Starting Price $465 000
SC Scoring History
2015 – 86 points per game from 18 games played
2014 – 89ppg (22)
2013 – 92ppg (14)
2012 – 95ppg (20)
Four-time Premiership player and All-Australian defender (2012) with the prospect of more to come at 28 years of age……big props, HUGE in fact!! Not many footballers can boast such achievements.
Not many can boast a career Disposal Efficiency rate over 80% either (from 216 games!!). Not many players have dished out more than 500+ disposals in six seasons of footy. Even fewer players keep their clangers under 10% of total disposals (let alone Birchall’s 6-8% mark). And all this from an average of 80 – 85% Time On Ground. His consistency across ten seasons really is the overall highlight of his game. He’s only played less than 20 games in a year on three occasions (16, 17 & 19). Just last year, he had 20+ disposals in all but three games (in which he had 17, 17 & 18 touches!). In all my numbers research, I can’t recall such consistency. Despite all that, the most remarkable aspect is that Birchall has never averaged more than 95 SC pts in a single season of football. Why is that?
As we’ve already seen with Sneak Previews from Suckling, Malceski & Seedsman, we seem to have a re-occurring theme with half-back flankers. Birchall falls terribly short on many key SC indicators. He barely tackles (just over one per game), doesn’t get his own ball (under 20% contested possessions) and clearances don’t seem like spiking any time soon (under one per game). He’s obviously the Hawks main ball-carrier coming out of the back line. The one hanging out the back of a pack or a kick behind play. And the Hawks, more than any other team, single him out for that role. Judging by those four Premiership medals, it’s working pretty well for them 😉
So what should we expect from Birchall this season? If his consistency is anything to go by, then he’ll amass another 500+ disposals at a ridiculously high Efficiency rate while barely tackling or collecting any contested possessions. As long as he doesn’t cop a heavy tag, he’ll be good for 20+ games and bring a steady 90-95 SC average (and possibly another Premiership medal!). The risk is whether you settle for that at his starting price or gamble on other defenders to go large. Decisions, decisions…………
*Stats from NAB1: 24 possessions (inc. 9 contested!) at 75% Disposal Efficiency (from 69% Time On Ground) & 139 SC pts.
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