And why shouldn’t it? After finishing 2016 with an average of 118.5 (3rd highest overall scorer), he began 2017 at $645,000 and 31% of all SuperCoaches thought that price tag was an absolute steal for the All Australian, especially after they removed the 3rd man up rule.
After looking like he was worth his price tag with 128 and 111 in the opening 2 rounds, the SC gods struck down and hit his hamstring leaving him left for dead on 27 points in Rd3 and dropping $49.1K right there and then. The rest, well, is history.
But, in case you missed it, Gawn went MIA for the next 10 weeks as he joined the rehabilitation group before making his comeback in Rd14 against the Eagles. Taking advantage of their depleted ruck stocks, Gawn looked as though he hadn’t missed a beat and tapped his way to 113 points from 42 hitouts, 7 kicks, 8 handballs and 4 marks but dropped $44.1K thanks to a BE north of 200 points. His second game back saw him with a BE of 184 against Sydney, who were way to eager to shark his taps which left him a score of 96 from 29 hitouts, 6 kicks, 5 handballs and 5 marks to drop his price $510,900. Gawn did also cop a knock to the knee and looked Oliver (little ginger) running around for the rest of the game.
Coming out of Uni a couple of years ago I have learnt to become quite the thrifty man and can spot a bargain from a mile away and well, Gawn being priced at just over $500k is one of the biggest ones I’ve ever seen. I just have one problem though, how the hell can I justify bringing him in!?! Every single coach that didn’t jump on Gawn over the last fortnight will fall into 1 of the 4 scenarios below.
Scenario 1 – Sandi(lands) Hard
First up is the poor souls who held onto Sandilands for the last 5 weeks only for him to go down on 12 points. Is this you? Congratulations, you can easily (and justifiably) pick up the ruck deal of a lifetime for a mere $70k. Hope you don’t need two trades though as that could become quite awkward, unless you did things by the rule book and didn’t go early on Witherden.
Scenario 2 – Classic Switch Up
Then there is those with Ryder or Nankervis warming your ruck line. If this is you, move ’em forward, bring in Gawn and let the good times roll. Your ruck/forward back up is no use if they are actually in the ruck!
If you are in one those above two scenarios then trading in Big Max is an absolute no brainer. Things get a little more hairy (unlike Gawns beard *sad face*) if you have already finalised this line with two of Kreuzer, Martin, Mumford, Goldstein, Grundy or Jacobs. It gets even more hairier if you have Witts with one of the others.
Scenario 3 – Set and Forget
So you already went full premo? Well I am afraid you might be fresh out of luck and have to leave the deal to someone else. At this time of year, as Father Dougal would put it, trades are like oxygen. I don’t know about you but the closer mine get to 0, the more anxious I get. All of the rucks mentioned are capable of a high score and have all posted 135+ this season and all averaging 95+. These two things along make it hard to justify wasting a trade. Everyone knew Gawn was coming back just after the byes and would drop to about the price he is now. Back you gut on the set/forget rucks you choose along the way.
Scenario 4 – Rookie Witts
Rookie Witts vs Premium Gawn – Surely the choice isn’t so hard?
As a huge Witts advocate over the pre-season and stating I think he’ll be priced $375k+ at his bye with an average of 85+, I am stoked that he turned out to be $430k with an average of 93.8. I also stated I would upgrade him to Gawn when the time came. This was pre-injury and I thought I would need $150-200k to do so, a trade I was more than willing to make at the time. That time has finally arrived and I only need $40k to do so, but why so hard to pull the trigger all of a sudden? Well, whilst he has an average of 94.4, he seems to have settled and found his feet with his last 8 weeks going something like this:
115, 97, 98, 96, 107, 72, 99 and 100
That’s an average of 98 which includes a 72 against the #1 ruck of the competition, Kreuzer. Whilst he may not have a massive ceiling (highest score of 115 all season), he looks to give a consistent 95-105 week in, week out should average 95 from here on out at a minimum. Especially given his run home is on the easier side of things.
I sit here and think, well Gawn averaged 118 last season so I could be getting an extra 20 points. This is true, but then I looked at how he got his average so high last season. Apart from the 172 against Goldstein, which was an absolute spectacle and a highly recommend match to watch if you haven’t seen it, he only seemed to bully teams that lacked a genuine top ruck. Port Adelaide and Trengrove (151 and 168), Hawthorn and Ceglar (168), Fremantle and Griffin (141), Richmond and a cooked Maric (160) and Gold Coast and Currie (174). Against teams with better rucks (less tap outs) and strong midfields (more sharked), he only went 90-120 with couple of lower ones thrown in there and the monster scores dragged it up.
Looking at Gawns remaining opponents for the year, he has Kruzer, Jacobs, Ryder, Goldstein (or worse, Preuss), Mumford, Longer, S.Martin and Grundy. Now I don’t know about you, but apart from St Kilda and Longer, that is one mighty hard schedule for a ruckman. Will he hit the heights of 2016 against that lot? Personally, I think not, so I would expect an average around 105 from here on out.
Whilst yes, this is more than Witts will average, I am finding it very difficult to justify losing a trade and $40k for 7 points a week. The combination of returning from injury, upcoming opponents, Melbourne’s midfield injuries/current negative culture and a BE of 95 against Kruzer this week, I am more than happy to wait and see. I have a nice bank and the likes of Witts (and Newman @ D6) stay until they give me reason not to and then they will get upgraded to the Crème de la Crème. I think half of the stigma around Witts is that at the start of the season, he was just an expensive rookie and the thoughts of keeping him as an on-field keeper doesn’t sit quite right with the conscious. I get the same feeling about Newman but you can’t argue with the numbers they put up week after week.
At the end of the day, everyone’s situation is different and it all boils down to how many trades you have left, how much cash in the bank you have and whether you are going for overall or league. This is my thoughts based on my situation, plans and goals. What scenario do you fall into and how are you approaching Gawn this round (and future rounds)?
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