Fremantle v Melbourne, Fremantle Oval
With many players to monitor in the second of the NAB Challenge, some were crossed off our Fantasy watch-lists and others received big ticks of approval.
Ben Newton (MID, $192,000) went to the top of the class after his impressive 51 in the first half on Thursday night. He received a cut to his head and was subsequently subbed out. He appears to be a dead-set lock in our NAB AFL Fantasy teams after this performance and might just be the Dom Tyson of 2015.
Top scoring for the game were Fremantle's Clancee Pearce (DEF/MID $280,000) and Melbourne's hard nut Nathan Jones (MID, $572,000) with 93 points each. Pearce racked up 19 disposals and nine marks and has to come into calculations as a very cheap backline option along with Heritier Lumumba (DEF/MID $402,000), who looked very impressive off the wing and down back for his 75 points in 90 per cent time on ground.
Jesse Hogan (FWD, $194,000) kicked a goal in his score of 56 and did enough to hold a position on many forward benches, as did rookie listed Aaron vandenBerg (MID, $120,000). The Traders have been talking this ball magnet up all pre-season after he averaged Tom Rockliff-like numbers of 127 in the NEAFL last year. He scored 52 in less than half a game and when he gets promoted to the senior list, lock him in!
However, it wasn't all good news. The red pen did come out and was used to put a line through Christian Salem (FWD, $193,000). He dominated Melbourne's recent intra-club game but only managed 32, in nearly a full game. He'll have to step it up in his next NAB Challenge game against the Bulldogs next Saturday if he wants to make our Fantasy teams this year.
Four of the worst kicks you'll ever see in succession from the Dockers and Dees. It's only the pre-season after all! http://t.co/of8Z50Yksm— AFL (@AFL) March 5, 2015
Sydney Swans v Brisbane Lions, Coffs Harbour International Stadium
Will 2015 be the year for Tom Mitchell (FWD/MID $432,000)? He looked to be back to his best, spending some in the middle and at half-forward. He had 20 disposals for his 52 points in 74 per cent game time and although he didn't set the ground on fire, he showed signs he could get back to averaging 90+ like he did in his debut season in 2013.
As expected, Tom Rockliff (MID, $763,000) led all scorers with 97 from only 77 per cent time on ground. He found the ball a game-high 25 times and easily did enough to satisfy those coaches who are willing to pay top dollar for the Fantasy pig who averaged 135 last year. Daniel Rich (MID, $268,000) backed up his 59 in week one with another solid 55, and Dean Towers (FWD, $208,000) snuck into considerations, as the eighth highest scoring Swan with 53.
After scoring just 32 against St Kilda last week, Sam Mayes (DEF/MID $381,000) needed to step up to the plate. Sadly he didn't. He managed just 50 in 79 per cent game time and will need to pull something out of the bag in his last game next Friday to win over Fantasy coaches. Matthew Leuenberger (RUC, $277,000)is already locked and loaded into 33,000 teams but he too was disappointing. He played half a game but only managed three handballs in his score of 21, and that's after coming off just 43 last week. It's early days, but a few alarm bells are starting to ring.
GWS v Gold Coast, Blacktown International Sportspark
All the talk from this Blacktown game centred around former Bulldog Ryan Griffen (MID, $485,000) who top scored with 107 from only 79 per cent game time. Griffen racked up 31 disposals and is only priced at an average of 86, well below the 106 he averaged in 2013. However, I’m still not 100 per cent sold on the 29 year old. He was against a young inexperienced midfield line-up who were missing many of their big name players and he didn't receive any close attention from the opposition. With all that said, he appears to be fit, he did dominate and he is massively under-priced.
Harley Bennell (FWD/MID, $484,000) found the ball 21 times for his 95 points and spent a lot of time in the middle alongside mid-priced Tasmanian defender Kade Kolodjashnij (DEF, $387,000) who scored a very solid 72. Toby Greene (MID, $583,000) did enough to keep his coaches happy with 82, as did rookie Adam Saad (DEF/MID, $120,000). He scored 57 and is currently sitting on the benches of many teams after his two NAB Challenge performances so far. Lachie Whitfield (MID, $448,000) presents as a possible break-out contender after his 104 points in only 72 per cent time on ground. He enters his third season and will certainly improve on his average of just 79 from last year.
Essendon v St Kilda, Morwell Recreation Reserve
Essendon only fielded nine senior players in this game, which made it extremely hard to know who was who and to get a good Fantasy insight into each team. Jack Steven (MID, $491,000) flourished against the under-manned Bombers. He played just over half the game for his impressive score of 79.
Defenders Jack Newnes (DEF/MID, $464,000) and Jarryn Geary (DEF, $333,000) continued from where they left off against the Brisbane Lions. Geary top-scored last week with 101 and backed it up this week with 72. Likewise, Newnes scored 73 from 83 per cent game time, just down from the 94 he knocked up against the Brisbane Lions. After their last two performances, many Fantasy coaches are currently sitting with these two St Kilda players comfortably in their backline.
Sadly, Blake Acres (MID, $166,000) failed to impress again. He only managed 27 in the first week of the NAB Challenge and only improved that slightly to 48 this week. He was been a hyped-up player over the pre-season and hasn't stepped up like other players who are similarly priced around him. The only Bomber that caught my eye was Jonathon Giles (RUC, 342,000). He's at a juicy price and scored 71 and depending on the 'verdict' he might be a sneaky option come round one.
Port Adelaide v West Coast, Norwood Oval
After dominating in Port's recent intra-club game, Robbie Gray (FWD/MID, $456,000)would have to be one of the most in-form players at the moment. He scored 111 and now holds the highest score for all the NAB games so far. The man is a machine and doesn’t look like slowing down.
After averaging 99 over the last three seasons, Brad Ebert (MID, $560,000) looks set to finally average over a ton this year. He got his NAB Challenge campaign off to a flying start, finding the ball 24 times for his score of 89.
Andrew Gaff (MID, $526,000) scored 100 in the first week of the NAB Challenge and backed it up again this week with a solid 77. He’s currently priced at an average of 93 and looks set to take his game to a new level in 2015. Running with Gaff was Karl Amon (MID, $120,000). He scored 62 and only came on in the second quarter. Amon was close to debuting last year and will break through for a game at some point in 2015. Pencil his name down onto your watch-list.
Mid-priced defenders appear to be the flavour of Fantasy in 2015 and Brad Sheppard (DEF, $377,000) hasn't put a foot wrong thus far. He scored 84 last week and backed it up with a respectable 67 this week from 16 disposals. Tom Lamb (FWD, $201,000) barely got a run in his opening game but was given more opportunities this week. He scored 62 and if he can keep producing these numbers, he'll be placed firmly on the radar as a good cheap bench option.
North Melbourne v Hawthorn, Deakin Reserve, Shepparton
Roos skipper Andrew Swallow, (MID $503,000) played in his first game of the pre-season, racking up 24 disposals and 98 Fantasy points to top-score in Shepparton. Laying six tackles was a highlight of his game. Swallow is well under-priced from his personal best season in 2012, where he averaged 102. As a dual position player, Jack Ziebell (FWD/MID, $480,000) has been one of the most popular North Melbourne players selected since Fantasy opened in January. The 24-year-old backed up from his impressive showing last week to score 68.
Fantasy bargain Robbie Tarrant (FWD, $142,000) is a worthy bench candidate after his 15 disposals, seven marks and 59 Fantasy points. North's most popular selection, Trent Dumont (MID, $120,000) didn't line up this week.
For the Hawks, Jordan Lewis (MID, $621,000) enjoyed his best Fantasy season in 2014 and in his first match this year, he gathered 29 touches to be the best in the brown-and-gold for 97. The hyped-up Jed Anderson (MID, $172,000) couldn't achieve the same numbers as last week, due to choosing to go by hand 13 times out of his 17 disposals. He scored 45.
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