Supercoach Price: $500,500
2016 Average: 92
2016 Games: 20
Bye Round: 13
Past (2015-2011): 74, 85, 73, 79, 64
Howe has only missed 3 games in five years, two of those games being Round 1 and 2 of 2016 after an injured finger interrupted his pre-season. Howe’s damn dog needs to learn how to throw a frisbee.
2016 Form: ★★★★
Let’s be honest: Howe sucked on debut. He played in the VFL in Rounds 1 and 2 and then stank up the Pies’ forward line for four straight weeks. In that month he scored 37, 53, 86 and 55 points.
Then, as he does with all his players, Buckley chucked him into the backline. I guess if you send enough players into the backline, eventually one of them works out!
From Round 5, Howe averaged 100.4 points playing in defence including a five match purple patch where he averaged 114.8 points. As a defender he averaged 20.9 possessions and 7.7 marks per match compared with 12.5 possessions and 4.25 marks per match as a forward in the first month of 2016.
I’m rating Howe’s consistency based on his time as a defender in 2016. In 16 matches he only dropped under 80 points twice, a 58 in Round 19 and a 71 in Round 12 and he scored over 100 on 8 occasions.
How many defenders score a tonne 50% of the time?
From his eight 100+ scores, Howe scored over 120 on four occasions, the highest being a 135 point effort against the Lions in Round 8. Twice in 2016 Howe gathered over 25 possessions so with his marking (and contested marking) ability don’t be surprised if he pumps out the odd huge score in 2017.
As happens with Josh Gibson at Hawthorn, some teams will try to expose Howe when he tries to work off his man in defence for intercept marks. I can’t see this happening enough to significantly affect his scoring output.
Howe is not heavily discounted but he could feasibly score 10 points above his current average in 2017. Given the lack of under-priced defenders this year, Howe appears to be one of the safest value options.
Howe rates surprisingly well given how little attention he has received in this pre-season. He’s durable, consistent, coming off a strong year yet still offers some value.
Taylor Adams is touted as the sexy option in the backline this year but Howe is worth considering. With Adams’ contested ball numbers he probably has the higher ceiling, but he is likely to get injured or belt someone whereas Howe will probably play all 22 matches.
Let’s just hope he avoids playing Frisbee with his dog during the season.
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