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  • Liam Kermode

GameDay Squads 2023 Dream Team - Midfielders & Ruck

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 both the midfielders positions and i'll be selecting a ruckman as well! Let us know your thoughts on who we have down below on all of our social channels: twitter, facebook, instagram, discord.

AFL Fantasy GameDay Squad 2023 Dream Team

Rory Laird - Adelaide Crows

2022 Average: 138.05 - 2022 Midfielder Rank: 1st - 2022 High Score: 182

A part of me wanted to be cute and quirky and select someone that wasn’t so vanilla but, when I stopped… and took a look in the mirror I knew, if I selected anyone else but Rory Laird first here, I’d just be going too indie. So, with that’s said - I’m not going full 2014 triple J, I’m not going indie, I’m not going cute and quirky! Rory Laird will be back-to-back scoring champion in GameDay Squad Aussie Rules! The thing about Rory Laird that makes him so desirable is that he can score in a myriad of ways. Whether it’s a 15+ tackles day, a 40+ disposals outing or maybe he just wants to take it easy but impact the scoreboard one round, he can literally do it all and he does so insanely well. Another infinity stone to Laird’s infinity gauntlet is his scoring floor. In 2022, Laird failed to fall below 100+ GDS fantasy points All. Season. Long. To marry all of this up, in Adelaides pre-season game against West Coast, Laird put up 156 GDS fantasy points on a day where he could had crawled to 180-190 points if he wanted to! Get him in your teams if you haven’t got Laird in there already!

Projected base score average - 139 GDS points per game

Rory Laird's gold GameDay Squad player card

Touk Miller - Gold Coas Suns

2022 Average: 129.50 - 2022 Midfielder Rank: 4th - 2022 High Score: 170

How’s the saying go? Head > heart? Heart > head? How about head + heart? Anyone ever think of that? Well I have, which is why I have Touk Miller returning to the top 3 on seasonal GDS average! And truth be told, I am a suns fan, but guess what… it’s no secret that Touk is a fantasy weapon that is more than capable of a top 3 finish. Take his 2021 140 GDS fantasy average which gave him the scoring crown in GameDay Squad fantasy that season. Touk’s coming off a season where he averaged 28 disposals, 3.8 marks and 6 tackles a game which was good enough for a 129 GDS fantasy average in 2022, I personally can’t see a world where he falls below those averages this season with a healthy Suns team, emerging midfield talent to take the pressure off him and a clear workhorse role. Also just quietly, Miller's only missed one game in three seasons, and that one game was due to suspension... Touk is a matchup proof, clear must-start every single week.

Projected bade score average - 137 GDS fantasy points per game

Touk Millers legend GameDay Squad player card

Andrew Brayshaw - Fremantle Dockers

2022 Average: 130.09 - 2022 Midfielder Rank: 3rd - 2022 High Score: 212

Baby goat Andy Brayshaw is likely going to finish top five in GameDay Squad Aussie Rules from now until the end of time, let’s be real. The fantasy world is at his feet and at the age of just 23-years-old he has established himself as one of the safest fantasy assets in the entire league. My only knock on Andy is that he can be susceptible to the odd tag, which he will learn to deal with as he matures, but even then, his ceiling can cancel out any below par matches. Speaking of ceiling, we're talking about the man who holds the record for highest GDS point game in the platforms history! Scoring 212 big ones off the back of a 40 disposal feasting when Freo met St Kilda in round 2 last season. You pair his age, talent, security and scoring ability with the fact that Andy is just so fun to watch and cheer for and you have a must start player at the position who is an odds on chance to finish top 3 in GDS average come the end of the season.

Projected base score average - 133 GDS points per game

Andrew Brayshaw's platinum GameDay Squad player card

Sam Walsh - Carlton Blues

2022 Average: 120.15 - 2022 Midfielder Rank: 14th - 2022 High Score: 144

Ya'll sleepin'? I think some of you are sleeping on Sammy Walsh coming into the 2023 season... and I hope it stays that way. He's coming off an injury, that plays a big part in the silence, but at 22-years-old I would challenge anyone to the question, have we seen the best of Sam Walsh yet? The other question I'd have is, a lot of people are high on Carlton performing well this season, do you think Sam Walsh plays a big part in that success? I certainly think so! Walsh is a big time-on-ground merchant, in 2021 he finished 7th amongst midfielders for time-on-ground percentage league-wide with 87.36% TOG spent per game (2022 numbers hampered by niggly back soreness). These numbers mean he has every opportunity to get his hands on the footy. As the old equation goes, opportunity = production, with that much opportunity to touch the pill, he puts himself in the best possible situation to score well. And scoring well is what he does! He averaged 120 GDS fantasy points per game in 2022, and averaged an even better 124 GDS fantasy points per game in 2021. I'm not going to miss out on the Walsh train when it arrives, this year could be the year he breaks the 130+ GDS average mark. So while you obviously can't start with Walshy in your team, I would definitely suggest having him ready to go for when he is listed!

Projected base score average - 131 GDS points per game

Sam Walsh's silver GameDay Squad player card

Zach Merrett - Essendon Bombers

2022 Average: 125.63 - 2022 Midfielder Rank: 7th - 2022 High Score: 204

There was a period in 2022 where Zach Merrett when ballistic and averaged an absurd 159 GDS fantasy points from rounds 16 to 20, which included a monster score of 204 against North Melbourne in round 20. I think we are more likely to see that version of Zach Merrett in 2023, in a team that lacks so much x-factor and ball winning ability, Merrett should feast as the new Bombers captain is easily the best ball user by hand at least, only Massimo D'Ambrosio pipping him by foot. He's a known elite scorer, averaging 125 GDS fantasy points in 2022, and an even better 128 GDS points per game in 2021. With the scoring power Merrett possess and with how much the Bombers young guns leant on him in their pre-season game in a 30 point loss to the Saints, I'm thinking we see Merrett push the likes of Clayton Oliver, Jack Steele and Callum Mills out of the top 5 in 2023!

Projected base score average - 129 GDS points per game

Zach Merrett's bronze GameDay Squad player card


Clayton Oliver - Melbourne Demons

Jack Steele - St Kilda Saints

Callum Mills - Sydney Swans

Jack Macrae - Western Bulldogs

Josh Kelly - Greater Western Sydney Giants

Marcus Bontempelli - Western Bulldogs

Tom Mitchell - Collingwood Magpies

Bailey Smith - Western Bulldogs

Lachie Neale - Brisbane Lions

Darcy Parish - Essendon Bombers

Rowan Marshall - St Kilda Saints

2022 Average: 105.62 - 2022 Ruckman Rank: 5th - 2022 High Score: 188

I think its reasonable to state that as we stand today, the easiest position to select at the moment is the ruckman position! That is of course, if you own any form of Rowan Marshall card. He is by far and away the safest option at the position with the likes of Tim English having an interrupted pre-season, we saw Max Gawn and Brodie Grundy play well together in the Demons pre-season game against Richmond, but is it sustainable? I'm not willing to wait and find out at this stage, we also haven't seen how the other star young pairing out west is going to fair yet with Luke Jackson and Sean Darcy teaming up. There are just so many questions up in the air surrounding every ruckman in the league... except Marshall. He's coming off a season where he averaged 105 GDS fantasy points per game, which was watered down because he was sharing ruckman duties with Paddy Ryder. Now that Ryder's been mentioned, let's take a look at how Marshall fared fantasy wise as a sole ruck compared to sharing ruck duties.


With Paddy Ryder

Without Paddy Ryder

Highest Scores without Ryder

​Games played

​11 games

10 games


​91 GDS fantasy points per game

​121 GDS fantasy points per game

​188, 149, 133 x 3

The numbers don't lie! If Marshall spent the entire season without Paddy Ryder and kept up that 121 GDS fantasy average all season long, he would have eclipsed Max Gawn as the #1 ruckman in the league, Gawn finishing with 120 GDS fantasy points. You pair his role with an uninterrupted pre-season, a pre-season game where he dominated and scored 143 GDS fantasy points against the Bombers and a ceiling we haven't even seen yet and you have yourself just about the only must start ruckman in the league!

Projected base score average - 122 GDS points per game

Rowan Marshall's diamond GameDay Squad player card


Tim English - Western Bulldogs

Brodie Grundy - Melbourne Demons

Max Gawn - Melbourne Demons



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