AFL News This Week: Noble on JHF debut & role, Coniglio looking fit, Rioli on track, Rayner stars

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.

Photo credit: GWS Giants

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Western Bulldogs

Nothing of note from the Dogs this week.

West Coast

Willie Rioli (AF $293k SC $225k FWD) is firming to be in the Eagles’ Round 1 side after few years out suspended. West Coast coach Adam Simpson told SEN: “He’s on track for Round 1. He’s completed most of pre-season and he’s just getting on with it which is just really pleasing.”

Sydney

Callum Mills (AF $922k SC $612k MID) is still on the way back in his Achilles rehabilitation, meaning he’s had an interrupted pre-season. Swans assistant coach Ben Mathews said: “Callum Mills will be back in in a couple of weeks as well.”

Sydney Head of Physiotherapy and Medical Services Damian Raper added later in the week: “We have spent a fair bit of time with Callum throughout September and October working on his strength. He started running towards the backend of last year and slowly build up his training loads, and is on a modified training program at the moment and working on getting him back into match play.”

The prices for SSP signing Paddy McCartin (AF $271k SC $157k D/F) were confirmed too.

St Kilda

Sadly the season for Nick Coffield (AF $512k SC $343k DEF) is over after sustaining an ACL injury.

Richmond

Jack Riewoldt hyped up top 10 pick Josh Gibcus (AF $274k SC $171k DEF). Riewoldt said: “Playing on young Josh Gibcus who’s our 1st round selection, it’s amazing how much the kids are ready to go nearly. He’s shown a lot early on. We’re excited about him.”

Port Adelaide

New recruit Trent Dumont (AF $590k SC $349k MID) suffered an injury in pre-season training. Port said: “Has had arthroscopic surgery on his knee after suffering an injury at training… is expected to be back in full training within a month.”

North Melbourne

North coach David Noble spoke to afl.com.au and discussed top draft pick Jason Horne-Francis (AF $290k SC $207k MID) debuting in Round 1 and his likely role.

“He’s heading that way (for Round 1 selection),” Noble said. We’ve had a couple of goes at looking at what our round one team is at the moment and it’s probably close to 30 players that are vying pretty strongly. He’s not in the team just yet, but he’s certainly in the mix to perform over the next few weeks.”

On role, he added: “I think we have to temper the midfield aspect. I’ve always believed that if they’re mentally and physically ready then go ahead and play it. (But) he’s probably in that forward-mid rotation I would think. “We’re not tempted to play him off half-back, I don’t think we need to. I would think he’s probably in that forward-mid rotation. I mean, he has kicked a fair few goals as a half-forward.”

He also talked up youngster Matt McGuinness (AF $190k SC $123k D/F). Noble said: “Another one that’s had a really good pre-season and we see him in that back-end, with his mobility and the fact he’s a great left-foot kick. He’s been able to take some strides forward.”

Noble also spoke positively about Charlie Comben (AF $190k SC $123k R/F), who got a a chance late last season. He said: “I’ve seen teams play 3 talls with the third being the ruck. Charlie has got some mobility. People probably haven’t seen a lot of Charlie just yet but he’s got speed.”

And he also had kind words for pick 22 Josh Goater (AF $248k SC $117k MID). He said: “To be honest they’ve all taken us by surprise at different points of time. Whether it’s Josh Goater with his run, his rebound and his capacity to see the game ahead.”

Melbourne

Nothing relevant again from the Dees.

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Hawthorn

Mitch Lewis (AF $504k SC $358k FWD) kicked eight goals in an intra-club game on Tuesday.

GWS Giants

GWS coach Leon Cameron also spoke to afl.com.au and was positive about Stephen Coniglio‘s (AF $695k SC $261k M/F) pre-season He said: “He’s moving really freely, he’s fit. He’s done a lot of the basic fundamentals of training which he probably missed a bit, which will hold him in good stead for the year upon us.”

Brent Daniels (AF $430k SC $315k FWD) injured his foot and will have surgery, ruling him out until around Round 10.

Gold Coast

The Suns added James Tsitas (AF TBC SC $102k MID) as a SSP recruit. He is a 26-year-old midfielder who joins after winning the Magarey Medal as the SANFL’s best player and winning the 2021 Premiership with Woodville-West Torrens, in a season where he averaged 28.6 disposals

Geelong

Youngster Cooper Stephens (AF $190k SC $123k MID) got talked up by assistant coach Nigel Lappin. He said: “He’s had a terrific pre-season and he’s got himself in great nick and he’ll definitely be putting his name up for selection in the early rounds which is really positive.”

New addition Tyson Stengle (AF $298k SC $247k FWD) also received praise. Lappin said: “Since the moment he walked through the doors he’s been really professional with the way that he’s gone about it & he’s been impressive on & off the field. He’s pretty exciting to watch play.”

Fremantle

Nat Fyfe (AF $709k SC $546k MID) continues to edge closer to a return to full training after off-season shoulder surgery.

Essendon

General manager of football Josh Mahoney flagged Kaine Baldwin (AF $190k SC $123k FWD) as a possible replacement for the retired Cale Hooker. He said: “We’ve got Kaine Baldwin on our rookie list who’s training really well at the moment. He’s a key-position forward.

Collingwood

No news from the Pies.

Carlton

No news from the Blues.

Brisbane Lions

Cam Rayner (AF $396k SC $278k FWD) continues to impress in pre-season after ACL surgery last year. The Lions match sim update said: “Continued to excite Lions fans, looking dangerous both in the midfield & in the forward line. Looking considerably stronger than he has previously, he broke tackles with ease and was clean on both feet.”

Adelaide

No news from the Crows.

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