The players each team can least afford to lose in 2018

AdelaideDocker Roar Guru

By AdelaideDocker, AdelaideDocker is a Roar Guru

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    Heading into 2018, and on the dawn of a new season of footy, optimism abounds each of the eighteen teams.

    Naturally, there’s been a lot of discussion about premiership chances, best 22s and everything in between, but what about the player (or players) whose presence would be keenly missed if they were to succumb to injury or suspension for an extended period of time. Here’s a quick article with my opinions on each, but of course get prepared to tell me how wrong I was.

    Rory Sloane, or Taylor Walker. New recruit Bryce Gibbs, or ruckman Sam Jacobs. With Adelaide, this list could go on a while, but the answer is Eddie Betts. Imagine an Adelaide side without Betts for a few weeks, or longer.

    I couldn’t.

    Dayne Beams or Dayne Zorko. Take your pick.

    One of my immediate answers would’ve been Sam Docherty, so that nightmare has unfortunately come to life. Patrick Cripps, or Matthew Kreuzer would also be big losses. Injuries to multiple youngsters is a very real worst case scenario for Blues fans, I’d gather.

    Any of their star midfielders, honestly. Pendlebury missing wouldn’t help their precarious fortunes, Treloar would be frustrating, and Adams would be a vital cog missing. Jamie Elliott or Grundy being off-field for a long period of time would also be a big loss.

    For a club on the rise, they’d be wanting to avoid losing just about anyone. Daniher would be an impactful loss from their forward line, or speedy players Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti or Orazio Fantasia would also be big losses.

    I’m not sure I need to even mention the name, but here goes: Nat Fyfe. Fremantle’s captain, who is also handily their best player, is such a vital cog in a machine that’s slowly being prepared to full pace that it would unfathomable for Freo’s faithful to lose him – again.

    While his midfield power would soon become sorely missed, it would be the absence his position on field as a leader that would hurt Fremantle the most, I reckon. Lachie Neale would be one to avoid losing, as well.

    Nat Fyfe Fremantle Dockers AFL 2017

    (AAP Image/Travis Anderson)

    There’s a name (or three) on Geelong’s list that are quite obvious: Pat Dangerfield, Gary Ablett and Joel Selwood. Losing one wouldn’t be bad, two would be worrying – and all three would be an catastrophe.

    Cross your fingers and touch some wood, Geelong fans: let’s hope I didn’t just jinx it.

    Gold Coast
    Gold Coast’s situation is so pitiful, and so delicate, that the loss of any notable player would be beyond unfortunate.

    I’d suggest that losing either their defensive kingmaker, Stephen May, or their forward line master, Tom Lynch, would be beyond frustrating for the club. A mass-injury outbreak in their younger ranks would be demoralising as well.

    GWS Giants
    With 2018 potentially being one of the final years the Giants are a premiership chance with their current list, limiting injuries would be a priority. Josh Kelly would be a terrible loss, but backline leader Heath Shaw could be an even more calamitous loss.

    Tom Mitchell might be a clearance king, and would certainly be a big loss, but I’d say most in the Hawthorn camp would desire, more than anything, to keep Jarryd Roughead on the park.


    (AAP Image/Rob Blakers)

    Losing Jake Lever to an injury so soon after poaching him from the Crows would probably be the most Melbourne-like thing to happen, but for their sakes let’s hope it doesn’t. Losing Max Gawn, would also hurt the rising club’s fortunes. But, like Hawthorn’s Roughead, they’d be hoping that Jesse Hogan stays healthy and on the park.

    North Melbourne
    Weirdly, North was the hardest team for me to pick a vital player from. I’d probably go with Ben Brown. Or captain Jack Ziebell. I honestly don’t know.

    Port Adelaide
    Charlie Dixon did some good work for the South Australian club last year, so his loss would be keenly felt, but losing one of Chad Wingard or all-Australian Robbie Grey would also hurt a club that’s in the gunning for a top-four position this season. Losing a ruckman in Ryder would also be very bad.

    Dustin Martin, duh. Or perhaps Alex Rance. Neither would be good for the premiers.

    Dustin Martin Richmond Tigers AFL Grand Final 2017 tall

    (AAP Image/Julian Smith)

    St Kilda
    Like the Demons, they’re a club on the rise, so St Kilda would also be hoping to limit injuries to their important players. Carlisle from their backline would be a big loss if he were to miss games, as would Dylan Roberton and, for all his failings, Josh Bruce.

    With a list as talented as Sydney’s, their applicants for the “most-missed” squad are plentiful. An injury Buddy would be a disastrous loss, while they’d also desperately want to avoid injuries to their midfield brigade.

    Luke Parker, Josh Kennedy and so would be wanting to be out on the field as much as possible, while a Dane Rampe injury would be bad as well. And, for sympathetic purposes more than anything, let’s hope to not see any injuries to Gary Rohan or Alex Johnson.

    West Coast
    They’ve lived the nightmare of a Nic Naitanui long-term injury lay off, so they’d be wanting to avoid that again, I’d hope. Matt Priddis mightn’t be that much of a loss than in previous years, but fellow midfielders Luke Shuey and Andrew Gaff would be frustrating losses. Josh Kennedy might be one of the biggest losses in the land, though, if he went down again.

    Western Bulldogs
    Marcus Botempelli is the easy answer, but I’ll go left-of-field and say losing the likes of Jason Johannsson or Matty Suckling would also hurt the Dogs in their pursuit of a return to finals action.

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    The Crowd Says (34)

    • Roar Guru

      February 20th 2018 @ 9:18am
      Cat said | February 20th 2018 @ 9:18am | ! Report

      Fair list, well done.

      For Geelong right now, I’d argue losing Harry Taylor would be a bigger blow. Hendo is likely to miss the start of the season and possibly as much as the first month, that leaves the Cats thin in tall defensive stocks. H is the clear leader and experienced head down back, his loss right now could be catastrophic.

      • February 20th 2018 @ 4:22pm
        mattyb said | February 20th 2018 @ 4:22pm | ! Report

        I’m a huge wrap for Taylor,absolute quality there.

      • Roar Guru

        February 20th 2018 @ 6:22pm
        AdelaideDocker said | February 20th 2018 @ 6:22pm | ! Report

        Ah! Harry Taylor is the dude I was thinking of.

        Thanks Cat, thought it might’ve been an intriguing article for this time of the year.

    • February 20th 2018 @ 3:02pm
      Mattician6x6 said | February 20th 2018 @ 3:02pm | ! Report

      Good list AD can’t argue with your assessment of wce at all

    • February 20th 2018 @ 4:19pm
      mattyb said | February 20th 2018 @ 4:19pm | ! Report

      AD, I’d obviously agree with Bontempelli for the dogs.
      I’d throw Macrae in there but I do understand you don’t rate him which is fair enough,or would at least consider him left field. In our premiership year our form really dropped off when he went out injured,and immediately returned when he came back. He’s a major ball winner for us.

      I think Matt Suckling is one player most doggies fans wouldn’t mind out injured. Slow to move the ball,which constantly finds himself getting into trouble,and for every one sensational disposal we have to put up with ten shockers.

      I think getting a full season out of Wood will be important and agree with you listing JJ despite him having a lean patch in the middle of last year.

      For the Dockers,again definitely Fyfe. Stephen Hill is another I rate when fully fit.
      McCarthy for the left field,the Dockers need to try and get a full season out of him,and I’m expecting some improvement after a season out.

      • Roar Guru

        February 21st 2018 @ 8:23am
        AdelaideDocker said | February 21st 2018 @ 8:23am | ! Report

        Oh, don’t get me wrong: I do rate Macrae. I just thought if Macrae went down, you’d still have Bontempelli. If Bontempelli went down, you’re losing essentially your best player. It’s a bit of a conundrum, but I just rated Bontenpelli over the younger Macrae, if that makes sense? Suckling had a consistent year last year, and I thought he’d be a loss given the good work he does in your backline.

        McCarthy’s a good option; I desperately want him to stay on the park for a bulk of the season. Bennell would be an intriguing case as well – I want to avoid any more injuries to the kid. Giving him as much game time as possible is very, very important. I dare say he can’t afford anymore injuries or suspensions and whatnot.

    • Roar Rookie

      February 20th 2018 @ 4:56pm
      Andrew Thomas said | February 20th 2018 @ 4:56pm | ! Report

      From a GWS perspective, there are higher risks based on contact expiry.
      Phil Davis and Toby Greene are both set to have contracts expire by seasons end.
      Can’t see either leaving but I also expected Wilson & Smith to stick around prior to the start of last season.

      Shaw is probably going to retire but has said in multiple interviews he will sign a one year extension if his body is up to it.

      Thanks for the article!

      • February 20th 2018 @ 5:16pm
        mattyb said | February 20th 2018 @ 5:16pm | ! Report

        Andrew,I can’t stand Toby Greene lol,but sometimes I think that’s a good thing from an opposition fan.
        I’d say he’s the most important player GWS need to keep on the park. Has match winning qualities and seems to thrive under pressure.

        • Roar Guru

          February 20th 2018 @ 6:21pm
          AdelaideDocker said | February 20th 2018 @ 6:21pm | ! Report

          Oh yeah, Greene is a good choice.

          I don’t like him too much either, but that’s reminiscent of Ballantyne at Freo. Despised by fans from other teams, beloved by fans of the team they’re in.

          • February 21st 2018 @ 10:19pm
            Don Freo said | February 21st 2018 @ 10:19pm | ! Report

            Unless you are JonBoy. It is here that non Freo fans are exposed.

      • Roar Guru

        February 21st 2018 @ 8:02am
        Cat said | February 21st 2018 @ 8:02am | ! Report

        Toby Greene may be important for GWS, but I’d still say during this season Shaw going down/becoming ineffective due to age would be far worse. He is pretty much GWS’s last man standing as far as rebounding defenders with leg speed go. Wilson was traded and Williams is injured.

        • Roar Rookie

          February 21st 2018 @ 11:45am
          Andrew Thomas said | February 21st 2018 @ 11:45am | ! Report

          No doubt.

          Shaw was overworked last year, due to an injury plagued defensive line. Williams and Wilson are massive losses. We have enough young talent to absorb it though. Davis and Shaw will keep the line in order and Buntine and Kennedy are progressing nicely on return from the ACL nightmare of the first 6 weeks of last season.

          Haynes also proved last year that has the pace and match awareness to rebound and move into the midfield when necessary. He can also move all the way forward and kick goals if needed as he played there in his junior years.

          Anyway. Who knows?
          We are going to lose most of our midfield talent to other states by the end of next season. If a flag is ever going to happen it’ll need to be this year or next. Otherwise a long rebuild is ahead of us.

          The Foundation member of the team everyone hates.

    • February 21st 2018 @ 1:22pm
      Stewie said | February 21st 2018 @ 1:22pm | ! Report

      Re. Sydney, we’ve already seen an injury for AJ, rest of his offseason is done, and won’t be ready for a few weeks of regular season.

      But one name you’ve missed is Heath Grundy. Basically our only key defender, super reliable and underrated, can do a great job on the opposition’s biggest and best. Deserves more credit than he gets, one of the main reasons why we’ve been the best defence for the past few years.

      • Roar Guru

        February 22nd 2018 @ 3:20pm
        AdelaideDocker said | February 22nd 2018 @ 3:20pm | ! Report

        Aw, I didn’t know about an injury to AJ. What a pity. Heath Grundy was in my thoughts, and I’ll agree with most of what you’ve said: definitely an underrated player.

    • February 21st 2018 @ 3:18pm
      Don Freo said | February 21st 2018 @ 3:18pm | ! Report

      Freo really can’t afford Sandi to miss much. Darcy is excellent and Freo would hold their own with Darcy but Sandi assures Freo of finals…he gives that much of an edge. He gives the midfield so much, not just with the tap but, especially, with how he clears paths for Fyfe, Mundy, Neale, the Hills, Blakely et al out of the centre.

      The other area Sandi dominates is around the ground. Many argue with this because he is not always taking marks (although his contested marks stats are always near the top of the AFL) but it is his ability to get to contests to bring the ball to ground for that dominant midfield that is so important. Nic Nat has a similar quality although he doesn’t have Sandi’s stamina.

      Without Sandi, Freo comes back to the field a bit. Here’s hoping he’ll go for 4 or 5 more years. He’s fit enough to go to his 40s.

      • February 22nd 2018 @ 12:32pm
        Jon boy said | February 22nd 2018 @ 12:32pm | ! Report

        You really are not serious Don are you ? Just want a response i guess, to think a 35 year old who has barely played in the last two years,and is injury prone will be missed is ludicrous, he will no doubt break down again and that would also fast track the development of Darcy ,Jones and Meek which would be great……The author is clearly right on this one, that is Fyfe.

        • February 22nd 2018 @ 12:40pm
          Don Freo said | February 22nd 2018 @ 12:40pm | ! Report

          I don’t think you would call broken ribs after an errant knee, ‘injury prone’. He had a bad hammy last year but that is hardly ‘prone’, it is one injury.

          You don’t get to play over 250 games if you are ‘prone’ to injury. I guarantee you will not be commenting as the season progresses when he continues to star.

          • Roar Guru

            February 22nd 2018 @ 1:00pm
            Cat said | February 22nd 2018 @ 1:00pm | ! Report

            Since 2011 Sandilands has played 98 out of 163 games for Freo or just 60% of the time.

            • February 22nd 2018 @ 1:07pm
              Jon boy said | February 22nd 2018 @ 1:07pm | ! Report

              Which clearly clarifies that he IS injury prone……….at 35 it is only obviously only going to get worse !!

            • February 22nd 2018 @ 1:10pm
              Don Freo said | February 22nd 2018 @ 1:10pm | ! Report

              Nice counting. Notice the results with him out?

              • Roar Guru

                February 22nd 2018 @ 1:18pm
                Cat said | February 22nd 2018 @ 1:18pm | ! Report

                Results have nothing to do with whether he is injury prone or not. Don’t straw man it.

              • February 22nd 2018 @ 1:24pm
                Don Freo said | February 22nd 2018 @ 1:24pm | ! Report

                If you are coming in late on a conversation, read the whole thread. The point of my comments (which began this thread) and the point of the whole article is who would be missed.

                Nothing irrelevant there. You can run with JonBoy’s agenda if you like but it won’t contribute much.

              • February 22nd 2018 @ 1:30pm
                Jon boy said | February 22nd 2018 @ 1:30pm | ! Report

                So what you are saying that you never join in late with a opinion ? Opinion based site ,which he indicated facts .

              • February 22nd 2018 @ 2:31pm
                Don Freo said | February 22nd 2018 @ 2:31pm | ! Report

                Nup. Not saying that at all. Mind you, I never do that.

                If I join in, I make sure I read the whole discussion. Otherwise, I’d start sounding like you, Harry or Anon.

              • February 22nd 2018 @ 1:21pm
                Jon boy said | February 22nd 2018 @ 1:21pm | ! Report

                .One man band is it ? Don you have to move on it is clearly his last year .

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