PA is probably our oldest regular. Not old as in aged. Old as in has been with us the longest. He bleeds red, white and blue and as a proud Son of the West he’s taken on the analysis of his boys. He’s included a nice little midfielder rookie that I bet, like me, you’ve overlooked. A big round of applause to PA for putting in the effort. Cheers mate.
The Western Bulldogs dismal 2014 season (only 7 wins) was capped off with an unforgettable trade period and the unimaginable loss of their head coach Brendan McCartney and captain Ryan Griffen. Experience, leadership and class had left the kennel with the departure of several key players through trades and retirements after the conclusion of the 2014 trade period. Cooney (219 games), Griffen (202 games), Giansiracusa (265 games) and Higgins (129 games) all will be big loses to the Bullies heading into their 2015 season.
However not all was lost as the Bulldogs snared Tom Boyd in a trade for Griffen and first round pick #6 to GWS (we still got royally shafted in that trade), promising defender Shane Biggs also made his way to the Kennel from the Swans in the dying minutes of the trade period.
The 2014 draft saw the Dogs chomping at the bit as they didn’t have their 1st pick of the draft until pick 26th. The Bulldogs made some expected choices with their first 3 picks but then swooped on a little gem with pick 46 in Caleb Daniel. The Atom Ant of the draft was overlook by most clubs because of his light frame and stature but the Bulldogs saw past that and focussed on his National Under 18 Championships performances were Daniel averaged a massive 171 ranking points for SA and won All-Australian honours in the process.
When the Bulldogs played their first NAB Challenge game of 2015 against the Tiges at the Whitten Oval there was a glimmer of hope for their supporters that their season wouldn’t be as bad as the experts had predicted. But all that went pear-shaped when Tom Liberatore was helped off the ground late in the 1st term with an apparent knee injury. Unfortunately the news that all Doggies supporters were dreading came to fruition with the confirmation that L’il Libba had tore his ACL and will miss the entire 2015 season.
The Doggies will now have to rely on their younger players to step up and be accountable and old Dogs in Boyd and new captain Bob Murphy to show them the way from here on out.
Supercoach-wise, well what can I say without being biased? Not much, but here goes nothing.
PA’s Predicted 22 for Rd1
B: Murphy Roughead Talia
HB: Wood Morris Johannisen
C: M Boyd Wallis Dahlhaus
HF: Picken Redpath/Crameri(?) Bontempelli
F: Stringer T Boyd Dickson
R: Minson Macrae Jong
B: Darley Stevens Campbell
Bob Murphy $475,700, 2014 avg 88.5
Now with the ‘C’ on his locker Murphs could bump up his average by taking a more commanding role in the Dogs’ back line and leading from the front, a lot like Luke Hodge has done so well for the Dorks in the past.
Jason Johannisen $344,500, 2014 avg 64.1
JJ has all the poise to be a quality run and carry defender but has to improve on his decision making which leaves him variable at times. I’m expecting a 15-20 point increase in his average if he can take that next step this year.
Joel Hamling $123,900, 2014 avg N/A
Joel has spent most of his AFL life down at the Cattery where he couldn’t crack a senior game. With the retirement of Tom Williams, Joel could fit right in at CHB giving Morris a chop out. In his 2 NAB matches thus far he’s had an average of 55 points, not bad for a KPP. Slim pickings.
Jackson Macrae $538,000, 2014 avg 100.1
Macca had a breakout year last season and with Griffen and Coons gone, Jacko could increase his avg to 115-120 by year’s end making him a elite midfielder in Supercoach.
Mitch Wallis $340,700, 2014 avg 63.38
The Bullies are expecting Mitch to fill the shoes of Libba and become an inside midfielder this year. Wallis was a prolific ball winning in his under 18 days. Now he has to bring that to the big leagues and win the hard ball.
Shane Biggs (currently injured a hammy but isn’t far away) $209,300, avg 48.7 (for the Swans)
Biggs killed it in the NEAFL avg 129 SC points but couldn’t cement a spot in the Swans’ best 22. With all the holes the Doggies currently have, once fit, Biggs could be a great cash cow that not many Supercoaches are pondering due to his current injury. I think he could be this year’s Dom Tyson.
Will Minson $501,400, 2014 avg 93.3
Big Willy didn’t get jiggy with it at all last year compared to his 2013 season where he’d averaged a gigantic 114.3 ppg. I don’t think he and former coach Macca saw eye to eye but now with a new coach maybe Big Willy might rekindle some of his 2013 form and could be a steal at $501K.
Luke Dahlhaus $492,700, 2014 avg 91.67
Dahl increased his SC avg by 12ppg last year, he also raised the bat on 8 different occasions during 2014. I’m expecting Dahl to see more midfield time this season which could increase his avg to 100-105 by season’s end.
Marcus Bontempelli $422,300, 2014 avg 78.6
Bonts almost stole last year’s Rising Star but after only playing in 16 games he just got pipped by Smelly Taylor. The Western Bulldogs faithful are expecting big things from this teenager this season and I’m confident he can step up and handle the pressure that will be coming his way. Just like Macrae last year, Bonts can average 100+ in his 2nd year and doesn’t have to play in the guts all the time. As an outside midfielder Bonts has the skill and class to be a top 6 SC average forward by the end of the season, I believe he can average 100-105ppg. Fingers crossed.
Caleb Daniel $117,300 2014 avg N/A
Celeb might not get a run until he has cut his teeth in VFL because of his size but he could force his way into a senior spot in no time at all. If he’s named in the Bulldogs’ final 22 in R1, every man and his dog will be getting him in their Supercoach team.
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