With only a week to go before the Tigers’ JLT opener, I thought I’d have a look at our draw identify some of my points of interest.
The Tigers kick off the JLT series against Melbourne at Deakin Reserve in Shepparton on March 3 – you can by tickets to the match here. We then take on Hawthorn on March 9 at UTAS Stadium in Launceston – you can buy tickets to the match here.
As with previous years, I’m looking forward to seeing the new Tigers and our Rookies get a run in these games. Obviously, Tom Lynch won’t be running around but there are many others that I’m looking to show why they should line up in our Round 1 team to play Carlton.
Rookies Townsend, Chol, Baker should play both games and while Towner proved his worth in the latter part of the 2017 season, I want to see if he has rediscovered the competiveness and tackling pressure that made him a critical part of our 2017 Premiership team. I’m looking for some improved in Chol and will be interested to see if he is one of those players earmarked for some games as our relief ruck. Baker needs to show some consistency and has to nail those shots at goal.
I’m also expecting that the other rookies, Maverick Weller, Derek Eggmolesse-Smith, and Jake Aarts will also both play both JLT matches with Weller a possibility to line up against the Blues in Round 1.
Players who have been on our list in previous years: Shai Bolton, Oleg Markov, Callum Moore, Connor Menedue, Noah Balta, Callum Coleman-Jones, Ryan Garthwaite, Patrick Naish, Ben Miller, and Ivan Soldo must make the most of their game-time during the JLT series. I’m looking at Bolton, Markov, Moore, Balta, Naish, Garthwaite, and maybe Coleman-Jones as having an opportunity to play themselves into the senior side.
I really want to see how the “newbies” Riley Collier-Dawkins, Jack Ross, Fraser Turner, and Luke English perform. While I don’t really expect any of these first year players to make the senior side in the first half of the year, I’m going to see what they have to offer and hope they show enough to be considered at some point.
Who will lift their game to a new level or cement their spot from those players were regulars in season 2018? I think that Brandon Ellis, Nathan Broad, and Jack Graham are under serious pressure to hold onto their senior places in 2019. When you also consider that we need to fit Lynch into the 22, one of the forwards will need to step aside or find a new role. This to me will either see one of Dan Butler or Jason Castagna missing out or Josh Caddy getting more time as an on-baller.
In my mind, there are 4 places up for grabs in the senior team for Round 1: Ellis, Broad, Graham, and Conca (traded to Freo). Tom Lynch has one of them, who will fill the other 3 spots? Or is there someone else who is on shakey ground? Let’s get the discussion started in the comments.