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Gold Coast Suns 2012 DT Preview

McRath is back! He now looks at the Gold Coast Suns and their AFL Dream Team prospects for 2012. We loaded up on them last year and we probably have a few favourites. They have a decent draw to get them started – which is locking Ablett for a lot of us – so who else should we consider?

2011 was an encouraging first year for the young Suns, one that yielded 3 wins and a lot of improvement from its rookies. Given the baptism of fire they faced; along with the faster than usual development expected from their young brigade – the Gold Coast camp will be buzzing with anticipation ahead of its 2nd year and what it will bring. With the recruitment of additional big bodies in ex-Melbourne defender Matthew Warnock, plus rookie recruits Andrew McQualter (Saints) and Kyal Horsley (Subiaco) the Suns will aim to give their young guns more room to flourish and improve with these older bodies taking (and perhaps inflicting) the damage in the new season.

Give the large make up of 2nd year players and the reliance on a few older heads; many predict that the suns won’t be very DT relevant in 2012. However I disagree, and aim to try and persuade you that there is a lot of value to be found in this young Gold Coast team. Below is a look at a possible best 22 for the upcoming year, however as it is still several months out from round 1 and with most of the preseason to play out, this may well change a hundred times between now and then.

Best 22

B:        Brown, Bock, Hunt
HB:     Harbrow, Coad, Warnock
C:        McKenzie, Rischitelli, Iles
HF:      Stanley, Dixon, Brennan
F:         Matera, Day, Bennell
Foll:     Smith, Ablett, Swallow

Int:      Lynch, Prestia, Caddy
Sub:     Weller

Fringe Players – McQualter, Fraser, Gorringe, Horsley, Tape,  Toy, Schade, Russell, Flanagan, Shaw, Gilbee, Hutchins, Magin, Day, Hall

2012 Draw & Byes

The Suns have a fairly generous draw this year, only having to play one of the top 8 teams from 2011 multiple times (St Kilda). The AFL has given them every chance to increase their total wins in 2012; scheduling them to play GWS, North, Brisbane and Adelaide twice. This should give them a good chance of improving steadily and avoiding the wooden spoon for a consecutive year. Encouragingly, they play at Metricon Stadium on ten occasions plus 2 short trips up to the Gabba to face the Lions. Whether its favourable or not, they will only have to travel interstate ten times in 2012.

Gold Coast share the bye with a few big guns this year including Hawthorn, Carlton and St Kilda (plus Richmond and Port). The only relevance this has is in the midfield where many coaches will be loading up on Gary Ablett, Carlton’s Marc Murphy, as well as the possibility of several Hawthorn and St Kilda guns. We will have to be wary of this when choosing our midfield guns to start with. After the round 13 bye, look for many teams to feature a few upgrades from these teams.


Nathan Bock – DEF – $396,900 – 2011 average – 80.2 (21 games)

Recruited from Adelaide for the 2011 season to anchor the Suns defence, Bock did just that – playing all but one game and maintaining a healthy average amongst several inconsistent young first years. He flourished in the second half of the year, averaging 88.6 points in his last 12 games. Unfortunately for him, he has to sit out the first two games of 2012 for telling a mate he’d be starting in the forward line against the Hawks in round 24. This could be a blessing for him, as it will allow him to be a bit fresher for the start of the season with that 2 week break.

Verdict: If he comes out in round 3 and shows the same form as at the end of 2011, he should be strongly considered as an upgrade target. But due to his suspension, and his sharing the bye with Deledio and Goddard – you should only consider him after round 13.

Predicted average for 2012: 90

Jarrod Harbrow – DEF – $363,800 – 2011 average – 73.5 (22 games)

Durable and potential to burn, Harbrow didn’t hit the heights of his 2010 season last year. However as with most of the Suns recruits, they should improve in their second year after a full year together and another preseason under their belt. He has been described as inconsistent at times, which results in frustrated DT coaches. But when he gets going, he can really rack up the possessions of the half back flank. Turning 24 in 2012, the Suns will be hoping Harbrow can add more consistency to his game. If he can do that, he would be a valuable asset for your backline.

Verdict: If he looks to be gaining more consistency, jump on as an upgrade in the second half of the year.

Predicted average for 2012:  85


Gary Ablett Jnr – MID – $554,700 – 2011 average – 112.2 (20 Games)

Perhaps the biggest lock of 2012 aside from Mr. DT God himself, Dane Swan – Gablett is one of the biggest DT sluts we’ll ever see. Thought by many to struggle in 2011 at a new team without the protection of his mates at the Cattery, the Little Master carved up teams at times in 2011 and showed us all that he can do it all by himself, with or without a good team behind him. He was unstoppable in some games last year, typified by his 175 point demolition against Fremantle in round 15. He provides excellent value this year with a reduced average courtesy of some minor injuries and ‘that game’ against Sydney where he was subbed out in the first quarter after amassing a quick-fire 23 points. Safe to say he brought the ire of many coaches that week.

Verdict: With a bigger, more improved Suns outfit behind him in 2012, expect Gary to dominate in DT once again. I’ll say it slowly… L.O.C.K.

Predicted average for 2012: 125

Michael Rischitelli – MID – $473,200 – 2011 average – 95.7 (21 games)

‘Mr. Consistent’ had a great year in 2011 steadying the ship in the stoppages for the Suns and helping himself to some nice scores along the way. Ever since his breakout B & F year at the Lions in 2010, he has been one of the most dependable midfielders in DT. With an extremely low standard deviation and as durable as they come, Rischi is a unique premium who again, provides value with his price compared to some others in this bracket. I believe he will again improve in 2012 and is in the middle of his prime as a footballer, he could give you the edge as a 3rd or 4th midfielder, or alternatively an upgrade target for mid year.

Verdict: Look for another consistent year from this guy as he looks to break the 100 average for the first time in his career. Consider as a point of difference.

Predicted average for 2012: 100


Zac Smith – RUC – $355,400 – 2011 average – 71.8 (20 Games)

After starting the year on every serious DTers bench in 2011, big Zac did not disappoint, particularly in the first half of the year where he averaged 80.3 points in his first 10 games, which included 3 scores over 100. As did most of the other first year Suns, Smith tapered off in the latter half of the year with the pace and physicality of the AFL taking its toll. With a full preseason under his belt, he could well prove to be an exception to the ruck rule. Where it usually takes at least 4 years for a ruckman to develop, he could breakout into that healthy 90+ range in just his second year.

Verdict: If you are looking for a durable mid price ruckman for your 2nd spot on the field, Smith should be better equipped to see out this year and improve to serviceable average for coaches that are willing to pick him.

Predicted average for 2012: 85


Danny Stanley – FWD – $392,800 – 2011 average – 79.4 (22 Games)

In my opinion he was the 2nd best player at the Suns behind Ablett in 2011, as well as the 2nd best rookie option behind Heppell, Stanley was invaluable in the latter half of the year for his coaches who kept him, routinely racking up 90+ and hitting the ton a few times as well. After drawing extreme criticism (rightly so) at the beginning of the year for his questionable disposal and his average scores, Stanley kicked into gear: dropping under 80 points only 3 times. As he is more mature than the other Suns players, he should have the durability and endurance to see out the season better (as evidenced by his 2011). Listed as a forward in 2012 due to kicking 20 goals last year, he will be invaluable to the Suns and would be a low risk mid price option. Averaging 85.6 points from his last 13 games, he presents good value for 2012.

Verdict: With the emergence of many DPP players in 2012 for slightly more, there are better options out there. However if you’re looking for a cheaper option for your 4th/5th forward, Stanley could be your man.

Predicted average for 2012: 90

2nd Year Breakouts?

With the faster development and exposure to AFL action, this leaves us with the very real possibility that we may see several 2011 rookies have breakout years. Whilst traditionally we have to wait til a players 3rd year to see rapid improvement, I believe we will see this from several Suns in 2012 – one year ahead of schedule. With the exception of Zac Smith (as noted above), here are my picks of the 2nd year Breakout Bunch.

David Swallow – MID –$377,300 – 2011 average – 76.3 (21 Games)

The 2011 No. 1 draft pick had a great first year, showing that he was ready for AFL action from the get go. Playing in almost every game and earning a rising star nomination in Round 14, he is a star of the future with his ball winning ability, composure and capable of handling the pressure of the big stage. Swallow cracked the DT ton 4 times in 2011, with that number sure to increase in next year. With a healthy average of 76 in his first year, combined with his standing well and truly inside the club’s best 21 (meaning no vests); watch for him to have a mini-breakout in 2012 and step up his average by a healthy amount.

Verdict: This guy will be a gun, anyone who says otherwise is dreaming. Whether he warrants selection in your starting team is another story. Good mid price option, but there is better value and surer bets out there.

Predicted average for 2012: 85

Trent McKenzie – MID – $363,700 – 2011 average – 73.5 (21 games)

Gold Coast’s own ‘Cannon’ made a name for himself in 2011 for his thumping left boot that has to be regarded as one of (if not the) biggest kick in the competition. After kicking a 65 metre goal off one step against Adelaide in round 8, he has become a fan favourite at the Suns and a great DT scorer in his first year. Similar to Smith and Swallow, his scoring waned in the latter half of the year. But with a full preseason, he should come out in 2012 and improve considerably. Whilst all of the attention will be on Ablett and Swallow, McKenzie will continue to rack up the touches on the wing all day. I’m expecting big things from this guy – whether it is enough to get a spot in your team is up to you.

Verdict: Not only does he have a massive kick, he knows how to find the ball in a losing team, gathering 20+ touches on 7 occasions. If you have the mettle, he won’t disappoint you – but don’t expect a breakout quite like Rockliff last year.

Predicted average for 2012: 84

Dion Prestia – MID – $313,700 – 2011 average – 63.4 (17 games)

After having an up and down first year, Prestia is firing in the off season and impressing everyone at the club with his fitness. He has shown that he can rack up the possessions, but not yet consistently. Also, given he has lost his DPP status and is now only listed as a midfielder this year, means he will be fighting for a spot in your team against many other mid price players set for a breakout – ones that may be slightly more assured ala Rory Sloane or Jack Trengove.

Verdict: Prestia will be a great player for the Gold Coast, but there are other players at his price that offer more value.

Predicted average for 2012: 72


Henry Schade – DEF – $98,700

The Suns sole acquisition in the 2011 draft; Schade is a tall, fearless defender from Tasmania who has been touted to take over from Nathan Bock down back as the ‘anchor’ in their defence. Being the only pick in the draft, he is highly rated at the Gold Coast and must be sure to get a few games at some stage in 2012. Coach McKenna has clearly stated that he ‘won’t be giving out anymore free games’ so Schade will have to work for his. Given the fact there is still likely to be a lot of ball in their backline again this year, if he gets a run then he’s a fair chance to score some decent points.

Verdict: If he isn’t named round 1, look for him as a downgrade target mid year for one of the more popular rookies in defence like Morris, Docherty and Wilkes.

Predicted average for 2012: 60

Piers Flanagan – MID – $104,200

One of the unluckier players in Gold Coast’s list, Piers spent 2011 watching his mates make their AFL debuts while he cheered them on from the stands. Marred by injuries in his first year, the talented and athletic half back flanker will be looking to put it all behind him and break into the team in 2012. He is now 19 and lucky for us he’s still rookie priced so is nice and cheap.

Verdict: I don’t see him getting a game first up unless he smashes it in the NAB cup. But his determination should help him get a few games to get his career started. Look at as a downgrade target when he debuts.

Predicted average for 2012: 65

Kyal Horsley – MID – $119,800

After watching some footage of this guy, I’ve decided that I love the way he plays. He finds the ball with ease and knows how to hit a target. Playing predominantly as an in and under midfielder, he could provide good relief for Swallow and co. when they get tired. Averaging 24 disposals in the WAFL and coming runner up in the Sandover Medal (the one Andrew Krakoer won the year before being drafted by Collingwood), he is a gun and could be the Michael Barlow of 2012. The only problem is that he is currently rookie listed. If he is elevated before round 1 and can move up the pecking order and make the best 22, he’s a lock on my midfield bench.

Verdict: If he is named to play from round 1, he’ll be in my team no questions asked. If not, look for as a sure-fire downgrade mid year.

Predicted average for 2012: 70

Stay away from

Karmichael Hunt – DEF – $145,600 – 2011 average – 29.4 (16 games)

The NRL convert spent 2011 in and out of the first team; with fatigue, injury and mental exhaustion restricting him to 16 games. Whilst he should be commended for his commitment and courage both on and off the field, he will never be a DT star (or anything close for that matter). A combination of the role McKenna has assigned him to, as well as his still improving AFL skills and knowledge – means he is not a viable option for your team. Not now, probably never.

Jaeger O’Meara – MID – $107,200

In case you have been hiding under a rock, or maybe you just didn’t know – don’t pick O’Meara in 2012 as he is not eligible to play. He will make his highly anticipated debut in 2013 in what should be an already established midfield. He has been told to spend 2012 in the gym, whilst playing for the reserves. He should be a lock in your midfield in 2013.

Others to consider

Matthew Warnock – The 27 year defender from Melbourne should provide good depth for the Suns in their second season. He was behind Frawley, Grimes and co. at the Dees, but should see more ball in the back half at the Suns this year. At $256k he could be a steal.

Daniel Gorringe – Pick number ten in 2010’s draft, Gorringe didn’t see much action last year resulting in a low average of 33 from his 7 games. As Fraser’s body caves in, the highly rated ruckman should see more games in the centre of the field to relieve Zac Smith to aid his improvement. If he doesn’t start the year, look at him as a downgrade for Stephenson or Giles mid year.

Michael Coad – This guy was considered rookie gold this time last year after being picked up by the Suns as a mature body. One of the unluckiest guys currently on an AFL list, Gold Coast gave Coad another chance by rookie listing him for the new year. If he’s promoted to the main list and is fit, he presents good value at $244k given he’s capable of averaging 75+.

Josh Caddy – Similar to Coad, Caddy only managed 2 games in 2011 after injuries made it difficult for him to get a game. Highly rated on the Gold Coast, Caddy is tearing it up in the preseason and looks like a man on a mission. Unfortunately he is priced at $249k based on his encouraging first two games. He will be a star in the future – he’s even been touted as a target of other clubs for 2012. But I’ll be holding fire on this guy until he gets a few more games.

Who loves a number? McRath loves a number! Not only does he crunch the numbers for his own team, he is an integral member of the DT Talk team across the season providing heaps of great content! Follow him on Twitter: @McRathDT.



  1. Avatar


    January 11, 2012 at 6:28 pm

    Awesome write up mate, although I believe GAJ is the BIGGEST lock for 2012 – 44k cheaper then Swan and I think he’ll average the same if not more!! Big call i know but the man is just the best player in the comp IMO.

    As for any other DT relevant player sadly I don’t think there is much more apart from perhaps Horsley and exactly like you said Bock could well become a 90 ave defender.

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    January 11, 2012 at 6:51 pm

    Would it be beyond comprehension to entertain the idea of perhaps having Zac Smith as your 2nd ruckman? Has a very handy R13 bye, especially if you’re not keen on McEvoy & plan on having Cox/Leuenberger (R11 byes), Giles (R11 bye) and Stephenson (R12 bye) as your ruck department. I appreciate they’re at an awkward price but if you had to choose between Smith ($355K) & Kreuzer ($336K), which would you choose?

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      January 11, 2012 at 7:00 pm

      Tough call. I’d say Kruez because of his experience and his being in a better team. But Smith wouldn’t be the worst pick either.

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    January 11, 2012 at 7:46 pm

    Coad “presents good value at $244k ” … for real?

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      January 11, 2012 at 9:10 pm

      So maybe we got a bit ripped off given he only played two games. But if fit, I reckon there’s a spot for him every week. The value lies in his 30% discount.

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    January 11, 2012 at 8:14 pm

    Deja Vu, i feel like ive read this before…has this been posted on here before or has been on another site?.

    Ablett – Lock and throw away the key, only one to get my attention….Nice write up Mcrath :)

    • Avatar


      January 12, 2012 at 2:06 am

      You probably read it on FanFooty. I felt as if It was Deja Vu aswell. :)

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        January 12, 2012 at 11:35 am

        yeah thats prob it, doesnt matter

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    January 11, 2012 at 10:11 pm

    Horsley is the one…2nd in the Sandover is no mean feat. Proven he can play.

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    January 11, 2012 at 11:04 pm

    Great write up.

    I dont think there’s to many options with GC this year – unfortunete coz they have some great potential but all just seem to be awkward priced and better options out there for the money.

    Abblet = LOCK.
    Hornsley if upgaded from Rookie list will battle with McDonald to be in Hobzies Hammers.
    Warnock – could make the backline if i start breaking the budget and need a cheaper option.

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    January 12, 2012 at 2:14 am

    Stanley has been on my watchlist all pre-season, I think he could surprise. As suggested, with so many DPP’s available, it’s hard to select him. Considering how often the ball went forward and the limited options that GC had available there, his scores were super impressive in the second half of the year. Hopefully DPP in 2013, with a much improved side.

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      January 12, 2012 at 11:18 am

      HE is a great TACKLER!!! That’s where 40% of his points come from

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    January 12, 2012 at 3:21 am

    If only Caddy hadn’t played a game last year, he will be a gun at the bombers when he gets traded at the end of the season.

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    January 12, 2012 at 3:27 am

    I know this probably wont get read but I was wondering if we could get a general preseason chat article going (not sure if we have one up yet or not). Its just sometimes people have questions which don’t really fit into the pre-exsisting articles and it would be good to have a place where we could ask questions or opinions on certain teams/players/other/miscellaneous/etc…….

    Have the 3 links on the home page- DoDT, MyTv2.0, and (general chat/discussion/questions)

    We could call it “chappo’s preseason chat” if you like (strictly no team posts as they will be deleted)…

    • Avatar


      January 12, 2012 at 9:27 am

      Sounds fine. Could maybe get a bit messy.

  10. Avatar

    Squid lips

    January 12, 2012 at 4:00 am

    I can’t find Jaeger O’Meara in the list. This guy should be a lock for my bench but he isn’t there. I think dreamteam must have a glitch. I think that if it does have a glitch then it’s not a game worth playing and that anyone who does play has no life. On another note, is Rhys Masten worth getting?

  11. Avatar


    January 12, 2012 at 8:50 am

    Slight error in there Mcrath.

    You said the Suns might dodge the wooden spoon for the second consecutive year this year.

    How could they do that they got the wooden spoon in 2011?

    Anyway great article.

    • Avatar


      January 12, 2012 at 9:04 am

      Hey Jack, thanks for that. What I mean to say there is that they will aim to avoid getting the wooden spoon for the second year in a row (given they got it in 2011)

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    January 12, 2012 at 10:56 am

    I’m sorry but Charlie Dixon is not in the Suns best 22… let alone the starting CHF.
    That spot belongs to Tom Lynch= 1) Better hands, 2) Alot more athletic (Dixon is SLOW).

    Lynch to CHF
    McQualter to Interchange
    Dixon to Reserves

    • Avatar


      January 12, 2012 at 11:23 am

      Haha yeah I agree Lynch is in the best 22 but I think they might persevere with Dixon. Maybe not at starting CHF but he should still get a few games there. McQualter will play if he’s elevated off the rookie list before round 1.

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    January 12, 2012 at 11:31 am

    coad in the best 22? didnt he get delisted then redrafted, i would think toy would get a run in front of him

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      sliced ham

      January 12, 2012 at 11:49 am

      cant remember where i saw it so i cant give you a source but the coaching staff were talking about him being a great pick up for the seconds, there is basically no one back there to protect the young kids and i reckon that is what he will being doing for the majority of this year. pity i had him last year and he was a good scorer for the 2 or so games he played early on.

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      January 12, 2012 at 12:05 pm

      Not at CHB he wouldnt.. need a big body in there and Toy can only maybe play on a 3rd tall? Toy isnt even suited to be a small/medium defender, remember him being carved up by that cocky bastard Kyle Reimers?

      Toy would have to compete with Harbrow or Hunt, who wont get dropped if fit..

      • Avatar


        January 12, 2012 at 12:11 pm

        They really lack a second genuine CHB to complement Bock and play on the main/2nd tall forward. This role will be shared with a few this year – might even see a key forward thrown back in 2012 ala Lachie Henderson at Carlton. They seem to have a few of developing CHF on their list.

  14. Avatar


    January 12, 2012 at 12:18 pm

    Considering harbrow as a defender anyone have anything against him? I am thinking of going alot of midpricers this year in defence with goddard and deledio and 2 or 3 rooks. E.g. Suban harbrow heppell hanley grimes etc. With maybe clarke ellis docherty morris or buntine depending on who looks best. What is everyone elses plans with the shortage of proven young gun defenders?

  15. Avatar


    January 12, 2012 at 1:16 pm

    This is the most ridiculous team. You put bloody Hunt and Coad in the line up in front of S.Tape??? Where is any mention of this kid? He is a gun, i know him and have seen him carve up teams to pieces. Tapey will play 15+ games this year, give the kid a break for fuc*ks sake

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      January 12, 2012 at 1:21 pm

      Woh swazza settle down… relax… so I’ve forgotten Tape. I actually agree with you about him. Had him in my team last year and will be a great player. This team is based around players being fully fit and I believe Coad and Hunt are in the 22. Coad will probably start in the 2nds and get his fitness/form back but Hunt (despite the sentiments of many) is a walk up starter if fit. If Tape isn’t in the 22, he (along with Toy for that matter) are very close. Both of them will see plenty of games this year as they’re eased into the AFL.

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        January 12, 2012 at 1:40 pm

        lol Tape is horrible. He might get there one day but atm even suns fans hate him.

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          January 12, 2012 at 3:54 pm

          mate what makes u say this. Don’t see your arse anywhere near cracking the suns team?

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        January 12, 2012 at 3:53 pm

        Agree. He is a great player just don’t understand in every suns team I see his name is never mentioned. The kid has been a star at all levels up until last year at AFL level. I reckon he can really break out this year and should no doubt be on fringe players at least, if not the back pocket. I know he hurt his calf a bit but once fully fit he will be straight in

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          January 12, 2012 at 4:05 pm

          I hope so – would love to see him have a good year – amongst the other young players like toy, mckenzie, swallow, smith and presti… with the older players getting injured every 2 games he should play a fair bit

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      January 12, 2012 at 2:26 pm

      Haha, have a cry swazza! Why don’t you shut up and be grateful for McRath’s efforts, otherwise write your own bloody preview

      • Avatar


        January 12, 2012 at 3:56 pm

        Im verry greateful my friend. I will write my own preview if i knew how to publish it up. Sounds like you could get some good use out of it.

    • Avatar


      January 12, 2012 at 3:41 pm

      Hahaha, could be the funniest thing ive read all day. Swazza you are awesome. Now have a bex and lie down.

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        January 12, 2012 at 3:58 pm

        Probably funnier than ur team name mate. Mordja? wherd u get that from big fella?

  16. Avatar


    January 12, 2012 at 1:38 pm

    Any reason you didn’t mention Alex Sexton or are you trying to keep him hidden? ;)

    • Avatar


      January 12, 2012 at 2:12 pm

      Given he’s untried, I didn’t think he’d walk straight into the 22 – although must’ve forgotten to add him to the list – given McKenna’s comments about not giving any more free games out, he may need to start in the NEAFL. Although from what i’ve read he could be a very handy player…

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