Wow, bloody hell was it a good feeling to watch some footy this weekend. It's officially business time gentleman and sourcing information to help put together that crucial starting squad has never been more important than now. Having watched a majority of the games myself I have put together some important takeaways to help guide you in building your pre-season knowledge.
Josh Dunkley: Hard to get a genuine gauge on Dunks as both Macrae and Treloar were absent. Regardless, Dunkley still played deep forward at times which may be a sign of things to come and whilst he did still attend 17 of the 29 (59%) with those others added into the side this may decrease. He's one to monitor going forward as we've seen what he's done as a midfielder but there is just so much uncertainty at the Kennel that it's hard to make a strong case of him getting back to those levels.
Stefan Martin: Looks to take a hold of the number 1 ruck role at the dogs this year attending 19 of the 29 centre bounces. Even at that price tag Martin isn't too relevant but it's more of a red flag for people considering Tim English to break out again this year. English spent plenty of time forward and only attended 10 of the 29 centre bounces in what looks like a setup the dogs are happy with going forward.
Patrick Lipinski and Bailey Smith: Both attended double figure CBA's with 12 and 15 respectively and while I think they will be used throughout the middle during the year these numbers probably decrease when the doggies have a full side. Can see Lipinski playing half forward with Smith a mixture of inside/outside and forward. Star players of the future but the bulldogs just have too much mid depth.
From a bulldogs perspective it's hard to take much from this game as majority of their relevant players are based in the midfield. Until we see a full strength doggies line up I would stay away from their players as there is too much uncertainty. Hopefully we see a full strength side next week in the AAMI but even then I think it will be a case of an even spread across the board so there an interesting team to watch this season.
Notable Absentees: Macrae, Trellor, Naughton and Ugle-Hagan.
Tom Phillips: Played a mix of inside and outside mid attending a total 11 of 29 (38%) centre bounces. Racked up plenty of the pill and looked comfortable in his new club colours. He looks to get back to his career heights this season and at his price shapes up to be more of a lock to more we see of him and hear of him out of the Hawthorn camp. I expect him to see less time inside when Mitchell and Shiels return but his role should be good regardless.
Luke Breust: Not one I had looked at before this game in all honesty but the bloke was brilliant kicking a couple of snags and even managed a decent chunk of midfield time with 12 out of 29 CBA's (41%). With no Wingard and Gunston the Hawks will need to rely on Breust to kick goals but if the midfield minutes continue he could be one to look out for priced at 69.
Will Day: Looked to play that sweeping quarter back role as mentioned in the Hawthorn pre-season preview I did. Looks to take a step forward this season but hard to get a true gauge as Scrimshaw didn't play who may be his main competition for that fantasy friendly role.
Denver Granger-Barass: All talk coming out of the Hawks this pre-season was that this man was a lock for round 1. The kid came on at halftime and demonstrated that while he has potential he's still very raw and will need further development. With Hawthorns current situation down back with no Sicily this season I still think they will choose this year to develop the kid although he can't be an option in fantasy this year.
Connor Downie: Probably the most impressive rookie priced player I have seen so far from a fantasy potential stand point. With the departure of Isaac Smith and retirement of Tom Scully the wing position looks his and his ability to cover the wing and rack up the footy is impressive. Should be one highly on your radar and is a potential on field selection if named round 1 (looks likely).
Ben McEvoy: Looks to assume the number 1 ruck role back off Ceglar. Attended 17 of 29 CBA's (59%) compared to Ceglar's (41%). While there looks to be value in McEvoy being priced at 62 he is getting old now and will be sharing duties so while he'll have majority of the split it's not a sole ruck role. Unless Ceglar isn't named I find it hard to start with McEvoy despite what he has done in past years. Younger players of a similar price range seem more appealing.
James Worpel: Looks to have picked up where he left off from last year but a more improved version. Attended 19 of 29 CBA's (66%) and looks to be covering the ground really well getting to more contests. Worpel is a big part of Hawthorn's future engine room and coming into his 4th season shows all the signs of trending upwards. Priced at 97 he could get to 105 but I don't think he goes much higher. Still a name that deserves to be in the conversation with other players around his price.
Notable Absentees: Mitchell, Shiels, Gunston, Wingard, Scrimshaw, Burgoyne and Sicily (out for season)
At this stage it looks like Connor Downie is a lock and load situation while a lot of what is in this article is still up in the air and needs more data to back it up. Let me know your thoughts on these teams and what your opinion on Josh Dunkley is as a starting option this season.