Back in January, shortly after Supercoach opened to all for the year, we had a quick glance at the wisdom of the masses when it came to selecting a starting squad of 30 for this season. Eight weeks and 18 JLT matches later, those who have been paying attention have a little more information upon which to base their choice of stock. Here’s a look at a team made up of the most popular picks* amongst all coaches, as of 8pm on March 18th:
Note: For salary and structural purposes, Jake Lloyd (29th overall) did not make the cut, and Bailey Scott (30th) and Darcy Fort (31st) were replaced by Fyfe (36th) and Bines (most popular loophole option at around 11% ownership), respectively.
So how does this compare to the January version of Popular Picks?
Surprisingly (for me anyway), there is quite a large degree of commonality between the two ‘teams’. Eighteen players appear in both teams, and of the 12 players that have been ‘dropped’, eight are rookies that are either injured or missed JLT selection. Other significant observations:
* Josh Kelly and Toby Greene are the most notable players to lose favour. Kelly’s unexplained absence during the JLT series hasn’t washed well with the punters, while Greene has effectively been replaced by the cheaper Darcy Moore, who impressed as the Pies designated kicker-inner during the pre-season.
* Despite all the hullaballoo about a mid-priced defence, the most popular backline has effectively maintained the status quo, with Brodie Smith (12th overall) the only change to the starting six.
* Brad Crouch and Tom Liberatore have both found their way into the midfield on the back of promising pre-season form, with recent injury woes presenting each player with a heavily discounted price tag.
* Most of the prominent rookies have predictably experienced a boost in popularity after solid showings in the JLT series, with Sam Walsh (1st), Will Setterfield (3rd) and Michael Gibbons (9th) all looking to be certain starters for the Blues in round 1.
* Patrick Dangerfield is still a clear premium favourite among coaches, although his rate of selection has somehow dropped about seven percentage points since the last update!
* Coaches as a whole remain thoroughly unconvinced about the premium options in the forwards, with Devon Smith (40th overall) the next most popular premium option on that line.
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