The 2022 AFL regular season has ended, and with that, so has the most challenging fantasy season in recent times. Big-name injuries, covid-19 protocols and an entire positional group decimated. That didn't kill the spirits of all the fantasy coaches around the world who stuck it out for the entire season! Now that the season is over for another year, it's time to hand out some online hardware. We will be reviewing every team's fantasy season and awarding those who stood out. To kick us off we have the Brisbane Lions! Let us know your thoughts on who we have included below on all of our socials - twitter, facebook, instagram, discord.
B The Brisbane Lions once again played some good footy in season 2022. While the season just gone wasn’t up to their 2021 standards where they finished 4th on the ladder compared to their 6th overall finish this year, the Lions still made a statement progressing to the preliminary finals where they met their maker in eventual premiers Geelong. As for fantasy, the Lions once again carried a truckload of fantasy options. Fantasy studs Lachie Neale and Hugh McCluggage continued starring in the sunshine state, while some emerging stars started to peek their heads and potentially warrant selection in 2023. Before getting too ahead of ourselves, let’s take a look at the season just gone and see who deserves some awards for their 2022 efforts.
Most Valuable Player
Certified ball magnet Lachie Neale returned to his Brownlow medal-winning best form this year, the Charlie may have ended up wrapped around Patty Cripps’ neck, but Neale pushed him all the way. Neale boasted a team-high GDS fantasy average of 124 points which also ranked him 9th overall league-wide in average rankings. He did it the usual Lachie Neale way - leather poisoning. He averaged 13.8 kicks, 16.1 handballs, 4.5 tackles, and 3.8 marks a game this year, and with no signs of slowing down, you can lock him and load him in your 2023 squads without second-guessing yourself.
Performance of the Year
Lachie Neale had the biggest score for the Lions in 2022. His big day against the Essendon Bombers in round 2 included :
174 GDS fantasy points!
Rookie of the Year
It might be seen as cheating seeing as though Darcy Wilmot only made his debut in the first week of the finals series, and I can also acknowledge the small sample size but the way Wilmot played through the finals cannot be ignored. Wilmot predominately played out of defense for the Lions, but also has the ability to push up the ground and impact the scoreboard as we saw against Richmond in his debut game. Wilmot averaged 7.7 kicks, 5 handballs, 2 marks, and 3.3 tackles per game through the finals series and will look to build on that with some more consistent game time in 2023.
Surprise of the Year
I was surprised to see the “Big O” Oscar McInerney show some consistency this season just gone. His GDS fantasy average of 87 points per game ranked him 10th among ruckmen in 2022. McInerney was able to put up some big scores, like his 119 score against the Carlton Blues in round 21 and his season-high score of 130 against the Melbourne Demons in round 15. I think he’ll also be an interesting play for next year, he has room to improve and the ruck position has been decimated by the free-agency period. The likes of Max Gawn and Brodie Grundy are now teaming up at the Dees, Luke Jackson joins Sean Darcy at Freo, and even Rory Lobb’s trade to the Bulldogs has potential to impact Tim English’s score in 2023. The Big O will be a big watch over the pre-season to see if he could be a potential starter!
Listed as a forward in GDS but playing off the half-back line, 22-year-old Keidean Coleman relished the opportunity given to him and took it with both hands this year. Coleman was at his magical best when fellow spearhead off half-back Daniel Rich was out of the squad due to injury, averaging 114 GDS points through that time. Kiddy Coleman finished the year with a GDS average of 92 points per game, which is a massive step in the right direction when compared to his 2021 average of just 40 points per game, but owners of Coleman will be more excited by his ceiling posting massive scores of 121 in round 118 and a career-high score of 122 in round 16. I think once he’s given the keys for the back-line for the Lions, he’ll become one of the best fantasy assets in the game, we just need to hold out until that happens.
Disappointment of the Year
From having an average of 134 GDS fantasy points per game and finishing as the 4th ranked player in GDS footy in 2021, to averaging 108 GDS fantasy points and finishing as the 56th player in GDS footy in 2022. A massive regression from Jarryd Lyons who was thought to be a fantasy stud coming off a career-high fantasy average in 2021. Lyons owners find themselves in a little bit of a predicament going into 2023. The Lions have recruited star mid/fwd Josh Dunkley from the Western Bulldogs and look to have secured father-son draft prospect Will Ashcroft, limited midfield time is only going to hinder Lyons’ fantasy average going forward. Lyons himself is now 30 years old and his best scores may be behind him.
The Lions had a great year, and with some key inclusions such as Josh Dunkley and Will Ashcroft entering the fray, it’s hard to predict anything but success for the Brissy Lions in 2023. But just how far will they go? Only time will tell.