When: Saturday March 29, 7:45PM
Where: Metricon Stadium
Gold Coast Board Gameday Thread
FB: Joel Wilkinson, Matthew Warnock, Tom Murphy
HB: Dion Prestia, Rory Thompson, Greg Broughton
C: Matt Shaw, Gary Ablett, Jarrod Harbrow
HF: Harley Bennell, Charlie Dixon, Brandon Matera
FF: Luke Russell, Sam Day, Steven May
R: Zac Smith, Karmichael Hunt, David Swallow
I/C: Aaron Hall, Jaeger O’Meara, Jared Brennan, Michael Rischitelli
EMG: Maverick Weller, Jack Hutchins, Kyal Horsley
NEW: Jaeger O’Meara
St Kilda Gameday Thread
FB: Jason Blake, James Gwilt, Dylan Roberton
HB: Jarryn Geary, Tom Simpkin, Sam Gilbert
C: Jack Newnes, Lenny Hayes, Nick Dal Santo
HF: Arryn Siposs, Nick Riewoldt, Terry Milera
FF: Stephen Milne, Beau Maister, Rhys Stanley
R: Ben McEvoy, David Armitage, Jack Steven
I/C: Ahmed Saad, Tom Hickey, Clint Jones, Farren Ray
EMG: Nathan Wright, Trent Dennis-Lane, Tom Lee
Forecast: Possible shower, 28 degrees
Sportsbet: Gold Coast $3.25, St Kilda $1.36
All eyes will be on Gold Coast throughout their third season in the AFL as they aim to make a big improvement with kids turning into young men. The Suns notched one victory from the NAB Cup, defeating Hawthorn by a point after the siren in the tri-series. St Kilda had a relatively strong pre-season campaign, winning three games out of four.
Stop him at all costs
There is no greater match-winner than Gary Ablett in the AFL, and the St Kilda match day committee will have spent hours trying to figure out how to curb his influence. In Round 2 last season, Ablett was terrific, picking up 40 disposals and kicking two goals. However, in their return match, Ablett didn’t look interested, collecting just 20 touches. With Clinton Jones and Farren Ray in the side, surely one of them will be asked to tag the Brownlow Medalist, and you would think that the other will be thrown onto the electrifying Harley Bennell. Not much can be said about either two drawing the short straw here..
Nick Riewoldt caused the Gold Coast plenty of headaches in 2012. In Round 2, the Saints’ skipper had 21 disposals, took 11 marks and booted four majors in the massive win. Fast forward nine weeks, and he again had 21 touches, eight marks and 7.2, taking home the three Brownlow votes at Metricon Stadium. The Suns are expected to give young defender Rory Thompson the task of handling the champion forward, and if that fails, the task falls on the shoulders of Matthew Warnock, who is still having nightmares of big Roo.
One of the most-hyped youngsters to ever pull on footy boots will make his official AFL debut on Saturday night. Jaeger O’Meara has the rockstar name and, according to his captain Ablett, it won’t be long until he has a genuine presence to match. He is one of the favourites for the NAB Rising Star award in 2013, and all eyes will be on him on Saturday night. Also making their debut for the Suns are former Hawthorn defender Tom Murphy and Fremantle playmaker Greg Broughton.
At St Kilda, they will unveil former Docker Dylan Roberton in defence, while ruckman Tom Hickey will possess plenty of nervous energy as he takes on his old side for the first time after being traded to Moorabbin in the off-season.
Which Gold Coast youngsters will step up to the plate in 2013? We saw last season Harley Bennell, Dion Prestia and Steven May make significant inroads to successful AFL careers, but they need more help. It’s time for David Swallow, Sam Day, Brandon Matera, Zac Smith and more to become regular contributors and take that next step.
Can the Suns generate a winning score? Sam Day is sure to be a handful in years to come, but can he be the focal target up forward that the Gold Coast lack? May has shown signs, while Matera, Russell and Bennell have potential to be exciting goalkickers.
How will St Kilda’s depleted defence perform? There was a reason they chased Mitch Brown from West Coast so strongly, and with Sam Fisher going down with injury on the eve of the season, the Saints are relying on James Gwilt (188cm) and Tom Simpkin (21 games). Sam Gilbert and Jason Blake can offer support, but it might be the perfect night for the 196cm, 96kg Day to impose himself.
Everyone is getting on the O’Meara train. At $115,900, he is one of the cheapest midfielders going around, but almost entrenched in Gold Coast’s best 22 means he could be one of your most valued players. The superstar in the making averaged 84 points from three full-length NAB Cup matches, and appears a bargain pick for every fantasy coach in the land. You’d be mad not to have him.
He’s still only young, but the man-mountain in Ben McEvoy looks ready to become one of the most important players in the AFL. St Kilda’s number one ruckman, he will relish having the smarts and competitiveness of Tom Hickey on board. With the former Sun giving him a chop-out, it gives McEvoy the chance to fill a hole in defence or go forward and kick a goal. He’s priced at $557,400, and his average in the NAB Cup over the full-length games was 71.5. Don’t fear though, as his SuperCoach average in his five years has increased every season, so expect a rise on his 104.2 from last year. A unique pick.
St Kilda have total ownage over the Gold Coast Suns, especially after 2012 in which they won both encounters by a combined 187 points.
Since 2000, Gold Coast and St Kilda have played three times. From left to right, this is the result of each game since the start of the millenium.
STK – STK – STK
Gold Coast: 0/3
St Kilda: 3/3
Gold Coast home game (Metricon Stadium)
Gold Coast: 0/2
St Kilda: 2/2
St Kilda home game (Etihad Stadium)
Gold Coast: 0/1
St Kilda: 1/1
This should be a good game between two sides that will be around the same region on the ladder at the end of the season in my opinion. In an upset victory, i’m tipping the GOLD COAST to possibly be in the eight for the first time since their inception.
First goalkicker: Gary Ablett.