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Metricon, 2.10pm AEST

$10,000 on Draftstars ($15 entry, 20 max)
WEATHER: 21 degrees and partly cloudy, possible showers.
BOOKIES: Fremantle $1.50 favourites, 106.5 over/under.


A first-half injury to Simpkin warped the rebuilding Roos’ CBA list slightly, with Zurhaar (+24% CBA presence) earning more midfield time than he otherwise would have, Dumont running a full-time midfield program and Davies-Uniacke heaping another a massive 20% game-time to his plate. Higgins was pure wing once again, with Polec on the other side and Scott sneaking the leftovers. Perez debuted on a back flank with 48 AF and looked very much up to the tempo, while fellow defender McDonald came back to earth with a humbling 56 AF. Ziebell was a permanent lead-up forward as we have come to expect over the last couple of years, joined by fellow veterans in Hall (HFF) and Josh Walker (key forward) in attack. Goldstein was the sole ruck in this one, taking 90% of contests with Walker covering the rest. Just 59 AF with those juiced-up KPI’s is out of character for him. 

All of Cerra, Brayshaw, Serong and Mundy were capped at 74% game-time or less for the second week in a row as the Dockers continue to run an extra midfielder in their rotation than most clubs – but at least they’re all busy when they’re on the deck as all scored more than 83 AF. Walters can’t even get a run in there these days, but he’s so dangerous as a forward (3 goals in a low scoring game) that it’s a greater net positive for Freo for him to remain close to the sticks anyway. Not so good for his DFS prospects though. Fyfe was tagged by Melksham so you’ll take 72 AF from the dual Brownlow Medallist with a dedicated shadow. Acres and Aish were the primary wingmen, with Cerra taking the overlap. Conca was back to a standard HBF role this week after tagging Dusty the round before. Consistent roles elsewhere.


North: Bonar, Garner IN Hosie, Williams OUT

  • Garner replaces Hosie, HFF L4L.
  • Bonar replaces Williams, HBF L4L.
  • Simpkin has been named to play but realistically plays reduced minutes giving the numbers of hoops he had to jump through to even be considered after his concussion. LDU’s TOG and Zurhaar’s CBA’s should return to regular programming regardless.
  • Dumont will remain predominantly on the inside, but will likely be bumped down to a CBA Rate close to 0.70 by a fit Simpkin, which means he’ll probably have to take the overflow of wing time. That won’t be a huge deal for his scoring, but it will affect Scott who only earned midfield time through the domino effect of Simpkin’s early exit.

Notable outs: Cunnington, Brown, Xerri, Daw. 

Fremantle: Watson INConca OUT

  • Watson replaces Conca, HBF L4L.
  • Longmuir seems to have found a mix he likes after 2 weeks of essentially the same structure, so I expect them to run it back here. Great news for Acres with a juicy wing role, while Fyfe is too cheap as a midfielder – if he can escape a tag.

Notable outs: Bewley, Duman. 


North conceded the 4th-least points to KEY DEF’s over the last 5 rounds (-1.3)
North conceded the 5th-least points to GEN DEF’s over the last 5 rounds (+6.0)
North conceded the most points to GEN FWD’s over the last 5 rounds (+12.0)
North conceded the 4th-most points to MID’s over the last 5 rounds (+11.8)

Fremantle conceded the 2nd-least points to GEN DEF’s over the last 5 rounds (-0.0)
Fremantle conceded the 3rd-most points to KEY FWD’s over the last 5 rounds (+9.8)


Higgins – 95, 99, 114 (tagged by Suban then Banfield)
Goldstein95, 77, 99 (Darcy, Sandi, Darcy)

Fyfe – 103, 128, 114 (tagged by Gibson/Dumont then Jacobs)
Walters – 82, 125, 116 (midfield role)
Ryan – 64, 124, 88
Darcy – 71, DNP, 82



Adelaide Oval, 5.05pm AEST

$15,000 on Draftstars ($15 entry, 30 max)
WEATHER: 15 degrees and raining.
BOOKIES: Port $1.12 favourites, 104.5 over/under.


A head clash for Powell-Pepper in the 2nd quarter is probably to blame for his CBA drop, playing more heavily as a forward after that point. His regular attendances were covered by committee, although we did get a rare cameo appearance from pure wingman Amon on the inside. Rockliff, Boak and Wines all enjoyed the Roos boost with a ton and at least two-thirds of a game in the guts apiece. Gray continues to hover around a CBA Rate of 0.60, which is doing wonders for his floor. Houston returned to the side after a covid suspension but did so primarily across half back, so we’ll continue to treat him as a DEF for DvP purposes. Sutcliffe played in defence this week after Burton went down early doors with a quad injury. All other roles as expected with Port keeping it simple as we approach Finals time. 

McGrath’s midfield time was up for grabs and Essendon had plenty of suitors for it. Merrett flicked the full-time inside switch, but it was Dylan Clarke with 36% CBA presence that enjoyed the most significant role evolution. Parish was already maxed out from Round 15 and Langford snuck a couple of cameos, but mainly he just hung around a HFF with a few stints on the wing to cover the mainstays in Smith and Heppell. Guelfi had stints at either end with Mosquito succumbing to an ACL injury early on. Hooker started up forward but was so ineffective that the Bombers pulled the ancient Hurley Swingman manoeuvre. McDonald-Tipungwuti and Stringer continue to play as permanent deep forwards and honestly, without Daniher last week, it was out of necessity more than anything.


Port: Ebert, Ladhams, Bonner IN Sutcliffe, Burton, Butters OUT

  • Ebert replaces Butters in attack.
  • Bonner replaces Burton in defense.
  • Ladhams replaces Sutcliffe up forward (where Sutcliffe would have played if not for the Burton injury) in another classic ruck timeshare with Lycett. They rocked a 60/40 split in favour of Lycett in their 2 games together before Ladhams got suspended, so I’ll be operating under that assumption here. 
  • I’m not expecting any significant changes here as the Power will want to keep things consistent heading towards Finals, and even the prospect of actively resting a couple of their stars makes less sense with Round 18 returning back to regular fixturing. 

Notable outs: Burton, Butters. 

Essendon: Phillips, Ham, Daniher, Hibberd, Cutler IN Hooker, Heppell, Mosquito, Redman, Hurley OUT

  • Daniher replaces Hooker, key forward L4L.
  • Ham replaces Mosquito, small forward L4L.
  • This is where it gets a bit messy, because Essendon are going in very short on defenders. Hurley and Redman are out which means we need 2 more defenders. Devon Smith is an absolute certainty to head back in my opinion, with Cutler to a rebounding role likely, although Hibberd has been developed at half-back by the Bombers in the past. 
  • Either way, Heppell out and at least one of Cutler/Smith to defence means plenty of wing time for Langford. He’ll be popular, and for good reason. 
  • Merrett might also have to slide back to a wing depending on how Essendon fill those half-back slots. 
  • All things considered, it’s looking good for midfield time for Clarke again here. 
  • Phillips joins Draper in the ruck department for the first time this season, which requires some guesswork as to their splits. Draper had the edge in a 64/36 split with Bellchambers in their games together, so maybe Phillips just does his best washed-up ruckman impersonation up forward? No confidence in this one, could honestly go either way (and it’s good for neither in DFS). 
  • Parish will be bleeding midfield time from his eyes and ears. Big tick in DFS.

Notable outs: McGrath, Zaharakis, Fantasia, Bellchambers. 


Port conceded the 2nd-least points to GEN DEF’s this year (+1.5)
Port conceded the 3rd-least points to MID’s this year (-1.4)

Essendon conceded the 3rd-most points to GEN DEF’s over the last 5 rounds (+12.7)
Essendon conceded the most points to GEN FWD’s this year (+7.8)
Essendon conceded the most points to RUC’s this year (+12.7)


Houston 123, 55, 69 (midfield role)
Boak 91, 86, 68 (tagged by Clarke)
Rockliff – 92, DNP, 43 (tagging job on Merrett)
Gray – 90, 58, 117 (midfield role)

Merrett – 116, 113, 121 (tagged by Ebert and Rockliff)
Smith – DNP, 142, 91 (Ebert tag after failing on Merrett)
Parish – INJ, 90, 68 (midfield role)



Gabba, 7.40pm AEST

$20,000 on Draftstars ($15 entry, 40 max)
WEATHER: 17 degrees and partly cloudy, possibly showers.
BOOKIES: GWS $1.71 favourites, 114.5 over/under.


GWS are falling apart before our eyes, constantly changing their structures weekly as they scramble to make Finals while trying to unlock the right mix. Losing to cellar-dwellers Adelaide is not a great way to do that. After a week as a full-time inside midfielder, Taranto was back to a guts/HFF rotation… to let Caldwell have some inside time? Really? Was the open-ended wing time for Jye not enough? Hopper returned to his regular programming with a CBA Rate of 1.00 flat, but it’s the continued usage of Greene in the midfield that piques my interest – he didn’t capitalise on it this week with 55 AF, but I’m going to file that one away as an outlier. Whitfield ran his customary defensive wing program again and somehow junked it up with 55 AF in the last quarter alone… in a loss? Hately was a late inclusion for Langdon and was able to play a wing role with Perryman out managed. De Boer didn’t have a target this week, playing across a HFF instead. The incoming Reid played a back pocket role. GWS’s 4-tall forward strategy backfired again, with Riccardi (17 AF) invisible and Leon Cameron having to move Himmelberg down back in the second half to try and achieve some kind of balance. 

Melbourne’s perfect 5-man core was cracked with Brayshaw’s foot injury, and they “solved” this with the additions of vandenBerg and Melksham as part-timers. Melksham half-heartedly tagged Fyfe (and didn’t do a bad job actually), keeping him to 72 AF while every midfielder around him dunked on the Demons. Preuss’ presence wasn’t an issue for the RUC/GOD Gawn, playing 98% game-time and attending every centre bounce. What a machine. It was an extremely windy day so Melbourne got cute by putting Fritsch behind the ball when playing against it, then pulled the May FWD desperation move in the last quarter when the reality of missing out on Finals was starting to crystalise. VandenBerg played on the wing when not in the guts which explains the DFS-relevant total, and that wing spot was opened up by Tomlinson returning to a key defensive post. Baker (HFF), Hunt (HFF before being concussed) and Smith (lockdown defender) were the other roles of note.


GWS: Daniels, Idun, Perryman, Buckley, Kelly, Mumford, Green, Williams INCorr, Hill, Hately, Riccardi, Caldwell, Ash, Jacobs, Coniglio OUT

  • An 8-man backline as per usual for the Giants, with Idun to man a key post.
  • Jack Buckley will make his debut up forward, basically replacing Riccardi as that 4th tall at 193cm. He averaged 77 in the NEAFL last year so I’m not expecting too much, but I said that same thing about Riccardi too so who knows?
  • I don’t think GWS drop Coniglio unless it’s to free up midfield time, and Toby Greene is perfectly placed to step into his shoes. I think the worst case scenario is what he’s been getting the past fortnight, with a heap of upside if he steps into a more heavy split (as I think he might). Taranto has room to grow in the CBA’s too.
  • Tom Green probably rounds out the CBA’s in the same way that Caldwell did last week. Low TOG and time across a HFF when not in the guts has been his modus operandi so far this year.
  • Kelly and Perryman should fill the majority of wing time here. 
  • I personally think de Boer’s spot in the team is wasted if he’s not tagging – especially with Finals on the line – so I expect him to do a job here. Oliver has been the target in the past, but Petracca has gone to the next level this year. I can see him going to either, with a slight edge to Clarry because he can’t expose de Boer up forward on transition like CP5 can.

Notable outs: Coniglio, Ward, Jacobs, Riccardi. 

Melbourne: Spargo, Brown, Jetta IN Preuss, Hibberd, Bedford OUT

  • Brown replaces Preuss, key forward L4L.
  • Spargo replaces Bedford, small forward L4L.
  • Jetta replaces Hibberd, small defender L4L.
  • No structure change is great news for a few players here. VandenBerg in a guts/wing rotation is huge given his $7.6k price-tag, while Melksham could pump out a decent score with a more attacking role in his midfield appearances.
  • Tomlinson as a key defender appears likely to continue, murdering his DFS appeal.

Notable outs: Brayshaw, Harmes, Jackson, Preuss. 


GWS conceded the 4th-most points to MID’s over the last 5 rounds (+11.2)
GWS conceded the 3rd-most points to RUC’s over the last 5 rounds (+7.8)

Melbourne conceded the least points to KEY FWD’s over the last 5 rounds (-7.6)
Melbourne conceded the 2nd-most points to MID’s this year (+9.1)
Melbourne conceded the least points to RUC’s this year (-9.7)


Kelly – 135, 67, 131 (tagged by Harmes)
Taranto – 130, 86
Whitfield120, 51, 82 (tagged by Neal-Bullen then Wagner)
Greene 83, DNP, DNP (forward role)
Haynes – 79, 81

Gawn132, 120, 140 (Mumford, Lobb, Mumford)
Viney – 88, DNP, 81
Oliver 62, 98, 105 (de Boer tag)
Petracca83, 98 (HFF role)
vandenBerg – DNP, 103, DNP

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