THE HANGOVER: DRAFTSTARS WEEKLY WRAP

After a gruelling offseason full of dull Friday nights spent watching RomComs with a glass of cheap red wine and a block of dark chocolate, eaten only after gorging yourself on an over cheesed charcuterie board. Who am I kidding? A Friday night spent with a cheap beer and packet of chips you picked up after destroying an overpriced chicken parmigiana at the local.

Either way, those nights are over. The AFL is here. And so too are the famed Draftstars AFL contests.

Round one kicked off on Thursday night with the traditional matchup between Richmond and Carlton. 85 thousand packed the G and kicked the season off in style. And then Friday Geelong stated their intentions with a win against the odds against the Pies, once again in from of 80 thousand screaming fans. The rest of the round featured emphatic, statement victories and concerning losses, perhaps a sign of the season to come.

The top eight remains uncertain but what we can be sure of is, no sport in Australia excites the population like the AFL, and we are all the better for it.

Similarly, the AFLW has operated for eight weeks full of excitement and exhilaration. And that was no more evident than in the first week of finals. Carlton shocked many with an unexpected victory over a high scoring Fremantle outfit, though Carlton had won three on the trot prior to the game and carried the momentum necessary to overcome the odds.

Whereas Adelaide went into their game as red hot favourites. And with good reason. They were never challenged by a Geelong side who were lucky to make finals, running out 11 goal winners. The Crows were superior in every area but won the game with their hardness, laying 83 tackles to the Cats’ 48.

Adelaide will go into the match heavy favourites but we need only cast our minds back to round two when the Crows and Carlton engaged in a tight encounter that saw the former prevail by 12-points.

And the NBA rolled on, like it does. The MVP conversation heated up with big games from Giannis, Embiid, Paul George and Steph Curry then James Harden dropped 57-points against the Grizzlies and 61 against the Spurs and reminded us all this truly is a one horse race.

In the same breath, Harden secured a playoff spot for Chris Paul, Clint Capela and some guys you have never heard of; so his eventual MVP award will be very well deserved. But the Rockets were not alone in their playoff guarantee, all of the Warriors, Nuggets, Raptors, 76ers and Pacers all secured their spots while Milwaukee went so far as clinching their division too.

Although the most exciting race may be between the Knicks and Suns over who gets Zion Williamson in the draft.

AFL ROUND ONE

Our AFL thirsts were finally quenched on Thursday night when Richmond and Carlton squared off. After all the talk, it was the Tigers who did exactly what was expected of them. However, talking Draftstars, Nic Newman was the pick of the contest with his 115 DS points. His role will increase with the Blues as compared with Sydney and you can expect him to command more of the ball coming out of the back half.

Collingwood hosted Geelong in an instant classic on Friday and the Cats claimed the victory by taking their chances when they presented. Adam Treloar was everywhere as he chalked up 34 disposals and booted a goal on his way to 125 DS points.

Melbourne go back to the drawing board after a questionable loss to Port at the weekend. Christian Salem was their best performer (128 DS points) but he played a lone hand. The Power, however, spread the load but it was Tom Rockliff who backed up his JLT piggery to explode for 166 DS points. Make the call on Rocky.

The Hawks shocked Adelaide by 32-points with a result nobody saw coming. The Crows’ usual suspects fired with Sloane the pick of the bunch (144 DS points) in a return to his best form. The Hawks were more evenly spread but it was James Worpel’s 27 disposal, two goal effort which set tongues blazing and DS selectors mouth’s smiling with 101 DS points.

By this stage most tips were ruined, so when the Doggies rolled Sydney nothing was a surprise anymore. The best part about the game though? Libba is back. We made the call in the JLT series but we are confirming it now. His DS output of 87 was not his best but it could have been huge if his two points had been goals and a few balls bounced his way.

The biggest shock of the round came at the Gabba on Saturday night when Brisbane erased a five goal quarter time deficit and ran out emphatic 44-point victors. For the Eagles, Dom Sheed backed up his JLT form to play a lone hand. He recorded 38 disposals and kicked a goal as he scored 133 DS points.

St. Kilda overcame an injury ravaged back six, and a huge fright from the Suns, to record a victory by the slightest of margins. The pick of the contest, though, came from the Suns. Wil Powell, who finished 2018 strongly, looks to have gone to the next level in 2019 as his 103 DS points evidenced.

Any Essendon fans still think they will make the Grand Final? Ben Simmons? Still the only team that matters?? GWS obliterated the Bombers on Sunday, embarrassingly so. 72-points was flattering. The main destroyer was Stephen Coniglio. It is unbelievable to think this man is still underrated. Not for long though, mark these words- he will be top three in the Brownlow. And his week one performance will have him start off with three votes for his 31 disposals, seven tackles, three goals and 161 DS points.

And did anyone see Freo doing that to the Kangaroos? It ended up being a procession as the Dockers ran out 82-point winners. Cam McCarthy was the talk of the game for his five goals which earned him 109 DS points. He will not average that across the year but might end up being a viable forward option if he continues to hit the scoreboard.

AFLW FINALS WEEK ONE

With just one week remaining in the AFLW we really only have one question left, since Adelaide is all but a foregone conclusion to win the big dance. That question, who will win the best and fairest? It has to be out of Erin Phillips and Kiara Bowers but Ebony Marinoff has been stellar all season and at least deserves some acknowledgement.

If nothing else, her week one finals performance was just rewards for a fantastic year. Her 27 disposals, 10 tackles and two goals will not get her any votes but it was enough for a huge 124 DS points and the most in week one of finals.

Again though it was her, Phillips and ruckwoman Jess Foley who dominated for the Crows, each chalking up over 95 DS points and spelling huge danger for the Blues.

Carlton will need a huge output from stars Tayla Harris, Darcy Vescio and Bri Davey as well as sustained excellence from Lauren Brazzale and Maddy Prespakis. Ruckwoman Alison Downie has hit form at the perfect time, the Blues ruckwoman had 27 hit-outs on Saturday and helped herself to 78 DS points to loom as a viable option alongside Jess Foley for the GF contest.

The aforementioned Prespakis was also magnificent with 19 disposals and a goal en route to 90 DS points and the top score in that game.

The Blues will need more of these 80 metre goals on the weekend.

NBA CONTESTS

We cannot speak any more about James Harden. He a freak. He will score enormous DS points but he also will cost a heap. If you can fit him in he will take you a long way to winning a contest but it is not the only way to take home the top prize.

Not exactly a low priced option but LeBron is taking this whole “eliminated from the playoffs since before the first iPhone” business very seriously. In the loss that confirmed their playoff ineptitude he had 25 points, 14 assists and nine rebounds in a near triple double and he backed that up with 29, 11 and 11 on Monday against Sacramento. Beware a wounded King (‘s ego).

An OT win for the Bulls over the Wizards reminded us of the DS affluence stashed away on the 21 win bulls team. Kris Dunn returned to form with 26 points, 13 assists and 6 boards while Lauri Markkanen kept DS owners happy with 32 points, 13 rebounds and five assits.

And to end of an indulgent note, D’Angelo Russell has not been mentioned by this blog once this year and it has been a mistake. He was an all-star for the first time and is a real shot at being the most improved player in the league. He had 44 points and 12 assists against a rival Kings side during the week then iced his former flame, the Lakers with 21 and 13 three days later. D’Russ, he’s got ice in his veins. He will thrive in a playoff environment and during the must win lead up games.

Written by Brin Duggan

By AFL, AFLW, Latest, NBA