The NAB is over for another year! Time to look at my podiums for the NAB as a whole. Some very impressive performances from some and not so impressive from others. At the end of the day though, NAB games are just practice games. I only ever really use them to watch the rookies and mid pricers to see who emerges. Time to jump in and see who finishes where!
I’m a Rookie! Get me in to there!
This category is for the rookie who impressed me the most over the last month of NAB. We saw some very talented kids on show from all teams. But there was a clear top 3.
GOLD – Callum Mills showed us why he came with huge wraps last year! We heard rumblings about his role cross half back prior to the NAB Challenge starting. These rumblings were proven correct. The way he has used the ball in this role coupled with his ability to read the play and get to the right areas makes him a future star for our fantasy teams over the next decade! Just when you didn’t think it could get any better, he was even used in the midfield rotations in the Swans third NAB game. Get excited my fellow panelists! Nothing better than cheering for a talented kid.
SILVER – Prior to the NAB Challenge starting I kept hearing how Wayne Milera reminded people of Andrew McLeod. Then I saw him and they didn’t get that wrong at all. That silky smooth running style! The way he glides through the congestion. The accuracy of his kicking. It was all there! I for one will enjoy watching his full career. May it be long and provide many highlights.
BRONZE – I saw a bit of the TAC last year and I have to admit that I did worry about the tank and body shape of Clayton Oliver. It is amazing the difference an AFL preseason can make. He looks outstanding. He has always had the ability to find the ball inside and outside but it is the transition into the AFL ranks that has surprised me the most. He tackles hard. He doesn’t mind getting a little dirty. He bounces around with a lot of energy! What a breath of fresh air Oliver has been during the NAB Challenge. He is set for a big year!
Premiums that DID premium things
The last round of NAB games saw the big boys come out to play! But this is for the whole of the NAB. Some just simply stood taller than the rest in my eyes.
GOLD – Patrick Dangerfield is a star. We all know this. But we all did expect him to take a little time to get accustomed with his new team and surroundings. Pft to that he said! The first NAB game for him in his new colours saw him get a lazy 28 touches and kick 3 goals. His second NAB game he had 24 touches, laid 7 tackles and kicked a sausage roll. Then he decided to fly to Perth with the rest of his fit teammates to play the Cat’s third NAB game. 30 touches and a couple of goals later showed us exactly why he is one of the best in the AFL. I think we all can see why there could be only one! And his name is Dangerfield.
SILVER – The bearded one, Max Gawn came out prior to the NAB and told people he wanted the mantle of number 1 ruck. We all smiled and nodded and said, sure Max! You are as crazy as that beard of yours. In just 4 weeks however, he made us believers! What a NAB Challenge for big Max it has been. He was imposing. He won the majority of ruck contests he took part in. He took pack marks. He was great! Unfortunately for some of us who owned him prior (I was all over this bloke in SC as your can see in my early SC Team Reveal here), he is not a unique anymore. You win some and then you lose some. Let’s hope his form continues into the season proper.
BRONZE – Taylor Adams makes me keep talking about him. I hate it! Since I made that comment in December and wrote the follow up article (click here to read), he has come up every time I want to talk. I thought to myself, make the comment early and then people will forget! Just as people started forgetting, Tay Tay reminded us once again what he is capable of. Frustrating lol. In all honesty, it now appears he is the cornerstone of the Magpie midfield. He was at his ball hunting best through the NAB and if this continues then maybe I might just be in the picture. A lot of water to go under that bridge obviously but he looks a ripper option for 2016!
Bye Bye! It is YOU not ME. Win back my trust!
There are no more opportunities to win back my trust lads! Unfortunately lads, you will need to do so in the season proper.
GOLD – Craig Bird was the word! Then Craig Bird might have been the word. But Craig Bird is now no longer the word. I think this sums up his NAB Challenge. The funny thing is however, I actually think he has been ok. The less ‘vanilla’ he has become, the more interest I have had in him haha! In all honesty though, he is awkwardly priced across all 3 formats and based on how Essendon and Bird himself fared through the NAB, I am not sure I could go there. If he does go nuts though early, he is a serious option to grab on the bubble!
SILVER – I started with Matthew Lobbe as my ruck 2 in RDT early on. I was very comfortable with that decision pre NAB. Then he got smashed by Max Gawn in the first NAB game. I still remember those monster scores in 2014. Those games where he had 10+ tackles for a ruckman. Unfortunately he didn’t show enough to remain in my plans. I hope he does reward the coaches that stick with him however.
BRONZE – I promised myself I would go into the NAB with an open mind on Elliott Yeo. His bye round and his ceiling really interested me. All I wanted to see were glimpses he was ready to explode in 2016. He got plenty of midfield minutes throughout yet didn’t really give me enough. I have no idea now where he fits into my team. He is the type though that could go on a run at any given time but until I see something, I think I will avoid.
Welcome to the Watch List
GOLD – Prior to the NAB starting, myself and another Panelist were talking about Brendan Whitecross. A very well known Hawk fan chimed in. Forget Whitecross lads! Remember this name, Dan Howe. Boy was he right! I don’t know if this kid could have done anything else tbh in the NAB. His kick to handball ratio is outstanding. He takes plenty of marks. And he has fantasy roles across half back that could also include mid rotations. We found one here!
SILVER – Jason Johannisen is unrecognisable this year. He looks more like Lasith Malinga then what Lasith Malinga does! But it is his footy that has caught my attention! That run and carry style has been in beast mode for the nAB and especially so in the Dog’s 3rd NAB game. Great bye round for a defender as well. Hard to pass on this guy especially in AFL fantasy.
BRONZE – Fox dubbed Tom Sheridan as ‘The Sheet’ in last week’s podcast. I am still shaking my head at that one. Sheridan has done everything required to capture the attention of the masses during the NAB. Hammer and a few other shrewd coaches who had him on their radar prior are not impressed however but such is life! Sheridan is set for a premium break out year in a line that is very thin on quality defenders.
Well there you go. But it shouldn’t stop now. I want to see who won your Gold for each category! Do so in the comments below, facebook page here or at my twitter handle @CoachRids. Footy is back I am loving it! NAB is over and it is time to get on to the good stuff!