Supercoach AFL: Latest gossip ahead of Round 4
THE fitness of Nathan Fyfe, Tim Kelly and Tom Rockliff has dominated the SuperCoach AFL headlines this week, although there's a positive outlook for at least two of the popular trio ahead of Round 4.
Fyfe was heavily concussed against St Kilda and Rockliff suffered the same fate against Brisbane, while Kelly injured his ankle late in Geelong's victory over Adelaide.
Here's the Round 4 SuperCoach whispers you need to know:
Fyfe in serious doubt for western derby
Fremantle coach Ross Lyon said on Tuesday captain Nathan Fyfe "needs to be symptom free" to feature in this weekend's western derby. Fyfe was knocked out in a sickening head clash with St Kilda's Josh Battle on Sunday and his availability was still unclear when Lyon and opposing coach Adam Simpson fronted the media. "Fyfe texted me today to say g'day and he's progressing well," Lyon said. "There's clear mandated processes to go through. He's in good spirits, he slept well but he needs to be symptom free. We have genuine care for Nathan and all of our players but I'm no expert (on if he'll play)."
Rockliff, Gray show positive signs
The early prognosis from Port Adelaide this week regarding Tom Rockliff (concussion) and Robbie Gray (shoulder) was positive. Assistant coach Brett Montgomery said on Monday the key Power pair were both on track to face Richmond in Round 4. "At this point in time … they are both on track and they both pulled up OK," he said. "It's early obviously and there's a lot they will have to get through, which is no different to any other week. But I think, as good as it can be for both at this stage." Rockliff only scored 36 before he was knocked out on his return to Brisbane. Power football manager Chris Davies also said: "Rocky was obviously concussed but he felt fine after the game. There was an incident during the game which the doctor wanted to be cautious with and we'll have a look at him during the week."
Cats star Kelly to face fitness test
Cats star Tim Kelly - one of the top-scoring SuperCoach forwards to Round 3 - will face a fitness test later this week after scans confirmed he suffered a low-grade sprain to his ankle in the Geelong's win over Adelaide. The Cats said on Tuesday they were happy with Kelly's progress and he was walking without pain. "He's walking pain-free and he will be a test later in the week, we're happy with how he's progressing," Geelong football manager Simon Lloyd said. "Getting off the plane (last Friday) you could see him limping, but he walked past my office several hours ago and he's moving freely."
Young gun Ross pushing for Tigers chance
Opportunities are opening up at an alarming rate at Richmond and 2018 draftee Jack Ross is mounting a strong case to debut. Ross was a standout during the club's VFL pre-season and had 21 disposals and 10 tackles in their Round 1 state league victory over Geelong. A $117,300 midfielder, Ross was drafted from Oakleigh Chargers with pick No. 43 in last year's national draft. Shai Bolton, Patrick Naish and Jacob Townsend were others named in the Tigers' best.
Giants draftee best afield in opening NEAFL game
No. 14 draft pick Jackson Hately is pushing for an early-season GWS debut after being named the Giants' best in their NEAFL loss to Sydney. Hately was mooted as a possible Round 1 debutant but has been made to bide his time before earning a berth in the star-studded GWS midfield. Hately, a $148,800 SuperCoach midfielder, had 27 disposals, three marks and four tackles in the NEAFL.
Smith makes instant impact in wing role
Listed as a $247,000 defender in SuperCoach, Roarke Smith showed his wares in the attacking half for Footscray VFL at the weekend. Smith has only been a moderate SuperCoach scorer playing predominantly from half back, averaging 45.5 in 10 games last season. He had 21 disposals and kicked four goals as the Bulldogs defeated Sandringham and looms as a wildcard in attack or playing from a wing for Luke Beveridge to trial. "He seems like he's in a really good space at the moment. We're playing him up on a wing. He's been outstanding. I love his defensive stuff," Footscray coach Daniel Giansiracusa said.
Do Hawks hold the answer to forward rookie woes?
Hawthorn's victory over North Melbourne likely means a swag of chances are unlikely to open up in Round 4, but jot down the names of two potential forward rookies who could help alleviate some of the cash generation issues SuperCoaches are having in attack. Box Hill Hawks - Hawthorn's VFL affiliate - enjoyed a 62-point win over Casey Demons on Sunday. Jackson Ross ($123,900, Fwd) and Mitch Lewis ($149,000, Fwd) combined for nine goals. Ross, a 193cm mid/forward, was taken at pick No. 71 in the 2017 national draft. He told the Hawks' website he had been modelling his game on Jack Gunston. "I've just been trying to take in as much as I can from him," he said. "But then hopefully one day kick him out of the team."
Is another Dons ruckman in the mix to partner Bellchambers?
Zac Clarke's 39,779 owners would have been thrilled when he was named to debut against Melbourne in Round 3. If you paid up for Clarke instead of a non-playing rookie, cash generation what you were chasing. But the former Docker might come under pressure for his spot in coming rounds if 203cm ruckman Sam Draper maintains his hot start in the VFL. Draper tallied 22 disposals, five tackles, 39 hit outs and kicked two goals as Essendon monstered Frankston in Round 1. He'll cost $123,900 should he sneak into the Bombers line-up. Bombers VFL coach Dan Jordan praised Draper's game as "outstanding".
Greene unlikely for Giants, but Ward to play first game of year
Greater Western Sydney has confirmed co-captain Callan Ward will play his first match of the season when the club takes on Geelong. The Giants declared Ward, a $568,000 midfielder in SuperCoach who averaged 104.6 last year, a 'certain starter' against the Cats. Ward's price won't change until after Round 5 as a result of his delayed start. Meanwhile, forward Toby Greene was rated "a chance" to return after being sidelined since Round 1.
Forward rookie Josh Corbett set to return from injury
Gold Coast's VFL recruit Josh Corbett is due to make his return from a knee injury this week. While a NEAFL appearance appears likely for the former Werribee VFL player, his progress is worth monitoring in coming weeks as several popular forward rookies struggle to meet their breakevens. Suns physio Lindsay Bull said Corbett, a $123,900 Fwd, would be available for selection "all going well this week."