Footy’s back and isn’t it bloody magnificent, Community.
Plenty of talking points came out of this season’s opening round and there were some big upsets to boot.
The Power shocked the Swans at the SCG, Essendon did the business against the now-mortal Hawks, while Adelaide’s huge win over GWS raised a few eyebrows and proved the Giants are certainly not invincible.
Many SuperCoaches faced a battle to avoid some mediocre on-field scores from some of the popular rookie selections, with those who managed to dodge these bullets registering respectable totals.
Judging from the results I’ve seen, it looks like the 2200-2300 mark was around par.
Personally, I finished with 2338, which wasn’t bad considering I copped sub 60 scores from Hampton, Otten, Taranto and Stewart.
Those who picked gun West Coast full forward Josh Kennedy (174 SC) were handsomely rewarded when he smashed out a monster score on the back of 7 goals straight. Richmond’s Dustin Martin (159 SC) put on an absolute clinic on Thursday night, nailing 4 goals to go with his 33 touches which included one epic 75-metre torp. But keep in mind, he was only playing Carlton.
Dyson Heppell (152 SC) was enormous for the Bombers in their win over the Hawks with 34 possessions, including 16 contested, 3 goals and 7 tackles. He also went at a slick 82% efficiency. Partners in crime Zach Merrett (126 SC) and Brendon Goddard (123 SC) also enjoyed standout matches.
Adelaide’s Rory Laird (147 SC) could well finish this season as SuperCoach’s top defender if this display was anything to go by. He amassed 40 possessions at 85% efficiency in a brilliant performance. I find it staggering that more coaches have not started with the Rolls Royce Scott Pendlebury (146 SC). He was at his sublime best for Collingwood on Friday night, rewarding those who did pick him handsomely.
Tom Rockliff (137 SC) demonstrated playing alongside Dayne Beams will not hinder his output with an outstanding game for Brisbane, racking up a massive 37 touches, 23 of them contested. Patrick Dangerfield (138 SC) cemented his position as a perma-captaincy option, as if we didn’t know that already. Only had it 24 times, but 9 tackles and 3 goals helped boost his score.
Higgo’s left-field decision to go with Port bull Ollie Wines (125 SC) paid immediate dividends, while Swans Josh Kennedy (134 SC) and Buddy Franklin (125 SC) were their side’s two best players in their surprise loss. Marc Murphy (138 SC), Max Gawn (128 SC) and Jason Johannisen (126 SC) were others to enjoy impressive games.
— Carl Pfeiffer (@CarlPfeiffer9) March 26, 2017
Popular mid-price selections Jaeger O’Meara (71 SC) and Jarryd Roughead (73 SC) were both solid but somewhat underwhelming. Their owners will be hoping they improve as the season goes on after coming back from extended stints out of the game.
Port’s Robbie Gray (38 SC) copped a knee to the head early in the match which hindered his output, finishing with just 8 touches. A decision by Sydney’s Dan Hannebery (52 SC) to get off the piss during the off season doesn’t seem to be working at the minute, as he had an absolute stinker and struggled to find the footy.
Those who took the plunge and went in with Tom Hickey (44 SC) in the ruck would have been bitterly disappointed as he was towelled up by Maxy Gawn. Alex Rance (59 SC) and Patrick Cripps (50 SC) were both very disappointing on Thursday night, but will get better as the season progresses.
Caleb Marchbank (97 SC), Dan Butler (96 SC) and Mitch Hannan (96 SC) were the standout rookie performers and their owners should be starting them onfield next week based on these performances. Essendon defender Andrew McGrath (83 SC) has significant SuperCoach pedigree and showed he can shine on the big stage after an underwhelming JLT series, while those who went with Will Hoskin-Elliott (88 SC) in their forward lines over Tim Taranto would have been smiling smugly.
Gold Coast small forward Ben Ainsworth (79 SC) looked at home at AFL level, however fellow debutant Jack Bowes (64 SC) was a little quieter. Sam Powell-Pepper (78 SC) boosted his score with 2 goals, while Power team-mate Dan Houston (72 SC) is also shaping as a good pick. Sam Petrevski-Seton (59 SC) showed some good signs for the Blues and has a truckload of talent.
While some rookies repaid the faith, plenty of others put up disappointing performances and are at risk of being omitted this week. Depending on selections, correction trades may need to be made before all our rooks hit the bubble in round 3.
Sydney’s Oliver Florent (44 SC) and GWS’ Tim Taranto (44 SC) struggled to get up to the pace of AFL footy and could be dropped next week after finishing with only 8 and 13 touches respectively. North rookies Mitch Hibbard (23 SC), Jy Simpkin (35 SC), Declan Mountford (43 SC) and Brayden Pruess (44 SC) all looked raw and overawed by the occasion against a rampant West Coast side.
Adelaide pair Andy Otten (45 SC) and Curtly Hampton (50 SC) were both under par but look to have done enough to hold their spots next week. Those who started popular Brisbane selection Jake Barrett (46 SC) on field would have been disappointed, after he gathered just 11 possessions at 54% efficiency. Despite Port’s big win, Brett Eddy (30 SC) failed to hit the scoreboard while Carlton’s Jarrod Pickett (29 SC) is also be facing the axe after failing to get near it on Thursday night.
Premo forward Nick Riewoldt (105 SC) performed as expected, but the bad news for his owners is he has a knee injury which will put him out for around 4 weeks, meaning he will need to be traded out immediately. Ironically, Riewoldt also fell on Melbourne debutant Joel Smith (23 SC), who dislocated his shoulder. He will need to be traded out also.