Footy is nearly here, with club-vs-club match simulations on their way next week and the lone official pre-season matches the week after that.
They’ll be the final chances for players to try and force their ways into Round 1 sides – but already plenty of fresh faces have made their moves.
Foxfooty.com.au predicts every club’s 23-man squad for the opening round, taking into account injuries and suspensions.
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B: Will Hamill, Jordon Butts, Max Michalanney
HB: Brodie Smith, Tom Doedee, Nick Murray
C: Jordan Dawson, Rory Laird, Mitchell Hinge
HF: Izak Rankine, Darcy Fogarty, Riley Thilthorpe
F: Josh Rachele, Taylor Walker, Shane McAdam
FOLL: Reilly O’Brien, Ben Keays, Sam Berry
I/C: Rory Sloane, Jake Soligo, Harry Schoenberg, Chayce Jones, Josh Worrell
We say: Injecting Max Michalanney into the side straight away is a big call, but one the Crows may well back themselves in making given where they’re at and the emphasis on developing young talent to compliment the experienced core. Izak Rankine will slot straight into the side and Rory Sloane will return from an ACL injury and will get a good run at the top level to start the year. No luck for Matt Crouch, who has fallen out of favour in the senior side.
Lions ace Charlie Cameron backs his boss | 02:04
B: Daniel Rich, Harris Andrews, Darcy Gardiner
HB: Keidean Coleman, Marcus Adams, Brandon Starcevich
C: Zac Bailey, Jarrod Berry, Hugh McCluggage
HF: Cam Rayner, Eric Hipwood, Jack Gunston
F: Charlie Cameron, Joe Daniher, Lincoln McCarthy
FOLL: Oscar McInerney, Lachie Neale, Josh Dunkley
I/C: Will Ashcroft, Jarryd Lyons, Noah Answerth, Dayne Zorko, Deven Robertson
We say: Josh Dunkley, Jack Gunston and Will Ashcroft come straight into the side. Other additions Jaspa Fletcher and Conor McKenna may have to wait a bit longer for their spot in the senior side, but Jarryd Lyons will be up against it to stay in the best 22 if the end of last season was anything to go by. It’s an already relatively well settled side that has added at least three walk-up starters over the off-season.
Cripps backs Walsh to come back strong | 01:58
B: Caleb Marchbank, Jacob Weitering, Lewis Young
HB: Adam Saad, Mitch McGovern, Nic Newman
C: Blake Acres, Patrick Cripps, Adam Cerra
HF: Jack Martin, Charlie Curnow, Jack Silvagni
F: Zac Fisher, Harry McKay, Jesse Motlop
FOLL: Marc Pittonet, Sam Docherty, George Hewett
I/C: Tom De Koning, Matt Kennedy, Matt Owies, Paddy Dow, Brodie Kemp
We say: Injuries to Sam Walsh and Zac Williams mean the best 22 at Carlton won’t be out on the park to start the year, but there’s still plenty of competition for spots. Oliver Hollands doesn’t look to have the frame to compete at the top level just yet and the Blues will take their time with the pick No.11. Sam Docherty is one who has been earmarked to fill the void left by Walsh’s absence, so he could get a run through the middle to start the season. Tom De Koning and Marc Pittonet may end up competing for the same spot, but Michael Voss looks set to give them both a run in the side at first.
Walsh yet to confirm Carlton return | 01:55
B: Isaac Quaynor, Darcy Moore, Brayden Maynard
HB: Nick Daicos, Jeremy Howe, Scott Pendlebury
C: Josh Daicos, Jack Crisp, Steele Sidebottom
HF: Jamie Elliott, Dan McStay, Will Hoskin-Elliott
F: Jack Ginnivan, Brody Mihocek, Beau McCreery
FOLL: Darcy Cameron, Jordan De Goey, Tom Mitchell
I/C: Taylor Adams, Patrick Lipinski, Nathan Murphy, John Noble, Bobby Hill
We say: There are many new faces at Collingwood, so fitting them all in will be hard. Darcy Cameron should be all good to play in round one despite a hamstring setback at training, so the juggling act between he and Mason Cox looks set to continue. Adding to the competition for key position spots is Billy Frampton, but we can’t find room for him at the moment. Tom Mitchell and Dan McStay will come straight into the side and Bobby Hill should get a good run.
Caldwell looking to elevate game in 2023 | 01:01
B: Jordan Ridley, Brandon Zerk-Thatcher, Jayden Laverde
HB: Andy McGrath, Jake Kelly, Mason Redman
C: Nic Martin, Dylan Shiel, Dyson Heppell
HF: Archie Perkins, Sam Weideman, Matt Guelfi
F: Jake Stringer, Peter Wright, Kyle Langford
FOLL: Sam Draper, Zach Merrett, Darcy Parish
I/C: Will Setterfield, Jye Caldwell, Harrison Jones, Nick Hind, Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti
We say: Do the Bombers thrown Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti straight back into the senior side? It would be tempting, but perhaps the sub role could be perfect for him in round one at least. The midfield core will be added to by Will Setterfield in the early stages of the season, while Nic Martin has done more than enough to cement himself in the side. Elijah Tsatas is recovering from a knee injury and there’ll be no rush on the teenager. Sam Weideman has impressed so far in pre-season at his new club and looks to be the go-to target rather than Harrison Jones at the moment, but how that works will be found out as the season progresses.
Heppell in the captains seat | 02:14
B: Luke Ryan, Brennan Cox, Heath Chapman
HB: Hayden Young, Alex Pearce, Jordan Clark
C: Nathan O’Driscoll, Andrew Brayshaw, Liam Henry
HF: Nat Fyfe, Luke Jackson, Michael Frederick
F: Lachie Schultz, Matt Taberner, Michael Walters
FOLL: Sean Darcy, Caleb Serong, Jaeger O’Meara
I/C: Jye Amiss, Will Brodie, Brandon Walker, Sam Switkowski, Nathan O’Driscoll
We say: They lost a few players in the off-season, but the additions of Luke Jackson and Jaeger O’Meara are tantalising for the Dockers. Liam Henry has shown his capability on a wing, as has Nathan O’Driscoll, so the spots are there in the absence of Blake Acres. It’s surprising given his 2022 season, but Will Brodie faces a tough task locking down a spot in the midfield purely because of the sheer weight of numbers there and the fact many boast more variety and a bigger tank than him.
Dockers on the hunt for a new skipper | 02:23
B: Jake Kolodjashnij, Jack Henry, Sam De Koning
HB: Zach Tuohy, Tom Stewart, Jed Bews
C: Mitch Duncan, Patrick Dangerfield, Max Holmes
HF: Isaac Smith, Jeremy Cameron, Brad Close
F: Tyson Stengle, Esava Ratugolea, Gary Rohan
FOLL: Rhys Stanley, Cam Guthrie, Mark Blicavs
I/C: Zach Guthrie, Tom Atkins, Mark O’Connor, Brandon Parfitt, Tanner Bruhn
We say: Tom Hawkins won’t be out there for the opening rounds of the season as he recovers from injury, so the time is now if Esava Ratugolea wants to finally realise his potential, even though he has been played largely in defence recently. Chris Scott could pull a surprise and swap him with Jack Henry, who has been training as a forward in recent weeks. Elsewhere, it’s hard to drop anyone on form given last year’s final game resulted in a premiership. Tanner Bruhn could get a run in the substitute role and Ollie Henry could try and push for a forward spot while Hawkins is out, but it’s a tough, tough side to crack into.
Stengle to remain a Cat until 2024 | 00:57
GOLD COAST SUNS
B: Sean Lemmens, Sam Collins, Ben Long
HB: Charlie Ballard, Caleb Graham, Jy Farrar
C: Brandon Ellis, Touk Miller, Elijah Hollands
HF: Joel Jeffrey, Mabior Chol, Ben Ainsworth
F: Malcolm Rosas, Ben King, Nick Holman
FOLL: Jarrod Witts, Matt Rowell, Noah Anderson
I/C: David Swallow, Jack Lukosius, Sam Flanders, Lachie Weller, Charlie Constable
We say: Bailey Humphrey was dealing with a knee issue over the pre-season, but may miss out of an abundance of caution from the Suns. Lachie Weller has barely put a foot wrong in his recovery from an ACL injury and could well be in the frame for a round one return. Charlie Constable found it difficult to break into the senior side but heading into 2023 he is playing a role in defence.
Suns chairman leaves with no regrets | 01:00
B: Isaac Cumming, Sam Taylor, Connor Idun
HB: Lachie Whitfield, Phil Davis, Nick Haynes
C: Harry Perryman, Josh Kelly, Lachie Ash
HF: Brent Daniels, Harry Himmelberg, Daniel Lloyd
F: Toby Greene, Jesse Hogan, Toby Bedford
FOLL: Braydon Preuss, Stephen Coniglio, Tom Green
I/C: Finn Callaghan, Callan Ward, Jacob Wehr, Adam Kennedy, Jake Riccardi
We say: Harry Himmelberg looks set to play forward in 2023, so Phil Davis could slot back in seamlessly, although Leek Aleer has been looking good this pre-season. Jake Riccardi may have to settle for a sub role early and do more to solidify his spot in the senior side. The midfield core still looks virtually the same as last year despite the losses of Tim Taranto and Jacob Hopper. Aaron Cadman won’t be rushed despite his immense talent.
Greene gets the gig as sole GWS captain | 01:16
B: Blake Hardwick, James Sicily, James Blanck
HB: Changkuoth Jiath, Sam Frost, Will Day
C: Cameron Mackenzie, Josh Ward, Karl Amon
HF: Dylan Moore, Jacob Koschitzke, Connor Macdonald
F: Luke Breust, Lloyd Meek, Fergus Greene
FOLL: Ned Reeves, Jai Newcombe, Chad Wingard
I/C: James Worpel, Jarman Impey, Jack Scrimshaw, Finn Maginness
We say: Hawthorn’s senior side is going to look drastically different in 2023 given the number of departures from the 2022 side. A lot of youngsters will get a run. There’s some intrigue in terms of key defensive roles, but Sam Frost and James Blanck look to be the choice defenders over the likes of Denver Grainger-Barrass. Mitch Lewis will miss a fair chunk of the season with a sprained ACL, while Karl Amon slots straight onto the wing.
Big Hawk pens contract extension | 00:47
B: Harrison Petty, Steven May, Michael Hibberd
HB: Angus Brayshaw, Jake Lever, Jake Bowey
C: Ed Langdon, Jack Viney, Lachie Hunter
HF: Alex Neal-Bullen, Tom McDonald, Kysaiah Pickett
F: Jacob Van Rooyen, Max Gawn, Bayley Fritsch
FOLL: Brodie Grundy, Clayton Oliver, Christian Petracca
I/C: James Jordon, Charlie Spargo, Tom Sparrow, Trent Rivers, Kade Chandler
We say: And so the Gawn / Grundy combo begins. It’s probably between Trent Rivers and Jake Bowey for a spot in defence while Christian Salem gets himself right. There’s a lot of buzz around Jacob Van Rooyen and he could be the pick over Ben Brown. Lachie Hunter should slot in on the opposite wing to Ed Langdon, but other than that it’s a settled lineup.
Till 2025! May inks new Dees deal | 00:53
B: Josh Goater, Griffin Logue, Lachie Young
HB: Luke McDonald, Ben McKay, Jack Ziebell
C: Bailey Scott, Ben Cunnington, Liam Shiels
HF: Jaidyn Stephenson, Callum Coleman-Jones, Cam Zurhaar
F: Harry Sheezel, Nick Larkey, Paul Curtis
FOLL: Todd Goldstein, Jy Simpkin, Luke Davies-Uniacke
I/C: Tom Powell, Will Phillips, Curtis Taylor, Hugh Greenwood, Tristan Xerri
We say: Good luck picking a settled side with any certainty. Alastair Clarkson is sure to have some ideas about personnel and role changes; and you’d think he brought Liam Shiels and Dan Howe across from Hawthorn with a plan in mind. Jaidyn Stephenson is in this side but would want to perform early after middling performances throughout last season. Hugh Greenwood and Ben Cunnington are both in here, but whether they’re able to play consistently in the same side is a challenge Clarkson will face. Tristan Xerri and Todd Goldstein will likely share the ruck load again, but Goldstein should be the go-to option as long as he continues playing at the level he is. Pick 4 George Wardlaw won’t be ready for Round 1 and we’ve left Darcy Tucker and Aidan Corr out with the most recent reports saying they won’t be either.
New captains timing ‘perfect’ at North | 02:13
B: Darcy Byrne-Jones, Tom Clurey, Tom Jonas
HB: Dan Houston, Aliir Aliir, Ryan Burton
C: Kane Farrell, Ollie Wines, Miles Bergman
HF: Orazio Fantasia, Todd Marshall, Jason Horne-Francis
F: Junior Rioli, Charlie Dixon, Sam Powell-Pepper
FOLL: Scott Lycett, Zak Butters, Connor Rozee
I/C: Travis Boak, Riley Bonner, Willem Drew, Mitch Georgiades, Xavier Duursma
We say: Jason Horne-Francis and Junior Rioli come straight into the lineup, while up forward Jeremy Finlayson’s return will be delayed by a syndesmosis injury. Xavier Duursma has sub written all over him at the moment and it’s up to him to change that and get back into the best 22 to join Zak Butters and Connor Rozee, both of whom look set for permanent onballer roles. Trent McKenzie is unlucky to miss out but you suspect there’ll be openings throughout the season, while Kane Farrell and Riley Bonner may split the load on the wing to cover for the loss of Karl Amon.
Dixon feeling good ahead of season 13 | 01:21
B: Dylan Grimes, Robbie Tarrant, Nathan Broad
HB: Nick Vlastuin, Noah Balta, Dan Rioli
C: Kamdyn McIntosh, Jacob Hopper, Marlion Pickett
HF: Tim Taranto, Jack Riewoldt, Shai Bolton
F: Noah Cumberland, Tom Lynch, Maurice Rioli Jr
FOLL: Toby Nankervis, Dion Prestia, Dustin Martin
I/C: Liam Baker, Jayden Short, Trent Cotchin, Tyler Sonsie, Hugo Ralphsmith
We say: That Richmond midfield all of a sudden has plenty of depth. In fact, the whole side looks to have a fair bit of selection pressure, with Josh Gibcus sure to challenge for a return once he overcomes a hamstring concern and Ivan Soldo waiting in the wings behind Toby Nankervis and Ben Miller. Judson Clarke isn’t in here but is another who should be pushing for a spot. Jack Graham’s job getting back into the senior side hasn’t been made any easier by the arrivals, ditto Jack Ross. Hugo Ralphsmith is a likely sub to start the season.
Walsh steps down as Saints boss | 00:26
B: Ben Paton, Dougal Howard, Callum Wilkie
HB: Jack Sinclair, Josh Battle, Hunter Clark
C: Dan McKenzie, Brad Crouch, Bradley Hill
HF: Marcus Windhager, Mitch Owens, Mason Wood
F: Dan Butler, Tim Membrey, Jack Higgins
FOLL: Rowan Marshall, Jack Steele, Jade Gresham
I/C: Zaine Cordy, Zac Jones, Seb Ross, Nasiah Wanganeen-Milera, Mattaes Phillipou
We say: Plenty for Ross Lyon to consider in his first year back at the club, with quite a few versatile magnets he could decide to spin, such as Bradley Hill, Hunter Clark and Mason Wood. But the most pressing issues are up forward where Jack Hayes won’t be ready until a few weeks into the season, while Max King will be out even longer with his reconstructed shoulder, while even backup options like Matt Allison and Josh Eyre (who was a contender to be signed this pre-season) went down hurt. Mitch Owens surprisingly has spent much of his 2023 as a near-permanent forward while Josh Battle is the other contender to swing into the front six, though he’s important down back – unless Zaine Cordy takes his spot there? Mattaes Phillipou has impressed this pre-season and looks likely to earn an early chance while Liam Stocker is in the mix for a backline spot.
AFL releases practice match fixtures | 00:34
B: Dane Rampe, Tom McCartin, Robbie Fox
HB: Nick Blakey, Paddy McCartin, Jake Lloyd
C: Dylan Stephens, Callum Mills, Justin McInerney
HF: Isaac Heeney, Sam Reid, Will Hayward
F: Tom Papley, Lance Franklin, Ryan Clarke
FOLL: Tom Hickey, Chad Warner, Luke Parker
I/C: James Rowbottom, Logan McDonald, Oliver Florent, Errol Gulden, Peter Ladhams
We say: The major injury questions among best 23 candidates surround Nick Blakey, who may miss the Swans’ pre-season games with glandular fever, and Ryan Clarke, who suffered a hamstring strain three weeks ago, while Sam Reid, Lance Franklin and Tom Hickey are also working their ways back. We’ve named all five despite the concerns. Could top-20 pick Jacob Konstanty force his way into the Round 1 side? He models his game on Tom Papley and has impressed with his forward pressure across the pre-season. Otherwise this is a very stable group and the club’s confidence in its players is shown by how few changes they made across the off-season. Sam Reid’s impressive 2022 sees him hold his spot ahead of young Logan McDonald, though ideally for the future of the club the latter will force his way into the 18.
Mills eager to stay Swans all-rounder | 00:51
WEST COAST EAGLES
B: Shannon Hurn, Tom Barrass, Tom Cole
HB: Reuben Ginbey, Jeremy McGovern, Luke Shuey
C: Andrew Gaff, Tim Kelly, Jayden Hunt
HF: Elijah Hewett, Oscar Allen, Jamie Cripps
F: Liam Ryan, Jack Darling, Jake Waterman
FOLL: Nic Naitanui, Elliot Yeo, Dom Sheed
I/C: Jai Culley, Connor West, Alex Witherden, Bailey Williams, Sam Petrevski-Seton
We say: How young do they go? Reuben Ginbey, Elijah Hewett and Noah Long featured in the A side in last week’s match simulation with all three in the mix to play Round 1. Sam Petrevski-Seton is being trialled forward while Luke Shuey has spent plenty of time at halfback across the summer. Word from the west is Callum Jamieson is a legitimate chance to unseat Bailey Williams as the second ruck. Liam Duggan looks likely to be unavailable after off-season knee surgery but is a best-23 certainty when fit, while Jack Darling is listed here despite his pre-season ankle injury; the club is optimistic he’ll be ready for Round 1.
Bruce’s big move into the backline | 01:42
B: Ed Richards, Liam Jones, Alex Keath
HB: Bailey Williams, Ryan Gardner, Bailey Dale
C: Jack Macrae, Tom Liberatore, Bailey Smith
HF: Rhylee West, Rory Lobb, Jamarra Ugle-Hagan
F: Cody Weightman, Aaron Naughton, Laitham Vandermeer
FOLL: Tim English, Marcus Bontempelli, Adam Treloar
I/C: Jason Johannisen, Sam Darcy, Caleb Daniel, Toby McLean, Taylor Duryea
We say: So many questions to be answered with the Bulldogs’ talls; they’ve gone from a severe deficit to a surplus. Liam Jones surely plays, and Josh Bruce has been training down back having been pushed out of the forward line; could Alex Keath be the one to miss out? We have him just ahead of Sam Darcy here but would totally understand Beveridge opting for the potential young superstar, who could realistically slot into Ugle-Hagan’s forward line spot as well – though the ex-No.1 pick has been working alongside Rory Lobb all pre-season and should partner him and Aaron Naughton. Oskar Baker is the potential wingman bolter, playing with the A side in match simulations and maybe forcing his way into the best 23 after being delisted by Melbourne – effectively meaning he was swapped for Lachie Hunter. Adam Treloar has been building up fitness after ankle surgery last September and should play some minutes in the pre-season clash with North Melbourne on March 4, with hopes he’s ready for Round 1.
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