GUESS who's back, back again … yes, Fantasy is back but I think you all know who I am talking about and I'll get to that shortly. What a reintroduction it has been to the game we love with coaches already riding some huge highs and the lowest of lows on the rollercoaster that it is. So far this year, it appears that the reduced JLT Community Series format gave a more accurate reflection of form being carried into the season proper with players like Rory Sloane, Dom Sheed, Matt Crouch and Travis Boak backing up their pre-season form with a dominany opening round.
If you didn’t know who I was referring to earlier, it was of course his 'royal swineness', the Pig, Tom Rockliff, who reminded everyone and silenced his doubters with a ridiculous 166 from 44 touches, 10 marks and eight tackles. Battling through injury last year and playing within a questionable gameplan at his new club, Rocky was unrecognisable which resulted in some critics calling for his snout. Injury free, a full pre-season, a new gameplan … Let's just say the Pig is back in mud and needs to be selected in more than 15 per cent of teams by next lockout
Honourable mention: Stephen Coniglio receives an honourable mention for the second year in a row in the opening round on the back of a sensational game against the Bombers. The star midfielder gathered 31 possessions, took nine marks, laid seven tackles and kicked three goals. He embraced the increased responsibility without Dylan Shiel and Josh Kelly and looks set for a massive year.
Max Gawn was a huge concern during the pre-season, largely due to fears of him sharing duties with Dees recruit Brayden Preuss. Well, Preuss wasn't named so many coaches didn’t hesitate to spend the $800K for the dominant big man. Unfortunately for them, Max was on the end of a physical onslaught from the Power players as a collective and to be quite frank he was caught off guard and not equipped to deal with it. He had a disappointing 21 hitouts for a score of just 68, leaving many coaches wondering why they didn't save the cash and just pick Tim English for the same sort of score. He didn't score this poorly once last year and never had under 30 hitouts, which is a worrying sign.
Honourable mention: Zach Merrett has given his owners a headache for the second year in a row, confirming the fears that he is underdone following his ankle injury during the pre-season. He looked a shadow of his best as the Giants' midfield took complete control of the game, gathering just 16 touches, laying three tackles and managing just one mark. He has to be traded out unfortunately.
Bailey Scott was the best of an outstanding crop of rookies and looked right at home on the big stage. We had to wait until the last game of the round to see the young star in action and it was certainly worth the wait. He had 21 quality possessions and took eight marks, while also managing to snag a couple of goals on his way to 97. In what was a bad night for Roos supporters, they, along with Scott's Fantasy owners can sleep well knowing he is part of the club.
- Tom Rockliff
- Travis Boak
- Dom Sheed
- Bailey Scott
- Nick Newman
Yes, it sure is! We have seen more than enough. Obviously we can’t ruin our teams to do it, but make it happen.
It’s always the year of the Pig, only Rocky is taking the mantle back off Tom Mitchell. Imagine what it will be like with both of them next year! Year of the PigS
Tough one! I still feel Max will be a top two ruck, so I would prefer to hold and hope he comes good sooner rather than later. As much as I love Cripps, I would probably take the cash grab and get Rocky.
Either that or his Mum, either way… Outstanding work!
I’m tempted to go Cripps and Brayshaw to Taranto and Rockliff myself... It’s either that or Dunkley to Worpel and bring in James Cousins for M7— Jaxon (@jaxonconnor11) March 24, 2019
I wouldn’t usually endorse extreme premiums shuffles like this but there is some serious value around and only a small window of opportunity to take advantage of it. For more, follow myself @RoyDT