Four more debutants, Treacy out til Round 5, Gawn role worry, Clark job security mystery
Another four debutants were confirmed on Wednesday, while Jordan Clark’s job security remains unclear, Josh Treacy is still suspended and Max Gawn’s mid-forward split becomes a worry.
There were no debutants or major surprises from the Richmond-Carlton teams for Thursday’s opener although inevitably we’re all more drawn to the emergencies given the medical sub.
Liam Stocker (AF $242k SC $186k DEF) and possible debutant Will Martyn (AF $170k SC $123k MID) were listed among the emergencies for both sides, while Paddy Dow (AF $323k SC $202k MID/FWD) is named at ruck-rover.
James Jordon (AF $170k SC $123k MID) will debut for Melbourne against Fremantle. He’s been on their list for two years already and is now a rookie, having been pick 33 in the 2018 AFL Draft.
Dees coach Simon Goodwin told SEN earlier in the day: “He’s a guy who played two games in the trials, trained strongly and put his best foot forward.”
Fremantle confirmed Lloyd Meek (AF $170k SC $123k RUCK) will debut in the same game. He’s a 22-year-old ruckman who was pick 69 in the 2017 AFL Draft.
Freo coach Justin Longmuir said: “You’ve stepped up to every challenge that we’ve thrown at you. You’ve stepped up this preseason and you deserve this.”
The Dogs confirmed two debutants for Friday’s game with Collingwood. Lachlan McNeil (AF $170k SC $102k MID) and Anthony Scott (AF $170k SC $102 M/F) will both play.
McNeil was pick 11 in 2020 AFL Rookie draft and is a speedy midfielder-forward. Scott was a SSP addition this year, having previously won Footscray’s Best and Fairest in the VFL in 2019. He’s a versatile 25-year-old.
Jordan Clark (AF $422k SC $241k D/M) may be locked in Geelong’s Round 1 clash but mystery remains around his job security, particularly with Mitch Duncan (AF $809k SC $556k MID) due back soon.
Geelong coach Chris Scott said: “His best footy is a long way in front of him. He’s had multiple arm injuries and he’s free from those now and he’s in great physical condition.
“We’re going to have a year, if it’s a successful one, where we’re going to have well-credentialed players that end up out of our team for small periods of time. That may be him at certain times.”
Scott also left the door open for a debut to Francis Evans (AF $170k SC $123k FWD).
He said: “He’s the obvious one given his performances through pre-season in the frame. I’m not prepared to rule him out just yet. The other guys who haven’t played a senior game are a bit behind where Frank’s at.”
On Duncan, he added: “Mitch Duncan won’t quite make it. Ratugolea won’t quite make it. Sam Simpson won’t quite make it. There’s a few others, Darcy Fort, Brad Close, in that group.”
Goodwin sparked some fears about the forward time for Max Gawn (AF $944k SC $751k RUCK) in his SEN Breakfast interview too.
Goodwin said: “We’ve always wanted to use Gawny a little bit more forward & with the development of Luke Jackson, that’s going to enable us to do that. Those guys will certainly increase our rotation.”
Fremantle rookie Josh Treacy (AF $170k SC $102k RUCK/FWD) won’t be available in AFL ranks until Round 5, despite getting his strike charge downgraded from ‘intentional’ to ‘careless’.
Treacy will be banned for two games but due to the non-alignment in WAFL and AFL seasons he’s unavailable in AFL until Round 5.
Treacy’s ban combined with doubts around Sean Darcy‘s (AF $493k SC $420k RUCK) availability due to a knee injury is good for Meek owners.
On Darcy, Freo coach Justin Longmuir said: “I’ve always said it’ll be touch and go for Round 1. If he gets through training today with flying colours we’ll consider him but my gut feel is that it’ll be another week for Sean.”
Longmuir also spoke about the role of Nat Fyfe (AF $720k SC $608k MID). He said: “We want him to play wherever he can impact the game the most. If that’s in the midfield we’ll give him more mid time and if we feel it’s up forward then we’ll swing him there.”
There’s fears at North Melbourne that young defender Flynn Perez (AF $299k SC $193k DEF) has done his ACL after a training ground incident. They’ll release details on Thursday.
The Dogs also confirmed Adam Treloar (AF $812k SC $587k MID) and Stefan Martin (AF $570k SC $272k RUCK) will play on Friday.
Luke Beveridge, Ben Rutten and Matthew Nicks will all address the media, while the season starts with Richmond-Carlton at 7:25pm AEDT.