Round 1 has finally arrived after what was an excruciatingly laborious wait over the off-season. The fantasy outlook of the 2023 AFL season as we stand today leaves a lot of questions that will be answered as the season progresses. Who will be the 2023 GameDay Squad Aussie Rules MVP? Who will be the highest scoring rookie in 2023? But for now, let's zero into round 1! In this blog we'll be previewing every game of the round and providing some insight into what we might expect in the week ahead. What do you think round 3 hold for us? let us know who you agree with and who else you might have selected down below on all of our social channels twitter, facebook, instagram, discord.
Richmond Tigers V Carlton Blues
Thursday 16th of March - 6:20pm AEST
Two heavyweights clash to kick off the season on Thursday night! Richmond, who are looking to get back to winning ways have had a busy off-season, recruiting two superstar midfielders in Tim Taranto and Jacob Hopper from the Greater Western Sydney Giants. Carlton didn't quite make as big a splash in the trade period but did gain Blake Acres from Fremantle in the off-season.
Sam Walsh missing this fixture is massive for Carlton. I'm really excited to see who steps into that Walsh sized hole that needs filling on Thursday night. There's a few candidates, Adam Cerra seems to be the odds-on favourite to step in there, George Hewett had a really solid preseason game in the guts and we have been teased all off-season long about Sam Docherty rolling through the middle as well. Keep an eye on the opening bounce! On the Richmond side... Richmond have been known for running a system that is detrimental to fantasy footy. We haven't had many high averaging players come out of Richmond for quite some time, specifically in the midfield. Does that trend end with Tim Taranto? Taranto has proven to be an elite scorer in fantasy footy. In 2022, Taranto averaged 112 GDS fantasy points per game and in 2021 he averaged 123 GDS fantasy points per game! I'm very interested to see what his fantasy output is come the conclusion of Thursday nights game.
Richmond 94 - 80 Carlton Sam Docherty - 115 GDS fantasy points
Geelong Cats V Collingwood Magpies
Friday 17th of March - 6:40pm AEST
Another big matchup on Friday night primetime where the reigning premier Geelong go head to head with Collingwood on the hallowed turf of the MCG. Geelong have had a massive influx of young talent come through their ranks over the off-season in a list shake up. It will be very interesting to see how some of the young talent fares and how different roles shake out. Collingwood were very quiet over the off-season aside from just quietly obtaining former Brownlow medalist Tom Mitchell from Hawthorn. The scene is set and it will be an awesome game to watch. From a fantasy stand point you can find interest just about all over the park in the game. Will Tom Mitchell return to his best? What role does Nick Daicos have? Does Jack Bowes play? Do we see Tanner Bruhn get any centre bounce attendances? Off the back of his preseason role, does Jordan De Goey retain his midfield role? So many questions, and we will all have a better understanding after the game! Predictions! Geelong 88 - 80 Collingwood Tom Stewart - 110 GDS fantasy points
North Melbourne Kangaroos V West Coast Eagles
Saturday 18th of March - 12:45pm AEST
Aussie Rules fans come back down to earth in the early Saturday slot when North Melbourne meet the West Coast Eagles. The biggest talking point in this matchup will of course be, just how much have North Melbourne improved after a full preseason with Alastair Clarkson? For West Coast, they finally have some health and knock on wood... no covid related issues coming into the 2023 season, just how improved will they be? I'm genuinely super excited to see how both West Coast debutants and young guns Reuben Ginbey and Campbell Chesser go in this match up. I'm obviously not expecting them to set the world alight straight off the bat, but just some decent play and a hint of a promising role in the future would be a great outcome out of this game for me.
Predictions! North Melbourne 60 - 77 West Coast Jy Simpkin - 110 GDS fantasy points
Port Adelaide Power V Brisbane Lions
Saturday 18th of March - 3:35pm AEST The stunning Adelaide Oval hosts a matchup that is littered with a plethora of fantasy talent on the park. Port Adelaide will meet the Brisbane Lions Saturday afternoon which will have a lot of fantasy coaches eyes fixated on. Both clubs had a fairly busy off-season. Port acquired young gun Jason Horne-Francis from North Melbourne in what promises to be one of the better acquisitions for the club. Brisbane will unleash super star Josh Dunkley who they gained from the Western Bulldogs, as well as father-son draftee Will Ashcroft who will have a lot to live up to on the weekend.
I am very keen to see how Ashcroft fares on Saturday. Like Ginbey and Chesser from the game before this one, i'm not expected 100+ GDS scores right away. I'm more looking forward to seeing what role he plays and how involved in the midfield he is. From a Port Adelaide point of view, i'm super excited to how Connor Rozee goes. A lot of the talk has been on Jason Horne-Francis but I can't help the excitement for Rozee. I'm expecting a big game right from the get go! Predictions! Port Adelaide 77 - 105 Brisbane Connor Rozee - 120 GDS fantasy points
Melbourne Demons V Western Bulldogs
Saturday 18th of March - 6:25pm AEST
Another colossal matchup in round 1, especially from a fantasy point of view! The Demons meet the Western Bulldogs Saturday night and this is another game fantasy coaches will not want to miss! Melbourne were very busy in the off-season. Superstar ruckman joins Max Gawn in the ruck room, and Lachie Hunter will face his ex-club in round 1 of 2023! On the other end of the spectrum, the Bulldogs were quite quiet, only adding in Rory Lobb from Fremantle. My eyes will be fixated on how the dynamic between Max Gawn and Brodie Grundy works. Unless i've read the rules incorrectly, you can't have two ruckman from the same team in one ruck contest. So, what will be the split? How much time do both spend as the leading ruck, how much time does the other spend forward? Do either of them spend any time down in defence? This might be the question of the round.... From a Bulldogs perspective, what is their starting midfield set up? And how frequently does it change? Even with the Bulldogs losing someone of Josh Dunkley's calibre, they still have arguably the best midfield in the competition. So, who starts there and how frequent is rotations? Predictions! Melbourne 99 - 79 Bulldogs Angus Brayshaw - 115 GDS fantasy points
Gold Coast Suns V Sydney Swans
Saturday 18th of March - 7:00pm AEST The first game to be played at the newly named stadium on the Gold Coast - Heritage bank Stadium and it's the Suns taking on the Sydney Swans. Both teams made minimal changes to their lists over the off-season. Gold Coast have added veteran defender Ben Long to their playing list, as well Tom Berry who now comes down the highway to play in Suns colours in 2023. The Swans are essentially unchanged and will rely on their squad depth to get them through. Every body will be watching Errol Gulden to see if he can back up his preseason performance! He broke the GameDay Squad scoring record putting up and eye-watering 216 GDS fantasy points off the back of 45 disposals and 3 goals. If he can even achieve half of that I think Gulden owners will be very happy!
Predictions! Gold Coast 80 - 76 Sydney
Noah Anderson - 115 GDS fantasy points
Greater Western Sydney Giants V Adelaide Crows
Sunday 19th of March - 12:20pm AEST
To start the Sunday slate we have the Greater Western Sydney Giants taking on the Adelaide Crows! Not the flashiest fantasy game but we've still got some big names on show. Of course the biggest name in the game right now is Rory Laird, we can call this the Rory Laird game. GWS has lost two of their bigger names, Tim Taranto and Jacob Hopper both leaving for Richmond. Adelaide have added young gun Izak Rankine from his former club the Gold Coast Suns.
There has been a lot of chat surrounding Rory Laird and how GWS might deal with him. It is to be expected that Laird will receive some tagging attention from Harry Perryman. What affect will that have on Lairds scoring? Can he fight through that? Tom Green has received a ton of preseason hype and deservedly so, he's been immense in intra-club games and was really solid in GWS' preseason game. I'm eager to see if he steps up to play in round one of the home and away season, his first full season as a full-time rover, will he score well? Predictions! Greater Western Sydney 75 - 50 Adelaide
Josh Kelly - 110 GDS fantasy points
Hawthorn Hawks V Essendon Bombers
Sunday 19th of March - 2:20pm AEST
A little bit of a gross game here on our mid-afternoon Sunday's slot as Hawthorn are set the play the Essendon Bombers but thats okay! We will still have some exciting fantasy players to keep an eye on! Hawthorn will be keen to role-out their biggest name recruit in Karl Amon on the wing on Sunday. While Essendon fans will be keen to see how Sam Weideman and Will Setterfield fare against a Hawks team that should be relatively easy to score against.
Who will Hawthorn tag? Finn Maginness is starting to make quite the name for himself as Hawthorns go to tagger. He even had a tagging role in Hawthorns preseason game as he shut Nick Daicos down completely. So who does he go too? Zach Merrett or Darcy Parish? Starting set ups will be very interesting to see!
Predictions! Hawthorn 50 - 79 Essendon Zach Merrett - 120 GDS fantasy points
St Kilda Saints V Fremantle Dockers
Sunday 19th of March - 3:40pm AEST
To conclude the round we have a fun match up here! St Kilda go to battle with a Fremantle Dockers side making their way over to Melbourne in round 1. Freo made a bit of a splash in the trade-period. They signed on Luke Jackson early in the off-season and also acquired Jaeger O'Meara from Hawthorn. St Kilda were very quiet over the off-season but fans can looks forward to exciting draftee Mattaes Phillipou making his debut in round 1.
Two midfield heavyweight clash in the matchup, but who comes out on top? Jack Steele v Andrew Brayshaw, Brad Crouch v Jaeger O'Meara, Marcus Windhager v Will Brodie. Will Windhager tag Brayshaw? That's another interesting match up to follow as well.
Predictions! St Kilda 66 - 87 Fremantle Hayden Young - 100 GDS fantasy points