Afternoon, all. CT and I have combined forces, notes and numbers for this one. We’ve got the CBAs, kick ins and a report for all the practice matches played last week. For some, we’ve also got a few stand-out SC scores. We’ll be doing the same for the AAMI Community Series.
ESSENDON v WESTERN BULLDOGS
- Liberatore 22, Macrae 19, Dunkley 16, English 14, Martin 12, Treloar 8, Bontempelli 6, Hunter 5, McComb 2
- Draper 22, Merrett 21, Shiel 20, Parish 15, Hobbs 7, Perkins 5, Wright 4, Caldwell 3, Langford 3, Cox 3, McGrath 1
Bontempelli off after half time, Parish bench for a chunk of the third then off for the fourth and Hobbs only on for the last. Doesn’t look like Hobbs starts the season, there just isn’t a spot in the middle for him and Stringer is still to return. Shiel had a surprising CB load and got great purchase. For those considering a 350k~ M5/6 like Rowell or Lipinski, monitor Shiel as well. Caldwell was pretty uninspiring with just the 3 CBAs and 15 touches, was moving from contest to contest well though. The Dogs midfield mix is pretty settled, obviously Bont comes back to a full load.
- Dale 5, Daniel 3, Richards 1
- Ridley 4, Redman 2, McGrath 1, Cutler 1, Laverde 1
On the Richards kick in, literally no one else was standing there. The modus vivendi for the Dogs is Dale with the majority of kick ins and occasionally Daniel if the want to put some speed on the ball and transition quickly.
There’s been a fair bit of alarmism about Ridley and kick ins, however he was off for a chunk between the first and second where the Dons tried out a new look backline. It was during that period that McGrath and Laverde had a kick in each and then Cutler’s came when there was no within 25 meters to come and take it. I was noting the kick ins down by hand and the exact sequence of Dons kick ins was: Ridley, McGrath, Cutler (only one there), Laverde, Redman, Redman, Ridley, Ridley (lined up but siren), Ridley. So it’s pretty much just Redman who’ll take a few. Heppell’s now on a wing it looks like.
Macrae and Dunkley were both fantastic with 30+ touches and Dunkley specifically looked very limber and was the Dogs biggest presence at stoppages. English had more of ruck split with Martin than anticipated but will continue to play as a ruck/forward than as the #1 guy. Dale was superb and hasn’t left my side for the last month. As flagged in the pre-season, the Dogs really rate his use and it showed: he had majority of the kicks ins (including one where they handed it straight back to him), ran all of the Dogs HB distribution and they looked to have developed several set plays involving him. Twice a midfielder had it 60-70 meters out from goals, eyed off Dale and handed it off to him similar to the Tigers and Short. Treloar was also an eye catcher. Looked very lively with 27 touches, no strapping, covered the ground better than anyone and burned off Hind a in chase. Looks to have confidence and found himself in the side and could easily bury the popular midprice options if he stays on the park. McComb was the only rookie for the Dogs, just the 9 touches but floated into a few stoppages and 2 CBAs.
As discussed under the Kick Ins, Ridley won’t have the monopoly we’d have liked but definitely a plurality and hopefully he can make up that deficit now that Kelly looks to be freeing him up. Outside of kick ins, he was playing really loose and freely intercepting – took a couple very nice ones. McGrath made the move to half back and found a ton of it (31) but his use what quite poor even in a low impact practice game. Does look set for DPP however. Baldwin looked alright, kicked one and if Harry Jones isn’t up for Round 1 he could be a decent F8 option, similarly Wanganeen came on late and made an impact with 2 goals and some dash as he vied for a rookie spot on the Don’s list. Could also go very nicely at basement price if he gets a gig.
- Macrae 126, Dunkley 124, Snelling 120, Dale 120, McGrath 115
CARLTON v ST KILDA
- Cripps 18, Cerra 15, Hewett 14, Pittonet 14, Kennedy 10, Fisher 5, Mirkov 4, Silvagni 3, Fogarty 1
- Steele 19, Campbell 16, Ross 13, Jones 11, Crouch 10, Clark 6, Sharman 3, Hayes 2, Higgins 2, Gresham 2
- Newman 5, McGovern 3, Williams 2, Saad 1
- Sinclair 4, Battle 3, Hill 2, Webster 2, Patton 1, Lienert 1
Not a whole lot to report without Walsh. Lot of post-game chatter about Cerra and Cripps. Both did well with 27 and 28 touches respectively but shouldn’t really be starting options unless you forsee 105-110 after Walsh returns. Hewett entered seamlessly as that defensive MID, collecting 27 touches and providing good body however he wasn’t damaging with his use or distribution. Kennedy also notched up the 10 CBAs for 28 touches and offered some grit and ground ball work at contests he came up to, does some really good work at the coalface. McGovern slotted into his new role replacing Jones but poor 1 one 1 work will likely see Weitering tasked with handling the #1 opposition forward and in turn diminishing his scoring. Newman had a nice little economy going but quite a few cooks down back especially with Williams looking to be repurposed there. A solid pre-season and then 6 touches and a goal is apparently holding Kemp in good stead for a debut, but probably not the best on field option.
Steele just going to continue being the Atlas of the Saints, RoMo a no show and Gresham in a FWD role all but writes him off as a midpricer. Nothing else to discuss.
- Sinclair 121, Steele 115, Cerra 108, Kennedy 107, Hewett 99
MELBOURNE v NORTH MELBOURNE
- Oliver 22, Petracca 20, Sparrow 15, Jackson 14, Gawn 12, Harmes 12, Pickett 8, Jordon 6, Bedford 3, Weideman 2, Neal-Bullen 2
- Greenwood 23, Goldstein 18, Phillips 18, Powell 16, Thomas 14, Horne-Francis 12, Coleman-Jones 7, Lazzaro 4, Edwards 4
- May 5, Salem 3
- Ziebell 5, Walker 4, Bergman 1, Goater 1
Probably the most high octane game of the practice match schedule, with the Dees engine room firing on all cylinders and crushing the Roos. Oliver and Petracca were just prolific and only affirmed themselves as selections, May and Salem held down the fort in Lever’s absence and Gawn was superb even with the Jackson split. Heaps of marks both intercepting and floating forward and covered the ground very well. Will have a diminished ruck scoring stream, but looking much more comfortable and involved out of CBs than he did when the transition first started. Simply a matter of whether you can justify the 657k for someone with declining ruck time.
For the first half Horne-Francis looked a touch lost. He was playing a deep FWD pocket role with some CBAs for little purchase, which isn’t the greatest role. However after the second half, he found some composure, improved his positioning at the contest and built to 20 touches. No Simpkin, LDU or Cunnington and a lot of Roos vying for MID minutes, so this weekend’s AAMI game will be another important look for JHF. Thomas was all class on ball but could only do so much against Satan and Petracca, while second year players Powell and Phillips were both very solid on strong CBA loads. Potentially one of them can do 80~ provided their CBA load hold. Ziebell was absolutely flattered by the absence of Hall and McDonald. Hall plays that same HB, kick-in taking role and McDonald had been previously training at HB as well.
- Gawn 138, Oliver 123, Ziebell 114, Salem 111, Harmes 108
BRISBANE v ADELAIDE
- Neale 21, McInerney 16, Lyons 15, Fort 15, McCluggae 14, Bailey 13, Rayner 12, Berry 12, Cockatoo 4
- O’Brien 21, Laird 21, Crouch 17, Schoenberg 17, Berry 17, Strachan 10, Keays 9, Hately 7, Pedlar 5
- Rich 7
- McPherson 5, Jones 3, Davis 2, Hinge 1
The Crows just managed to field a side, with Dawson dealing with a calf injury and others corona’d. Laird remained a constant in the middle, Crouch made an unassuming return and Schoenberg and Berry were both given 17 CBAs ahead of a likely battle for that 4th MID spot. Likely goes to Schoenberg as the Crows try and cast him as a CP bull; did indeed offer body and presence at contests despite the Lions devouring them. Still a rebuilding side. A silver lining was Rachele’s three goal performance with some great craft that has him shaping up for a small forward spot come Round 1. Small FWD at the Crows not ideal on paper but Rowe went well and Rachele is of strong draft stock. Crows kick ins were pretty eclectic, no SC relevance there.
Plenty of drama over the Lions midfield mix recently and the practice match seemed to be a fair approximation. Neale was the Lions #1 CBA attendee, racked up a ton of it, moved well and in general looked excellent. Had 21 CBAs out of a possible 31, trimmed down by a handful to get 6 players into double digit CBAs. Shouldn’t be too much of a concern though. Similarly, Lyons remained a constant in the middle. Rayner was okay but nowhere near the level that recent puff pieces had ascribed to him and Bailey looked to be relishing the increased MID role but was most damaging at FWD of center stoppages. Berry shot himself back into everyone’s side with explosive contest presence, 3 goals and major purchase on the modest CBA load he got. The game was nowhere near H&A match conditions but he was comfortably best on ground. McInernery, the once popular cut price R2, looks set to be ruined by Fort. The Lions need some height with Hipwood out and running two rucks with Fort deep looks to be the solution they’ve settled on as the pair shared a 50:50 ruck split. Rich just did his thing and is one of the last defenders with a total monopoly on kick ins. Unfortunately, we didn’t get a look at Coleman due to COVID exposure but will play in this weekend’s AAMI match.
- Berry 158, Neale 144, Bailey 141, McPherson 134, McStay 123
GOLD COAST v PORT ADELAIDE
- Anderson 15, Moyle 15, Miller 14, Rowell 11, Fiorini 8, Davies 7, Chol 4, Rankine 2
- Boak 12, Wines 11, Hayes 10, Lycett 7, Drew 7, Amon 7, Butters 5, Duursma 5, Mead 5, Rozee 2, Finlayson 2, Powell-Pepper 2, Gray 1
- Weller 11, Powell 6, Markov 2
- McKenzie 4, Bonner 3, Burton 3
All eyes were on Rowell, who CT reported was “good, plenty of disposals, strong in the packs and was influential”. Played good minutes and went in harder than last year, which bodes really well for assessing a player post-injury. Miller was just a god yet again with his work rate, accumulating ability and contest work. For me, just start him and enjoy. Alza nailed the early call on Davies who capitalized on the vacated MID room and was hot early with plenty of ground ball gets and 2 goals. A built inside MID, however the 200k price tag and consistency might dissaude some. Witts didn’t play as last year’s mid-season draftee Moyle rucked all day. After the game Dew said that Witts was not guaranteed to start Round 1, with the management staff determined not to rush him. The surprise packet was veteran Weller who much like many former top talents is being redeployed to a low intensity, cushy HB role. Space has opened up with Lukosious now forward and Weller was composed, clean and took over half the kick ins – role looks very solid. Worth mentioning that Anderson was on a great CBA load but has a hard breakout profile to read due to decision making and game awareness.
Things got a little exciting after Lycett came off with what looked to be a serious ankle injury that could’ve opened to door for Hayes, who played out the game as the #1 ruck. Latest however is that Lycett is fine for Round 1 and the Port coaching panel weren’t thrilled with Hayes’ work anyway, needs to work on syngery with the midfield group apparently. Mead got a decent run at it and continues to firm for a debut after consecutive high-effort pre-seasons, just probably won’t have a great MID role. Butters, the most relevant Port player, was something of a paradox. Just the 5 CBAs however he was just f*cking everywhere: first up to every contest, four quarters of pressure, great CP work and what Brett Montgomery termed post game as “dynamic use”. Shown he can pop off without a traditional MID role and still think he can banish Amon to a wing. Finally, CT’s declared Sinn a lock after a skillful showing off HB and continued wraps from Hinkley. Not much on Skinner.
- Butters 167, Miller 140, Wines 121, Rowell 118, Byrne-Jones 113
COLLINGWOOD v HAWTHORN
- Grundy 18, Lipinski 18, Crisp 15, Adams 14, Brown 11, Elliot 9, Cox 8, N. Daicos 8, Pendlebury 2, Maynard 1
- Mitchell 19, Worpel 18, Reeves 16, Newcombe 11, O’Meara 11, Nash 10, Maginness 7, Lynch 7, McEvoy 3, Ward 2
- Pendlebury 5, N. Daicos 2, Moore 1
- Bramble 1, Sicily 1, Hardwick 1
Defintely don’t want to infer too much from this one as it was played in six “parts” instead of quarters and later merged with the VFL sides. The CBAs and kick ins are from the first 3 “parts” and defintive stats weren’t recorded. A few brief takeaways however:
Grundy moved exceptionally well, great ground coverage and sharp tap work albeit against the menage a trois of Reeves, Lynch and McEvoy. Lipinski looks to finally be getting a role with substantive MID minutes and came in as the Pies #1 CBA attende (tied with Grundy), reportedly with solid ball winning and clean use. Crisp lined up in exactly the role his selectors have anticipated him be in, so no change there. Looks to be Lipinski and Crisp as the constants. Elliot, who was splitting MID time with an absent De Goey in training, got 9 CBAs and might see a little more action OB this season. Hopefully De Goey lines up for the AAMI game and we get a better picture of the MID balance at the Pies. He was already a must have but worth noting that Daicos is in a ridiculously SC conducive role: playing off HB, couple kick ins, some distribution and then a healthy CBA load for a first year player. Will be one to straight field in Round 1, no questions. Joining him down back was the now repurposed Pendlebury in a soft defensive role as a general, taking kick ins and still use his elite footskills to distribute. Think Ziebell last year. Defintely gets DPP but will be awkward carrying him at M5 early. Dean was also in the D50 but really didn’t get to see much. AAMI will help as the Pies defensive outs mean the role is close to his currently.
The format of the match didn’t us a good sample size to assess the role he was playing but from a fitness and mobility stand point, Sicily didn’t miss a beat. Good coverage, flight and kicking motion and no strapping. Just need clarity around the nature of his defensive role. Maginness was quite good bar his use, which is reportedly his only hurdle right now for a Round 1 debut, Ward a little quiet then solid with only the two CBAs but didn’t really have time to get cooking and MacDonald continued to bring the tackling pressure and intensity that he impressed with in the match sims. Again, AAMI will provide some clarity but if any side is going to blood a ton of talented rookies it’s the Hawks. Newcombe was also pretty explosive and had 2 BOG performances in the previous match sims but copped a non-descript injury late which we’re still tracking down. On the ruck mix, Reeves looks to be #1 with McEvoy playing FWD and occaisionally relieving the ruck duties although Lynch may very well work his way in at some stage.
SYDNEY v GWS
- Luke Parker 19, Chad Warner 15, Isaac Heeney 13, Tom Hickey 13, Oliver Florent 9, Pete Ladhams 7, Errol Gulden 6, James Rowbottom 4, Dylan Stephens 4, Callum Sinclair 4, Justin McInerney 2
- Matthew Flynn 16, Callan Ward 15, Tom Green 13, Stephen Coniglio 13, Josh Kelly 11, Tim Taranto 8, Lachie Ash 8, Braydon Preuss 6, Ian Hill 4, Jake Riccardi 1, Zach Sproule 1
The shitty camera angle meant I couldn’t quite see who was taking the kick ins, nor could CT track them down. It was pretty much the usual suspects though. Lloyd for the Swans and the Giants usual backline distributors.
Can pretty much bullet point this one as the talents were standouts and the flagged pre-season roles materialized. Heeney was on ball, limber and smooth all day and still a walk up for that on ball role. Stephens wasn’t particularly impactful but defintely provided utility as he filled that wing role. Will need to receive outside ball and impact at stoppages to put some points on the board but looking good for Round 1. Lloyd didn’t have a whole lot to do. As a FWD you’d almost consider him given his raw talent and increasing OB role, but Warner is unfortunately an awkwardly priced MID only. Hickey looked to be in great nick for those refusing to go 2x 620k rucks.
Whitfield was at half back instead of on a wing, which is great, and was at his classy, distributing and hard running best. Again, couldn’t get hard stats but he was all over it. Role and skill is obviously there, his frailty the only concern long term. Coniglio came in tied as the #2 MID CBA attendee and looked confident and fit, although probably not as damaging as he would have liked. Still a lock just on the MID role he’s in. Contrary to what GWS said the other and what outs in Daniels and Greene would suggest, Taranto was decently at OB. 8 CBAs, came up to stoppages, not too deep. Still an absolute butcher but nowhere near as condemned to the forward line as we expected.
WEST COAST v FREMANTLE
- Tim Kelly 18, Nic Naitanui 16, Connor West 15, Jack Redden 14, Jamaine Jones 11, Bailey Williams 10, Xavier O’Neill 7, Andrew Gaff 7, Elliot Yeo 7, Jack Petruccelle 4, Hugh Dixon 2, Dom Sheed 1
- Caleb Serong 26, Lloyd Meek 22, Andrew Brayshaw 21, Will Brodie 19, Mitch Crowden 18, Rory Lobb 6
- McGovern 4, Witherden 4, Hurn 2
- Cox 2, Wilson 2, Young 2, Hughes 1, Clark 1
Our season already looks to be shot with a slew of fresh, serious injuries to key talent and persistence with an archaic game style. A few SC gems however came in the form of Naitanui, West and Dixon. As discussed in the Eagles Preview, Nic Nat continues to defy time and pump out impressive numbers as we’ve gotten his management down to a science. Gets more CPs than any other ruck and can honestly see him doing more CP work with our already battered midfield. West really stepped up in the middle, got a full CBA load work and relished it with a strong work rate, good speed and ball winning relative to the contest. Has reportedly got plantar fascia soreness and on handball only drills now, which despite the great role sours his attractiveness as an F5 midpricer. Chesser copped a long term injury and won’t be seen for a while – to be honest, I had him his marginal and not a good scorer anyway. The only positive was Dixon, who was great in the air, kicked two and was dubbed our best by Simpson after the game – quite a low bar, let’s be honest. He’s since been signed by SSP and will come in basement priced.
Serong and Brayshaw both had capital performances and put pressure on their respective SC selection scales. Serong was on a full CBA load, aggressive at the contest and had no problem accumulating and Brayshaw similarly racked up a ton and disposed of it cleanly as he firms to join the A-grade of midfielders. Brodie was also vibing with the midfield group and put in an eyecatching performance, just a matter of whether he remains B22 with Fyfe back and retains an SC conducive role. Darcy and Ryan were no shows, with Ryan’s absence in particular opening the door for strong performances from Clark and Young. On rookies, Erasmus was AWOL and not a lot on O’Driscoll.
- Frederick 144, Brayshaw 139, Crowden 130, Brodie 120, Meek 115
GEELONG v RICHMOND
- Rhys Stanley 20, Patrick Dangerfield 17, Cameron Guthrie 14, Brandan Parfitt 13, Max Holmes 13, Quinton Narkle 10, Esava Ratugolea 8, Cooper Stephens 6, Shaun Higgins 6, Joel Selwood 6, Cooper Whyte 5, Shannon Neale 2
- Dustin Martin 22, Jack Ross 19, Toby Nankervis 16, Thomson Dow 16, Dion Prestia 15, Ivan Soldo 11, Tyler Sonsie 7, Jake Aarts 5, Shai Bolton 4, Noah Balta 3, Shane Edwards 2
- Vlaustin 8, Short 7, Broad 2, Ralphsmith 2, Miller 1
- Stewart 5, Tuohy 2, Kolodjashnij 1
Pretty intuitive on here. Structures pretty set and roles pretty firm. The only unexpected talking points were Stewart and Ralphsmith. Most of us (myself included) had written off Stewart due to his lisfranc injury late last year, an injury with easy chances of reaggravation and potential to restrict mobility. However, as early adopter Jamhed noted, he was everywhere: intercepting, majority of kick outs, playing loose and distributing with impunity. On paper he should still be as pass, but another strong bruise free performance this weekend and he’ll no doubt be back into calculations. The little known Ralphsmith had quite a day out at HB in Rioli’s role. 12 touches and 50 SC at half time and throughout the game he was highly composed with good CP work at D50 stoppages and overall clean use. Just a matter of Rioli returning and whether there’s enough spots then points to go around. For those big on Short, Vlaustin on all those kick outs wasn’t ideal.
On the Cats’ rookies, Stengle, who Brad mentioned a while back, was excellent with 4 goals and then remaining involved even when he wasn’t kicking goals. The Cats have spent a few years and draft capital on trying to find a small FWD and Stengle finally looks to be their man. Scoring stream will of course be volatile as a small forward but rock solid JS. Stephens was at high half FWD and De Koning had a key position defensive role however neither looked quite up to the level.
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