Brods admitted to me half way through writing his analysis that he was having trouble stopping at just the SC relevant players. Those of you who play Draft footy will rejoice though because Brods’ hard work could mean the difference between you unearthing a Lions gem or a spud. One more post to go in this series – the Rookies.
Allen Christensen – Mid/Fwd – $487,100, 8, 90.6
Bundy effectively joined the club in a straight swap with Joel Patfull in the 2014 trade period under somewhat acrimonious circumstances. All things aside, what matters now is how soon he can be fit to play after post season back surgery but all is looking good for round one but should feature in the NAB Challenge. DPP status and an average in the 90’s the previous two seasons for the Cats makes him an interesting prospect, if fit, with all eyes on Dane Swan to turn back the clock could be a decent POD. Averaged 3 figures to close out 2014 but new surroundings and where he fits in the Lions best 22 are key questions that need to be answered first before seriously considering.
Mitch Robinson – Mid/Fwd – $446,600, 12, 83.1
Happily accepted a lifeline in the delisted free agent period and you’d think Robbo would be motivated sufficiently to turn potential into premium output. Must have jaded many Blues fans with his incredible output at times only to follow it up with a stinker, belt a bloke or have an off-field indiscretion [yes, yes he did – Motts]. Obtained DPP status in 2015 and is similarly priced to Dane Swan in the same area but would you trust the bloke to string some games together and give you value for money? He did have a decent run after the bye rounds in 2014 but that 161 he scored in 2012 is the output most associate with his best but the same questions asked of Allen Christensen must be asked of Robbo too… see where he fits in first before considering.
Michael Close – Fwd – 39.4, 14, $211,900 (Third Year Senior Listed)
Was the CHF of choice for Leppa after the mid-season retirement of Jonathan Brown and coupled with long term injuries to senior forwards Close managed 14 matches in 2014. Had a season high score of 84 coming against the Demons but scores fell below 50 for the most part. Judged the Lions’ Most Professional Player last season and has been among the leaders in the club’s 3km time trials again proving that he’s prepared to work hard despite his size. Still very much a work in progress but if the jungle drums are beating true apparently Leppa is running with Closey as the key target down forward and with the silver service he’ll be getting who knows… might be worth a punt at 211k?
Jonathan Freeman – Fwd – 32.2, 4, $173,300 (Second Year Senior Listed)
Still a raw talent up forward got his opportunity late in the season playing the last 4 games and kicked 4 glorious goals in the boilover against the Pies in round 21, scoring a season high 57 points in the process. Will struggle for regular appearances but is still very much in the developmental stage of his career but there are big raps on the kid down south with the big pack grab well within his repertoire. Check back later in the season where he might be better used as a downgrade target as he is also recovering from back surgery and won’t be ready to go until at least round 5.
Jackson Paine – Fwd – 34.5, 6, $185,400
Not the best start in Lions colours in the senior ranks for Painey after a limited pre-season, managing just the 6 games and not impacting the scoreboard as much as Leppa would like giving him the red vest in 2 of those appearances. Well back in the queue now with Staker and McGuane back in full training and with only one score reaching 50 in 2014 your rookie cash is better spent elsewhere. Was trialled down back in the reserves for a period last season but managed bags of 5 goals on a few occasions as well.
Lewis Taylor – Fwd – 63.5, 22, $341,100 (2014 Rising Star)
Came out of nowhere to debut in round one and stuck around for the remainder of the season earning himself plaudits as the AFL’s best first year player on virtually no pre-season. Started as sub in round one but nailed down a spot in the forward line as part of the newly minted ‘Mozzie Squad’ for the remainder of the season. Exceeded the ton on two occasions and had a decent purple patch after the bye averaging 77ppg from rounds 11-16. Given the trading situation it could result in a more permanent position up forward this season for Squizzy which probably won’t mean an improvement on his 2014 numbers unless he improves markedly on the goal scoring front.
Daniel McStay – Fwd – 54.3, 9, $292,000 (2nd Year)
McStaying around for another few years after re-signing last September he caught the attention of the selection panel in round 15 and played the remainder of the season. Was the catalyst for the Lion’s win against the Demons booting 3 goals and playing at both ends of the ground on the way to 88 points. Took mark of the day on Jeremy Howe while he was at it… something! Judging from all reports McStay played his best footy down back in the NEAFL with his run and carry his biggest strength. He might not have to wait as long for a gig in 2015 if the forwards take their time getting it right. Might win a car… exciting times!
Josh Green – Fwd – 66.2, 20, $355,600
Another component of the ‘Mozzie Squad’ Green lead all Lions in goal scoring last season with 33 majors. Another in a long list of Lions who steadily increased scoring output as the season went on with the best of 111 coming against the Suns in round 18. Not high on the list of mid-priced forwards but recently stated he’ll be modelling his game on that of Hayden Ballantyne’s which could mean more time up the ground but you’d expect similar scoring output regardless as his goal scoring may suffer. Entering his 5th season the time might be nigh for the ‘Supersub’ to improve the average picking off the scraps Closey leaves behind though. He’d be an upgrade target at best if he takes off with the likes of Hogan and Clark getting around for 200k less.
Luke McGuane – Fwd – 16.7, 3, $166,800
Former delisted free agent was recruited as a key forward but had little chance to find his feet in 2014 in his native Queensland. Had pre-season knee surgery and has been on modified training but you weren’t considering picking him despite his starting price were you? He may get early games as Leppa was pretty keen to play him as soon as he was ready in 2014 and with Jono Freeman’s LTI might well feature in round one. Scored a zero against the Tigers last year and averaged in the teens… not a good sign but may be extremely keen to atone for a torrid start. If he’s selected for round one consider if Clark and Hogan end up proppy by the end of the NAB challenge.
Marco Paparone – Mid/Fwd – 50.8, 18, $273,200
Massive candidate for the vest in the Lions best 22 is Marco in 2015 I feel but injuries are working more and more in his favour as the weeks go on this pre-season. Does some wonderful things when allowed to roam free off half back where he’ll most likely find a foothold at some stage of 2015. DPP status is interesting and the price could be awkward if you’re set on taking Dane Swan as your mid-price option. I’m getting a bad case of the Karnez-itis thinking about this potential selection because someone has to wear the bloody vest… check the debutants in round one for the Lions before even going near him for this reason.
Brent Staker – Fwd – $246,800 (Long Term Injury Return)
‘Stakes’ can’t take a trick in recent seasons but after a frustrating rehabilitation from all sorts of issues in 2014 he’s back in full flights and ready to swing back into the Lions best 22. Approach with caution as he hasn’t been able to string together a full season in Lions colours as yet and it’s the same story as the cheap Lions options before him… his price didn’t reduce enough in his convalescence so instead of the 128k we paid back in 2013 we’re up for twice as much now! Did hit three straight tons though once he got his act together last we saw of him though so keep an eye on him for sure.
Dayne Zorko – Fwd/Mid – 99.0, 21, $531,900
The Magician did the trick last year returning to premium status after a dodgy second season and retained his DPP status in the process. Yet again a pre-season standout and if he maintains his foothold in the midfield among the new arrivals we could be seeing a coming of age for the ‘other Dayne’. Should get less and less attention unless he destroys the comp in the opening rounds again like he did last year (and making me sound like a genius in the process) but went on a very lean trot belting out a 12 just before the bye but considering that the poor performances are among monster scores of 161, 159 & 162 it makes him an attractive league win POD but potentially not for overall glory.
Claye Beams – Fwd/Mid – 53.2, 13, $286,100
I’m not talking up Claye this year… every time I do he gets cut down in the pre-season and ends up missing 3 months. Too awkward of a price to consider, even for his newly acquired DPP status, unless he channels his inner Stefan Martin and doesn’t end up tagging. Unfortunately it’s hard to see him playing alongside his brother in what’s become a loaded midfield on paper if he doesn’t re-invent himself but getting a full pre-season under his belt would be the first priority for Claye. NAB Challenge will confirm the role he plays in 2015 but the early word is that he’ll play exclusively off half back.
Daniel Merrett – Def/Fwd – 53.0, 19, $284,900
Yes Leppa said big ‘Sauce’ would play off the full back line and yes he made his name as a big spoiling defender who absolutely hated getting swung from one end to the other in 2014 but he’s the only bloke in the side currently that’s managed a 7 goal haul in recent history. So I’ve stuck him in the forwards because he’s still got the DPP status and does his best scoring there. Before too long effective spoils will become a scoring stat to give the key position defenders something extra but until they do it’d be safer to leave big ‘Roger’ out for now.
Leave a comment / Scroll to bottom