Carlton Blues: Dream Team Preview

This is the next of our submitted Club Dream Team Previews. Thanks to JLoh for sending this one in! You will receive a stubby holder and if your article is one of the two that gets the most Facebook “Likes’ (just above this blurb), you’ll get yourself an AFL Prospectus! Read on!

The Outlook

Most Blues fans still would have painful memories and be left with a bitter taste in their mouths from close finals defeats in both 2009 and 2010. The Blues were poised to win in both finals, however were not able to deliver in either 4th quarter after leading at three quarter time.

In 2011 the Blues MUST win a final. Anything less will be considered a disappointment for a team that is on the up and promises to deliver to long suffering fans of this proud club steeped in rich history. Carlton should make the top eight and although talk of a top 4 finish is not out of the question, it is highly unlikely. Realistically the Blues should push for a home final in 2011.

The Draw

The Blues must be paying someone in the AFL to receive such a favourable draw. In 2011 the Blues will only travel 4 times interstate and will play 9 games on the hallowed turf of the MCG. Carlton has byes in Round 8 and Round 23. The Round 23 bye will be perfect for the Blues, who will benefit greatly from the break leading into finals football.

Fantasy Value

The Blues were the ranked 5th in the AFL as a team in DT averages and have players who will be worthy of consideration in all 4 positions for any dream team. The Blues generally will be encouraged to play a fast and high possession brand of football moving the ball quickly into the forward line.

It was evident last year that the Blues seemed to lack that extra gorilla defender or that tall target up forward to provide a contest.  Trading in utility Jeremy Laidler from Geelong and the drafting of young key position players Matthew Watson (Pick 18), Patrick McCarthy (Pick 34) and Luke Mitchell (Pick 42) should provide a solution to this problem.

Defenders

Strongly Consider: Andrew Carrazzo (2010 average: 81.6)

If Carrazzo is available to be picked as a defender it would be foolish not to consider him. Although sometimes used as a tagger, Carrazzo still is able to rack up the possessions averaging 22.6 disposals in 2010 with a kick to handball ratio of 1:1. Carrots also contributes in fantasy gold averaging 3.4 tackles and kicking close to a goal game (0.8).  Carrazzo also proved his durability not missing a single game in 2010.

Bottom Line: Carrazzo may push for premium status by the end of the season. Predicted 2011 average: 85+

Think TwiceHeath Scotland (2010 average 93.0)

Scotland has been a fairly consistent DT performer over the last 5 years never averaging less than 86.3 DT points a year, however 2011 may be the year where we will finally see a drop-off from the steady Heath. Over 30 years old and coupled with the breakout season of Jordan Russell, Scotland may struggle to pick up those cheap possies in the backline.

Kick in duties will fall to Russell who generally enjoys the cheap ‘kick to himself’ to gain that extra disposal.  While Scotland is a beautiful kick, I believe Ratten will use him on the half-forward flank delivering inside 50 to the forwards (averaged 3.9 last year).

Bottom Line: If Scotland is played by Ratten in the forward half of the ground, look for a drop off in DT scoring but a possible cheap pick up in the later half of the year. Predicted 2011 average: 75+

Rook To Watch: Matthew Watson (Drafted Pick 18)

Will need to monitor over the NAB cup to evaluate his chances of playing, but on paper seems like a good fit for the Blues. Described on the Carlton FC website as a ‘left-footed tall defender with impressive marking ability and a tremendous ability to win the ball.’

Bottom Line:  Watson is likely to get a game sometime in the 2011 season and may be a unique bench option. Predicted average: 40+

Midfielders

Strongly Consider: Bryce Gibbs (2010 average 96.4) EDIT: Gibbs is listed as a DEF/MID.

While the Prince of Perfection (Chris Judd) should be considered by every DT coach out there, Gibbs warrants the same if not greater consideration due to the fact that he is a player who has not yet reached his true DT potential. Carlton fans have been frustrated at Ratts for leaving Gibbs in the backline or sitting on opposition players when the game is there to be won.

The 2011 season sets the stage for Gibbs to stamp himself on the competition and announce himself as a truly elite midfielder. A score of 166 in Round 10 last year is a taste of what Gibbs is capable of. Gibbs has lacked in the goal kicking department, however if allowed to run wild in the midfield, it is likely that there will be an increase in both goals and possessions for the 21 year old. In his four seasons Gibbs has only missed one regular game.

Bottom Line: Gibbs has surely completed his education of the game and at only 21 years old is ready to take the AFL by storm. Predicted average: 110+

Think Twice: Andrew Walker (2010 average 77.7)

Early January and the first time trial results are released and without fail 1AW always is leading the pack. Maybe this year he will live up to the hype as a #2 in the 2003 draft? Maybe Walker will have a breakout season? Maybe he will play out the season this year with a solid pre-season? Answers to all three questions: No he will not. Do NOT be seduced, as it is the same story with Walker every year. Promises much early, but delivers very little. In the last 3 years Walker has played 27 out of a possible 66 games.

Bottom Line: Pick up Walker at your own peril, he may have ‘recommitted’ to the Blues after the trade rumours, but he will not be committed to your DT and will surely miss games when you need him most. Predicted average: 60+

Smokey Newcomer: Andrew Collins (2010 average 66.2)

While most DT coaches in 2011 will go with premium/rookie combo especially with all the new kids from the Gold Coast Suns, the new recruit from Tigerland Andrew Collins may sneak under the radar as a unique option. Although priced a little high, Collins averaged close to 15 disposals a game and contributed a goal a game in 2010 with the Tigers.  Some may question whether he will get a game with the Blues, but having watched him play, Collins has strong hands, can take a solid grab and kicks fairly well providing Ratten with another option up forward.

Bottom Line: Collins is a unique option for those who seek an alternative strategy to their midfield setup in 2011. Predicted average 70+

Rucks

Strongly Consider: Matthew Kreuzer (2010 average 76.2)

Matty Kreuzer aka Special K/Humphrey was struck down in Round 13 last year with a season ending knee injury. Reports from the pre-season indicate that Kreuzer is well on track for Round 1 with coach Brett Ratten even suggesting that Kreuzer and Robbie Warnock may start in the centre square together. This seems unlikely, however Kreuzer moves extremely well for a big man and is often thought of as that extra midfielder. This big man definitely has the potential to pull out big scores evidenced by his 127 in Round 8 last year. Look for Kreuzer to push forward often and provide a marking target in the 2011 season.

Bottom Line: Kreuzer could potentially be the 3rd highest scoring ruckman in 2011 behind man mountain Aaron Sandilands and the big Dean Cox. Predicted average 90+

Forwards

Strongly Consider: Chris Yarran (2010 average 60.1)

Yarran is entering the supposed ‘third year-breakout’ season in 2011. Yarran often doesn’t need that many touches to impact a game and Blues fans know that when Yarran does touch the ball, this smooth mover who seems to glide across the ground often produces magic. With another solid preseason under his belt, Yarran should see an increase in his time further up the ground in the midfield causing an increase in the number of disposals. Yarran will also look to push his goal average from 1.3 a game closer to 2 and will be fed the ball to deliver inside 50 due to his accurate and precise kicking.

Bottom Line: Monitor Yarran closely through the NAB cup, he may be that unique pick that sets you apart from other teams giving you that jump early in the season. Predicted average 80+

Think Twice: Lachlan Henderson (2010 average 60.6)

A year on most if not all Blues fans will be happy with the trade that brought Henderson to Carlton in exchange for Brendan Fevola. Henderson is a young developing forward at only 21 years old and seemed to play some solid games especially later on in the 2010 season as he found his place in the Blues set up and style of play. Hip surgery just before Christmas has put Henderson in doubt for the NAB Cup and he is no guarantee for a Round 1 start against the Tigers. Even when he returns, expect Waite to still be the number one option in the forward line.

Bottom Line: Henderson should be skipped this year and monitored for the 2012 DT season. Predicted average 60+

The Final Words

The Blues have a young developing list and will definitely be among the highest DT scoring teams. Led by skipper Chris Judd (is he the luckiest man in the land after marrying Twiggs?) expect good things from this team. Although we don’t know what is coming and we can’t smell what is cooking down at Carlton, there is one thing for certain heading into the 2011 season: the Blues have NO Passengers.

30 Comments

  • Duigan? Russell? Murphy? Simpson? Judd?… A few more to discuss I think. These guys (apart from the unknown Duigan) have amazing consistency, durability and a good bye draw if going for the car.

  • I’ve got Duigan, surely Murphy deserves a mention…..

    Brock Mclean had been tearing it up in intraclub matches, this could benefit Judd and Murphy as McLean wins the hard ball and feeds it out to Juddy and Murphs…

  • Hey Warnie, Calvin, Roy!
    After an extended break winning both my leagues and finishing 122nd overall im back to your trusted sight to get all the ins and outs for this season. Should be another beauty!

    I have been trying to catch up on all your past posts but there is quite a lot. I was hoping someone might be able to point me in the direction of this years rules and also any loopholes or strategies for making the best of the byes?

    BTW the new site design is sweet!
    Cheers

  • No Duigan? The guy’s certain for games and played well in the intra club match! No Murphy aswell? Could have a great 2011

  • Good write up mate – fair bit of crit in here guys. Cut the guy some slack!

    • Plus regarding Duigan… he probably only popped up on most peoples radar from his Intra-Club game (after this was written) – although I’m sure some will say “I was on him from when he was 3 years old, I could tell he’d be a great DTer”.

      Mature age and one of the most likely defender rookies to play. Lock him on your bench.

  • Hahahaha Carlton and their no passengers slogan, tell that to one C. Judd.

  • Here’s my LOSING write-up for the Blues. I think they’re looking good in the backs and mids, but not much to look at in the rucks or forwards.

    The Blues are coming off a solid, but unspectacular season, which saw them scrape into the finals but bomb out in the first elimination final (for the second year in a row). With a number of consecutive number one draft picks and a maturing side, I think we can expect the Blues to improve again this season and a top four finish isn’t completely out of the question. However, what seems most probable is for a finish in the second half of the top eight.

    Despite finishing eighth on the ladder proper, Carlton managed to score the fifth most DT points of any team last year, showing that there is definitely scoring potential in the boys from Princes Park. Five Blues players made it into the top 50 for average points scored in 2010. Chris Judd topped the club with an average of 102.7 in 2010, the best DT average of his career to date. Kade Simpson’s average jumped by 12 points to 101.3, whilst Bryce Gibbs dropped off by 10 points to 96.4.

    Carlton’s byes in 2011 lie in rounds eight and 23. Picking up a Carlton player in your initial team will benefit you, in that their byes occur later in the season, thus you will get as many scoring games out of them as possible early in the season. The way to best take advantage of this would be through selecting rookies and/or mid-pricers who will play every week, then trading them out before the first bye in round eight. I also think there is some value in selecting keepers with questionable durability in teams which have the later byes (Carlton, Essendon, Richmond and Port Adelaide), at least more so than in teams with early byes. By maximising their scoring potential by playing all early games, even if they come down with an injury late in the season, you’re not going to be too sad to trade them out if you know they have non-scoring bye weeks to come.

    For those aiming towards league glory, neither of Carlton’s byes are in the three-way-bye-rounds, so their premium players won’t be so attractive. When you also consider that Carlton’s last bye occurs in the second last week of DT league finals (round 23), it really points towards Blues premiums being far more suited to teams whose coaches have their eyes set on a new Toyota.

    Defenders
    • Mark Austin ($112,100) – cruelled by injuries, but likely to start the season at CHB. Better job security than most rookies and at near rookie price. If the sticky-tape holds, he could be a good cash cow.

    • Matthew Watson ($118,600) – Carlton’s first round draft pick and probable long term CHB. He’s a big boy and some are talking about him as an alternative to Mark Austin in Carlton’s starting 22. At this stage, I don’t see him playing many games early in 2011, but if Austin goes down with injury the Blues may not have a choice.

    • Nick Duigan ($86,600) – Mature aged selection from Norwood in the SANFL. Word on the BigFooty Carlton board is that he could be in a shootout with Jeremy Laidler for a back role which would release Bryce Gibbs into the midfield. His body and fitness levels are AFL standard and with a good preseason, he could definitely be in the Blues lineup come round one.

    • Bryce Gibbs ($400,300) – I think Gibbsy will be the most selected back this year. Given his new B/C eligibility, he is pretty much assured of being in the top five scoring back players, especially given the chance that he’ll be spending a lot more time in the guts this year. With a 10 point dropoff in his scoring last year, he is ripe for selection and anyone that doesn’t pick him up will be kicking themselves.

    Midfielders

    • Ed Curnow ($75,300) – Previously rookie listed with the Crows and coming off a B&F winning season at the Box Hill Hawks (despite missing the last eight games of the year with a broken leg) 20-year-old Curnow could be 2011’s Michael Barlow. Not sure how his rehab is coming along, but he is definitely someone to look at once he is fit. Could be a perfect bottom-priced rookie for later in the season!

    • Chris Judd ($426,600) – Although usually considered more of an SC specialist, the reigning Brownlow medallist is in career best DT form! With the hopeful return of Brock McLean to the Blues midfield, expect to see Judd doing a little less of the grunt work and getting a few more cheap possessions. It would not surprise me to see Judd increase his average to 110+ this year. Won’t be a hugely popular starting selection and could be a good unique pick.

    Rucks
    • Matthew Kreuzer ($315,200) – Coming off an awful ACL injury, Kreuzer will be back, bigger and better this season. He’s been working extremely hard to get ready for the coming year and is a possibility for a round 1 start. It’s his fourth year in the system and I think this could be the year that his immense talent begins to show. I think he could be the new “Dean Cox” in the years to come, but for 2011, you’ll have to be a braver man than me to select him.
    • Robert Warnock ($240,800) – At 201cm, he’s a giant. Given Kreuzer’s injury, there’s a chance that Warnock may play as starting ruckman for a good part of 2011. He was probably selected as a bench ruckman on 80% of teams last year, but given his price this season, I can’t see how he’d fit into anyone’s price structure. Same goes for Carlton’s other ruckman, Shaun Hampson.

    Forwards

    • Luke Mitchell ($86,600) – KPF who has taken Fev’s number 25 jumper. Will be out of action until the beginning of the season with shoulder surgery, and probably isn’t likely to get too many games for the Blues in 2011.

    • Levi Casboult ($75,300) – Again, perhaps not likely to get a huge number of games this year, but wait and check out the NAB cup. I’m sure he’ll get a chance to strut his stuff, and having shaved 16 kgs of his frame, he’s probably getting much closer to an AFL level of fitness.

    That’s my wrap-up of the Blues for 2011. I definitely see value in the backs and mids, but wouldn’t be hoping for much in terms of DT from the rucks or forwards. I don’t pretend to be an expert, so please correct me if I’ve made mistakes or left out anything important. Happy DT-ing people!

    • good write up mate, I think Judd will be a great option this year, he’ll be unique I’m thinking.

      McLean will do all the dirty work for him to clean up with cheap possessions and a few running goals… i’m on!!!!

    • Was a good one too!

  • To be a bit more constructive in the criticism, I think despite Gibbs being a lock in the backs, with their good draw and durability, one of Judd, Simpson or Murphy should be a lock for the M3 position…..any Carlton fans want to make a case for one of them ahead of the others? Maybe how Gibbs’ return to the midfield and McLean playing more games could affect their positioning and thus scoring. Currently I have Murphy, but not locked yet!

    • It’s a toss-up mate. These things are in the hands of the DT gods. Judd could struggle to get over his injuries or get suspended for eye-gouging, Murphy’s OP could return and Kade Simpson could have had a career best DT season last year and might fail to back it up.

      At this early stage, it’s impossible to split these guys. They are all durable and are capable of scoring in the 100-110 range. Anyone who professes to know which will be a better pick at the moment is full of crap.

      Wait for the NAB cup and you’ll better be able to assess which one of these guys is the best option.

  • No passengers ? In that loss to Sydney all they had were Chris Judd & a whole ship full of passengers. Whats changed?

  • Thing Im looking forward to about Carlton the most?? Unveiling the flag against them in rd 3!

  • So if your planning on making the Grand-Final… Carlton having the bye in round 23 would mean you won’t have these players in your team?

    HRmm

  • With their single bye/late rounds status, they are one of the only clubs you MAY consider 3 players from to begin with (thinking overall here, not league.) If you start with Kreuzer, that leaves two available for selection. To me, that means there is only room for one gun and a cash cow.

    At his price, Kreuzer is a risk to me. I would save some money on my rucks, (at his price he must be onfield rd 1 or ur burning cash on the pine) and put in max 3 of say Gibbs/Murphy/Judd with a bench rookie.

  • Initially looking at both Carrots and Gibbs in the backline. A bit worried about the two bye weeks, does anyone think having two expensive ‘keeper’ type players from any team in the same position would cause too many headaches come a bye week?

  • thoughts on mclean?

    • Agggh Brock’s not named in Rd 1 of the NAB, when every man and his dog is named?! Any news on what’s going on? His in my team because I though he was over injuries and looking to be fit for a nice change! :(

    • He’s* and tought* but you get the gist! haha

      • Hahaha thought! I really should read back what I’ve written before I hit submit.

        Anyways, just heard that after playing both the intra’s they want to rest him from the 1st round of the NAB, tailoring him to be firing for the season proper.