It has, as always, been a massive off-season in the ORFFA.
And as always, just before the first bounce of the first round, erstwhile coach of the mighty Foul Bay Chickens - ChiefRussell - takes time out to examine the teams and the premiership odds.
Best of luck to everyone in the ORFFA. May the games commence.
Round 1 02.04 - 06.04 Fantasy Footballers Anonymous Round
Placed in round 1 at the end of the most intense period in a fantasist's year. Raising awareness for the plight of those people (and their loved ones) who suffer from the rapidly emerging fantasy football addiction. Our version of the Gambler's Anonymous cards on the back of the toilet door at a Casino!
Birdsville Battlers v Wagga Wagga Wombats
Lovely Banks Lilacs v Gariwerd Cockatoos.
Nunawading Nuffas v Foul Bay Chickens
Waikikamoocow Incorrigibles v Marble Bar Misfits
Venus Bay Vultures v Cradle Mountain Devils
Gundagai Grasshoppers v Darraweit Guim Dirigibles
Mt Beauty Uglies v Larrikin Lagoon Lefties
Iron Knob Codpieces v Powlett Plains Packers
Charlies Opening Spelunkers v Whitsunday Warriors
Back by unpopular demand is the latest instalment of the premiership odds brought to you by ChiefBet.
1.50 - Iron Knob
The premiers rightly deserve favouritism again. This mob just goes from strength to strength. Picked up Dane Swan and a draft pick for nothing and then had the fantasy pig pick up forward status. Beefed up the forward line further with the addition of Robbie Gray so it doesn't even matter that they have lost Darling for half a year. Sure, the injury to Hanley hurts a bit more, but he was mid only this year and the Knob has the best midfield going round so they can easily cover him. Jimbowan might be concerned with his backline, but I wouldn't be...Ricky Henderson looks to be in favour with Walsh and will cover Hanley's loss to the midfield. I can't see them losing this year.
Nathan Fyfe has replaced Gary Ablett as the player that you would most want to build a fantasy side around. Best ruck division going round. McGovern at pick 4 will plug any hole that Graeme wants him to. Best players on the team still have their best footy in front of them. Medium term injuries to Harwood and Crouch the only concerns. Should be rolling from the mid point of the season onwards.
7.00 Foul Bay
The two time champs might have one more run in them with the likes of Pavlich, Judd, Bartel, Kelly and the newly acquired Montagna running around before the inevitable rebuild in 2016. Losing Libba is a massive blow and niggles to Montagna and Vince mean that the midfield depth will be significantly tested. Can't afford any more injuries (that's what you get with an ageing list I suppose), but with Selwood and Dangerfield at the helm, it should be enough for a top 5 finish.
7.00 Venus Bay
Really like the pre-season moves from the young man. While not as prolific in season's past, maybe less is more for Fitzy. Parlayed his strength in the midfield to boost his depth at either end of the ground and still managed to maintain strength in the mids and got younger in the process. Drafted astutely with selections that are ready to play now. Should be one of the big movers in 2015.
7.00 Darraweit Guim
I'm not sure who is even on this team any more, and by the time I finish writing this, the team will probably be different again such is Chris' penchant for the trade (I feel it has gone beyond Fitzy like proportions). Despite all the moves, two things that stand out in this list is depth and positional flexibility. While the coach might protest, I think that this is the list that injuries will affect the least, such is the flexibility of the squad. That will definitely hold it in good stead and keep the team well entrenched in the top 4.
10.00 Mount Beauty
I keep overrating the list and it keeps disappointing me, but I am going to stick with them for one more year. I love the forward line, I love the midfield and strides are continuing to be made in the backline with the recruitment of McKenzie and the expected rise of Kolodjashnij. Two defenders away from being the 2nd best side in the comp. A Leuenberger injury away from being out of the finals.
Another busy pre-season participant. Loved what Ant has done over the pre-season. Used his strength in the forward line to bolster other areas and love the selections of Miller and Newton who will be two of the most prolific draftees this year IMO. Acquired Mackie on the cheap and Sam Fisher was worth the punt for a year. Might need one more year for some of his mids to develop as I reckon he might be 1 or 2 short in 2015.
11.00 Cradle Mountain
Managed to draft a beauty in Jack Steele and while long in the tooth, was able to acquire Petrie and Goodes to provide a short term fix to the forward line, giving time for the likes of Boyd and Kennedy to develop. Has six genuine 90+ midfielders, the top 4 of which are all capable of averaging between 110 - 120. That will be too good for a lot of teams, despite the weak ruck division.
12.00 Wagga Wagga
Probably very stiff that the runners up are this low. While Lenny has used his strength in the backline to improve his forward line significantly, he will now need to select his backline carefully each week, needing to correctly select the right two defenders out of about five to fill the D3 and D4 spots. The cloud over Jobe Watson looms large, and there are still question marks over whether Scott Lycett can carry Wagga's ruck division with the loss of Dean Cox.
12.00 Larrakin Lagoon
Another one of the big movers in the off-season, loved all the moves and draft selections by Grav. The Goldstein trade was one that I would have made in a heartbeat and the acquisitions of Goddard, Gibson and Mitchell mean more points on the field. Harry O is due for a breakout and Scooter Selwood should bounce back. Is probably a defender and a forward short. Bookies are still bitter about him snatching Ceglar from under their noses.
Sloane, Wines, Boak, Barlow. This alone has them challenging for the finals. Throw Lobbe into the ruck, the Hawthorn connection of Birchall and Suckling into defence and JJK, Motlop, the emerging Hrovat into attack and the Warriors are not far away from having an ominous best 15. The depth players still need some time to develop though.
After being there or therebouts for the first three seasons, the Battlers might be in a bit of no-mans land. Not quite strong enough to challenge for the flag, but too good to get early draft selections and speed up the re-build. Loved the astute selections of Bewick and Turner late in the draft. Will be interesting to see the direction from JC moving forward.
16.00 Powlett Plains
The youth rebuild of 2014 hasn't seemed to last that long with the additions of Mundy, Douglas, Sandilands and Goodes to the club over the off season. These acquisitions, plus the addition of Isaac Smith definitely mean more points on the field and movement out of the cellar for the Packers. Might not quite be enough to get them into the eight, but should have them close enough.
19.00 Charlie's Opening
The plan has been clear from Bandit this pre-season and that is to re-build with youth around the 'Bont'. It is a solid plan and one that saw him trade out the likes of Mackie and Petrie for draft picks enabling him to go down the youth route with Pickett, Duggan, Lamb and Lonie who all figure to be guns in a few years time. Unfortunately that means that Charlie's Opening might be closed for a couple of years yet.
The donut that is Shaun Hampson looms large over the Nuffers for another season. Boy, would Stefan Martin made a difference to this side. Unfortunately he went one pick too early. I don't think that JPK and Jaeger can save them.
21.00 Marble Bar
Youngest list in the comp. The talent is clearly there. Connor Blakely is up there with Touk Miller (and of course Heeney and Petracca) as one of my favourite players in the draft. Lachie Weller is not far behind, even though I can't see Rossy playing him at all this year. This team will be fun to coach, but are still about three years away.
22.00 Lovely Banks
Jen is clearly going down the youth path which is the sensible option given the list that she inherited. Can't fault the draft selections at all, even though Moore and Wright are clearly not going to have an impact in 2015. Heeney and Saad will make up for that. Heeney was clearly the right call at pick 1. Think that Dane Swan could and should have netted more than he did though. The haul received was more worthy of giving up Scott Thompson.
The midfield and forward lines are clearly coming along well. Adding Brayshaw and Cockatoo to Rockliff and Neale is ominous in 2017. Adams, Stringer, Billings and Martin is a forward line to look forward to in 2017 also. Just can't see more than two defenders on the list playing in the early part of the season in 2015. That is a BIG problem for the time being.