CBAs, Kick Ins & Reports – 2024 AAMI Community Series

Written by Gunboat Diplomacy on March 4 2024



Collingwood: Mitchell 13, De Goey 12, Cameron 11, Crisp 11, N. Daicos 11, Cox 5, Macrae 3, McCreerey 3, Frampton 2, J. Daicos 1

Richmond: Naismith 12, Dow 11, Taranto 11, Hopper 10, Bolton 7, Prestia 6, Ryan 6, Ross 4, Martin 3, Baker 2

Kick Ins

Collingwood: Noble 5, Moore 4, Maynard 3, Quaynor 3, Hoskin-Elliot 1

Richmond: Short 9, Rioli 4, Broad 1, Gibcus 1, McIntosh 1


The Pies lined up and delivered much like they did through all of 2023: with poise, purpose and pressure. Not much to report on the SC side, with Daicos ripping a ton then chilling for the rest of the game and neither Macrae or Dean looking like they’ll get a gig to start the season. Lipinski top scored for the Pies but did so off of half forward and he just isn’t an SC viable player.

Before we get to the Tigers, a quick note on pre-season game conditions: they ALWAYS suit cruisy HB types. Compared to the season proper, the games a low stakes, the pressure is significantly lower, defensive accountability is loosened and the play is much more open. Perfect conditions for half back to demand the ball, run and carry across the field and distribute with near flawless efficiency – recall the monster HB pre-season performances we’ve seen over the last for years.

Now that’s not to say one should disregard HB scoring entirely, in fact it speaks to role security and conversion on HB economy, just don’t get too excited and place it in context.

Which brings us to Short. Under Yze, he looks to have returned to half back. High MG, favourable K:HB ratio, deferential distribution and the majority of kick ins. The permanency of this change remains to be seen and the R0 probably kills the selection either way but, yes, Short was all over it.

Dow also impressed on ball. However, he went at a 1:4 K:HB ratio, had only 137 MG, 1 tackle, DE buoyed by the match conditions and really won’t get to play in those kind of conditions again. His CP work was nice and led the MIDs for CBAs with Taranto, so still worth consideration. Brown and Gibcus came in and did their jobs and will be right for 50s and job security. Finally, Naismith looked a little out of it early and honestly got towelled in the ruck contests but with a strong 13 contested and better presence at stoppage. He’ll start with Nank missing early and probably sees more action during the year as well.



Carlton: Cripps 21, Hewett 19, De Koning 16, Cerra 15, Docherty 12, Pittonet 9, Hollands 8, Cunningham 6, Fogarty 3, McKay 3

Melbourne: Salem 22, Viney 20, Gawn 19, Petracca 17, Sparrow 10, Pickett 9, Schache 4, Neal-Bullen 3, Tholstrup 3, Verral 3, van Rooyen 2

Kick Ins

Carlton: Saad 6, McGovern 3, Boyd 2

Melbourne: Bowey 3


Quite literally nothing to say about the Blues with the R0 bye, no rookies and the SC relevant Walsh being absent. I did note that the half backline looked a little more balanced in contrast to the freedom Newman relished last year at the expense of Saad but other than that nothing really of note.

Which allows the rest of this report to focus on the headline: Maxxy. Look, it isn’t a surprise as we all know he’s back to solo and is god but he was just off tap. Ravaged Pittonet and TDK and just went vintage with his HO and ATG work. He’s now the most popular ruck selection (equal with Grundy) and no doubt can still cook but the R0 bye will see English and RoMo ahead early. The word is that Oliver has ticked all the boxes and will indeed play next week – which is good news for Maxxy

Petracca was quality early and then shifted gears and relaxed. Billings looks to have done enough for a spot in the 22 and floated around as a higher half forward and was okay – nothing flashy, the Dees just kept bombing it I50. Windsor was an immediate fan favourite and despite making some errant decisions early, steadied and say the game out in style. The Dees have always developed those impact wingers and half forwards well, so really liking Windsor to start. Laurie was okay but like Billings kind of just coasted with 17 touches and nothing of note.



Sydney: Grundy 16, Rowbottom 16, Heeney 12, Gulden 11, Adams 10, Sheldrick 9, McInerney 8, Ladhams 7, Jordon 6, McLean 1

Brisbane: Dunkley 18, Neale 17, McInerney 16, McCluggage 10, Rayner 9, Lyons 8, Smith 7, Tunstill 7, Zorko 2, Cameron 1, Daniher 1

Kick Ins

Sydney: Florent 4, Blakey 2, Roberts 2, Campbell 1

Brisbane: Payne 2, Wilmot 2, Zorko 2, Berry 1, Madden 1


All headlines for the Swans. Sealed some decisions and raised some question marks. Gulden was his usual spectacular self and Jordon relished the Swans transitional system and notched up 31 touches. Easy locks there. Heeney then played OB and was lively (despite not tallying the best stats) and might line up there to start with Parker and Adams out for a while.

In less exhilarating news, Grundy was…underwhelming. He and Ladhams covered the McInerney in the HOs but other than that Grundy lacked dynamism and any ATG presence. Hard to read anything into effort and disposition because it was only a pre-season game but now becomes a real question with the undeniable quality of Tingles, Maxxy and RoMo up top and that R0 bye. Poll to follow.

Many were also excited by Roberts being deployed at half back. He was no doubt clinical and powerful by foot but the obvious disclaimer is Lloyd, the Dark Prince of the Half Back Line, didn’t play. Reclaims that economy or dislodges him entirely. Other names that people had their eyes on like Hamling, Adams and Sheldrick were all no’s.

To the Lions, on ball McCluggage was awesome while Dunkley and Neale relaxed. Zorko played this ridiculous half forward and half back role, basically tracking the ball everywhere but at center bounce. His zest for the ball and respect from his team mates in palpable but does anyone want to go there? Age? Role? Injury? Finally, Coleman lined up at half back but looks to be too disciplined a player to abandon his post and gobble up all that HB economy. Note, Coleman did not take a single kick in. If you’re still bullish, see if he can rip a good score in R0 then move on him.



GWS: Briggs 23, Ward 23, Green 21, Coniglio 15, Kelly 9, Peatling 7, O’Halloran 5, Cadman 4, Bedford 3, McMullin 1, Riccardi 1

Gold Coast: Witts 25, Anderson 23, Miller 21, Rowell 20, Flanders 9, Humphrey 7, Graham 4, Andrew 3

Kick Ins

GWS: Himmelberg 4, Buckley 1, Fahey 1, Whitfield 1

Gold Coast: Powell 8, Sexton 6, Budarick 1


Bullet points for the Giants, then we can get stuck into the Suns. Green was tremendous leading the Giants on ball, Briggs is tremendous, has a glorious ruck fixture and is only confounded by the R0 bye, Wehr is a well liked hard nut and might be able to grind out a start and Cadman looked right to go as an F8 slow burn, which could hopefully be accelerated by games against the Roos and Eagles as the Giants first two.

We will get expansive just for a second on Himmerlberg. Dropped a 90, took most of the kick ins and playing down back. Although he in is more a defensive utility and support role, rather than a totally free one. Definitely developing the defensive side of his game and will move towards a more contained scoring range.

In the span of a week, the forward line has been rescued by rookies and midpricers! Leading the way was Alex Sexton of all people! He was truly devastating off of half back – and that’s even accounting for practice games being ideal for HBs. Audacious and efficient. Seems tenable for him to be in the Suns defense with Powell and Budarick, who didn’t seem to get in each other’s way. On Budarick, he’s got a good head on him, likes to go by foot and is feeling his way back into things. Does seem to be the more restrained and defensive of the half backs, so makes it tricky to start him at 300k and R0. Hope he manages a full season.

Moving up the ground, Miller played on a proper CBA load and led the game for contested possessions – including being the only Sun in double digits, which is a concern overall. His role is fine and body looked good but there remain some questions over the Suns’ midfield profile under Hardwick going forward. Flanders then played on a 4th MID load of 9 CBAs behind Anderson, Rowell and the returning Miller, which itself isn’t that big an issue, but he definitely lacked the stoppage presence and sharpness that he closed out 2023 with. 16 touches, 7 contested and 68% DE. On the scales of purple patch vs permanency, this outing weighted them towards purple patch.



Geelong: Stanley 21, Clark 16, Bruhn 14, Dangerfield 11, Atkins 8, Duncan 8, Holmes 8, Bowes 4, Neale 4, Blicavs 3, Close 3

Essendon: Setterfield 19, Durham 17, Merrett 17, Parish 16, Goldstein 13, Bryan 7, Caldwell 6, Wright 5

Kick Ins

Geelong: Stewart 5, Duncan 2, Guthrie 2, Henry 1

Essendon: Redman 9, Martin 4, McGrath 2, Merrett 1, Ridley 1


Some interesting machinations in this one. The Cats were pretty casual in their presentation, didn’t demand too much of themselves and ran heavy rotations. That allowed Clark to go at it on ball with 10 contested and 94% efficency and then a large mix of players to go through center bounce and half back. This really obscured Stewart, who also received some attention Guelfi but otherwise remains for to start. Mannagh came on late for just 27% but got to work with 8 touches, a goal and 44 as a half forward. Would need to fob off Dempsey, who like Clark, was able to have a real crack with the old guard relaxing and rotating.

Martin starred for the Bombers. I’ll admit, I shot down Abs’ texts during the week about the strong mail on him at HB but, yeah, he shredded. Brought that explosiveness and offensive mindedness to the half back line but did so in a thoughtful way – a real change up from the Dons just thinking speed and MG is a panacea for the D50 ball movement. Martin accordingly had 28 touches, 11 marks, 562 MG and slapped on two for fun. Ridley going down puts a line through him and will provide for more distribution for Martin, as well as a some economy scraps for Reid. Reid was nice, basically a Gibcus. Tsatas found a fair bit of it but was pretty poor with it and found a bunch of other gut runners and on ballers getting involved ahead of him. Merrett was his usual self while Parish still a little lethargic and not damaging despite scoring well.



Port: Wines 19, Drew 17, Horne-Francis 17, Soldo 16, Rozee 13, Sweet 9, Mead 7, Butters 2

Fremantle: Young 20, Fyfe 19, Serong 19, Brayshaw 13, Darcy 11, Reidy 11, Treacy 3, Johnson 2, Erasmus 1, O’Meara 1

Kick Ins

Port: Burton 2, Farrell 2, Jones 1

Fremantle: Ryan 7, Clark 4, Worner 2


Two crucial (and cringe) sides to report on as they’ve both got that sweet, sweet bye. Butters soured the mood early with an ankle sprain. Port have put out word that he should be alright for Round 1 but he’s done that ankle before and with the luxury of selecting who we want it’s hard to dive head first into a recently injured player despite how great he is to own.

The midfield still popped without him. Wineswho I didn’t want to believe was relevant again, played full time OB and despite still not having the greatest tank, ground coverage or CP work found a bunch of it and converted. A real decision. Rozee got that 4th MID load (would have been nice to see the balance with Butters) but is just a delight to watch and scores really well. Went from 93 to 108 last year, pushes 115 in 2024. Horne-Francis and Mead were then great as supporting cast members and gave some nice speed at stoppage. Awkward prices however.

Houston finished up on the bench but was great even with low foward pressure and entries from Freo; gave himself plenty to do and stayed involved. Totally viable if you’re not loving top dollar for Sicily and Stewart.

Similarly, in purple, Ryan remains viable in his long held role and high kick, high ceiling scoring. He was the only Docker to crack a ton along with Young, who, while already being a lock, was just great with 26 touches, 697 MG and 5 shots at goal while playing a defensive MID role. Brayshaw and Serong were pretty average, with Brayshaw on a lower CBA load, but remain safe get what you pay for options. Fyfe played on a full CBA load but, for mine, was very clunky, inefficient and hand ball happy. That said, the role and presentation are their for those who want to roll the dice.

It was annoying to get a read on the ruck set ups for both sides. Jackson was a no show battling concussion and Darcy just played a half a game and then let a kid have a go. So no word on the split they’ll play. A proper 80/20 would be great for Darcywhile more integration at center bounce absolutely increases the viability of Jackson.

For Port, Soldo started and didn’t do anything special ATG outside of kicking the first goal. Just the 10 HOs for him and Dixon, who battled Reidy I50. Sweet then got a spin and was a little more assertive with 7 contested and 11 HOs of 43% TOG.



Adelaide: O’Brien 24, Laird 17, Crouch 16, Dawson 13, Berry 11, Soligo 9, Rankine 8, Pedlar 7, Rachele 3, Thilthorpe 3, Borlase 1

West Coast: Kelly 21, Yeo 21, Reid 17, Williams 15, Chesser 7, Petrucelle 7, Barnett 6, Edwards 5, Duggan 3, Jamieson 3, Livingstone 3, Long 3, Cripps 1

Kick Ins

Adelaide: Hinge 3, Milera 2, Worrell 2, Michalanney 1

West Coast: Hunt 4, Witherden 4, Reid 3, McGovern 2, Barrass 1, Cole 1


Hard to put much stock in either side here. All the Crows coasted and any Eagles player, despite any promise, will always be clamped down by being in a very poor SC side and an atrocious high performance department.

Nevertheless, Rankine had 9 CBAs, stoppage involvement and feasted with 4 goals, Fatt Crouch was his usual silky, uncontested self and loves beating up on the Eagles and Laird and Dawson relaxed. Curtin did not play and won’t start the season.

Yeo, McGovern and Witherden were all tracking for big scores and finished respectably but I’m honestly very sceptical as an Eagles man. Injury profile for Yeo and a lack of designation for the defenders. If any, I’d go McGovern.

I was ready to rule out Reid and cosign the increasingly popular fade but he was involved enough OB and then got sank back to HB rather than HF, which will help his scoring. A modest 20 touches and some nice bits and bobs.



Hawthorn: Nash 25, Newcombe 23, Reeves 17, Worpel 17, Hustwaite 14, Ramsden 9, Ward 7, Chol 4, Mackenzie 4

Bulldogs: Liberatore 26, Treloar 24, English 23, Bontempelli 20, Harmes 9, Lobb 7, Sanders 5, Weightman 5, Naughton 1

Kick Ins

Hawthorn: Amon 8, Scrimshaw 4, Sicily 3, Hardwick 1, Impey 1

Bulldogs: Bramble 3, Johannisen 2, Richards 2, Khamis 1


Amon was really good with an ungodly 860 MG at HB and a sexy 24 kicks to 4 HBs. Hard to draw a line from his performance to the lower accumulation and scoring outings that Sicily and D’Ambrosio had as Amon took a more assertive field position on defensive flank and just seemed to get more action there. D’Ambrosio went at 94% and was composed and tallied 18 touches. He’ll need to accumulate more as that kind of DE won’t hold in normal match conditions. Sicily sort of had his hands full with a slimmed down Lobb and the rest of the Dogs talls in all honesty and seemed to acquiese to the kids a lot.

Hustwaite was really nice on a modest CBA load and played with real intent; tabling a hard earned 17 touches but 9 contested. He defintely fed off best on Newcombe. Nuke threw down 37 touches, 9 marks, 661 MG and 15 contested. Held back from that elite catergory by his poor choppy use and age but now a real consideration at 550k and a capacity for 105 season long. Phillips came in and played a key defensive role. Lined up on JUH and despite needing help from Sicily scored modesly and will be among the few defensive rookies to start by the looks of it. Hard to say no at D8 for basement price.

The Dogs just danced. Liberatore, Bontempelli and English just keep spitting out 130s and carrying, so easy starts for however many of those you think it’s prudent to pay up for. Sanders too will make for an early start and could of frankly scored a lot more were it not for poor early use, but he dug his heels in and battled. Good kid. Harmes was similar to Billings and just coasted in a strong engine room and outside ball generation side. Gallagher will get a go at some stage during the year as the Dogs have a lot of those wing, HF types that they cycle through based on form – so remember him as a downgrade at some point. Coffield really didn’t offer much and looked shaky. Dale didn’t play either.



St Kilda: Steele 19, Marshall 18, Ross 17, Garcia 15, Phillipou 12, Byrnes 6, Owens 5, Caminiti 4

North Melbourne: Davies-Uniacke 19, Wardlaw 19, Xerri 19, Phillips 14, Powell 9, Lazzaro 8, Coleman-Jones 5, Sheezel 3

Kick Ins

St Kilda: Bonner 3, Wanganeen-Milera 2

North Melbourne: Fisher 6, Sheezel 5, Scott 3, McKercher 2, Nyuon 2


Don’t take anything away from any Saints DEF scores – there was no Sinclair. He’s missing 1-2 at most apparently. Bonner was the clear beneficiary. Wangeen-Milera is highly rated and will continue to develop in a decent role but make your selection of him independent of this game. Steele was sort of a center bounce and stoppage feature only: lines up, tackles, wins contest and that’s it. 21 touches, 12 contested, 5 kicks and 16 HBs for 111. Only 56 MG so really was just a fortress at CB, stoppage and that was it.

Wilson was zealous and tracked hard all day off a half forward start. 19 touches and won 6 frees that he earnt through tackling, pressure and good positioning. The Saints are all about run and carry, so he starts. RoMo got absolutely pistol whipped by Xerri in the HOs with 12 to 31 and the first quarter saw him give away 2 frees and get sent off under the blood rule – so a frustrating day for him but still hustled to a ton. Garcia got a great gig but did nothing with it, so he goes. Schoenmaker was earnest but likely goes when the defense rejigs to accommodate Sinclair.

Finally, the torrid but relevant Roos. Fisher, who I still maintain is a dud, got put into the most disgustingly soft of roles and just ate. 36 touches, KIs, 700 MG and just gulled all day long. I’m concerned about that light and ocean bird a defense being sustainable long term but we can’t knock back that role. Sheezel is actually a good footballer but similarly capitalized on that HB economy and high entry state of affairs. That left things a little tricky for McKercher. Yes, he was awkward, absent and jittery today but he still played as a HB in a side which lets HBs gull. The HB economy could have been more balanced between and had circumstances dictated; i.e. Fisher quieter, McKercher better and that 55 becomes a 75. Will be an interesting fade now. Pink and Nyuon played and while defensively pretty shocking got treated like HBs and scored well but that backline will be retooled come Round 1.

Moving up the ground, Xerri had the HOs covered but did very little ATG. He did play an assertive and mobile game and tried to take it on but his fixture early is rough vis a vis direct opponents and there’s some real quality up top. You’d need to put the cash to exemplary use to justify the savings with Xerri. There’s literally nothing I can tell you all about LDU. I legitimately do not know what was going on there: 36 and 6 FA. Had some great burts and spin moves but was just not vibing. Moved well so could have just been taking it easy? Lazzaro did nothing and honestly spat out some shockers but stayed with it from contest to contest for long enough and seems to have a spot in the 22, so up to you if you want that security in the FWD line. Powell was on a few radars as a FWD option but he was a bum with 8 CBAs and a forgettable 14 touches.


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12 thoughts on “CBAs, Kick Ins & Reports – 2024 AAMI Community Series”

  1. I saw Xerri’s game very differently to you.
    Smashed a top 3 ruck, known for his hitout and ground level work, in hitouts and at ground level with a game high 8 clearances and game high 14 contested possesions. At least 2 of his clearances were centre clearances with i50 kicks.
    He should have scored more but for a couple of dubious FA and a blind champion data analyst.
    Bargain price no early bye Locketty lock lock


  2. Good effort there GD. Takes time to put in that sort of work and is appreciated given all the possible caveats you throw in to keep a lid on the “practice” aspects of these games.



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