AFL News This Week: Crouch ‘tearing it up’, Rachele & Stephens hyped, Witts caution, Curnow in ‘unbelievable shape’
At this time of the year it’s tough to keep an eye on everything happening in pre-season with AFL Fantasy and SuperCoach relevance, so we’ll bundle it all into one place on a weekly basis.
Will Brodie (pictured) – Photo credit: Fremantle Dockers
Dogs rookie Charlie Parker (AF $190k SC $102k M/F) has been hyped up by teammate Caleb Daniel. Daniel said: “Charlie Parker took out one of our running tests, and that’s always a great sign for a young kid in his first year coming out and doing that.”
Elliot Yeo (AF $696k SC $470k MID) could be a value pick after a few injury-affected years. West Coast coach Adam Simpson said: “We’ve ticked some boxes in the last week. It’s been a slow build for some players coming off significant injuries but it’s coming together.”
Luke Shuey (AF $668k SC $440k MID) looks under-priced too, but continues to have soft-tissue issues after going down at training last week. Simpson said: “There’s no surgery required. With his history, it’ll take longer to repair… There’s still plenty of time before Round 1. We’re still optimistic we’ll get a good season out of Luke.”
Campbell Chesser (AF $264k SC $148k D/M) is a young gun who could play. Simpson told AFL.com.au: “He’s probably a little bit more advanced than your standard draftee. He was top 10 in our 2km time trial… so he is the young kid who may come through quicker.”
Dylan Stephens (AF $526k SC $167k MID) looms as a popular SuperCoach pick given his price and some of the positive words coming from Swans coach John Longmire. He said: “Dylan Stephens is one that really stands out. He has been training at a really high intensity and he’s put on some size, which we wanted him to do, and we know he can run.”
Longmire also indicated Isaac Heeney (AF $639k SC $454k FWD) may play a different role this season. Longmire said: “Isaac Heeney in a bit of a different (midfield) role over a pre-season has also been good.”
The Swans also added ex-number one draft pick Paddy McCartin as a supplementary selection period signing.
Jade Gresham (AF $509k SC $299k M/F) is a player of interest this pre-season after a few years impacted by injury. The Saints match simulation wrap this week said: “Gresham was one of a number of Saints to be on lighter duties throughout the morning.”
He had said last week: “I definitely feel like I can play more in the middle. I’ll still play forward but I like to think I’m now the fittest I’ve ever been and the strongest I’ve ever been. I feel really fit and healthy.”
Dustin Martin (AF $682k SC $503k M/F) was cleared to resume full contact training after his serious kidney injury last season. Richmond teammate Jack Riewoldt: ” “He’s got a bit of a buzz around him at the moment and I feel like maybe there is a little bit of hunger there to get back to where he was.
“The way we use him this year will be interesting. He’s obviously such a talented player and we may push him into the midfield a little bit more to see if we can get that bull from 2017 back again.”
Connor Rozee (AF $567k SC $400k FWD) could be a value pick after a good run in pre-season. He said: “I didn’t have any surgeries in the off-season which was a big bonus. The last few years I’ve had a couple of surgeries. It’s been nice to be a part of it for the whole pre-season. I can push for that midfield spot.”
However, Port teammate Charlie Dixon (AF $574k SC $484k FWD) has undergone ankle surgery but will still push to be available for Round 1.
Not much of relevance going on at North.
Likewise at the Dees.
One of the more popular pre-season picks, James Sicily (AF $510k SC $448k DEF), got some positive reviews in the Hawks’ midweek match play. Hawthorn assistant coach Adrian Hickmott said: “In match play… players that impressed… great to see Sicily back, taking marks, using the ball as he does.”
Braydon Preuss (AF $367k SC $204k RUCK) is another intriguing option given price and potential role as GWS’ number one ruckman. The Giants updated a fortnight ago: “Has returned to training after a run of injuries across the 2021 season. A shoulder reconstruction and ruptured pec was followed by post-season back surgery, with the 26-year-old now back into full training.”
Matt Rowell (AF $464k SC $342k MID) looks under-priced given the quality he showed in his first few games a few years back and looked good in match sim. Gold Coast said in an update: “Was relentless in his attack on the footy through the midfield and continues to build towards Round 1 with a clear run at pre-season.”
Jarrod Witts (AF $572k SC $380k RUCK) may not be quite ready for Round 1 after his ACL injury. The Suns said: “(Witts and Budarick) participated in the majority of the session with slightly modified training exercises. Witts moved freely as the two competed against each other in a series of tackling and contested drills.”
Jack Bowes (AF $676k SC $450k DEF) will miss the start of the season due to a shoulder surgery.
Gryan Miers (AF $542k SC $337k FWD) and Jonathon Ceglar (AF $641k SC $491k RUCK) have both undergone surgery on ankle and knee issues respectively. Neither are overly relevant and the latter may get back for Round 1, but there’s scope he doesn’t it may positively impact Sam de Koning‘s (AF $190k SC $123k D/F) chances of a game.
Will Brodie (AF $387k SC $224k M/F) appears to be tearing up the track with lots of positivity from Freo’s midweek match simulation. Fremantle wrote: “Brodie impressed for White with clean hands in the midfield and in his ability to impact the scoreboard with two goals.”
Injury-prone youngster Luke Valente (AF $190k SC $123k MID) has retired.
Dylan Shiel (AF $779k SC $361k MID) and Jye Caldwell (AF $488k SC $266k MID) both look under-priced and both are travelling well in pre-season. Bombers Footy GM Josh Mahoney said: “Andrew McGrath, Dylan Shiel, Jye Caldwell and Sam Draper, all have completed nearly every session during this pre-season, which gives them the best chance to have a good year.”
There’s been a bit going on with Jordan De Goey (AF $707k SC $463k M/F) and his New York court case but the Pies have confirmed he has been able to resume training with the club.
Charlie Curnow (AF $347k SC $224k FWD) missed most of last season due to injury but is in good shape in pre-season and shapes as a Joe Daniher type for 2022. Blues vice-captain Jacob Weitering said: “He’s in unbelievable shape. He’s very hard to play on, he’s athletic, he can mark, he can reel around and kick a goal from 70m. He’s got a lot of energy for the group.”
Patrick Cripps (AF $686k SC $454k MID) always looms in pre-season and he’s saying the right things about getting back to what he does best. He said: “I’m going to get back to being big in the contest and being aggressive, and play to my strengths. That’s my sole focus. My body now feels really good.”
Jarrod Berry (AF $725k SC $268k MID) is another player on the comeback trail from injury as was used in the Lions midfield in match simulation this week.
Nakia Cockatoo (AF $339k SC $265k FWD) has had a clear pre-season after a career cursed by injuries. The Lions match sim report said: “Continued an impressive run through his second pre-season at Brisbane with a strong showing in Friday night’s match simulation at Hickey Park.”
Cam Rayner (AF $396k SC $278k FWD) is also firmly back in action after missing last season with an ACL.
Matt Crouch (AF $649k SC $482k MID) is “tearing it up” according to teammate Reilly O’Brien after a season ruined by a groin issue. O’Brien said: “He’s looking really, really good at training. He’s been champing at the bit to get out there. He’s certainly showing that he’s excited to be back because he’s been tearing it up.”
Crouch said later in the week: “Obviously last year was tough so to come back and have my body feeling really good again, feeling fit and ready to go is massive for me.”
Adelaide rookie Josh Rachele (AF $280k SC $184k M/F) has plenty of hype. O’Brien spoke about him: “He’s been pretty electric up forward, pretty mercurial talent. I think he will be a very good shot to play very early in the year and have a real impact.”
Wayne Milera (AF $378k SC $271k DEF) is back on the track to after injury and teammate Lachlan Murphy told SportsdaySA: “Seeing Wayne back out there and doing some match sim and getting and healthy, it’s just so exciting for our footy club.”