The Cats jumped on a plane with a very strong team and flew west to take on a full strength Fremantle Dockers outfit. It was hot from all reports over the other side of the country. Both teams were heavily rotated and managed through the game due to this. At least this game resembled an actual game of footy!
What we learnt
Michael Barlow: Freo had their full midfield playing today. So there were no questions left lingering after the game. Barlow’s game really didn’t leave me thinking he was a lock in the very least however. He was mostly forward in the first and third quarters then spent more increased time in the guts in the second and fourth. His ownership now in all the formats means that he is close to being riskier not to start than to start so I guess I will be using that logic to select him from round 1. Make sure you manage your expectations though as I don’t see those monster 110 seasons in him with this role.
Harley Bennell: Only did just enough in his first game for his new club and will only get better for the run. Played just over half the game which included the whole last quarter off the ground but his skills were very rusty and underdone. Will no doubt be better next game but might start the season very slowly I think. I couldn’t start him based on today’s game but he might become an option with half a dozen games under his belt. Might need to back your gut with him in regards to this.
Tom ‘The Sheet’ Sheridan: This kid can play. Generally uses it well although today’s game wasn’t his best. Freo looks for him when coming out of the backline. They love the run and carry he provides. He does come with question marks though for me. I don’t think he marks and tackles enough to maintain a premium back average. What could possibly push a 90 average is instead looking more likely to be a 80. Then the nasty question comes in regards to is this enough to hold for the year. If he can find a few more chip mark scenarios then he will be very very close to what we need.
Nathan Fyfe: Really didn’t get out of second gear today. Won plenty of contested ball when on the ball although he was handball happy in this game. The fact he played this game says enough however. If you are keen to start him then lock it in!
Lachie Neale: Will be a solid option for 2016. Did enough in this game to give his owners enough reasons to stick with him. Again he is handball happy and as I said previously, a little bit of a downhill skier where he scores more in Freo good patches. Not a bad thing though in a very good side and I think Freo will be a top 8 team in 2016.
The same question marks exist on the Dockers. Will they score enough to be a serious contender in 2016? This is a little concerning from a fantasy perspective as it might directly affect guys like Fyfe and Barlow. It is only a small query at this point in time so if you like them back them all the way!
What we learnt
Patrick Dangerfield: Has been the absolute star of NAB 2016! Talk about making you sit up and take notice. Another A grade performance by the man we call Danger. Has settled well in his new club. We knew he was a star so it should not have surprised us. Only question is how does the midfield work with the additions of a full game from Duncan and the captain and the captain’s brother.
Nakia Cockatoo: Was reported for a very nasty sling tackle. He will get weeks as it wasn’t good. Plan for him as a downgrade option when he returns.
Mark Blicavs: Has been rather underwhelming tbh this NAB. Now that Zac Smith is at the club it means that Blics has a new role. Finding that new role however has been a challenge so far. This was easily his best game for this campaign. He lined up on Fyfe a lot around the stoppages. This could become a regular occurrence moving forward as Blics didn’t need to go find the ball. He was taken to it. Made a huge 12 tackles as well.
Lincoln McCarthy: He will play round 1 based on today’s performance. Was very whippy and clever especially with ball in hand. Suffers from ‘smallforwarditis’ however. It is a medical condition where small forwards suck at scoring in fantasy AFL. Yes we have limited rookie options for this year but not that limited for this guy to be selected!
Tom Ruggles v Josh Cowan: This could be billed as beauty and the beast truth be told. Ruggles is reasonably clean and uses it well. Cowan is a scrapper and often makes poor decisions with his poor disposal. I have no idea who won this battle today. And I have no idea if we really want a winner. Ruggles impressed me a bit last week but didn’t back it up at all. Cowan has a little Sh!t on his liver and loves a scrap. Toss the coin I guess but maybe better to pass.
The Cats are going to be very good when at full strength in 2016! But they do lack depth. It is a concern moving forward especially for the relevant players as there will be a very big reliance on them. Also keep in mind guys like Joel and Scott Selwood are to come back into the mix. There is a lot of quality in that midfield now!