To my mind, we have a top 14 players who I think demand to be played at the moment.
Vaguely in order of significance with an * next to players whose list place could be under consideration next year.
- Zerrett - Still improving, Brownlow down the track is not out of the question.
- Hepp - o captain our captain - still finding touch, but is a great player.
- Joe - AFL players see him as this year's breakout star. Won't have to kick as many this year if further up the ground and feeding Cale and the little ones.
- Hurley - All Australian anyone, looking awesome.
- Watson* - looks fitter than ever, don't want that asterix there, hope he thrives for a couple of years yet.
- Hooker - will need to give him time to find touch when fit (hopefully soon), but then it will be the Joe and Cale show.
- Raz - another breakout player to go elite - If we can keep our fast forward / mids on the park we will be deadly.
- Leuey - vital because he is both a good ruckman and our only capable ruckman at the moment - TBC could make a run for this position later in the season.
- Walla - I love the idea of Walla rotating with Raz, Trav, Green, Zaka and Lav as mid forwards. Has to be in the thick of it.
- Hartley - frees Hooker and Hurls to do their thing and a nice hoof and great spoil.
- Parish - much needed inside/outside combo with Zerrett and Hepp - could zoom up the charts too. If Fridge keeps coming on, could rotate with Darcy and Zerrett out of the mid field to keep Darcy on the park and give the Fridge a look in the middle.
- Colyer - speed, strength, goals, yay!
- Green - doesn't miss - say that again?
- Zaka - mainly because I value his speed and the likelihood of him doing well with strong mids and other fast mid forwards around him. We could have so many mids and forwards going around that the other sides won't know where to look and this should help Zaka to run off any tags.
there are 4 (14 to 18) I think which are definitely in the best 18 but are all in the veteran category and may be in an out of the side to manage them and to transition into the side their eventual replacements (Jobe probably fits this bill too, but I have in the top14). However these guys are our generals/onfield coaches and should not be undervalued.
15.. Kelly* - too good not to play him and will help the whole side gel.
16. Bags* - back pocket king until proven otherwise.
17. BJ* - has been fantastic for us, hope he can bring his disposal back up to normal standards with less pressure to do everything this year.
18. Stants* - a player that doesn't easily tire has to be a boon with the lower interchange cap, one of our midfield/backline stalwarts until proven otherwise.
Most interestingly there are 17 players (19 to 35) who would warrant serious consideration for the best 22 and would not seriously weaken the side if they replaced a player with a similar role in the best 18.
19.. Ambrose - I see Ambrose as being secure as a back up, with a good chance to be best 18.
20. Lav - could easily be best 22 if good form continues, and even more so if he can function as a part time mid.
21. Langford - could also be a great mid forward who complements our shorter faster forwards.
22. Fridge - going up the charts with a bullet that hasn't stopped in the past year.
23. Hocking - will be needed regularly this year if not always best 22.
24. McGrath - should grow into best 22 and become more exciting as the year progresses.
25. Gleeson - established young player in defense, likely to me there much of the year.
26. Brown - the swingman, could trade ends with Francis or Hooker
27. Dea - excellent back up who could force his way into the best 22.
28. Myers - when fit will be in contention.
29. TBC - hopefully will find form and fitness and be best 22 and develop as a marking forward as well.
30. McKernan* - could be nothing or maybe the key to team balance as a back up ruck / forward / mid
31. Stewart - could also play the above 2 roles.
32. Francis - praying he gets fit and on the park, could be our game changer.
33. McKenna - fingers crossed his defensive skills develop this year, we should cross him with Ambrose.
34. Bird - very reliable back up mid strength.
35. Howlett* - hope to see Bobcat out there, can be a great mid forward, just a lot of competition for this place.
Provided we gel as a side inside the first 6 games or so, this is the biggest reason why we could finish the season strongly, ruckmen willing.
There are 4 players (36 to 40) who could make an appearance if they show they have improved during the season, or injuries demand they play:
36.. Long* - hoping very much that Longy comes on this season and gets elevated permanently for 2018.
37. McNiece - If anything happens to Bags, he is in the mix for the seniors.
38. Jerrett* - hoping he can also come on as a small backman, otherwise that will be it.
39. Clarke - could be a smokey to jump the queue into the seniors, more likely if we are not making the finals.
40. Redman - was a very young draftee last year, needs time to develop a body, but could surprise when he does.
and another 3 (41 to 43) who may play if they develop significantly during the season.
41.. Ridley - Also a young draftee, needs time to get a body.
42. Morgan - Slow tracked to get his hammies right, hopefully shows something this year.
43. Mutch - Quite young again, deserves time to develop.
Sammy Draper at 44 I give a free pass of zero AFL expectation this year.
44.. Draper - will enjoy anything he can show this year in the VFL.