Weekly wrap: Round 1 studs, duds, injuries

Check out our Round 1 AFL SuperCoach wrap, including the stars and strugglers, injured brigade, and suspensions.

AFL Weekly Wrap

AFL footy is back, but more importantly so is AFL SuperCoach!!

Round 1 was chock full of storylines, both good and bad in seemingly equal measure.

Rarely has there been such a gulf between the performances of popular rookie / premium options.

If you were on the right side of the ledger, with the likes of Hayes, Martin, Rachele, Rowell, Hewett, Miller on-field, scores of 2400+ were in play.

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If you were on the wrong side of the equation, with the likes of Crisp, Owens, Hough, Dixon, Steele, then anything 2100+ will feel like a positive.

Overall ‘par’ seems to be somewhere around 2250, with a score of 2440+ required to crack the fabled top 1,000.

If there’s one lesson to learn from this week it’s this: Don’t. Panic. Every player in your team currently is there for a reason, even if that reason isn’t readily apparent after their round 1 performance (or lack thereof).

Stay the course and trust the research you’ve put in over the pre-season.

Enough waffling – let’s get into the Weekly Wrap. 

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Melbourne v Western Bulldogs

Cracking atmosphere at the ‘G for the opening game of 2022, with Melbourne unfurling the 2021 premiership flag pre-game to raucous approval from the champagne-swilling faithful.

If this display was anything to go by, they might be hoisting another flag this time next year…

While the Dogs had their moments, it was clear that the Dees always had another gear and they ran out fairly comfortable winners in the end.

Bandit has been spruiking Christian Petracca all pre-season and BOY did that pay off; his 163 SC (38 possessions, 2 goals, 2 tackles, dominant in all facets) led all-comers. Clayton Oliver and Max Gawn were both popular VC loops, but a 112 SC and 92 SC respectively didn’t quite get the job done.

Jake Bowey ($265k, 7% of teams) had attracted a bit of pre-season mid-price buzz, but barely hit his breakeven of 49 and does not appear to have a SuperCoach friendly role.

For the Dogs, Bailey Smith (in just 2.7% of teams) was magnificent with 139 points and looks primed to make the leap to super-premo status.

Jack Macrae (133 SC) gave coaches a predictable headache trying to work out whether to take his VC score, while Tim English (123 SC, in 10% of teams) proved an astute POD ruck pick and held his own against a formidable ruck duo in Gawn and Luke Jackson (88 SC). 

One to watch in the leadup to round 3 price changes is Ed Richards (Def, $261k, 2% of teams) who appears to have cemented his spot in the Dogs’ best 22 and has a handy wing/rebounding role.

His 75 points came from just 14 touches (at 92% DE), which might make him a viable alternative to the likes of Heath Chapman ($275k, 9% of teams), Wayne Milera ($271k, 7% of teams) or any of the $180k+ rookie options.

As for forward-line premos, Josh Dunkley was brilliant (117 SC) but Adam Treloar’s 79 left a bit to be desired, with his unwillingness to test that dodgy shoulder (ZERO tackles) becoming a concern.

Injuries

Christian Salem was off early with a knee injury and will require surgery after chipping some cartilage. Jake Lever tore his plantar fascia last week and was planning to play, but withdrew an hour before the game. Remarkably, he apparently remains in the mix to play round 2.

Marcus Bontempelli (13% of teams) looked sore after rolling an ankle and is in serious doubt for round 2. Jason Johannisen did a calf in the warmup and will be out for 2-3 weeks. 

Reports

N/A

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Carlton v Richmond

As a neutral, this was an absolute pleasure to watch. The Blues looked down and out before putting in a scintillating 10 minute stretch in the last quarter, riding a raucous MCG crowd which propelled them to a four-goal win – their first over the Tigers in more than a decade.

Winners aplenty on the Carlton side of things, not least of them Sam Docherty. In his return from cancer the rebounding defender was magnificent, racking up 26 disposals off half back (144 SC) and topping things off with a snag, which will be hard to beat for the feel-good moment of the season. He was in just 2% of teams coming into round 1 but I daresay that won’t last long.

Patty Cripps’ three goals were herculean as he continued his preseason form (132 SC), but for once he wasn’t alone in the Carlton midfield, with Matt Kennedy (130 SC, arguably BOG) and new recruit Adam Cerra (120 SC) doing some heavy-lifting. Mid-priced defender George Hewett saw a stack of midfield time and repaid owners with a healthy 131; he’ll be a popular trade-in as soon as lockout opens, especially given the performances of most of the premium defenders.

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Mitch McGovern (14% of teams) started like a house-on-fire but fell off the pace in the second half; his 70 points was still probably a pass mark for owners though. Another popular forward mid-pricer, Charlie Curnow (10% of teams), looked way off the pace (36 SC) but will be better for the run. Corey Durdin ($143k, 12% of teams) was excellent as a rookie-priced option and should be on the radar if you don’t already own him.

Horror night for the Tigers. Jayden Short somehow ended up with 109 SC points on just 21 pretty invisible touches and Dusty had 108 SC – again incongruous with his lack of impact on the game – which were the sole positives. Josh Gibcus was serviceable in his first game (56 SC) and will hold his position. Hugo Ralphsmith (36 SC) was the medical sub and wasn’t great when he came on, but all things being equal should get a full crack next week.

Injuries

The luckless Dion Prestia dominated the first quarter but limped off with a hamstring injury early in the second, which given his prior soft-tissue problems will sideline him for a while. Jack Riewoldt broke his thumb and will need surgery, capping off an abominable night for Richmond.

McGovern came off late with a hip knock but should be fine. Jacob Weitering has a sore ankle but it looked minor.

Reports

N/A

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St. Kilda v Collingwood

Another very entertaining contest, with the Pies staving off an intense second half rally from the Saints to hold on for a three-goal win in front of a heaving Marvel Stadium.

Only one place to start with the SuperCoach news from this game and that’s Jack Hayes. The 25-year-old mature-age ruck/forward was arguably St Kilda’s best, with a remarkable third quarter performance sparking the Saints’ comeback. He finished with 123 points, which will cause selection headaches both for Brett Ratten (with Paddy Ryder to come back next week) and the 60% of SuperCoach teams who likely started with him on the bench.

Rowan Marshall (117 SC, 8% of teams) arguably beat Brodie Grundy (120 SC) around the ground, which bodes well for his stocks going forward. Jack Steele was hot early but couldn’t find it in the second half and his 84 SC hurt coaches who decided against taking Macrae’s VC score from Wednesday. Jade Gresham (15% of teams) repaid those who took the gamble on him, starting on a wing and finishing with 24 possessions, 2 goals and 90 SC points.

Mitch Owens made his debut but will struggle to hold his spot next week after appearing overawed by the occasion. On the plus side his 49% game-time indicates plenty of improvement potential; the downside is that he only managed 2 SC points. Eek. Nasiah Wanganeen-Milera also debuted but didn’t get on the ground as med sub, which is a horrible look for the AFL and needs addressing.

For the Pies, Pat Lipinski was arguably BOG in his first game for the club (124 SC). Priced at $359k and in just 3% of teams, he will be a popular trade-in option. More than 80% of coaches started with Nick Daicos and really the only question is why that wasn’t 100%; the talented debutant had 27 touches, 99 SC points and already looks like one of Collingwood’s better players.

Jordan De Goey fell out of favour over the preseason, ending up in just 8% of teams, but he looked back to his rampaging best, kicking 2.3 from 27 touches and spending significant time in the midfield.

The one negative for the Pies – from a SuperCoach perspective anyway – was Jack Crisp (40% of teams), who did get a chance in the guts as advertised but could only manage 16 touches and a measly 67 points. Crisp -> Hewett will be a popular move prior to round 3.

Injuries

Taylor Adams got rocked by a huge Mason Wood hit to the ribs in the last quarter, but hopefully was just winded. Darcy Moore looked sore after an early knock but returned and was as impressive in defence as usual.

Clean bill of health for the Saints, which is going to result in some interesting calls at the selection table. Owens out for Ryder appears a fait accompli on paper, but whether they can realistically roll with a three-headed ruck monster of Hayes, Ryder and Marshall remains to be seen.

Reports

N/A

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Geelong v Essendon

Let’s just pretend this game never happened. Can we? Please? Argh. Fine.

My Bombers were horrible and if anything should’ve lost by more than the final 11-goal margin. The only reason they didn’t was thanks to a jaw-dropping display from debutant Nic Martin, who wasn’t even on the list two weeks ago. The 20-year-old Subiaco product was easily the Dons’ best, picking up 27 possessions to go along with five classy snags. 114 SC from a $102k rookie is a remarkable return and left many coaches (myself included) plotting how to get his score off the bench and on to the field.

Unfortunately Kaine Baldwin ($123k, 29 SC) looked way off the pace, but given Essendon’s injuries should get another crack next week. Premium mids Zach Merrett (113 SC) and Darcy Parish (99 SC) were serviceable, while Jye Caldwell ($266k, 15% of teams, 91 SC) put in one of the more impressive mid-priced performances of the round.

Jordan Ridley (22% of teams) was a popular Jake Lloyd replacement but completely flopped (68 SC). To be fair, it’s hard to take much out of his role given how awful the Bombers looked.

On the Cats side of things, Patrick Dangerfield looked back to his menacing best, with 155 SC a reflection of his dominance. As a 567k mid in just 2% of teams, do we need to take a look at Danger again? Tom Hawkins monstered the Bombers defence, finishing with 4.1 and 148 SC. He may become a genuine premium forward option – let’s wait and see.

Perhaps most surprising was the performance of $247k FWD Tyson Stengle, who finished with 4.3 and 120 SC. I’d chalk this up as more of a flash in the pan than anything else, but it’s definitely enough to throw his hat in the $200-$300k forward-line mix.

Injuries

Kyle Langford did a hammy in the opening minutes and did not return – it looked bad. Jayden Laverde took a big blow to the ribs, but managed to get back on the ground.

Sam De Koning ($123k DEF/FWD, 72% of teams) was concussed in the third quarter and did not come back, which is a concern. Jeremy Cameron hurt his hip late in the first quarter in that collision with Laverde and was very sore; he’s in the mix for round 2, though.

Reports

Sam Draper was very lucky to escape with a fine for a swinging arm on Ratugolea.

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GWS v Sydney

These Sydney derby games always seem to produce and this one was no different, with scoring aplenty and highlights out the whazoo. In the end the Swans held off a plucky Giants side thanks to five goals from Brett Kirk Medallist Luke Parker ($591k MID, 0.7% of teams, 167 SC).

Isaac Heeney was the big SuperCoach story out of this game. Sydney struggled in the first half and their turnaround came on the back of Heeney’s injection in to the midfield. He finished with 25 touches, three goals and 141 SC, which is basically the perfect stat-line for owners. Another one that fell slightly out of favour for coaches over the preseason, Heeney is now in just 20% of teams – that will rise.

Paddy McCartin (70 SC) was excellent in defence and will play every game assuming no injury woes. Angus Sheldrick (43 SC) didn’t look too far off the pace on debut but may struggle to hold his spot in a strong side. Callum Mills (84 SC) played primarily midfield but looked a step off the pace, which is no surprise given his interrupted preseason. In one to note for future seasons, Nick Blakey ($328k DEF, 98 SC, 3% of teams) appears to be the heir apparent to Jake Lloyd as Sydney’s rebounding defensive option – mark that one down.

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On the GWS side of things, Tom Green was remarkable. The 21-year-old is a contested bull, with classy disposal who can push forward and is great overhead – what can’t he do? If Saturday is anything to go by, the answer is “not much”. 31 touches, 5 marks, 7 tackles, two goals and 164 SC – it doesn’t get much better. Green, a $430k MID, is in less than 1% of teams. Third-year breakout looming.

Tim Taranto (119 SC) and Stephen Coniglio (80 SC) shared midfield time, as predicted – owners of both will be relatively content. Lachie Whitfield (73 SC) started slowly and never really got in to the game; no alarm bells ringing just yet, give him another week or two.

In bad news for Brayden Preuss gamblers, Matt Flynn (119 SC) looked more than serviceable and may be hard to displace next week.

Injuries

Justin McInerney hurt his right knee late in the last quarter, but the signs sound positive.

Clean bill of health for GWS.

Reports

N/A

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Brisbane v Port Adelaide

Very strange game; horrible first half, cracking second half, with the Lions showing just a bit too much class for a turgid Port Adelaide side.

Dan Houston’s 144 SC from a career-high 36 touches made him easily Port’s best. Zak Butters owners (all 48% of them) had their hearts in mouths after his head was smashed in to the ground early doors, but the lad is hard as a cat’s head and managed to pump out an impressive 113 points afterwards. Travis Boak (149 SC) and Ollie Wines (101 SC) were both excellent in the midfield as well.

Jackson Mead ($123k MID, 52 SC) was impressive in parts and will hold his spot.

For the Lions, Lachie Neale ($543k MID, 54% of teams, 140 SC) was BOG and repaid his owners’ faith in spades. Zac Bailey (87 SC) is another on the verge of a third-year breakout. Jarrod Berry ($268k, 27% of teams, 67 SC) had a bizarre game; 68 SC points in the first half and -1 in the second. His dodgy shoulder looked sore – he played out the game but was essentially ineffective for two full quarters.

The Cam Rayner hype (17% of teams) again looks unfounded in reality; he finished with 50 SC and the promised midfield minutes didn’t really eventuate. Daniel Rich was another popular Lloyd replacement who flopped; his 71 SC points were very underwhelming and it was compounded by what looks like a back injury.

Injuries

Rich’s back will need to be monitored. Dayne Zorko hurt a left Achilles, which may pave the way for Darcy Wilmot’s debut next week. Berry was sore but managed to stay on the ground.

Xavier Duursma hurt his collarbone on a Mitch Robinson bump and was subbed out. Trent McKenzie did a nasty looking knee injury and despite initial positivity will still likely be out long-term. Robbie Gray hurt a medial in his knee and will miss a couple of weeks. Connor Rozee couldn’t get near it and also hurt his ankle in the third quarter – he should be fine. Aliir Aliir has a syndesmosis injury and will be out 8-12 weeks – this is a full-blown disaster for Ken Hinkley.

Reports

Mitch Robinson (surprise, surprise) was reported for the hit on Duursma and has been given a week-long holiday.

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Hawthorn v North Melbourne

All things considered this was a pretty reasonable game given the circumstances – these two sides will be fighting it out for the spoon this season, but there were some silver linings for all involved.

North’s young midfield brigade were excellent. Luke Davies-Uniacke ($462k, 0.7% of teams, 125 SC) is threatening to break out in a big way, as is Jye Simpkin ($529k, 0.7% of teams, 112 SC). Tom Powell came in to the side late and showed once again that he has all the makings of a premium SuperCoach mid at some point down the line. Jason Horne-Francis was excellent on debut, finishing with 75 SC, which I daresay will be a baseline score for him this season.

Aaron Hall ended up in just 2.5% of teams after a preseason injury and wouldn’t those 2.5% be loving life today. He picked up exactly where he left off last season, bringing his own personal Sherrin in to the back half and ending up with 129 SC to lead all-comers.

Two negatives for North – Tarryn Thomas (49 SC) couldn’t get near it, and the three-headed ruck monster of Callum Coleman-Jones, Tristan Xerri and Todd Goldstein clearly doesn’t work. Xerri owners should be happy with his 79 SC and hopeful that CCJ gets the chop next week.

Not a heap to report on for the Hawks. James Sicily was magnificent, playing exactly the role his owners envisaged and finishing with 27 disposals, 6 marks and 105 SC. Tom Mitchell had 29 disposals but only 80 SC thanks to three frees against, while the rookie-priced trio of Josh Ward (36 SC), Connor Macdonald (48 SC) and Finn Maginness (63 SC) all showed enough. Maginness, at $143k and in just 11% of teams, is a very interesting prospect.

Injuries

Max Lynch was subbed off with concussion early doors. Ward copped a late ankle knock but should be okay.

Ben McKay also drew a head knock early in the game and was subbed off. Cameron Zurhaar was sore after a big bump from Frost.

Reports

N/A

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Adelaide v Fremantle

Beautiful day in Adelaide and fans were treated to a see-sawing affair between two sides who, whilst not being in the upper echelon in terms of quality, both play an exciting brand of footy.

No doubt who the star of the show was – Josh Rachele. The first-gamer continued his rampaging preseason form with 5.1 and 118 SC on debut. Out of nowhere we’ve been blessed with three legitimate forward rookie options!

Ben Keays started horribly but a monstrous third quarter, which pulled the Crows back in to the game, resulted in a tidy 128 SC. Matt Crouch was excellent in his return to footy with 107 SC and 30 possessions. Priced at $482k and in just 5% of teams he looms as a legitimate mid-price midfield option. Jordan Dawson (98 SC) slotted in nicely in his first game for the Crows, while popular rookie defender Mitch Hinge (50 SC) was also solid.

Breakout candidate Harry Schoenberg didn’t quite live up to expectations (70 SC) and neither did Wayne Milera (39 SC).

Andrew Brayshaw starred for the Dockers with 28 touches and 127 SC; he’s now a bona fide premium mid. Will Brodie (76 SC) and Caleb Serong (88 SC) also had a lot of mid time and both did reasonably well.

Heath Chapman ($275k, 9% of teams) was barely sighted all game but somehow finished with 80 SC points thanks to his heroic goal-line spoil to seal the win for Freo. Luke Ryan also managed 75 SC despite being invisible for large chunks.

Injuries

Andrew McPherson started brilliantly but was subbed off with a hamstring injury in the second quarter. Hinge got a corkie but played out the match.

Clean bill of health for Freo.

Reports

N/A

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West Coast v Gold Coast

West Coast’s horror start to 2022 continued; the Eagles are depleted, demoralised and pretty comfortably beaten in the end by a Suns side which will be up for the fight this season.

Maybe the biggest positive of the round from a SuperCoach perspective was Matt Rowell ($342k, 51% of teams, 157 SC). This is exactly the player we’ve been waiting for since his barnstorming debut two years ago and he looms as a priority correction trade for coaches who didn’t start with him.

Touk Miller was a popular captain option and did not disappoint with 137 SC points; he may well average more than that this year. Jarrod Witts ($380k, 12% of teams, 127 SC) was another Gold Coast gamble which seems to have paid off; he’s looking fit, healthy and was a big reason for the Suns’ victory.

Alex Davies ($202k Mid, 86 SC) is in just 1% of teams, which is astounding given how polished he looked in game number two. Another average game from Josh Ward in round 2 will give coaches some thinking to do.

Not particularly SuperCoach relevant, but as a football fan it was great to see Izak Rankine dominate with 4.1 and 23 touches – he could be anything as a player.

Grim viewing on the West Coast side of things. Luke Foley (who?) was arguably their best, while rookie priced options Patrick Naish (64 SC), Brady Hough (47 SC) and Hugh Dixon (42 SC) all struggled mightily and will be hardpressed to hold their spots as better players inevitably return.

Injuries

Dixon hurt his elbow early but played out the game. Nic Naitanui had a sore back/hip but also battled through.

Witts tweaked an ankle in the last quarter but it looked fine.

Reports

N/A

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