Zach Merrett in action, round 15, 2021. Picture: Getty Images

FANTASY COACHES enjoyed having a full set of nine games back now the byes are behind us and some higher scores were much easier to look at.

Those who came out of the bye rounds with limited rookies on field would have fared best as there were some hard-luck stories with which rookie was played on ground.

Naturally, captain selection was also something that separated teams.

Luck is another factor in the game. 348 coaches decided to offload Nic Newman after he was omitted from Carlton’s 22. It was the logical play. $555k on the bench and no guarantee of getting back in the team. That was until he came on as the medical substitute.

In his 65 per cent time on ground, Newman collected 21 disposals and 11 marks to score 111.


For those playing the game back in 2017, you may have thought you jumped in the DeLorean and went back to the future. Newman was one of the best cash cows early on that season for the Swans and was omitted for round seven. Some coaches traded that round, while others gave him another week. When he wasn’t named for the second consecutive week, most decided to cut their ties and get someone playing to keep the cash generation going.

That was until he was a late inclusions for Sydney’s round eight clash and scored a whopping 135 (which is still the best score of his career).

In another medical sub related story, Leo Connolly (53) was a late inclusion into the Saints’ squad due to Jack Billings not getting up for the game. Connolly was named as the medical substitute and came on in the third quarter. In just 30 per cent time on ground, he had 11 disposals and seven marks to finish with 53 points in the most unlikely of debuts. If he had spent a bit longer out on the ground, he may have ended up with some votes in the Michael Barlow Medal.

Fantasy Pig of the week

No one can deny Zach Merrett (153) has been a fantastic pick this year. He’s only dipped below 100 on two occasions, but despite his consistency the beast scores we’ve seen in the past have been few and far between. Merrett racked up 41 disposals, took five marks and had his tackling game on, laying eight. Many had gone away from him as a captain option, but for the four per cent (five per cent as VC) who went with him this week, the decision would have been a head-to-head winning call.

Honourable mentions

Kicking off the round on Thursday night, Lions skipper Dayne Zorko (142) was brilliant following his suspension and rewarded those who held him. On Sunday arvo, the in-form midfielders in Tom Mitchell (139) and Marcus Bontempelli (135) continued on their merry way with The Bont averaging 129 in his last five. Brodie Grundy (118) made his return after a neck injury kept him out of the bye rounds and didn’t miss a beat.


  1. Zach Merrett 153
  2. Dayne Zorko 142
  3. Tom Mitchell 139
  4. Marcus Bontempelli 135
  5. Bailey Smith 127
  6. Lachie Whitfield 123
  7. Brayden Maynard 123
  8. Sam Walsh 123
  9. Todd Goldstein 119
  10. Travis Boak 119

Cash cows of the round

The best player with a starting price under-$270k will be awarded the Michael Barlow Medal as the best cash cow of the year.

The votes for round 15:

5 – James Jordon (92) Melbourne, MID
A stat line that would be the envy of a lot of players in the competition, the runaway leader in the Barlow Medal racked up 21 disposals, five marks, three tackles and two goals. Jordon maintains his value and showed his worth as an on-field rookie for those still needing to play someone through the midfield.

4 – Sam Flanders (81) Gold Coast, FWD
Since ditching the substitute tracksuit, Flanders has been a positive contributor most weeks.

3 – Jeremy Sharp (79) Gold Coast, MID
Playing his first game of the year after suiting up twice in 2020, Sharp made the wing his own.

2 – Miles Bergman (74) Port Adelaide, DEF/FWD
Took seven marks to go with his 17 disposals. Even managed to kick a goal to keep value ticking over.

1 – Nathan Murphy (70) Collingwood, DEF
Although the Pies lost, they were the best Fantasy scoring team of the round and Murphy joined in.

LEADERBOARD: James Jordon 26, Tom Powell 15, Chad Warner 13, Matthew Flynn 12, Errol Gulden 11, Caleb Poulter 10, Miles Bergman 10, Deven Robertson 9, Nik Cox 9, Sam Flanders 9.

Rage trades

Samson Ryan (-2) – It was a tough debut for the tallest Richmond player in history. Limited time on ground and weather that didn’t suit, Ryan finished with one hit out and one free kick against to finish in the negatives… and lose cash.

Joel Amartey (39) – Scores of 74 and 92 made it look like Amartey could have been a solid option to play as the last rookie on field. We were wrong.

Caleb Serong (42) – Even Nat Fyfe being a late out didn’t help Serong get his Fantasy game on. He wasn’t alone as no Docker cracked triple figures.

Shai Bolton (50) – Like many of the Tigers, Shai struggled to find a lot of the ball, recording just 11 disposals.

Tom Stewart (51) – Lauded last week for his 13 marks last week, he managed just four on Thursday night which resulted in his worst Fantasy score of the year.

Tom Phillips (51) – Time to retire him from this column. This is what he is.

Nick Hind (54) – Maybe the dream is over with one of the mid-priced picks of the year. Hind had his first score under 71, but hasn’t hit more than 80 for over a month.

Jake Lloyd (57) – Although he’s still averaging 96, it has been a disappointing year for Lloyd as he has lost his role as the No. 1 kick-in man for the Swans and doesn’t get the +6s like he used to. In fact, he only had one mark on Saturday.

Sean Darcy (64) – The big Docker has been immense over the last few weeks. Some coaches had him in for Brodie Grundy while he was injured but were happy to wait to get him. They shouldn’t have… Grundy almost doubled Darcy’s score.

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