Predicted Round 1 line-ups for Games 4-6: 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.
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 Saturday games of Round 1, with further line-ups to be revealed over the coming days to help you plan.
Geelong v Essendon
Written by Ben Somerford, assisted by Amit Kumar @KaleBoyy
There’s some doubt around Tom Stewart’s Round 1 availability due to the impending birth of his child, so keep an eye on that. Patrick Dangerfield has had a clear pre-season and has gone under the radar, with midfield time expected. Mitch Duncan’s pre-season has been impacted by a calf complaint but he’s set to suit up in Round 1.
Don’t expect many rookies to come through at Geelong despite hype around Cooper Stephens. Tyson Stengle has joined in the off-season, did well in pre-season and is a viable price in both formats, especially with some job security, and doubts around Gary Rohan’s fitness. Max Holmes or cheapie Francis Evans could come in if Rohan isn’t right for Round 1.
In the mix
De Koning, Z.Guthrie, Stanley, Stephens, Holmes
There’s a lot of interest around Sam De Koning getting a game, given the dearth of defensive rookies in both formats. He performed well in a key defender role in the AAMI Series with his intercept marking ability, but Jack Henry’s return to fitness may mean he misses out.
Written by Dale Clohesy @DPC888
Nick Martin and Kaine Baldwin are the rookies who look like they will be great cash cows if they can keep their place in the team. Baldwin will be a slow burn, but Martin could do anything, with 16 possessions in 42% TOG in pre-season. He played in preference of Ben Hobbs in the AAMI Series.
Zach Merrett, Darcy Parish, Dyson Heppell, Andy McGrath will all be consistent and high scorers, as always. McGrath seems to be playing back behind the ball and pushing up to the back of the contest that way, a potential defender status incoming. Heppell has moved from half back to the wing in the practice games and AAMI Series and his disposal efficiency puts him up high in Supercoach. There is probably upside in Archie Perkins and Jordan Ridley too this year, with more midfield time for Perkins and a more free roaming role for Ridley down back. Dylan Shiel also looks like he is back to his best in the midfield as a sneaky option.
With Harry Jones out for probably a month, I think Baldwin comes in for him, otherwise I think that this is nearly the best 22 for the Bombers. This assumes that Jake Stringer gets up for Round 1, though the club is confident he will be right. The others that are injured would all be trying to get back in along with the emergencies with competition for spots pretty high.
In the mix:
Neither are overly relevant, while the aforementioned Hobbs should still debut at some stage this year I think, but a stacked midfield will make it hard early in the season.
GWS Giants v Sydney
Written by Ben Somerford, assisted by Grady Just @CheckmateFC
Lachie Whitfield will attract plenty of ownership in his half-back role after a clear pre-season. Tim Taranto will play forward in the first period of the season while Toby Greene serves his suspension which may impact his scoring capacity.
Stephen Coniglio is set for his on-ball role having had an excellent pre-season along with good CBA representation and scores in the practice and AAMI Series games. Jake Kelly looks good too.
Daniel Lloyd was concussed in their AAMI Series game so there’d be some doubt around him, while Connor Stone strained his hamstirng in that game too and looks set to be ruled out of calculations.
In the mix
Peatling, de Boer, Preuss
A lot of pre-season interest has centered around Braydon Preuss being number one ruck and he performed well in their AAMI Series game but got suspended for Round 1. Whether he comes in for Round 2 alongside Matt Flynn remains to be seen, so it’d be risky to stash him at R3 for that.
Written by Zane @zanerednwhite
Jake Lloyd is a upgrade target for me after seeing Nick Blakey so prominent and Josh Kennedy in a new role down back both may hurt his ceiling.
Isaac Heeney, justifiable for people to be wary especially now Tom Papley is missing but I just feel if he’s fit and firing, it won’t matter where he plays early, he will still score well before getting back to that higher mid split we saw early.
Justin McInerney has stepped right into Jordan Dawson’s shoes on the wing and was running rampant. Coaches praised his work ethic over pre-season. Great option down back, I’m all in.
Callum Mills, just returned from rehabilitation group for his Achilles. Played only 41% TOG but had 15 touches, eight tackles and three clearances. Super star but buyer beware. Think he plays but could be managed.
In the mix
Peter Ladhams very well could play, toss up between him and Hayden McLean. Don’t think Tom Hickey will need much help early so feel McLean is the better forward who can still chop out when needed.
Braeden Campbell is going to be elite but the spot just isn’t there but is very flexible in positions he can play so can slot in first injury but also big chance named sub.
Brisbane Lions v Port Adelaide
Written by Dale Clohesy @DPC888
Lachie Neale is all the talk this pre-season, as he is fit and back to his best, being injury free this season. Most CBAs of non-rucks and looks like he is just hunting the ball all over the ground.
I think be careful of the Zac Bailey hype. He is going to be an impact player and do incredible things, but they won’t result in enough points in either format. If Dayne Zorko doesn’t get up for Round 1, I think Bailey pushes into the midfield, then Deven Robertson come onto the bench.
Jarryd Lyons, Daniel Rich and Hugh McCluggage will again be mainstays in the fantasy formats, very consistent and high scoring. If the Lions don’t go with Fort in the team, then I think Fullerton comes in for another tall marking forward and ruck back up.
Kiedean Coleman I think would have been in, instead of James Madden, but he is out for 8-10 weeks with a hamstring injury.
In the mix
Fullerton, Ah Chee, Prior, Payne, Sharp
One who’s not mentioned is the suspended Darcy Wilmot, who looks like he has a fantasy game and will get an opportunity early, though, the Lions have a very settled team and breaking in will be hard to do. He did look really good in the practice match against Adelaide.
Written by Stasi Dimkou @StasDimkou
Port Adelaide will enter season 2022 with a largely unchanged line-up from their preliminary final annihilation at the hands of the Bulldogs, but with some new recruits entering the best 22 and positional changes for two of their young stars, will be hoping to remain a strong unit and push to make it one step further in September.
Pick 12 from the 2021 National Draft Josh Sinn looks a good chance to debut in Round 1 against Brisbane after impressing in the second half of the Power’s AAMI Series win over Adelaide. Coach Ken Hinkley commented that with Sinn being selected in the 23-man squad, he is a genuine chance to play Round 1.
Hinkley was also bullish on second year player Lachie Jones cementing a spot in the Round 1 team, praising Jones’ strong performance against the Crows and noting that he is built for AFL football.
Perhaps the biggest temptation for fantasy coaches are stars Connor Rozee and Zak Butters, who according to assistant coaches Luke Kelly and Brent Montgomery will spend considerable time in the midfield this season. Both players scored well against Adelaide, were around the contest regularly, a promising sign they will become DPPs as the season progresses.
Port’s Round 1 injury concerns are not overly relevant fantasy players in Charlie Dixon (ankle), Robbie Gray (hamstring), and Sam Powell-Pepper (hamstring). Their injuries may open the door for players who sit just outside Port’s best 22 to crack into the team.
In the mix
Marshall, Mead, McEntee, Motlop
If Dixon missed Round 1, it would open the door for Todd Marshall. Jackson Mead, Jed McEntee and Steven Motlop can play the high pressure small forward role and will be on standby should Gray and Powell-Pepper be ruled unfit, with Motlop the more likely to be selected should Port opt to not expose too many young players at the Gabba.