Smokey watch – Essendon

It’s deep in the middle of cricket season; while most are kicking back with a beer, falling asleep on the couch in front of the Test…. a select few of us in the community are different, we are like the skittish squirrel in ice age…buzzing around sniffing out smokey’s for our dream teams. It can be difficult, every club is flying at this point of the year, and every player is having their best pre-season ever….it takes a discerning eye to identify our smokeys; a true smokey will be the one that never gets mentioned in the Herald Sun players to watch articles or by Dr DT. The best place to find these gold nuggets are from die-hard fans of the AFL clubs. People who obsess over their club and know them inside out, every player, every draftee, their strengths and weaknesses. Not just someone who looks at a stats page, someone who looks at the bigger picture.

Just before we get into the Deck of DT I thought I’d take an early look at the Bombers to see what gold may lurk down at Windy Hill, err Melbourne Airport.

Tom Bellchambers – 3 yr. average 50, 64, 80

Bellchambers has finally seen off the ruck challenge of team mate David Hille and is set to assume the number one mantle at bomberland. His numbers are on a perfect trajectory for a break out, this coupled with the increased game time and extra year on that ruckmen usually require to mature has all the breakout lights flashing wildly. You got the balls to take him over an established ruck? He could easily push to 95+

Michael Hibberd – 2 yr. average 70, 67

Hibbo comes into his third year in the AFL with the new number 1 on his back and I have a hunch that he will also be moving further up the field. He was one of the midfield players who took the trip to Colorado to increase their aerobic ability so that could be a good pointer. His kick to handball ratio his huge and I reckon all he needs is a good run with injury and his numbers will spike. His last year was ruined by soft tissue. Should still be named as a def. which appeals but watch in pre-season to see his role.

David Myers – 3 yr. average 64, 66 68

OK his numbers don’t make great reading but numbers don’t always tell the full tale. Myers was a high draft pick that has taken a long while to come on, he was played out of position for a long time but is ready now to take his rightful role in the guts. He is a huge unit and a clearance machine, and a raking left footer whom the bombers love to get the ball in his hands. I reckon he is going to finally explode next season and if named as a def again should be a bargain, the only hindrance is durability but that could be said for half of the bombers list, I’m just hoping that the fitness regime has changed from weight work to aerobic work.

Jake Melksham – 3 yr. average 59, 69, 63

Another player who was supposed to break out this year Melksham had a disappointing year. He started off OK but tired fairly quick, I reckon he was one that didn’t handle the huge weights in pre-season too well. He did however play 22 games and still has all the tools to make a good AFL player. I’d still bank on him breaking out next year in a DT sense at what should be a nice price.

Scott Gumbleton – 2 yr. average 54, 55

I can hear your laughter from here but it’s not so far-fetched. After all the waiting and the body problems he finally got the scar tissue fixed this year and finally looks assured with his body. He had one or two standout games that had bomber fans salivating but he did get tired toward the end of the year but that’s to be expected. After his first full, unhindered pre-season you would expect him to boost the average up at least 25-30 on his previous years. Not keeper material but enough to get you toward one!

Nick O’Brien – First season average 46.

Moose is highly rated around bomber land and is already a real leader. He has been given the famous number 10 which shows how highly he is rated. He has a mature AFL ready body and when he came in for 2 games this year showed he belongs. He would have played much earlier if it wasn’t for an injury that kept him sidelined for a good period of the season. That fact he was still able to come in and make an impact is telling. I see him playing most games next year in a medium forward role vacated by Monfries. For a cheap as chips price he should be a reliable cash cow for your side, he will be in mine!

Elliot Kavanagh – First season average 46

Highly rated Jnr Kav was nursed through his first season at bomber land due to concerns about hamstring injuries as a jnr. He was on an obvious program which may explain why he wasn’t considered for many AFL games. He was in the best for more than half the games at Bendigo and when given his one AFL game looked composed if a little small. After a full pre-season this time around I’d expect him to come in and play more games, may even be a rising star candidate. Keep an eye on him in the pre-season for more signs.

Alex Browne – 29, 16, 52.

Browne has been on the list a few years but most games have been sub affected hence the poor numbers. Most proper bomber fans know about him and are very excited, he is composed in traffic, makes good decisions and is a real prospect. He was a real shining light late in the season when given a proper crack at AFL level. He is a player I am really looking forward to seeing as a bomber fan, he may be awkwardly priced as a DT’er but could be a risk/Reward type.


Dylan Van Unen

The flying Dutchman is another in a long line of mature aged defenders to come from Frankston to the Bombers. Hibberd and Baguley come before him and both were a success. Hird has been quoted as saying this lad is ready to play and will get games, this makes me think he will play defence to release Hibberd or Heppell. We don’t know a whole lot about his numbers but at a base price and listed as a def what you want is a mature body who plays, this guy may be just that!

Nick Kommer

Another mature ager this time from WA Kommer averaged about 20 possessions a game for East Perth and is reportedly a hard tackling big bodied midfielder. Some have described him as a cross between Milne and Ballantyne in the annoying stakes and the Bomber coaches have said he is ready to play, Another to keep on the radar then.

Dayle Garlett

Watch this space if drafted next week!!

 So that’s the bombers, anyone got any gold from any other clubs we need to know about???



  • Mustn’t have seen latest AFL article about Gumbleton’s hamstring injury to set him back a month or two.

    • Pfft.. No way, Gumby out with a 2 month hammy. Should’ve taken the Blues offer me thinks.

  • I got on Bellchambers when he looked to be hitting form (coming off 97 and 114) but then he only managed one ton, one 80-odd and three 60-odds which was pretty disappointing. Given it’s a fresh new season I’ll consider him as a potential breakout premo but I’m still scarred from having him get a 60 in the DT finals when my opponent stuck with Giles and got a 100 for it.

  • i am thinking there will be a heap of improvement in the guts of the swans!

    Kennedy, Jack, Hannebury and parker i think are set for big improvements, they are all at an age where improvements come through natural progression. especially parker who if he can avoid the sub vest this year i would not be suprised if he averaged 90-95 which for his price would be an awesome temporary mid.

    obviously if Rohan can hit the park with full fitness he represents awesome value as well, this season some saw him as a possible smokey, but will now get a massive discount.

    I think malceski may possible have less games/gametime this year as he gets older, and someone will probably take over his role of a sweeping half back, if armstrong can get his act together which apparently he is, he could be the perfect fit. this could definitely lead to an 85 plus average, more than acceptable for a cheap back option.

  • None of them for me.

  • Might get on Bellchambers…

  • great read! definitely a few there to think about. finding low-mid priced cash cows is going to be tough this year

  • Nick Kommer should get some game time. Mature aged rook. Hard as nails should rack up plenty of kicks, tackles and has goal scoring potential. Nice smokey. Research his junior history. Plays much like Rory Sloane