Connect with us

Around The Grounds

Pre-Christmas Track Watching

The latest news from the pre-season with a Fantasy spin.

Players are back at training and the AFL news cycle doesn’t stop. We’re constantly hearing about who is burning up the track, training the house down, setting PBs and – our personal favourite – which players are going to get more midfield time in the new season. This post will be updated regularly with any tidbits that may or may not be Fantasy relevant as we head towards the Christmas break.

LAST UPDATE: 20 December 2018

For daily news and analysis, check out Fantasy News Today on

Read information on each club including injuries thanks to

More club-by-club injury news.

10/12Daniel Talia will have surgery on his right knee and is likely to resume training int he new year. [source]

29/11Brodie Smith is undertaking a full pre-season after just playing two games this season following an ACL. He will receive a 24% discount on his 2017 average of 79.6, which will price him around 20 points under his season-best of 82.1 back in 2014. Kyle Hartigan (knee), David Mackay (Achilles) and Jordan Gallucci (toe) are on light duties. Brad Crouch is training with the main group as he builds his workload after missing all of 2018 with groin soreness. [source]

19/11Reilly O’Brien finished third in Adelaide’s 2km time trial behind Wayne Milera and Jake Kelly. Brodie Smith and Rory Laird were fourth and fifth. Sam Jacobs‘ back up ruckman should be close to basement price having only played two games in 2016 and may be in line for some opportunity with Jacobs turning 31 next year. [source]

13/11Wayne Milera is training at half-back. [source]

5/11Brad Crouch is expected to join training when the whole squad returns on Nov. 19. The older Crouch brother will most likely receive a 30% discount on his PB season average 103.1 from 2017 after missing all of this year. Rory Sloane and Bryce Gibbs were back well before they were required. Sloane is a name that should be in your black book after averaging 89.9 following seasons of 91, 94.5, 104.5, 95.3, 106.2 and 107 in his six previous years. [source]

TRAINING: First-to-fourth-year return Monday 5 November, full squad Monday 19 November.

5/12 – The Lions will take on the Suns in some extra pre-season practice matches. [source]

5/12Mitch Robinson is going to be a professional gamer playing Fortnite. There are limited stats around how this will affect his Fantasy numbers. [source]

1/12Alex Witherden is improving his explosive power running that is “required by half-backs to get past (their man) and get handball receives”. A few more Fantasy points?  [source]

12/11Lachie Neale to wear No. 9 (Beams’ old number). Also – Lincoln McCarthy No. 11 and Marcus Adams No. 24. [source]

1/11Jarryd Lyons has made his way to the Lions after being delisted by the Suns, despite having a year left to run on his contract. In his last year at the Crows he went at 89.2 before averaging 94.1 and 94.9 in his two seasons at Gold Coast. Lyons’ move may not mean the upside in Lachie Neale, who was traded from the Dockers, is as much as we first hoped with Dayne Beams‘ departure. [source]

TRAINING: First-to-fourth-year return Monday 5 November, full squad Monday 19 November.

20/12Jarrod Pickett has ruptured his patella tendon and will require surgery. [source]

10/12Sam Docherty was set to be one of the most selected players with his 30% discount due to missing 2018 after a pre-season ACL injury. Today he ruptured the same ligament and will require a reconstruction that will have him on the sidelines in 2019. Bloody awful news. [source]

21/11Jarrod Pickett has come back to training a bit too heavy and will do some extra work with the Northern Blues, Carlton’s VFL team. [source]

21/11Sam Docherty has been working with fellow pre-season ACL injury partner Will Setterfield to be cherry ripe for this year. Docherty believes that while he (himself) may have more midfield time, as touted before his injury, he won’t be having a full-time role in the guts anytime soon. “I wouldn’t say that I’ll be playing as a straight-out midfielder,” Docherty said “Much as I did in that 2017 year, I think I played about 20 per cent midfield per game. Just expanding on that role will be part of it. But the majority of where I play will be in the backline. That’s where I’m suited to play and that’s where the team probably needs me to play. Most of the time I’ll be down back, but I think you see that sort of Shaun Burgoyne role where you can pop in and out – that’s probably what I’m looking at.” Docherty is also excited about Nic Newman playing at half-back. [source]

12/11Hugh Goddard has been invited to train with Carlton. If picked up, he will be a cash cow to watch as the defender will basically be rookie priced in 2019. [source]

7/11Kade Simpson was back at training on day one, ahead of schedule, as he embarks on his 17th season. Sam Docherty, who will be one of the most owned in Fantasy Classic with his 30% discount and in the mix as the first Fantasy Draft defender taken, was also back right from the start. Docherty has been named as co-captain with Patrick Cripps. Also on deck was Will Setterfield who joined the Blues last month. Like Docherty, he injured his knee last pre-season and will also be a highly-owned player in 2019. [source]

TRAINING: First-to-fourth-year return Monday 5 November, full squad Monday 19 November.

20/12Jamie Elliott failed to complete the Magpies’ last pre-season run due to a hamstring complain before Christmas but the club said it was just precautionary. [source]

20/12Tom Phillips expects to continue to play the outside wing/half-forward role in 2019 but wants to push into the midfield and be a contested ball winner. [source]

18/12Jordan De Goey will resume training in the new year after missing the final sessions of 2018 with gastro, despite rumours he has been battling a hamstring issue. [source]

12/12 Lynden Dunn is unsure when he will return to AFL, but is aiming for round one. [source]

3/12Tom Phillips won Collingwood’s time trial. [source]

26/11Dayne Beams has returned to training a week before he is scheduled, completing a running program away from the main group with Irishman Mark Keane. Also returning early was Taylor Adams, Josh Thomas, Scott Pendlebury and Brodie Grundy.  [source]

20/11 – Ned Guy has said that the addition of Dayne Beams will allow Steele Sidebottom to play on the wing and greater flexibility for Scott Pendlebury and Taylor Adams. Interestingly the addition of Jordan Roughead will potentially take some of the stress of Brodie Grundy, who was by far the best ruckman for Fantasy this year. “I think we all appreciate how well Brodie Grundy played this year but to expect him to go out and play the minutes he played each and every week again next year is a huge ask and we just need that back up which allows us to keep Mason up forward if Brodie wasn’t rucking,” Guy said. [source]

19/11Jeremy Howe will commence full training in late-January following a shoulder operation. He averaged 82.2 this year after going at 89.9 in 2017. Jamie Elliott and Darcy Moore have travelled to Germany to treat their hamstring issues. Elliott will receive a 30% discount on his 2017 average of 75.8, and will be priced well below his PB of 83.8.  [source]

TRAINING: First-to-fourth-year return Monday 19 November, full squad Monday 3 December.

18/12Joe Daniher is still in doubt for round one with his OP that hampered him in 2018. [source]

9/10Zac Clarke believes he and Tom Bellchambers can play in the same team. Likely story! [source]

1/12Zac Clarke has signed with the Bombers. [source]

30/11Mason Redman fractured his ankle at training. [source]

26/11Joe Daniher is currently on a managed program and is on track to rejoin full training after the club’s Christmas break. The Bomber forward will receive a 9% discount on his career best 84.7. Orazio Fantasia suffered a finger injury at training when he got it caught in a jumper. This will affect his pre-season for several weeks. Marty Gleeson (ankle surgery) is yet to resume full training after missing all of 2018 while Devon Smith and Dyson Heppell aren’t back after “taxing” seasons. [source]

14/11 – The Dons will sign retired ruck Zac Clarke after Dec. 1 under the new rookie rules. He could be a very Fantasy relevant option if the Bombers go down the track of playing him considering he’ll receive a 35% discount on his 2016 average of 57.2. He has twice averaged more than 80 with his PB being 84.8 in 2013. Clarke’s discount, while not rookie priced, could see see him as an option at R3 or even R2 if you’re feeling very brave (or stupid). Clarke is likely to be insurance for Bellchambers. [source]

TRAINING: First-to-fourth-year return Monday 12 November, full squad Monday 19 November.

12/12 – Mature aged draftee Brett Bewley is firming for a round one debut. The 23-year-old wingman taken at 59 overall has shown that he has adapted to AFL standard according to Ross Lyon and is a mature athlete. [source]

6/12Stephen Hill had an operation on Monday to remove scar tissues that was hampering his kicking. He isn’t expected to start running again until late January or early February. [source]

4/12Michael Walters is on a modified program as he maages the knee issue that troubled him in 2018. He insists he didn’t have surgery. Walters is hoping to do some more ball work after Christmas. [source]

29/11Stephen Hill is on a modified program due to his troublesome quad.  [source]

21/11 Stefan Giro is the new time trial king at the Dockers. Finishing in front of Brad Hill, he has set the pace so far this pre-season. Andrew Brayshaw finished in third for today’s 2km time trial. [source]

21/11Michael Apeness has been delisted and has subsequently retired despite being offered to be rookie listed. [source]

19/11 – According to Nat Fyfe, Connor Blakely and Stephen Hill will be the men to fill the Lachie Neale void. He also names up Bailey Banfield, who wants to evolve from being a tagger. Fyfe will build into pre-season after a minor knee clean up. Harley Bennell looked fit and joined in the majority of drills on day one of training. [source]

13/11Reece Conca likely to play roles across half-back and the midfield in Lachie Neale’s absence. [source]

8/11 – Ross Lyon has challenged Luke Ryan to become more damaging with his run from defence. Ryan said “More run and with the kick-ins, do a little bit more stuff we want to do and probably take the game on a bit more.” With the new kick in rule and stats likely to count from kick-in, there is plenty of upside with Ryan who was among one of the leading players taking kick-ins but kicked to himself very few times. [source]

7/11Stefan Giro and Andrew Brayshaw were the first two in the Dockers’ 2km time trial. Connor Blakely finished sixth and has been earmarked to fill the midfield void left by Lachie Neale. [source]

TRAINING: First-to-fourth-year return Monday 5 November, full squad Monday 19 November.

20/12 – At the Cats’ AGM, Matthew Scarlett said that Tom Atkins and Darcy Fort were both in the frame for round one. [source]

12/12Gary Ablett is set to spend more time in attack in 2019. The Cats will look to lock down their preferred forward structure early in the new year with a fight for small forward spots. With Ablett spending 29% time forward last season, the Cats are keen to play more young guys through the midfield. [source]

5/12Charlie Constable was “excruciatingly close” to a debut in round one last year and is impressive so far at pre-season training. The 191-cm midfielder has been likened to Patrick Cripps and averaged 86 Fantasy points from his 15 games in the VFL. Constable is touted to be getting involved with the evolution of the Cats’ midfield group, along with Brandon Parfitt, Lachie Fogarty and Quinten Narkle.  [source]

3/12Joel Selwood is on a modified program until Xmas. [source]

27/11Zach Tuohy is expected to start running just before the Cats break up for Christmas following a minor procedure to clean up his knee. [source]

15/11Nakia Cockatoo was pulled from training after complaining of soreness behind his troublesome left knee. Also reported as a calf. [source]

12/11Esava Ratugolea is ready to start training after his debut season finished early due to an ankle injury. Wylie Buzza (Linsfranc), Nakia Cockatoo (knee), Ryan Abbott (hamstring), Jed Bews (shoulder) and Lachie Fogarty (adductor) will need to be monitored as they are on restricted programs to start the pre-season. Sam Simpson and mature-age recruit Nathan Kreuger have also had slower start to the pre-season. Tom Stewart, Sam Menegola and Tim Kelly have been granted a fortnight extra leave despite still being in the first to fourth year group. [source]

12/11 – Pete from reports that the Cats will see an adjustment in their game style next year. [source]

TRAINING: First-to-fourth-year return Monday 12 November, full squad Monday 26 November.

5/12 – The Lions will take on the Suns in some extra pre-season practice matches. [source]

3/12 – The Suns have signed Chris Burgess and Josh Corbett until 2022. A good sign that the mature aged recruits will be part of GC’s line up. [source]

13/11Nathan Freeman has toured the Suns hoping to be selected as a delisted free agent. The injury prone former Pie and Saint will receive a 24% discount on his 62.5 average. After five years in the system, Freeman played his first two games of his career in rounds 20 and 21 before being surprisingly dropped for the final two rounds. [source]

TRAINING: First-to-fourth-year return Monday 5 November, full squad Monday 19 November.

1/12Shane Mumford has signed with the Giants. [source]

15/11Josh Kelly skipped his end of season trips to have surgery on his hip and right knee. He is confident that the hip surgery has fixed the groin issue that he was troubled with this year. Kelly will be on a modified program that is “designed to have him in the best nick for round one.” [source]

14/11Toby Greene will have surgery to repair an ankle injury he sustained in the Giants’ semi-final loss. He is expected to be back running and into full training following the Christmas break. He had an interrupted pre-season last year and despite playing in round one following a toe injury, Greene played just nine games. While Greene’s 2018 average was only 67.4, he won’t be priced that low as his seven H&A games will see him receive a 9% discount on the 91.4 he averaged in 2017 (his higher average of the last two years). [source]

5/11 – If Shane Mumford is signed up by the Giants again, he will miss the first two rounds after being caught on camera snorting a white substance. [source]

TRAINING: First-to-fourth-year return Monday 19 November, full squad Monday 3 December.

20/12Tom Scully is back running as he recovers from his right ankle injury from March. [source]

10/12Isaac Smith won the Hawks’ pre-season time trail for the fourth successive year. [source]

10/12Tom Mitchell has started contact work following his AC join surgery. The 25-year-old says it isn’t affecting him after his 8-10 weeks of recovery. [source]

4/12Grant Birchall was a chance to play in September. He is on modified duties until after Christmas. Birchall is set to receive a 30% discount on his 2017 average of 68.8; he will be significantly cheaper after spending the better part of a decade average in the 80s. [source]

3/12 – With Tom Scully saying his ultimate aim is to play footy next year, you can put a line through him if it isn’t already there… he’s not going to be an option. [source]

27/11Jarryd Roughead has stood down as captain of the Hawks. [source]

19/11Tom Mitchell returned early to training after minor surgery on his AC joint. “I’m feeling pretty good. Obviously, I had shoulder surgery at the end of the year, but that’s fully recovered. I’ve been running for a good month or so now, so I’m feeling pretty fit and strong and I’m ready to attack the whole pre-season.” [source]

20/9Tom Mitchell‘s shoulder surgery will keep him out of action for 6-12 weeks. [source]

TRAINING: First-to-fourth-year return Monday 19 November, full squad Monday 3 December.

5/12Jordan Lewis is set to do a full pre-season despite heading into his 15th AFL season as a 32 year old. [source]

5/12Jake Lever has had a minor procedure to fix irritation caused by scar tissue around his reconstructed left knee. He hopes to be back on the training track as soon as next Monday. [source]

3/12Corey Wagner has signed with the Demons. [source]

30/11Jake Lever completed some running and light skills after a small setback on his injured knee.  Neville Jetta, Christian Petracca, Clayton Oliver, Billy Stretch, James Harmes, Oscar McDonald, Jack Viney, Oskar Baker, Jake Melksham, Marty Hore and Tim Smith are among the Demons on modified programs. [source]

26/11Clayton Oliver has stepped up his running after surgery on both of his shoulders. He will resume full contact training after Christmas. Jake Lever pulled up sore as he returns from an ACL injury. Also on the comeback tail are Billy Stretch (toe), Christian Petracca (knee), Neville Jetta (shoulder) and James Harmes (shoulder). [source]

19/11 – New recruit Brayden Preuss says he doesn’t want to be be Max Gawn‘s back up, he wants to play beside him. Melbourne could go down the track of playing two rucks and we may see that Gawn, who was the No. 2 Fantasy ruck averaging 111.2, see a drop. Preuss will attract a 30% discount on 2017’s 67.2 as he didn’t play a game this year. In other news, Kade Kolodjashnij appears to have overcome his head-knock issues that plagued him in his final seasons at Gold Coast. Apparently his issues were neck related, rather than from concussion. He looks set to play on the wing and as a high half-back in 2019. KK will receive a 6% discount on 2017’s career PB average of 85.8. [source]

TRAINING: First-to-fourth-year return Monday 19 November, full squad Monday 3 December.

18/12Majak Daw sustained “very serious injuries” to his hips and pelvis after an incident at Bolte Bridge. He will undergo surgery within days. [source]

3/12Tom Campbell has signed with North. [source]

30/11Jack Ziebell had post-season knee surgery and is set to start full training in a fortnight. While this is a late start, he said it is earlier than normal for him. Ziebell expects to play a similar role in 2019 where he spent a lot of time in the forward line. [source]

16/11Aaron Hall had off-season surgery to repair his injured pectorial muscle and expectst o be in full contact in a “matter of weeks”. Often criticised for his lack of defensive effort, Hall wants to use his speed at his new club. “(I want to play) more as an inside midfielder. I got pushed around a lot at the Suns and it was probably the (lack of) versatility of other players who couldn’t play in other areas. My favourite position is to play inside mid, as well as sitting forward (and) sitting on the wing at stages, and I might have to go to half-back, but predominantly (my role is) around playing in the midfield.” While Hall only averaged 71.6 from his six games, his 12% discount will be applied to his 2017 average of 98.2, still less than his PB of 105.2 in 2016.


4/11Majak Daw set to stay in defence. [source]

TRAINING: First-to-fourth-year return Monday 5 November, full squad Monday 19 November.

10/11 – It looks like Scott Lycett and Paddy Ryder will be part of the two ruck set up for the Power. Lycett reported that Sam Powell-Pepper has trimmed down with he and Ollie Wines the standouts so far on the track. [source]

30/11Travis Boak has stepped down as captain. [source]

28/11Sam Gray (ankle) and Trent McKenzie (shoulder) are on a limited training program until the new year. Gray had an arthroscope on his ankle that troubled him during the season and McKenzie had an op after he injured his shoulder at training last week. [source]

19/11Ryan Burton could play up forward or through the midfield as the Power are well served in defence. “I’d love to push into the midfield in the next few years, but if I’m required as a half-back or whatever, I’m happy to fulfill that role.” [source]

12/11 – New Power midfield coach Jarrad Schofield wants to include former Hawk Ryan Burton in an expanded on-ball brigade following the departures of Jared Polec and Chad Wingard. As the Power’s backline was a strong point, Burton could be used on the win or as a half-forward but Schofield says he has the skills to succeed in the midfield. Burton averaged 84.4 in 2017 but will be priced more than 20 points cheaper than that after going at 62 this year. Joe Atley (SANFL avg. 77), Willem Drew (SANFL avg. 60 – one game, surgery on heel and currently building into training) and Jake Patmore (SANFL avg. 58) – all likely to be basement priced – have been named up as possibly playing “more significant roles” next year. [source]

12/11Jack Watts returned to training ahead of schedule along with new recruit Sam Mayes. [source]

TRAINING: First-to-fourth-year return Monday 5 November, full squad Monday 19 November.

3/12Tom Lynch was restricted to light duties as all Tigers, minus Alex Rance, returned to the club. Trent Cotchin was in the rehab group with Jack Riewoldt (shoulder). Jack Graham won’t ramp things up until after Christmas due to shoulder surgery. Dustin Martin looked fantastic after carrying an injury throughout the finals as he is set for a full pre-season. [source]

21/11Mav Weller will make his way to the Tigers after Dec. 1. [source]

19/11Tom Lynch will remain on restricted duties until Christmas after mid-season knee surgery. Jack Graham has a shoulder reconstruction after the Grand Final and despite running, won’t engage in any contact until the new year. Jack Higgins, Shai Bolton and Dan Rioli are all named up to potentially get more midfield time as the forward set up will change with Lynch in the side. [source]

TRAINING: First-to-fourth-year return Monday 19 November, full squad Monday 3 December.

19/12Dan Hannebery was forced to undergo hamstring scans after complaining of soreness this week. The examination showed now damage, but he has been eased off training with hamstring awareness. Alan Richardson has revealed that he walked laps with Max King to dampen his expectations of early matches as he recovers from an ACL injury. Jarryn Geary (knee), Dean Kent (shoulder), Billy Longer (ankle) and draftee Jack Bytel (back) have been on modified programs up to Christmas. [source]

13/12Jack Billings stated last season a long way from where his mid-90s average of the previous year. His second half of the season, after a week in the VFL, was significantly better averaging in the 90s. Billings is keen to help more through the midfield, a role that he needs to boost his numbers. [source]

21/11 – Coach Alan Richardson vows to be more consistent and not change things too quickly. Maybe this could have helped a bloke like Nathan Freeman stay in the ones. [source]

15/11Dan Hannebery will wear No. 10 for the Saints and has spoken about his poor recent form. “To have two down years was disappointing” is an interesting quote as this year was putrid (average of 59.8 from 14 games) but his 2017 wasn’t that bad, averaging 25 disposals for 94.4 from 21 games. Let’s hope that he has higher standards than his 2017 year which could see him somewhere near the 110.8 and 108.1 the two years prior. Could we see a 50 point increase?! Probably not, but 30-40 isn’t out of the question and would make him a must-have as long as his body is right. [source]

10/11Jack Billings is working towards a 50-50 split playing forward and pushing into the middle. He will be working with Brett Ratten – the new forwards coach – “a fair bit”. [source]

8/11 – The player with the first ‘more midfield time’ quote on October 24, Jade Gresham, wants to do a lot of work in the midfield and improving his endurance is the key for this. This is likely to be the first full pre-season Gresham has enjoyed. [source]

TRAINING: First-to-fourth-year return Monday 5 November, full squad Monday 19 November.

11/12Daniel Menzel underwent groin surgery last week and won’t resume training until February. [source]

20/11Lance Franklin has undergone groin surgery which will keep him off the training track until early next year. This probably doesn’t matter too much as Buddy apparently only trained about 20 mins this year. [source]

14/11Daniel Menzel has signed with the Swans as a delisted free agent. He looks set to be part of Sydney’s forward set up. Priced at 60.8, there is upside if he can reach his PB of 73.5 when thinking Draft. [source]

12/11 – Former Roo Ryan Clarke aims to replace Dan Hannebery in the Swans’ midfield in 2019. “My target is to play in the ones and play in the midfield so that’s something I’ll have a crack at,” he said. Clarke will be priced at 70.3, which puts him unders what the 21-year-old can potentially produce, especially with a ball-winning role. [source]

TRAINING: First-to-fourth-year return Monday 12 November, full squad Monday 26 November.

3/12Elliot Yeo is on a modified program after off-season toe surgery. He’ll be in rehab until the new year as will Josh Kennedy with a shoulder. Chris Masten and Tom Barrass are also on modified programs. Nic Naitanui is ahead of schedule following his ACL injury this year. Josh Smith beat Andrew Gaff home in a time trial while Liam Ryan went home early from camp. [source]

1/12Keegan Brooksby has signed with the Eagles. [source]

28/11Josh Smith wants to to push for a spot on the wing with the Eagles. Smith averaged 76.2 from 18 games in his first year as a Pie, backin gup with 13 games at 81.6. He only played in round one this year for a score of 52. [source]

TRAINING: First-to-fourth-year return Monday 19 November, full squad Monday 3 December.

17/12Lukas Webb will remain in a neck brace until March following a VFL injury sustained in July. Matt Suckling is in full training after Achilles soreness kept him out of the second half of last season. He will join new recruit Taylor Duryea off the half-back line. [source]

6/12Jackson Trengove expects his role in 2019 to be similar to his last few rounds this year where he split his time between ruck and forward, hoping he doesn’t need to play back. Jordan Roughead was traded to the Pies and Tom Campbell was delisted, so he’ll be shouldering the ruck load with Tim English and possibly Tom Boyd at times. Boyd is expected to play more in attack in the new year. [source]

20/11Jason Johannisen (hip) and Caleb Daniel (knee) are unlikely to join the main group after Christmas. Bailey Dale (foot) is on a modified program and will return to full training in the next four-to-five weeks. [source]

9/11Liam Picken and Tom Liberatore are back training, despite not being required to be there until Nov. 19. Picken didn’t play a game this year after being concussed in the JLT. He will receive a 30% discount on 2017’s average of 76, a long way from the 100.7 and 87.6 he went at the two previous years. Liberatore ruptured his ACL in round one and will have a 27% discount applied to his 2017 average of 72, putting him well under his PB of 98.6. [source]

TRAINING: First-to-fourth-year return Monday 5 November, full squad Monday 19 November.



  1. Euman


    November 19, 2018 at 1:41 pm


  2. The Chosen Won

    November 28, 2018 at 9:10 am

    Chits getting real :)

    Good Luck in 2019

Leave a Reply





More in Around The Grounds