(Last year finished 3rd)
Predicted Average: 1710
The Jackals were rewarded with McVeigh earning defensive eligibility in 2016 but that’s where the good news ends for them. The loss of Ryder leaves them without any room for error in their rucks and the loss of Hurley is awkward. Since then the Jackals have continued to be hit by injuries with Shiels, McVeigh, Bennell, Varcoe and Yarran all looking to miss round 1. The addition of Ryan Griffin likely won’t see much impact this year but could be beneficial if he earns defender status in 2017. The safe drafting of Parish and Stanley with their first two picks would indicate that the Jackals were looking towards 2017 but then the drafting of Wells and Grimes with their last picks sent mixed messages.
Breakout Player – Tom Scully
Some players take a little longer to develop and Tom has just eclipsed the 100 game mark. Tom may see a more fantasy friendly role in 2016 and possibly even more time at the centre square. Also, his endurance should suit him to the restricted interchange format in 2016.
Time to Slide – Mitch Robinson
Assuming that Brisbane stave off any more injuries Robinson will be forced back to a half forward role. He averaged 117 in his last 5 but Brisbane have since added Bastinac, Bell, Keays and Mathieson.
Make or Break – Harley Bennell
Could average 100. Could be sent to rehab. Nobody is quite sure what is going on with Bennell at the moment. Like Yarran, the injury excuses aren’t making a lot of sense in the context. A fit Bennell would make for a very intimidating forward line up at the Jackals but take him away and it suddenly looks mediocre.
Special mention: Rhys Stanley
That’s a Bold Strategy Cotton, Let’s See If It Pays Off For ‘Em…
Jackals chose to keep both Hurley and Ryder this season. I’m sure they would have fielded offers from other coaches similarly afflicted with Essendon players who would be looking to bide their time in 2016. Considering that they’re not far off the pace in 2016 it could have been a viable but bold strategy to move both players on for more immediately useful players. Jackals don’t seem sure if they want to reset this year or push for a premiership and may be lamenting this call if they fall short at the big dance.
Special mention: delisting Grimes then picking him again and over Wellingham
A rating of 6th and 7th in defence and midfield respectively belies the fact that the Jackals are strong in both areas due to such an even spread in the middle of the field across the competition. Their strength is their forward line led by young jets Bontempelli and Bennell. Should they lose a ruckman through the season then they will be forced to field a donut since Ryder is keeping the ruck bench spot warm all season. Will still be capable of knocking off any team if they can catch a break on injuries.