The footy season is under a week away and I can start to feel the Christmas eve type butterflies creeping in already! To manage the excitement and try to put a lid on things a little bit, i'm going to go through what my dream GameDay Squad Aussie Rules 22 looks like! I'll be going through all the positions and identifying players i'd snap up in a heartbeat given the chance. This time I'm looking into the forwards! Let us know your thoughts on who we have down below on all of our social channels: twitter, facebook, instagram, discord.
Josh Dunkley - Brisbane Lions
2022 Average: 124.18 - 2022 Forward Rank: N/A - 2022 High Score: 156
The fantasy gods have blessed us all and Josh Dunkley has been named a forward for 2023 in GameDay Squad Aussie Rules fantasy! Dunkley is an absolute home-run, averaging 124 GDS fantasy points in 2022, and being a fantasy stud (real life stud also) for just about his entire career, you can safely lock him in at the top of your forward line rankings going into season 2023. Dunkley leaves a talent stacked Western Bulldogs side for the Brisbane Lions where he will share head honcho roles with superstar Lachie Neale. Although he's listed as a forward for 2023, he will get a ton of run through the Lions midfield, which begs the question - We know Dunkley is odds on favourite to finish as the #1 ranked forward come the end of the season, but by how much? I think there's a world where Dunkley finishes a good 10 points clear of second place this year, the guy is genuinely that good!
Projected base player score - 132 GDS fantasy points
Connor Rozee - Port Adelaide Power
2022 Average: 102.95 - 2022 Forward Rank: 6th - 2022 High Score: 172
Connor Rozee might be the player i'm most excited to watch in 2023, he truly could be anything! He closed the season out in a big, big way in 2022, averaging 124 GDS points per game in his last 5 matches of the season, which included an eye-watering score of 172 in a round 23 showdown matchup just to wet the lips of all Rozee owners over a very long off-season! He looks to have come back in great shape as well, an uninterrupted preseason injury-wise and a preseason score of 117 GDS fantasy points against Fremantle, proves that Rozee won't be slowing down anytime soon. Much like Dunkley, Rozee should see a lot of midfield time this year, he retained his forward status but those centre bounce attendances we saw at the end of last season won't be going anywhere. Connor Rozee is very good at football, we haven't even seen the best of him yet, get him in your squads!
Projected base score average - 122 GDS fantasy points
Tim Taranto - Richmond Tigers
2022 Average: 112.69 - 2022 Forward Rank: 1st - 2022 High Score: 155
Arguably the biggest move this past off-season (Aside from the first man we spoke about) was former Greater Western Sydney jet, Tim Taranto making a big move to the Richmond Tigers. We were left reeling last year when a frustratingly injury bugged season meant that Taranto struggled to really establish himself into the GWS midfield last season, we only saw 47% CBA usage last year as he was used more as a high forward flanker as opposed to the inside bull work he made his name on. The scariest part is... he still averaged 112 GDS fantasy points on the year! You add onto that, an expectation that Taranto should see a big bump in that CBA percentage, he's leaving a team with Josh Kelly, Callan Ward, Tom Green, Stephen Coniglio, and a bunch of younger guys thrown in there as well, for a team where he'll contend with his old mate Jacob Hopper, Dion Prestia and... Trent Cotchin? Taranto should be locked into the guts for Richmond and in turn, that means he should be locked into your teams if you have him!
Projected base score average - 118 GDS fantasy points
Dylan Moore - Hawthorn Hawks
2022 Average: 108.55 - 2022 Forward Rank: 4th - 2022 High Score: 161
I think we can expect Hawthorn's favourite son Dylan Moore to have another big year in 2023. In a team that lacks accuracy, some poise and any form of x-factor, we should assume Moore will be trusted with a lot of the pill! Moore's coming off a season where he finished 4th in forward ranking off the back of a career best fantasy average of 108 GDS fantasy points per game. Now, off the back of a career year, an off-season where Hawthorn lose their best accumulator in Tom Mitchell and an uninterrupted pre-season, I can't see a world where Dylan Moore doesn't take his game to another level. I expect him to retain his midfield/forward role but as the season progresses, I imagine we see his CBAs climb to about the 70/30 range which would only prove his case even Moore! < get it? Projected base score average - 117 GDS fantasy points
Stephen Coniglio - Greater Western Sydney Giants
2022 Average: 114.95 - 2022 Forward Rank: N/A - 2022 High Score: 154
Stephen Coniglio of the Greater Western Sydney Giants should once again relish another season in the motor room for GWS. I might have him at fifth here because i'm still burnt from when he crashed and burned during his injury affected 2020/21 seasons. But nonetheless, Coniglio enjoyed a massive bounce back season in 2022 where he averaged 114 GDS fantasy points and finished the year in electric fashion where he averaged 127 GDS fantasy points in his last 10 games of the season. If he can take that form into 2023, he'll easily finish top 5, and he's a good chance to do so! As mentioned in the Tim Taranto piece above, Coniglio is walking into a heavily diluted midfield room this year, with Taranto and Jacob Hopper leaving for Richmond together. The busy GWS trading period only makes Coniglio even more enticing in my opinion, he could be the safest pick (Aside from Dunkley) in the entire position.
Projected base score average - 116 GDS fantasy points
Errol Gulden - Sydney Swans
2022 Average: 100.18 - 2022 Forward Rank: 9th - 2022 High Score: 184
216 GDS fantasy points against Carlton in Sydney's pre season game is enough to throw him in hear alone, you can't put up a score like that and not be projected a top 6 finish! And the truth is Gulden kicks out some big names! Zak Butters who has had an injury riddled preseason and looks underdone, his teammate Isaac Heeney who hasn't done anything wrong aside from not scoring 216 GDS fantasy points in preseason, and Jason Horne-Francis who is still technically considered the next best thing ever of all time! You pair his preseason score with his captains comments on him at the AFL captains media day "Gulden will definitely be in the middle more, at times we’ll probably have that rotation of one of us forward which we basically had last year. He’s taken his game to another level." which Gulden owners will obviously be licking their lips to hear. You also consider Gulden's finish to 2022 where he averaged 122 GDS fantasy points per game in his last 5, which included a mammoth 184 score against Greater Western Sydney in round 20. He might be streaky, he could be a bit boom or bust as we stand today, but you just have to start him if you have him!
Projected base score average - 112 GDS fantasy points
Zak Butters - Port Adelaide Power
Isaac Heeney - Sydney Swans
Ben Cunnington - North Melbourne Kangaroos
Jason Horne-Francis - Port Adelaide Power