Perhaps I tend to overuse this word, but in the case of this NAB Challenge game I feel that it is an appropriate use of the word.
The Dogs played a full squad thus giving us an indication of their starting structures and game style while Richmond exposed to us some relevant rookies. While these two contrasting team set-ups was forecasted to give us an elevated picture of all Western Bulldogs players, as it played out, the Richmond young guns played exceptionally well.
Early call – beware of selecting any players from the Doggies …. They are in for a difficult year!
Absent Best 22 players;
Western Bulldogs – Crameri, Goodes
Richmond – Newman, Deledio, Martin, Riewoldt, Houli, Rance, Maric, Griffiths, Chaplin, Foley, Cotchin, Conca, B. Ellis, Astbury
- Matthew Boyd (MID $526,200) Played a greater role across half-back – quality use. As a MID only is very awkwardly priced. Ranked fifth in disposals in 2013.
- Jack Macrae (MID $538,800) Excellent but very awkwardly priced in a team that will surely struggle. Ranked second for uncontested possessions in 2014 and averaged 110 in his last six games.
- Lin Jong (MID $273,200) Has been the star performer in the off season looking to step into the void left by Griffen. Was everywhere early in the game and looks to have stepped up his endurance levels considerably. A slight temptation given Libba’s sustained an injury. Not yet.
- Will Minson (RUC $501,400) Clear number one ruck at the kennel. He dropped in disposals from 15 to 12 in 2014 and disposal efficiency from 67% to 57%. Was beaten by Hampson today. No.
- Tom Liberatore (MID $593,200) Off injured in the first. Could have significant ramifications on midfield and Wallace, Yong, Macrae …
- Tom Boyd (FWD $239,500) After only nine games of AFL footy at an average of 45 this young key position forward will need time to develop. Occasional rucking duties which may make him more relevant than if he was purely playing as a forward. No
- Kane Lambert (MID/FWD $122,400) Gun VFL talent missing out on the Liston by just one vote. “Knew where to run.” Looking like a very solid forward line option this year. Crouching is already burning incense for him.
- Connor Menadue (FWD $117,300) Really liked his game. Elite speed and endurance but at just 70kg it is hard to see him getting early game time in 2015.
- Chris Knights (FWD $227,700) Injury savaged but has played 101 AFL games and has had a full preseason. Experience stood out and efficient with disposal. Averaged 90.6 in 2007. He is now on my serious watch list!
- Nick Vlastuin (DEF/MID $363,200) Started off in first quarter – got crunched in third. Has averaged 71 in his two seasons. Very solid in defence and a possible option in 2015. Watchlist.
- Taylor Hunt (DEF $290,300) Played loose off half back and and also spent time in the midfield. Hard to say at this stage if he will take on a tagging role. The word is that this may go to Grigg. Hunt has become relevant after this game as I do see him as a best 22 player after the departure of Jackson.
- Anthony Miles (MID $537,100) Sixth in clearance per game and averaged 24 disposals per game in 2014. Ball magnet again. Huge POD risk selection.
- Mitch Wallis (MID $340,700) Some good contested possessions. Did not tag. Perhaps Luke Beveridge will let him loose in the midfield? If so, he becomes slightly relevant, however, very hard to select in the midfield at this price.
- Robert Murphy (DEF $475,700) Heading into his 16th season with an average of 83 across his 271 games. Relevant due to defensive wilderness yet high risk in my opinion, due to struggling fortunes of the Bulldogs.
- Marcus Bontempeli (FWD/MID $422,300) Just Ok and against the Tigers’ seconds. Coming into his second season makes him a risk as he would have to elevate his average from 79 to 95 to make him relevant. Need to see a lot more
Over to you community – what significance did you extract from the game?