THE STATE OF THE GAME
It is time to get positive! There is so much negativity around footy at the moment, I decided I would try and be constructive and positive this week in discussing the state of the game.
First up, let’s discuss the elephant in the room: Gillon McLachlan’s comments about trialing rule changes during the last rounds of the season, in games involving non-finalists. There was so much angst after he made those comments and the concept had clear flaws but the end result of McLachlan’s comments was brilliant: Social media banded together (which is rare) in a collective WTF, the Blues lifted to prove they were interested in playing real football in the last 5 rounds and Gillon McLachlan actually listened and backed down.
That, my friends, was a Christmas (in July) miracle!
And after that drama, Round 19 was filled with great matches. The Bombers vs Swans clash was pretty enjoyable, the Tigers vs Pies clash was a classic, North and West Coast played out a decent match and even the Geelong vs Brisbane clash was tightly contested for at least a half. The ladder is becoming super tight between 4th and 12th place and we will almost certainly see sudden death clashes in Round 23.
What’s not to like about footy right now?
But what is the solution to increasing fan interest in football?
McLachlan can change the rules all he likes but the league is going to have weak sides. That’s just how sport works! It is impossible to have 18 good sides all performing well at the same time because even strong lists can be taken down by injuries and team culture issues.
But there is a solution to keeping the fans engaged and I’ll happily let Hocking and McLachlan in on the answer (because they clearly read my reviews!). Here is the ultimate answer. The Secret to Life, the Universe and Everything. And no, it’s not 42!
Wait for it…
The answer is: Fantasy football.
Yep, Supercoach, AFL Fantasy, etc…
Throw $5 million at the fantasy leagues to be used as prize money. Award cold, hard cash to the top 1000 teams as well as awarding random spot prizes, league prizes and single week score prizes, etc and watch the numbers of fans watching crap matches increase exponentially. Who else but Supercoaches will watch Gold Coast play the Blues so we can watch our boy Patrick Cripps go bananas? And if you think this is too much money on a yearly basis, how much do you think the AFL wastes in all of these state of the game panels and studies and advertising. Give the money back to the grass roots Supercoach fans and watch the viewing audience boom!
Or am I crazy? Am I just trying to generate more money for the Supercoaches?
Let’s try it and see: Show me the money, Gill!
Sorry, Show us the money, Gill!
ESSENDON 15.19 (109) def SYDNEY 10.6 (66)
This week, let’s look at where each team is placed. For anyone who hasn’t done this, jump on the AFL website and play around with the Ladder Predictor to see where all the teams will finish his season.
My projections have the Bombers finishing 7th or 8th and Sydney finishing in the clump of teams on 48 points between 9th and 12th where percentage will decide the order.
Where did you have them finishing?
Jake Lloyd (Syd) 118 – There is a lot of unrest out there from non-Lloyd owners discussing how he is a Champion Data darling but this week I thought he was one of the Swans’ few good players. Even though he ran at a low 62% DE, that was related to his high contested possession count (10 contested from 29 disposals this week) and the fact he just doesn’t commit direct turnovers with only 1 clanger this week. Don’t complain about him, just trade him in!
Dyson Heppell (Ess) 118 – Did anyone else watch Fox Footy on Friday night and hear Nick Riewoldt calling him ‘serviceable’ at half time. Not to forget Cam Mooney saying he chips the ball around without having an effect forward of centre? Which game were they watching? I am getting sick of this new breed of criticism where midfielders are sledged for winning plenty of possessions but having no impact on the match.
Every time the Bombers won the ball out of the contest, Heppell was in there working hard. He racked up 31 possessions, 14 of them contested, at 77% DE, he only committed 2 clangers and he pumped the ball inside 50 on 6 occasions. Alongside Aliir Aliir and Hurley, Heppell was one of the best players on the ground.
Lance Franklin (Syd) 52 – After a fast start to the season, Buddy has sucked and we finally discovered that he has played under duress for most of the season. Just a little word of advice, Horse: The Swans are done and having your $1 million man playing sore is an unnecessary risk and not helping the team’s form. Drop him until he is fit!
Hurley, not known for his 1-on-1 defensive skills, gave Buddy an absolute bath apart from a brief purple patch in the third quarter. Buddy kicked 2 goals, one care of an elbow to Hurley’s neck, gave another 2 goal assists but otherwise spent the night being dominated by Hurley
Zach Merrett (Ess) 114 – I have felt like Merrett is having a poor season but he has now put together 8 straight tonnes and 9 tonnes from his last 10 matches. He is working his way into games whether he is receiving attention or not and is scoring well enough to be a top 8 mid for the last few rounds. In addition, it might be worth starting with him in 2019 given he will be discounted due to his slow start to 2018 (and round 1 concussion). Merrett wasn’t even particularly prominent in this match but he still gathered 24 disposals, 7 clearances, 7 tackles and kicked 1 goal. I think we can safely say he is back!
RICHMOND 16.9 (105) def COLLINGWOOD 12.5 (77)
You know what? I am not even going to give you much choice in the Tigers’ poll. They will finish first, second or third and barring a finals miracle, they will win back-to-back premierships.
The Pies are a bit more interesting: their injuries are mounting up but they are still playing good footy and should finish in the top 4 according to my projections. Where do you have the Pies finishing the regular season?
Brodie Grundy (Col) 157 – Grundy put on a rucking masterclass at the ‘G on Saturday, recording 23 possessions, 10 tackles and 48 hit-outs against the undersized Nankervis (winning 14 hit-outs to advantage compared with 1 to Nankervis). While the rest of this teammates are dropping like flies, Grundy just keeps pumping out the hits. He’s going to be expensive in 2019 but I would hate not to own Grundy when he’s scoring like this!
Jeremy Howe (Col) 17 – Concussion is a bitch for both the player and for your Supercaoch team, especially when it is the result of friendly fire (thanks for the knee Darcy Moore!). Howe didn’t even make it to quarter time before he was done for the day on 4 possessions and 2 marks with one of those contested. I wonder how this game would have played out if Howe wasn’t subbed out early and if De Goey was fit…
Dion Prestia (Ric) 104 – If you need a cheap midfielder, Prestia will only remain this price for a short time as he has now pumped out 5 straight 90+ scores and he looks to be building nicely for September. His 5 week average is now 103ppg and if he ever gets his body right he should be a great cheap midfield option for 2019.
GEELONG 18.12 (120) def BRISBANE 11.12 (78)
Brisbane are certainly competitive now and will take a few scalps before the end of the season but they are obviously out of contention. Geelong, on the other hand, can finish anywhere from the top 4 to outside of the top 8 but I have them finishing 5th or 6th.
Where do you have the Cats finishing?
Tom Hawkins (Gee) 151 – What was I saying about Hawkins last week? That he doesn’t take enough matches by the scruff of the neck last week? Well, he made me look stupid with a second bag of 7 goals in two weeks which has brought him in to contention for the Coleman medal. To add another bow to his string, Hawkins is also up the ground a lot to assist in the ruck meaning he also gathered 22 possessions to go with his 10 marks and 7 goals. Not only is he the form forward in the last month, he is even Supercoach relevant to finish the season with 7 tonnes in 8 weeks and an 8 week average of 118 SC points. A pity he’s a bit too expensive now!
Joel Selwood (Gee) 52 – Watching the match, Selwood didn’t look like he was out of the play a lot but he only gathered 22 possessions, 5 of them contested and recorded just the single tackle. The fear that Ablett would disrupt the other Geelong mids has proven a reality with Duncan, Selwood and Dangerfield all struggling to produce consistent scores like they have in past seasons. He could at least attempt to stick a few more tackles though!
Rhys Stanley (Gee) 111 – So if a ruckman goes down during the SC finals, what do you do? With his ruck-forward eligibility, Stanley might be the answer! Until Chris Scott changes his mind again, Stanley has locked up Geelong’s number 1 ruck mantle for the season and he is pumping out consistent scores with a 6 round average of 111ppg. And he doesn’t require a large possession count to score. This week he gathered 16 possessions, 8 clearances and 18 hit-outs but he ran at 100% DE and managed 7 hit-outs to advantage.
GWS 13.8 (86) def ST KILDA 8.13 (61)
The Giants aren’t playing brilliant footy but they have quietly won 7 from their last 8 matches and are charging for September. They have a relatively simple run home and should snare a coveted top 4 spot.
Better luck next season St Kilda!
Josh Kelly (GWS) 130 – With back-to-back scores of 130 SC points, Kelly is showing why so many coaches started with him in 2018 and why the Giants are playing so well now that he is back. Along with Cripps, Mitchell, Macrae and Oliver, he is leading the charge for the next wave of uber-premiums. In a pretty ugly match on Saturday, Kelly produced a pretty standard 32 possessions at 81% DE, 8 marks, 8 inside 50s and 3 goal assists, showing he is a cut above the Saints midfielders.
Callan Ward (GWS) 63 – You give the guy a wrap and then he stinks it up against the lowly Saints! OK, that’s probably not fair: Ward used the ball well with his 20 disposals running at 95%D DE and he didn’t record a single clanger, so despite his low contested ball numbers he was unlucky not to score higher.
Jade Gresham (StK) 113 – Now I’m not suggested you trade him in this season despite his strong recent form, but Gresham has all the hallmarks of a 2019 break-out contender, although you could do worse in the forward line this season (ie Buddy). He has averaged 106ppg for the last 6 weeks and seems to be spending more time up the ground than ever before. This week he gathered 25 disposals and kicked 2 goals.
CARLTON 12.7 (79) def GOLD COAST 5.14 (44)
Should we mention Carlton and Gold Coast in the finals discussion?
Patrick Cripps (Car) 172 – I think we have officially reached the point where if you don’t own Cripps, you are hating watching the Blues play; If you didn’t already hate watching the Blues play. He now has recorded 3 scores over 150 points in the past 7 weeks with a high of 187 points. He is just so damn big that nobody can stop him winning contested possessions or taking contested marks, both SC gold! This week he grabbed 2 contested marks, kicked 1 goal and gathered 17 contested possessions from 37 total. In case you wondered about his defensive work: 11 tackles. Enough said!
The players in this match get a pass! Not a single recognized premium scored less than 100 SC points. Well done all!
Nope! – We are all experienced Supercoaches here so we know that trading players in from struggling sides is just not a good idea. If you don’t own Cripps, or perhaps Simmo, then it may be worth bringing them in (dependent on cash) but otherwise, avoid Blues and Suns!
MELBOURNE 13.12 (90) def ADELAIDE 10.17 (77)
This was the most important clash of the round in regards to finals with a win by the Demons launching their assault on September. I have them finishing 5th or 6th now while the Crows will be fighting for 9th place with 3 other teams.
Where do you have the Crows and Demons?
Max Gawn (Mel) 130 – Maxy gave us yet another reason why he should be in Brownlow contention with 24 hit-outs to advantage for the match (66 hit-outs in total). He only gathered 12 possessions but he was instrumental in the win as he gave silver service to his mids all match (just look at Oliver’s 14 clearances!). Who wouldn’t love to see big Maxy win the Brownlow medal?
Sam Jacobs (Ade) 63 – While Maxy dominated, Sauce struggled to impact the match with just 6 possessions and not a single hit-out to advantage in the second half (compared to 16 for Gawn). In 2019 Jacobs will find himself out of just about every Supercoach team! Thanks for the memories!
Matt Crouch (Ade) 112 – There are not a lot of options in the bargain bin at these clubs but Crouch would be the choice of the lot if you need to fill a spot for about $500k. Crouch is not pumping out huge scores but his standard deviation is pretty low and he knows how to find the ball with 32 possessions this week, 21 of them contested, 7 clearances and 8 tackles. Only a lot disposal efficiency (53%) and 4 clangers prevented a higher score.
NORTH MELBOURNE 12.9 (81) def WEST COAST 6.5 (41)
This was a massive win for North and it should be enough to see them take 7th or 8th place; as long as they defeat Brisbane at the GABBA next week! For West Coast, the loss shouldn’t make a huge difference although they have a tricky couple of matches against Port in Adelaide and Melbourne in WA. They should lock down second spot, or perhaps they could drop as low as third if they drop an unexpected match.
Where do you have the Eagles and Roos finishing?
Ben Cunnington (Nor) 142 – Cunnington rolled up his sleeves and smashed out a huge match, racking up 39 possessions and 7 clearances. While he may lack polish, Cunnington will never be accused of softing it, recording 10 tackles and an impressive 22 contested possessions. Imagine what this could have been if not for 6 clangers?
Jack Darling (WC) 62 – With Josh Kennedy out, Darling seemed a smart option this week but sadly he hasn’t been able to reproduce his early season form. Against the Roos he didn’t kick a goal and only salvaged a decent score because of one contested mark and 2 goals assists. You wonder if his early season form was a flash-in-the-pan and if he will ever appear to be a top 6 forward again.
Jeremy McGovern (WC) 122 – McLovin has scored erratically all season but he has now scored 3 tonnes on the trot for a 3 week average of 120ppg. Now that he has signed that new contract, perhaps he can continue with this newly discovered consistency? The McGovernator only recorded 18 disposals and 7 marks on Sunday but he pulled down 4 contested marks and most of his possessions were contested.
PORT ADELAIDE 11.12 (78) def WESTERN BULLDOGS 5.4 (34)
After dropping a couple of winnable matches, Port simply had to win this one. Despite suffering from frostbite in Ballarat, they got the job done and rejoined the top 4… for now. While they are 4th for now, I foresee a rapid drop in their fortunes in the next month, so much so that I have them finishing in the 9th-12th group.
Where do you predict Port to finish?
Jackson Trengove (WB) 156 – There was some chance that a few players were still alive in Perfect 9 but Trengove certainly saved the Herald Sun having to pay the jackpot! Playing in the ruck against his old side, Trengove was more than handy, gathering 22 possessions, 10 clearances, 28 hit-outs and 2 goals, especially impressive as Patrick Ryder was back for Port this week.
Jason Johannisen (WB) 32 – Here is yet another player who teases us with the odd good run of form before embarrassing himself with an effort like this. I know the conditions were poor but even so 9 possessions and 5 tackles is a pretty horrible effort. There is no way JJ will ever be relevant in SC again until he sorts out these shockers!
Jackson Macrae (WB) 147 – I’m sure I’m not telling you anything you didn’t know but Macrae has just about bottomed out in price and is ripe for the pickings if you needed another gun midfielder for the SC finals. Since returning from injury he has twice scored over 130 SC points with the one poor match last week when Hutchings tagged him heavily. This week Macrae gathered 36 possessions and 12 clearances and may still be in contention for the Brownlow medal in 2018
HAWTHORN 17.10 (112) def FREMANTLE 7.11 (53)
To be any chance of finals the Hawks had to win this one and did so with gusto, giving them a handy percentage boost. Still, the Hawks have a tough run home, facing Essendon, Geelong and Sydney and seem likely to finish in 9th place.
Does anyone think the Hawks can make the 8 this season?
Tom Mitchell (Haw) 150 – Now and then Banfield stood in the vicinity of Mitchell but for some reason he didn’t apply a hard tag. Come Brownlow Medal night, Mitchell is sure to say thanks as he helped himself to yet another 42 disposals, 7 clearances, 9 marks, 5 tackles and 2 goals. Tom Mitchell still needs to learn how to play with a hard tag but when he does he will be the next Diesel Williams! Gun!
Michael Walters (Fre) 61 – What happened to Walters? Before his hamstring injury Walters was a strong chance to finish a top 6 forward but he has been poor since he returned. Watching the match he seemed to be playing between the forward line and midfield and getting his hands on the ball regularly (22 disposals) but he just made too many errors (5 clangers) and he didn’t hit the scoreboard. If you have enough trades left it may be worth upgrading Walters!
Luke Breust (Haw) 113 – Breust has been on fire of late, with 6 tonnes in the least 7 weeks and an average of 114.5ppg in that time. While kicking plenty of goals in that time has helped, Breust has also pushed up into the midfield often in the second half of the season and regularly records a healthy possession count. This week he gathered 19 possessions and 6 marks to go with his 4 goals.
Leave a comment / Scroll to bottom