Two thumpings and a potential classic is what we have on offer today. The first two games will be ugly and should result in big wins to Hawthorn over Carlton and West Coast over Footscray. The Hawks are still very much in the finals race and a big win today will boost their chances. Apart from the heart-breaking loss of Nic Nat, West Coast are close to full strength and will also be keen for a big percentage booster at home. The last game of the day will also be the tightest contest with Port hosting the Giants. This game will be a real test for both teams as they both attempt to prove their respective finals credentials.
On the cheap end, we have Nathan Vardy coming to lead Scott Lycett a hand. Vardy is still only $6,000 and while he had a nightmare a few weeks back, Vardy will only have to share his time with one other ruck today instead of two. A great matchup against the leaky Bulldogs should make it much easier for Vardy to snag value.
It seems crazy to write this but all three rucks choices in the Hawks / Blues game are under $8K. Jon Ceglar, Levi Casboult and Matthew Lobbe (who makes his club debut) are all cheap options to consider today. Lobbe hasn’t played a game of senior footy since 2016 and it’s difficult to predict his output. At $7,000, I think Lobbe will get close to value if not exceed by a small margin. There’s also an argument that Ceglar is the better play as he’s had a few games to get used to the flow of today’s game.
Dawson Simpson gets a crack at a Ryder-less Port Adelaide however temporary rucks Charlie Dixon and Justin Westhoff could just as easily benefit from Simpson’s lack of mobility.
Scott Lycett will handle the bulk of the ruck work against Boyd and Trengove. The Dogs are still horrible against rucks and with the lack of ruck studs on this slate, Lycett is likely to be a popular choice.
My takes: Vardy, Ceglar, Lycett.
Jarrod Lienert has been pushing his case for selection all season and finally gets his chance today. Lienert is a mature-aged recruit who has been on Port’s list for two years now. He’s achieved some decent numbers in the SANFL over this time as yet another Port Adelaide running defender. My only concern is that Lienert’s time-on-ground may be limited in a time that also features DBJ and Pittard.
Caleb Marchbank was disappointing last week and apart from my belief in his ability as a footballer, there is little statistical rationale for rostering him today. For his ability, Marchbank’s price is great but for his form, it’s just about right.
Jeremy McGovern had no direct matchup last week and was about to do what Jeremy McGovern does. The Bulldogs forward line should pose no concerns for the Eagles today, so expect another big score from McGovern (if the ball actually makes its way into the Bulldog’s forward 50 that is). Brad Sheppard and Shannon Hurn should be considered for the same reason.
Small forwards Paul Puopolo and Willie Rioli could take advantage of good matchups. Both goalsneaks are playing in teams who want to win and win big.
Josh Kennedy and the more expensive Jack Darling are clearly in great spots and should the predicted bloodbath eventuate, they’ll both be front and centre. Jamie Cripps will also heavily involved in this feast but he won’t have the ownership of JJK and Darling.
Luke Breust had a correction day last week but he should bounce back nicely today against the Blues. Etihad has been a happy hunting ground for Breust this season and the matchup is superb as well. Jack Gunston should slip into the vacant Sicily role today. Gunston is a highly capable swingman and could have a big day racking up +6’s in the backline.
Both Matt Shaw or Adam Kennedy feel just short of value last week. As a result, both players are still $5K. If you played either of them last week then there’s no reason to fade them this week. Speaking of Kennedys, Matt Kennedy still hasn’t had the breakout game I’ve been waiting for $8,430 is a decent price still and I’d hate to see him go large on a day when I finally stop playing him.
Dom Sheed finally makes his way back into the senior lineup. A fixture of the Eagles’ best 22 last year, Sheed has been made to ply his trade in the WAFL. He’s performed well over the last three weeks, averaging 32 disposals over this time.
Robbie Gray is an interesting choice today. He’s clearly underpriced at $11K (courtesy of concussion affected score of 25 last week). While he’s been declared a certain starter, we know that clubs are cautious with concussions. 27% of the field got burned by Sean Darcy’s late omission yesterday and there’s a chance more will be today as well.
Mitch Wallis finally raised the bat for the first time last week after his long run of 70s-90s. Wallis has become more a goal kicker recently and if the rains do come down in Perth, it could have a positive effect on his tackle numbers.
Almost all Port Adelaide midfielders are underpriced today. From SPP all the way up to Wines, there’s some great value to be found. GWS rarely tag and this makes me think that Oli Wines could have another big day at home. Wines averages 101 at Adelaide Oval and this game’s likely mix of contested work and outside run should suit him perfectly.
Callan Ward’s fantasy form has gone largely unnoticed. Ward has 4 100s from his last 5 games, making him the Giants' best fantasy scorer behind Coniglio over this period. Ward’s contested ball work will again be important today.
Hawthorn mids are in a great spot today under the roof against Carlton. Jaeger O’Meara and Liam Shiels are my favourite players to target here.
My takes: Shaw, Sheed, Ward, Wines
We get a nice little slate today after yesterday’s massive 5 game smorgasbord. There isn’t a lot of reliable cheap value so I’ll be interested to see how people choose to plan their lineups. I’ll be looking at some mid-price players in good spots rather than taking too many risks on cheaper low ceiling players.