What started as a thoroughly dull game of football ended as a reasonably exciting finish between the Eagles and the Suns in Joondalup (which is up there with Woolloomooloo in the echelons of Great Australian Names for Places).
The Suns were in front all night despite leaving a full half of their best 22 on the beach and the Eagles missing a small handful of stars. It was only when Jeremy McGovern made the most of his second opportunity to kick a last minute match-winner with 4 seconds on the clock did the Eagles get ahead.
But enough about the football, you’ll get that in the papers and on the news interwebs. We don’t care about the game. We care about the points. Let’s get into the analysis.
Absent Best 22
West Coast – Shuey, Wellingham, Masten (who is out for a few months), Sheed.
Gold Coast – oh boy, here we go… Ablett, Swallow (LTI), Prestia, O’Maera, Malceski, Kolodjashnij, Rosa, Nicholls, Rischitelli, May, Lynch and Thompson all not playing.
Jesse Lonergan hurt his ankle midway through the third after racking up 11 touches through the midfield.
After a solid quarter and a half of receiving and giving handballs, Lewis Jetta also got a knock to the ankle and went and had a shower.
Mitch Brown (not the Essendon one) had one touch to half time in his first game back before hurting his hand and coming off both the field and our Supercoach watch lists.
A few other players got knocks, but ended up back on the field, including Jeremy McGovern, who kept sticking his arm underneath packs, which I still maintain is a bad idea for someone with really terrible shoulders. Or a bad idea in general, to be honest.
I was really impressed with the Suns. For a side with 900-odd games experience, and 100 of those games from Harbrow, they stood up and applied a lot of pressure to an experienced West Coast line up. The pressure acts stood out, from tackling to smothering to chasing, and generally looked much more composed than expected.
Individually, Lekdog’s man Aaron Hall had a staggering FIFTEEN tackles, attended the most centre bounces of the match and had got the ball nineteen times. Only 9 of those possessions went where he wanted them to go, mind you, but with O’Maera and Swallow out and Prestia in doubt, Aaron Hall could be quite the pick for early on in the season.
— Fantasy Freako (@FantasyFreako) March 3, 2016
Young gun Trent McKenzie stood up in a backline missing, well, everyone, grabbing 25 possessions, 21 by foot. I reckon those kicks would have travelled an average of 40 metres, too, including one that flew nearly 80 metres with the wind from full back. At 306K in Supercoach you get tempted when a bloke scores 171 (yep, one hundred and seventy-one points), but wait until he plays with Kolodjashnij and Malceski before you even think about him in Supercoach. In Coach Kings, however…
Trent McKenzie (DEF) – $5,100
16 effective kicks
3 marks against opposition kicks
3 hard ball gets
157 CoachKings pts
— Peter Higginbotham (@PeterHiggo) March 3, 2016
Jesse Lonergan, as I mentioned, was iced for a fair portion of the second half, and had it 11 times off the back flank before he went off. I wasn’t thrilled with what I saw, but he could be a good Coach Kings pick early in the season.
Sam Day looks like a bloody good Coach Kings pick, as he flies, takes intercept marks, spoils, tackles – the lot. I wouldn’t touch him in long form though. Took an absolute screamer.
On the rookie front, I was really impressed with Peter Wright, who looks to have taken Charlie Dixon’s spot as his own. “2 Metre Peter” kicked 2.2, had 5 strong marks and 7 disposals. Probably not consistent enough for 187K forward, but my he looked good. Dan MacPherson might as well have not played, as I saw his surfer boy hair once, and that was when he had a mark taken over him by Brad Sheppard late in the last. Finally, Callum Ah Chee had flashes of brilliance, but very little else. Avoid.
Jack Martin attacked the ball well and looked very good, but didn’t get enough of it to score for us. He also played very deep forward.
Last year’s rookie saviours, Touk Miller and Adam Saad, both played well in parts – Saad in particular had one gorgeous stretch of play where he took on about 6 Eagles running through the square – but had 20 and 10 disposals respectively. Neither are fantasy relevant now they are mid-priced players.
Annoying we still haven’t had a look at Tom Nicholls in the ruck, as Daniel Currie still sort of flails about against much more experienced ruckmen. He had 21 hit outs, and his 7 tackles were encouraging, and the 95 supercoach points surprising, but I doubt he’ll have that much of an impact as a second ruckman. If Nicholls goes down or plays forward, consider, but until then no.
Hallahan, Shaw and Lemmens all ran around in the middle and got some 18-odd disposals, but they won’t be there when the real stuff starts and are all really annoying prices. Let’s move on.
The Eagles spent a lot of time doing not much. They didn’t really attack it with intensity, preferring to wait to collect the ball on the half back line, which is where all my attention was this game.
Shannon Hurn revelled in playing a rebounding defender role, and not a key position as he did for most of last year. He looked composed and in control off the half back flank. While he only had 16 disposals, 12 of them were kicks, and that’s how he scores his points. I’m eagerly awaiting NAB4 against Essendon.
After being maligned for a lot of last week, Elliot Yeo had more of an impact in this game, with 15 touches.
However, I spotted Yeo deep forward on several occasions, and didn’t see too much work done out of the middle by him. He ended with 54 points, and lost his spot on my watchlist.
Like his captain, swingman Jeremy McGovern also enjoyed running through the middle, racking up intercept marks, 16 touches and 2 goals, including the match winner. I don’t know how much this winning goal added to his 111 points, though, Also, with Scott Lycett in the side, we saw none of the rucking he was touted for in February. Both he and Hurn are being very heavily considered. McGovern also picked up 160 CoachKings points.
McGovern misses soda then kicks one from 50 to win. I'm going to ride with him in Supercoach. He'll go off injured 80 times. But he's a gun
— Jon Ralph (@RalphyHeraldSun) March 3, 2016
The forgotten member of the West Coast half back line, Brad Sheppard, impressed me a lot tonight. 20 disposals at 76% spoke volumes. He’s another one of these 400K tempting bastards in the defence line, and has replaced Yeo on my scouting list.
Nic Naitanui is an absolute jet. 10 disposals, 28 hitouts and 3,462 moments where you just have to reassess how a human can be this athletic and freaky and still somehow be human. He took strong contested marks, pouched hitouts to advantage, and had 7 monstrous tackles. 103 points. Need another look but without Scott Lycett (who spent a long while in the ruck for 16 hitouts) he is hard to resist.
Lock Marc LeCras in for pretty much every West Coast clash that pops up in CoachKings. The little master was pulling the ball from everywhere, picking up 25 possies and 2.3 that would have been 5 straight had the gale not been a-thundering like it was. 142 Supercoach.
Matt Priddis had the ball 26 times and used it reasonably well. 18 of his 24 were handballs, but 18 possessions were contested, and he had 8 tackles, which resulted with just a cool 155 Supercoach points. You know what you get with Priddis. Similarly, Andrew Gaff had it 30 times for 10 contested, and looked reasonably good despite never going 100%.
Jack Darling and Josh Kennedy were kept busy by the wind. Look at them in Coach Kings, probably not in Supercoach.
Liam Duggan at 220K in the forward line had moments where he looked composed, and then moments where he didn’t. I think I’d steer clear and go with a Wells or a Menzel, but he is still an option. 9 disposals, 4 tackles.