Predicted Round 1 line-ups for Games 1-3: The expert supporters have their say on likely 22s

Round 1 of the 2022 AFL season is less than a week away now but there’s still so much uncertainty about likely line-ups, causing AFL Fantasy and SuperCoaches confusion, especially in the cheap defender category.

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We’ve asked top AFL Fantasy or SuperCoach players to offer their predicted line-ups for the clubs they know best, the ones they support, to help you piece it all together.

We’ve predicted the teams for the first three games of Round 1, with further line-ups to be revealed over the coming days to help you plan.

Melbourne v Western Bulldogs

Melbourne; Written by Ben Somerford, assisted by Isaac Wangier @Wanga27

Melbourne
Full backsHibberdMay Lever
Half backsBoweyTomlinsonSalem
Centre-lineBrayshawPetraccaLangdon
Half fwdsPickettMcDonaldHarmes
Full fwdsNeal-BullenBrownFritsch
FollowersGawnOliverViney
BenchJacksonSpargoHunt
Sparrow
SubJordan

It’s hard to envisage too many changes to the Dees’ premiership line-up with the only two likely ones forced by injury to Harrison Petty and Trent Rivers. As a result, the Demons aren’t overly AFL Fantasy or SuperCoach relevant, as there are few rooks in the mix to play early.

Max Gawn’s ruck split has been a hot topic, especially after Luke Jackson’s awesome Grand Final, but all indications are for something around the 65-35/60-40 mark, which is still plenty, plus Maxy scores forward, as seen in the finals against Geelong. Jake Bowey has generated some interest and he’ll likely hold his spot in defence.

In the mix

J.Smith, Weideman

Recruit Luke Dunstan didn’t play in the pre-season games so he doesn’t seem overly close. Daniel Turner was the only player to feature in the AAMI Series who is yet to debut but the key defender had 25% TOG and minimal impact.

Western Bulldogs: Written by Kevin Aston Hoey @Seeker_Eleven

W.Bulldogs
Full backsCrozierKeathDaniel
Half backsDaleO’BrienWilliams
Centre-lineHunterMacraeB.Smith
Half fwdsTreloarBontempelliHannan
Full fwdsVandermeerNaughtonWeightman
FollowersEnglishDunkleyLiberatore
BenchMartinR.SmithJohanissen
Richards
SubDuryea

It’s so difficult predicting a Bulldogs lineup because… Bevo! Bontempelli, Macrae, Treloar and Dunkley – all fantasy relevant – will rotate in the midfield, centre, wing and even half forward positions during each game. I’ve named Bont at CHF because Josh Bruce is out for a while yet recuperating from an ACL and the Dogs need that extra forward.

There’s also been some discussion about the ruck situation at the Bulldogs. Initially I thought Stef Martin would start as primary ruck with Tim English forward, but after the pre-season I think English will have to soldier the majority of the load, which could be huge for English in fantasy footy.

I’ve named Alex Keath and new recruit Tim O’Brien but they’re battling to make Rd1. If either misses, Josh Schache will play. Schache will be in and out depending on form and/or injury of our defensive talls. 

In the mix

A.Jones, McComb, Sweet

Jones and McComb are the first two rookies that are likely to get games but probably not in the first couple of rounds. Sweet will get games when Stef Martin is injured or rested. Recent high ranking draftees Jamarra Ugle-Hagan & Sam Darcy are unlikely to play much this year. Jamarra needs more development and Darcy has a significant stress fracture of the foot.

Carlton v Richmond

Carlton: Written by Janath Fernando @JanathFernando4

Carlton
Full backsM McGovernJ WeiteringL Plowman
Half backsA SaadO McDonaldZ Williams
Centre-lineS DochertyG HewettL O’Brien
Half fwdsZ FisherC CurnowJ Silvagni
Full fwdsC DurdinH McKayM Owies
FollowersM PittonetP CrippsA Cerra
BenchM KennedyT De KoningN Newman
J Martin
SubB Kemp

The arrival of Michael Voss as Carlton coach has allowed Mitch McGovern (7% SC ownership) to move into an intercepting role, one which he occasionally played during his time at Adelaide. During their pre-season game against Melbourne, McGovern had six intercept marks and 11 total intercepts for 100 SC points in only 62% TOG. Voss believes that McGovern “sees the game really well from behind the ball…he’s really embraced [the intercepting] role.” McGovern should be in the consideration for a spot in SC forward lines, especially due to the high likelihood that he get dual position status by Round 6.

George Hewett (21% SC ownership) is one of Carlton’s new recruits who has been impressive on the training track and as a contested machine, appears to be under-priced and ripe for a breakout. Players of Hewett’s build including Touk Miller, Jack Steele and Cam Guthrie, who were all once taggers, in addition to their high tackle numbers, proved that when called upon to extract the ball, that they were up to the task. For those wary of Carlton vice-captain Sam Walsh’s impending return, worries should be alleviated, as when Hewett originally signed to the Blues, he was brought in to add a missing contested element to the midfield and support captain Patrick Cripps.

Patrick Cripps (30% SC ownership) has come back into relevance – having come off two injury-plagued years, Cripps looks to be back in full fitness, and prime to return to his best. In their AAMI Series game versus Melbourne, Cripps had 30 possessions (of which 12 were contested) to go alongside 10 clearances and four goals for 157 SC points. Signs are promising for coaches looking to jump on a mid-priced midfield option who has a proven scoring history.

* Note: All ownership percentages are at the time of writing (9/3/2022), and for SuperCoach specifically.

Injury implications

Relatively popular forward option Corey Durdin suffered calf tightness and only played in one half of their pre-season game against Melbourne but Voss said is “no real concern” about his Round 1 availability. If Durdin was to miss, expect Carlton to employ Zac Fisher as their permanent second small forward alongside Matt Owies and move Will Setterfield into their midfield rotation.

After overcoming multiple bouts of testicular cancer, Sam Docherty is likely to play in Round 1. Docherty returned via the VFL last weekend, racking up 38 possessions in the hit-out. Docherty is pencilled in to play the defensive wing role for the Blues, but if he does not suit up for R1, expect Voss to play Setterfield in that role, or provide highly regarded small defender Jordan Boyd with a debut.

In the mix

B Kemp, P Dow, L Stocker, W Setterfield

Brodie Kemp, originally drafted as a midfielder, played as a key defender in his tow games last season, and is touted to play as the third tall forward this season. Based on that summary, it would not surprise me if Kemp were named as the medical sub for Round 1 due to his ability to play a number of roles.

Richmond: Written by Grant Pollerd @GrantLPollerd, assisted by @Trats1999

Richmond
Full backsGibcusTarrantVlastuin
Half backsShortBroadRioli
Centre-lineRalphsmithPrestiaMcIntosh
Half fwdsBoltonRiewoldtBaker
Full fwdsBaltaLynchCastagna
FollowersNankervisMartinCotchin
BenchSoldoRossEdwards
Aarts
SubCollier-Dawkins

Jack Riewoldt said about Dustin Martin in pre-season: “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.” If Balta is playing forward with two other talls, Dusty may spend more time in the middle.

Jayden Short: Whilst he does score better without Bachar Houli in the team, Rioli and Ralphsmith now seem to have an expanded role down back. Based on pre-season play he is the number one half back at Tigerland.

Tigers development coach Xavier Clarke said about rookie Josh Gibcus: “He will learn a lot from today. He is only going to grow as he is a competitor who loves the contest. If he continues trending the way he is then I think we will see him pretty early in the year.”

Tigs assistant coach Adam Kingsley said Hugo Ralphsmith can establish himself in the team this year, either at half-back,wing or half-forward.

Injury implications

Dylan Grimes isn’t overly relevant but he underwent surgery on his left thumb during the week which may have implications on Gibcus playing or his job security. Kane Lambert is another one out, who would likely return for Jake Aarts. Jack Graham has had an interrupted pre-season too and would come in for Jack Ross when/if fit.

In the mix

Collier-Dawkins, Mansell, Miller

Riley Collier-Dawkins missed the practice match with a niggle, but was impressive in the intra-club.  When Cotchin misses games I expect him to play.

Rhyan Mansell is the Tigers best small defender and will be used to lock-up dangerous smalls. Ben Miller could come in given there is a bit of an injury cloud over Nick Vlaustin and if he doesn’t get up I’d expect the Tigers to use him to lock down someone and free up a more experienced defender to intercept.

St Kilda v Collingwood

St Kilda: Written by Ben Somerford, assisted by @Wraiyth

St Kilda
Full backsWilkieBattlePaton
Half backsSinclairHowardMcKenzie
Centre-lineHillCrouchHiggins
Half fwdsButlerWoodGresham
Full fwdsKingMembreySharman
FollowersMarshallSteeleRoss
BenchHayesLongWebster
Byrnes
SubKent

Jack Steele is the main man at the Saints, who have lost a few troops with Zak Jones (personal) unavailable along with Hunter Clark, Jack Billings, Jarryn Geary and Nick Coffield due to injuries.

Jade Gresham has returned from long-term injury but doesn’t seem set for significant midfield time, instead playing forward, making him less desirable. Gresham did play 77% TOG and have five CBAs in the AAMI Series game against the Dons.

Injury implications

There’s big interest around Paddy Ryder’s race to prove he’s overcome an Achilles issue, which may open up a spot for SSP signing Jack Hayes and offer Rowan Marshall more ruck time, making him a more attractive R2 solution.

In the mix

Hannebery, Highmore, Campbell, Wanganeen-Milera, Owens

The latter two aforementioned players are yet to debut and were involved in the AAMI Series game against the Bombers but probably aren’t ready to contend yet. Owens had four CBAs in the AAMI Series game.

Collingwood: Written by Ben Somerford, assisted by @ScobeyBryant36

Collingwood
Full backsQuaynorHoweMadgen
Half backsN.DaicosMoorePendlebury
Centre-lineJ.DaicosAdamsSidebottom
Half fwdsHenryMihocekGinnivan
Full fwdsElliottDe GoeyHoskin-Elliott
FollowersGrundyLipinskiCrisp
BenchCoxNobleMacrae
T.Brown
SubBianco

Scott Pendlebury and Nick Daicos appear set to line up on the half-back flanks, whilst also running through the midfield. Off-season acquisition Pat Lipinski has been declared available for Round 1 despite picking up an ankle injury in the AAMI Series game against GWS.

It’s unclear what midfield time Jordan De Goey will get, despite an excellent back-half of 2021 in the guts, but he had 15 CBAs against the Giants which was Collingwood’s third most behind Brodie Grundy and Jack Crisp. Crisp looks set for plenty of mid time again, making him an attractive fantasy option given his defender/midfielder status.

Injury implications

The Pies’ backline has been decimated losing Brayden Maynard and Nathan Kreuger to suspension, while Jordan Roughead and Charlie Dean are out injured, so the anticipated returns of Jeremy Howe and Isaac Quaynor are timely. There’s been speculation that Will Kelly could come into the side to add some height to the backline but Jack Madgen likely gets that role.

In the mix

C.Brown, McCreery, W.Kelly

The aforementioned Kelly has been training with the forwards, by all reports, so is unlikely to get that key defensive role.

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