MARSH SERIES REPORT | Essendon v West Coast
About five minutes into the first quarter I was ready to throw a cheeky pineapple on the Dons to win the flag, before remembering wanting to do that at this time last year, and the year before that… and the one before that.
Essendon looked hungry and good and intense and our ball movement was brilliant, but West Coast weren’t overly keen on putting on the pressure we’ll see in round one. We had a few rookies put their hands up, some forward mid-priced teases put their cases forward and Tim Kelly looked like a ferrari in a midfield missing Yeo and Gaff.
The Bombers had most of their run off half-back gone as well as Hooker, Daniher, Heppell and a bunch of other mids and half-back flankers. Brynn Teackle (number 47) and Nigel Lockyer (number 46) got a run for the Bombers to try and nab the last spot on the list. Neither had stats available but won’t crack round one based on this game.
Oh, there was also lightning which called the game off for like 10 minutes in the second quarter. Also Essendon won 14.11.95 to 13.9.87 for people who like those sorts of numbers.
Devon Smith $335,800 FWD/MID – Oh boy, this’ll divide people. Started in a high half-forward role and had no centre bounce attendances which I saw in the first half, and didn’t start on a wing too many times which had a lot of people jumping off at the (second) main break.
However, the Lunchmeat heated up in the third, starting on a wing more frequently. It was his first game for over 12 months, too. I’d want to see another run from him before selecting him but I’m ready to forgive the slow first half. Had 20 touches and six tackles. Don’t cross him off just yet, but Heppell’s still to come back.
Zach Merrett $573,600 MID – Holy moly does he look FIT and HUNGRY. Had a disappointing year by his standards last year but was in everything early. The last thing anyone should do is lock him based on this match alone – the Bombers had so much more to prove than the Eagles and as such were going much harder, especially after he went missing in the second.
His stat numbers looked like he had full time on ground but by game’s end the numbers showed him having 65 per cent time on ground for 74 points. I like those numbers. One to consider at a point of difference if you like those sort of things.
Andrew McGrath $399,400 MID – Had 42 points from 10 touches in the first quarter playing as a pure midfielder. Seven of them were contested and he’s bulked up. Forget Townsend and Hibberd – is McGrath the Dons’ new contested beast? He was thrown around a bit in the second half and finished with 94. I still feel his role is as a midfielder, but I won’t even toy with him unless I see 70 per cent game time plus in the guts against Geelong. High on the watchlist though.
Brandon Zerk-Thatcher $189,000 DEF – I really rate the kid, and with Paddy Ambrose out for three months that spot is his to lose. He made his debut in the final round last year and I’m filthy on the Dons for bumping up his 2020 price.
He had 61 points tonight while spending most of his time lined up on JJK, so I’m not sure what he averages, but I wouldn’t be expecting too many 100-point games from him. It will mean Michael Hurley and Cale Hooker are likely to play lockdown roles, though, so if for some reason you were considering Hurley – stop considering Hurley. In my side for now, if only because of his job security.
Darcy Parish $465,400 MID/FWD – Wouldn’t be in the conversation without the forward eligibilty and scored 115 from 29 touches, with 13 contested. Started forward and rotated through the guts – watch those mid minutes next start because I’m not sold just yet.
Andrew Phillips $403,100 RUC Looks really solid as a ruckman. Put up decent numbers as the number one ruck at Carlton, and looked really serviceable early. Was sharing dutieis with Teakle during the game which he won’t do during the season but you’d have wanted to see more if you were after a cheap POD. Had 72 points from 12 touches.
Jacob Townsend $222,900 FWD – hit some crunching tackles but started very deep forward. Will likely be used in tandem with Jake Stringer as similar players, but neither are fantasy relevant at this stage. Had 61 points.
Irving Mosquito $123,900 FWD – YES! We finally get to see him in action and as an Essendon fan he’s an excitement machine. Sat out for the first half but got on in the second and looked very flashy and very exciting. I’m not sure he plays, and if he does I don’t know if he scores as a small forward. Only had 23 points tonight, but from 30 per cent game time.
The others: Young key forward Harrison Jones looked impressive for his first outing but won’t play regular season, and if he does he’ll average 15. While Brayden Ham looked really good and is cheapish at 200k, he was filling in for Saad (All stars game) and McKenna (drinking guinness). Aaron Francis looked rusty and probably won’t be fantasy relevant despite my love of him and Cian McBride looked… fine? Probably won’t play at 102k.
Will Snelling looked excellent and bullocking an good for the Bombers, but
I’m not touching him with a barge pole at 321k in the mids. HE’S A FORWARD! Another mid-price option! One to watch next week after scoring 119 floating between forward and the midfield. Dylan Shiel and Kyle Langford both scored tons but aren’t relevant for mine.
Jarrod Brander $133,000 DEF/FWD – After being touted as someone to move up the wing in 2020, Brander started deep up forward. He did move up the ground in the second quarter though, only to be relegated back to the forward line. I don’t know why, you’d think with a few key cogs missing in the midfield it’d be the perfect chance to throw him around. It didn’t happen and we might need to make other plans, unless Darling returning frees him up? Maybe? Or means he gets dropped.
Tim Kelly $561,800 MID – Ticking the legs over. Hasn’t got anything to prove so wasn’t attacking it with a huge amount of intensity early but he hasn’t lost any touch. In fact, it looked like he was playing with a dry footy despite others struggling with the wet. In my side and he’s now locked in – he had a 13 posession third term and looked a class above. 99 points but ticked all the boxes I wanted ticked – some may disagree.
BJ Williams $123,900 DEF/RUC – The rookie defender-turned-ruck can apparently jump very high. Can he jump into our Supercoach teams? He certainly put his hand up with 68 Supercoach points, a goal and 12 touches, much of which came from him as a forward. Tom Hickey and Oscar Allen still to come into the side though…
Nic Naitanui $487,800 RUC – What a speciman of a human. Football is so, so much better for having him on the park and he’s one of my favourite players to watch. He wasn’t on the park for long but given he used to have the highest PPM in the AFL, I reckoned you could start him even knowing he won’t creep far past 60 per cent time on ground. He had 58 points from 51 per cent time on ground. Reckon he’s a pass.
Luke Shuey $548,200 MID – Expect more of the same from Shuey this year. No Gaff or Yeo so he was hoovering up the footy with gay abandon through the midfield. Nothing unexpected from him here in 31 touches and 119 points frolicking around the outside of packs.
Shannon Hurn $562,200 DEF – Old Man Hurn just winding the legs over. He’s a seasoned veteran and he knows exactly how much he needs to put into these games to get himself right. Started nice and slowly before working his way back into the general’s role with 17 long raking kicks. Had 95 points to remind people he’s still here at seven per cent ownership.
Josh J Kennedy $NOPE FWD – He kicked six goals tonight against a rusty Aaron Francis, a green Brandon Zerk-Thatcher and a bruised Michael Hurley. He scored 122 points and looked, fine, I guess. Like I’ve seen people look worse. Especialy 32-year-old key forwards. But if you’re going a key forward in the pissy $300k range, go with Tom McDonald, even if JJK will score 200 in round one.
The others: The bargain-basement Hamish Brayshaw played 21 per cent game time and did not much – he won’t play round one, and not sure 200k Francis Watson sticks around when Jeremy McGovern returns. Grand final hero Dom Sheed has plenty of midfield minutes without Gaff and Yeo, don’t expect him to score 113 in the real deal.
Well community, what did you make of it? Will you be dropping Devon Smith? What did you think of Kelly?