Players to watch in the JLT Community Series: Geelong-North Melbourne

Patrick Moran Roar Rookie

By Patrick Moran, Patrick Moran is a Roar Rookie


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    With the JLT Community series set to get underway on Saturday, fans will have high hopes for a number of players looking to push for Round 1 selection.

    All clubs have a number of players to monitor over the course of the fortnight, these are some that fans of Geelong, Gold Coast, Greater Western Sydney, Hawthorn, Melbourne, and North Melbourne should take notes on.

    One of the headlines of the off-season was Gary Ablett’s return to the Cattery, and Geelong supporters will be dying to see him back in the blue and white hoops.

    Cats fans will be eager to see how much time Ablett spends inside forward-50, particularly given the 33-year-old’s susceptibility to injury.

    His inclusion also paves the way for Patrick Dangerfield to spend more time inside forward-50, a mouth-watering prospect.

    The club’s highest picked draftee is Lachlan Fogarty, who fans can look for to provide elite tackling pressure.

    Gold Coast
    Former Port Adelaide livewire Aaron Young can provide versatility for the Suns, and this series will provide clues as to whether he plays a midfield or forward role this season.

    Lachie Weller also made the move to the Suns at the end of last season, and fans will be looking for him to step into the midfield, with 47 games already under his belt.

    Gold Coast selected Will Powell at pick 19, and despite his slender build (65kg), the youngster is a bright prospect. Take note of his elite running ability, with the 18-year-old said to have impressed in the 2km time trial.

    The loss of Zac Williams (injury), and Nathan Wilson (Fremantle), will leave the Giants hoping for a greater contribution from Heath Shaw. Despite averaging 21 disposals last year, the 32-year-old was below his best, and must make a more significant contribution.

    Similarly, Brett Deledio (7 games), and Ryan Griffin (3) both had interrupted seasons in 2017, solid pre-season performances from the experienced duo will give those in orange much to be excited about.

    The Giants’ first pick in the 2017 draft, versatile tall Aiden Bonar, may see limited game time this season, but should show his potential in pre-season.

    After a disjointed first season at the club, Jaeger O’Meara will be looking to repay the faith by putting together a successful year.

    James Worpal impressed during the Melbourne AFLX tournament, and the club website suggests he can “offer support to Tom Mitchell almost immediately”. The 45th selection of the 2017 draft is considered a tough midfielder, and will be worth keeping an eye on.

    James Sicily moved into defence last season and will be hoping his 2017 form is replicated in this series.

    Jaeger O'Meara Hawthorn Hawks 2017 AFL tall

    Jaeger O’Meara (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)

    Former Crow Jake Lever was a high-profile off-season inclusion, and significantly bolsters Melbourne’s key position stocks.

    Following homesickness last season, former Fremantle midfielder Harley Balic – who impressed for the Dockers last season – is set to appear for the Demons on Saturday and could play an important role.

    Mature-age recruit Bayley Fritsch is not unfamiliar to Melbourne fans, having played as a forward for Casey.

    North Melbourne
    While North are going through a period where wins are scarce, they have plenty of talent to monitor. Luke Davies-Uniacke (pick 4), is strong-bodied and can provide much-needed quality in the midfield.

    Majak Daw is set to play in defence this season, and the coming fortnight allows us to see how he plays in his new role.

    Former Hawk Billy Hartung was taken late in the draft, but if he can bring the speed he displayed in brown and gold, there’s much to be excited about.

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    The Crowd Says (3)

    • Roar Guru

      February 24th 2018 @ 10:12am
      Cat said | February 24th 2018 @ 10:12am | ! Report

      Ablett won’t be playing JLT1. As much as I look forward to having him back in the hoops, I know exactly what he can bring so if he doesn’t play a single minute of JLT it won’t bother me.
      The one not on your list that I really need to get a good look at is Tim Kelly. With Motlop finally moved on I think Tim Kelly is the guy who can step into that role (and do it more consistently than Motlop did).

      • February 24th 2018 @ 10:42am
        Patrick Moran said | February 24th 2018 @ 10:42am | ! Report

        Sorry about Ablett, I submitted the article prior to his training scare. It will be interesting to see who steps up to replace Motlop.

        • Roar Guru

          February 24th 2018 @ 10:51am
          Cat said | February 24th 2018 @ 10:51am | ! Report

          No worries, late news happens. I’m sure a lot og Geelong fans are hoping to see Ablett sooner rather than later but for me I like seeing the players I don’t know or are unsure of in preseason. Kelly, Fogarty, Miers and Constable are the ones I hope to see play, especially in JLT1.

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