Main content

JLT Fantasy review: Rookies on fire, kick-in kings, more

Ask the Fantasy Coach Calvin, Warnie and Roy answer your questions

AFL IS almost back and now starts the silly season in AFL Fantasy. With nine games played in the first round of the JLT Community Series, we have plenty to discuss.

Which premiums came out on fire? Which were sluggish in their first hitout for the year? And most importantly, which rookies dominated and look on track for round one?

Carlton v Essendon

We all knew it, so it was no surprise when we saw it. Sam Walsh (MID, $270,000) is an outright jet. He finished the game with 28 touches, only second to skipper Patrick Cripps. He lead the team in metres gained and went on to score exactly 100 Fantasy points.

Not only did Walsh impress, but so did Carlton's other cheap options in Will Setterfield (MID/FWD, $251,000) and Michael Gibbons (MID, $170,000). Setterfield laid eight tackles for his 95, while Gibbons booted three goals for his 60 and looks a strong chance to debut in round one.

With Tom Bellchambers resting, Zac Clarke (RUC, $270,000) stepped up with 104 from 37 hitouts. He was only against Andrew Phillips as Matthew Kreuzer sat out but he was only one of four to score over 100 and must be considered if the Bombers run with a two-ruck attack.

Kick-in watch: According to @FantasyFreako, 88 per cent of the kick-ins were taken from outside of the square and while Nic Newman (DEF, $552,000) only had a couple, he still scored exceptionally well with 97. He took eight marks and looked right at home with his new team.

New Bomber Zac Clarke could be a handy back-up ruck option. Picture: Getty Images

West Coast v Geelong

After an interrupted pre-season, Sam Menegola (MID/FWD, $716,000) showed us all that he is ready to go. He only played half a game and racked up 18 touches and eight marks for 85 points.

Geelong young guns Charlie Constable (MID, $170,000) and Jordan Clark (DEF, $242,000) were very impressive with scores of 90 and 78 respectively. They would have made their way into a lot of Fantasy teams over the weekend.

For the Eagles, it was Francis Watson (DEF, $170,000) who dominated with his speed and pressure from defence. His game-high 10-tackles and score of 95, will now have him pressing for a spot in the Eagle’s best-22.

Kick-in watch: The Eagles took a total of 15 and played on just eight times. Surprisingly, Lewis Jetta (DEF, $461,000) took the majority of these, kicking from outside the square five times from his nine opportunities. 

Forward-mid Sam Menegola in action during the Cats' clash with West Coast. Picture: AFL Photos

North Melbourne v St Kilda

After struggling in his first season Luke Davies-Uniacke (MID, $266,000) appears to have finally found his feet. After averaging just 40 last year, LDU is still rookie-priced and found the ball 27 times for his 81 points.

Popular rookie Matthew Parker (FWD, $178,000) did enough to continue his push for a game in round one after slotting two goals in his 56 points. His pressure was a highlight, and his score was boosted by seven tackles.

After struggling to fit into the Melbourne midfield, Dom Tyson (MID, $566,000) scored with ease, racking up 105 points from 27 disposals and seven tackles in just 66 per cent game time.

Listen to the AFL Fantasy Podcast with The Traders at Apple Podcasts, Spotify and Google Podcasts.

Adelaide v Port Adelaide

I'll say it again: "A fit Brad Crouch (MID, $524,000) averages over 100." He had the second most disposals in the game behind his brother on his way to 114. He is ready to go and should be owned by more than the 16 per cent who currently have him.

Taken at pick No.12 in the AFL Draft, Zac Butters (MID, $248,000) accumulated plenty of the ball to top score for Port with 93. He's a little expensive, but after a game like this, he'll be worth it if he's named in round one.

Like many Fantasy coaches, our eyes were firmly fixed on Tom Rockliff (MID, $600,000) hoping he could improve on his average of 83 from his first year with the Power. He only scored 60, but in his defence, he only played just over half a game. He attended centre bounces and showed no signs of the injuries that hampered him last year. It's neither a tick or a cross for our beloved Rocky, but a must-watch in his second JLT game for those who are considering him.

Kick-in watch: Brodie Smith (DEF, $439,000) played on from both of his kick-ns and looked great with 27 disposals and 89 points. Priced at an average of just 61, he is certainly looking like a great selection. 

Brad Crouch gets his kick away despite pressure from Travis Boak. Picture Getty Images

Greater Western Sydney v Sydney

It's official, Tim Taranto (MID, $660,000) will now be full-time midfielder for the Giants on the back of the departure of Dylan Shiel. He attended a game-high 18 centre bounces on his way to 140, only to be trumped by Stephen Coniglio’s (MID, $801,000) score of 147. Coniglio sits in just seven per cent of teams and is destined to be a top-eight midfielder once again.

He has been promised more midfield time and certainly got it in this game as Callum Mills (DEF, $522,000) attended the most centre bounces for the Swans. He scored 83 and did enough to stay in the teams of Fantasy coaches who believe that this is his year.

Zac Williams (DEF, $421,000) is a dead set lock in your team. Currently 65 per cent of coaches don't have him and need to seriously reconsider after his score of 80 in just over half a game.

Kick-in watch: Are we looking into this new rule too much? Only eight kicks were taken from outside the square in this game from the 20 opportunities. It's early days, but Jake Lloyd (DEF, $738,000) had two opportunities and stayed in the square for both. He was still one for the best for Sydney with 99 from 65 per cent time on ground. 

Stephen Coniglio in space during the Giants' JLT clash with the Swans. Picture: Getty Images

Brisbane v Hawthorn

With Jack Gunston, Luke Breust and Jarryd Roughead all missing, the versatile James Sicily (DEF, $694,000) played forward all game. He obviously scores more in defence and although this isn't a huge concern, it's a reminder that this can happen.

Alex Witherden (DEF, $639,000) didn't break a sweat for his 78 and only played the first three quarters. Star recruit Lachie Neale (MID, $727,000) also dominated with his game-high 31 touches and 97 points.

The ruck battle continues at the Lions, as Archie Smith (RUC, $217,000) was exceptional. He scored 74 and took the most of his chances while Stef Martin played in the NEAFL as he tries to regain his fitness after a series of niggling injuries.

Ruckman Archie Smith in action against the Hawks in JLT1. Picture: Getty Images

Melbourne v Richmond

Introducing Noah Balta (FWD, $170,000). The untried big man dominated early with several strong marks to have 70 at half-time. He ended the game with 98 and could now be a chance to debut in round one.

Angus Brayshaw (MID, $763,000) came out on fire and ended his day with a huge 150 and could be a top-eight midfielder by the end of the year. From only 69 per cent game time, he found the ball 37 times and took 11 marks.

Despite surgery on both shoulders in the pre-season, Clayton Oliver (MID, $792,000) showed us all that he is ready to go. He laid six tackles on his way to 120 and is still a round one Draft option.

Kick-in watch: While Marty Hore (DEF, $170,000) played on from five of his six kick-ins, he still only managed to score 53. The fact he has some responsibly in defence for the Demons is a positive sign for the rookie and hopefully his scoring will improve with more experience.

Midfield bull Clayton Oliver is certain to rack up the points again in 2019. Picture: Getty Images

Gold Coast v Western Bulldogs

If Tom Liberatore (MID, $392,000) isn't in your team, he needs to be. After 27 touches and 102 points, Liberatore was back to his best. Priced at an average of just 54, he attended 15 centre bounces and is a 'must have' after that standout performance.

With Liberatore attending so many centre bounces, someone has to miss out and it appears Josh Dunkley (MID/FWD, $695,000) and Toby McLean (MID/FWD, $686,000) could be the guys who take a hit. They scored 60 and 59 respectively and only attended 13 centre bounces between them.

Jack Macrae (MID, $890,000) racked up 40 possessions as he waltzed to another pig-like score of 131. He doesn't leave Melbourne in the first five rounds of the year and showed no signs of averaging under the 123 he had in 2018.

Fremantle v Collingwood 

Just seeing Brodie Grundy (RUC, $871,000) playing was enough, especially considering he recently said on the AFL Fantasy Podcast, that he was aiming to play in the second round of the JLT. Grundy dominated the ruck with 101 and funnily enough he did it with just three kicks. Maybe his toe is a little sore?

Jamie Elliott (FWD, $385,000) is very cheap, priced at an average of just 53 after missing the entire 2018 season. He hasn't put a foot wrong this pre-season and slotted 2.2 goals on his way to 66.

Mature-aged draftee Brett Bewley (MID, $170,000) managed 13 disposals and four tackles in his 57. In only 39 per cent game time, hopefully he did enough to put himself right in the mix to debut in round one.

Kick-in watch: The final kick-in stat from @FantasyFreako is about Fremantle's Luke Ryan (DEF, $558,000) who took 107 kick-ins last year with only one to himself. He scored 68 in the final JLT game and played on twice from his two opportunities. Now that's more like it.