Welcome to my Pre-Round 1 2018 Team Reveal!

There are some significant differences from my Pre-JLT Team Reveal. Here’s how my team has panned out heading into Round 1:

The Team

Remaining Salary Cap: $4,000

Remaining Salary $4,000

Defenders

Rory Laird – As one of the premium defenders in the competition, Rory doesn’t need much introduction. While he won’t improve much but barring injury he’s a safe bet to finish in the top few defenders at the end of the season. Given Docherty’s injury and Simpson and Shaw’s age there are few premium defenders to choose from making him one of the most selected.

Jarrod Lloyd – With a lack of premium defenders this year, it’s easy to find flaws in all of them. But Lloyd looked good in the pre-season and is in the right age bracket to improve. The biggest query with him is the veteran McVeigh will come back in a few rounds. This has historically affected his scoring. However, McVeigh will be coming in under-done and isn’t getting any younger, so I see Lloyd lifting this season. The biggest opposition is probably Hibberd – in whom I don’t see much scope for improvement.

James Sicily – This is a player who will drive a lot of coaches mad. During the last 6 rounds he smashed 100 four times along with a paltry 24 points in one game. As one of the most hyped players this year if James fails to fire at least you won’t be alone. For me, the possibilities for his price are tempting which is why he’s in my team. Especially when there are few other options in defense this year.

Naughton, Coffield, Doedee, Murray and Findlayson – I’ll wait until as late as possible before locking in my rookies. So far from pre-season form, these are the rookies I’ve penciled in.

Mid-Fielders

Tom Mitchell – My main reason for selecting Tom Mitchell is he’s a ‘set and forget’ Captain. He’s a rare quality in that he’s both a fantasy pig and durable. This has giving him the the title of the highest scoring fantasy player ever. The next in line, Patrick Dangerfield, now has pressure from Gary Ablett which makes it hard to recommend him at this stage.

Zach Merrett – It’s easy to forget that Zach is merely 22 years old and still has room for improvement. One of his major attractions for me is Essendon’s easy start to the season. Essendon’s mid-field has changed which is some cause for concern. Similar predictions were made last year when the banned-bombers returned, but Zach flourished starting the season on fire averaging 127.4 in his first 5 games.

Josh Kelly – Josh is similar to Zach Merrett in that he’s a young-star of the competition. The best thing about Josh is that there’s very little down-side to him. He’s dependable. Last year he finishing his season with 7 x 100’s in a row (including finals), and only dipped below 100 on 5 occasions. And even they were all 80 and above. The Giant’s also have the easiest start to the season of any team, so there’s little reason not to start with him.

Matt Couch – The young crow finished off the end of 2017 in scintillating fashion, averaged 120.3pts in the finals series. Priced at 106.7, he still has up-side given his excellent ceiling. He has to be given the nod over his brother, Brad, who still has injury concerns this pre-season. The big unknown is how Bryce Gibbs will affect the Adelaide mid-field, and his scoring potential.

Luke Parker – Parker is a fallen-premium (like a few other Sydney mid-fielders). In 2016, he averaged 109.7 followed by a less than stellar 98.4 last year. This was on the back of a particularly slow start to the season. But if this pre-season is anything to go by, then he is due to start the season with a bang. I can only see Parker improving – and there’s no reason to think he can’t reach his previous heights.

Brayshaw, Kelly, Banfield, Holman and Barry – I’ll wait until as late as possible before locking in my rookies. So far from pre-season form, these are the rookies I’ve penciled in.

Rucks

Stefan Martin – If Stef plays as solo ruck at Brisbane, then history suggests he dominates the competition. However, if Archer gets a game his scores really suffer. Going by structures this pre-season he looks like he might playing solo ruck. But it will be a “wait and see” for the round 1 teams.

Max Gawn – The bearded giant, Max represents great value. He looked back to his best during the pre-season. And it was only two years ago he was one of the premier rucks in the competition with an average of over 106. And unlike some other rucks, he doesn’t have a young ruck that’s likely to cause alarm. Given his undeniable upside, I’ve decided to take the punt on him.

Cameron and McInerney – The only rookie ruck I see who is worthwhile this year is Cameron. The popular English didn’t play during the pre-season and other rucks didn’t set the world on fire with their scoring. Historically I’ve only ever viewed the 4th Ruck position as a wasted spot – so I don’t choose to waste any money on it.

Forwards

Isaac Heeney – Like many coaches, I see Heeney being a Top 6 forward at the end of the season. Last year, Heeney started the year with glandular fever which no-doubt lowered his overall average. And more-so at times last year the lack of fitness base affected his scores after half-time. After this pre-season I don’t see the same issues for Heeney – so I see his average improving slightly again.

Devon Smith – The small-forward from the Giants has joined Essendon, and will take Colyer’s spot in the mid-field. Apparently him and Stringer have been dominating in practice at Bomberland – and Devon without doubt is the less risky of the two. I don’t see a lot of competition for his spot with Colyer still in a moon boot and well behind in the pecking order. Also, Essendon has an easy start to the year, so I think Devon will get off to a good start. I think he will push his average above 90.

Mitch Robinson – Mitch can almost be described as a fallen-premium – with previous purple-patches of 110. He’s definitely a high-risk-high-reward player. With Rockcliff’s departure and I believe Mitch is going to be the prime beneficiary. He’s looked better after each pre-season game – form he should carry on into the season. He’s every possibility to finish as a top 6 mid.

Christian Petracca – Petracca is one of the young guns of the competition who should improve yet again this season. In fact it’s only a matter of time before he becomes a premium of the competition in my opinion. Hogan has also looked good during the pre-season – but I see a more possibilities for Petracca to play through the mid-field.

Raynor, Fritsch, Venables and Giles-Langdon – I’ll wait until as late as possible before locking in my rookies. So far from pre-season form, these are the rookies I’ve penciled in.

Conclusion

My Team going into Round 1 has a typical structure – and with few true uniques. However, I still think it strikes a good balance of safe picks and higher risk/reward players. And I don’t see any reason to think it won’t be a highly competitive team. Do you agree? Please sign-up and respond in the comments below.