And we’re back!
Another season brings renewed optimism in the SuperCoach community and an array of high scores from many premiums only served to whet our appetites.
There were plenty of Heroes, some Villains as well and already some blokes that have to be traded.
Par for Round 1 seems to be around the 2250-2300 mark.
If the opening fixture is anything to go by, we look set for a cracking season.
It remains an absolute mystery as to why more coaches didn’t start with the great Lance Franklin (175 SC). The big Bud slammed home eight goals in an ominous performance and looks a must-have in the forward line if he continues on his current form. Swans teammate Luke Parker (149 SC) was also in sparkling touch, with his 18 contested possessions and brilliant bicycle goal late in the match helping him to go big.
Tom Mitchell (167 SC) smashed a host of records in his 54-possession masterclass and left little doubt he will be at minimum a top five midfielder this season. The SuperCoach beast had an incredible 27 contested possessions and nine clearances and must lick his lips every time he lines up against Nathan Buckley’s Collingwood.
The old man Kade Simpson (150 SC) wound back the clock to produce a vintage display on Thursday night. With Sam Docherty out for the season he appears to have become Carlton’s go-to man once again in defence and shapes as an excellent pick in defence. Teammate Patrick Cripps (130 SC) did what we all expected him to do – rack up a truckload of contested ball. The Carlton wrecking ball had a staggering 25 contested possessions and nine clearances. But it is the emergence of Charlie Curnow (126 SC) that must have really excited his fans and owners. The tyro slotted five majors and looks set to break out.
GWS had an absolute day out against a lacklustre Western Bulldogs side, with Toby Greene (131 SC), Stephen Coniglio (129 SC) and Dylan Shiel (129 SC) the main benefices in their thumping 82-point drubbing. On Thursday night, Dustin Martin (139 SC) did Dustin Martin things. Thirty-two touches, 19 contested possessions and six clearances helped him guide the Tigers home against a plucky Blues outfit.
If big Maxy Gawn (139 SC) had kicked that goal to win his side the match against Geelong, we would have been looking at a 160+ return. Still, the Beard proved he is back with 47 hit outs. Jarrod Witts (131 SC) looms as a bolter to be in the top three scoring ruckman with a powerful effort for the Suns.
Adelaide half back maestro Rory Laird (137 SC) had the pill 35 times at an elite efficiency rate of 87 per cent in a prolific outing, while Jack Billings (133 SC) seems destined to break out for the Saints after picking up 26 touches, nine marks and kicking 2.3 against Brisbane.
Other notable scores: Blake Aches (144 SC), Dyson Heppell (142 SC), Justin Westhoff (140 SC), Jack Steven (135 SC), David Zaharakis (131 SC), James Sicily (125 SC).
No, Dayne Zorko (32 SC) wasn’t injured. He played a full match being tagged by Jack Steele and had it only 14 times at a disgusting efficiency rate of 21 per cent. It’s a performance that would be considered an absolute abomination by his coaches. His mate Dayne Beams (69 SC) wasn’t much better.
Kane Lambert (71 SC) could not get near the pill in the first half and was lucky to finish with the score he did while thousands of owners would have been disappointed with Nat Fyfe (75 SC). The Brownlow medallist received a hard tag from Brad Ebert and was quiet. After appearing in majestic form in the pre-season, let’s hope he doesn’t tease his owners again like last year.
Marcus Bontempelli (63 SC) and Tom Rockliff (55 SC) were well below their best and may take some time to warm into the season, while David Armitage (79 SC) could be the equivalent of a mid-price tease after failing to replicate his pre-season form.
The owners of Michael Hibberd (74 SC) shouldn’t be too concerned with a quiet game for the Dees, as he showed his scoring ability with a 40-point last quarter to avoid a sub-50 return. There remains doubt over the role of Sam Menegola (74 SC) at the Cats, while West Coast’s Jack Redden (64 SC) will be up and down in scoring this season, much like his team is expected to be.
With the losses of Nathan Wilson to Freo and Zach Williams to injury there was always going to be a chance Heath Shaw (114 SC) would return to his effective role as half back general at the Giants. Heater showed enough on the weekend to demonstrate he could very well go back to his scoring days of old.
One of the great stories of the weekend was the return of West Coast ruckman Nic Naitanui (113 SC). After more than a year and half out of the game the magnificent physical specimen picked up where he left off, showing he doesn’t need to get high volume of possessions to be an excellent scorer.
Although he’s technically a rookie and comes at an elevated price of $260k, Port Adelaide third-year half back Riley Bonner (119 SC) looks to have locked in a designated role in the Power’s back six. The kid had 31 possessions at 80 per cent and looks to be excellent value for money.
Speaking of value, Geelong mature-age prospect Tim Kelly (118 SC) would have got plenty of tongues wagging. He had 27 touches, 13 of them contested, and they love him down at the Cattery. Fellow mature-ager Nick Holman (97 SC) looks to another excellent on-field option in the midfield, racking up an impressive 13 tackles in water-logged conditions for the Suns.
Defensive trio Jeremy Finlayson (87 SC), Tom Doedee (86 SC) and Sam Murray (72 SC) looked right at home in defence for their respective sides and coaches should be able to start them on field with some degree of confidence.
A couple of surprise packets in Tim English (83 SC) and Lachlan Fogerty (82 SC) produced solid performances and should be placed on our watchlists.
Other rookie scores: Jarrod Garlett (63 SC), Jaidyn Stephenson (62 SC), Bailey Fritsch (60 SC), Andrew Brayshaw (58 SC), Bailey Banfield (52 SC), Jake Waterman (51 SC), Billy Gowers (49 SC), Zac Giles-Langdon (47 SC), Darcy Fogarty (45 SC), Dom Barry (44 SC), Hunter Clark (40 SC), Cameron Rayner (38 SC), Liam Ryan (38 SC), Daniel Venebles (37 SC), Patrick Dow (35 SC), Esava Ratugolea (32 SC), Lachlan Murphy (32 SC), Luke Davies-Uniacke (25 SC), Aaron Naughton (25 SC).
Tom Libratore (13 SC) has been forced to undergo another knee reconstruction in a devastating blow to the Bulldogs larrikin. Gun ruckman Patrick Ryder (68 SC) also looks set to miss an extended period with dreaded achillies soreness.
Zach Merrett (17 SC) was taken out by Richard Douglass early in his match and did not return. It’s his second concussion in a month and the Bombers are set to take a conservative approach with him, meaning he’s unlikely for Round 2. The kid is a gun though and definitely worth holding on to at least for another week.
Matthew Kruezer (74 SC) was clearly hindered by groin issues on Thursday night and also faces a stint on the sidelines. Another wait and see.