*Thanks to Joestar for suggesting this one*
Trades, retirements & delistings are a regular part of the Football industry. And while we don’t wish injury upon anyone, it also happens on a weekly basis. Many teams may stagnate after losing their star player. Others reach deep within their talent pool and step up in a crisis, benefitting from their star’s absence. This can lead to a spike in Supercoach numbers for players who previously weren’t SC-relevant.
A prime example of this would be the Western Bulldogs from last year. After losing their Captain Griffin to GWS and Liberatore to a season-ending knee injury, all the experts practically wrote the Doggies off. Someone forgot to tell their players though. They stepped up beautifully, filling the void and making the Finals in a huge effort. In the absence of (arguably) their two most influential players, many teammates improved their SC numbers remarkably. A few examples if I may:
* Luke Dahlhaus, 2014 – 92 avg, 2015 – 104 avg
* Liam Picken, 2014 – 70 avg, 2015 – 98 avg
* Mitch Wallis, 2014 – 63 avg, 2015 – 98 avg
* Marcus Bontempelli, 2014 – 79 avg, 2015 – 103 avg
In the absence of Griff & Libba, these players clearly stepped up with more midfield time resulting in a spike with their SC numbers. I’ve combed through the injury lists and taken off-season trades into account to identify this years’ BENEFICIARIES………..
Departure: Patrick Dangerfield traded to Geelong
Beneficiary: Brad Crouch isn’t expected to be a quick-fix replacement for Danger, but there’s no denying the kid’s talent. If he gets himself fit, then all signs point to a 95+ avg. We all know about his bargain starting price of $306k.
Popular opinion on SCT is that Rory Sloane can’t handle a tag. Wouldn’t dismiss him so quickly though. Many were clambering to buy him at $610k just last year. Averaged 115 in 2014 before bad luck & injuries brought it down to 105 last year. Very affordable at $569k!
One rookie I’ve already locked in is Dean Gore. Great SC indicators in his time playing for the Geelong reserves. Judging by his recent NAB Challenge appearance, he’ll get his chance at Adelaide this year (and will use it!).
Injuries: Ricky Henderson (back), Andy Otten (knee) & Matthew Jaensch (retired)
Beneficiary: Obvious ones are Rory Laird & Brodie Smith. If you’ve got them in your pre-season teams, then I’d be very confident of Laird holding his 93 avg and Smith pushing his average back up towards 85-90. These are the two main ball-carriers for the Crows, turning defence into attack.
There have been a few whispers around for Curtly Hampton ($264k) & Paul Seedsman ($324k) as well. But with only three SC-tons from 62 games (Hampton) & four tons from 49 games (Seedsman), you’d be taking a huge risk.
Departure: Matthew Leuenberger traded to Essendon
Beneficiary: Obviously Stefan Martin. He played twelve games with the Berger in 2015 at a 106 avg. In the eight games without the Berger, Martin averaged 117 (!!). Huge………
Trent West might get more game time but could be used as a forward target.
Departure: Jack Redden traded to the Eagles & James Aish traded to Collingwood.
Beneficiary: Tom Rockliff, Dayne Beams & Dayne Zorko spring to mind. They all managed 100+ avg last season and seem likely to stay there.
Smokeys would be the perennial breakout candidate Daniel Rich who has been training with the midfield group, the forgotten Irishman Pearce Hanley OR new recruit, Tom Bell. Rich might still be relevant due to his Dual Position status. Hanley would probably be in all our sides if he still had his. Bell is a chance to get more midfield rotation at the Lions. Whether they improve enough to make a big impact on their SC stats is the gamble you’ll have to take.
Departure: Chris Yarran traded to Richmond
Beneficiary: Sam Docherty might just take his game to the next level. In his three seasons at AFL level, his SC avg has gone from 53 – 77 – 88. With Chris Yarran gone, Docherty could well see more of the ball coming out of the back line. Simpson could also be added here, yet his SC avg has stayed steady over the years despite all the comings-&-goings.
Departure: Tom Bell traded to Brisbane
Beneficiary: New recruits from Adelaide, Sam Kerridge & Matthew Wright look like filling the void left behind by Bell. At this stage, Kerridge is one of the most popular rookies in the game.
Injury: Tyson Goldsack is having complications with his knee and isn’t expected back until after Rd4.
Beneficiary: Tom Langdon & Marley Williams could improve on their 2015 numbers, carrying the ball out of defence.
Suspension: Where to start?
Beneficiary: Despite a consistently low level of Disposal Efficiency, I’m tipping David Zaharakis to push his average up around 95-100. As one of the senior players still standing at Windy Hill, I’m expecting him to step up this year. Doesn’t mean that I’m starting with him though 😉
Injuries: Alex Pearce is in doubt for Rd1 with niggling injuries.
Beneficiary: Garrick Ibbotson or Stephen Hill might be left to play the ‘Sweeper’ role across half-back.
All beneficiaries are personal tips of mine. I’m quite sure I missed a few along the way. I’d love to hear from you in the comments. Who are your tips as ‘Friends With Benefits’ from the clubs above?
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