Warnie’s Pre-NAB Challenge AFL Fantasy team 2015

Like most reading this, I’ve spent the last month or so playing with my AFL Fantasy Classic team. My study started pretty much as soon as the siren went on the Grand Final back in September. Through the Deck of DT, different players made their way in and out of my squad.

The NAB Challenge starts on Thursday night down here in Launceston as the Hawks take on the Magpies. So on this last footy-free Sunday for quite some time, I’m putting my team out there for all to see.

Of all of the years that I’ve been posting a pre-NAB team (I think this is the fifth one), this year I’m far from sold on almost any of it. From players to structure to everything in-between. I’m not sure if it’s the challenging pricing and therefore lack of premiums or the putrid defence options this year or what? Anyway here is what the mighty Warne Dawgs look like on the 22nd February, 2015. Take out of it what you will and feel free to smash it in the comments… there’s minimal chance that these 30 players will be there come the first lockout on April 2, but a fair chunk of them will.


Let’s have a look at why I made some of the decisions I have, beginning with the midfield.

I have been an advocate for NOT starting with Tom Rockliff due to his price. He will drop in price, that’s a given, but from what I learnt last year with the new weekly price changes, the price changes aren’t as harsh as they have been in the past. I’m still tipping Rocky to average 125 or so and realistically, to bring him in as an upgrade could happen later rather than sooner. There is still part of me to use mid-pricers to get him in a bit later. Gary Ablett is a given but I’m giving some young-blood a chance to be starters. Toby Greene and Brad Crouch are massive chances to make that top 8 midfielders by the end of the season and if they don’t they offer enough value as I think they’ll be there or thereabouts.

The final four MID spots are very cheap. Daniel Rich is a must have IMO and I’m starting with three on-field rookie priced players. The guys I have there I’m as confident on as I could be at this stage of the pre-season.

With Matthew Kreuzer looking unlikely to suit up in round one, I’ve gone with the set and forget Sam Jacobs in R1. Matthew Leuenberger sits in at R2. I’m not completely sold on his scoring with Stefan Martin being such a beast last year, but he’s still cheap enough to have there. Along with many coaches, I’m throwing the bench but using Mason Cox as a RUC/FWD swingman. ASADA pending, Tom Bellchambers is in my forward line due to the value he offers as the #1 ruckman at the Bombers. I think I talked myself into having this structure when writing my Deck of DT article. But if the players are suspended before the start of the season, this obviously won’t be happening and I’ll look for a completely different ruck structure. Maybe Nic Naitanui gets a run instead of Sauce?

FWD/MIDs Dustin Martin, Brendon Goddard and Dane Swan will almost certainly be in my round one squad. Their popularity is huge within the community – and for good reason. These three could possibly be the top three scoring forwards this year. Tom Mitchell gets a gig as a potential premium. If given the opportunity, he’s a pretty safe bet to make some cash and average around the 90 mark. Mitch Clark, Tim Membrey and Jesse Hogan may stay in the squad from F6-F8.

Oh… the back line. I feel I have over-spent a little here. I had to include my boy Hibbo. Michael Hibberd is as consistent as they come. Brodie Smith and Jack Newnes are keepers at this stage. They won’t be getting any cheaper than their starting price. Garrick Ibbotson and Brendon Whitecross are there, but their positions on the ground aren’t locked at all. Beau Waters was sitting there without too much thought, but due to retirement, he was omitted in the last week.

This team has $18,000 left in the bank. I would have liked to have left a few more dollars as those early trades in this world of two trades per week should be used aggressively. This year is very challenging and I can definitely see a heap changing when the NAB Challenge starts. I’ll be changing my team around heaps… probably quarter-by-quarter for any game I watch.

Who knows what will happen when/if the ASADA penalties are handed down. We’ll have some commentary on fantasy implications coming soon, but my gut feel is that top-ups should be added to the competition if they’re playing more than a month or so, however their prices should attract a top-up premium. Monty blogged about it on FanFooty and I agree with some of his points but it’s going to be ‘part of the game’ this year. We didn’t go overboard with GWS or Suns players when they came into the comp. So much of this depends on length of suspension, so I won’t speculate too much now.

Alrighty – have a happy NAB Challenge kick-off week! Be sure to listen to our podcast on Monday evening or catch it live from 6pm on www.cityparkradio.com.


  • Im loving my team at the moment but the only line I am really starting to hate it my rucks… Bellchambers and Leuenberger. I just cant find the cash to bring in a Jacobs or a Mumford without changing the structure of my team. In all honesty, is it worth dropping a Robbie Gray or a Goddard to bring in Mitchell? I just hate the fact his spot in their side is so uncertain.

  • Thanks Warnie, nice team and is very similar to what I have been playing around with, I feel there are basic must haves, then fill in the gaps with your own personal likes.

  • Not sure why everyone think’s Titchell’s JS is so shaky. He will be an absolute lock in the Sydney side this season. For any of you doubters out there, Longmire has been very impressed with him this pre-season

    • Yep, he’s “training the house down” – what else do you think he’s going to say when asked?! ;) “Hey Horse, how is Mitchell going this pre-season”… “He’s been shithouse”.

      I’m backing him in, however the questioning of job security is justified.

  • Not too bad Warnie I think you’re selling yourself a bit short.

    Premo’s are good. Love Crouch, T Mitch and ofcourse both Pigs.

    Your instincts that you’ve overspent in the backline a bit are probably right.

    Midpricers are interesting. I’m cautious now after still being haunted by the Caddys and Merrits of last year. Rich, Leuy and Bellchambers (if playing) are all near locks. VB is also very much worth having if he’s released from his old tagging duties as Waslh has been hinting at. Realistically, Ibbo is a big gamble. Never played a full season and i don’t think it’s a guarantee that he’ll be the loose across half back. WhiteX another one, will have his work cut out to cement himself into Hawks best 22.

    Rooks probably need a bit of work. Here are some that I think you’d do better with:

    B Goodes – if he’s playing round 1 a definite lock for D5/6 at under 200k.
    Salem – New role at half back, looking sharp by all accounts
    Cripps – Impressed at intra-club match, will be in line for round 1
    Steinberg – Smashed the time trials by all reports and will probably get games
    Honeychurch – If he gets games early will make more $$ than Membrey

    The following i think are near locks in their respective positions if named round 1:

    Newton (M6-8) Freeman (M8-10) Cripps (M 8-10) Smedts (D6/7) Clarke (F5-8) Honeychurch (F6-8)

    Dick and Clurrey (D7+8) M Cox (R4 dpp)

    Also look at J Steele if he gets a game, valuable mid/fwd link that you can stick in your mids.

    I’ll post what i’ve got at the moment below :)

  • Pending NAB cup, extra rook in defense and stronger MID. F10 still not decided, about 200k left to spend.


    • not a fan. defence is weak, not enough value in mids, rucks aren’t great, forward line is good but I wouldn’t go with more than 3 rookies in your forwards. Still a lot to consider for your team mate

    • Im with jack im not a fan either. Defence and rucks are too weak, your mids you have four round 12, five round 11 and one round 13 in your bye structure, heard of 8:10:12? Lots of work to do. If you are changing your lineup daily why try to show warnie up with this average side. Jack wont show you his team, neither will I

      Thanks for the arcticle warnie

      • I don’t think you understand the point of this site if you think people are here to show eachother up. I gave some honest feedback then posted my team so i could receive the same. My advice isn’t perfect, but nobody’s is.

        And btw if you’re criticizing people but refuse to show your team you will quickly become a joke around here. We all remember that one guy from last season ;)

        • LOL gambler – that guy last season (what was his name again) was hilarious – knew his stuff but boy did he piss a lot of people off

          • Haha Pete i’ve been racking my brain trying to remember his name! It was something real weird and started with an “M”!

            I don’t think he knew much haha. He was on here every day putting people down and saying he was top 100 but never once did he say his team name! LOL

          • Icame22ndlastyear or something like that. I had a DT Talk chat with him and a few other decent fellows, but it went pretty mum after 2 rounds.

            I would give advice (if anyone thinks I’m half-useful), but I’m not big on Fantasy and more on RDT.

        • Mate how you can start telling people which rooms are better at this time of year is a joke. At this stage they are just there to fill a team. Plus if you think somebody with as high a profile as Warnie isn’t going to leave a few selections up his sleeve your also crazy. Let’s wait till the nab cup for rookies so you can back up your arguments for rookies a little better

          • Okay. I’m going to stick to researching my rooks from early and all through NAB cup and you can stick to thinking about it after the NAB cup is over :)

          • Lol. I haven’t ruled out any rookie yet mate. But I’m not going to stand on my soap box and preach which rookies people should be watching when they haven’t even played a NAB cup game.

  • A massive thanks Warnie for all your efforts. You guys do an incredible job.

  • Great team Warnie. I also love Brad Crouch but have some doubts over Smedts. I hope Ibbotson goes back to the player he was in 2013.

    If you are DT obsessed like I am please feel free to join the Fantasy Obsessives League. League Code: NYSA25KC

    I have had 2 prior top 200 rankings but anyone who loves the game is welcome.

  • DTFan I’ve joined your league thanks for having me.

  • That midfield is a bit too weak for my liking Warnie, Crouch at 4th mid instead of 5th is ballsy!

  • Any Port Adelaide supporters want to join a good league?

    Code is DWJJMR2A.

  • I’ve created a league called “DT Talk Experts”. As the name suggests it’s for the best of the best on DT Talk. If you want to be in a highly competitive league where there are no easy games, please join. The code is: RVAA4CTU

  • thoughts what jack martin’s gonna average and if its worth downgrading boots to him to go NVB to crouch? Thanks, thoughts would be appreciated

  • two spots join up


  • Hi Warnie, nice side for AFL fantasy where you can take some risks. Would your consider putting your RDT/SC side up, be interested in seeing and hearing your thinking. Great work all,lots of effort and research.

  • Steele and menzal (steele with dpp in mid)
    Newton and karnezis

  • Have you, like me, picked Heath Shaw, Shaun Higgins and Greg Broughton after you swore to yourself you never would? Have you, like me, picked Travis Cloke the year after he signed a multi-year contract instead of the year before he put pen to paper?

    If you have a history of Sylvias, Kruezers and Gumbletons. If you’ve believed the fluff pieces about Shaun Atley’s midfield role every single year, you might be interested in joining my “The Never Again League”.

    Please feel free to commiserate poor decisions by joining up:


  • Hey guys,

    Feel free to join my league ‘DT Talk Fellas’ the code is 69D2ZH9H

  • Hey guys

    Feel free to join my league ‘DT Talk Fellas’ the code is 69D2ZH9H

  • RDT – 389936

    Solid league with experienced players.

  • Like it Warnie, what do you think of Jon O’Rourke as a sneaky unique rookie in the guts. I feel if he plays he will link up nicely in that Hawthorn midfield and provide more value than other rookies yet I seem to be the only one on him, thoughts ???

  • @BenFoster I’ve joined your league under name of Hoggas Heros thanks for having me mate. Hope for a good season for all.