Midfield Evaluations – Group #1

Written by Father Dougal on February 26 2020

Hi Everybody!

Here is the first  batch of midfielders  I want to re-remind people, this is just my personal guessing, and not anything derived from math. Other than the stuff from the Predicting Uber-Premium Midfielders post, link below, that I will be referring back to sometimes.


For those new to my ramblings, TLA stands for True Level of Ability, and I wrote about it more here:



Jackson Macrae

Year Games Average Age TLA
2013 13 61.4 18  
2014 21 100.1 19 100 
2015 20 99.9 20 100
2016 18 94.1 21 100
2017 22 106.9 22 105
2018 19 127.1 23 125
2019 22 123.2 24 125
122-132 125

Jack backed up his 2018 jump with another high average. At age 25 there is no reason to think he can’t do it again. Having already averaged 127 once, it would not be that surprising for him to go at 130 or a bit more. I’d be surprised if he went much lower than last season. I suspect he is slightly underpriced. I can see there are quibbles that could be raised about him, so I can’t say he is an absolute must have, but he’s darn close, and I’d take him for sure. 

Lachie Neale

Year Games Average Age TLA
2012 11 47.4 18
2013 9 86.9 19
2014 21 87.2 20
2015 22 104.3 21
2016 22 112.6 22 113
2017 21 109 23 114
2018 22 111.9 24 115
2019 22 121.3 25 116
114-122 117

If he is going to break out and put up a 125+ season it will be this year. I don’t think he will, but he matches all of the indicators I looked at other than his last 10 scores being over his season average. That says to me that other teams were starting to figure him out, and at his age a breakout is way unlikely anyways, so missing that one to me just says no. At 25 he could have had a career year or a breakout year. My feeling is that he will regress, but not a lot. So a mini-breakout. Factoring in his bye, I feel like he is a better upgrade target than starter. Great history of staying on the pitch. 

Nathan Fyfe

Year Games Average Age TLA
2010 16 72.6 18
2011 21 108 19
2012 9 93.2 20
2013 19 106.5 21
2014 18 122.3 22 122
2015 18 124.3 23 122
2016 5 105.4 24 121
2017 21 108.8 25 121
2018 15 113.9 26 120
2019 20 120 27 119
115-122 118

It is a truth universally acknowledged that a midfielder desiring a longer career must be in search of a more time forward. Fyfe has said he wants a longer career and to play forward more. He is 28, and more forward time might well keep him playing longer. It does imply that his SC scores will start trending down. I feel like his broken leg cost him three years of 120+ output. He might manage that again, but I am expecting him to drop off a little. If he spends a lot more time forward then he could drop off a lot. If the Dockers decide to go with youth, why wouldn’t he move up front, save his body, and try to be around when their window opens up? Starting with him has a lot more risk this season than in the past. He’s probably top priced *if* his midfield time stays the same, and he isn’t known for playing 22. 

Joshua Kelly

Year Games Average Age TLA
2014 18 68.1 18
2015 18 70.6 19
2016 22 87.1 20
2017 21 114.3 21 113
2018 15 113.8 22 114
2019 14 117.4 23 115
112-120 116

Last year’s average and games played would seem to rule him out of the jump to uber-premo, but at 24 he could still improve. His injury history is not good. The biggest reason not to start with him is there are so many other mids that look like better options.  The main reason to take him is if you think that he is not going to be injured, and that his lack of injuries will push his average up higher. 

Josh Dunkley

Year Games Average Age TLA
2016 13 69.6 19
2017 7 60 20
2018 19 95.1 21 95
2019 22 116.5 22 116
118-134 121

I talked about him some in the “Predicting Uber-Premium Midfielders” post. I think he is going to get better and the question is how much better. If he had played in the mids all season last year I think he would have put up an uber premium average.  Not much of a reach since he did that once he was in the mids. His similarly to Ablett, Macrae, Pendles, and Rockliff before their first big seasons is strong, although not perfect. Also, his having played so few matches total is a plus as far as potential. He has not yet shown us all he can do after just 61 games. He scored a double ton! He’s the only non-ruck I think should be in every team. 


Remember the Craggy Island Guarantee, All predictions wrong or triple your money back!

Thanks for reading!



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30 thoughts on “Midfield Evaluations – Group #1”

  1. Love the write up! Kinda put off by Fyfe though, if he spends time forward more often, it does concern me a little…. or am I being bizarre?

    Tu; Fyfe is a lock

    Td; Look elsewhere


    1. He is in 37% of teams, dual brownlow medal winner.. surely he cant be spending that much time FWD??? Can someone elaborate here please. Why so many thumbs down?


      1. Fyfe himself said he wanted to play more forward, in order to extend his career. Add that to his age and injury history and he doesn’t look top 5-6 to start with. To me at least.


    2. They said cripps would play more fwd last year, I don’t know maby he did, scored fine.
      But fyfe is a lot more beat up, I’m going to think him playing more fwd is more of a thing. At his price I’m passing.


      1. Cripps said that he wanted to push forward more as he thought the main thing missing from his game that he wanted to add was hitting the scoreboard.

        Pushing forward in play is different to playing forward (more)


    3. I’ve been very concerned about Fyfe playing forward, and to be honest his injury history is appalling.

      If Fyfe goes forward, or Freo go heavy on the rebuild (which by trading out Brad Hill and the ongoing off field sagas they are) then it has to be said that Fyfe represents a huge risk.


      1. Now watch him smash out a 125 ave over 21 games, and win another Charlie he he.

        Realistically, as much as I’d love too I just can’t start him with his injury history. Saying all that if he does spend enough time forward….

        Fyfe M/F 2021 😉


  2. I read somewhere that Josh Kelly is the only premium mid to not drop below 80 over the past three years (I haven’t fact checked this outside of Kelly).

    So if he is injury free and plays 21-22 games, it could be very hard to bring him in mid-season given you’ll almost certainly be paying over 590k for him.

    Plays Melb, Syd and GC in the first six games.


    1. “So if he is injury free and plays 21-22 games, it could be very hard to bring him in mid-season given you’ll almost certainly be paying over 590k for him.”

      Yeah, and if your Aunt had balls, she’d be your Uncle.

      He’ll likely hold his average (115 or so) but playing 14-15 games is a big jump from what you’d need from a starting midfielder. There’s just too many options around the price point, that will average the same, but are more likely to play a full season (21-22 games) and therefore get you more overall points.


  3. Dunks was my first picked, with bont copping the tag he and macrae will go wild in what should be a strong 2020 from the dogs.


  4. Undecided on whether to start Danger as one of my premium mids – worried about how much time will be spent forward this season, his age, his durability. I’ve currently got Macrae, Cripps, Neale, Dunkley & Oliver, so can’t see which of these I would drop to bring him in. Now if he was a Mid/Fwd this season, that would be an entirely different story.

    TU: Danger is a must for Round 1
    TD: Keep MIDS as they are & he can always be an upgrade target when cows are ready.


  5. Hi Father
    First time poster. Love your stuff.
    Given the number of players changing clubs this year. I wonder what do the stats say about them improving or maintaining their average or overall points.
    Whether it is change of scenery, new game style, different medical team, or injuries a lot have not done it in their 1st year. Unless your a super player like Lachie Neal or Danger.
    I think of D. Beams, A Miles,Hanners, S May, J Lever, J Hogan etc (all for different reasons I know. So what does history say might happen with H. Greenwood, J Martin, Bonar, J Steven, etc


    1. Thank you, and glad you have started posting!

      That is a good question, and I have no idea. It is a bigger project than I can fit in this season. My first thought is that the situations are so likely to differ that there may not be anything meaningful to take from it. My second thoughts are that players who move and are known to be good, are at least likely to play, and those who move and are not known to be good will at least get a better shot at playing than they had previously. If you assume players move to where they are wanted, what are the effects of being wanted?

      Other than that, anything could happen!


  6. I’m a huge Josh Kelly fan and I’m afraid this is the year he’s going to get it all together and win the Brownlow. I say ‘afraid’ because I can’t figure out a way to get him into my team.

    If I start with Whitfield and 5 rookies in the forwards, that should be okay, right?


    1. Well, I am not so sure on Whitfield…:-)

      I have checked out the idea of six mids and the main issue is cows in other lines. If the cows allow it, there is nothing wrong with that. In fact, if the cows allow it they probably dictate it!


      1. At this stage there isn’t enough cows. I’ve got 181k spare that doesn’t let me upgrade anyone, because the cows are either too expensive or too unreliable.

        Why oh why did people find out how good osso bucco is?


    2. Kelly has looked like being anything the last few seasons , still hasn’t done it. Good sc scorer when he’s on , doesn’t really impact games that much imo. More fragile than whitfield!


  7. Predicting who the best starter out of Macrae, Dunkley and Bont is impossible and pointless in my opinion. Pick one (or more) and you’re safe.

    In saying that, I prefer the Bont who has been appointed as the Bulldog’s captain, potentially spending more time in the guts, especially considering the acquisition of Bruce in the forward line freeing him up.

    He is also the cheapest of the three at $623k


    1. Agree. And had him in my side fron day dot until last week. Will definitely cop the tag after last weeks standout game. And cops Deboer tag twice before his buy. Pick him up cheaper later is what I’m betting.



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