The good news is that the opening game of the season sees two of the competition’s best midfields battling it out.

Fans of players dripping with fantasy points will be ecstatic to see Collingwood’s supremely classy midfield in 2014. With a red-hot core of Dane Swan, Scott Pendlebury and Dayne Beams (all guaranteed first-round picks in most Ultimate Footy leagues) as well as Steele Sidebottom and Luke Ball, all we can do is stare in astonishment at the fantasy point potential of this midfield group. It has been rare to see all five fantasy producers take to the field together, and if they can run out the year as a group and share the ball around – like we all know they love to do – these Pies will be running so hot they’re sure to be burnt to a crisp by year’s end.

On the other side of the first game in 2014 is the pressure cooker that is Ross Lyon’s stoic Fremantle side. Much of Freo’s frantic defensive attitude can be attributed to their impressive midfield crew. Fremantle’s centres are akin to their city’s hard working-class dock workers, shovelling coal into the fire of the engine room. The trio of Michael Barlow, Nathan Fyfe and David Mundy were all star fantasy performers in 2013, and their current age and experience suggests they can improve as a group in the future. Star forward and captain Matthew Pavlich will be looking to regain some fantasy relevance this year after an injury-interrupted 2013 season and will be hoping to lead Fremantle to another shot at the Flag in the twilight of his career.

Last time these teams met in round 7 of 2013, Fremantle came away with a 27 point victory at Paterson Stadium. The most impressive fantasy performers for the Magpies were Sidebottom and Swan, while the Dockers’ Garrick Ibbotson accumulated 136 fantasy points, performing at the height of his incredible 2013 run. Ibbotson won’t play, but it’s likely that the battle for the first win of 2014 will be fought and won in this explosive midfield.

Other games being played in the first week of round 1 include a derby in New South Wales with a Buddy Franklin-enhanced Sydney taking on an inexperienced GWS, filled to the brim with premature talent. Richmond will be heading up to Metricon Stadium to take on Gold Coast, and both teams have good reason to improve in 2014. The last game of the week sees Port Adelaide take on Carlton, in which we expect to see another intense battle resembling the Blues stunning one-point win over the Power in the last round of 2013’s home and away season.

Article supplied by Footy Prophet – football analysis and opinion with a fantasy focus. 

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