Category - Positional Advice
I thought I may as well go through all the players around this price-range that I see as Dream Team relevant, not just for now, but down the track so you guys can have a head start and know who to look out for in the state leagues!
Thomas Schneider started off the pre-season on fire but has unfortunately gone off the radar as he is still rookie-listed. He is an absolute ball magnet though and he should dominate the VFL. He could be a handy downgrade option at some stage in the year as I’m certain he’ll break through and notch up a few games.
Ian Callinan obviously broke a lot of Dream Teamers hearts when he went down with a shoulder/pectoral injury in a NAB Challenge game. The Crows remain hopeful he could be back by about round five or six, so again, it’s possibly a blessing a disguise as we should be gifted with a dual-positioned downgrade option!
Kirk Ugle had a very nice pre-season for the Pies, snagging a few goals and displaying his Dream Team scoring ability. Unfortunately he’s a fair way down the pecking order still so don’t expect too much this season.
Ariel Steinberg will be a guy to watch for Bendigo. From what I hear, the Bombers were really impressed by his pre-season even though he didn’t play that much. This was all before Crameri came along though…..
Isaac Smith I was never keen on, and nothing has changed. He’s probably in and around the top 28 players or so at Hawthorn but it would take some serious Box Hill form to break in. He’s not one to rack up the stats in the VFL either, so he’ll need a seriously good eye-catching performance to make a stand. Even then, I don’t rate his Dream Team potential and I think you can scrounge through and find better options even though he has the dual-position link.
Zephanier Skinner is a big show for games this year, and could be last years Carl Peterson. He’s still right in my thoughts for my 9th forward and if he gets named I’ll need to mount a pretty good case for myself to leave him out.
Jayden Pitt is a beauty of a player and has apparently stormed up the rankings at the Dockers. With all their injuries he’s a big chance for a round one debut but I really can’t guarantee his job security. I wouldn’t be expecting too much from a fantasy perspective either.
Viv Michie is another player from the Dockers who is right in the mix for round one and he’ll definitely be a solid Dream Teamer from the get-go. He’s already got an 80-odd in a Challenge match under his belt.
Majak Daw apparently will debut this week, but you can’t really see him getting a good stretch of games and score well enough to be a decent cash cow.
Jack Darling is fighting out for the last spot in my side with Zephanier. If neither is picked well then I’m back to square one (although I guess I’ll just pick Dixon). I’m being cynical though, and I’m 99% sure he’ll get the nod this week and if he stays on his best behaviour he’ll play quite a lot this year as well.
Daniel Archer is being talked about around the Saints camp but you’d think one or two of their big men would have to go down, and with Kosi and Stanley and the comeback trail, you’d say opportunity looks pretty grim for Arch.
Luke Tapscott could get some games now after it was announced Scully will be out for at least a month. I’m just not sure about him though; for some reason when I think of him I think he’s an injury waiting to happen.
Byron Sumner is also right in the mix. Unfortunately this isn’t good enough for us as coaches, because he is very borderline, could be a potential substitute, and ultimately it’ll mean his scores will fluctuate and he’ll get an inconsistency of games.
Cameron Richardson of course is the obvious choice for the forward line this year and should be a LOCK in just about every side.
Liam Patrick should play for the Suns. I personally won’t go there as the Suns will rotate their young guys through, but if you’re REALLY struggling, he’s not the worst option.
Marlon Motlop always has a good pre-season but can never deliver when the actual matches get under way. Stay away.
Shaun McKernan should play in round one, but I struggle to see where he’d fit in when Tippett comes straight back in. He’s also a potential sub candidate.
Brandon Matera, along with Cam Richardson, is another LOCK for the forward line. Not much more needs to be said other than the fact he’ll be a superstar.
Charlie Dixon is a very safe bet from the Gold Coast. I’m a very big fan of his and he’ll play every game and average a consistent 50-65 for you.
Dion Prestia is a massive uncertainty as to whether he’ll get pick for the Suns first game. I’d say he would, but is he worth the risk?
Andrew Krakouer, again, an absolute must-have for your Dream Team. Tore it up in the NAB Cup Grand Final and he’ll do very well for the Pies this season.
$150K – $300K
Brennan Stack is an interesting one, and from what I’m hearing is a very good chance to line up round one on the half-back flank. I really don’t rate his football ability all that much but I must say he’s looked the goods in the backline the past few games and scoring decent enough too for his price.
Gary Rohan I spoke about in my Sydney article not long ago. Normally, I tend to stay away from second year players in my Dream Team, but I’m slightly tempted by Rohan this season. He’s not expensive at all and his forward/midfield dual positioning could prove extremely handy during the course of the year. Rohan’s had a pretty good pre-season campaign, and he’s all but cemented his spot in the Swans side, surprisingly in the backline. With Malceski, Mattner and Kennelly all struggling for fitness, Rohan is one of the guys Longmire is looking at to step up. I see his job security being a slight issue when all of those guys are available again, but until then he should be pretty safe. To make the selection worthwhile, you’d probably expect an average in excess of 65, otherwise you’re probably better off looking at some other options in the price range, but playing in defence should see him score slightly better than he normally would in my opinion.
Chris Knights had a minor calf strain back in January, but since then he’s been flying. I told myself all pre-season to not pick him, but after seeing him live against the Tigers a couple of weeks ago, I can’t resist. Fingers are crossed!
Remember I said I wasn’t sure if Robin Nahas would get consistent games? Well he’s off to a good start getting named in round one. If you were a big fan of his pre-season, jump right on, from what I hear he’s a big part of Dimma’s plans.
Robbie Gray could be a huge bargain this season. If I could somehow fit him into my structure, I would, but my team’s set now so I don’t want to change anything. He’s finished off the pre-season VERY nicely, with a big 100 in Port’s last Challenge game. He’s playing full time midfield and if he stays fit should average 85+ relatively easily.
I’ve gone really cold on David Zaharakis, as he won’t be getting the midfield time I was anticipating unfortunately.
I’ve been waiting for Colin Sylvia to absolutely rip the competition apart and set himself amongst the elite on the park, but most importantly his Dream Team input. His major problems have been his commitment and his ability to stay on the park fully fit for an entire season. It’s yet to happen in his seven year career. What makes me think it will be a different case this year? Nothing really; I’m basing my trust on his pre-season form and then after that all I can do is hope. He has the perfect Dream Team game and would have no problems averaging 110+ over the season. You’ll be paying a hefty price for him, so there is a lot of risk involved in this selection, but Dream Team is not a game for the faint hearted.
Adam Goodes has completed a stellar pre-season but it looks like he’ll play the majority of game time up forward. Still, this shouldn’t affect his point scoring all that much as he floats up the ground anyway.
Lance Franklin, on the contrary to Goodes, looks to be used a little more as a midfielder this year. I’m not sure if this will mean higher Dream Team points, but I’ll pick him and find out!
Paul Chapman is highly doubtful for Friday night’s game but I really want him to play so he could be the ultimate bargain of the season as he sky dives down in price!
That’s about it from me for the forwards. If you have any questions, please, drop them below and I’ll do my best to get back to you during the afternoon. Good luck with lockout #1 and go the mighty Tigers! ;)
Also check out Toby’s wrap on the midfielders
Easton Wood ($198,800 DT, $255,700 SC) – a lot of talk about Easton Wood this pre-season. With the absence of Jarrod Harbrow, the talk coming out of Footscray is that Wood is earmarked to take that spot in the team. He has plenty of pace and loves to break the lines, but he’s typically not been a good scorer in the past. Last year in nine games he averaged 47.8 in DT and 52.5 in SC and not really showing a very high ceiling in DT with only two scores over 60 (a 67 and 73). He showed a little more upside in SC with a 70 and a 101 in those same two games. His DT scores this pre-season haven’t indicated much hope for a big increase in his scoring with 24, 14 (both half games), 30 and 27. Could be worth more of an option in SC and even though I’ve got a feeling he’ll come good in DT with added responsibility, there isn’t anything statistical to back that up.
Jeremy Laidler, Carlton ($177,300 DT, $279,399 SC) – Laidler never got much of a look in at Geelong in such a dominant era, but a new team (with a notoriously weak back line) should provide more opportunity for the former Calder Cannon. He only played two games in three years for the Cats, one each in 2009 and 2010. His game in 2010 was a flogging of the Bulldogs in which he scored 61 in DT and 82 in SC. His pre-season form has been good too, scoring (all DT) 30 in a quarter against Richmond (was a sub) and 55, 64 and 49 in the three NAB Challenge matches. He’s probably a bit too pricey to be considered a budget player in SC, but in DT his price tag is tempting. He’s a very good reader of the play and will be a good third man up, or maybe someone to chop off the front of a contest. Even though he’s a very good chance for Round 1, be aware that Michael Jamison will have to bump someone out of Carlton’s defence when his two week suspension is up.
Andy Otten, Adelaide ($142,400 DT, $185,100 SC) – Everyone loved Andy in 2009! Most of us rode his DT average of 68.5 and 76 in SC and after an unfortunate pre-season knee injury before a ball had been bounced in 2010 he missed the whole season. I must admit, back then I had pretty much locked him into my 2011 team (which is unashamedly tragic). He scored 34 and 16 in the half games (DT scores) in the NAB Cup and in the NAB Challenge was consistent with 57, 54 and 57. Kristian and I were watching him closely in that final match and he knows where to run to get the ball. He’s pretty unassuming out on the ground, but he can rack them up without much fanfare (well, as little fanfare as you can get with about 200,000 fantasy players keen on you). Neil Craig flagged this week that he (or Scott Stevens) would be an ideal sub because of his flexibility. The cynic in me says he just said that to screw with us all! It does make a bit of sense unfortunately, but it’s not scaring me off. Even if he is a sub he’s a cheap sixth or seventh back capable of scoring quickly. Maybe I’m just considering not starting him…
Michael Hibberd, Essendon ($92,500 DT, $103,600 SC) – The former Frankston VFL player has made quite an impression this pre-season and despite my earlier thoughts, he’s probably gone ahead of Heppell, though both would be a Round 1 chance you’d imagine. Hibberd shows fantastic courage and is neat enough in mopping up across the back half. His dual position eligibility is also helpful and with Essendon not having a bye until Round 10 if he shows good enough form early on, then he’s got plenty of time to make some cash for your side.
For a few other defensive bargains check out my articles that discuss the following players in a bit more detail (I hope the info isn’t outdated!)
Andrejs Everitt, Sydney ($281,700 DT, $315,100 SC) – Everitt will be looking for a fresh start at Sydney after four frustrating years at the Bulldogs, where he never played more than 12 games in a season. The Swans are a factory for turning players careers around – Josh Kennedy, Ben McGlynn, Rhyce Shaw, Martin Mattner, Craig Bolton, so can we expect a similar thing from Everitt? Well, I suppose first of all you must consider that Paul Roos was around for all of those guys, but I don’t think it’s fair on the Swans to put it right down to just Roos. John Longmire has been flagging that Everitt is in line to play the rebounding half back role after Malceski went down again. This is a very attractive role for fantasy and I reckon Everitt could be a bit of a smoky this year. A 70, 75 and 102 in his three NAB Challenge games are a good sign.
Jed Adcock, Brisbane ($262,500 DT, $333,000 SC) – Adcock has had a couple of frustrating and injury plagued years. I suppose there’s not a great deal of reason to be confident much will change this year. For as long as he stays injury free he’s a good chance to keep rising in price, however it’s been a few years since he’s posted fantasy relevant numbers. Back in 2007, when he was super popular, he averaged 88.5 in DT and 110.7 in SC, but there’s not been much in that ball park before or since then. Priced under 70 in both competitions he presents value, but you probably don’t need me to explain the associated risks (even though I kinda already did…)
Michael Hurley, Essendon ($264,900 DT, $337,800 SC) – It’s a pretty fashionable thing to call Hurley the next big thing, but I’m going to do it because I have been since before he was in the system anyway. Young key forwards are not typically fantasy gold, but he has the potential to have a real break out year this year. He looks set to settle forward this year – the consistency will do him good. Strong mark and I challenge you to find me another player that can kick further on his opposite boot (don’t bother, there isn’t one). He has DEF/FWD eligibility…not that that’s much good because there aren’t many good links. Averages of less than 70 in both games last year and natural progression should see him jump up a bit more this year. Maybe not quite a keeper, but he’s value at that price tag and Essendon have a favourable bye (Round 10) for him to make money. His 112 (SC) in the NAB Cup Grand Final certainly raised my eyebrows.
Heath Shaw, Collingwood ($334,200 DT, $439,000 SC) – I know this guy at one stage or another has been the bane of your existence. I’m sure at one stage or another we’ve all been sucked in by him after falling in love with his season in 2006 coming back from a knee reco. That 89.4 DT was his most productive DT season and ever since then he’s only averaged between 80 and 85. It’s just not quite what we’re looking for. His 100.6 (SC) in 2006 was actually bettered in 2007 with 106.3, but since then dropped to around 90-95. So why talk about him again? Maybe I’m just getting sucked in again, but with the prospect of Leon Davis playing off half back it means opposition will need to choose who to stop running it out of defence. His susceptibility to a tag has been a problem in the past, so this can go one of two ways – Davis will cop the tag and Shaw will chop, or Malthouse won’t give a crap that Shaw is getting tagged because Davis still provides the run they need. His best on ground performance in the NAB Cup Grand Final could make him a bit more popular, if history is anything to go by. Hmmm…
Jack Grimes, Melbourne ($340,200 DT, $428,200 SC) – To Grimes or not to Grimes? A bit like Shaw, when you watch him play a good game it’s really easy to get sucked in. Grimes can show a bit of inconsistency too, but also comes with injury risk. In the last two seasons he’s played 11 and 14 games. In Dream Team he’s had eight sub 70 games in those 25…one in three isn’t a great number, but his upside is obviously attractive with 10 of those 25 games being 90+. The numbers are pretty comparative for SC, though the downside isn’t as bad. He’s the classic risk vs. reward pick and even though I like him, I constantly find myself slotting in other guys around his price range.
Greg Broughton, Fremantle ($371,000 DT, $479,800 SC) – Probably a step up from Grimes is Broughton. He’s a little bit more expensive, has played a bit more footy over the past two years and doesn’t have as much downside with his lower end scoring. There’s the potential for Broughton to get key defensive jobs, but he’s still able to find the ball while playing a stopping role. For DT he’s a bit of a borderline selection for me, but I’m a bit more sold on his SC prospects. His disposal is neat enough and he usually has very high mark numbers.
Brett Deledio, Richmond ($371,300 DT, $495,900 SC) – Is it just me or are lots of people just putting Deledio in their back line because he became back eligible this year? I must admit I didn’t even give any consideration to NOT having Deledio until a couple of weeks ago. His pre-season hasn’t been flash. He played the last two NAB Challenge games and scored 49 and 53 in DT. Playing across half back he looked to be just blowing out the cobwebs against Adelaide for that 53. He was mostly sighted by his bright boots rather than anything too impressive with his play. His SC averages have held solid over the last three years and in that time he hasn’t missed a game. His super durability is a major plus. His DT average was a bit down last year and I’m not convinced he has a cheap enough game to find it, considering he’s always going to cop a bit of attention from the opposition. People want him to move midfield, but a lot of what I’m reading indicates he’s staying back for the most part. If you’re looking for a midfield move to boost his scoring, personally I’d rethink that notion. I’ll probably still have him though…I’m perhaps over analysing him, but I reckon he’s an interesting one to debate about.
Bryce Gibbs, Carlton ($400,400 DT, $508,300 SC) – A bit like Deledio in that his back eligibility made him so tasty. I must admit, I haven’t second guessed Gibbs as much as Deledio, largely because the move of Yarran to the back line will release him to play a lot more midfield time. He barely played in the first week of the NAB Cup and was basically unsighted against Collingwood (those half games) but in his three NAB Challenge matches scored 93, 79 and 85. He went a bit backwards in DT last year, but at times was playing a deep defensive role not at all conducive to finding the cheap ball. With the acquisition of Duigan and Laidler and the move of Yarran back, I can’t see this being a problem in 2011. No reason to suggest his SC scoring won’t at least hold the 104 and 107 averages it has over the past two years.
Position Advice – Midfield and Rucks:
This week we are going to be doing things a bit differently – due to no games being played on the weekend (and therefore no need for a weekly wrap), Kristian, Dan and myself will instead look through the four field positions and some the better buys from each price point in each one. Today I will be looking at the midfielders.
$0 – $200k:
- Reece Conca: Conca’s role at Richmond in his first season will likely be off half-back, releasing Deledio and Connors into the midfield. He has a pretty good history of knowing how to win the ball, averaging 80 Dream Team points in the National Champs and 130 points in his two WAFL Colts games last season. I see Conca more as a Super Coach player though. He tested as one of the best kicks at Draft Camp and backed that up with a stellar National Championship campaign averaging 103 Super Coach points and the best disposal efficiency out of any other midfielder at the carnival. You’ll be paying a little bit more for him as he was a top draft pick, but it should be worth it, as I see him playing as many games as he’s fit for and he should score pretty well for you as he’ll be eased into the big time with a nice little role off half-back.
- David Swallow: I’d say there would be very few AFL followers who aren’t aware of Swallow – in fact he was probably one of the best-known youngsters a year before their actual draft, and there is little doubting why he has been so highly rated. His NAB form was solid without being spectacular – he had some very good cameos in games, but never really dominated. That said, he was one of Gold Coast’s best players in the VFL last year and has a body ready for a round two debut. I think we will see similar figures from him as we did from Dustin Martin last year – solid and consistent, without ever really dominating. My guess is he will play most games though and should be able to make you a fair wad of cash.
- Rohan Bewick: Bewick is another of the Gold Coast pre-listed players and he comes to the Lions with a couple of years of senior experience in the WAFL, where he averaged 20 disposals a game last year. There are ample spots available to him in the Lions’ midfield this season and there is no questioning whether he is good enough to fill one of them. This NAB series he averaged 77 DT points, including 118 against the Suns last week – a game where he managed to win plenty of ball and get on the goal-kickers list too. Could be a really solid midfield option from round one.
- Daniel Harris: There won’t be many teams without Harris this season, despite his average pre-season where he averaged only 38 DT points over two games. Despite this, there is little doubt he won’t be a dream team star this year – he is a midfield general in a young team and can tackle like nobody’s business. There will also be few of the younger players that McKenna will want burying under packs like Harris does, so he will be needed in the squad for their inaugural season.
$200k – $350k:
- Brad Sewell: Sewell had a year to forget last year, when he spent the first half of the season in horrible form. It took him being (nearly) dropped to the VFL to wake-up and finished the year in great fashion. Now thanks to his poor start, he comes horribly underpriced for what he can provide and could prove to be a great value keeper. At his best he can easily average 100 points, and this pre-season he has already shown some good form, racking up 50 and 94 DT points in two games where he spent significant time on the bench.
- Josh Kennedy: Kennedy was one of the stars of the NAB cup before fading in the last couple of games. He is a tough, big bodied midfielder capable of winning plenty of ball, as well as kicking a few goals. He should get more chances in the midfield for the Swans this year and should subsequently see a reasonably rise in price. Not sure if he will develop enough to be a premium by the end of the year, but he should certainly make some fair cash.
- Rory Sloane: Sloane has been one of my favourites this pre-season and the only reason I didn’t write about him in last week’s article was simply because I forgot (yeah… not a great excuse). After spending most of last year on a HFF, the tackling machine looks like having a bit more of a midfield role for the Crows this season. He wins stacks of the hard stuff and knows how to use it, so is probably a better SC option. Although at his price in DT, you couldn’t go too wrong there either!
Also look at (reviews taken from my article last week):
- Nathan Foley: Foley, at this very moment, looks a total bargain. His only issue is his body, which from all reports is looking great. His pre-season has been everything that would have been wanted of him as he returns from nearly two years of injury issues. He appears not to have lost any of his speed and there is little doubt that he will be played in the midfield from round one. He has never been a prolific dream teamer (but is very good in SC though!), so don’t expect a huge average from him. But that said, if he can come back and play some decent and consistent football, you could hope for an average of around 85 from him – not bad at all for his asking price!
- Callan Ward: Ward is another player showing strong promise after an injury-ravaged 12 months. Unfortunately, at his age he has never had a huge chance to show his capabilities, although he had always looked impressive when given his chance. Without doubt, he will be in the side from round one and will likely play a role through the midfield. He has been a player threatening a breakout season for years, so hopefully 2011 can finally be his year. Although, it’s worth noting that SC is more his game than DT.
- Liam Shiels: Shiels has clearly been impressive this pre-season, racking up DT scores of 97, 98 and 95 in his three outings so far. He is playing through the midfield (mainly on the wing), and has managed to find a way to goals too – he kicked three this week against the Demons. We saw last year how talented he was, but he still had the frame of a 14-year-old girl. Fortunately, he has put on some weight and his endurance is very good too. He is another player being talked up for big things by Clarko – so if the coach says you should get on, maybe you should listen!
- Rhys Palmer: You could almost count Palmer’s first year in the AFL as his breakout year, when he won the NAB Rising Star award. Unfortunately, after starting his second year slowly, he ruptured his ACL before having to sit out the next 12 months. Last year was again a write-off as he suffered form issues when returning from his reconstruction. Fortunately, this pre-season he finally looks like continuing on from where he left off in 2008. He has been in the best players each week after being one of the best on the track through January. The word out of Freo since Christmas has been how good Palmer was looking, so it’s great to see him replicate this on the field. He will have a big responsibility this year in Freo’s young midfield (but won’t get tagged thanks to Mundy and Hill), so should be given every opportunity to bring home some big DT & SC numbers!
- Steven Salopek: I love Sal. He has always been one of my favourite players outside of the Saints – I have never really been sure why, but I think he is just great (he comes in behind Chapman and Duffield though…). His recent issue (I am talking the past couple of years) have been injuries, coupled with position – under Choco he got very little time in the midfield, and I will put this down to his lack of conditioning due to injures. His recent DT history is therefore marred by inconsistency, but I don’t think that is really what Sal is about – he is legitimately a very good player, and now coming off a good pre-season, he should be able to launch into round one and prove a bargain for his petty sub-300k price tag!
- Dane Swan: There have been few better than Swan over the past couple of years as he has asserted himself as the number one man in dream team land. At his price he is not quite a must-have, but it is certainly advisable having the great man in your squad! His pre-season was pretty quiet by his standards, averaging 99 points… And he didn’t even look like breaking a sweat! If he doesn’t finish 2011 as the top dream teamer again, he is gonna come pretty close!
- Matthew Boyd: Boyd has perennially been underrated in dream team from year to year, despite his ability to accumulate huge numbers of the ball and use it well. He displayed this again through the pre-season with several good games and should be set for another consistently good year. As the new Bulldogs’ skipper, I reckon we may even see him go up another gear in 2011!
- Leigh Montagna: ‘Joey’ was the number one disposal getter in the number two side last year and there is a pretty good chance that the Saints will be round abouts again in 2011, making Joey a very good prospect. His major strength is his ability to find space through hard work and this often results in a large number of possessions for the little man – he also has a tendancy to kick much more than he handballs, which is very nice! With the likes of Hayes and DalSanto in the squad, Joey rarely gets the main attention from taggers.
- Scott Pendlebury: If there was anyone looking ominous enough this pre-season to possibly take the DT mantle from Dane Swan, it would be Pendlebury. He has been prolific this pre-season and certainly looks in some damn fine form. The issue for many will be whether they can really squeeze two Collingwood superstars into their midfield, but with many taking Swan as their first choice, perhaps a few wise souls may be rewarded with the selection of Pendles instead. Should be a lock for SC though!
- Tom Rockliff: Many will probably be surprised to see Rocky’s name up here next to the likes of Swan, Boyd and Montagna, but there seem to be plenty of seasoned dream teamers proclaiming Rocky as ‘the next Dane Swan.’ Big call, or justified? Well, looking at his pre-season numbers alone it will be hard to ignore him – his 132 points against the Suns on the weekend was massive, taking his pre-season average to 107. Many will be turned off by his price, but if you can see through that, you could be very nicely rewarded!
- Joel Selwood: Had a great game this week against the Blues, racking up a game-high 133 points. The question is, will he fill Gazza’s shoes, or will the extra attention hurt him?
Price: $350,000 +
Brendon Goddard ($455,700): Goddard is clearly the number one defender in 2010 and I’d be very surprised if he is not in well over 100,000 teams by Round 1. Goddard averaged 104 points per game in 2009 and he also averaged 85 points per game over three pre season matches. He is simply a must have for your DT in 2010, much like Dean Cox in previous seasons.
Luke Hodge ($366,800): The 2008 Norm Smith Medalist struggled with injury throughout the 2009 pre season and regular season. Hodge is a genuine superstar of our great game and I rate him in the top five players in the AFL when fully fit, but injuries can stop a train. After averaging only 83 points per game in 2009, I fully expect Hodge to average 100 points per game in 2010. Hodge is now fully fit, as shown by the fact he played all four pre season matches with a very solid average of 84 points per game (please note NAB cup / NAB challenge scores are usually lower than home and away matches due to more players on the interchange bench reducing the time on ground for all players).
Lindsay Gilbee ($360,900): I’ve watched Gilbee play a lot of footy over his career, but the Lindsay Gilbee of 2009 / 2010 is nothing like the player I remember from his All Australian year of 2006. In 2005 and 2006, Gilbee was one of the first players chosen in my DT. The man from Coldstream was not only a vital member of my DT; he was a player I loved to watch with his precise kicking and ability to kick goals on the run from outside 50 metres. Watching Gilbee during this year’s NAB cup, he looked either injured (if so, why was he playing), or horribly out of touch. An average of just 69 points per game over four NAB cup matches wouldn’t fill many coaches with too much confidence either. At his best, Gilbee is one of the Bulldogs most important players, but I haven’t seen his best on a consistent basis in any of the last three seasons.
Jed Adcock ($371,400): The appeal with Adcock is that you can pick up a player who spends plenty of time in the midfield, as a defender. The downside is, at this price you are looking at your 3rd defender to average 90 – 95 points per game, and I see many better options than Adcock at this price point. Adcock is what I would call a “good ordinary player”. Sure he’s serviceable and will provide good run off half back or through the midfield, but don’t expect 25 possessions, 8 marks and 4 tackles per game on a regular basis (which is what I want from my 3rd defender).
Heath Grundy ($287,400): After choosing the two most obvious players in Goddard and Hodge as my premium backs, I’ve decided to choose someone more unique at this price point. Grundy had his best season in 2009 and finished the season 9th in the Swans best and fairest. With a modest average of 65 points per game in 2009, Grundy has stepped up a notch over the pre season and boosted his average to 70 points per game (as mentioned, pre season scores are usually lower). I’ve chosen Grundy here for two reasons: 1 – He’s unique; 2 – I rate him as a quality AFL player. Grundy has now played 46 AFL games; he’s 192cms, 99kgs and 23 years of age. I’m backing Grundy to improve on his impressive season last year and average 80 points per game in 2010.
Adam McPhee ($340,800): I know Toby told us to avoid McPhee on Monday, but given the fact he can be selected as a forward or defender, I would be derelict in my duties if I didn’t tell you to avoid him like the plague. If I was an Essendon supporter, I would be seething with the way McPhee walked out on the club last year. After seven years at Essendon, of which six were very ordinary, the 27 year old McPhee demands a three year deal. In today’s cut throat world of AFL footy, three year deals are reserved for quality players 24 years of age or under, or genuine superstars of the game such as Nick Riewoldt and Jonathon Brown. I’m not sure which category McPhee thought he belonged to, but the value of his 2004 All Australian jumper had been diluted greatly by the five ordinary seasons that followed. Andrew Welsh took his medicine, did the right thing by the club and signed a two year deal. McPhee walked out (after the trade period leaving Essendon with no compensation), signed a three year deal with Fremantle and looks like he’ll be spending the majority of those three years playing in the WAFL after a horrible pre season series.
Lachie Hansen ($265,600): Given that Hansen was selected at pick three in the 2006 National Draft, I’ve watched him closely over the last three seasons. While I believe Hansen will end up being a solid ten year player at North Melbourne, I don’t think he’ll ever come into DT calculations. The boy from Nar Nar Goon just doesn’t get his hands on the footy enough to score you those valuable points. With an average of just 44 points per game over four pre season games, I’d steer clear of Hansen.
Beau Waters ($152,800): It’s hard to ignore such a quality player in Waters at this price, particularly after three pre season games with an impressive average of 69 points per game. At this price point, the main concern with players is job security. This is not a factor with Waters because at his best, he is easily in the top 10 players at West Coast. The concern with Waters is the horrific elbow injury which sidelined him for the entire 2009 season. I wish Beau all the best in his return to AFL football in 2010.
Graham Polak ($149,400): I wish Polak all the best in his courageous return to AFL football, but don’t believe the hype that was coming from Richmond back in February. While I’m rapt that he is now taking strong overhead marks again (at training), please don’t think that he is a viable option for your backline in 2010. The Polak comeback has been nothing short of inspirational, but after averaging 22 points per game over three pre season games, avoid selecting Polak in your DT.
Andrew Raines ($218,200): It seemed I was the only DT without Raines prior to Round 1 last year. The non selection of Raines turned out to be my best decision in 2009. If you were one of the many coaches who fell for this trap last year, please don’t let it happen again. We all make mistakes, but only fool’s make the same ones twice!
Note: To access Footy Tragic pre-season content from 2010, click on the following category links listed on the right hand side of your window:
Toby’s Team Summaries
First of all, Happy Birthday to us! A massive thank you to everyone who has been following us in our first year. We hope you’ve enjoyed what we’ve brought you so far and we look forward to stepping it up again in 2010 and the future.
Jimmy Bartel ($480,200): Bartel was a bit down on his past couple of years in 2009. After averaging 114 and 113 in consecutive seasons, Bartel was down to 109 last year. I don’t see this as a decline in his game, but just a year where he saw a bit of time in the back line. With the return of Hunt, I expect to see Jimmy back in the midfield on a more permanent basis. IMO he has the best all round DT game in the league – marks, disposals, tackles, can go forward and kick goals – Jimmy ticks a lot of boxes and is an underpriced premium.
Brent Stanton ($443,600): It seems a bit obvious to rave about Stanton after the scores he posted in his two NAB games, but let’s put those into perspective – they were against Richmond and Melbourne. What I want to talk about is the improvement I see in him this year. One thing that’s always plagued Stanton owners (or driven some people away) is his tendency to have absolute shockers. Last year he posted five sub 80 scores, but all were in the first half of the season. In 2008 he had 8 sub 80′s mixed in with some monster tons. I see him having a shift away from these stinkers and posting elite mid scores more consistently. His average jumped from 93 to 101 from 2008 to 2009 and I see another rise this year. He’s not a brilliant kick, so hopefully opposition are more likely to sit on Prismall, Winderlich or maybe Watson before targeting Stants.
Daniel Cross ($420,900): A little too handball happy, but maniacally tackle happy. While he doesn’t put boot to ball as much as you’d like your gun midfielders to do, I think Crossy understands full well that from a DT perspective tackles are worth more than kicks, so he sets out to hit hard. You’d have to go back to 2006 to find the one time he topped a 100 average in DT. In the last three years he’s averaged 92, 96 and 96 (give or take a little rounding). I expect improvement in the Bulldogs midfield this year, which should equate to more points being shared. I see Cross as a major beneficiary after scoring well in the NAB coming back from surgery on both ankles in the off season.
Before I get to the players, it goes without saying that Juddy is out for the first three weeks! Even though he’s never been a natural DT’er, you specifically need to avoid starting him this year.
Lenny Hayes ($478,500): Please forgive me, Lenny! My favourite ever DT’er and I can’t recommend him this year (yet). He’s had his share of knocks over the years and at his age, wear and tear has to be a bit of a concern. I had him in my team until he copped that knock on the calf against Freo in the NAB. His attack on the contest is fearless, but after so many years of throwing himself in head first how much longer can his body take it? Definitely still has the scoring potential to make me eat my words and the Saints will score well as a unit again, but DT is a young man’s game and Lenny just turned 30…
Shane Tuck ($422,300): Don’t be fooled by his good scoring in the NAB series, Tuck’s job security is constantly an issue. He accumulates well, but doesn’t use it well enough. Under a new coach it’s always going to be hard to say with any conviction, but Richmond seem to be heading in a new direction (as they have been saying so for the last couple of decades) and a not so damaging player at 28 years of age could easily be a coaches scapegoat, which wouldn’t be a first for Tuck. Bit of a soft target to put in this section, I must admit…
Liam Anthony ($422,700): After picking a soft target for my second avoid player, I thought I’d put my nuts back out there and make a harder call. Don’t get me wrong, Liam Anthony is a DT stud. He just knows where to run to get the ball and took like AFL like a duck to water last year. I don’t necessarily subscribe to the second year blues theory, per se, and Anthony seems like someone with a great work ethic who wouldn’t get complacent, but just consider that teams will put a lot more time and effort into stopping him this year. His 10 game career is too small a sample for me to justify spending over $400,000 on a player.
Luke Ball ($366,500): I don’t know about you, but if I were Luke Ball I would be out to prove a point. Less than 50% TOG in the Grand Final?! I reckon he’ll make it abundantly obvious to Ross Lyon this year why he needed to be used more last year. Whatever the problems were at St.Kilda, he is flying in the pre-season at Collingwood. His scores were great in the NAB series and he’s looking super fit. Fantastic value after an eight point drop in his average last year.
Brad Ebert ($316,900): Which mid priced West Coast midfielder will go bang this year? Ebert is my pick of the bunch. He actually has a game suited to DT with pretty much a 1:1 kick:handball ratio, takes marks consistently enough and is a strong tackler. It’s his third year in the system and he’s ready to take a more prevalent role in West Coast’s midfield. I look at his Round 21 game vs. Adelaide last year as makings of a DT star – 11 kicks, 13 handballs, 10 marks and 5 tackles. Not that I preach for hanging your hat on one game, but Ebert is the type of player that can put numbers in a lot of different columns and I expect to see him do it a lot more this year.
Mark McVeigh ($268,400): McVeigh’s 2009 was ravaged by injury and suspension. After a massive step up in 2007 and 2008, he went way backwards in 2009 averaging a meagre 61 after 80 and 89 in the two years prior. His pre-season has been great and there’s every indication that he can get back to his best, which potentially makes him a keeper in the midfield at only a fraction of the price. Think Nick Stevens in 2008. Bear in mind he is suspended for the first week of this season, but with the glut of midfield talent in the rookies this year I’m sure you could get someone to cover for him for a game.
Travis Johnstone ($328,000): I find Johnstone’s role and stats in the pre-season to be a little misleading. He’s been playing loose behind the ball and has been the designated kicker. It looks like a lucrative DT role and given that he is such a good user of the ball it’s a role that makes sense for him. Just consider that Josh Drummond is the go to man for Brisbane and only played one pre-season game. Also Johnstone is one of the biggest DT teases in history and has had a career plagued by extreme inconsistency.
Brock McLean ($367,900): A lot were excited by the prospects of McLean moving to a team with a gun midfield. Even if Carlton won’t be up there this year, their midfield will be one of the highest scoring in DT. There should be a lot of points flying around, but they’ll be all Murphy, Gibbs, Judd and Simpson bound. Brock is very inside and isn’t elite enough to dominate DT from that role as other inside mids like Cross, J.Selwood and Bartel.
Chris Masten ($293,900): He’s getting a lot of love lately, but nothing screams DT about Chris Masten to me. He doesn’t mark the ball and he doesn’t tackle. If you choose Masten expect a lot of 20 touch games for an annoyingly low 60 points. In fact, heaps of people were raving about his pre-season game against Port where he got 28 touches…he only scored 74 points. Good player and will get the ball a bit, but does nothing in those other columns to get those scores. Other games from last year include 38 touches for 101 points (his only ton ever), 25 touches for 76 points, 27 touches for 77 and 84 points. If he needs almost 40 touches to crack a ton, good luck to those who pick him!
First up, I’ve written about Jack Trengove, Dustin Martin, Lewis Jetta and Michael Barlow in my draftee articles, so check them out for more detailed views on those guys. For this article I’ll focus on other players…
Tom Scully ($157,500): At that price point people are looking at Trengove and Martin a lot closer. Scully isn’t really getting that much attention, but he’s going to get a fair bit of quality midfield minutes for Melbourne this year. He’s probably not your typical DT’er, but he’s got a lot of class for such a young player. At the end of the day he’s only priced at about 36, so he presents significant value and showed great scoring potential with a 95 in one NAB Challenge game.
Ryan Bastinac ($89,500): DEAN LAIDLEY IS GONE!!! It’s OK, ladies and gentlemen, North Melbourne kids might actually get a chance this year. Bastinac has had a cracking pre-season and could be a valuable bench selection. Once again, he’s a fairly inside sort of player and I think the Kangaroos are a team that suits him pretty well. He showed scoring improvement in each of his NAB series games, scoring 55, 66 and 72. It sounds like he’s a big chance for Round 1, so if named look closely because I reckon he could get a few games early on.
Brodie Moles ($83,800): Moles has already been elevated from the rookie list and at 24 years of age and yet to debut, he’s DT gold. We love our mature aged players. Moles has impressed in the NAB Cup, keeping his spot for all four weeks and impressing each game with his raking right foot kick and cleanness below his knees. The Bulldogs have great success with rookie upgrades (Boyd, Harbrow, Morris, Picken) and I can see Moles keeping his spot and scoring well. Just be aware that Christian Howard isn’t that far from coming off the long term injured list, so Moles might have to go back for a few weeks until anyone can be elevated after Round 11.
Ben Howlett ($77,800): Tough call this one, but my gut says he’ll have a tough time keeping his spot after early games just because. This may sound a little hypocritical after talking Moles up who I expect to crack into a much tougher midfield, but the Bombers will start the season without McVeigh, Lovett-Murray and Hurley. It’ll be tough to keep his spot. From all reports he’s been super impressive, but three people will have to make way early on for those three.
Anthony Morabito ($145,500): More than anything it’s his price tag. Morabito is every chance to get a lot of games for Freo this year, but I just rate the similarly priced Scully, Trengove and Martin as better scorers than him. I feel your money would be better directed to those three. Morabito is more of a run and carry player who will impact the game more than he’ll score well.
Daniel Connors ($156,000): Fourth year in the system and all of a sudden now he’s a big deal? I just can’t trust someone playing loose behind the ball who has poor kicking skills, not after I took Shane Edwards last year… Connors has had a good pre-season, but why now? He’s constantly been a tease and I feel this year rather than just teasing he’ll burn people because now people will pick him.
Aaron Sandilands ($419,800): 211 was just preparing himself for the real deal. Had a couple of decent hitouts to blow the cobwebs out. With 211 you at least know you’ll get like 40 points from hitouts per game. 40 points before he’s even touched the ball. Sounds good to me because he’s not exactly useless around the ground.
Dean Cox ($471,500): I shudder at the thought, to be honest. But he’s fully priced and there’s nothing to suggest his body is 100%. I’m also really curious to see what the effect of Nic Naitanui will do to him. Possibly nothing, but it’s an interesting situation. He’s priced at 107 and even though he’s very consistent it doesn’t take too much for him to drop a fair bit. Rather than an avoid I’m treating him as a wait and see prospect this year.
Darren Jolly ($381,500): To be honest, a case can be made for all $350,000+ ruckmen this year, but I’ve singled Jolly out because of his move. We all know about Sydney’s much famed anti-DT style of past years (note: past years, looks to be changing). Their high pressure, stoppage filled games ensured Jolly was contesting more hitouts than any other ruck in the competition. He’s a safe, consistent scorer, so if that’s your go, then have a dip, but I like a bit more upside than what Jolly can offer, which at best is to maintain his 87 average from last year.
David Hille ($237,300): This guy ruined my year last year. It wasn’t so much that he did his knee, it was that he did precisely NOTHING in the first three rounds before doing his knee, so he bled cash like a teenage girl at DFO. However, I am cautiously going back there again. Without a viable full forward option in the absence of Lloyd and Lucas this year, Hille will get a lot of time in the goal square. He looks big and mean this pre-season, so he’ll be a tough match-up. He’ll still get plenty of ruck time, even though I think Ryder is their man. Either way, I’m very cautiously backing him in to score well enough either forward or ruck – a rise in $100K isn’t too lofty in my view and that brings a trade for Cox into the game.
Matthew Kreuzer ($330,500): I’m just worried about his role. I think he will end up being a star of the competition and I’m a huge fan of his, but I worry about the way Ratten plays him up forward. They sit him deep and his overhead marking isn’t a strength. His strength is his amazing endurance for a big, so get him moving Ratts! It sounds like he’ll end up in the ruck after Hampson and Warnock didn’t really impress, but I wish we got to see him more as a full time ruck in the pre-season. Can’t be confident he’ll add the 10-15 points per game he’d need at that price with the #1 mantle – he could, but we have nothing solid to base that on.
Nic Naitanui ($232,400): I fully recognise that this one could bite me big time BUT just consider that with the highs you will definitely get with Naitanui you’re likely to receive equally extreme lows. I still think he is a player that could quite literally end up with less than three kicks in a game. He’ll get hitouts and tackles, but I still don’t think he has the consistency in his game to be reliable enough. High risk, high reward and purely as a cash cow option he could be lucrative because of his potential for a couple of 100+ games, but there is a high chance of 30′s getting mixed in there still.
Robert Warnock ($101,800): I actually think McEvoy could be a solid DT scorer, but too expensive for a bench option and too risky to be your second ruck. McEvoy is in no man’s land for DT unfortunately. As for Warnock, he’s a live body, simple as that. Even if not named Round 1 (I think he will get named anyway) he’s the only bench option that is remotely viable. I can’t see how you can avoid him.
No one: Seriously, anyone who is any remote chance of getting a game is worth a shot as your fourth ruck. Fourth ruck is in ridiculous tatters this year.
Matthew Lobbe ($94,500): He was seriously hyped before a ball was bounced, but I think everyone (including Choco) has gone a bit cold on him. With that said, he’s actually one of the most viable fourth ruck options (even if not named) because Brogan will need help at some stage and I don’t think Westhoff is the man to do it.
Note: To access Footy Tragic pre-season content from 2010, click on the following category links listed on the right hand side of your window:
Toby’s Team Summaries
Dear Footy Tragics, welcome to the last week of the pre-season and first week of the real deal! Over the next four days, Footy Tragic will help you make some of the biggest decisions you will have to make over the next 12 months, and with our three part series starting today, Toby, Dan and Ben will each look at one of the on-field positions and who has shone through this pre-season. These wraps are aiming to show which players are coming into the season in great form - not necessarily those names who have been part and parcel with dream teams of years past. Also, it is worth commenting that yesterday was Footy Tragic’s first birthday, so it goes without saying, we wouldn’t still be here one year on, without you, the reader. So thankyou and may you keep reading and enjoying the content on www.footytragic.com!
- Ryan O’Keefe: Has been one of the most impressive players all pre-season, and of all players to play three or more games, his DT average is the highest with a very good 106.3. The great bonus of picking up a player such as O’Keefe in the forward line is that he is in fact playing as a midfielder. He showed us last year that he is capable of some massive scores, and already this pre-season he has pulled in a 150 against North Melbourne, showing he has lost none of his ability.
- Daniel Giansiracusa: Came into the NAB cup in excellent shape after a fantastic pre-season. Fortunately, he was able to convert his ability on the track into form on the field and averaged 99 points across four NAB games (the highest of any Bulldog). With the arrival of Barry Hall into the Dogs forward line, the likes of Gia will be forced to play much further upfield, in turn equalling more possessions and tackles.
- Nick Riewoldt: He is the premium priced forward in DT competition, but this pre-season has proven to be worth every cent. He played three games with limited TOG in each, yet still managed to average 92 points. He looks so fit and should easily average over 100 points this year if he stays fit.
- Brendon Fevola: Played three games in the Lions new forward structure, yet Brent Staker managed to kick more goals than him. The worry when he came to the Lions was that the Brown/Fevola combo would cause one of the two to have less impact, and there was never a chance this would be Brown! This NAB series, Fev has kicked only a few goals and has averaged 48 DT points, playing full TOG in each. Fev needs to be kicking goals to get his DT points as he doesn’t get many possessions, nor tackle. Although fit, I would avoid him this year more than most – Brown will simply take away too much of his supply.
- Matthew Pavlich: Has moved back to the forward line which initially looking like it would re-invigorate his Dream Team game. Unfortunately, this seems not to be the case – in watching a few of the Docker’s games, they are simply bombing it high and long to him, causing him to ALWAYS be double-teamed. In turn, this has caused a pre-season average of just 57 points – nowhere near enough for his high price-tag.
- Lance Franklin: After getting off to a massive start with a 92-point DT game against Richmond in round one of the NAB cup, Franklin’s form seemed to drop away, averaging just 53 points over the next three games – a bit of a worry. Whilst we know that Franklin is a freak footballer, the worry is whether we will get a repeat of his 2009 season where he never really found form. Adding to the woes of selecting Franklin in 2010 is that he is suspended in round one. I don’t know the definitive answer about picking Franklin, but I can tell you I am certainly concerned with his selection in my team – especially with players like Higgins and Gia who could be selected instead.
PRICE: $200,000 – $350,000
- Robbie Gray: Played only the last two games, but was fantastic in both. Finally, after much praying and angry letters to Chocco Williams, Gray has been moved to the midfield. He has the potential to average close to 85, which is much better than what his price suggests. So far this pre-season he has averaged 77 points.
- Barry Hall: It is hard not to mention BBBH – he has surprisingly been the player of the NAB series, kicking 17 goals in 2.5 games! This huge scoring has resulted in an average of 92 points – very good for this price-point. As discussed in an earlier article, he is a player with heaps of upside, but also, plenty of potential downside too.
- Kurt Tippett: Tippett was one of the big improvers of 2009, and if his NAB series is anything to go by, 2010 will see him get even better again. His past two games have yielded scores of 100 and 83 (against Melbourne and Carlton), suggesting he will be a big scorer again this year – but hopefully a bit more consistent than in 2009. Also of note is that plenty of the Crows better players played very little part in their NAB series, indicating that they will be a much better team than their pre-season form has let on. As a full-forward, Tippett’s scores will be greatly improved by the presence of these much better players.
- Brett Burton: He has only played one game this NAB cup and scored an 82 in it, suggesting he is not really out of form. However, the fact he then missed the next three weeks (and will likely miss rounds one and two) with issues surrounding his reconstructed knee, suggests to me that he is a suckers buy this year – I would expect him to be spending a lot of time in the nurse’s office this year – avoid.
- Adam McPhee: Probably one of the worst players of the pre-season competition. For a senior player to come into a team as inexperienced as Fremantle and be the worst player on the field is a massive worry. He has played three games, averaging 56 points, however I think he probably turned every single one of his disposals over to the opposition. Amazingly, he will be lucky to play round one – avoid like the plague.
- Patrick Dangerfield: He hasn’t really been terrible this pre-season, but his average of 57 is probably a bit lower than we would have hoped. He should improve as the season goes on and he gets more game time, but I wouldn’t be overly confident with the numbers he has produced so far.
PRICE: $77,000 – $200,000
- Sam Wright: Wright has been one of the more impressive North young-guns, averaging a respectable 61 points through the NAB cup. He is still lightly framed, but moves well and plays in a good DT position. The Roos will be giving plenty of responsibility to their young brigade in 2010 meaning that Wright will get plenty of chances.
- Tom Rockliff: Rockliff was drafted as a forward known for his lack of motor, but so far this pre-season he has proven all the doubters wrong, not only spending most of his time in the midfield, but averaging 75 points in the process. He is a good chance to get plenty of games this year, despite the fact the Lions have a very strong on-ball brigade. The fact Travis Johnston has moved to defence will mean that there is a midfield spot up for grabs.
- Cameron Hitchcock: The skinny Port forward was one of the most impressive kids this pre-season, working hard to be elevated to the Power’s senior list for 2010. He has a real spark – a factor that Port looks to be heavily looking for this season. He is a livewire around goals and should be capable of getting some reasonable scores this year (think Nahas of 2009). He averaged 56 points this pre-season – good for a rookie listed player and enough to hopefully see him rise to around $250,000.
- Phil Davis: When Andy Otten ruptured his ACL this pre-season, eyes went to Adelaide’s first pick in the 2008 draft for the solution. Unfortunately, Davis has been unable to show much form at all through the NAB cup, suggesting his name won’t be on the list come round one. He averaged only 19 points across four games and seemed to often be caught by the pace of the game. We may see him later in the year, but I couldn’t imagine him debuting early enough to start him in your team.
- Ryan Murphy: Murphy seems to be the epitome of a decoy forward – he is simply there to take a defender, but rarely does much himself. He has averaged 25 points this pre-season and hasn’t really looked capable of much more. Look elsewhere.
- Trent Dennis-Lane: TDL shone in both of Sydney’s pre-season intraclubs, only to play one NAB game, scoring a poor 24 points. Despite the hype surrounding him pre-NAB, I can’t imagine him playing too many early games – especially with the arrival of Jetta into the Sydney ranks.
Tune in tomorrow for Dan’s wrap of the Rucks and Midfielders.