BOY OH BOY, WOWEE.
What a pre-season. Never have we seen so much analysis, thinking and collaboration as this community – and indeed the entire internet – have come together and given us more information than we can poke a stick at. And I pride myself on being very good at poking things with sticks.
And so, in the lead up to the pre-season, I over-analysed every single selection in my side, and as such my team comprised of twelve pages of notes, a detailed trading plan up to round 11 and notes on the JLT.
Four pre-season games in, I tore my notes into little squares and lit them on fire. I then jumped up and down on the flames to put them out, then put the ashes in a little glass jar and said very mean things about their mother.
It was somewhere between an insult about her girth and insinuating her lineage was… ah… “unconventional” … I realised I was the one with the problem. I locked my team up, went down the peninsula and tried to not think about it.
I came back last week and opened my side for the first time in two weeks, hit “clear team” and went to work. I looked at my handiwork and screamed. Rinse and repeat. Clear team, fill it up, yell loudly. Over the course of two days, I invented a total of 647 different swear words and have vaguely resembled this:
— Patch (@PatchToTheMax) March 15, 2017
This year is one of the more complicated years we’ve faced since the dawn of the Gold Coast Suns. Rookies are non-existent. Mid prices are flaunting their scantily clad, sexy selves all over the bloody place, wearing nothing at all (stupid sexy midpricers).
Let’s just get into it: the version of Patch’s Potatoes that have lead to me screaming the least.
2-0-6. This is where the cash generation is, plain and simple. I’m happy with this, there is exactly zero screaming is being caused by my backline. The job security of Marchbank and Hampton allows me to slot them comfortably into D3 and D4. Simpson is a no-brainer after last year’s consistency, and is a POD (5% ownership?!?) for some ludicrous reason. Laird was my first picked this year.
The only thing I’m annoyed at is being unable to fit Taylor Adams into my starting side. Playing as a pure midfielder, he’s a no-brainer but just doesn’t slide above Laird and Simpson. Still has time to slide into D2. I also like Lloyd but can’t fit him in.
The engine room. This comforts me. Fyfe and Dangerfield pick themselves, JPK, Selwood and Priddis have been at the top for years. That people aren’t picking these blokes is simply baffling. Treloar looks like he’ll go huge this year.
I’m struggling to split him and Pendlebury, but have done so purely on Treloar’s goal kicking potential, as he had the most shots on goal from a midfielder in the pre-season. Beams was a firm no until he was given the captaincy – surely they wouldn’t give it to a bloke who’s only going to play 12 games. Lock. Possible keeper.
SPP and Barrett are the two rookies, Hibberd and Parfitt are links. It’s just carnage down there. Significantly, I have no Jaeger, Oliver or Swallow. I’d be happy with Jaeger if he fit my structure, but still fear he’ll be rested here and there. Swallow is a firm no after watching two Suns games and seeing him do diddly squat. Oliver will break out but I’m gonna pass because I like the idea of starting 6 top 10 midfielders.
This is where the screaming starts. And what screaming there is. Sandilands picks himself. I firmly believe he’ll play 20 games this year. He’s done it before on the comeback from injury and is Freo’s only hope of making the finals. No third man up locks him away and has me throwing the key down a drain.
Jarrod Witts is a rookie. It’s been so long since we’ve had a viable rookie in the rucks that now one has popped up, no-one has any idea what to do with it. Combined with his round 9 bye, the pending price drop of both Gawn and Goldstein due to Spencer and Pruess and the fact that I have absolutely no idea who the top ruckmen will be this year, I’m going to start him on the field and upgrade him as soon as I can.
NOW – if Witts isn’t named as the solo ruck in round one, he’s gone, and… well, that depends on who else isn’t named. If Longer isn’t named, I might go Hickey. If Archie Smith is playing NEAFL, Stef might come into calculations. Paddy Ryder might turn up. I might just collapse in the foetal position and cry. FINE, YES I’M CONFUSED. I DON’T HAVE THE ANSWERS HERE. I’M LOSOT AND SCARED AND DON’T KNOW WHO TO PICK. ARE YOU HAPPY NOW? ARE YOU HAPPY?!?
Come on, Patch, deep breaths. We’re not done screaming yet.
Alright, say it. Just go ahead. I’m crazy. I’m deluded. I’m the most important of the ten commandments Lek and I wrote. I’m picking a speculative, breakout midpricer, which I explicitly and repeatedly told everyone not to do. I am picking Shaun Bloody Higgins. Go ahead, throw your tomatoes. Seriously, THROW THEM. SEE IF I CA-
Sorry, I’m just… I’m just having a lot of emotions about this side. North Melbourne no longer have a midfield. They’ve got a whole bunch of kids, and three blokes who they can throw in there for stability. One of them is Ben Cunnington, who isn’t all that good at football. Another is Jack Zeibell, who gets suspended for sixteen matches every year. The other is Shaun Higgins. Look at his preseason form. He scored 100, 123 and 61 (from 42% TOG).
Nick Reiwoldt will average about 215.3 before his bye, and Luke Dahlhaus is just a solid selection. Jarryd Roughead is too much value, Toby Nankervis is absolutely, 100% required ruck cover (see RUCKS section), and Tim Taranto is both good enough and has enough opportunity with Deledio and Coniglio down to overlook the 200k price tag. Eddy is locked, Houston is dependent on being named. Could become anyone.
We’re done. I survived. Somehow. Now, if anyone is still here and has staunched the bleeding from their eyes, I’m going to lead a communal screaming session in the comments.
COACHKINGS ROUND 1 KICKS OFF THIS WEEK!! FIND YOUR NEAREST VENUE HERE