Luke Davies-Uniacke, Tom Stewart and Alex Sexton. Pictures: AFL Photos

REVEALING a team at this time of year is tough.

There is so much happening on the back of intraclub and practice matches that it can become confusing as to what is real regarding player roles, like the projection of the mouth-watering more midfield time more half-back time for example. Throw in the spanner of the early bye and we have some tough decisions to make.

One thing that doesn't change however is value, and what I have done with this squad is look for plenty of it while minimising top-priced players who find themselves missing an early match. I have also ensured I have enough money to pay for some of the more expensive rookies on my bench.

As you can see, my team looks more unbalanced than most years. This is due to several factors, including the lack of premium forward options as well as limited defender rookies available.

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Harry Sheezel (DEF, $878,000)
After talking about a move into the midfield or even forward, the second-year ball-magnet now appears set to start the season providing drive off half-back, a role I see him averaging triple figures in.

Tom Stewart (DEF, $869,000)
The Cats skipper has a nice draw to start the year and despite the talk of increasing his time in the midfield looking unlikely, he is another player I expect to reach a triple-figure average for the first time in his career.

Hayden Young (DEF, $805,000)
After making a successful move to the midfield in the back end of last season, Young looks set to continue the role and is great value in doing so.


Elliot Yeo (DEF/MID, $633,000)
Get him off your never again list, Yeo is back to his bullish best. The injury plagued star looks set to start the season in the midfield where he has dominated in the past.

Zac Williams (DEF, $442,000)
Based on his ability, 'Z-Will' is one of the true bargains of the year after making his way back following a year out. From all reports, he has had a great pre-season and if he looks good in Opening Round, he needs to be locked in.

Nick Coffield (DEF, $358,000)
Looking desperately for some luck on the injury front, all the former Saint needs is opportunity and it looks like he will be given that at the Dogs.

Bench: Bodhi Uwland (DEF, $219,000), Ethan Phillips (DEF, $200,000).


Rory Laird (MID, $986,000)
It's nice to be able to lock in a reliable captain and the Adelaide ball-magnet comes in slightly under-priced.

Connor Rozee (MID, $956,000)
The Power skipper will be keen to make an immediate impact and his numbers against his early opponents last season were elite.

Zak Butters (MID, $898,000)
If you are after a hot start, the Power hard nut has a great fixture to start the season and he is a bargain, given his form in the second half of last year.


Jack Steele (MID, $884,000)
The Saints captain is capable of big scores and looks fit this pre-season. It was just three years ago that Steele averaged 121.4, and he is hard to ignore at this price.

Luke Davies-Uniacke (MID, $879,000)
The Roo ball-magnet is heavily under-priced on the back of an injury interrupted season. He will be their No.1 man in the middle and comfortably cover his asking price.

Matt Crouch (MID, $734,000)
After being cautious at the prospect of starting the former premium, his average after returning to the midfield at the end of the year, followed by a reassuring interview with Rory Laird, has the big fella locked in.

Matt Crouch in action during the match between Adelaide and Sydney at Adelaide Oval in round 23, 2023. Picture: Getty Images

Colby McKercher (MID, $297,000)
Played off half-back with the 'Sheez' and had an absolute field day in the intraclub. He will likely gain DPP and average over 90 I'm tipping.

Ryley Sanders (MID, $285,000)
Ball-magnet and ultimate professional despite his age. Natural ball-winner and a player you can confidently start on your field.

Bench: Jhye Clark (MID, $237,000), Jeremy Sharp (MID, $284,000).


Brodie Grundy (RUC, $677,000)
The 'Ruck Pig' is back playing sole ruck and is one of the easiest picks of the year.

Tristan Xerri (RUC, $580,000)
This position is currently a decision between the mid-priced Roo, and solo Demons ruck Max Gawn, and at this stage I'm taking the cash and spending it elsewhere.

Bench: Max Heath (RUC/FWD, $200,000).



Sam Flanders (MID/FWD, $809,000)
The gap between the breakout Sun and the rest of the forwards is so great that he is currently in the side despite his round three bye. He also presents value that may not still be there after his bye.

Taylor Adams (MID/FWD, $691,000)
All the former midfield premium needs to return to a 90+ average is CBAs and from all reports he will play a significant role in the in the middle for the Swans.


Alex Sexton (FWD, $382,00)
After Sam Flanders confirmed reports that the former forward has been providing impressive drive and creativity off half-back, he had to be slotted in at this price.

Finlay Macrae (FWD, 310,000)
The highlights packages have been impressive over the pre-season and it feels like he is ready to produce at the top level.

Harley Reid (FWD, $300)
Has had a magnificent pre-season and made a seamless transition to the top level. Whether playing in the middle or half-back which look like his likely roles, he is a must-have cash cow.

Charlie Lazzaro (MID/FWD, $288,000)
After an eye-catching finish to the year and an impressive pre-season, it looks like Lazzaro will be given every opportunity to succeed through the midfield which makes him a bargain.

Bench: Bailey Laurie (FWD, $282,000), Shaun Mannagh (MID/FWD, $200,000).

Utility: Matt Roberts (MID, $245,000).