By Will Hunter
AFL fantasy footy is all the rage these days.
I for one am a particular fan of Herald Sun Supercoach, and tend to put in a bit of time and effort to make sure I get the best possible side out on the park. And I doubt I’m the only one.
Keeping an eye on promising rookies and potential ‘cash cows’ in the pre-season is the only interest people seem to have in the NAB Challenge these days and, moreover, fantasy footy is a great way for the average fan to get more involved in the AFL season.
Which got me thinking – what if the SFNL had a fantasy team? Who would I pick in my side? Who would I set as my captain? Which players could deliver for me week in, week out?
So I have spent the last couple of weeks racking my brain trying to come up an SFNL fantasy side that I’d love to watch every week. In doing so, I’m probably opening myself up to a tirade of criticism on social media, but such is life.
In selecting my SFNL ‘dream team’, I have picked players based upon their SFNL form in 2015 and how influential I think they will be in their respective division in 2016. As such, I have tried to avoid picking newly-recruited players with less exposed SFNL form.
I have also attempted to select my team in a similar format to the familiar and popular Herald Sun Supercoach set up.
You have salary cap of 10 million dollars to spend on a squad of 30 players across each of the three SFNL senior divisions. A player from each a division will set you back a certain amount of money with the higher divisions coming with a heftier price tag. The breakdown is as follows:
Division 1 players = $400,000 each
Division 2 players = $250,000 each
Division 3 players = $150,000 each
You must select in your squad eight defenders, 11 midfielders, three ruckmen and eight forwards. Only 22 can be selected on the field at any one time, so two backs, three mids, one ruck and two forwards must be nominated bench options. Additionally, you must be also nominate one captain and one vice-captain for your team.
Over the course of this week I will reveal my 2016 SFNL fantasy team - which I've dubbed Wilbur's Warriors
- by position, beginning with the backline below.
Andy Ray (Clayton)
Outstanding young half back that oozes talent. Excellent disposal and great decision-making makes him lethal on the rebound. He proved he is cool under pressure when he slotted a clutch goal on the siren from 50m out to pinch victory from St Pauls last year. Definitely a player to keep an eye on this year.
[caption id="attachment_10742" align="aligncenter" width="600"]
Andy Ray nails the match-winning goal against St Pauls last year.[/caption]
Daniel Vaughan (Cheltenham)
Vaughan was one of the Rosellas’ shining lights in what was a tough season for the club last year. The talented half back showed plenty of class and poise moving the ball out of a backline that was constantly under siege and won selection in the AFL Victoria Young Guns Match – the first SFNL player to do so. Loves to run and is great to watch.
[caption id="attachment_10743" align="aligncenter" width="600"]
Daniel Vaughan is an excitement machine off half back.[/caption]
Josh Jewell (Mordialloc)
One of the competition’s most versatile defenders, Jewell can play on forwards of all sizes and is hardly ever beaten. He is reasonably quick, puts a heap of pressure on his opponents, can tackle and harass and is assured running the ball out of defence. A forward’s nightmare.
[caption id="attachment_10746" align="aligncenter" width="600"]
Josh Jewell accepts the Yeomans Medal as best afield in the 2014 Division 2 Reserve Grand Final. He has since established himself as the number 1 defender in the Bloods' senior team.[/caption]
Jarrod Wilkin (Mount Waverley)
A four-time Division 3 League B&F winner, Wilkin is a player with the versatility and aerobic capacity to play in every possible position. However, I thought he acquitted himself very well in defence last year, particularly in the ‘spare man’ role, and is clearly one of the comp’s best players.
[caption id="attachment_10744" align="aligncenter" width="600"]
Four-time League B&F winner puts his body on the line for Mount Waverley week in, week out .[/caption]
Keiran Knox (St Pauls)
A former Leader Shooting Star winner, Knox is a key plank in the Doggies' back six. The solid defender enjoyed a stellar season in 2015 and is set to shoulder more of the responsibility this year after the retirement of experienced skipper Kenton Hall. Knox has great footy smarts, is a terrific user of the ball and can always be relied upon to get the job done.
[caption id="attachment_10747" align="aligncenter" width="600"]
St Pauls' 'Mr Dependable' Kieran Knox.[/caption]
Will Gayfer (Keysborough)
The club’s reigning B&F winner is the much younger brother of Collingwood 1990 premiership player Mick. A seasoned Burras veteran, Gayfer still has a super pair of hands and is one of Division 2’s best intercept marks. He can also hit targets a mile away with his booming right boot, making him a dangerous prospect in defence.
[caption id="attachment_10749" align="aligncenter" width="600"]
With one of the best sets of hands in the comp, Will Gayfer is one tough opponent.[/caption]
Andrew Frost (Dingley)
Supercoaches love dual position players and Frosty is a big-bodied utility that is equally adept at either end – he kicks goals up forward and is a dependable stopper down back. Wasn’t his greatest year in 2015, but he reminded us all of his importance to the Dingley side with a superb performance in last year’s Grand Final.
[caption id="attachment_10745" align="aligncenter" width="600"]
There are few swingmen in local footy as good as Andrew Frost.[/caption]
Mitch Walder (Murrumbeena)
Some players you pick because you know they won’t let you down. Beena’s lion-hearted co-captain is one such player and he influences every game he plays. A man for the big stage, Walder’s performances throughout the 2015 SFNL SAS Security Finals Series were simply super-human. Can play anywhere, too.
[caption id="attachment_10748" align="aligncenter" width="600"]
Mitch Walder leads by example.[/caption]
What do you think about Will's selections? Has he nailed it? Is there someone he has forgotten? Reckon you could pick a better team? Let us know your thoughts on Facebook or Twitter.
Will picks his group of midfielders.