To channel my inner Brian Taylor, boy oh boy wow-weee.
What a game we had for us tonight. High-scoring, free flowing, skilful and a seesawing lead gave us the first footy spectacle of 2016.
And, even better, it was choc a block full of fantasy relevance. Neither side left many quality players on the sidelines, and the match quality showed it. Both sides will massively improve on disappointing 2015 campaigns, and I fully expect both to give top sides like Freo and Sydney a run for their money.
Absent Best 22:
Collingwood – Pendlebury, Treloar, Cloke, Elliot, Moore – Phillips a notable absentee, too.
Geelong – Joel Selwood, Jimmy Bartel, Mitch Clark, Scott Selwood
Sam Menegola – looked like a hamstring, commentators discussed a PCL – we’ll know more over the next few days
Josh Smith – the rookie played a brilliant first half before a nasty knee knock ended his night.
But enough of that, I hear you say! Where oh where did James Aish play?
James Aish was possibly the most fantasy relevant Pie heading into tonight’s game, and he didn’t have a huge impact. 15 disposals, 9 by hand, 66% DE… the jury is still very much out on James Aish. He got plenty of midfield time and will improve the more games he plays, but don’t lock him away yet! He only ended with 55 points and is still not in my side – which you’ll see on Tuesday!
You’d be forgiven for thinking Scott Pendlebury was running around tonight, as his protégé Jordan De Goey gave Collingwood fans everything Pendles does and more through the guts – poise, precision, and collecting a lot of the pill. He kept lining up in the centre square and ended the night with 24 disposals, 17 of them kicks, 11 contested possessions, 4 tackles and 7 inside 50’s. At 318K as a FWD/MID, he has rocketed up my radar with his score of 95.
American import Mason Cox locked himself into many R3 positions tonight. The big lad had 7 disposals, 4 marks and 2 very composed goals for 68, and I reckon he’ll see game time this year. However, with Cloke and Moore still to return, he won’t be a walk-up starter.
Taylor Adams ran through the guts in the first half, collecting 7 disposals in the first quarter, but wasn’t sighted in the second half. I couldn’t figure out if he’d been benched but if he wasn’t, he might as well have been. 43 points.
Alex Fasolo had a night out, kicking 5 sausage rolls and 138 points, flaunting around the forward line like no-one’s business. He won’t do this every night, and at 407K I won’t touch him in longer formats, but jeez he’ll set some Coach Kings games alight this season.
I was very impressed with Jarrod Witts’ game, as he went after the ball on the ground, did well in the forward line and collected 8 disposals and a goal to go with his 32 hitouts for 99 supercoach points.
Corey Gault played well when he came on in the second half, Brent MacAffer survived half a game in the midfield, picking up 9 very nice disposals in his first game back from last year’s ACL complications. At 190K in the midfield, he’s one to keep an eye on. Rookie Josh Smith also impressed with 8 touches before coming off injured. Jesse White reaffirmed his position as Collingwood’s spud, and is last in the line of the big men down at the Pies.
Patrick Dangerfield is a star. He was going through the motions tonight, yet picked up 28 disposals, 3 goals and 133 points. We’ll all need him by the end of the year.
Geelong’s rookies played blinders tonight, with Lincoln McCarthy collected 86 points running through the midfield and into the forward line, bagging 11 disposals and a goal, but looked much more dangerous than that.
Naika Cockatoo will be a very good footballer, and put on a lot of pressure to go with his 13 disposals and 1.2 for 65 points, while Sam Menegola looked very good through the middle before doing his knee.
Mitch Duncan stood up in the Joel-Selwood-sized hole tonight, with 22 disposals and 117 points running through the middle. Many people have their eye on him as a breakout candidate, but I’m not sold on him. He does enough to remain on the radar tonight, but that’s about it.
Geelong’s new ruck stocks looked very, very good tonight as Zac Smith and Rhys Stanley (112 and 50 points respectively) showed off their athleticism and talent. I feel both will pinch too many points off each other for a consistent Supercoach season, but Smith looks to have the #1 slot down.
Smith kicked a Supergoal and had 15 hitouts and 13 disposals. Stanley had 8 disposals and 10 hitouts and appeared forward often. Mark Blicavs (55) played exclusively as a midfielder who went 3rd man up often, while Nathan Vardy played deep forward.
Jackson Thurlow looked very composed off a half back flank, providing a lot of run in the second quarter when the cats were on a roll. He dropped off in the second half, finishing with 16 disposals and only 71 points.
Daniel Menzel looked very comfortable, very good and leapt for lots of high marks. He ended with 100 points and at 260K is looking very tasty in the forward line.