Category - Captain Choice
Now for the all important captain choice for those going into the Grand Final this weekend…or even those that didn’t make it, but are vainly clinging to the hope that they have one last chance of pulling off the weekly prize.
Some might want to go safe this week, some might not like their match-up and will be looking for a point of difference in captaincy this week. Either way, I’ve tried to cover the best few conventional options and a few sneaky sleepers you could have a look at.
Thanks for reading during 2010 and I hope you enjoyed my columns a little better than Toby and Tuney’s (I know my Mum does)!
2010 avg: 118.7
Last five avg: 119.8
Last five vs. WC: 125
For the first time since I’ve started on these articles I’m going to honour someone other than Swan with top billing. GAJ is an irresistible option this week, despite being somewhat disappointing last week vs. Carlton (only his second sub 100 this year). I know a lot of people (myself and Toby included) turned to him when we heard Aaron Joseph was a late out for Carlton. Luckily Swan didn’t go much better.
Anyway, Ablett LOVES playing West Coast with five straight tons against them, including scores of 147 and 155 in that stretch. Just note, that those epic scores were actually both at Subiaco. It doesn’t really detract from the fact that Ablett likes to have a crack (that word was just to keep the mad rhyme going) against the Eagles. I wish the Eagles wore black in their strip, so I could’ve kept the rhyme going even longer.
2010 avg: 122.6
Last five avg: 118.6
Last five vs. Haw: 111.8
It still wouldn’t be a silly move to stick with Swanny. The one with the waddle has been head and shoulders above every other DT’er this year having scored 202 points more than his nearest rival. His durability and consistently high scoring makes it a no contest.
His last two scores against Hawthorn have been 141 and 119, so he doesn’t do too shabbily on that front. Last week was the first time he’s scored below 110 since Round 9, and I know I’ve said the stat before but he’s only scored below 120 four times since then! If you own Ablett and Swan it’s a genuine 50/50 call this week if you’re looking for safety in your Grand Final (or just in achieving your final ranking if you’re out of the race).
2010 avg: 96.7
Last five avg: 110.6
Last five vs. Adel: 103.6
St.Nick is definitely back to his old ways, and I must admit I didn’t think he’d get there this year. With such a major injury it’s amazing that he’s bounced back so quickly from it.
His last five against Adelaide is hurt by a 60 five games ago (back in 2006 – Bock smashed him that night). Bock has been a worthy adversary of his over the years, but with the Chicken Man kicking off his flip flops and soaking up a little sun on the Gold Coast (before an arduous pre-season, of course) then it looks like Rooey will get free reign against the Crows this week. He’s too fast and agile for Rutten, who is very much a straight line player that likes to play close to goal. I expect young Phil Davis will get first crack this week.
The Crows are in development mode and Neil Craig will enjoy giving him the challenge. I will also enjoy Neil Craig giving Davis that challenge, because I expect Riewoldt to develop Davis similar to the way Rocca developed Zac Dawson a few years ago. Viciously.
2010 avg: 107.9
Last five avg: 118.4
Last five vs. Adel: 117.8
After having a week off Hayes should be fit and firing to face a team that he has a belting record against. Within his last five against Adelaide he has a 146 and 134 and one score below 100. One thing to consider is that a lot of his more enjoyable record against the Crows is at the Docklands. He still goes very well at Football Park, but he tends to dominate them a bit more at home.
He looks like the best midfield option outside of Ablett and Swan to me this week.
2010 avg: 105.6
Last five avg: 90.2
Last five vs. WC: 114.6
I debated with myself whether or not I should include Bartel. His recent form makes it hard to recommend him, but I just can’t go past the fact he’s scored seven straight tons against West Coast, with a low score of 107 and a high of 144 in that streak.
His form at Kardinia Park this year isn’t anywhere near as good as normal though. He’s only got past the ton twice (and only just). He’s scored four sub 100s at the Cattery this year, with his previous four sub 100s down there spread over the previous three seasons. You would approach him with some sort of uncertainty this week, but he just seems to really love playing the Eagles, so it could snap him back into form.
2010 avg: 92.8
Last five avg: 107.6
Last five vs. Ess: 97.2
OK, so the numbers don’t scream out captain choice this week, but I wanted to look a little bit deeper into how Gia performs when the Bulldogs are down a gun. Now there are some anomalies with the numbers, but I have always found that Gia does better when he has to move into a permanent midfield role.
A look at the numbers shows that when Boyd was out for two games earlier this year Gia scored 125 and 154. Even in Boyd’s first game back (when it didn’t look like he was quite 100%) Gia scored a 142. In Round 20 when Cooney missed with the flu against Geelong Gia scored 133 and was one of the few Dogs who could be happy with his personal perfomance.
Even when Higgins (who plays a similar role to Gia) misses he scores pretty well. This year with Higgins out he has scored 79, 108, 110, 140 and 35. The 35 was last weekend against Sydney and Cooney pretty much missed the whole game too, so the worry is if that puts a hole in the theory. What I’m more chalking his poor score on the weekend down to is that Sydney is his second worst DT match up.
I look at last week as the rarity, and that I expect Gia to go well with Cooney and Higgins out this week. The only thing to be wary of is that Johnson is out too, so this might make his forward role more valuable, but if the Bulldogs bring Hill or Stack back, then they might soak up the forward time to release Gia to the midfield. It would be a risky one, but he has a solid record against Essendon, but it just seems his best games are when the Dogs need him to take on more work.
- I apologise profusely for canning Montagna last week and saying that he has been looking lame. He looks good again FWIW…
- Joel Selwood has only scored one ton against West Coast in his career.
- Goddard does pretty well against Adelaide in general, but he seems to really struggle at Football Park. He only has one ton in seven games at the ground, with his next highest score being 82.
- Jonathan Brown struggles a bit against Sydney. I know his form from last weekend would be really tempting. I suppose you could roll the dice if you felt daring, considering Craig Bolton usually gets him.
- Boyd is really up and down against Essendon. For a man who’s so consistent, he doesn’t have a readable form line against them!
- Bryce Gibbs could be another interesting smokey. His last three against Freo have been 142, 140 and 108.
2010 avg: 123.6
Last five avg: 125.6
Last five vs. Crows: 106.0
Swanny is the #1 choice as far as I’m concerned, once again. He chops the Crows, plain and simple. Since 2006 he has only scored one sub 100 (a 90 in 2008). That is eight tons in that period – four in a row before the 90 and four in a row since then. The only negative I can come across that form line is that in those last four tons vs. Adelaide his scores range from 103-115, so not the mega captain score you’d want from him.
His current form is much famed, but just to go over the numbers again, he hasn’t scored below 100 since Round 9 and in his last 11 games he’s only had three scores below 120. This is his first match-up against the Crows in 2010.
2010 avg: 107.6
Last five avg: 119.4
Last five vs. Crows: 97.4
His record vs. Adelaide doesn’t command captaincy material, but since Pendlebury has entered the AFL the Crows have been a pretty good side. Right now though, the Crows are not good and he’s arguably in career best form. He’s a very smart player and I can see him finding a lot of space through the midfield.
I went to the Coll vs. Ess game on Friday night and was keeping a close eye on his movement off the ball. We try to make this as objective as possible with statistical analysis, but my eyes couldn’t help but watch the way he moves to get the ball. He’d be a little bit more left field than the likes of Swan, Ablett or even Riewoldt, but if you want to go slightly unique Pendles would be my pick this week.
2010 avg: 119.9
Last five avg: 117.0
Last five vs. Carl: 105.0
Ablett’s form against Carlton is quite up and down. Earlier this year he was massive, despite the Cats getting pumped, scoring 145, but last year he only managed 71, before that it was 123, 109 and 77. Aaron Joseph generally goes to him, so I’d expect the same again. Despite his relative inconsistency against the Blues, he is starting to find some of that famous ominous form. He looked bloody scary on Saturday night against the Bulldogs and I reckon he’s just warming up for a huge September.
2010 avg: 95.4
Last five avg: 103.2
Last five vs. Rich: 91.4
OK, so none of the above numbers look that great, but obviously we know the story behind the top two columns. His in game injury and the way he’s slowly worked his way back into form have effected his 2010 and last five avg. As for what appears to be a poor record against Richmond can be explained by an in game injury on 55 points in 2008.
Admittedly, his record against Richmond if you take that game out is still quite modest. But Riewoldt in hot form still has to be considered in all situations. He looked great on the weekend (but he always does against the Roos) and he still needs to get some good footy into his legs before the finals. One thing to be wary of is if Lyon monitors his TOG late in a blow out game. He was benched a bit in the fourth on the weekend, but not before he racked up 142. You’d want to be sure he can rack up a cricket score (even a West Indies cricket score will do) before he starts getting managed late in a game. There’s that associated risk, but I’d only view this as something that’ll happen in the last 15 minutes of a game, by which time I’d expect him to have already put up a great score.
2010 avg: 112.4
Last five avg: 110.2
Live five vs. Rich: 97.4
His last five vs. Richmond don’t seem too impressive, but early in 2006 he had a 46 against them. His last four against them is a more respectable 110.3. He’s starting to get some of his pre-flu form back and played a very attractive role down back last week. His last four games have been a low of 109 and a high of 119, but I can see him really cutting sick against Richmond. Who have they got to match up on him?
- Hayes doesn’t have a great record against Richmond and after a blistering first half last week he scored less than 30 points in the second half against the Roos.
- Buddy doesn’t have a particularly good record against Freo.
- Hodge just doesn’t look quite right at the moment (seems to be playing hurt) and he doesn’t have a crash hot record against Freo either. However, he has scored 110, 140 and 126 at Aurora Stadium this season!
- Montagna chopped Richmond for 146 earlier this year, but he looked lame on the weekend and cost dlow his semi final against me. Don’t reckon he’s looked that great since hurting his groin against Hawthorn a few weeks ago.
- Damn, Selwood is looking good. He doesn’t have a super record against Carlton, but you would still have to give him a look in this form.
- Chappy hasn’t played Carlton too many times in recent years – hard to make a call on him. His form all year means he’d never be a bad call, but there’s more that appeal to me this week.
- Boyd has a poor record at the SCG. You’d think the small ground would suit his inside game, but his highest score is 75 in four appearances at the ground. He has only played there once since 2007 though, so maybe this is less of a factor given how much he’s come of age since then. His recent form is as good as almost anyone’s.
2010 avg: 124.0
Avg last five games: 130.6
Last five vs. Ess: 105.4
Never doubt the Great Dane. A ripping 127 last week against the Cats shows, once again, that he is a big game player too. His rich vein of form continues and it’d be impossible to go against him at this stage. His form line is too good to ignore. The only downer you could put on it is that Essendon (he was tagged by Hocking) kept him to his lowest score of the season on ANZAC Day with an 83. It must be said that Essendon is one of the teams that restricts his DT scoring a bit, but I think that’s getting a bit too technical. He’ll chop.
2010 avg: 118.6
Avg last five games: 110.2
Last five vs. WB: 113.2
GAJ is still going along just fine, and if you’ve got him you’d have to be considering him every week (unless you have Swan locked). Picken tagged him a couple of times last year, but it didn’t stop him from scoring big. You’d still be expecting a 110 from him this week and there’s always the scope for him to go on with that. The Bulldogs don’t seem to mind Ablett getting his customary handball receives behind centre. There’s actually not a whole heap that screams Ablett to me this week, however he’d be at least a safe option.
2010 avg: 114.7
Avg last five games: 104.4
Last five vs. WB: 83.4
I’m mainly writing about Chappy to clear up his recent record against the Dogs. In two of the games last year (a 75 and a 47) he got an in game injury and was mothballed early. It makes it look like the Dogs have his number, but he’s actually always quite dangerous against the red, white and blue. His recent form hasn’t exactly been scintillating either, but he’s only scored below 100 twice this year. I’d be considering him roughly a top five pick for captains this week, but I’m starting to wonder if his body is getting a bit tired. Did you know that last week was the first time he’s played a Round 19 game since 2006? He also hasn’t played a Round 20 game since 2007.
2010 avg: 112.1
Avg last five games: 110.8
Last five vs. NM: 96.8
Last year I made Goddard captain against the Kangaroos and he burnt me with an appalling 46. There was no injury either, he just played like a mongrel. One mark and only eight kicks. I’m still haunted by that game. It ruined an excellent captain picking season last year too. That one does seem to be an anomaly though, because since that day he’s scored 112 and 137 against the Roos. His recent form is great and he broke through for a good score against Port who, as I mentioned last week, generally keep him quiet. I also only just noticed his first name is spelled Brendon. I’ve been spelling it Brendan all along. “I’ve been calling her Krandle! Why didn’t somebody tell me?!”
2010 avg: 89.6
Avg last five games: 88.4
Last five vs. NM: 118.8
Is he officially back? Can we go there? Do we dare go there? I was one who actually named Riewoldt captain the night he did his hammy on 20 points. It was actually on the back of his amazing first two games of the season, including a 147 against the Roos in Round 2. Five games back from this injury and he’s starting to look like the Riewoldt we know and love (from a DT perspective anyway). He got his first ton post injury against Port on the weekend and with his killer form against the Roos you’d have to have a sneaky look at him. Because he can’t 100% be declared back in town yet, I’m calling him my smokey for the week.
- Pendlebury’s highest career score is a 150 against Essendon on ANZAC Day 2008, but apart from that he’s never really dominated the Bombers.
- Nothing wrong with Montagna or Goodes this week. They’re both great options, but I’m just a little bit over writing about the same guys every week. Goodes has three straight tons against the Dockers and it’s late in the year, so you’d expect him to dominate. Montagna also has three straight tons against the Roos and four in his last five against them.
- Lenny doesn’t really do it for me this week, but I haven’t given him recognition in one of these articles yet, so just a general shout out to one of my favourites.
- Bartel’s recent form and his scoring history against the Dogs is very yo-yo like. Too hard to trust him with such an inconsistent form line. Still reckon that elbow is bothering him too. Why is he always wearing long sleeves now? Not that I’m complaining. The hoops on the Geelong L/S Guernsey make it look very retro. He should go all out and customise it to lace up and maybe get some mo growing tips from Pendles.
- Boyd generally struggles against Geelong – only one ton against them.
- Hodge has only scored 57 and 60 over the past fortnight. His form line against Melbourne is impossible to read. He scored 142 against them in Round 1 this year, but before that he hadn’t played them since 2007, when he only scored a 65. Safer options you’d say, even if he is every chance of coming out and blitzing.
2010 avg: 123.8
Avg last five: 137.4
Last five vs. Geel: 100.6
Originally I wrote down on this page, “If you have Dane Swan, pick Dane Swan.” But then I thought I better back that up and you can actually make a case against him this week. First of all, he’s playing against Geelong and he hasn’t cracked the ton the last two times he’s played them (Round 9 this year and the Prelim last year). He had three straight tons before that and has scored four tons against them in nine games.
It’s a big game and I think Swanny will lift. He’s in ridiculous form, even though some may have been slightly disappointed with his 114 last week. He’s still the man, if you ask me, but I wouldn’t blame you for casting an eye elsewhere this week.
2010 avg: 119.2
Avg last five: 110.2
Last five vs. Coll: 117.2
All of GAJ’s above numbers look pretty good. Not eye popping captain stuff, but still pretty good. He’s scored five straight tons against the Pies, but really, a ton isn’t the benchmark that it was 2-3 years ago. His last two weeks have shown a real return to form with back to back 120+ games.
I’d be surprised if he failed here and I reckon he’s just starting to warm up after ‘coasting’ through the middle stages of the season.
2010 avg: 115.5
Avg last five: 110.4
Last five vs. Coll: 108.4
I wasn’t going to include Chappy this week, but there’s a case to be made. His last three games against Collingwood have been for 152, 130 and 107 (129.7). He looked very proppy last week though, so ultimately I’m giving him the Leigh Montagna steer clear this week. Of course, some of you may not be as concerned about him breaking down, so I just thought it was worth mentioning how well he’s done against Collingwood lately. They don’t really have a good match up for him.
2010 avg: 117.6
Avg last five: 131.6
Last five vs. Adel: 89.6
What a superstar this man has been lately. He’s second only to Dane Swan on the five week average and has been absolutely lighting DT up. He’s also currently enjoying an eight game streak of 30+ disposal games (including the first 40 of his career last week). He tackles like a maniac too and those things are DT gold.
One thing to contrast though is his average record against Adelaide. He’s never really chopped them up. He’s had three tons and a high of 127, but something has to give here. Will it be his current amazing form, or will it be his poor record against Adelaide? Given that he wins his own ball and Adelaide’s contested game hasn’t looked great lately, I’d back him in to rack up a whopper this week. Personally he’d be my second choice behind Swan.
2010 avg: 113.6
Avg last five: 115
Last five vs. Port: 102.8
First of all, it should be noted that his five week average includes an in-game injury that saw him score 68, so he’s in much better form than that. After what look like a pretty painful injury the week prior, I thought Monty looked OK against Essendon last week…you know, considering his team was rubbish. A 110 was a pretty good return, all things considered.
I’m pretty high on him this week to bounce back with a 120+.
2010 avg: 96.2
Avg last five: 122.4
Last five vs. Hawks: 109
Adam Goodes on the run home can never be ignored. He’s an absolute star in the second half of the year and he’s not let us down again. His lowest score in the past four weeks is 116 and he loves playing the Hawks. Last week I snuck him into this list as a bit of a smoky, but this week I consider him up there jostling for third spot with Ablett.
He scored 87 against the Hawks earlier this year, but that was before he hit his straps. He’s now belting those straps mercilessly, so you’d have to consider him.
- Hodge has never scored a ton against Sydney.
- Even though key forwards have a good record against Sydney, Buddy doesn’t.
- Goddard has a terrible record against Port.
- Pendlebury doesn’t have a great record against Geelong, but his mo looks sick.
- I looked for a smoky this week, but no one’s record really stands out against their opposition – I looked at Green, Stanton, Sylvia, Watson, Lake, Cross. I wasn’t wrapped with Selwood or Hayes either, nothing that could have me recommend them over the featured six options.
It’s impossible to go past the Great Dane in his current form. Since Round 10 his lowest score has been 110 (Round 13), which was also his only score until 125 across that period. In his last two against Carlton he’s scored 131 and 140. Glasses down, easily the best captain choice this week. If you’ve got him I wouldn’t recommend anyone else. Sure, someone might outscore him this week, but his form line is just too ridiculous to risk NOT having him as your captain.
Now for those who don’t have Swan…
GAJ has really been on the wane lately. His 126 last week was a return to form, however he scored five goals, which isn’t all that common an occurrence. Goals are just cherries on the top of his scoring when he’s at the top of his game – rather than the focal point. He’s still a great option and he typically massacres Sydney. His highest score this year (and the third highest out of anyone, behind Lake and LeCras) was a 167 against the Swans in Round 7. Bare in mind, that was after he’d had a week off and it was down at his beloved Skilled Stadium.
Montagna’s form was great until last week. There’s no reason to suggest it wouldn’t have continued to be great either…all until he slipped on a dodgy piece of grass at Etihad Stadium and tweaked his groin. Even if he’s named this week you’d have to be wary of naming him captain, purely because you suspect he’d be playing hurt. It’s a pity, because Essendon leak points to pretty much any position and he chopped them for 137 earlier this year (despite St.Kilda losing that game). Form and opposition says yes, injury cloud says no. He might even miss, though he hasn’t appeared on St.Kilda’s injury list, but never take that thing seriously. St.Kilda treat submitting an injury list with unparalleled contempt.
The most underrated DT’er in the league is a legit captain option. Boyd gets a lot of his own ball, so it’s entirely in his hands as to how well he scores, and being such a determined player he usually comes out with great numbers (aided by plenty of tackles). He scored a modest 108 against North earlier this year, however that was in the month of footy where he was a bit down on form coming back from his broken hand. Since Round 11 his lowest score is 114 and he’s cracked 120+ four times in that period.
Despite GAJ getting a massive 167 against Sydney earlier in the year, I’d say Chappy was best on that day. He snagged a handy 140 himself and was everywhere, kicking goals, laying tackles and taking marks. Historically though, Sydney have kept him fairly contained over the years. They’re not the same Sydney they used to be, but it’s something to be aware of (last year I’m pretty certain his 73 against them was injury affected, but I can’t exactly remember at what stage of the game that was).
Hodgey completely dominated Port last time he played them and did everything but convert in front of goal. He kicked 1.5 but still scored 131 in a fantastic display. He’s been playing good lately, not great, but pretty good. He’s been a little up and down over the past 5-6 weeks actually with 140, 61, 119, 87, 126 and 101. Port kept Hodge pretty quiet both times they met last year.
Goddard hasn’t quite got to any great heights since being a late withdrawal against Brisbane with illness. He’s scored 96 and 109 in the past two weeks. Before missing he’d scored 120+ in six straight games – the only player to do that this season (I don’t count Ablett’s run of six in a row, because he missed a game during that streak). He also only scored 101 against Essendon earlier this year. He only scored 66 against the Bombers the time before that as well, so current form and recent history doesn’t sound too compelling.
There’s so many more I could mention (Selwood particularly stiff to miss out) but I thought it’d be worth keeping a sneaky eye on Goodes. Earlier this year I wrote about how he usually storms home in the second half of the year. Well, it took him a little while to get going (largely because he was playing as a full time forward) but he has blitzed in his last three games with 158, 116 and 124. He was very ordinary against Geelong earlier this year, with a 63, but last year he scored 121 and 114 against them. It’d be a risky option, but in his current form you could throw him into the mix.