth thinking about.
* While we’re on the topic of midpricers, Jade Gresham (FWD, $364,600) spent a lot more time in the middle, and he looked good doing it.
* Ed Curnow spent a lot of time on the wing. He’s not really SuperCoach-classic relevant, but keep this in mind when thinking about your draft order.
* It looks like Bolton wants to rotate a lot of different players through the centre bounces. They don’t call him a Clarkson clone for nothing!
* Kreuzer was magnificent. One concern, however, is that he was a bit too effective as a forward – meaning that Bolton might decide he wants him to spend more time there, which would mean sharing with another ruckman. At over $600K, this is not something you want happening.
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