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Could Have Been Anything: A Season Review

It’s been ten days since my 2021 fantasy season cruelly ended in another Grand Final defeat. 

I think I’m now ready to reflect on a solid season and I was bloody proud of my boys this year. While we didn’t get the chocolates in the end, we were the highest scoring team of the season and upon reflection I was very happy with how I drafted this year, believing from the outset that my side could be good enough to contend at the pointy end.

Final List

Below is my final list of 32, plus my 6 rookies. I was happy with the depth that my list provided this year and while there may not be a plethora of exciting youngsters there, when you’re shooting for a flag, you need consistent players who you can back in for a 70 odd.

Projected Keepers

For reference, in our home league, we keep 16 and delist 16 in the off season. List lodgment is still months away, so the list of keepers is very fluid and as always, I’m always open to trades! 

I think a few of my guys on the peripheral have some trade value and if I can move on a couple for some higher draft picks or a reasonable player, I’d definitely do it.

We have 6 players on our rookie list. League rules state that two players must go back into the pool from each rookie list. Rookies can be retained for a maximum of two seasons and then they are upgraded with your final draft picks of the draft. 

For my side, Jarman Impey and Chad Warner are ending their two year stint and will be upgraded for my side. This means come draft day next year, I’ll only be drafting 14 players as these two take up my final couple spots. 

Jeremy Sharp and Nik Cox will be my retained rookies as I drafted them this season. I’m pretty stoked to be able to effectively keep these guys for ‘free’ next season. This means Kane Farrell (ACL) and Shannon Neale (specultaive ruck pick) will head back to the pool in the draft.

Now onto the big decisions… 

I would say that my first 10 keepers pick themselves. These guys all had exceptional years or are tracking beautifully (eg. Luke Jackson) but I’ll deep dive into some of the players who are currently on my list of 16 and why they are currently there.

Lachie Hunter – Hoping he keeps his forward status. Has been a proven scorer in the past but limped home in 2021. The chance of getting Bevo’d is always high but as a 26yo forward, he is a solid keeper in my books.

Aaron Naughton – Another Dog who has limped home in 2021. I’m a big fan and am backing him to get back to his early season form next season. If forwards continue to be light on in 2022, it would make this decision easier. 

Matt Rowell – Had a well documented tough 2021. I think with another pre-season under his belt and some confidence in his body, he can have a big 2022. Crunch time though.

Lachie Ash – The role is a bit concerning at times but has proven he can be a big scorer. What has impressed me is his tackling numbers. Hoping he keeps back status as he rolls into his third year ‘breakout year.’

Liam Duggan – Had some injury niggles this year which has prevented him from taking the next step as a fantasy player. Loved his 148 in Round 5 and think with Hurn and Shepherd at the end, he’s worth holding.

Ben Ainsworth – Three months ago, he was on the cut list but after a solid couple months he’s back in the fold. I think he’s a genuine star but we just haven’t seen the best of him. One that if I cut and he dominated – I’d feel sick. 

(Looking ahead to 2022 – Impey loses forward status and Mills and Cox are mids only)

Now onto the guys who could still make their way into that 16…

Tom McDonald – picked him to bounce back this year and he hasn’t let me down. Will finish the season as a Top 30 forward and has been pretty consistent. Don’t think I can keep both Naughton and McDonald and just the youth of Naughton gets him the spot. Would definitely look at redrafting TMac though.

Josh Rotham – Underrated fantasy defender. Just a shame he’s out of favour and I have a solid backline. Think he will slide in drafts next year too.

Shannon Hurn – Keeps getting better with age but will he go on in 2022? 34 in a couple weeks and the Eagles look like they need a rebuild. If he plays on, he’s in the equation but will the body hold up?

Dylan Moore – One guy I’d love to keep. Been super impressed with what he’s done this year. If he has a good pre-season and forwards look light again, he could make his way into the 16.

As for some of the delisted…

Rory Sloane – Even though he finished his year off strong, he has just looked a bit off the pace this year. I drafted him in the first round in this years draft and think someone of his ilk could be around in Round 2 or 3 next season.

Devon Smith – Has been a part of my squad since day one but he’s fallen off the side of a cliff. It’s been fun at times Fritzy boy but your time has come.

Tom Papley – Hasn’t provided what I thought he could have this year, especially in a strong Sydney team. 

Cam Zurhaar – Think he’s building but too risky to be a keeper. Would look to pick him up again.

Will Phillips – Just hasn’t delivered this year at all. Think he can become a player, just needs a bit more time in the system.

Next Season

Whoever ends up in my final 16 keepers after the trade period, I will go back to the well and draft to challenge for the title again. 

I think my ruck and back stocks are more than capable, so if i can add another decent mid and a couple consistent forwards The Chops could have their first taste of Premiership glory!



  1. Henry

    September 2, 2021 at 12:38 pm

    Like your team, Kaes, but what is your team’s definition of a rookie? How does Impey with 121 games at the start of 2021 and 7 years’ experience qualify? And I thought my league with rook = fewer than 50 games was stretching it. Re keepers – I would keep Moore rather than Ainsworth who seems very unreliable (tho there is the problem that Moore seems injury prone).

  2. Kaes

    September 2, 2021 at 12:55 pm

    Good question!

    In our league, anyone is eligible to be drafted as a rookie that hasn’t been drafted by the end of the ‘main draft’.

    So for example, Tex could have been picked up this year.

    I suppose the term ‘rookie’ is purely as they aren’t part of your actual list.

    Could seem a bit of a stretch, although lots of AFL teams are now rookie listing old dudes.

    Also more than open to keep my B16 mind open until into the pre season. Will definitely be watching Moore and Ainsworth very closely.

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