Lock and Load: With Docherty and Williams out for the season, Bachar Houli ($517,400) and Brandon Ellis ($502,500) push themselves into the 6th and 10th highest 2018 averaging defenders respectively based on 2017 form. Both are durable – with Houli only missing 2 games due to injury in 7 years other than an extended stint on the sidelines in 2016 (i.e. not prone to niggles. Ellis has only missed 3 games in his career, all via omission in his first 2 years, 2 of which were after a 39 disposal, 11 mark, 3 tackle and a goal game (149 SuperCoach points) so there must be another story to the dropping – regardless, has never missed due to being injured. Both have a proven premium history with Houli averaging 92, 83, 96, 89 (injured) and 94 over the last 5 years and Ellis has averaged 97, 100, 85 and 91 over the last 4 years. Ellis had a strong finish in 2017 after his move to the half back line averaging 100 from Rd10 onwards – the only thing that would hold you back is the 57 he averaged over the finals. Houli often has a few quieter games a year and can be picked up cheaper generally, but both should be considered and there are much worse starting options out there.
Lock and Load: Dustin Martin ($656,000) had a year to remember: AFL premiership player, Norm Smith Medalist, Brownlow Medal, Leigh Matthews Trophy, All-Australian, Jack Dyer Medal, AFLCA Player of the Year, Gary Ayres Award and a few other bits and pieces. Started 2017 with a bang, he averaged 144 (2 x 155+) in the first 3 weeks before spending a few weeks parked in the forward line with a groin niggle (plus family issues) before finishing the season with an average of 127 over 18 rounds (finals included). In the last 18 rounds he had 17 x 105+, 11 x 120+ and 7 x 140+, so talk about consistency and ceiling. He is expensive, I know, but there is good reason – he is the type of guy you would hate your opponent having, but not you.
Feeling Lucky/Money Maker: The problem with premiership teams is that they are very hard to break into and quite often have very little to offer SuperCoaches and in 2018, Richmond really only has Jack Graham ($268,800) or Corey Ellis ($228,400). Graham debuted at the worst possible time for us last season (Rd22) and scored 87 and 76 (81 average) pushing up his starting price tag however he impressed with an average of 81 also over the finals, including 108 in the grand final from 16 disposals and 3 goals. He likes the contest, a tackle and doesn’t mind kicking a goal or two, all of which are great for SuperCoach. Ellis has been in the system for 3 years now and struggled to break into the side. He had a great JLT1 with 17 disposals, 6 tackles and a goal but to be fair, he was playing against witches hats. Quieter JLT2 but still managed 5 tackles, which will help his score tick over the match and he could see early games with Broad out, but his JS would be quite shaky – not ideal with his price tag but his MID/DEF DPP is quite handy.
Feeling Lucky: The appeal for Toby Nankervis ($488,300) is far less than last year as often happens to players that lose DPP. Nankervis took the reigns of solo ruck for Richmond and came out to average 103 over the first 8 weeks of the season. The load eventually took it’s toll and he finished up with an 80 average for the remainder of the season which has bought his price sub $500k. With another full pre-season under his belt he should be able to last much more of the season. Got hit in the head early in JLT 1 and came off precautionally, but took it to Goldstein in a 68 point first half in JLT2 collecting the ball all over the ground.
Lock and Load: Kane Lambert ($472,500) featured in my Peril of the Forwards articles as he had a slow start to 2017 but really found his role in the back half of the season averaging 98 over his last 13 games and 107 over the finals. Showed his stuff in the last JLT game kicking 4 goals to head into the season with full confidence.
Money Maker: This space was reserved for a one Jack Higgins ($130,800) but the club has made it pretty clear he is highly unlikely to debut anything before mid-season.
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