Having watched a lot of footy this weekend (every minute of every game) it's safe to say this was one of the most underwhelming games of the lot but that was to be expected. Any game North plays in is usually a boring watch and I expect that in 2021 we'll see both of these sides in the bottom 4 of the ladder. Both teams looked to move the ball inside but the skill errors by foot were shocking and as a result made for a sloppy game. Although the game wasn't to great, there were quite a lot of relevant names out there especially from a mid-price and rookie perspective.
Luke Davies Uniacke: Played large amounts in the middle and looks set for a big year. Looks clean and composed coming out of stoppage. Topped his side for clearances and racked up a bit of the pill but 2 marks and 1 tackle aren’t great and his TOG at 73% wasn’t to flash either. With Cunnington and Anderson to come in I think it’s smart to watch him with those blokes around him before jumping on but he’s certainly well and truly on the radar for a breakout year.
Jaidyn Stephenson: Hadn’t been keen on him all pre-season and his first practice match wasn’t great. Stephenson played a sole wing role and looked busy all day. Looks set to play more up the field but still no inside time. A pure outside role in a team like North is concerning and so I’m not considering it much but there certainly is merit for those willing to take the risk.
Jack Ziebell: Got plenty of the ball back there but fuck me was he shit as a defender. Cost his team at least 5 goals from poor positioning and being inexperienced in that position. May have to take the 3rd tall at times if North persist with him in a defensive role. Most of his possessions came from kick ins too. Definitely not one for fantasy classic.
Dom Tyson: If you’ve been keeping up with the articles you would know I was pretty bullish on Dom Tyson this year. Priced 39 under his career best, 27 years of age and high CBA usage are huge ticks. Midfield time might decrease slightly with Cunners and Anderson back but he’ll still be in the rotation and if he’s not in the guts he’ll be on the wing where he played most of his footy at Melbourne anyway. Priced at 54 I like it a lot and think he's done enough this pre-season to be in the best 22.
Luke McDonald: Was serviceable in the back half but showed no signs of going another gear despite the trends in game styles so far this weekend. Rollercoaster averages throughout his career and priced 6 points above his previous career high he’s not a starting option for me.
Tarryn Thomas: One I was expecting to move more up the field this year due to the departure of Higgins but I didn’t expect him to attend as many centre bounces as he did in this game. Did some nice things and finished the game on 67 points. Not sure how much time he gets in there in the real deal and he’s more of an impact player so his scoring may not have a ceiling and consistency to be worth the selection. He is super cheap though so he’s one to keep an eye on early.
Tom Powell: Didn’t look to be in the middle at any stage. He may have got onto a wing but from my eye played as a small forward and a high half forward and alternated between the two. When he got up the ground he got involved in the play and was able to rack up the pill showcasing how he was able to put up those types of junior numbers. With Cunnington and Anderson still to come back in Powell won’t be looking to crack a midfield spot anytime soon and while I think he still makes the side it will be as a forward. While his junior numbers are super do you want to pay 246k for a small forward? I’m not sure he’s a lock.
Tom Campbell: Came on halfway through the 3rd term and played predominantly as a ruck with Goldy moving forward. Looked great and managed to score 35 off 40%. I like Campbell quite a lot but it's hard to see him getting a game with Larkey up forward and Goldstein obviously their preferred ruck. He may have to wait for injuries to get a game but he's one I'll be looking to bring in when he gets his chance. RUC/FWD dual position as well gives him added flexibility.
Lachie Young: Played half back for the entirety of the match and his TOG numbers were decent at 82%. Didn't do much for majority of the game but got better towards the end. I don't think he's an option with plenty of guys with better job security and scoring potential 50-100k more expensive.
Tom Phillips: Started the game on the outside and played predominantly on a wing up until half time. Played more inside in the second half and as a result took his scoring to another level. Finished the game on 141 off 79% which is huge PPM and even with Mitchell and O’meara to come into the midfield Phillips can continue to score on the outside. Phillips will still be used inside at times and priced at 79 provides a good safe option with upside who might be good enough to be in your team come years end.
James Worpel: Started the game really slowly but worked into it the later the game went on. Didn’t really show enough to suggest he’s going to a level worthy of selecting him priced at 97.
Ben McEvoy: Looks to have his ruck role back but will be sharing it with Ceglar. With both capable of playing other positions, I can see the Hawks starting with both in the 22. At 31 with a shared role, I don’t think he’s an option. Although he is value there’s probably not enough upside and to much risk involved.
Changkuoth Jiath: I almost wrote a section about him in the pre-season preview but I thought that was a bit far-fetched. This bloke was super impressive and looks to have taken over James Sicily’s role in the side as an intercepting half back. We all know how fantasy friendly this role can be and whilst CJ has only played the 7 games in 2 seasons, he’s always shown raw ability and I think he’s set for big improvement this year. Priced at 46, the risk is low as he won’t go down in value although there are a handful of options around 300-350k mark which look viable at this stage. With Hardigan and Frost taking key posts I think the likelihood of CJ playing on a tall is low but I think he’s cheap enough to have another look before jumping on.
Connor Downie: Little bit slow to get going and didn’t really do to much in the first half at all. Got into the game after half time and played well in the second half. Due to a shortage in his position, he’ll get a game round 1 and will play in a wing position. Should be good for a 50 each week which is nothing special but is pretty appealing in a season where the rookies look to be average at best. Should be in your side either on the field or bench.
Will Day: Quiet first quarter and then unsighted in the second quarter although his TOG was 82% suggesting he was definitely out there. Looked to be stuck in a defensive role and didn’t see barely any time up the ground as I thought he might earlier in the pre-season. Racked up more of it in the second half and climbed his way to 60. (was on 14 at HT). Looks to be a great player in the making but at that price you can’t select him even though he should be better this year, there are plenty of more viable options than him at this stage.
Harry Morrison: Played super in a wing/half forward role and now having had a few years in the system looks ready to step up in 2021. Should get regular opportunity in a weak/developing Hawthorn side but at 500k you couldn’t start with him. He does have DEF/MID status so he’s one to keep on the radar going forward.
Tyler Brockman: Pretty much locked his spot in the side for round 1 in the first 5 minutes. He’ll play a small pressure forward role and looks to bring excitement, speed and a good ability to tackle into the team. Don’t expect Brockman to score very well but he’s an option for a bench spot. Scored 69 but 43 of those points came in the first quarter when he kicked 3 goals. Hawthorn won’t be great this year and they also won’t play North every week. Expect scores around 40.
Jacob Koschitzke: Key forward with defender status. 7 goals mean he’s locked and loaded for round 1 which could be enough to walk into our side given the grim rookie situation we have down back. Moves super well for a big man, can win the ball on the ground and tackle, good in the air and in a one on one. Showed everything to be a successful key forward but he is a key forward so his scoring potential isn’t great. Hawthorn also have plenty key forwards with Lewis and Gunston to possibly come back so a poor showing may see him get the axe.
Damon Greaves: Doesn’t look to be best 22 which is kind of surprising as he was ear marked by some to take off this year based on his finish to last year. Came onto the ground in the 3rd quarter but managed to finish the game on 53 points from 46% TOG. I like the way he goes about it but probably doesn’t get a game and his job security can’t be great if he does so at a price of $530k you can’t be doing it.
I’ve tried to keep these articles as relevant as possible while still being broad enough to include potentials and what if candidates. Plenty of rookies got a crack but won’t be best 22 or good enough for selection so I’ve chosen not to mention them. They could however be relevant later in the year as downgrade options if you're looking for someone so I'll drop their names below.
I hope this article has given you some valuable takeaways and insights into what I'm looking at this season and what players I think you should be looking at to have a successful year in fantasy. Drop any comments below or flick me a message if you want any further information not covered in this article. Cheers for reading guys.