Sam Flanders in action during Gold Coast's match simulation against Brisbane on February 22, 2024. Picture: Getty Images

AFTER many of us were saved from fielding scores in the 30s and 40s once again with 'best 18', it's back to reality this week when 22 players will be required to pump out respectable scores to ensure our teams move in the right direction.

Over the past couple of weeks, it has become clear that three rookies on field in the midfield is the way to go, one because they are pumping out nice scores on a weekly basis and two, the forward rookies clearly aren't, with the exception of Oliver Dempsey (FWD, $426,000) who dominated once again.

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So, it's not too late to restructure your team, either on the fly or with pre-planned moves. Last week I chose to cash grab, instead of chasing points which is a move I am never comfortable with and it wasn't made any easier watching my recruit Massimo D'Ambrosio (DEF, $581,000) battle away when I had the money to get the dominant beast that is Tom Stewart (DEF, $875,000).

Hopefully it pays off long-term, however, given I can now remove a forward rookie off the field in pursuit of Sam Flanders (MID/FWD, $844,000).

Adding method to my madness is the fact Massimo can be a 'cash grab' placeholder until the likes of Nic Martin (MID, $838,000), Riley Bonner (MID, $599,000), Matt Roberts (MID, $505,000) and Colby McKercher (MID, $466,000) all become available down back when the DPPs roll out in round six.

Keep that in mind when making moves down back over the next couple of weeks.

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  • Harvey Thomas (MID/FWD, $267,000)
  • Tom Powell (FWD, $642,000)
  • Sam Flanders (MID/FWD, $844,000)
  • Oliver Dempsey (FWD, $426,000)
  • Harvey Gallagher (FWD, $337,000)


  • James Jordon (MID/FWD, $561,000)
  • Zak Fisher (FWD, $639,000)
  • Nat Fyfe (FWD/MID, $546,000)
  • Alex Sexton (FWD, $470,000)
  • Jack Billings (FWD, $564,000)


  • Oliver Dempsey (FWD, $426,000) +$77,000
  • Matt Roberts (MID, $505,000) +$76,000
  • Harvey Gallagher (FWD, $337,000) +$71,000
  • Riley Bonner (MID, $599,000) +$68,000
  • Ryley Sanders (MID, $429,000) +$65,000


  • Jaeger O'Meara (MID, $560,000) -$73,000
  • Jordan De Goey (MID, $649,000) -$54,000
  • Lachie Murphy (FWD, $467,000) -$53,000
  • Aiden Corr (DEF, $423,000) -$53,000
  • Mitch Lewis (FWD, $557,000) -$50,000


  • Harvey Thomas (MID/FWD, $267,000) - 22
  • Harvey Gallagher (FWD, $337,000) - 19
  • Oliver Dempsey (FWD, $426,000) - 13
  • Ryley Sanders (MID, $429,000) - 3
  • Jhye Clark (MID, $302,000) - 3


  • Tim English (RUC, $1.03M) 142
  • Andrew Brayshaw (MID, $954,000) 140
  • Marcus Bontempelli (MID, $980,000) 136
  • Nick Daicos (DEF/MID, $934,000) 134
  • Clayton Oliver (MID, $936,000) 133


Sam Flanders (MID/FWD, $844,000): With his early bye out of the way, it's a great time to launch into one of the few forwards worth chasing. We all know what he did at the end of last season and he has made a solid start to the year averaging 99 with a high of 119. He has a tough match-up against the Giants this week and a breakeven of 96, so there is nothing wrong with waiting a week, unless of course you have rookies on the ground which increases the urgency.

Tom Powell (FWD, $642,000): The young Roo was once again prominent through the midfield and more than justified his popularity as a trade target last week. He made it two hundreds on the trot after collecting 29 possessions and kicking a goal for 103, which leaves him with a BE of just 26, reinforcing his value once again this week.

Oliver Dempsey (FWD, $426,000): Usually I would say we have missed the boat on a rookie-priced player who has already increased a whopping $174K, but the 21-year-old Cat is an exception to my rule. I incorrectly thought he was going to be reliant on goals to score and he certainly proved me wrong on Monday, working all over the ground, collecting 22 possessions, taking six marks and laying seven tackles for 102 with no goals. He has a great match-up with the Dogs this week and is carrying a BE of -13. 

Oliver Dempsey in pouring rain during the R3 match between Geelong and Hawthorn at the MCG on April 1, 2024. Picture: AFL Photos

Jack Steele (MID, $935,000): The Saints skipper is back to his dominant best and is certainly a player that should be on the radar as an early upgrade, or fix up from a non-performing premium. He scored a season-high 124 on the weekend against the Bombers, stuffing the stat sheet like he does when he is at his best with 29 possessions, nine marks and seven tackles. He is now averaging 117 and has a BE of just 89 heading into a nice match-up with the Tigers. 

Tom Green (MID, $1.05M): If you didn't start with the Green Machine, it was either because he had an early bye or you were on another planet. The good news is he has completed the early bye, the bad news is he dominated before it, averaging 127 over three games. The big fella is built different and is every chance to be the No1 player in the game by season's end. Any time your team is within reach without breaking it to do so, bring him in despite the price tag and BE of 111.


James Jordon (MID/FWD, $561,000): The Swans recruit has been disappointing to some extent, averaging just 73 in his new colours which has caused him to be one of the most popular trade outs this week. Despite the disappointment, it is worth reminding coaches he has risen $107K and still has a BE of just 54. Personally, I will be holding him another week for a tasty match-up with the Eagles, before trading him on the Swans' early bye.

Zac Fisher (FWD, $639,000): The former Blue has done his job as a placeholder in a forward line starved of talent, averaging 76 and increasing in value by $16K. Unfortunately, it has become evident he is well down the pecking order for drive off half-back and he is certainly someone to consider moving on. He has a BE of 68 and a tough match-up with the Lions this week. 

Jack Billings (FWD, $564,000): I am sorry, I believe the term I used was 'mid-priced cash cow' with the idea of milking him until trading at his bye. That was of course on the back of his 140, a far cry from the 30 he managed on the weekend before being subbed out. He is not the cash generator I thought he would be, nor a reliable contributor on the scoreboard. His breakeven is achievable if you have bigger issues at 72, but if you have the funds to get him to Flanders, do it. 

Jack Billings tackles Connor Rozee during the R3 match between Melbourne and Port Adelaide at Adelaide Oval on March 30, 2024. Picture: AFL Photos

Nat Fyfe (MID/FWD, $564,000): The star Docker is playing well and playing the role we want, unfortunately that is the problem given he is averaging just 70 with scores of 63 and 61 in his last two. His kick-to-handball was always going to lean the wrong way, but his tallies of six, eight and six kicks over the first three games have contributed to his lack of scoring punch. His BE is still low at 56, but he needs to be getting some more points on the board.

Christian Salem (DEF, $745,000): Looking at his first three scores - 95, 88 and 105 - it would be fair to assume it was smooth sailing for Salem who spent the pre-season training with the midfield. For those who had been watching closely however, inconsistent roles and form withing games were flattered by his scores, to the point which some of his owners jumped off despite the solid average. It turned out to be an elite move after their fears unfolded against the Power where he was barely sighted for 11 possessions and 52 which leaves him with a BE of 99. 

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