With just two weeks until the 2022 Toyota AFL Premiership Season kicks off, AFL Fantasy coaches around the country are eagerly preparing their squads ahead of Round 1.
SUNS Media have taken a look at seven relevant players from the Gold Coast SUNS to consider for your AFL Fantasy team.
Touk Miller (MID) - $1.02m
You can’t have an AFL Fantasy preview without mentioning Touk Miller, the highest averaging player in the competition in 2021. After a career-best season, Miller was promoted to the co-captaincy earlier this week and is set for another big year in the midfield for the SUNS.
He averaged 122 last season, playing every game except one through suspension. Miller is a stats-sheet filler, able to score big through his disposals, marks and particularly tackles as well as occasionally hitting the scoreboard. What makes him such a consistent Fantasy player is his work-rate, often finding space to accumulate marks and also his ability to get from contest to contest quickly. This work rate also makes him exceptionally difficult to tag, with opposition players requiring elite fitness to be able to keep up with him and keep him accountable. With 10 scores over 130 last season including high water marks of 160 and 155, the SUNS skipper has also shown he has a high ceiling. As one of only two million-dollar players in the competition, you know what you’re going to get with Miller and can be confident backing him in as a captaincy option also.
Jarrod Witts (RUC) - $572k
The other SUNS co-captain finds himself as a popular option in the ruck this year due to his discounted price. Witts went down in Round 3 last season with an ACL injury, ruling him out for the remainder of the year.
Witts has been training strongly throughout the pre-season and finds himself in a race against the clock to be fully fit for Round 1. Despite missing the practice match against Port Adelaide, he played in the club’s match simulation last weekend and is expected to again suit up in the AAMI Community Series match this week. Priced at an average of 68 this year, Witts has proven he can be a top-tier ruck in the competition and is capable of pushing an average of 100. If he proves his fitness and is named to play Round 1, he should be strongly considered for your team this season.
Matt Rowell (MID) - $464k
Another popular selection in AFL Fantasy this year, Matt Rowell currently finds himself sitting in 34% of teams. Rowell played just 12 games in 2021 in a season affected by a knee injury, but is primed for a big year in 2022.
Rowell has trained fully through the pre-season and is looking fitter and stronger heading into Round 1. Playing in the practice match against Port Adelaide, Rowell looked to be one of the first choices in the SUNS midfield and was one of the team’s best disposal-winners and Fantasy scorers. Priced at an average of just 55, Fantasy coaches will be hoping Rowell can return to the same form he showed in his debut season where he averaged 88 from his first four games, including two 100+ scores.
Lachie Weller (MID/FWD) - $669k
The 26-year-old Weller is entering the prime of his career and is one who could be considered under-priced this season. After playing predominately as a midfielder who rotated forward over the last two season, Weller has shifted back to the position where he began his AFL career at half-back over the pre-season.
It’s a position that is ripe for Fantasy scoring, with Weller proving that with a score of 78 in the pre-season practice match on reduced game-time. As one of the best field kicks in the club, Weller is trusted as one of the main distributors out of the defensive half with teammates wanting to get the ball in his hands. He has the responsibility to take kick-outs as well, which will only boost his scoring potential. Weller has the potential to be a top-six forward this year based on his role and will be a unique option with just 1.65% ownership so far.
Elijah Hollands (MID/FWD) - $190k
One of the most popular selections in the game is exciting mid/forward Elijah Hollands. Entering his second season in the AFL system, Hollands is yet to appear at senior level since joining the club midway through an ACL knee rehabilitation. The 19-year-old was taken with pick 7 in the 2020 AFL Draft and played four games in the VFL at the back end of last season.
Fresh off signing a new two-year deal, Hollands will be striving to be named in Stuart Dew’s Round 1 team after a full pre-season. He has been training with the midfield group and is someone who could play between midfield and the forward line at AFL level. Possessing strong running ability, Hollands could also find himself lining up on the wing on occasion. He missed out on selection for the practice match against Port Adelaide, instead suiting up in the VFL, but is one to watch early in the season as he pushes for his AFL debut.
Rory Thompson (DEF) - $190k
Perhaps one of the forgotten players on the SUNS list after three seasons on the sidelines, Rory Thompson is a player to monitor in 2022. The key defender has had a wretched run with back-to-back ACL injuries but is training with the main group and played in the club’s match simulation two weeks ago.
If he can get back to his best, Thompson has shown he can be a reliable lockdown defender capable of taking on the opposition’s best forward. While his role might not be Fantasy friendly, an experienced player priced at $190k is hard to find and assuming he stays injury-free – his job security should be high enough. He’s one to keep an eye on and could be an option later in the season if he takes some time to build match fitness.
Joel Jeffrey (FWD) - $196k
After the sudden knee injury to key forward Ben King, second-year Northern Territory product Joel Jeffrey has found himself right in contention for a Round 1 berth. Jeffrey has been trialled as a replacement option for King in match simulation and has impressed with his overhead marking and set-shot goalkicking.
Jeffrey was selected to play in the practice match against Port Adelaide, but only played half a game after also playing in the VFL earlier that morning. Team selection for the AAMI Community Series will be telling, and if Jeffrey is named in that squad it is another step towards earning Round 1 selection for the spring-heeled forward. Priced at just $196k and with one year of AFL experience already to his name, Jeffrey could be a low-cost option for your forward line.
Others to watch: Noah Anderson (MID - $679k), Wil Powell (DEF - $606k)