When it’s your first time debuting on the big DT Talk stage for the preseason matches – you want everything to be perfect, best 22’s named, close contest, your team gets a win…
An 88 point drubbing with none of North’s top tier midfield isn’t the start I wanted – But hey, Jason Horne-Francis was worth the price of the Kayo subscription alone!
I sat through today’s grand final preview Preseason match between finals heavyweights the Kangaroos and the Demons so you don’t have to – and I’ve written my notes on some key topics and players below!
As with all preseason games this should be taken with the largest grain of salt you have access to in your kitchen, especially considering the lack of stats we are provided for these matches. I’ve done my best to grab CBA’s, but probably best to focus on the player summaries below, and add your thoughts!
With so many relevant North Melbourne players hoping for CBAs (Thomas, Simpkin, LDU, Powell, Phillips, JHF, Anderson) we were hoping for a full line-up for North, however Simpkin and LDU were both absent due to illness, and will still don’t know when Anderson will be ready after his “Interrupted” preseason.
This preseason match therefore became “Who’s going to join Simpkin and LDU in the CBAs?” We still don’t have a clear answer – but Greenwood was a mainstay, taking 77% of the 30 total CBAs. Phillips, Powell, Thomas and JHF split the rest, showing how critical next week’s match will be to watch to see how the true north Melbourne lineup will look.
Melbourne were incredibly impressive all day, and for the first 3.5 quarters played their big guns, and boy their guns were bigger than Roy’s/Tim Taranto’s pipes. Gawn, Oliver and Petracca were dominant all day, and each likely went 110+. The bigger story was the Jackson/ Gawn split, with the pair having a roughly even number of CBAs, however watching it live, it felt more similar to 70%/30%, with lots of goals scored while Jackson was playing as the main ruck. Sparrow/Harmes look to be fighting for a key CBA spot (noting that Jack Viney didn’t play) – both of who are potentially interesting draft pickups.
After reading about how Collingwood have their 4 “archetypes” of players in the CBAs, I decided to investigate the combinations the teams had in the CBAs.
- North seemed to prefer to have Greenwood as the “big body” in each combination – it will be interesting to see if he goes in with Simpkin, or if he will be there to help the “B” CBA squad
- Powell/Phillips only took 7/30 CBA’s together – indicates its unlikely to see them in the same CBA in the regular season
- For the first 26 CBAs – there was at least one of Oliver/Petracca there – with Sparrow/ Harmes rotating as the third
Thoughts on specific players below
First big game, and took a while for him to get into it, but once he did he was all class – racked up close to 20 disposals, and was close to North’s best player in the second half. Lock for R1 and with the job security he has, should be a lock for M6/M7
I should probably talk about some other players…
An absolute star, who seemed to be the only North player to have space and time all day. Had around 20-25 touches and 8 clearances, which should have him as a front-runner for more CBAs come regular season. Was tackling hard too around the stoppages, and is firmly locked into my forward line.
Was incredibly important for the young North side – battled hard all day and ran well across the ground – should be a draft sleeper as he will help shoulder a lot of the load for a (still young) Simpkin and LDU.
Was a worry initially as he started out of the goal square and let CCJ take the first 4 CBAs, but Gawn absolutely dominated so Goldy was thrust back into it and made it an even competition – still clearly the #1 ruck at North and will play r1. Important to watch next week if Xerri plays instead of CCJ, as Goldy is a better forward than Xerri. Goldy will likely regress on his scores, but if he gets the forward time, could be a sneaky late round DPP flier in draft.
Speaking of CCJ, It was a bad day to be a North Melbourne forward – with Demons players intercepting almost every single kick I50, and to make matters worst CCJ hurt his knee in the second half and went down to the rooms, coming out with ice – wait and see on this one.
Will Phillips & Tom Powell
Battled quite hard against the Melbourne midfield, but both were outclassed by two Demons at the top of their game – both handballed too often for my liking (as a Fantasy coach, not as a North fan). Before including in fantasy teams, important to see how they fare next week against a side that might allow a tiny bit more breathing room for +6s. Powell is a great option in draft & keeper leagues, and kicked a great snag to stop the run of 10 straight Melbourne goals.
With Hall and McDonald missing, it was Goater who joined the team in the second half and had great run and carry off half back. Didn’t dispose of it terrifically, but could be in line for a R1 debut if Hall isn’t ready and Noble goes full development mode.
Another rookie who came on in the second half, looked alright and might feature later in the season
Didn’t think I was going to write about him did you! Had 10-12 touches in the first half, was busy but didn’t dispose of it correctly – worth a late flyer in draft if you’re a true believer, next week will be a big chance for him to lock down that wing spot.
Before I talk about the Demons – there’s a particular meme that sums up their performances – with credit to @LewyAF-
The big guns from Melbourne were in full force, but they won’t play the premiership favourites Roos every week
Big Maxy was on fire – when he wasn’t taking marks around the ground he was kicking big goals from 50m out. Watching this game made me want to believe HolmesyHeroes and go #setandforget. Shared a lot of ruck time with Jackson, but his intercept marking and nous around the forward line make him a clear top 2 ruck this year.
An absolute gun. Oliver dislocated his finger in the first quarter and then came back on and somehow got even better. Had a beautiful goal running from the centre bounce to 40meters and drilling it. No reason to suspect he won’t surpass his 2021 average of 109. Collected possessions like it was SPF50+ and ran around the ground untroubled.
Speaking of guns, Petracca was as dominant as he was in the grand final. Had a goal from outside 50 that just made me shake my head at the pure brilliance of the man. Oliver the better fantasy pick in my mind, but I would not discourage you from picking Petracca at all.
Incredible ruck skills for a man so young, and is only going to get better – competed really well in the ruck and around the ground. When Gawn went off the field for a break Jackson was marking behind the ball as well.
Had a few kickouts, moved the ball out of defence with extreme ease – hard to judge his performance based off the way North delivered inside 50 – but saw some observable thirst there after accidentally taking a kickout from inside the square, then running to the player he kicked it to and getting the handball.
At his intercepting best – played excellently on Larkey who was kept quiet, and May even found the time to take a few kickouts when North managed to kick it further than him.
Started each quarter in the first CBA with Oliver & Petracca, spending 5 mins or so in with the mids before going home to the forward line – will be interesting to see what role he plays going forward in this Melbourne side.
Kicked 5 goals – not fantasy relevant I just miss him in my team…
Just putting this here so Dos can feel like I looked at him – Bowey was okay, got a lot of the ball in the second half, will be one to watch in games he plays not versing North Melbourne.
That’s it! I’m not watching that game ever again, so hopefully this is helpful to you. Feel free to ask me questions below or on Twitter and I’ll do my best to answer!