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9 Aug 2012
AFL Club
AFL 2019: The damning 17-team ladder that exposes where flat Crows really sit

Adelaide sits precariously in eighth. Photo: Daniel Kalisz/Getty Images

Despite losing to Essendon on Friday night, finals remain a real possibility for the eighth-placed Adelaide Crows.

But if you were to take the Gold Coast Suns out of the equation, Don Pyke’s team would barely be in consideration.

It’s a reality that has exposed just where the club sits as it heads into the pointy end of the season.

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Adelaide defeated Gold Coast by 73 points in Round 5, while enjoying another percentage boosting win in Round 17 when inflicting a 95-point thrashing on the hapless Suns.

Yet if you were to take out those two matches, as well as all of those played by Stuart Dew’s team, the Crows would slide from eighth position to 12th.

While others clubs would clearly also be affected, Brownlow medallist Gerard Healy identified Adelaide as the side most propped up by facing the Suns twice.

“They are the main beneficiaries of having played the Suns a couple of times,’ Healy told Fox Footy’s On The Couch.

“They’re in a huge hole. They’ve got the oldest list in the competition.

“Their best is good enough. But they can only sustain it for a quarter or two at the time.”

The Crows gave up a five-goal lead to go down to the Bombers by 21 points at Adelaide Oval, with serious concerns raised over the club’s forward line and leadership.

A staggering 79 of the Bombers’ 96 points were generated from the back-half, exposing a damning lack of pressure from the Adelaide forwards.

And the statistics back that up, with Taylor Walker, Josh Jenkins, Lachlan Murphy and Tom Lynch failing to lay a tackle inside the Crows’ forward 50. Eddie Betts and Riley Knight only registered one a piece.

Premiership coach Paul Roos was strident in his assessment of the Crows, saying they were “the most disappointing team on the weekend”.

“Where they’re at in terms of their age, two years ago they were hot premiership favourites and they’ve got no injuries whatsoever,” Roos said.

“They are struggling big time. No forward wants to tackle in that forward half.

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Adelaide assistant coach Ben Hart warned on Monday that no player would be immune from demotion, including co-captain Walker.

While triple premiership Lion Jonathan Brown said he’d keep the skipper in the team, he’d put the heat on Walker to lift his game.

Brown couldn’t, however, guarantee another forward his spot.

“Betts is the one who just can’t get a kick against a decent side,” Brown said.

“I thought Tex was getting back to a bit of form, but he’s on tenterhooks as well.

“I would keep the captain in, but I would put it on him and say, ‘Mate, this is dire straits. You need to step up and perform here.’”
9 Aug 2012
AFL Club

Rucci’s Roast: In-season trading during 2020 season will have unintended consequences and spell the end of the “one-club player”

Michelangelo Rucci takes a close look at the impacts — intentional and otherwise — of the 2020 AFL in-season trade window.

Michelangelo Rucci, The Advertiser

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Prepare for extreme player movement in the AFL market — and all the unintended consequences for clubs, players and fans as headquarters prepares to add an in-season trading period to the recruiting calendar next year.

In 2020, it will be quite possible for a player to go from a state league to the national AFL and wear three club jumpers in less than 12 months. It will put the AFL on par with so many other professional sporting leagues that have long lost the “one-club” player.

AFL national draft across two days in late November. AFL pre-season draft in November-December. AFL supplementary rookie rules from December to March. AFL mid-season draft in May. AFL mid-season trading in June. AFL end-of-season trading in October.

And then start the sequence all over again. Never before in AFL company — and not since the 1970s era of June 30 clearance deadlines in the VFL, SANFL, WAFL and beyond — has there been so many opportunities for players to move from league to league, club to club.

But there are still several questions with the mid-season draft and trade options, in particular with how AFL contracts are absorbed in trades, how the salary cap is massaged to inherit a super contract from a rival club and if draft picks can be parcelled in mid-season trades — as they are in the October trade session.

There also is the longstanding question of just when should a teenager be drafted — 18 or 19? — to an AFL club.

Geelong premiership coach Chris Scott already has forecast “cultural” challenges to a team — and mental strain on individuals — as players deal with being cast as “trade bait” in the month before clearing a locker at one club and finding a new one elsewhere in the AFL.

Geelong coach Chris Scott predicts the in-season trade period will produce cultural challenges for clubs. Picture: Alison Wynd

Crows forward Riley Knight notes some AFL players stuck in the reserves will delight in the prospect of getting more opportunity to play in the big league by changing clubs in-season. But he also questions just how easy it will be for an AFL player to make a mark on the competition after switching clubs.

“It will be pretty difficult to move mid-year from club to club,” Knight told SEN1629. “Obviously, the move itself would not be difficult. But to learn a whole new game plan, a whole new way a coach wants to play and to build new relationships within a football club — that is going to be pretty hard to deal with over a really short period of time.

“So I am not too sure it will work …

“To have the freedom as a player to be able to explore (a change of clubs in-season) will be good for those who have played a lot of AFL and then find themselves in the seconds and struggling to get back in. There would be the opportunity to get back into the AFL at another club and keep building their footy from there.

“I can see both sides to it, but I think it will be pretty difficult to move mid-year and learn a whole new style and game plan.”
9 Aug 2012
AFL Club
Continued 2/2

The minimum draft age — currently 18 — has drawn debate for a long time. Richmond premiership midfielder Kane Lambert is the pin-up boy for those who still advocate the draft age for entering the AFL should be lifted to at least 19.

The argument is based on prospective top-flight players becoming sounder on and off the field by gaining from life experiences in their first year away from high school before entering the bubble at an AFL club — just as Lambert did.

On his 18th birthday in late November 2009, Lambert collected his driver’s licence in the morning … and later had another dream fall away by not hearing his name called at the AFL national draft.

Lambert then stepped away from football — for a year. He spent 2010 standing at the end of a factory production line, lifting cans off the conveyor belt and stacking them onto pallets, from 7am till 3.30pm each day. Then he went to the gym, eager to build his 65kg frame while training harder than he had in any of his football sessions.

Kane Lambert’s unexpected “gap year” helped him enormously for his eventual AFL career. Picture: AAP/Julian Smith

Today, Lambert looks back at his delayed entry to the AFL as justification to lifting the draft age. And he would go even further, as he told SEN1629, to change the way the AFL draft functions each November.

“I could not agree more,” Lambert said. “I’m not sure if that is because of the pathway I’ve been through, but I’d love to see the draft age go a little bit higher.

“Possibly, a club gets access to 18-year-olds as a first-round draftee. But if you are not selected in the first round, you need to have a year of university or full-time work. And then you can be drafted after a year of work or other experiences.

“It is very rare — unless you are Sam Walsh or Sydney Stack — where you can come in (to the AFL) at a really young age and have an impact. Those life experiences (after school) set you up for life after football — and help you when you are a footballer in a full-time AFL environment.”


The Roast rolls on with its new format this week. On Tuesday, the enewsletter version will look at the fallout from AFL football boss Steve Hocking advocating more rule changes while the fans urge headquarters to leave the game alone.

And there are the numbers that tell of the Crows’ past two seasons after being the AFL pacesetter, minor premier and grand finalist in 2017.

And in Reality Bites, a VFL great is set for a return to Unley Oval for a very special moment to honour a Double Blues hero. The Roast will continue on Wednesday and Thursday each week on

Sign up for the enewsletter here today.
9 Aug 2012
AFL Club
How American training block helped Western Bulldogs young gun Josh Dunkley become a ball magnet

Josh Dunkley celebrates a goal against Melbourne in Round 17.

Josh Dunkley’s numbers are off the charts right now.

But before he became the AFL’s newest ball magnet, the young Pup laid the foundations for his rapid rise on the west coast of America during a two-week training block with Marcus Bontempelli.

It was there, inside Nike Headquarters in Portland and at the University of California in San Diego, where Dunkley lit the fuse for his breakout season.

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“We went over there with our eyes open and wanted to broaden our horizons a little bit with what we could achieve. We came back thinking sky is the limit,” Dunkley told

There is much more to Dunkley’s progression than one off-season expedition to the other side of the world, but he is starting to reap the rewards for his dedication.

Dunkley has averaged the second-most disposals (33), the second-most contested possessions (16.6), the fourth-most tackles (7.3) the ninth-most tackles (7) and the thirteenth-most clearances (6.5) in the AFL since Round 7.

Joel Selwood evades Josh Dunkley at Marvel Stadium this month.

After splitting his time evenly between the midfield and inside 50 in the first six games, Luke Beveridge has let Dunkley off the leash in the past three months.

The 22-year-old has amassed at least 35 disposals in six of his past 11 games and 15 or more contested possessions nine times in the same stretch.

They are the sort of numbers that will see him finish high in the Charles Sutton Medal, perhaps even challenge Bontempelli, Caleb Daniel and Jack Macrae for the best and fairest.

Josh Dunkley gets a handball away against St Kilda last weekend.

Dunkley has been building to this point since he walked in the door at the end of 2015.

He played as a permanent forward in a premiership in his first year, missed most of 2017 due to a shoulder reconstruction, before finishing fifth in the best and fairest last year.

This year he has established himself as a full-time midfielder inside the Western Bulldogs’ impressive engine room, forcing more senior players into the role he was playing earlier in the season, as well as filling the void left by Mitch Wallis and Tom Liberatore when they were injured.

“It has been a little progression. I’ve been waiting behind the scenes for the opportunity. To get that when we got a few injuries has been nice, but now it is about building on that,” Dunkley said after collecting 38 disposals and 19 contested possessions on Sunday.

Liam Picken, Josh Dunkley and Jack Macrae celebrate the 2016 premiership win.

Geelong great Joel Corey has worked closely with Dunkley as the Bulldogs’ stoppages coach since the Swans chose not to match the bid for the son of Sydney full back Andrew Dunkley.

The three-time premiership Cat says there is no secret behind Dunkley’s rise over the past 18 months.

“Josh has been working hard on his game since the first day he walked in the door. He has played some good footy all the way along, but now he is really being rewarded for his hard work. The work he puts in is allowing him to improve at the rate that he is,” Corey told

“Everything that you need to do as an AFL footballer he does it with an attention to detail that some don’t. He is good at not just trying to improve his strengths but also his weaknesses too.”

Josh Dunkley and Marcus Bontempelli

When the Western Bulldogs’ 2018 season finished before September arrived for the second straight year, Dunkley and Bontempelli made the decision to explore alternative ways to improve.

That led them to the United States.

“The first week was mainly flexibility and range of motion, more of an NFL style type of coach who had trained a lot of NFL players. We don’t do stuff like that, so that’s what we wanted to do,” Dunkley said.

“The week in San Diego was quite impressive. At the time we were sore and sorry, but learnt so much from that experience. We had something every morning and afternoon.

“I definitely came back with some confidence after thinking I knew what I was capable of, I came back with a better idea of how fit I can be. That carries on into your footy.”

Bontempelli took Dunkley under his wing when he first landed at Whitten Oval after being taken at Pick 25 in the 2015 National Draft.

It didn’t take long for the two-time best and fairest winner to go from someone Dunkley watched on TV, to someone who is now one of his best mates.

“After watching him growing up on TV in the two years before I was drafted, he was already one of the stars of the competition at a really young age. He took me under his wing when I got here,” he said.

“It is great to have ‘Bonty’ as one of my good mates. It is good that we have
9 Aug 2012
AFL Club
Doctor’s Orders: Expert SuperCoach trade advice for the final five rounds

He is one of the most frustrating players in SuperCoach but a closer look at the numbers reveals Jack Billings could be the player to carry you to SuperCoach finals glory.

Doctor SuperCoach, Herald Sun

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7 minutes ago


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The end of the season is near, which means one thing – SuperCoach finals!

Navigating your way through some final upgrades to collect the in-form players of the competition is one thing, but analysing the SuperCoach fixtures in combination with finding those red-hot form players is another. Getting a jump on the rest of your league opponents by choosing the right players at this stage of season is absolutely vital.

Fortunately, the experts at Doctor SuperCoach have sifted through the draw to identify some in-form premium options with kind fixtures over SuperCoach finals so that you don’t have to.

JACK BILLINGS $533,500 FWD | 98.2 AVG

Billings has a history of being frustrating to own in SuperCoach, with his low scoring floor and high ceiling making him one of the most unpredictable players in the league. Coming off a 92 average in 2017, Jack backed it up with just the 80 average in 2018, joining many coaches’ “never again” lists along the way.

While on the surface there may seem to be no similarities between these seasons, taking a deeper look into his scoring starts to paint a picture. There are two things for certain — Billings scores much higher in wins than in losses and, for some reason, he consistently scores well to finish off the season, a pattern that has emerged since 2016. This means that with a favourable draw ahead for the Saints in the SuperCoach finals — games against Adelaide, Fremantle, Carlton and Sydney — Billings could be the difference your SuperCoach team needs to make a bang in SuperCoach finals.

Additionally, Saint Rowan Marshall and Toby Greene (please see previous issue of Doctor’s Orders) should also be considered.

Jack Billings is on track for a strong finish to the season.DARCY BYRNE-JONES $525,000 DEF | 88.3 AVG

Byrne-Jones is in only in 1 per cent of teams but he probably shouldn’t be. The little known Port Adelaide defender boasts a five-round average of 107 points and has not dipped below 80 since Round 8, including averaging 103 in his past nine matches.

Why the sudden increase in scoring? Simply put, Darcy is getting a lot more of the ball and using it well. He has a healthy kick-to-handball ratio too, which is SuperCoach gold for a defender. In all of Byrne-Jones’ scores over 100, he has managed to accumulate 25 or more touches. In his past three weeks, he is averaging 30 disposals a game as Port Adelaide look to get the ball into his hands.

With a friendly run of a games during SuperCoach finals that includes Essendon, Sydney, North Melbourne and Fremantle, expect Byrne-Jones to continue his solid scoring and remain as a player of difference in your league games.




JACK CRISP $486,700 DEF | 91.1 AVG

Crisp has had an interesting SuperCoach year to date. Despite increasing his possessions to a career-high 26 per game last season, his SuperCoach scoring has actually suffered. Naturally a player that averages 26 touches a game will have a higher floor due to volume of possessions, however for Crisp to really hit those high SuperCoach scores, he needs to use the ball better, especially when the game is on the line.

Last week against the Giants, Crisp was barely sighted in the opening quarter, scoring nearly all of his points in the final three quarters after being thrown into the centre square. While it may not seem like it due to the major loss at the hands of the Giants, Crisp had been steadily building with a low score of 99 in the four weeks prior to last week’s match.

His SuperCoach finals run includes Gold Coast, Melbourne, Adelaide and Essendon, and Jack could be a more than handy pick-up on the way home for a very reasonable price.

TIM TARANTO $508,800 MID | 105.5 AVG

With Josh Kelly out for a couple more weeks and Stephen Coniglio sidelined for the rest of the season, Taranto is in charge of the Giants midfield brigade. The young midfielder may be averaging only 105 points a game, ranked 17th among midfielders, but it is his form without Coniglio in the side that intrigues.

It is a small sample size, but in 2019 Taranto has scored 144, 111 and 113 without Coniglio, recording 38, 31 and 36 touches in those games respectively. This is up from his season average of 28 possessions a match, with Coniglio’s absence possibly allowing him to gather a bit more of the ball.

Tim Taranto is thriving with more midfield responsibility.

With a dream SuperCoach finals run in which the Giants face the Swans, Hawks, Bulldogs and Gold Coast, Taranto has the potential to average 110-plus during this period. If you’re looking for a cheap midfielder to grab for the run home, you can’t overlook Tim.

As well as the four players mentioned above, other midfielders with favourable fixtures over the next five weeks that may be welcomed inclusions into your sides include both Adam Treloar and Zach Merrett.

Get more expert advice from the Doctor SuperCoach team here and listen to their latest podcast below:
9 Aug 2012
AFL Club
Five cut-price replacements for injured Fremantle defender Luke Ryan

Not every SuperCoach has the bank — or trades — available to turn injured Docker Luke Ryan into a premium defender. Who are the cut-priced options you should consider? TOP FIVE PICKS

Tim Michell, Herald Sun

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Fremantle defender Luke Ryan’s hamstring injury has thrown a huge spanner in the works for the finals plans of 33,183 SuperCoaches.

The Docker ($438k) faces a race against time to return this year and even if he does, he’s too expensive to sit on your defensive bench during SuperCoach finals.

The greatest issue many coaches with Ryan are facing is their lack of trades and dwindling bank balances.

If you invested in Lachie Whtifield last week, for example, it’s likely you burned a large chunk of your available cash to get there.

While losing a defender who has a huge ceiling and has averaged 95.8 is a setback, it’s not all doom and gloom.

If you choose wisely, there are enough cut-priced defensive options to ensure you compensate for Ryan and don’t use too much bank in the process.

Of course, Shannon Hurn ($519k), Whitfield ($520k) and Bachar Houli ($483k) should be top of your shopping list.

But if you don’t have the money spare to upgrade, here’s five options you should consider.

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Jeremy Finlayson and GWS have a friendly run to end the season. Picture: Phil Hillyard.1. JEREMY FINLAYSON

$360,700, Def, Average: 83, Break even: 27

Finlayson’s run home makes him an appealing prospect. The GWS Giants forward has scored 98 and 91 in the past two weeks and is only this cheap due to a score of 21 against Brisbane Lions in Round 16. GWS takes on a Sydney side which will be without Dane Rampe this round, before tackling Hawthorn, Western Bulldogs and Gold Coast. Finlayson, Jeremy Cameron and Harry Himmelberg will stretch the Hawks’ defence, while the Dogs’ key defensive stocks are bare and Gold Coast sit on the bottom of the ladder. He could be in for a huge month.

Jeremy Howe has averaged 95 points in the past two weeks since returning from injury. Picture: Michael Klein.2. JEREMY HOWE

$356,300, Def, Average: 76.5, Break even: 24

It’s been a frustrating season for Howe, but it’s worth remembering he has averaged more than 90 in the past three seasons. The flying Magpie opened 2019 with scores of 89, 99 and 103 but then only went above 80 four times between rounds four and 17. He’s returned to the Collingwood team with 90 and 100 in the past two weeks and would net an $81,000 profit in a downgrade from Ryan. There’s certainly risk attached but in only 4369 teams he represents a finals POD.




Kade Simpson has been in vintage form in the past three rounds. Picture: AAP Image/Daniel Pockett.

Who is the best cut-priced Luke Ryan replacement?

Jeremy Finlayson

Jeremy Howe

Hunter Clark

Kade Simpson

Grant Birchall

Cast your vote


$418,500, Def, Average: 78.9, Break even: 33

Just when we thought Kade Simpson was done as a SuperCoach option, he’s roared to form with scores of 87, 93 and 125 in successive weeks. His ton against Adelaide was his first since Round 4 and his best score since Round 22 last season. Simpson feasted on the Crows’ forward forays with a season-high 12 marks and 31 disposals. He’d be a speculative pick considering his average is only 78.9, but much like Carlton, Simpson has been revitalised under David Teague.

First-round draftee Hunter Clark is flying after being recalled from the VFL. Picture: Michael Klein.

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$424,300, Def, Average: 73.6, Break even: 75

Clark has been in red-hot form under caretaker Saints coach Brett Ratten and his three-round average of 99.7 is the eighth best of the defensive picks. Kade Simpson ($418,500, Def) is the only defender with a better three-round average than Clark who is available for a cheaper price tag. His past five rounds have been very encouraging — 105, 64, 120, 98 and 81. The Saints take on Adelaide, Fremantle, Carlton and Sydney during a run home where Clark is primed to flourish. It’s a huge bonus he’s in 0.8 per cent of teams.

Grant Birchall is the cheapest of five options to consider when trading Luke Ryan. Picture: Michael Dodge/Getty Images.5. GRANT BIRCHALL

$205,200, Def, Average: 87, Break even: -51

Ideally, Hawthorn veteran Grant Birchall would come into your team at D7. This would give you the option to loophole Birchall’s score with another rookie-priced defender if you have a non-scoring player at D8. However, if you are low on trades and still need to upgrade in another position, you might have no choice but to bank the $232,100 from Ryan and play Birchall as your D6. He has scored 87 twice after his long injury lay-off, although there’s some concern about his durability after he was sidelined with general soreness after his return match.
9 Aug 2012
AFL Club
SuperCoach Investor: The factors you must consider to achieve finals success

It all comes down to the next four weeks in SuperCoach. And if you’re serious about success, SuperCoach Investor Dan Begala says you need to put time into opposition analysis and be prepared to take a captaincy risk.

Dan Begala, Herald Sun

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July 30, 2019 12:34pm


Buckley making big moves

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The scent of finals football is swirling in the air.

Yes, we may be entrenched in another gloomy Melbourne winter, but that hasn’t stopped the groundskeepers from dusting off the ride-on mowers in preparation for the first week of SuperCoach finals.

It’s the most riveting time on the football calendar and the period of the year that will distinguish the contenders from the pretenders.

There will be heroes. There will be villains.

The SuperCoach Investor, Daniel Begala, shares his investment philosophies for triumphing at the business end of a long and arduous season.

Jack Macrae could present a captaincy POD if Max Gawn fails to hit 130 this round. Picture: Michael Klein.


Preparation. Preparation. Did I mention preparation?

The modus operandi of many coaches — including yours truly — is rankings success above all else.

The ranking pursuit, however, takes a well-earned break over the next month as we focus all attention on the art of opposition analysis.

It is an art, truly, and should be the core of any premiership aspirant’s mindset.

You will need to spend every available moment this week critiquing your opposition with the aim of identifying any deficiencies that you can seek to exploit.

Step into your opponent’s shoes. Try them on for size. Exploit them.

You will need to know their every move. You will need to be ready for anything, literally anything, that they throw at you and that is why preparation is key.

Forecast their scoring capacity — both their upside and downside — and single out any key match-ups that look certain to shape the tie.

Critique their captaincy. Critique their loopholes. Critique their flexibility.

If there are any points-of-difference that loom as a scoring threat, i.e. Rowan Marshall (16 per cent ownership), it may be astute to bite the bullet and acquire their services — irrespective of price — to thwart the scoring upside of your opposition.

It’s not fancy, but much like a “tag”, it works.

If the bout is trending in your opposition’s favour and the tie is likely to be distinguished by a small margin, why not throw caution to the wind and slap the captaincy armband on Jack Macrae (Projected: 149) or Josh Dunkley (Projected: 147) if Max Gawn’s 130 doesn’t cut the mustard?

It’s ambitious, but if you’re staring down the barrel of defeat, these are the types of calculated risks that will distinguish a match-up and etch your name in the halls of league folklore.




Bachar Houli has a dream run in the last four weeks, playing at his preferred ground — the MCG. Picture: AAP Image/David Crosling.


Trades are like gold bullion at this time of year.

They’re pivotal to each and every league clash.

Anyone, literally anyone, can win the SuperCoach Finals if they’ve come equipped with some serious trade ammunition … even the team which finished eighth.

There is bound to be waves of carnage in the coming weeks — there always is — so it pays to be ultra strategic with the use and application of your dwindling trade reserves.

This week’s conundrum affecting The Begala Brigade is the best and most effective way to jettison the injured Luke Ryan ($437K, DEF) from my side following his untimely hamstring injury during their clash with the Western Bulldogs.

Yes, the allure of a fit-and-firing Lachie Whitfield ($520K, DEF) is hard to resist, but it’s likely to encompass the pressures of a downgrade to ensure sufficient liquidity is generated to close the Whitfield gap.

With our finite reserve of trades (three, in my case), I will be forced to overlook Whitfield and instead acquire Bachar Houli ($483K, DEF) as a “sideways” trade.

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Some players — particularly Whitfield — are vital to a SuperCoach finals series, but in this case, deploying two of my remaining three trades is too risky to the overall balance of my team, given the lack of depth and quality of my bench coverage.

If you’re boasting four or more trades, Whitfield is a must-have, despite the possibility George Hewett (SYD) will likely tag him this week.

With a grand final scheduled against the lowly-ranked Gold Coast, he — and to a lesser extent — Jeremy Cameron ($430K, FWD) have all the hallmarks of a massive “Norm Smith Medal” performance that could be pivotal to your league success.

From now until season’s end, I will only be trading “sideways” with the expectation that injuries, form and match-ups will dictate the use of my last two trades for Rounds 21, 22 and 23 (grand final).

It’s not exactly exciting, but history tells us that doughnuts — although tasty — rarely form the vital ingredients of a successful SuperCoach finals series.

Trade wisely. Trade pragmatically. Trade to win.
9 Aug 2012
AFL Club
Adam Kennedy said heart scare won’t stop him from returning for Sydney derby
Ben Horne, The Daily Telegraph
July 30, 2019 8:31pm
Subscriber only
Adam Kennedy has declared he will return to the AFL without fear, just days after a heart scare had him fearing the worst.
The GWS Giants star was taken to hospital at halftime of a reserve grade match two Saturdays ago after suffering from an elevated heart rate, and Kennedy spent last week undergoing a series of unnerving tests on his heart.
Doctors have ruled out any threat to his career or long-term health, but not before the 27-year-old was subjected to an examination that essentially turned his heart into a PlayStation.
“It’s not painful, it’s really strange. They use their little wires to go up through the vein, and into your heart to have a proper look,” said Kennedy.
“They pretty much just test the heart and you feel your heart. They do really slow beats and then they get it racing. Normally when it’s pumping you’re out on a footy oval and you’re blowing so you don’t really feel it. But you’re laying on a bed and you can feel it pumping away — it’s something a little bit uncomfortable.

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Giant Adam Kennedy had a heart scare earlier this month. Picture: Getty Images
“I must admit when it was over, and they said, ‘we’re happy,’ I took a deep breath.”
Kennedy was passed fit to return to the AFL last Saturday against Port Adelaide, but the club decided to give him a rest after an intense and at times distressing week.
He looks set to come back into the Giants’ side to face Sydney in the derby on Saturday, and has vowed to put the “scariest” experience of his life behind him.
“Anything to do with your heart or your brain, it gets pretty serious,” said Kennedy.


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“I was definitely concerned going through it. (At the time, after coming from the field) it was more just trying to do anything I could even with my breathing to get my heart rate down, which was the main issue, and I couldn’t really get it down.
“But at the same time, with speaking now, I’m moving on. I haven’t wanted to really make a massive deal of it. I’ve just got to take all the advice I’ve got now and I’m actually just looking forward to getting into a little session (on Wednesday) and get training and get back out there.
“It’s only been a week or so I’ve missed, but when you go through something like that, you pretty much just want to get back out there and be fit and healthy again.”
Doctors said the extra tests were performed on Kennedy mainly due to him being a professional athlete and wanting to leave no stone unturned.
Kennedy knows what he has to improve after being dropped for the one week when he suffered the heart scare, and is on the verge of fighting his way back into the 22.
9 Aug 2012
AFL Club
Doctor’s Orders: What to do with underperforming SuperCoach stars

Have you been pulling your hair out watching supposed ‘premiums’ produce sub-par scores week after week? The experts at Doctor SuperCoach have replacements at the ready.

Doctor SuperCoach, Herald Sun

Subscriber only


July 31, 2019 8:00am


Walsh, a rising star

AFL: The On the Couch team discusses young gun Sam Walsh.

Are you sick of hanging on to disappointing “premiums” like James Sicily and Matt Crouch? Many of us have stuck by them for most of the year, but is it time to cut ties on the eve of SuperCoach Finals?

This week in Doctor’s Orders, the expert team at Doctor SuperCoach review the downfall of these two players and suggest a couple of sideways trade candidates.

JAMES SICILY $432,700 DEF | AVG: 93.17 | BREAK EVEN: 91

First it was his temper that made us wary of Sicily, then it was Alastair Clarkson’s experimenting with him up forward. Now despite playing as a defender, there is yet another cause for concern! The Hawks have been playing their star man more as a key defensive pillar rather than the free roaming, rebounding defender we have come to know and love.

It’s a tale of two halves for Sicily in 2019 as his pre and post-bye statistics tell the whole story. Until Round 11 he was averaging 100 SuperCoach points, 24 disposals and eight marks per game. In his seven games since, Sicily is averaging just 18 disposals, seven marks and a dismal 82 points.

The returning Grant Birchall, as well as players like Isaac Smith and Daniel Howe being used out of defence, have really disturbed Sicily’s output. His inconsistency is hurting coaches, but his high scoring potential and elite kicking prowess mean he is isn’t a bad option to hold.

However, one man you may wish to consider for a similar price tag is Mr. Consistent, Daniel Rich.

Daniel Rich has had a fantastic season. Picture: Peter WallisDANIEL RICH $462,600 DEF | AVG: 96.9 | BREAK EVEN: 72

If Sicily’s inconsistency grinds your gears, then Daniel Rich is the perfect replacement for you. For just $30,000 extra you can secure this aesthetically pleasing half-back, who has scored below 88 just three times across the whole season.

This season has been outstanding for Rich, who ranks as elite by champion data in a whopping 13 categories! The Lions designated kick-in taker is averaging 23 disposals, 6.4 marks and 528 metres gained per game. His disposal efficiency is superb at 81 per cent, which combines beautifully with the fact he averages 18 kicks per game – this spells SuperCoach gold.

Combined with his 2019 consistency, Rich has shown over the years he has the ability to go large and with Alex Witherden set for a stint on the sidelines, this can only benefit his scoring.

Daniel Rich is an underrated POD who is a fantastic option to consider trading in on the eve of SuperCoach finals.

MATT CROUCH $488,300 MID | AVG: 100.1 | BREAK EVEN: 126

It’s very frustrating owning Matt Crouch. He is one of only a handful of players who can get 30-plus disposals per game on a consistent basis, but either fails to, or barely scrapes past the 100-point threshold. Although his consistency is rarely questioned, it’s his inability to go large which hinders his fantasy value. Crouch has surpassed 110 points in just three matches this season, two of which came within the first three rounds.




As mentioned above, his disposals numbers can’t be questioned as Crouch is averaging 31 per game, but it’s not until you delve deeper until you see the underlying issues. He is averaging just a 71.1 per cent disposal efficiency, which looks even poorer when you consider he has a 1:2 kick-to-handball ratio. Of his 31 per game, only 11 of these are contested and his kicking efficiency sits under 60 per cent.

His price has dropped quite severely and there aren’t many alternatives around the same cost, but if you are stuck for cash a West Coast midfielder is a unique alternative with a history of finishing the season strong.

Matt Crouch is struggling, like his team. Picture: Sarah ReedJACK REDDEN $495,600 | AVG: 92.6 | BREAK EVEN: 78

With names like Andrew Gaff, Luke Shuey and Elliot Yeo running around, it’s easy to forget about the reliable Redden. He started the year slowly after an interrupted pre-season, but across his last seven games has averaged 107 SuperCoach points.

Matt Crouch struggles to scrape past 100 when he has 30 disposals, but Redden is the polar opposite. In the three matches in 2019 where he has reached this possession target, he has scored 120-plus, with a season-high of 145 in Round 4. Post-bye Redden is averaging 27 touches per game and his tackling numbers are above average for his position, which is a tantalising combination.

Looking back at his 2018 campaign, Redden finished the year with uber premium numbers, averaging a superb 115 across his final eight games of the season. Being a lesser-known name in the Eagles midfield is a positive too, as he will never cop attention from opposition taggers, making him a solid alternative to Matt Crouch.

If you have the cash it’s well worth spending that extra $100,000 on a premium who can help deliver SuperCoach finals victories.

Click here for more expert tips from the Doctor SuperCoach team.
9 Aug 2012
AFL Club
Four clubs show interest in Adelaide midfielder Hugh Greenwood, with Hawthorn and St Kilda leading race

Two Victorian clubs have emerged as the frontrunner for Adelaide midfielder Hugh Greenwood if he leaves the Crows at season’s end. But will they be prepared to offer a three-year deal to prise him from South Australia?

Jon Ralph, Herald Sun

Subscriber only


August 1, 2019 1:29pm


Blue's risky pre-game torpedo

AFL: St Kilda legend Nick Riewoldt points out pre-game torpedo by Blue Lachie Plowman that could have had nasty consequences!

Adelaide midfielder Hugh Greenwood has officially put off contract talks until the end of the year as St Kilda and Hawthorn come hard at the bullocking onballer.

The Herald Sun understands the Saints and Hawks are among four clubs that have real interest in the 27-year-old former NBL basketballer.


Gold Coast and Brisbane also calling to ask about his availability, with Greenwood a goalkicking midfielder with elite pressure skills when at his best.

Adelaide continues to underperform but will this weekend recall star small forward Eddie Betts after an impressive SANFL performance.

The Crows have put forward a two-year deal and Greenwood is keen to remain at the Crows after they secured him as a Category B rookie in 2015.

But as a late bloomer in AFL he is also keen on security and is pushing for a third or fourth season on that contract.

Hugh Greenwood has interest from at least four clubs. Picture: Sarah Reed.Hugh Greenwood has been stuck in the SANFL. Picture: Mark Brake/Getty Images.

His management and the club are negotiating amicably but the Crows will not relent on handing him more than two seasons because he turns 28 next March.

So his deal will be parked to assess whether Adelaide’s circumstances change — a list overhaul is imminent — and whether concrete offers come in from rivals.


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He played SANFL on the weekend, told his pressuring had dropped off despite two 100-ranking point games in Rounds 16-17 before a quiet 13-possession, one-goal game against Essendon saw him dropped.

His manager, Michael Oakes of Elevation Sports, told the Herald Sun Greenwood’s late start to his AFL career was a factor in his contract discussions.



“He does want to stay and loves being there. Money is not an issue but we are negotiating on the length of contract so we will chat again in September. He would like to say but it’s parked until the end of the season,“ he said.

Adelaide has conceded it must turn over a list that has been the second-oldest for much of the year.

Greenwood might become more of a priority if clubs come hard at Brad Crouch, out of contract next year, or if Bryce Gibbs moves to another club.

Adelaide chief executive Andrew ***an said of Greenwood and Alex Keath’s contracts on Triple M this week: “We’ve got a list management process we’ve got to work through,” he said.

“We’ve got those two guys plus a few others who are out of contact and we’ve got to put together a list that’s going to be competitive for next year.”

Sam Jacobs is also out of contract, with Eddie Betts keen to play on into the last year of his deal but Adelaide sure to at least have a conversation about a financial settlement if he retires.
9 Aug 2012
AFL Club
GWS Stephen Coniglio considering his future as Giants make their best offer to keep star midfielder
GWS expects Stephen Coniglio to stay at the club but the big offers are coming in — with Carlton and Hawthorn among the clubs throwing a mountain of cash at the in-demand free agent.
Glenn McFarlane and Jon Ralph, Herald Sun
Subscriber only
August 1, 2019 5:32pm

Giants, Swans renew battle for Sydney
The ladder clearly suggests GWS are the top AFL club in Sydney but the Giants aren't prepared to declare that in the lea...


Brad Crouch confirms St Kilda approach

AFL Round 20: Under-fire Crows are hot tip

Teams: Adams back to bolster Pies

Greater Western Sydney has recently handed Stephen Coniglio its best contract offer as he assesses a range of massive deals that hit $1.3 million a season over seven years.
Coniglio and his manager Tom Petroro are now considering his future and assessing deals from the Giants, Carlton, St Kilda and Hawthorn.
None of the deals are likely to be game-breakers in terms of tenure, with clubs prepared to offer the 25-year-old up to seven years — the same tenure as Richmond free agent Tom Lynch.

But Carlton is understood to be prepared to be the top bidder at $1.3 million a year, with Hawthorn’s offer coming in at around $1.1 million.
The GWS offer is not too far behind, likely to be around seven figures given the club has rapidly overhauled its salary cap picture.
It is not seen as enough of a gap to disadvantage GWS, who are still bullish their vice-captain will re-sign with the Giants.


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St Kilda has also thrown a significant offer at Coniglio, but he seems reluctant to move to Moorabbin.
Coniglio has been concentrating on his recovery from a cartilage tear but is seen as ready to consider his future in a meaningful way.
Last year Essendon secured GWS midfielder Dylan Shiel despite being outbid by St Kilda’s $1.4 million per year offer, with Carlton also offering more and attempting a late trade heist when negotiations foundered.
Stephen Coniglio is set for a big payday. Pic: Getty Images
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Regardless of Coniglio’s future the Giants have done a brilliant job of remaining competitive despite one of footy’s biggest salary cap dumps.
Despite losing Rory Lobb, Shiel, Tom Scully and Will Setterfield and injuries to Coniglio and Callan Ward they are pushing for a top-four spot.

They have also re-signed almost every priority target, including Tim Taranto, Jacob Hopper, Josh Kelly, Sam Taylor, Harry Himmelberg, Matt de Boer, Sam Reid, young ruckman Matthew Flynn and Adam Kennedy.
Clubs might attempt to drag 2017’s No. 11 draft pick Aiden Bonar out of the club given he hasn’t played seniors this year but he is close to an AFL recall.
Aiden Bonar is nearing an AFL return. Picture: Brett Costello
Hawthorn has been linked to key forward Jonathon Patton. Picture. Phil Hillyard
St Kilda will also push to secure free agent Adam Tomlinson, having attempted to trade for him several years ago.
The club will also have to make a decision on Jon Patton’s future as he attempts to make a comeback from his latest knee reconstruction after a recent minor setback.
He has been continually linked to Hawthorn and has a large salary due him next year but if he moved clubs could strike a longer deal at a club where he saw his future.
GWS football boss Wayne Campbell said recently the club saw Patton in its future given he is a traditional bash-and-crash forward in a team with a trio of running key forwards.
He had undergone an exceptional rehabilitation and was confident he could make an impact late in the year until some recent soreness.
9 Aug 2012
AFL Club
AFL Daily: Hawks still searching for Sicily's best spot, rolling Footy news for Thursday, August 1, 2019
Rebecca Williams, Herald Sun
August 1, 2019 12:08am
Subscriber only
Hawthorn coach Alastair Clarkson admits he is still unsure whether James Sicily’s long-term future lies in defence or attack.
The four-time premiership coach said Sicily was still growing as a key-position player.
“We are trying to find out which players he can play on that suit him the best and suit us the best,” Clarkson said.
“So we are still exploring with that.

“Mid-season we explored whether or not he would be a better option for us forward because we weren’t kicking enough goals.
“That’s what I am saying about where we are at as a club and a side right now, we are still in that exploration phase about what is best for the club, positions, personnel and methodology.”
Champion Data statistics show that Sicily is cementing his status as a future key defensive weapon.
In the past four weeks Sicily has played as a key defender for the Hawks and has conceded just five goals, with the most being two in his 56 minutes on Geelong spearhead Tom Hawkins in Round 18.


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But it is not just holding opposition forwards where the 24-year-old has impressed. In the past four weeks, Sicily has averaged 19.5 disposals a match and a kick-rating of more than 12 per cent, which ranks him as elite.
Sicily also averages 8.5 intercept possessions and four intercept marks a game — again putting him in the elite category. And he ranks above average for metres gained (276).
James Sicily
Asked if he saw Sicily as a key defender long-term, Clarkson said it could all depend on where the team needed him.
“I think so, but who is to really know?” Clarkson said.
“At the moment it suits our side to play him down back, but earlier in the season we were playing Tim O’Brien and centre half-back and then for a couple of weeks we needed him forward and he did particularly well there until he had to withdraw for last week’s game against Brisbane, which was unfortunate.
“It will all depend on the state of play in terms of where the side is at and where they are playing their best footy to play a role for us to help us play games of footy.”
Clarkson earmarked another key defender James Frawley for what he described as a “pivotal contest” on North Melbourne forward Ben Brown tonight at Marvel Stadium.
“It will be an important match-up, I would imagine they’d play against each other a fair bit,” Clarkson said.
“He has been in pretty good form himself, Ben Brown. That’s going to be a pretty pivotal contest I’d reckon.
“The best way to help James in that particular match-up is not to allow the supply from the middle of the ground.”
9 Aug 2012
AFL Club
How the “money kick’’ is hurting Port Adelaide
Andrew Capel, The Advertiser
an hour ago
Subscriber only
Port Adelaide’s inability to pinpoint inside-50 targets is killing it.
Exclusive Champion Data statistics show that only three Power players are above the AFL average for the team scoring from their kicks inside 50 this season.
In a damning analysis that illustrates one of the key reasons Port is struggling to hit the scoreboard — and failing to capitalise on its high percentage of inside 50 entries — is that only midfielders Sam Powell-Pepper (37.9 per cent) and Xavier Duursma (35.9) and defender Darcy Byrne-Jones (35.2) are going at better than the AFL average of 33.2 per cent.
“Our efficiency with the ball is still our main challenge,’’ coach Ken Hinkley said after the Power’s tough-to-take one-point loss to Greater Western Sydney on Saturday night when, in what has been a recurring theme, it had eight more inside 50s than the opposition and lost, kicking just seven goals from 53 entries.
First-year player Xavier Duursma has been one of the Power’s most efficient inside-50 kicks this season. Picture: AAP Image/Julian Smith
“We are creating opportunities but …’’

Crow ‘will be looking around’ after latest axing
Crow ‘will be looking around’ after latest axing

Surprise contender in mix for Greenwood
Surprise contender in mix for Greenwood

Club great Kane Cornes described Port’s ball use against the Giants as being “as bad as I’ve seen for a long time’’.
GWS key defenders Phil Davis and Nick Haynes made the most of the errant kicks, hauling in 23 marks between them.
Of the Power players to have had at least 38 inside 50 kicks this season, the usually-classy Robbie Gray has a team score rate of just 23.8 per cent, Dan Houston (25.5), Tom Rockliff (26), ruckman Scott Lycett (26.2), Riley Bonner (26.9) and the club's best player this season, former captain Travis Boak (27.3).
“We haven’t executed as well as we would have liked at times,’’ said ball magnet Rockliff.

“In footy circles you talk about the inside 50 kick being the ‘money kick’ and one of the most important kicks in the game and we haven’t executed it as well as we would have liked.
“That’s a bit of execution and a bit of decision making going inside 50, so that’s something we’re continuing to work on.’’

Power press conference

AFL: Port Adelaide coach Ken Hinkley discusses his side's loss to the Giants at Adelaide Oval.

One of the key reasons Port has struggled hitting a target inside its attacking arc is its lack of genuine focal points.
With regular key forward Charile Dixon only featuring in five games to date this season, The Power has used a variety of forwards as it tries to find a winning attacking mix.
These have included former key defender Dougal Howard, veteran Justin Westhoff, one-time midfielder Brad Ebert (currently injured), first-year sensation Connor Rozee, tall Todd Marshall, ruckmen Scott Lycett and Paddy Ryder and smalls Robbie and Sam Gray.
Port Adelaide’s Sam Powell-Pepper kicks long against the Lions at Adelaide Oval in July. Picture: Getty Images
Only three players are above the AFL average (38.9 per cent) for score percentage from Port’s top-10 targeted players inside 50 — Robbie Gray (46.4), Rozee (43.1) and Ryder (41.50.
“We probably haven’t had the combination that we would have liked and we’re still trying to work out what the best one is for us,’’ said Rockliff.
“With Charlie (Dixon) being injured in the first half of the season we’ve played quite a few different people through there.
“But it’s something we will continue to work on — that connection between the midfield and forwards — because it’s so important.
“We know we get our fair share of inside 50s but it’s about turning them into goals.’’

AFL round 20: Ins and outs

AFL: Catch up on all of the selection news ahead of round 20 kicking off on Friday evening.

Port’s score percentage from kicks I50
(AFL Ave: 33.2%)

Kicks I50; Score %
Sam Powell-Pepper – 58; 37.9%
Xavier Duursma – 39; 35.9%
Darcy Byrne-Jones – 54; 35.2%
Karl Amon – 38; 31.6%
Travis Boak – 77; 27.3%
Riley Bonner – 52; 26.9%
Scott Lycett – 42; 26.2%
Tom Rockliff – 50; 26.0%
Dan Houston – 47; 25.5%
Robbie Gray – 42; 23.8%
Only three Port players are above the AFL average of 38.9 per cent for score percentage from its top-10 targeted players inside 50
I50 Target; Score %
Robbie Gray – 56; 46.4%
Connor Rozee – 58; 43.1%
Paddy Ryder – 53; 41.5%
9 Aug 2012
AFL Club
After fighting his way back into the Power line-up, Paddy Ryder was so determined not to give up his spot, he put in extra work

Paddy Ryder cut a lone figure in the middle of Alberton Oval on Thursday, putting in the hard yards to make sure he would keep his spot in the Power line-up.

Liz Walsh, The Advertiser

Subscriber only


August 5, 2019 8:05pm


Power press conference

AFL: Port Adelaide Power coach Ken Hinkley talks his side's round 20 encounter with Essendon at Marvel Stadium.

How Houston became Port’s unlikely midfield solutionDuursma on celebration: ‘It’s not meant to be arrogant’Ken Hinkley: We never lost belief

Last Thursday was a day off for Port Adelaide’s players, but Paddy Ryder came into the Power headquarters anyway.

Angry with himself that he’d scored only one behind — a poster from a set shot from 30m out — in Port’s round 19 one-point loss to GWS, Ryder was determined to reset.

So he came in to the club alone and walked out into the middle of Alberton Oval where he set up decoy defenders in front of goal. He then wheeled out two big green bins filled with footballs and he kicked. And kicked. And kicked.

And when he was out of balls, he went and picked them up and did it all over again.

Live stream the 2019 Toyota AFL Premiership season on KAYO SPORTS. Every match of every round. Live & anytime on your TV or favourite device. Get your 14-day free trial >

Port’s Paddy Ryder tries to escape Conor McKenna’s clutches on Saturday. Picture: AAP IMAGE/MARK DADSWELLPaddy Ryder takes a strong grab at Marvel Stadium. Picture: AAP IMAGE/MARK DADSWELL

Having fought his way back into the senior side after a month out finding form in the SANFL, Ryder was determined not to make the same mistakes in front of goal against Essendon.

He didn’t. In Saturday’s 59-point win over the Bombers, Ryder kicked one goal as part of a forward line that finally found its accuracy.

Power forwards coach Nathan Bassett commended the 31-year-old ruck/forward on his determination.

“Ryder was pretty flat with himself last week for the one where he hit the post, and he came in Thursday and had 60 shots and he spent some time with our psych on getting his head in the right place,” he said.

But Bassett said a player like Ryder couldn’t necessarily do that extra work every week.

“The challenge within our game is the load you put on your body when you have a heap of extra kicks like that,” he said.

“Shooting the basketball, you could shoot all day without getting sore, so it is that balance on ensuring that when you’re working on your goalkicking that you’re doing it with purpose.”

Port’s Connor Rozee marks ahead of Essendon’s Matt Guelfi on Saturday. Rozee kicked 2.5 for Port. Picture: MICHAEL WILLSON/AFL PHOTOS VIA GETTY IMAGES

Going into the game against Essendon, Port Adelaide was the most inaccurate team in the league, but the chop-and-change Power forward line turned that around and booted 19.12, including 14.2 from set shots, which Bassett said was the best result for set shots since Ken Hinkley took over coaching in 2013.

Bassett said the forward line hadn’t done anything dramatically different at training to turn around that accuracy, but it was pleasing to see everything click together.

“I think we were quite simple with the way we used the ball, took the easy option, kicked down the line a little bit more than we have this year,” he said.

“The forwards are getting a clearer picture of what they need to do for each other and the rest of the team’s understanding how they need to connect with those guys.”

And with Ryder and Peter Ladhams — who came in for out-of-form Scott Lycett — combining well in the ruck, Bassett hinted that Lycett could play in the SANFL this weekend.

“Pete was very good, particularly in his follow-up post ruck contest and gave us some off-ball defence and Paddy played his role well enough in the forward line.

“When the ball’s kicked in his area more often than not the ball comes to ground and gives our guys a chance to compete — his ruck craft’s very good, so imagine we’ll go with those two again.”

Co-captain Ollie Wines could also be in for a recall for Port’s clash against Sydney after recovering from a broken thumb.

Power’s forward line kicked 19.12 — including 14.2 from set shots — in their 59-point win over Essendon. Paddy Ryder, Todd Marshall and Cam Sutcliffe celebrate one of those goals. Picture: MICHAEL WILLSON/AFL PHOTOS VIA GETTY IMAGES

“I’m expecting Wines to be available and we’ll make that call at match committee to whether he plays or not,” Bassett said of Wines, who has missed the past three games with the injury.

Four-goal hero Robbie Gray will also be free to play after escaping any suspensionfor his hit on Essendon forward Orazio Fantasia during the second quarter on Saturday.

He was changed with rough conduct, but offered a $2000 sanction with an early plea.

The match review officer also fined Rozee $2000 for a dangerous tackle on Aaron Francis.

And as Port focuses on “one week at a time” in an effort to play finals, attention turns to Sydney, who have played only five games at Adelaide Oval, but have a 4-1 win-loss record at the venue.

“The reality of Sydney playing well at Adelaide Oval is that most of their team have never played there,” Bassett said.

“In my time, we haven’t played Sydney at Adelaide Oval, it’s been over four years and we’ve played Sydney once in the last 62 games, so we haven’t seen a lot of Sydney live of late.

“They’ve got some good young talent, strong, with a couple of very good, experienced inside-mids, (Luke) Parker, (Josh) Kennedy, (Isaac) Heeney … they bring a tough brand of footy.”


Ryder v GWS

13 disposals (9 kicks, 4 handballs)

7 contested possessions

53.8 per cent disposal efficiency

5 marks

20 hit outs

1 clearance

3 inside-50s

1 behind

0 goal assists

Ryder v Essendon

10 disposals (3 kicks, 7 handballs)

7 contested possessions

100 per cent disposal efficiency

1 mark

20 hits outs

1 clearance

3 inside-50s

1 goal

2 goal assists
9 Aug 2012
AFL Club
SuperCoach AFL Unique of the Week for Round 20


August 6, 2019 4:35pmby ANDREW WEAVERSource: FOX SPORTS

Mitch Robinson of the Lions high-fives fans after winning the Round 20 match between the Brisbane Lions and the Western Bulldogs - his SuperCoach owners would give him a big high fiveSource: AAP

Every week there are players who step up when it counts and hit the SuperCoach scoreboard hard, rewarding those with astute judgement who have them in their side.

Live stream the 2019 Toyota AFL Premiership Season on KAYO SPORTS. Every match of every round. Live & anytime on your TV or favourite device. Get your 14 day free trial >

Teague isn't fussed by job


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The first weekend of SuperCoach Classic finals was dominated by some usual suspects - the likes of Marcus Bontempelli, Jack Macrae, James Worpel, Nat Fyfe, and Max Gawn are all owned by over 20% of all players, some significantly more, and all were in the top ten scoring players in the competition in Round 20. In all, 64 players scored over 100 points to reward astute coaches who had them in their sides.

DEF: DAN HOUSTON | PORT ADELAIDE POWER | $401,600 | 134 points | 0.6% ownership

It would have been easy to pick Nic Newman here, owned in 6.7% of all SuperCoach Classic sides in Round 20. He monstered it against the Eagles, picking up a cool 166 points. But it’s worth highlighting what Houston is doing - he’s playing a role not too dissimilar to Elliott Yeo, working so hard both ways. For that reason - and his $120,000 or so lower price compared to Newman - he is worth considering if looking for DEF reinforcements. He picked up an equal career-high 29 possessions, a career-best two goals, 10 marks, and six clearances. His efficiency was part of the reason his score was so high, and if Ken Hinkley - who described Houston as “one of our solutions’’ - continues to deploy him in the middle he could be a big point-of-difference player in finals at this price point.

Shaun Higgins of the Kangaroos was on fire in Round 20 for the Kangas in Rhyce Shaw’s first game officially in chargeSource: AAP

MID: SHAUN HIGGINS | NORTH MELBOURNE KANGAROOS | $435,400 | 140 points | 2.6% ownership

At this point in the season, most teams are settled when it comes to their midfield mix. It’s really only injuries that hurt and can make you distraught. If you’re lucky enough, you might have TWO trades left, and be looking for a sneaky downgrade. So say, for instance, that you’d lost Dayne Zorko this week, you could do far worse than look to Higgins as a MID reinforcement. He and the Lions’ MID / FWD option Mitch Robinson, with 132 points, were the only players in the top ten scoring midfielders for Round 20 to be owned by less than 12% of all players. Higgins is cheaper by some $30,000 and arguably has the potential for greater scoring output, particularly with Robinson likely to have more attention paid to him in the wake of Zorko’s injury.


MEMBERSHIP LADDER: See where your club ranks this year

POWER RANKINGS: The flag contender without a finals weakness

THE RUN HOME: Who’ll make the AFL finals and where they’ll play

REPORT CARD: Surging side faceplants, favourite in free fall

RUC: PETER LADHAMS | PORT ADELAIDE POWER | $197,500 | 95 points | 0.9% ownership

This is more a community service announcement than a highlight of a particular game - Ladhams was the seventh highest scoring ruckman this week in his first game in which he’s been the primary tall in the middle for Port Adelaide Power. He was behind both Shane Mumford from GWS and Carlton’s Andrew Phillips (4.6% and 2.1% ownership respectively) in terms of scores for a ruckman, but Ladhams is the one to keep an eye on as an option for SuperCoach 2020. He’s had three tasters this season, and given the quality of his game against Essendon there’s no reason to expect that he won’t add to that this year, but he’ll still get a discount based upon games played in terms of his price next season. The Power rate him highly.

Peter Ladhams of the Power clears under pressure on his way to 95 SuperCoach pointsSource: News Corp Australia

FWD: MITCH ROBINSON | BRISBANE LIONS | $467,200 | 132 points | 2.4% ownership

The query as to whether Robinson can match this sort of scoring output against the Suns will rely upon the sort of role that he plays. With Dayne Zorko likely to miss with injury, will Robinson play a greater contested role? He’s been outstanding as a more forward-moving wingman in 2019, bringing fantastic defensive pressure and contributing on the scoreboard. Last time out against the Suns he collected 125 points, which he only has topped twice this season, in Round 17 against the Power and last week versus the Dogs. With his DPP flexibility, the only thing to bear is that, after the Suns, the Lions play the Cats and then the Tigers; it’s a tough finish to the year.

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9 Aug 2012
AFL Club
In Dozen Deals we use BUY, SELL, HOLD, ADD or DROP. With a view based on a 10 team 22 player roster, buy, sell, drop, and hold will apply to players that will generally be owned, while add will go for those you may find on the waiver wire.

Surely less than half the teams are playing this week, so we’ll drop our dozen to eight. It’s an interesting round coming up, as every single game could end up competitive. This brings great freedom at selection, but also some real unpredictability.

If you’re no longer in the hunt for a premiership, start looking at next year now. There will be signs in passages of play, of which players have the ability, but haven’t got a role to show it off yet. This is the time you can build intuition leading to some good picks next year.

And if you’re still in the hunt, even better.

Then there’s those going straight to the prelim…

DROP – Grant Birchall

A hammy in Round 20 is bad news. It’s worse as a 31 year old on a team not bound for finals. I’m no hambone expert, but it feels like best case is round 23. Do you really want to be rolling Birch out in a Grand Final having only played 3 games?

ADD – Karl Amon

In good form, and Port have Sydney, North and Freo on deck. Who knows which Port Adelaide will show up, but Amon has been relatively consistent this season. At 74% owned, he’s a little high, but if he’s on the waivers and you need a midfielder you could certainly do worse than the Power speedster.

HOLD – Dayne Zorko

Just hammy tightness and a test for this week. Great news if you’re skipping this week, interesting if you’re not. QClash this weekend, so if Zorko gets up and plays do you play him? Normally gets some Touk Miller attention, which Zorks has dealt with relatively well in recent match ups. Could this change your thinking?

ADD – Matt Scharenberg

I am contractually obliged to mention that the Scharengoat is ripe for picking now, as the Pies are going up against Melbourne this weekend. You know, that team with Bailey Fritsch as the spearhead. Scharenberg performed well against Suns, and Melbourne are basically the same thing.

ADD – Cam Zurhaar

Leaning more toward ‘keeper’ territory (especially with Geelong this week), Zurhaar presents an interesting option late in the year, especially if you have this week off. He’s a forward, helping keep the bar nice and low for entry into most teams, and his scores recently have been showing improvement, perhaps as North find their style under Shaw.

Provides pressure and gets to stoppages in the forward half, racking up tackles and able to win his own ball, I could see him getting a run through the midfield in 2020. If you don’t want a guy that says “I just love tackling people”, then we’re playing different games.

ADD – Jayden Short

Highly owned at 76%, but not impossible to find. Short has put a couple good games together and could look to hit the scoreboard against the new Blues, after only managing 2 goals in 9 games this season. And all 3 games at the G, plenty of space to run around and load up the superboot.

ADD – Lachie Henderson

A SuperCoach selection. Coming as a late in alongside Menegola, because Geelong, Henderson plopped out a juicy 87. He’s pretty consistently high 70s averaging when he’s not y’know, injured, and is good value at this stage of the year.

ADD – Mitchell Lewis

If the Hawks can really get going in the next few years, this man is going to be tough to deal with. When they were on top of North Melbourne, “Sam” Mitchell “Jordan” Lewis looked unstoppable. He’ll be a better SC play due to contested marking, but no matter the format, keep a keen eye on the Hawks and the moves they make this offseason (Conigilio? Patton?). Put him in goal, because Sam Jordan is a keeper.

As for the next couple weeks, GWS (maybe), GC (yes), WCE (no) would be my gut feeling.
9 Aug 2012
AFL Club
GIANTS co-captain Phil Davis has lauded the work of his patched-up defence which has been extremely important in the club's three-match winning run.

The GIANTS' backline has been without dasher Zac Williams, who has starred after moving into the midfield in recent weeks to plug a gap left by injured onballers Josh Kelly (calf), Stephen Coniglio (knee) and Matt de Boer (shoulder).

Additionally, Sam Taylor, Adam Kennedy, Aidan Corr and Matt Buntine have all missed games in recent weeks.

Leon Cameron has been forced to use Lachie Keeffe, Jake Stein and last week's debutant Connor Idun to help defensive staples Davis, Heath Shaw and Nick Haynes, and the trio has rarely let him down.

They'll get another huge test this week against Hawthorn in Canberra.

Young talls Mitchell Lewis (two) and Tim O'Brien kicked the Hawks’ first three goals against North Melbourne last week, with the experience of Luke Bruest, Jack Gunston and Paul Puopolo also a threat for the GIANTS on Friday night.

"It's great to have a consistent back six, but unfortunately we've had to chop and change a bit down there," Davis said on Tuesday.

"We've had players come in and do their bit and they've been very versatile as well.

"That means we can really mix up our look, which is really important.

"You look at Hawthorn's first quarter last week and their big boys caused all sorts of dramas, then you throw in Luke Bruest and Jack Gunston, and Conor Nash is lightning quick.

"We'll have to be at our flexible best and flow with the game to get our match-ups right."

In positive news for the GIANTS, the backline could return to full-strength for the most important time of the year.

Kennedy is back playing after his heart scare, while Corr and Matt Buntine will resume after this week's NEAFL bye.

Corr has managed just two games for the season due to calf issues, but should get at least three reserves games in to put his name up for selection during the finals.

The key defender is a vital part of the backline because he can play on opponents of all sizes and has outstanding leg speed.

Taylor (hamstring) isn't likely to play another game of the home-and-away season, but should also be ready for September action.

Davis said he's excited to see the numbers of fit backline personnel increasing, and he's made it well known that Williams' time as a midfielder will be coming to an end once Kelly, Coniglio and de Boer get back on the field.

"I'm pretty confident we'll get him back, I'm still lobbying for that one," he said with a laugh.

"He's doing a pretty good job and I'm happy to lease him out for a little bit longer."
9 Aug 2012
AFL Club
Great article on debutant James Bell.

James Bell’s determination to be an AFL footballer, and some tough love from Michael O’Loughlin, saved him from a life in jail

August 9, 2019 8:17am

Ben HorneThe Daily Telegraph

Barred windows. Bare white walls. Lock downs. Alarm systems. Dining room fights.

To 17-year-old James Bell, who will debut for the Sydney Swans on Saturay night, it felt like a jail.

“We didn’t actually call it a hostel or anything. Us boys would just say, ‘oh well, getting picked up and going back to our cells,” says Bell.

“Boys would fight over food because they’d only give us a certain amount.

“The rooms were just a single bed and a cupboard. There was nothing else in there. You had no mirror to look in. As soon as they closed the doors, they took the phones off you and you couldn’t get out without setting off the alarms. Legit, it sometimes felt like a jail.”



But three years on as he prepares to make one of the most inspiring debuts on Saturday night at Adelaide Oval, Bell knows it was this run-down Aboriginal hostel in the Sutherland Shire that ultimately saved him from a real life behind bars.

Heading down a path to self-destruction in Shellharbour on the NSW south coast, Bell was thrown a lifeline by Sydney legend Michael O’Loughlin and Chris Smith at the Swans Academy, allowing him to escape from the distractions that were threatening to blow his sporting ambitions up on the runway.

James Bell will make his Swans debut. Picture: Phil Hillyard

“Nearly all my cousins have been into jail and stuff like that and no doubt I would have probably gone down that path if there wasn’t the opportunity to move to the hostel,” says Bell.

“Obviously they are my family and I love them, but they didn’t have any drive to be an athlete, they were just caught up in the moment and causing mischief around the area.

“I was drinking and getting into the same trouble. When my dad found out he actually called Mickey O.”

A bed was secured for Bell at the Kirinari Aboriginal Hostel in Sylvania, and he made it his own with a Muhammad Ali poster and a list of goals tacked to the wall.

It was either make your own lunch by a certain time or starve at school. Any reports of misbehaviour or broken curfews equated to bans from Swans training.

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“Micky O and Chris Smith, they told me not to come to training if I wasn’t going to take it seriously,” he says.

“And I had to learn the hard way with that.

“The hostel would start wearing off on you. You’d start snapping at little things you wouldn’t snap at previously and I just had to learn to stick it out. ‘I’m not here to make friends, I’m here because of footy’.

“Missing training was devastating and when I started doing something about it, I actually found I was enjoying it. I just wanted to train.”

James Bell (second from right) was coach by Michael O'Loughlin at the Swans Academy. Picture: Keith McInnes Photography

However, a second tipping point came in Bell’s extraordinary journey, when O’Loughlin discovered that facilities at the hostel had been subjected to years of neglect.

In an extraordinary act of philanthropy, O’Loughlin came to the rescue for a second time, as he rallied support to refurbish a hostel relied upon by so many Aboriginal people – like Bell – who find themselves at a crossroads.

“Just over time the place was run down and they had to do some things and get better at it. I want to make it clear I think the people there that were running it were unbelievable. They did what they could and it was just the environment,” O’Loughlin said.

“I guess I made the statement: If I wouldn’t put my own son in there, why would I ask others to do that? And it was really born out of that.

“Our business was doing OK, we were able to contribute. We had Goodesy (Adam Goodes) mowing the lawns and whipper-snippering. It was just about having some standards for the bathrooms and a whole new coat of paint and new carpet.”

Bell regards O’Loughlin and Smith as uncles: “They are strict on me but it is because they care.”

James Bell at Sydney training this week ahead of his AFL debut. Picture: Phil Hillyard

And they do.

“You really like seeing good things happen to really good people and James is such a humble and respectful person. He’s had his own journey, the ups and downs, but he’s hung in there. I’m really proud of him,” said O’Loughlin.

“Goodesy flicked him a text as well which was incredible. When James rang me I couldn’t wipe the smile off my face. It’s just an incredible story and it’s amazing when hard work and sacrifice pays off and you get an opportunity to represent on the big stage.”

Bell broke down on camera telling his mother of his achievement. His story explains the depth of that emotion and his gratitude to the Kirinari Hostel.

“If I wanted to move up here it was really the only place I had,” says Bell.

“I feel proud. I feel very proud.

“I’ve had to learn the hard way with everything. Telling (mum and dad) about my debut was like a weight was lifted off my shoulders. Just all the stuff I’ve regretted or I’ve put my family through.

“I knew I could repay them all by at least just trying my all in this.

“I’m doing this for my whole family and I’m doing it for myself.”


350 Games Club
9 May 2012
Herald Sun Injury list, Round 21

Crows co-captain Rory Sloane will have a sore eye further examined on Monday after he was ruled out of the 10-point loss to West Coast on Sunday early in the third quarter.
Sloane copped a knock to the eye and suffered blurred vision and was unable to return to the field in a match which went down to the wire.
Crows coach Don Pyke said after the game that it was too early to tell whether Sloane would be available for Saturday’s must-win match against Collingwood at Adelaide Oval.
“He’s had a couple of issues previously with his eyes, so we took a really cautious approach and have to get that tested to find out,’’ Pyke said.
“Fingers crossed it’s nothing more than a scratch and he can continue to play, but it’s too early to tell.’’
Pyke said he hoped key defender Alex Keath would be able to return from missing three games with an ankle injury but there were no guarantees on his fitness.
“We’ll just see how that rebuilds,’’ he said. “He could (return) but I’ve been saying he’s looking like he’s a week or two away for a while.
“He’s got to get through a bit of training and be really confident before we’re going to chuck him back out there at AFL level.’’

- Andrew Capel


Rory Sloane (eye) test
Alex Keath (ankle) test
Cam Ellis-Yolmen (shin) 1 week
Ned McHenry (back) 1-2 weeks
Andrew McPherson (hamstring) 2-3 weeks
Paul Hunter (foot) 4 weeks
Tom Doedee (knee) season

The Lions rolled through the QClash with barely a bruise save for a minor ankle sprain to Lincoln McCarthy.
The former Cat received treatment and returned to finish the game which suggest he will be available to play his 50th AFL game against his old club.
McCarthy is poster child for Brisbane’s stunning injury management record. He played just 29 games in seven season at Geelong due to a wretched run of injury but has not missed a beat at Brisbane.
— Andrew Hamilton


Tom Cutler (foot) test
Tom Joyce (shin) 4 weeks

The Blues have been more than respectable against two quality opponents the past two weeks and will have learnt plenty from losses to West Coast and Richmond.
Their effort in both games could not have been questioned, but ball use and structure have let them down at times.
Mitch McGovern returned against the Tigers after four games on the sidelines to get his body and fitness in shape and booted two goals in a promising performance.

Matthew Kennedy responded to being dropped from the AFL side with 28 disposals for Northern Blues in the VFL.
Despite losses the past two weeks, caretaker coach David Teague still holds a 5-4 record and will be keen to add to the wins tally as he continues to push his case for the full-time job next year.

The Blues meet St Kilda and Geelong in the run home and will be determined to better reward for effort in those games.

- Chris Cavanagh


Charlie Curnow (knee) season
Sam Docherty (knee) season
Pat Kerr (shoulder) season
Kym LeBois (hamstring) 1-2 weeks
Caleb Marchbank (neck) season
Tom Williamson (back) season


Two tougher clashes await to finish the regular season in the form of Adelaide and Essendon, where the Magpies will need to raise the bar.
Josh Daicos is in some doubt for the clash with the Crows after suffering a concussion against Melbourne.
“When told he was out of the game he took his jumper off on the boundary, apparently, so that was well and truly out of the game,” Magpies coach Nathan Buckley said.
“But we’ll give him during the week and see how he goes.”

— Chris Cavanagh


James Aish (shoulder) 2 weeks
Dayne Beams (hip/mental health) season
Mason Cox (eye) season
Jordan De Goey (hamstring) test
Lynden Dunn (knee) season
Josh Daicos (concussion)
Will Kelly (leg) TBC
Tom Langdon (knee) season
Darcy Moore (hamstring) 1-2 weeks
Sam Murray (provisional suspension) TBC
Isaac Quaynor (foot) TBC
Ben Reid (hamstring) TBC
Brayden Sier (calf) TBC
Jaidyn Stephenson (suspended) 2 weeks
Daniel Wells (knee) test


Parish (concussion) and Francis (neck) will be welcome inclusions after the Bombers went down by 104 points against the relentless Western Bulldogs.
Dyson Heppell tried his heart out, but will again be under pressure to back up for another game with his genetic foot issue still causing concern.
The Bombers know it won’t cause Heppell any further damage to keep playing, but he has had to endure plenty of pain to get back out there each week.

— Glenn McFarlane


Tom Bellchambers (calf) 1-2 weeks
Joe Daniher (groin) season
Sam Draper (knee) season
Aaron Francis (neck) test
Matt Guelfi (knee) season
Michael Hurley (shoulder) 2-3 weeks
Irving Mosquito (hamstring) 1 week
Kobe Mutch (knee) TBC
Darcy Parish (concussion) test
Adam Saad (hamstring) 1 week
Devon Smith (knee) season
Will Snelling TBC
James Stewart (groin) season

Ross Lyon is a hugger these days. It’s why he will surely hand Hayden Ballantyne a farewell game at home next week in keeping with his warm and cuddly father-figure persona. As he said, it would take a miracle to secure a finals spot despite the club being a hypothetical chance of September action.

The Dockers were full of heart in their narrow loss to St Kilda on Sunday but surely a kid can make way for Ballantyne after all he has done across his career at the club. He had 14 touches and six tackles in the WAFL with Brett Bewley solid again.

- Jon Ralph


Brennan Cox (hip) 1 week
Stefan Giro (knee) season
Stephen Hill (quad) TBC
Jesse Hogan (foot) season
Rory Lobb (shoulder) season
Lloyd Meek (foot) season
Tom North (calf) test
Alex Pearce (ankle) season
Luke Ryan (hamstring) 1 week
Matt Taberner (foot) season
Luke Valente (groin) season
Tobe Watson (knee) 1 week
Nathan Wilson (toe) TBC

Lots of options for Geelong as they plan the final two rounds of the home-and-away season.
The ruck position will be the most debated with full-back Mark Blicavs doing a fine job in the role against North Melbounre.
Zac Smith was a late withdrawal against the Roos and coach Chris Scott suggested it was more about the expected wet weather than anything else.

Regular ruckman Rhys Stanley played well in the VFL so it will be intriguing to see which way the Cats match committee goes for next week’s blocbuster clash with Brisbane at the Gabba.
Defender Mark O’Connor is likely to return after missing two weeks with turf toe while several others put their hand up through impressive VFL performances, namely Charlie Constable who had 40 possessions and kicked two goals.

— Scott Gullan


Jordan Clark (elbow) 2-3 weeks
Jordan Cunico (ankle) 1-2 weeks
Mark O’Connor (toe) test
Zach Guthrie (ankle) test
Gary Rohan (knee) 2-3 weeks



Callum Ah Chee (ankle) indefinite
Will Brodie (hamstring) season
Sam Collins (hip) season
Brayden Crossley (personal leave) TBC
Nick Holman (back) season
Jack Martin (finger) 1 week
Wil Powell (knee) season
Izak Rankine (hip) TBC
Mitch Riordan (calf) 2 weeks
Rory Thompson (knee) season
Harrison Wigg (knee) season

A calf injury to Brett Deledio casts doubt not only on his season but his career. Fingers crossed his latest setback is only minor.
Jacob Hopper was a late out, with scans to determine how much footy he’ll miss.

The good news is Josh Kelly and Matt de Boer are getting closer, while Cameron will hope Jeremy Finlayson (finger) is good to go for the Bulldogs.

—Ben Broad


Brett Deledio (calf) TBC
Jeremy Finlayson (finger) TBC
Stephen Coniglio (knee) 5 weeks
Aidan Corr (calf) test
Isaac Cumming (hamstring) test
Matt de Boer (shoulder) 1 week
Matt Flynn (knee) season
Jacob Hopper (hamstring) TBC
Josh Kelly (calf) test
Zac Langdon (ankle) 5 weeks
Xavier O’Halloran (knee) test
Jonathon Patton (knee) TBC
Sam Taylor (hamstring) 3 weeks
Callan Ward (knee) Season



Grant Birchall (hamstring) TBC
Jarman Impey (knee) season
Harry Jones (knee) season
Ben McEvoy (adductor) test
Darren Minchington (hamstring) 4-5 weeks
Tom Mitchell (broken leg) indefinite
Tim Mohr (dislocated knee/ACL) season
Ryan Schoenmakers (calf) 1 week
Jack Scrimshaw (knee) 2 weeks



Steven May (hamstring) TBC
Mitch Hannan (groin) test
Neville Jetta (knee) season
Tom McDonald (knee) season
Joel Smith (groin) season
Aaron vandenBerg (foot) season
Sam Weideman (jaw/hip) season
Kade Kolodjashnij (head) season

A horrible day at GMHBA Stadium for the Kangaroos.
The seniors registered their lowest score in history while earlier in the afternoon the Roos’ VFL team lost by 101 points.
Retiring defender Scott Thompson suffered a nasty knock to the head in the third quarter against the Cats and didn’t reappear, but should be right to play the second-last game of his career against Port Adelaide next Saturday night.

— Scott Gullan


Majak Daw (hamstring) season
Aaron Hall (personal leave) indefinite
Kyron Hayden (achilles) season
Ben Jacobs (head/neck) season
Luke McDonald (fractured fibula) season
Tom McKenzie (back) TBC
Bailey Scott (foot) indefinite
Dom Tyson (calf) indefinite
Ed Vickers-Willis (knee) season
Will Walker (knee) TBC


350 Games Club
9 May 2012
The Power is on the march and they are fit and healthy heading into the final two weeks of the season that will determine their finals fate.

Co-captain Ollie Wines was supposed to return from a thumb injury via the SANFL on the weekend, but was a late inclusion for Zak Butters who was too sore after copping a knock to his sternum last weekend.
There is no way Wines is coming out again after a big performance, meaning Butters will have to force his way back into the side.
The bigger question mark at selection surrounds premiership ruckman Scott Lycett, who was dumped two weeks ago and played SANFL on Sunday.
The Power is currently opting for Paddy Ryder and Peter Ladhams, who did nothing wrong in the 47-point win over Sydney.
He and Dougal Howard are first-choice players currently in the reserves while Ryan Burton (hamstring) and Jack Watts (leg) are both back running at training to try to prove their fitness for late in the year.

Burton could return via the SANFL as soon as this week while Watts is likely to need the Power to go deep into finals to be a chance of playing again in 2019.

— Reece Homfray


Zak Butters (sternum) test
Ryan Burton (hamstring) test
Tobin Cox (kidney) 1 week
Brad Ebert (knee) season
Jake Patmore (knee) season
Jack Watts (leg) TBC

Big question for the Tigers this week is who goes out to make way for a pair of Brownlow medallists.
Coach Damien Hardwick expects Dustin Martin (soreness) and Trent Cotchin (hamstring) to return for Sunday’s top-four showdown against West Coast.
So with no fresh injuries from a win against Carlton, who misses out?
Jack Ross stepped straight back into his midfield role, picking up 21 disposals in his first game since Round 8 while Jack Graham played his best game of the year, kicking four goals.
Sydney Stack (12 touches) and Shai Bolton (11) have gone off the boil a bit in recent weeks but can you risk losing their X-factor? Mabior Chol has had a combined seven disposals in his past two games but that’s hardly a like-for-like swap. Over to you, Dimma.
Meanwhile, the Tigers’ VFL team continues to dominate, locking in a home final with a 44-point win over the Northern Blues.

Callum Moore kicked four goals on his return from injury, Jacob Townsend booted three and Marlion Pickett showed more glimpses of his enormous talent.
“It’s hard to continually say to players that are playing so well at the VFL level that there’s just no position available,” Hardwick said.

- Al Paton


Trent Cotchin (hamstring) test
Dustin Martin (soreness) test
Jack Higgins (brain bleed) season
Alex Rance (knee) indefinite

Bring on Carlton next week and bring on 2020 after yet another encouraging performance under Brett Ratten. The Saints not only got star performances from Jack Steven and Dan Hannebery, the kids fired again. It might not change Steven’s mind about a trade to Geelong but it might increase his trade value after red flags about his year given mental health issues. Nick Coffield could need surgery on his shoulder after it popped out tackling Andrew Brayshaw but while the VFL side had a bye this weekend surely Jimmy Webster is ready after coming back from back and hand injuries. Nick Hind’s gather and pass to Josh Bruce for the game winner was just another example of the canny recruiting that has also secured Callum Wilkie and Matt Parker.

- Jon Ralph


Blake Acres (shoulder) test
David Armitage (personal) indefinite
Logan Austin (shoulder) indefinite
Jack Bytel (back) season
Jarryn Geary (leg) 2-4 weeks
Dan Hannebery (illness) test
Dean Kent (quad) season
Max King (ankle) season
Billy Longer (concussion) season
Paddy McCartin (concussion) season
Lewis Pierce (concussion) indefinite
Dylan Roberton (heart) season

All eyes will be on superstar veterans Lance Franklin and Jarrad McVeigh over the next fortnight. While Buddy is on the brink of game 300, McVeigh is hoping for a farewell match, which one would think would be the final-round clash with St Kilda at the SCG.

- Ben Broad


Darcy Cameron (quad) 1 weeks
Harry Cunningham (groin) season
Lance Franklin (hamstring) 1 week
Will Hayward (hip) season
Matthew Ling (achilles) 1 week
Jack Maibaum (knee) season
Jarrad McVeigh (calf) 1 week
Colin O’Riordan (groin) TBC
Callum Sinclair (shoulder) season
Nick Smith (hamstring) season
Durak Tucker (hamstring) TBC

It’s all good news for the Eagles who, like their opponent this week Richmond, seem to be timing their run well.
Jarrod Cameron (rested) is a chance to return for Sunday’s MCG blockbuster, while Chris Masten will be hoping he can force his way into a talent-packed midfield.
Two wins in their final two games would cement a home final for Adam Simpson’s side - something the coach wasn’t too aware of when asked after the match.

“Across the board, whether it is top two, top four or top eight, the season is alive, so it’s really good for footy this week,” he said.


Liam Duggan (ankle) test
Harry Edwards (foot) test
Nic Naitanui (ankle) indefinite
Josh Smith (hamstring) 3-5 weeks
Nathan Vardy (ankle/knee) test
Daniel Venables (concussion) season

Luke Beveridge will be hard pressed to keep son of a gun Rhylee West in the VFL for long after he dominated the club’s second emphatic win for the weekend over top-four rival Essendon on Saturday.
West kicked four goals and had 29 disposals in the Dogs’ 93-point thumping after he was squeezed out of the senior team, having made his debut against Fremantle in Round 19.
Half-back flanker Caleb Daniel is the key player the Bulldogs would love back as they mount a late finals charge, although he is unlikely to play before September.
Hayden Crozier (ankle) and Josh Schache (concussion) both featured in Saturday night’s 104-point demolition of Essendon after being on the injury list heading into Round 21.

— Tim Michell


Caleb Daniel (hamstring) test
Ryan Gardner (knee) 3-5 weeks
Fergus Greene (shoulder) season
Dale Morris (knee) season
Mitch Wallis (ankle) indefinite