MCG, 7.25pm ADST

$150,000 AUD on Draftstars ($15 entry, 250 max)
$60,000 USD on Draftkings ($15 entry, 141 max)
WEATHER: 24 degrees and partly cloudy, no chance of rain.
BOOKIES: Richmond $1.30 favourites, 170.5 over/under.


The Tigers treated this game with a fair bit of well-earned nonchalance, keeping Prestia out as a precaution and leaving veterans Dusty (64%) and Cotchin (32%) in their bubble-wrap packaging. The midfield clock for Shai Bolton (92% CBA presence) went through the roof as a result, while Graham (wing) and Collier-Dawkins (outside of 22) also enjoyed an inside boost. The ruck was in a similar situation to the midfield; with Soldo out long-term with an ACL and Coleman Jones suspended for the first month, they took the safe route and pulled out Nankervis at the half. Chol and Balta saw increased CBA’s as a result (which they won’t get in the season proper), and it’s currently unclear how they’ll spell Nank in the real deal with Astbury doing a fair bit of chop-out work to end last year. Caddy and McIntosh owned the wings while Jayden Short ran riot as the dedicated distributor and kick-out king without Houli’s overlapping skill set. Pickett played in the backline and was focusing more on defending than accumulating. 

There was a fair bit going on with Carlton’s midfield core, particularly with the changing of the guard. Murphy was removed completely to focus on his new high half forward role, while Ed Curnow was shifted to a wing for half of his allotted minutes. Zac Williams delivered on his midfield promise with a 60/40 MID/FWD role but will obviously miss Round 1, while Walsh and Dow got the upticks their pre-seasons demanded. Interestingly, Setterfield was left out of that group with an outside role, including some time spent across half-back. Fisher is a dedicated small forward now, while new recruit Fogarty was further up the ground on a flank, and even got a couple of CBA cameos. De Koning was pressing as the main ruck before injury hit, so Pittonet was promoted as the main man with the Round 1 bolter in Oscar McDonald chopping him out. Cripps spent a fair bit of time forward but I wouldn’t be too worried – he’s in the same boat as these Richmond veterans and sitting forward was his “rest”.


Notable outs: Houli, Soldo, Chol.

  • Tigers only make 2 changes from the Premiership side with Houli (calf) and Pickett replaced by Caddy and Aarts.
  • Astbury and Balta had to chop out in the ruck last year and that’s when McIntosh or even Edwards might drift back to cover the defensive rotations. Either way, Nankervis will have a huge workload ahead of him.
  • Caddy locked himself into a wing spot with the AAMI performance, with the overlap most likely covered by Graham. Lambert an option but has had a limited pre-season and I think they like him in the high-HF gig.
  • Bolton is the big question mark on this slate with his midfield time. Could go either way depending on how you read into Richmond’s AAMI priorities vs their preferred structure in the finals last year.
  • Prestia named but might have a minute cap after an injury-interrupted off-season.

Notable outs:  Williams, Martin, C Curnow, De Koning, Newman, McGovern.

  • Stretched thin with a long injury list, O’Brien comes from the lower reaches of the depth chart to get a gig. He’s useless as anything other than a wingman (I’ll cop a high HF), which bumps the CBA presence of Curnow back up despite them wanting to phase him out of the inside core this year.
  • If they want to keep promoting youth, Setterfield is the other option after attending 0 centre bounces last week and being  a mainstay there last season.
  • No Zac Williams or Jack Martin gifts Fogarty a bit of extra midfield time. He was busy in the AAMI. Dow looks absolutely locked in at the CBA’s for the same reason.
  • The forward line is a little short-handed so Murphy should remain on a HF flank, with Newnes potentially joining him more than he otherwise might’ve. Gibbons as a dedicated small forward is likely without Betts available. Jack Silvagni plays tall.
  • Pittonet is as solo a ruck as you can get with Carlton’s tall forward issues, and his spells will be covered by Casboult.


Richmond conceded the 3rd-least points to Key FWD’s last year.
Richmond conceded the 2nd-most points to Gen DEF’s last year.
Richmond conceded the most points to RUC’s last year.

Carlton conceded the 2nd-least points to MID’s last year.
Carlton conceded the 4th-most points to Gen DEF’s last year.


D Martin – 113, DNP, 81, 110
Prestia – 111, 113, 80
Caddy – 84, 81, DNP, 99
Nankervis – DNP, 89, 116, 81
Graham29, 146, 106, 87

Docherty – 119
Cripps – 115, 126, 101, 130
J Martin – 108, 87, 87
Murphy – 98, 97, 97
E Curnow – 65, 122, 113
Casboult 103* (solo ruck)


BEST PICK: Jayden Short – D – $13,400 DS 

Short is the easy choice here after his bonkers night in the AAMI Community Series where he collected 43 touches, 12 marks for his 171 fantasy points. But I simply couldn’t overlook him after he cashes in on the ‘Carlton DEF DvP’ and ‘No Houli’ boosts on top of the new man-on-the-mark rules favouring his game to a tee. I love him in combinations with Baker and the marking key backs, although I wouldn’t rule out some cross-team pairing either with Richmond leaky to opposition defenders themselves. 

BEST VALUE: Paddy Dow – M/F – $7,010 DS 

Could be the highest-owned player on this slate with the opportunity afforded to him by the injured Jack Martin and suspended Zac Williams. Didn’t score as freely as we hoped in the AAMI but the role was certainly there with the 3rd-most CBA’s and clearances. Hopefully that dissuades the casuals and you’re reaping the rewards while others miss out. 

BEST RUCK: Marc Pittonet – R – $9,440 DS

Nank is extremely tempting as a solo ruckman, but the edge is firmly with Pittonet at almost $3k cheaper and able to capitalise on Nank’s ridiculous leakiness – opponents scored 23 points more than their average against the Tigers in the 7 games when Toby was solo last season. Pittonet kicked off 2020 with adjusted scores of 93 and 98 before picking up finger and eye niggles, and is already in some hot form with a team-high 99 AF in the AAMI clash a fortnight ago. 

BEST STAT: Patrick Cripps – M – $13,880 DS 

Absolutely crushes the Tigers every year, scoring 109, 130, 101, 126 and 115 in his last 5 against the best team of the last half decade. The Tigers never tag, they always lose the clearances and honestly don’t care what you do as long as it’s not in the Forward 50 – this is a huge boon for Cripps who is usually team-tagged at best, or targetted with a dedicated tight tag at worst. Simply too cheap after a tired end to last season. 

BEST RETHINK: Jack Silvagni – F/M – $6,000 DS 

The temptation is there to absolutely smash Silvagni at this price, and after his AAMI performance where he kicked 3 snags for his 90 AF, it’ll be even harder to resist. But there’s a big difference between a) performing in a pre-season game against a St Kilda outfit that lost Frawley (hamstring) early on top of their existing key defensive issues, and b) replicating it against Richmond’s Premiership backline. SOSOS will have to play tall here with Carlton’s injury crisis, which leaves absolutely no favourable match-up against the side that conceded the 3rd-least points to key forwards last year.


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