10 players who have shot into AFL Fantasy and SuperCoach calculations based on pre-season games

How much weight do we place on practice games and the AAMI Series from an AFL Fantasy or SuperCoach perspective? The art is to pick and choose, but spotting role changes or improvements in fitness are key.

Photo credit: Carlton FC / Cristian Filippo

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We’ve assessed the past fortnight’s actual on-field action for 10 players who have shot into calculations from both an AFL Fantasy and SuperCoach perspective with the cases for and against.

Patrick Cripps (AF $686k SC $454k MID)

The Blues skipper has burnt so many coaches over the past two years that it’s almost unthinkable to select him again in the hope this is his redemption year but he’s made a compelling case for inclusion. Cripps does look fitter, although it feels like we always say that at this time of year and by Round 4-5 he has an issue he’s carrying, so take caution. He did, however, get 18 CBAs in their practice game followed by 26 in their AAMI Series game, so he’s clearly fit for midfield time. Cripps also had the second top AAMI Series score overall in both formats with 157/141 (AFL Fantasy/SuperCoach points), accumulating 30 possessions with eight tackles and four goals. He won’t kick four goals every week, so the latter inflates his numbers but most coaches will take 110+ from him in both formats.

Josh Ward (AF $278k SC $180k MID)

Pick 7 at last year’s draft, comes into this season with top billing as an accumulator and displayed that with 29 touches for 91/124 points in the Hawks’ AAMI Series game against Richmond. Ward had 17 CBAs and only 67% TOG, but it must be noted midfield guns Tom Mitchell and Jaeger O’Meara were absent and are likely to assume their roles in Round 1, forcing Ward elsewhere. He only had two CBAs in their practice game when those two played. It’s hard to imagine he won’t debut in Round 1, the role is the only flag, but he seems capable of finding the footy and holding his spot in a weaker side.

Zak Butters (AF $639k SC $443k FWD)

The Port youngster showcased his ceiling early last year before injuries curtailed him, but he has firmed over the pre-season, with any doubts evaporating as he ticked a few key boxes. Butters had that midfield role coaches were hoping for in Port’s AAMI Series game against Adelaide, with 15 CBAs and 85% TOG equating to scores of 107/114. He also had five CBAs in Port’s practice game against the Suns which was nowhere near as good, yet he returned scores of 120/167 in that game. It’d be hard to look past him after that given his price.

Matt Rowell (AF $464k SC $342k MID)

A lot of coaches have wanted to pick the under-priced 2019 AFL Draft first pick who burst on to the scene with four scintillating games in 2020 before injury intervened. He was well short of those levels last year, but he was injury impacted, so we needed to see something in pre-season and Rowell delivered with scores of 101/124 against Geelong with 24 CBAs including a juicy seven tackles plus 27 disposals. Worth noting, he actually only had 11 CBAs in the Suns’ practice game against Port.

Jayden Short (AF $783k SC $535k DEF)

Short is among that top echelon of defenders but hadn’t been seen as among the best picks for the price, however his AAMI Series game will have people thinking twice. Short scored 126/138, with 83% TOG and, most significantly, taking nine kick-ins including six where he played on. With Bachar Houli retired, there is an expectation of a points rise for Short, plus Richmond may be a playing a more conducive point-scoring style.

George Hewett (AF $537k SC $399k D/M)

Former Swan doesn’t have great point-scoring pedigree but it’s all about the role being offered to him at Carlton after his off-season move and pre-season showed that stacks up. Hewett had 14 CBAs in Carlton’s practice game before having 24 CBAs with 79% TOG for scores of 87/106 in the AAMI Series game against Melbourne. Best yet, Hewett has defender status, so he must be on your radar. It must be noted Sam Walsh is out for the timebeing injured, so he may come in and impact Hewett’s role, but the ex-Swan looks firmly in their midfield plans.

Mitch McGovern (AF $463k SC $256k FWD)

Six months ago, it would’ve been unheard of to mention McGovern in an article like this but he has been re-born into relevance with a new Fantasy/SuperCoach friendly backline role, where his marking ability may come to the fore. With Liam Jones retiring, new Blues coach Michael Voss has moved McGovern back and he has 19 touches and six marks in their AAMI Series game against Melbourne and also took two kick-ins for good measure. Given the price and position (he’ll likely get DPP in Round 6), he’s got to be considered.

Bradley Hill (AF $597k SC $394k DEF)

This one seems outrageous, especially given Hill had some horrendous scores last season but hear me out. Hill’s 2021 shockers mean there is some value and he has runs on the board from years ago. With Zak Jones out on personal leave, Hill has been presented with a nice half-back role, plus he took five kick-ins in the Saints’ AAMI Series against Essendon, playing on each time, for scores of 86/113. It’d be a gutsy call, but a potential POD move with 2% and 2.7% ownership in AF and SC respectively.

Justin McInerney (AF $583k SC $411k D/M)

With Jordan Dawson departed, McInerney looks set for a wing role which should lead to an average increase, plus he boasts defender status which makes him increasingly attractive. Even better, McInerney scored 107/127 in Sydney’s AAMI Series game against North as he racked up 30 possessions with that wing role in evidence, as well as four CBAs, having had two in their practice game. He’s an awkward price but an option if you need to find some cash somewhere by downgrading a premo.

Tristan Xerri (AF $281k SC $208k FWD)

The Kangas bigman may seem like a left-field choice but North have raved about his pre-season and they’ll likely line up with two rucks this season, so there’s a big opportunity. Xerri was given 89% TOG in North’s AAMI Series game against Sydney and scored 110/96 with 29 hit-outs and six tackles. He did mostly play in the ruck, which was likely experimental with Todd Goldstein to assume the lead in Round 1, but that return cannot be ignored given his price. There are some JS worries, with Callum Coleman-Jones in contention for that spot once fully fit too.

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