This match was a full on dress rehearsal, Community.
With Round 1 just over two weeks away, West Coast and Melbourne fielded near full-strength line ups and played with an intensity rarely seen in the JLT Community Series so far.
Both sides had a red hot crack and it was a good opportunity to see how they will structure up for the opening round.
While the Eagles got over the line by 25 points, it was a much closer contest than that.
Even though there probably wasn’t as much SuperCoach relevance as the Dogs and Suns tussle earlier this evening, a positive was I didn’t have to subject myself to listening to Dermott Brereton’s commentary, which was a welcome relief.
Here a few standout observations from this contest:
- The Mitchell factor will significantly benefit the rest of West Coast’s midfielders. He was ridiculous tonight.
- Max Gawn will most likely play in tandem with Jake Spencer in Round 1. This is slightly concerning.
- Clayton Oliver is well and truly emerging.
- Christian Petracca is a trap.
- This match had very little SuperCoach rookie relevance. Actually none whatsoever.
Sam Mitchell | MID | $568,000
As a West Coast supporter, he has me absolutely frothing. 38 touches tonight, the majority of them handballs. Sam is encouraging the Eagles into a more handball-friendly style, which has them moving the ball swiftly through the middle. It should also not be underestimated how much this bloke will improve West Coast’s midfield. Expect the likes of Shuey, Priddis, Gaff and Sheed to improve their averages in 2017 with this efficiency jet cruising alongside them.
Mark LeCras | FWD | $428,600
The Frenchman kept his illustrious set of hair perfectly intact, as is his trademark. He was bloody lively early and finished with 2.2. As Jock has previously flagged, he always looks a million bucks in the pre season, but doesn’t have the consistency to be considered when the real stuff comes around.
Andrew Gaff | MID | $493,300
How much does this guy look like the nostalgic children’s puppet Agro? Remember him? Agro was always known for his feisty attitude and ability to “tell it like it is”. Gaffy doesn’t share a similar personality, but he let’s his footy do the talking. Another workman-like performance with 35 possessions at bloody 97 per cent efficiency! The Mitchell-influence in full effect.
Dom Sheed | MID | $267,400
One of Higgo’s favourites. Played nearly a full game, but failed to win any fans tonight with a quiet match. Way down the pecking order in West Coast’s midfield. Just 19 touches.
Brad Sheppard | DEF | $356,600
Chris Masten | MID | $408,900
Had 28 touches to three-quarter-time. Finished with 34 for the match at 85% efficiency. He has these impressive games every now and then, but can never back it up consistently.
Sharrod Wellingham | MID | $344,000
10 touches in the first term alone. 31 for the match. Was good rebounding in defence.
Elliot Yeo | MID/FWD | $409,200
Fair bit of it early. Looked very good in flashes, but he’s too inconsistent to seriously consider as a forward option. Had 28 touches in another deceiving pre season outing from the yo-yo man.
Matthew Priddis | MID | $593,800
Like Joel Selwood, the golly wog-haired one is being grossly underestimated in SuperCoach circles this season. Again poised to average 110+. The Mitchell impact will be enormous. 27 touches tonight.
Luke Shuey | MID | $574,500
Threatening to become uber elite in 2017. The additions to West Coast’s list will only benefit him. But he was a bit quiet tonight. Only 19 touches.
Josh Kennedy | MID | $532,200
Along with Tommy Lynch and Buddy, one of the few key position forwards that should come under consideration for selection in our FWD lines. Finished with 5.4 in an effortless display. Judging by JJK’s scores the past couple of seasons, you know what you get with him. There will be some 150+ scores, backed up with some -50 stinkers. Strap yourself in and get ready for the ride.
Nathan Vardy | RUC | $265,500
Probably won his spot as the second ruck option if Lycett is passed fit for Round 1. Had a good first quarter and looks very athletic for a big man. Kicked 2.0 for the match.
Drew Petrie | FWD | $356,400
Didn’t get enough of it. Round 1 unlikely.
Jeremy McGovern | DEF | $478,000
Was the usual irresistible McGovern. Intercepted brilliantly and mopped up in defence with little effort. Reads the play as good as any player in the competition.
Lewis Jetta | MID | $318,300
Started with some decent viscosity. Has speed. And good skills. Looks an improved player in 2017. But he still won’t find enough of the pill to be considered.
Shannon Hurn | DEF | $448,400
Bloody great bloke, Bunga. Salt of the earth. Remains captain, and while he is in charge he’ll continue to sacrifice his game when the team needs it. Despite his notable weapon of a booming right foot, he isn’t relevant while he remains top dog at the Eagles.
Jackson Nelson | DEF | $266,000
This young buck is trying to cement a permanent place in the Eagles’ 22, and probably enhanced his prospects slightly tonight.
Eric Mackenzie | MID | $354,500
Is a key position defender still yet to fully recover from a knee reco. Pass.
Josh Hill, Jamie Cripps, Jack Darling, Mark Hutchings | MID | $568,000
All had their moments, but are considerably irrelevant when it comes to SuperCoach.
Notable absentees: Nic Naitanui, Jack Redden, Liam Duggan, Sam Butler, Scott Lycett
Jesse Hogan | FWD | $417,600
Mark my words, this kid is destined to be something incredibly special. Has improved his set-shot kicking. Finished with 2.2, but showed plenty. Melbourne supporters would be absolutely frothing about what can produce in the coming seasons.
Nathan Jones | MID | $527,800
Nathan is the beating heart of this Melbourne side. When “Heart” Jones plays well, so do his beloved Demons. Played up to his name tonight. Warrior-like. But it was not quite enough.
Christian Salem | DEF | $379,500
Looked horrible at the start but worked his way into the game nicely. Finished with 18 touches and a goal. May tempt…but steer clear.
Jack Watts | FWD | $457,500
The prodigal son finally managed to earn a game for the Dees. Much has been made of Wattsy’s place at MFC after missing the first two JLT matches. Looked alright tonight.
Christian Petracca | FWD | $395,600
He’s a trap. Barely got near it in the first half. Brayshaw a better option as a cheaper FWD/MID in my opinion. Will have the odd good game in 2017, but will also produce stinkers like this. Buyer beware.
Jordan Lewis | MID | $540,600
Nice hug with former team-mate Mitchell before the match. Will certainly help out the young gun mids at the Demons this season. Gathered a number of his trade mark contested possessions. Finished with 29 possessions. Can’t see him being relevant this season, though.
Jack Viney | MID | $527,500
Thriving off the extra leadership responsibilities. Top 8 mid though? Nope. Not yet, anyway. Only 17 touches tonight.
Angus Brayshaw | MID/FWD | $353,100
The nephew of James has some serious talent. Started strongly with a goal and a number of touches early. Based on this match, his FWD status is tempting at his price. Does he have the consistent durability or point scoring capacity to make him an option in 2017? Questionable.
Max Gawn | RUC | $645,000
Didn’t really get out of second gear but still looked ominous. Based on his final score it must be a concern Jake Spencer could be playing in tandem with him in the home and away season. This seems to be impacting Max’s output from what we’ve seen so far. He’s still much safer than #Nankilands in my opinion though.
Dom Tyson | MID | $493,000
Honest performance. Very much what we’ve come to expect from young Dominic. Can’t see him ever reaching the upper echelon of AFL midfielders, though.
Clayton Oliver | MID | $382,500
Will emerge this season, Community. Mark my words. From what we saw tonight, could finish 2017 as Melbourne’s number one midfielder. That’s how good he looked. Finished with 31 touches, 13 of them contested, plus 7 tackles. Has been identified as one of the next midfield beasts in the Jock Reynolds Magazine. Didn’t do anything to disprove that tonight. Regular minutes in a midfield ensconced with talent is the biggest question facing Oliver in 2017. But from what he showed this evening, he will get plenty of opportunities. Strongly consider as a mid-price option. Could be better than Swallow and O’Meara.
Billy Stretch | MID | $371,000
Quick bastard. But not enough of the pill.
Bernie Vince | DEF/MID | $501,100
Barely sighted in the first half. Many are considering him for a D3 spot. Cross him off if tonight is anything to go by. Looked bloody rubbish.
Tom McDonald | DEF | $488,200
Is Melbourne’s general in the backline and provided good rebound combined with some timely intercept marks. Not enough of the pill though to worry the SuperCoach scorers too much.
Sam Weideman | MID | $219,400
Would be a good acquisition as a rookie, but his price just makes him too awkward, especially for a key forward.
Jayden Hunt | DEF | $324,400
The young man was very impressive. Has speed to burn and provides fantastic dash and rebound from half back. Kicked a super goal and looked very lively. Finished with 27 touches is a strong display. One of Melbourne’s best.
Tomas Bugg | MID | $402,300
Played a pretty decent game with 21 touches. Priced too awkwardly to consider, though.
Jake Spencer | RUC | $236,400
Big lumbering bastard. Looks more like a caveman than Maxy does. He could be a possible detriment to our sides. Goodwin seems to have a strong interest in playing him in tandem with Max, which could spell danger. Max doesn’t strike as the sort of bloke that likes sharing ruck duties. If Jake the Snake is picked round one, things will get interesting.
Oscar McDonald, Jake Melksham, Colin Garland, James Harmes, Alex Neal-Bullen
Are all slightly different players, but all irrelevant to us in SuperCoach this season.
Notable absentees: Michael Hibberd, Dean Kent, Jack Trengove, Cam Pedersen, Aaron vandenBerg, Jay Kennedy-Harris, Jeff Garlett, Neville Jetta