AFLX was a sampler but the weekend for AFL Fantasy fans was a proper taste of what is to come in terms of SuperCoach and Dream Team. See below for our JLT Week 1 AFL Fantasy Wrap.
North Melbourne 71 defeated by Melbourne 124
Melbourne enters season 2018 with a hard expectation of finals whereas the Shinboners expectations wouldn't be as lofty and the game somewhat reflected that. The game was close up until half-time but the Demons always looked in control.
They (Demons) dominated possession, inside 50's, clearances and hit-outs (thanks to Max Gawn) but it was mature aged recruit Bayley Fritsch who really turned the heads of fantasy coaches. Fritsch, 21 who kicked 42 goals last year for Casey in the VFL booted three goals and two behinds (and handed one to Max Gawn in the square) and by all reports is firmly in contention for Round 1.
- Bayley Fritsch ($117,300 SC) needs to be monitored closely over the coming weeks.
- Roos recruit Billy Hartung was among the better players and looks set to get ample opportunity in the Blue and White. His work between the arcs was very good.
- Christian Petracca ($433,900 SC) looked a class above most players on the field spending time up the ground and deep forward where he plays will be a talking point but wherever it is he will star.
- Clayton Oliver ($612,800 SC) was as busy as ever, gathering a game-high 22 disposals from 78% game time.
- Jake Melksham who was very good in the AFLX series was among the Demons best yet again at half forward.
- Fourth-pick in last years National Draft, Luke Davies-Uniacke ($189,300 SC) settled in well for the Kangaroos.
- Gun Melbourne recruit Jake Lever was steady and got through unscathed for the Demons.
- Jordan Lewis (calf) was the only injury of note from the game.
— AFL (@AFL) February 24, 2018
Essendon 37 defeated by Richmond 124
Essendon started strongly in the first few minutes and that's basically where the positives ended for the Dons. It should be said that there was a dose of gastro that went through the club during the week and it may have affected performance because they looked very sluggish.
Last years Premiers picked up where they left off last year in the finals series where they dominated their rivals. The Tigers had 14 individual goalkickers and their trademark tackling and intensity was a feature yet again. Cotchin, Caddy and Martin all looked sharp and ready for Round 1 while fringe players Reece Conca and Shai Bolton put their hands up for the vacant Round 1 spots Dan Rioli (injury) and Nathan Broad (suspension) have left.
- Jake Stringer's form for the Dons didn't match his fancy haircut. After copping a heavy knock early he only managed six possessions for the half.
- Ex-GWS utility Devon Smith ($439,100 SC) was one of few shining lights for the Dons gathering 26 possessions on his full debut in the red and black.
- Both Toby Nankervis (Richmond) and Zach Merrett (Essendon) suffered concussions but both are expected to be right to go for Round 1 in a few weeks.
- Cotchin and Martin ($656,000 SC) both played less than 65% game time but both had a major impact on the contest. Can you afford not to have Dusty in your team this year?!
- Bombers recruit Adam Saad showed flashes of brilliance early for the Dons but faded out of the game in the second half.
— AFL (@AFL) February 24, 2018
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Adelaide 91 defeated Fremantle 81
It was arguably the pick of the games played over the weekend with last years best performing team (sorry Tigers fans) just sneaking home over a Fremantle side that played with some freedom and flair. A lot of that flair can be attributed to Nat Fyfe who was clearly the best player on the ground. Contested ball, contested marks, clearances and goals. Fyfe did it all!
The Crows were able to blow the cobwebs out and spread the load pretty evenly across the board. Josh Jenkins had an ordinary day and Sauce Jacobs was outplayed by Sandilands but apart from that the mainstays all got through with pass marks. Fremantle certainly had a bit more intent than the Crows (77 tackles to 52!) but the Crows class and structure shone through in the end.
- Nat Fyfe ($597,900 SC) looks to be back fit and firing! An awesome performance that was hopefully a sample of what 2018 holds for the star Docker.
- Fremantle defender Alex Pearce made a successful return in his first game in 21 months since a badly broken leg
- There were no major injuries to note although star Crows defender Daniel Tahlia didn't end up taking his place in the selected side. He's probably not on many fantasy radars but his ankle injury should still be monitored.
- Bryce Gibbs ($563,000 SC) 28 disposals in his first game for his new club included seven clearances, five inside 50's and a goal
- Number 2 draft pick Andrew Brayshaw ($198,300 SC) did his Round 1 selection case no harm for the Dockers grabbing 14 disposals and laying six tackles.
— AFL (@AFL) February 25, 2018
West Coast Eagles 56 defeated Port Adelaide 54
Port fans would have been excited to see the majority of their new recruits all on the field at the same time but had their hearts in their mouths when Robbie Gray caught Jeremy McGovern high with a bump. Gray has since been offered a one-match ban and McGovern took no further part in the game.
The Eagles had the better of the match in our opinion and probably should have won by a few goals. However, the game ended in somewhat dramatic circumstances with Lewis Jetta (video below) bombing one home from inside the square to give the Eagles the victory. Not so sure that the 50m arc is indeed 50m from the goals, though!
- Eagles ball winners Shuey, Gaff and Redden all looked set to go for Round 1
- A few minor injuries, however, Steven Motlop did go off with a calf injury late. Not the start to his career at Port Adelaide he was after and not the interruption to preseason the club would want.
- Jack Redden ($437,900 SC) spent more time in the midfield for the Eagles and was very good. Is he a chance to grab the minutes left by Matthew Priddis and Sam Mitchell? Keep him on your radar.
- With Coleman Medalist Josh Kennedy under some doubt for Round 1, big Nathan Vardy spent extended time as a deep forward for the Eagles. Vardy was among their better players on the day.
- A fit, strong and powerful Charlie Dixon ($499,800 SC) looks in good nick and set for a big year at Port Adelaide while recruits Lindsay Thomas and Jack Watts were well held.
— AFL (@AFL) February 25, 2018