Trial Takes: SC pointers from practice matches

Having watched every practice match with an eagle eye, we reviews the AFL trials with a SuperCoach focus.

AFL Key Analysis Pre Season

The AFL pre-season is heating up as we edge closer to Round 1.

With a eagle eye on every practice match, Klopp takes a look at the key SuperCoach takes from each clash.

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Essendon 81 V Western Bulldogs 75 

Jordan Ridley was such a standout in the Wednesday’s practice game as the Bombers secured a 6 point win over the Bulldogs.

Ridley didn’t take all the kickouts, but what he did do is show his class by displaying how he has countless avenues to scoring for our SuperCoach teams after watching him take intercept after intercept.

Snelling and Perkins really impressed me as both of those guys look to take another step up in 2022.

Nick Martin had starred the week before booting four goals in the clubs intra-club match, but against the Bulldogs it was Tex Wanganeen’s time to shine as he officially looked to get on the Bombers list.

It was only a practice game, but Wanganeen’s introduction in the 4th quarter made the difference and they’ve found the small forward they were looking for.

Adam Treloar had been on a limited program and put in a hell of a performance.

Andy McGrath looked great off half back. Darcy Parish, Jack Macrae and Josh Dunkley all put in a good shift showing their class without getting out of second gear it felt like. Two exciting teams to follow closely in 2022.

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Carlton 67 V St Kilda 60

Adam Cerra excited onlooking Carlton fans as to what they’ll be getting a taste of this year.

The other new recruit George Hewett appears to be just as good of an inclusion to complement their midfield brigade.

Patrick Cripps appeared in better shape, he had moments of brilliance where you appreciated how good he really is, hopefully his body holds up throughout the year.

Charlie Curnow didn’t kick a goal, very much an ‘almost performance’ from the bright talent, on another day he could’ve been BOG having kicked 4-5 goals, but it wasn’t to be.

Harry McKay being the weapon up forward hopefully at the start of the season will benefit Curnow in terms of how involved he can be, because he certainly has the capacity to be more involved than he was in this game.

Late in the 4th quarter Curnow held his knee after a marking contest and received treatment, but since then the club have confirmed he is all good.

Brodie Kemp was playing forward while Saints big man Rowan Marshall was being managed and didn’t feature. Both teams will be vying for a spot in the eight this year.

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Melbourne 132 V North Melbourne 44

Melbourne look set to continue doing in 2022 as they did in 2021, win and win easily.

Max Gawn is being used as they please, he goes back and takes intercept grabs or goes forward and hits the scoreboard.

While it was Luke Jackson that attended more centre bounces displaying his great tap-work, while the on-ballers in Clayton Oliver and Christian Petracca were absolutely prolific.

Explosive at the contest, bulls in traffic that love working together and showing their great chemistry. What a duo they are.

The number 1 draft pick in Jason Horne-Francis put in another good showing as he’s done all pre-season, he was a lot more involved after half time and North fans have a lot to be excited about with their young talents, particularly in the middle of the ground.

With Luke McDonald and Aaron Hall missing with injuries, Jack Ziebell was picking up where he left off in 2021 being the leader across half back.

Another Roo to have a good pre-season has been Tarryn Thomas and he really is someone you just love to watch, he was lively as always and was easily one of their best in this game. 

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Brisbane 138 V Adelaide 49

Lachie Neale attended the most centre bounces, played a really good game and looks determined to have a big say on what happens with the Lions in 2022.

Zac Bailey really impressed, he was just about everywhere but we have to remember there was no Dayne Zorko, so when he comes back that may impact Bailey’s influence.

Jarrod Berry is a very welcome inclusion after missing large chunks of last year and didn’t he come back with a bang!

The 24-year-old was so powerful in his hips making him very hard to tackle and powerful at stoppages.

He just kept finding the ball with ease and was involved in multiple on-ball rotations.

If he can stay fit, he looks like he’ll cause many teams problems. It was good to see Cam Rayner back on the footy field doing well and looking healthy.

He is a strong boy and another one who has strength in the contest, coming off an ACL injury he looks fully over that and is ready to play his part for the team.

Matt Crouch was neither great nor bad, we need to remind ourselves he is building back his workloads to be ready for Round 1 as he works his way back.

Mitch Hinge deserves a mention, off half back he played a solid game and didn’t once back out of a contest. He has had some rotten luck with injuries over the years.

Josh Rachele, pick 6 in the draft, was a real spark for the Crows forward line and regularly got involved up the ground as well. 

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Gold Coast 76 V Port Adelaide 55

Noah Anderson is one to put on your watchlists this year. Anderson attended 21% more centre bounces than fellow breakout contender Matt Rowell who was very busy all day.

I liked their midfield balance with those two guys and Touk Miller, forming a great hard-working core in the guts for the Suns and they played a big part in overpowering Port.

Touk Miller as mentioned, he just hunts the ball relentlessly with an attack on the footy that’s rarely seen by others, it’s almost as if he sees it as an insult if he or his team don’t have the ball.

Lachie Weller grabbed my attention in his role off half back, supplying great run and carry while taking a bulk of the kick-ins.

Alex Davies played the last game of 2021 and I remember being impressed with the glimpses of potential he showed that day.

The 19-year-old with another pre-season under his belt now looks even better. He kicked two goals and is a very bright young talent.

Josh Sinn has settled in so nicely at Port Adelaide and if kids deserve a chance, we’ve seen that Ken Hinkley will play them.

Impressing all pre-season, he seems destined to debut in Round 1. Speaking of impressive, Zak Butters also looks better each time he takes the field after being given the green light for more midfield minutes in 2022.

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GWS 126 V Sydney 95

Tim Taranto was said to be spending a lot more time up forward in the early parts of the season, but after watching this practice game that made me wonder if that’s genuinely the case as Taranto had a really good amount of midfield time.

Stephen Coniglio looks truly great, he has all pre-season but particularly in this game.

He has exceptional burst-away pace where others are just left watching, he had plenty of the ball and he certainly knows how to use it.

Lachie Whitfield’s kicking was elite, he’s primed for a great year of footy.

A feel-good story here in Paddy McCartin who I was very pleased to see doing well.

John Longmire had praised McCartin’s ability to get his body right and acknowledged how hard he had to work for his chance to get back to AFL level and I couldn’t be happier for him as he genuinely looked very promising, another handy addition for the Bloods.

Isaac Heeney has been the talk of the pre-season around his midfield minutes and it’s no lie, he was in amongst it getting CBA’s and had great attack on the contest.

Jake Lloyd and Dylan Stephens were relatively quiet. Chad Warner, an up-and-coming star, one of their many young talents, had an excellent game for the Swans.

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Collingwood 141 V Hawthorn 141

Brodie Grundy covered the ground so well, I think we can expect even bigger and better things from the big man this year.

Jack Crisp is an interesting one, the ever-durable player in the AFL was exceptional in this game as he had lots of centre bounce attendances.

A lot was made in the pre-season about his midfield minutes with Pendlebury moving to half back.

Last year Callum Mills and Rory Laird were defenders that got mid time and their scores went off the charts, that could very well be Jack Crisp this year.

Nick Daicos is just outstanding, a super talent for many years to come and it’s as if he’s been in the system for years with how seamlessly quick he’s settled in and how important he already appears to be for his side.

Speaking of importance, Pat Lipinski could be the recruit of the year as it appears the Pies will give him the on-ball time that I believe he deserves, no shame in not making the Bulldogs midfield.

He was solid in this game. James Sicily took every kick out when he was on the field, he’s an intercepting machine.

High draft pick Josh Ward, despite the great performances in recent intra-club matches, was quiet against the Magpies, as was Finn Maginness.

Watch them closely in the AAMI series next week to see how they go. One draftee who isn’t struggling to impress is Connor MacDonald who appears destined to debut in Round 1 against North Melbourne.

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Fremantle 141 V West Coast 44

Andrew Brayshaw could take his game to another level this year. He was really impressive in this game as his West Coast opponents in the midfield were dropping like flies.

Brayshaw was elite under pressure and very tidy throughout. New recruit Will Brodie was the one who took me by surprise, he was so lively, very involved, good core strength and showing plenty of good signs.

Now it’s important to note Fyfe, Mundy, Tucker, Erasmus were all missing but you’ve got to make the most of your opportunities when they arise and he did exactly that.

Already having had a great pre-season barring a mini hip problem, he was great in this game.

Taking into consideration his pre-season and this performance, if he puts another one of these shifts in during the AAMI series, it’d be very hard to see how he doesn’t start in Round 1.

Jordan Clark is loving the opportunity being presented to him for game time in the purple haze as he just runs hard all day.

Nathan O’Driscoll was playing on the wing. Hayden Young and Tim Kelly were relatively good and Caleb Serong looked promising.

Connor West is someone I watched closely, he had plenty of CBAs and was in the right spots a lot of the time but really had a hard time and unfortunately very little influence.

Campbell Chesser has been ruled out for half of the season with a lower leg injury adding to a growing list of injured Eagles. Fremantle was too good on the day.

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Geelong 92 V Richmond 110

Tom Stewart has barely missed a training session since late last year and it’s so pleasing to see him perform to such a high level directing traffic down back.

Tom Hawkins and Shai Bolton were a couple of the best performers on the day.

Unfortunately Sam De Koning was very quiet, hopefully he settles into the Cat’s backline and becomes a mainstay.

Patrick Dangerfield was super fit as you’d expect, despite being 32-years-old very soon I’d still back him to play an influential role in Geelong’s season.

Dustin Martin is working his way back after the kidney injury saw him drop 15kg, he was mainly playing on-ball and having another run in the AAMI series would no doubt help his preparation further for Round 1.

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Hugo Ralphsmith is a name that’s emerged over the pre-season as he appears to be playing at half back to cover the loss of the retired Bachar Houli, but it’s important to note that Dan Rioli didn’t play in this game who’s been touted for the same position, so keep an eye on the AAMI series next week to see what the go is there.

Someone at half back who did feature was the ever-reliable Jayden Short who was simply brilliant, I’m not sure on the stats, but he would’ve had very close to 30 kicks if not more.

Mitch Duncan did not play in this game as he’s battling to be fit for Round 1.

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