It’s that time of year again!

But footy is well and truly back and aren’t we excited! Just like every other fantasy coach, I’ve been adjusting my ranks, tinkering with #offbrand salary cap lineups and ruining all my good research for the annual Petracca SZN.

We should approach with caution, but there are things we can take away from these pre-season hitouts. Namely, one of the greatest indicators of a potential breakout — MORE MID TIME — can be monitered by analysing each team’s centre bounce attendances.

The centre bounce attendance, better known within the fantasy community using its abbreviation CBA, is a statistic that measures the amount of times a player is present at a centre bounce at the beginning of a quarter or following a goal.

Here is an example of a centre bounce from the Gold Coast – Geelong matchup from this week’s Marsh Community Series:

For Geelong, we see Rhys Stanley (contesting the ruck), Cooper Stephens, Quinton Narkle, and James Parsons — who snags the goal — at the centre bounce.

For the mighty Suns — Zac Smith, Hugh Greenwood, Lachie Weller, and Matt Rowell were the attendees — ALL recording 1 CBA each.

CBAs provide insight into which players are in those all-important, traditionally fantasy-friendly midfield roles — and which players may be gaining or losing these roles heading into 2020.

Use the diagram below to make sense of our pretty tables packed full of data — and enjoy!

Catch all our preseason content on our weekly podcast and grab yourself a Draft Kit to have your best season ever in 2020!

Please note: numbers are calculated manually and human error is possible.


Marsh Community Series Week 1 CBAs

Saint Kilda / Hawthorn

Dos | @HKdos says:

Saints

  • Jade Gresham spending bulk time in the guts despite limited time on ground. Started there and looks to be a big part of the engine room — think Dayne Zorko 2.0. OK, maybe a bit overboard, Dayne Zorko 1.5?
  • The Marshall/Ryder split was in full effect in this game, but Marshall managed to score well, thanks in part, to two goals up forward.
  • The starting midfield — Marshall, Gresham, Steele, Ross — seems set to have huge attendance numbers this year, and was a solid look by the “eye-test”. Dunstan was also impressive playing as the first midfield rotation.

If you want to practise your draft skills this preseason, head over to The Draft Doctors Mock Draft Simulator!

Hawks

  • Tom Mitchell showed signs that he will return to his ball-magnet best sooner rather than later, exploding out the blocks, and cruising to some solid numbers in low TOG.
  • Chad Wingard appears to be in line for #moremidtime in 2020, recording the second-most CBAs out of the Hawthorn mids, despite playing just over half a game.
  • Ben McEvoy went down extremely early in the first quarter, ruining our chance to see both his defensive chops, and whether the move down back is likely to remain “a thing”.
  • Ceglar as the number one ruck appears real regardless, and Clarko seemingly gave O’Brien a chance to show his worth as the chop-out ruckman, giving him 10 CBAs and a solid chunk of game time.

Western Bulldogs / North Melbourne

Jono | @Davey_C28 says:

  • It looks like Luke Beveridge is set to continue with his “big three” mids in Bontempelli, Macrae and Dunkley — who took the majority of CBAs for the night.
  • It is going to be hard to see how North are going to setup at CBAs, especially without Higgins and Ziebell playing. Simpkin, Anderson, Ahern and Dumont all got #midtime, but will need to see how they lineup for the second marsh game.

Melbourne / Adelaide Crows

Jono | @Davey_C28 says:

  • Melbourne kept their players pretty tight when it came to the CBA rotations. Tom Sparrow got the job with Brayshaw out injured.
  • Even though Petracca knocked it out of the park, it will be interesting to see what his splits through the middle will be when they have a full list available.
  • The Crows had a lot going on with their rotations and will need to wait for Marsh game two to see what their final lineup is, but it looks like some of the young guys are going to get a chance.

Gold Coast Suns / Geelong Cats

Dos | @HKdos says:

Suns

  • Gold Coast were notably tighter with their centre bounce rotations compared to late 2019, with six midfielders recording 12+ CBAs.
  • Lachie Weller appears a huge chance for #moremidtime in 2020. Dew trialled him as that speedy, clean midfielder — much like the Brodie Smith experiment in Adelaide — late in 2019, and that role looks to continue this season.
  • Hugh Greenwood attended the equal most centre bounces on the ground while recording 82% TOG — Greenwood szn is alive and well!
  • Despite scoring 131 AF | 132 SC, Darcy MacPherson did not record a CBA in this contest.

Cats

  • Geelong trialed a heap of different midfielders while settling on noone in particular… apart from Tom Atkins. The second-year mature-age midfielder is a available as a forward and attended the most centre bounces for Geelong.
  • After notching one AFL Fantasy and two SuperCoach tons in only three games in 2019, Quinton Narkle was impressive again in limited game time.
  • Charlie Constable spent the entire first half playing as a defender, then moved back to his natural inside position recording 12 CBAs in the second half.

Brisbane Lions / Port Adelaide Power

Dos | @HKdos says:

Lions

  • McCluggage started as an inside midfieleder and illustrated why here at The Draft Doctors we call him Hugh McClugGOAT. He attended 5/9 CBAs in the first half in more of an inside role and was dominating, reverting back to his traditional wing in the second half — but was too good on the inside for Fagan to ignore. Should his 2019 outside-in game convert to an inside-out game in 2020, it could spell a scoring explosion for “The Suitcase”.
  • Lachie Neale was monumental, picking up 46 disposals, playing huge minutes — 89% TOG — and leading the Lions midfielders with 25 CBAs.
  • Skipper, Dayne Zorko spent a decent amount of time up forward in this one. Perhaps to let the young blokes have a go, or maybe due to a greater forward/mid split in 2020 to accomidate the growing midfield talent and the addition of Cam Eillis-Yolmen.

Power

  • Dan Houston lived up to the hype and then some. Played the fantasy-friendly midfield role we were wanting — leading Port’s CBA count.
  • Connor Rozee got some CBA action and was phenominal. Will still spend a lot of time forward, but his tackling pressure and explosive speed provide a point of difference in the Power midfield. Put up some huge numbers depite low TOG while he was assessed for concussion.
  • With Lycett resting, Peter Ladhams split the ruck with Justin Westhoff. Ladhams’ performance tightens the collar of drafters looking to back in a solo-Lycett setup at Port this season. Meanwhile, Ladhams FWD status looking juicier by the minute.
  • Hinkley spread the rotations heavily — none of the players that registered a CBA clocked over 75% TOG. We’ll have to wait for their second pre-season hitout where we’ll likely see more of their real setup.