A NOTE ON THE BYES
Due to the AFL’s Great China Experiment, the Suns and the Power have their bye in Round 10 this year, again separate from the other teams and the usual Multi-Bye rounds. Supercoach usually applies the “best 18 scores” rule to bye rounds but this does not apply to Round 10. What this means is that if you have any Suns or Power premiums in your team in Round 10, you will have no choice but to replace them with one of your bench rookies (unless you’re an utter genius with upgrades and dual position swings, in which case you should stop wasting your time here and go work for NASA or something). This is especially relevant in the Ruck department, where most of us are running with a non-playing bench, and hence looking at a donut should one of our starters be wearing teal or red and yellow.
While I consider some of the players mentioned below to be excellent options, they all carry the same caveat: beware the Round 10 bye. Of course, if you’re like 99.9% of coaches and only playing for league wins, it really doesn’t matter all that much. But for all you maniacs chasing the $50K grand prize, it could be the difference between glory and despair.
Lock and Load: Pearce Hanley ($428,000). Controversy! I know what you’re thinking: Chillo needs to lay off the sauce. Hanley is 29 years old, playing at a struggling club, he broke his hand in the International Rules series which is the latest in a long line of injuries, and that’s just the start of the list of reasons that he’s a despised mid-pricer this year.
But be reminded that the last time Hanley had DPP status (as he does this year), he averaged 104 in 2014 and was a top 3 defender. At the end of a year interrupted by various factors, Hanley averaged 100.2 ppg in his last five games in 2017, and looked good in the Irish jersey in the time he was on the field. And as Stuey Dew has already announced, he is raring to go this time around, in a senior role with those magic words “more midfield time” in his job description. All boxes ticked!
Feeling Lucky: Remember when Kade Kolodjashnij ($389,300) was the next big thing in Supercoach defenders? A solid cash cow in 2014, KK averaged 89 with nine tons in his second season, and seemed set to be a permanent fixture in our backlines for most of the next decade. Unfortunately a combination of injuries, the arrival of the similarly-styled Nick Malceski, and an overall loss of confidence have severely stunted Kade’s numbers in the past two seasons. There’s no doubt the talent is there though, and the price is definitely right, but you’d need some big kahunas to go there again.
Money Maker: Jack Scrimshaw ($202,300) is a relatively pricey but interesting rookie option in the back half. Taken with the seventh pick in the 2016 draft, Scrimshaw is a tall, mobile defender with a raking left foot (sound familiar?) and aspirations of finishing his career in the midfield. Managed four games in 2017 and showed some nice touches. Keep an eye out for him in the JLT series.
Feeling Lucky: The stars aligned at the end of 2016 for Touk Miller ($419,200), who went A-grade magnet to the tune of 32 possessions and 7 tackles per game in his last seven runs. This streak of golden form made Touk a popular mid-priced choice at the start of last year. After a promising start, like so many mid-pricers before him it all fell apart, but Miller is back again this year at a similar price and with an extra year’s experience under his belt. No DPP status this year, but the changes in personnel at the Suns might mean good things for his numbers this time around.
Money Maker: Here’s where it gets really interesting. Will Brodie ($187,700), Harrison Wigg ($123,900) and Nick Holman ($102,400) have all had contrasting careers to date, but all find themselves as very viable cash cow candidates for your SC teams in 2018.
Brodie is a young bull (bullock? bull calf?) in the making, who was taken with pick 9 in the 2016 draft. He showed what he was capable of in Round 23, racking up 23 possessions and 6 tackles against the Power. Brodie is on the pricey side, but with another pre-season under his belt and a game made for Supercoach, expect big improvement from him this year.
Wigg has spent most of the past three years completely dominating the SANFL, while also being completely unable to get a game for the Crows. Graduating from the halfback flank to the midfield last year, he averaged 25 touches and was named in the SANFL Team of the Year. Frustrated by the lack of opportunity at the Crows, he was traded to the Suns where he promptly broke his ankle in training. He’ll be a late starter, but write the name ‘Wigg’ on a Post-it note and stick it up for future reference. Prime downgrade target.
Holman played 9 games in two seasons for Carlton in 2014-15 before being delisted and heading to the SANFL’s Central Districts for a couple of seasons, where his form has been good enough to see him taken by the Suns in the rookie draft. Mature-age recruits typically make excellent cash cows, and Holman is sure to get his chance at senior footy on the Gold Coast. At this rock bottom price, you should be locking him in at M11 and leaving him there, safe and easy.
Feeling Lucky: You’re probably a year late to the party, but you could do a lot worse than pick Jarrod Witts ($518,300) in the ruck again this year. Witts was a breakout special in 2017, after being traded from the Pies to the Suns in the off-season. Starting at only $217K but smashing out a 94 average, he was one of the most profitable and valuable players of the year. Once again, there are so many questions hanging over the heads of the popular ruck choices – especially the great ‘solo ruck’ debate – that, despite that troublesome Rd 10 bye, Witts might actually be one of the safest picks out there. Fantastic POD value at a minuscule 0.7% ownership.
Also, he is very, very tall.
Feeling Lucky: After overcoming yet another horrific injury, Supercoach fan favourite and GROAT Michael Barlow ($462,700) returns as a forward option in 2018. After seven seasons at Freo as one of the greatest rookie draft selections in the league’s history, Barlow averaged 26 possessions in his first year at the Suns before suffering another excruciating broken leg mid-season. The harsh truth is that the rehabilitation from such an injury, at this stage of his career, makes Barlow somewhat of a risky choice. But take a look at his scoring history, and you’ll be in no doubt he has the ability to be a top 6 forward this year if he can stay on the park. Reports on his recovery are extremely positive. Strongly consider!
With his Riewoldtesque endurance and marking ability, Tom J. Lynch ($467,600) is one of my favourite players to watch, so I have to mention him here. But all that free agency chat just will not go away, and worse than that, I get the feeling Tom doesn’t want it to go away. Who knows, maybe he’ll have a great year and decide to stay put…but it’s more likely that he’s an unacceptable risk of having a down season. He has the massive ceiling that is typical of a full forward, so get him only if you’re feeling extremely lucky.
Money Maker: Wil Powell ($121,800) and Charlie Ballard ($117,300) are the Suns’ two big hopes out of the 2017 draft. Powell is a lightly built midfielder, who was a draft bolter at pick 19 and reportedly can run all day. Ballard is a tall, versatile swingman, who spent most of his time in junior footy out on the wing, but looks capable of playing pretty much anywhere on the ground. Both players have impressed coaching staff with their attitude and skills in pre-season training. Both have DPP status and, as with most rookies at this time of year, should be monitored.
Leave a comment / Scroll to bottom