Come one, come all – come on down to Mr Patch’s magical emporium of captains.
We’re back to nine whole games this week, which means a whole bunch of captaincy options. Sadly, that also means we have fewer loophole options without bye players. If you don’t have any loophole players, now’s the perfect time to bring them in, but if you don’t have any then you’re playing this game ridiculously well.
Mutch and Ridley would be two popular captains this week as Essendon plays on a Sunday, while our rookie ruck captains Lynch and Olango both hit the field on Saturday. That said, the one benefit of a Thursday game is it gives us more times for captaincy selections, and boy do we have some in Richmond playing Sydney.
RICHMOND vs SYDNEY
MCG, 7.20PM Thursday
No rain about in Melbourne and Sydney’s form means Lance Franklin is always a chance to set the big stage alight, and in what’s being billed as the grand final preview he’s got no better time to send a message to the Tigers. However, his last score against them was a paltry 48 against the yellow and black. Buddy is a rollercoaster at the best of times, and a career average of 96.4 against Richmond doesn’t give me any indication of his chances to go huge against them. Got to ask yourself if you feel lucky, punk.
If you don’t feel lucky, Isaac Heeney is the safe option here. Averaging 113 in his last five matches, with 128 and 134 in his past two roadtrips. That said, his most recent score at the ‘G is 78. Dustin Martin isn’t an option in my eyes – he’s got to earn that captaincy right back before I chuck a VC on him. Jake Lloyd and JPK are smokies, although Lloyd has only had the one purple patch of his past five games (for an average of 121).
WESTERN BULLDOGS vs GEELONG
Etihad Stadium, 7.50PM Friday
The Doggies have lost Jack Macrae, removing a very easy VC option from this game. Fortunately, Geelong provide plenty more. Patrick Dangerfield is likely to get a lot of supply up forward and could kick a bag, Joel Selwood could get off the chain at the bottom of the pack – Dunkley tag pending. Gary Ablett also plays for Geelong and is also quite good at this football business. Averages a lazy 123 against the Doggies, too.
In the blue, white and red we’ve got the community’s champion Toby McLean as a springheeled option, but the one I’d be looking at is Marcus Bontempelli. The man is seriously talented and will need to drag his side over the line this week if they’re any hope of getting close to the Cats. A safer bet than any of the other options, possibly bar Selwood.
CARLTON vs PORT ADELAIDE
MCG, 1.45PM Saturday
Did someone say Patrick Cripps? If not, someone needs to say it. So I will. Patrick Cripps. He scored 187 last week. Do I need say more?
On the other foot, you heard of a bloke called Robbie Gray? Carlton haven’t been the best at stopping people kicking bags of goals on ’em this year, and Robbie has a penchant for kicking bags of those things when the time comes, and has also being playing in the midfield for stretches of this year. Both of those things lead to lots of points.
Paddy Ryder is an option if The Kreuz isn’t named, as is The Hoff, who has gone over 140 twice this year. If he’s going to do it again, it’ll be against the Blues (sorry Lekdog). That said, his last two scores against them are 80 and 95.
ADELAIDE vs WEST COAST
Optus Stadium, 2.35PM Saturday
It’s Elliot Yeo or bust in this game for me. Andrew Gaff has a high score of 127 against the Weagles yet only averages 80-odd against them, Luke Shuey is in all sorts and Nic Nat only has six tons for the year. Yeo only averages 70 against the Crows, but is running through the midfield this season and looking consistent.
On the Adelaide side, there’s not much. I’m not gambling on a returning Rory Laird, who has only scored a 70-odd and an 80-odd in his last outings against the South Australians, and the rest of them are just… not all that good fantasy options. Pass.
GOLD COAST vs COLLINGWOOD
Metricon Stadium, 7.25PM Saturday
If there was any game I had to pick Brodie Grundy to drop a sub-par score, it’s this one. Only averages 73 against the fledgling club, and is coming up against his old stable-mate in Jarrod Witts. Not only does old mate know Grundy inside and out in the air, Brodie won’t have a shot once the ball hits the ground because Steele Sidebottom, Scott Pendlebury and co. will have the ball whisked away faster than Grundy can get his gargantuan mitts on the thing.
The Collingwood midfield brigade are a good option here, with Pendles a chance to break free of the tagging role due to Adam Treloar‘s injury and also the lack of tag targets in the Gold Coast side.
There is literally no-one worth captaining from Gold Coast.
GWS vs HAWTHORN
Spotless Stadium, 7.25PM Saturday
Two of the game’s premier midfielders in Tom Mitchell and Josh Kelly go head-to-head on Saturday night, and one of them will go big. Despite letting us down last week, Titch averages 108 against the Giants and absolutely loves going after them, with a 130 against them in his last showing. On the flipside, Kelly averages 118 against the Hawks. One hundred and eighteen. His last score was 134. He has only two games against them for that 134 and a 100, but hey.
Also James Sicily has been in decent form, and without old mate Jezza Cameron is more likely to be floating free across the half back line against the Giants, for potentially big numbers. Stephen Gonigliog probably needs to play himself back into form, and don’t @ me about Lachie Whitfield.
ST KILDA vs MELBOURNE
MCG, 1.10PM Sunday
Maxwell Gawn is the man. His three scores at the ‘G this year have been 76, 121 and 151 and is coming up against a St Kilda outfit without a strong midfield or a strong ruckman. Lock him in for a big score. Tom McDonald is another one you could throw in, but he’s the sort of player I’d be looking to VC as opposed to captaining.
Jack Billings could be a VC option, but not as a captaincy option. God no.
ESSENDON vs NORTH MELBOURNE
Etihad Stadium, 3.20PM Sunday
Do you trust Zac Merrett? He’s probably the number one option in this game, which doesn’t fill me with confidence considering he’s in line for a Ben Jacobs tag. In a vein of form after three tons in a row, but I’m iffy on him. The players I’m not iffy on are Todd Goldstein, who’s hit five tons in a row and looks in excellent form, and Shaun Higgins. Higgins loves Etihad, too, with tons in every game at the venue except for the match he was knocked out in after half time. My pick from this game.
FREMANTLE vs BRISBANE
Optus Stadium, 4.40PM Sunday
Fyfe is lyfe. I don’t know what more to say here, so I will say naught.
PATCH’S TOP FIVE
1. Nat Fyfe
2. Patrick Cripps
3. Robbie Gray
4. Josh Kelly
5. Marcus Bontempelli
Smokie: Justin Westhoff