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Essendon v St Kilda – AAMI Fantasy Notes

Warnie’s takeaways from the Dons v Saints AAMI Community Series game.

Let’s not talk about the result… well, there’s not a lot to actually talk about in this game if I’m being honest. Really felt like one of those pre-season going through the motions game. The scoring was spread with only one player scoring a ton and just seven over eighty. Time on ground was limited for some key players and with some players missing, it wasn’t exactly a best 22 hitout for both sides.

Anyway, in the tradition of fantasy footy research … let’s read a whole lot into it that we probably shouldn’t.

Notable absentees: Jake Stringer, Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti, Michael Hurley, Jake Kelly

Centre bounce attendances

Darcy Parish773219
Sam Draper574319
Will Snelling622212
Jye Caldwell324312
Zach Merrett6511
Andrew McGrath22329
Peter Wright3126
Archie Perkins2125
Nick Cox123

Zach Merrett (MID $925k)

Dominated the first half before sitting out from the main break. Merrett would have had a 120+ game had he played it out, racking up 18 disposals, 4 marks and a tackle for his 62 from 45% time on ground. While he was a mainstay at the centre bounces, you could see that any rotation for him will be to the back half. Won’t be enough for DEF status, but most likely a better Fantasy role than if he’s having to rest forward.

Darcy Parish (MID $885k)

Scored 79 form 77% TOG. He’s a gun. He’s a midfielder. We should expect more of the same in 2022. I think that 105 he’s at is fair and although Shiel (managed, even though he was named as emergency) was missing, he was going at over a PPM so all is sweet. Second round Draft selection, an upgrade target in Classic.

Jye Caldwell (MID $488k)

Was the big winner when Merrett rested. Scored 67 of his 98 points in the second half, as his CBA usage increased. Caldwell had 75% TOG. Again, no Shiel – or Stringer, but he was used significantly more through the middle in this match compared to that praccy game a week or so ago. Caldwell was around a lot of stoppages and had double figure contested possessions and a handful of clearances. I’m still not sure on picking him. Definite value, but is it enough? I took Caldwell late in a draft the other day with some hope he might gain FWD status. Not sure that will happen either.

Jordan Ridley (DEF $672k)

Took 5 of the Bombers’ 9 kick-ins (Cutler 2, Hind 2) and played on for all of them. Missing Jake Kelly probably showed a little as he may not have been freed up to do all he wanted, but a solid game with a game-high 8 marks. Don’t think he’s a Classic option as he’d need to take that 80 to well into the 90s. Definitely draftable around that 86-88-ish average range for me.

Rookie watch

Playing a full game Kaine Baldwin (FWD $190k) might be a marking forward they could go with in round one. The 2021 SSP took three marks and kicked a goal for a score of 52 (80% TOG). Certainly won’t be a high scorer, but maybe a heartbeat on the bench. Nick Martin (FWD $190k) came on in the second half and played off the wing. He racked up 16 touches, 2 marks and 3 tackles. In the presser after the game, Rutten said that he’s a chance for round one. Put a line through Ben Hobbs… he didn’t hit the ground.

Others of note

  • Sam Draper (RUC $481k) – 75 (79% TOG) – Looked good. Shared ruck duties with 2-metre Peter, but was good around the ground taking four marks and laying five tackles. Got on the scoreboard with 1.2. Late, late round draft pick.
  • Will Snelling (FWD $656k) – 73 (83% TOG) – Used at CBAs. Averaged 78 last year. Going late in drafts, worth a punt if he can get himself into the rotation, even a couple of times a quarter. There’s upside.
  • Archie Perkins (FWD $421k) – 81 (83% TOG) – That 50 average next to his name? Bump it up by 20 at least. Steal in drafts.

Notable absentees: Zak Jones, Dan Hannebery, Paddy Ryder, Jarryn Geary

Centre bounce attendances

Jack Steele674320
Seb Ross753419
Rowan Marshall655218
Brad Crouch56314
Hunter Clark423110
Jack Hayes2226
Jade Gresham2125
Mitch Owens44

Rowan Marshall (RUC $752k)

We all know what a gun he is when Ryder isn’t there. He top scored with 101 from 81% TOG. Only had the 18 hitouts (compared to Wright 17, Draper 24 … and supported by SSP Hayes with 4), but had 17 kicks, 7 handballs and 5 marks. Massively aided by 6 free kicks for. Ryder is battling an Achilles issue, but who knows when he’s back – could need everything to go right for R1 – but it’s there in waiting. Marshall was a 26 point better player last year when Ryder was out. I don’t think you can do it.

Jack Steele (MID $1.02m)

DON’T READ ANYTHING INTO YOUR PREMIUMS’ PERFORMANCE IN THE PRE-SEASON … however … the price tag may make you think twice and look for a better ‘value’ option. He was going throught he motions, scoring 86 from 82% TOG. Hit his main stat lines with 8 marks and 5 tackles, but only had the 20 disposals. I’ve been super-keen on him being my M1, but with lack of rookies coming through, it might be someone else.

Brad Hill (DEF $597k)

Worth a look in draft as he’s played every game of the last three seasons (this surprised me tbh). 28 disposals and 5 marks off half-back was a great return for a praccy match.

Rookie watch

Signed last week as an SSP, Jack Hayes (RUC/FWD $190k) could find himself in the team if Ryder is out. Scored 50 (78% TOG) playing a forward role and rotating in the ruck. Nasiah Wanganeen-Milera (DEF/MID $270k) came on in the second half and got busy with 7 disposals, 3 marks and 2 tackles for 36 points in 33% TOG. Mitch Owens (MID $226k) got a run on the ball late for 27 from 24% TOG.

Others of note

  • Jack Billings (MID $699k) – 21 (42% TOG) – Hamstring. That late pick in draft with the hope of FWD status … don’t bother. By the time he’s back, it could be a round 12 addition.
  • Hunter Clark (DEF/MID $609k) – 65 (68% TOG) – It was happening. More of a midfield role, but now it looks like he’ll miss six weeks with a shoulder. Could require surgery.
  • Jade Gresham (MID/FWD $509k) – 53 (77% TOG) – He might pop up for some good scores during the season, but even with his cheaper price tag, it’s not worth considering. I’ve put a line through him with all the other options available up forward.


Co-captain of DT Talk since we started this thing in 2007. Best finish was 13th in 2009... that was a long time ago. Follow on Twitter: @WarnieDT



  1. Stevo

    March 6, 2022 at 12:36 pm

    Great write-up Warnie. The lack of 190K rooks, except maybe for forwards, is becoming a real crisis. A prediction, after looking at Sunday teams-the cheapest available playing Rd 1 mid “rook” will be Ralphsmith, at $258K. And for backs, I reckon Boyd (Carlton) and De Koning (Geelong version) are the only remaining hopes for 190K defenders. After that, Gibcus at 274K looks next cheapest.

    • Mighty Puds

      March 6, 2022 at 12:55 pm

      Connor MacDonald at 240k in the mids and Paddy McCartin at 271 fwd/def are other options to keep an eye on

      • Squid

        March 6, 2022 at 1:31 pm

        Yep, should be enough rooks but apart from a few PSS fwds & rucks bottom price is not looking promising, we will need to pay up in mids but there’s plenty to choose from, def is looking a bit tricky but we should get 4 which should be enough with how most are setting up anyway.

  2. Squids

    March 6, 2022 at 3:11 pm

    That Jack Hayes is a good cheap bench option for Ruck

  3. pendles4brownlow

    March 6, 2022 at 4:35 pm

    Or Dixon

  4. Sainters22

    March 7, 2022 at 7:43 am

    Max King will have a big year. He’ll be a match winner more than once.

  5. Wayne Kerr

    March 10, 2022 at 12:49 am

    Caldwell is a tough pic.

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