I like to modify my Best 22 based on performance just for fun... and something footy related to do. So after Thursday nights game...
Thought the backline lacked height, so I've dropped the Hurley / Ambrose 2 tall idea, and brought Harts back in. This drops one of the medium sized defenders out. I've actually dropped Kelly back to the bench to rotate him through the midfield (because I felt he looked really good in there in parts on Thursday night).
Thought our 2nd string mids got belted. Was under-whelmed by Myers so have dropped him, and thrown Hocking back in. And didn't think Langford was great, so am playing with the thought of giving Kelly his midfield rotation spot off the bench.
Our back-up ruck options all failed spectacularly (excluding Smack, but as a rookie it is difficult to lock him in). As such, for the first time this preseason, I've put TBC in the forward pocket as a resting ruck. Didn't want to, but am struggling to see a viable alternative.
Forward line : I was so impressed by the Fantasia / Green / Walla combination that I've gone 3 talls / 3 smalls, and completely done away with the mediums.
On the bench I'm channelling the 2000 side where we had our bench stacked with experience.
B Baguley Hartley Hurley
HB Dea Ambrose Gleeson
C Zaharakis Heppell Colyer
HF Walla Daniher Fantasia
F Bellchambers Hooker Green
R Leuenberger Zerrett Hocking
Int Watson Parish Kelly Goddard
Still not sure I like it... seems too tall and a bit slow. Ah well, it's all good for discussion.
After JLT #2 there are a few changes to be made.
The backline remains extremely difficult to solve. Stanton's performance down there was good. His training with the defenders this pre-season does lead one to believe that is where his spot may be. But I can imagine an opposition working out his deficiencies and just towelling him up. Never-the-less, he performed well and wins a spot on the HBF for now, as almost all our HBF'ers have weaknesses.
Bringing in Stanton leaves us short of marking power, and as such I've preferred the intercept marking of Brown over the brute stopping power of Ambrose. I've also snuck McGrath onto the bench for the first time this year. I think the kid has a wonderful attacking handball, a habit of being in the right place, and doesn't make many mistakes. It also means if things aren't working out in the backline, he could go back there and provide some run. The combination of those two moves does push out Dea and Gleeson, which will seem ok until we get a medium forward slaughter us in the air.
In the midfield, and I felt Hocking was a bit under, so I have moved him out of the side and gone with the best starting 3 in Watson / Heppell / Zerrett. We absolutely must have the ability to win, or at least break-even in the stoppages, and at present that seems a key weakness. So Langford with his 4 centre clearances on the weekend takes a jump in my estimations and wins him a bench spot. Colyer and Zaharakis get the wings because they provide running power, with the ability to pinch hit in the guts as required. Parish gets a bench spot, and in my mind is as much a lock in the 22 as anyone else.
Forward line I've dropped TBC. I don't have a solution for the 2nd ruck, but we handily won the ruck taps, and still got slaughtered out of the centre. Laverde happened to perform very well for 3 goals, so I've given him the forward spot that opens up.
Goddard has been exceptional this pre-season, but I still have no idea where to name him on the ground. But as a utility on the bench, he's locked in.
B Baguley Hartley Brown
HB Stanton Hurley Kelly
C Zaharakis Heppell Colyer
HF Fantasia Daniher Laverde
F Walla Hooker Green
R Leuenberger Watson Zerrett
Int Parish Langford McGrath Goddard