L-R: Andrew McGrath, Tom Green, Tim Taranto. Pictures: AFL Photos, Phil Hillyard

WITH a little over a week until the first bounce, it's the perfect time to release the current Traders squad … and I use the term squad because it is far from set, but this is where it currently stands. If you haven't selected a team yet, this is a good place to start before imparting your own wisdom upon it.



The backline is noticeably thin, but there is method to the madness if you read on. Despite being weak, it also contains a tower of strength at D1 with Sam Docherty (DEF, $977,000) rating the clear No.1 in Roy's Rollin' 22, with daylight coming in second. After that, we have chased some value and think we have found that in the selection of projected premiums Andrew McGrath (DEF/MID, $719,000) and Elliot Yeo (DEF, $625,000). McGrath looks set to finally fulfill his lofty expectations after being named Essendon vice-captain and leading by example during his pre-season hitout with 25 touches and 10 marks for 110, while Yeo's long-awaited return to his best after numerous injury interruptions appears to be before us after an impressive outing that included 20 possessions, seven marks and a goal for 89. Charlie Constable (DEF/MID, $332,000) has proven in the past he can play at the level and is priced only fractionally more than a rookie and the line will be rounded out by two of the four cash cows selected.

Sam Docherty in action during Carlton's practice match against Sydney on March 3, 2023. Picture: Getty Images


Continuing the theme of taking the best player in the line, Rory Laird (MID, $1,066,000) hasn't missed a beat this pre-season and looks every bit capable of starting the year the way he finished it after averaging 129 in the second half of the season. He obviously comes at a cost, but he certainly takes away the captaincy headache each week. Jack Macrae (MID, $916,000) is priced below his career average and has plenty of upside given the departure of Josh Dunkley and impressive pre-season display against the Roos where he collected 33 possessions for 121. We project Tom Green (MID, $752,000) to take full advantage of the midfield opportunities at the Giants and elevate his game to triple-figure premium status. He looked like a bull in the middle against the Suns, collecting 34 possessions and 95 points. At the moment, we are looking at two bargains in the middle with James Worpel (MID, $463,000) looking on track to return to his best in an inexperienced Hawks midfield after gathering 30 possessions and scoring 85 against the Pies, while highly touted Giant Finn Callaghan (MID, $406,000) looks poised for a breakout on the wing with potential 30-point upside following an eye-catching performance on the wing against the Suns with 22 possessions, two goals and 88. One thing that won't change is the three rookies on the field in young gun Will Ashcroft (MID, $289,000), impressive Hawk Cam Mackenzie (MID, $288,000) and third-year Roo Will Phillips (MID, $270,000).



With all the uncertainty in the big man department, we have paid up to some extent with our top two projected rucks in Rowan Marshall (RUC, $808,000) and Tim English (RUC, $901,000).

Tristan Xerri and Tim English battle in the ruck during the practice match between North Melbourne and Western Bulldogs at Ikon Park on March 4, 2023. Picture: AFL Photos


Finally, where did all the money go you may ask? Right here. Josh Dunkley (FWD/MID, $963,000) has all the tools to be the best player in the game this year and we saw that on full display in his first official game with the Lions where he attended 19 centre bounces on his way to 31 possessions, six marks and seven tackles for a typically stat-stuffing 120. Our next three in Stephen Coniglio (FWD/MID, $871,000), Tim Taranto (FWD/MID, $846,000) and Connor Rozee (FWD/MID, $780,000) are all going to start the season as midfielders and sit well entrenched in the Rollin' 22 as forwards. Given their projected roles, they all have upside and hence present value. The clear standout in the practice matches was third-year breakout candidate Errol Gulden (FWD/MID, $735,000) who embraced his midfield opportunities and significantly increased his ownership after collecting 45 possessions and kicking three goals for 177. Versatile Roo Harry Sheezel (FWD, $296,000) rounds out the team as he looms as one of the must-have cash cows despite his inflated price tag.


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