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Draftstars AFL 23 Finals Lions v Blues Tips

History will be made when either the Lions or Blues make the Grand Final in the 2nd prelim final of the weekend. Tbetta is back for the second last time with his Draftstars preview in his latest edition of Stargazing.


$750,000 Star Final (Game 2)
$75,000 Main ($15 entry, 125 max)
$10,000 High Roller ($150 entry, 3 max)
$5,000 Mini ($2 entry, 25 max)
$3,000 Fiver ($5 entry, 30 max)
$2,000 Buck Hunter ($1 entry, 100 max)
$2,000 Micro ($0.50 entry, 100 max)


Brisbane vs Carlton – The Gabba: Fine & partly cloudy.




AFL journos were sweating bullets reading through the Preliminary Final Teamsheets in fear of a serious lack of content… until Carlton came through with twice the number of changes than the other sides combined. And, amazingly for us in the fantasy footy vortex, every single inclusion is pickable at their price-tags.

Harry McKay for Matthew Kennedy as a key forward makes perfect sense, as does the newly-free Jack Martin for Matthew Owies in a pocket. I found Jordan Boyd for Brodie Kemp to be vaguely intriguing as it was an unforced move to downgrade their defence height-wise – but with only two key forwards named for the Lions, it makes sense. That leaves Ollie Hollands as a snug fit for the desperately unlucky David Cuningham in the wing rotation, which also makes any significant structure change unlikely for Carlton.

Business as usual, then!


It was the Josh Dunkley ($15,760 MID) Variety Hour when these sides met back in Round 8, as the former Bulldog channelled some of his past Globetrotting in his return to Marvel Stadium with a monstrous 172 fantasy points. He contributed in almost every category, racking up 33 touches, 11 marks and 13 tackles – all while playing a defensive role on Carlton skipper Patrick Cripps, who managed just 17 touches of his own. Some game.

He’s been a long way from this stat-stuffing Dunkley over the past month or so, registering just the single century from his past 5 starts – and that’s despite notching at least 7 tackles in each of those games. Can he get back over 25 touches again, and therefore back in the realm of those 120-point scores that we’ve come to know and love him for in fantasyland?


Harry McKay’s clean bill of health thrusts Carlton back into the familiar and disappointing territory of dual ruckmanship. While Marc Pittonet ($8,750 RUC) won’t have to tag a Max Gawn type again this week, he also won’t have the solo ruck role that allowed him to track up 48 hitouts and 87 points against the Lions last time around, either. Expect more of a typical 60-40 split with Tom De Koning ($10,170 RUC), and probably another corresponding round of lacklustre scores from the pair.




Charlie Cameron absolutely cooked Nic Newman for 4 Country Roads renditions the last time these sides met, which makes me think that Jordan Boyd ($7,210 DEF) has been promoted especially for this arduous task. Could that mean a more attacking role for Alex Cincotta ($6,720 DEF), or will he have his own hands full with the Cam Rayners and the Zac Baileys instead? I like the salaries, but I wouldn’t be surprised if both finished with sub-40 totals.

I’d instead slide over to the other cheap inclusion in Oliver Hollands ($8,080 MID), who’ll have no such defensive responsibilities. In fact, there’s a good chance that he and fellow young gun Jaspa Fletcher ($8,400 MID) go head-to-head on a wing, which paradoxically makes them both more appealing. You just have to figure out which one upswings.

Or could you take a swing for the fences with yet another inclusion in Harry McKay ($9,550 FWD)? He’s found the going particularly tough lately with a couple of injuries crippling his form line, but it was only a couple of months ago where he punched out back-to-back 118s. The ultimate contrarian play.

However, if you want to fall more in line with the bookies, there’s plenty of Lions to uncage this Saturday. The small forward network will be popular with Deven Robertson, Callum Ah Chee and Lincoln McCarthy throwaway options under $9k, while bigger focal points in Charlie Cameron ($9,260 FWD) and Cam Rayner ($9,290 FWD) aren’t that much pricier. Stacking will be a breeze if you want to go down that path.


With scores of 113 and 118 in his past five starts, Jarrod Berry ($11,650 MID) is probably the best pure upside play on this slate. Wingmen by definition need a few things to go their way to flourish, but Berry can play both modes to take the edge off the variance.

Last week I spoke about Charlie Curnow ($11,890 FWD) and his struggles against an elite defensive team in Melbourne, and Harris Andrews’s Brisbane is no different. Charlie managed just a goal and 63 points against the Lions back in Round 8, and last week’s season-low score of 50 gives us zero reason to believe that he’s figured out how to beat a bad match-up. Pass.

At a risk of “spoiling” the stacking section below, Carlton’s midfield group projects quite well against the Lions and we have a couple of cheaper options to rely on. George Hewett ($13,190 MID) is always a player to target when tackles are on offer, just as Patrick Cripps ($13,790 MID) is always a player to target when the Blues need a hero.


Since becoming a consistent part of Brisbane’s centre bounce rotation in Round 16 (he’s been given at least 40% CBA action in every game since), Hugh McCluggage’s ($14,090 MID) output has increased dramatically from a middling 81 to the 101 we’ve become accustomed to in the ten games since. With Lachie Neale ($15,140 MID) likely to get some quality Hewett time at stoppages and Josh Dunkley ($15,760 MID) horrifically out of form, the Bob’s Burgers lookalike looms as the clear premium to anchor your Brisbane stacks.

If Brisbane weren’t such heavy favourites, you’d be salivating at the prices of our Carlton guns. This is potentially the cheapest we’ve seen Sam Docherty ($14,710 MID/DEF) all season, Adam Cerra ($14,160 MID) punched out a 130 against the Blues last time and Nic Newman’s ($14,860 MID) price-tag is borderline disrespectful given that he has 5 scores of 123+ in his last 7 games.

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Brisbane – Full Stack

The Lions haven’t lost a single game at The Gabba with an average margin of 6 goals this year, which makes this a very simple stacking decision. Unsurprisingly, the Lions also racked up an extra 102 fantasy points than their opponents on average in those games. Anything can happen on any given Sunday Saturday, but these are tough, tough trends to buck.

Carlton – MID Targets

All of the top 7 scorers for the Blues were midfielders when these sides last met, which is a pretty clear trend made even clearer by the slippery Gabba pill and the dearth of polished footy played up in Queensland. Contested footy and the continual territory battle favour those in the middle third that like to get their hands dirty, of which Carlton have plenty to choose from. Bag them up if you think the Baggers get up.


Ready to go? Draftstars Lions v Blues contest will close at 5.15pm AEST. ENTER NOW!

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For free and confidential support call 1800 858 858 or visit gamblinghelponline.org.au.