Finally found the time this morning to complete my analysis of The Blues. Enjoy.
SOS said it best at the Carlton Season Launch a couple of weeks ago: The Blues don’t bat deep. If they have everyone to choose from they’ll be a competitive team. Scratch the surface and the Baggers are in trouble. As Roosy says: its not about the best blokes on the field – the difference between the good and bad teams is the worst 4 blokes on the field.
Being uncomfortably honest with myself, I’d say Carlton won’t make the 8 this year. I don’t even think they’ve recruited enough talent or improved enough in the offseason to finish higher than they did last year – 13th. With Mick in the last year of his contract, we’ve got a season of speculation (distraction) ahead of us. I’m going to put this out there right now: I want Brett Ratten back. Loved his brand of footy and 3 years with a double and possibly triple premiership winning team isn’t going to have done him much harm at all. Forgive us Ratts, we knew not what we did. Please come home.
Round 11 bye shared with Adelaide, Richmond, Western Bulldogs, Brisbane & Hawthorn.
B Rowe Jamison Everitt
HB Walker Jaksch Yarran
C Bell Judd Simpson
HF Henderson Watson Thomas
F Menzel Casboult Jones
R Kreuzer Murphy Gibbs
I Tuohy, Carrazzo, Docherty, Cripps/Curnow
Maybe: Buckley, Whiley, White, Graham, Armfield, Boekhurst, Dick, Viojo-Rainbow, Smith, Wood, Warnock
MARC MURPHY (MID, 106, $570,000). When you pay $570k for a midfielder you want 100+ every single week. You’ll forgive a rare 90 maybe overlook an 80 but what you never want to see is a 70-something score or less. Last season Murph served up 3 70’s and a 27 in the last game of the season when he got concussed and subbed. Even 3 scores around 150 doesn’t make up for that. My issue with Murph (and it’s the same issue I had at the beginning of 2014) is that he struggles with a tag. Bryce may take the main opposition more this year but its too risky to pick Spud until I know for a fact that’s going to be the case. Scored 91 in NAB3 but everyone knows no-one tags in the preseason.
Verdict: Reluctantly I’m saying pass.
BRYCE GIBBS (MID, 106.3, $571,000). After two soft-ish years by his standards (averaging 95) he returned to the midfield pretty much full time last year and bang! his average jumped by 11 points. I’m expecting more of the same this year with Juddy winding down and Murph needing all the help he can get. In fact, even though he’s 26 in a week, I’m predicting that 2015 is the year we see Gibbsy take the next step into elite-dom taking his average to 115. Last point on Gibbsy: how bloody durable is he? Only missed 4 games in a 172 game career. *Stands*. *Applauds*.
Verdict: You’re probably not going to pick him unless you’re a Blues supporter. Those that do will be well rewarded.
KADE SIMPSON (DEF, 95.4, $512,800). You know what you’re getting when you pick The Beard. 22 games a year and an average in the mid-90’s. His scores last year were a little too variable for my liking but given the dearth of quality backmen this year I reckon he’s a must-have.
Verdict: Get on him.
CHRIS JUDD (MID, 90.6, $486,900). War horse. Those are the two words that come to mind when I think of Chris Judd. Take out the game against the Dogs when he came back to soon and pinged his hammy within 90 seconds scoring 6, and he averaged 98.4 last year. Word is he’s in terrific shape this year too. The Twig posted a photo over Christmas showing him at the beach with a full-on six pack. Here’s the worry though, he’s in the twilight of his playing career which means he’s going to be managed this year – there’ll be games he won’t travel to and there may be games where at some point he’s going to be wearing a brightly coloured vest.
Verdict: Chris Judd is a champion and I love having him playing for my team for another year but you can’t put him in yours.
DALE THOMAS (MID, 75.7, $406,600). Carlton watched the movie Moneyball but I don’t think they got it. First we massively pay over-the-odds for Daisy and then we bring in Liam Jones. *slaps forehead*Yes, Ross Lyon called him the best player in the game at one point but everybody now knows that Ol Rossy was foxing. Daisy’s had a full preseason which is great but at 28 and with a reconstructed ankle that saw him mothballed in R21 last year after a knock you’d be a game coach to put him in your SC team.
Verdict: Draft only. And only after a ton of better players have already been taken.
LEVI CASBOULT (FWD, Av., $). Putting aside my predilection for blokes named Levi!, I’ve always had a thing for Mr Casboult. Marks the ball as well as anyone in the game. Probably better. The thing that’s let him down in the past is his kicking. If he’s put in the effort over the summer he could be as good as a young Tommy Hawkins this year.
Verdict: Unfortunately SC doesn’t treat KPP’s kindly. Pass.
CHRIS YARRAN (DEF, Av. 82.6, $444,600). In 2011, under Ratten, Yaz averaged 87.3 in 21 games. He looked set to break out the following year but instead carded an average of 67.7 (18). Last year he seemed to be getting back to his attacking best and by the looks of his scores in the preseason games he could be set for a big year. In 2 games he scored 103 (75% TOG) and 137 (80% TOG).
Verdict: With the lack of quality defenders this year, I reckon he’s worth taking a punt on.
ANDREJS EVERITT (DEF/MID, Av. 81.2, $436,300). “Why’s Mottsy reviewing that spud Everitt?” I hear you think. Well get this: Andrejs increased his average by 18 points last year. Not only that, in Carlton’s preseason game against Collingwood, he racked up a 95 in 84% TOG. The problem is he backed that up with a 57 against the Cats. Coming back from a knee injury that sidelined him from R18 onwards last year he looks good on the park and will have some good games sweeping across our backlines but his consistency rules him out as a prospect.
Verdict: SC Draft only.
ROBBIE WARNOCK (RUC, Av. 80.9, $435,000). With Krooz in another moon boot RW will shoulder the rucking load for the first part of the season. As a ruck, he’s actually pretty handy – he’s averaged in the 80s for the past 4 seasons. The reason you won’t pick him though is that you want a ruck that rests in the forward lines and kicks goals. Robbie ain’t that guy. For that reason, as soon as Krooz comes back he’ll be out of the team faster than you can say ‘big white stiff’.
Verdict: If he was priced in the $250’s I’d say get on him and make some coin. He isn’t though so pick someone else.
SAM DOCHERTY (DEF, Av. 76.8, $412,900). In his third year in the league, I’m expecting Docherty to improve again after increasing his average 25 points in 2014. Will that means he scores enough week-in, week-out to remain in your squad for the year? Probably not but at a smidge over $400k he’s worth a shot. Played all 3 PS games and averaged 73 scoring almost a point a minute.
Verdict: Definitely a good pick for your Draft team, will be overshadowed by the likes of Lumumba, Newnes and Yarran in your regular SC team.
LACHIE HENDERSON (FWD, Av. 73.5, $395.200). Has a real opportunity to step into Jarrad Waite’s swingman shoes. Before sitting out the final 4 rounds of 2014 with an eye socket (!) injury he scored 108, 84, 132, and 103. Add to that he’s now 26 so should be close to the peak of his powers. So why did he go and shoot my confidence in him completely in the foot by scoring 64 and 62 in 2 PS games that he played almost all of? He’s delayed contract discussions so could be setting himself for a big year to prove his worth. As a SC coach, he’s a big risk to take though.
Verdict: Draft only unless you’re a Carlton supporter with heavily tinted navy blue sunnies on.
MATTHEW KREUZER (RUC, Av. 69, $370,900). Sigh. Another season, another foot injury for Matty Kreuzer. He’s only just come out of the moonboot now but prior to that by all reports was having a terrific preseason. Won’t play the opening rounds so you can’t select him.
Verdict: Given his injury history, you’re going to need Shwarzwalder-sized cojones to pick him when he comes back from this latest setback.
TOM BELL (FWD, Av. 63.9, $343,600). You know how sometimes you’re bullish on a player for no good reason other than you see a hell of a lot of potential in him? Belly is that player for me. I reckon he could be our answer to JP Kennedy by the end of this season. There, I said it. Turns 24 this year and has the kind of frame that coaches love running through the guts. Scored 76, 80 and 103 in ~80% TOG in his three PS matches. If he can improve his awareness and decision making this year he’ll be a beast.
Verdict: Not even I’ve selected him for my regular SC team but he’s front and centre in my Draft team.
LIAM JONES (FWD, 57.3, $308,000). “NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!”. That was my first reaction to hearing the news that The Blues had drafted Jones last year. In the games I’d seen, my memories were of a ‘ranga that could take a grab but couldn’t kick it straight to save his life. Even my Doggie-supporting mates were ribbing me. I’ve since gone onto YouTube and found this video showing his highlights from last year. Its only 3:17 long (I would’ve preferred 2 hours) but it did give me hope. The fact Carlton published the video tells me that I’m not the only supporter my doubts though. I did bump into a Blues staff member earlier this year and he told me that Jonesy was probably the hardest working bloke on the training track this summer.
Verdict: Been in the league 5 years, played 66 games (never a full season) and averaged 51.7. Not even in your Draft team.
TROY MENZEL (FWD, Av. 50.7, $272,400). Have always loved the look of Menzel so threw his name onto the list to evaluate. Going into his numbers though I’ve realised he’s not ready to be selected in your SC teams yet. Played 19 games in his second season last year and only managed a high for the year of 91 points when he bagged 3.2 against The Saints.
Verdict: Until Mick runs him through the middle he’s fantasy irrelevant I’m afraid.
PATRICK CRIPPS (MID, Av.,39.3 $211,400). The cat’s out of the bag with this kid after he scored 78 (61% TOG), 106 (77%) and 119 (83%) in the NAB Challenge. That last game was against The Cats by the way. So good is his awareness and hands those around the club were likening him to Diesel Williams very soon after he was drafted.
Verdict: Not cheap but will make you a ton of dough.
BLAINE BOEKHORST (MID, $132,300). Hasn’t done enough this preseason to warrant a spot in my team. Scores of 29, 76 and 27 leave me hoping he doesn’t get named for R1 and becomes a trade-down target later on.
CLEM SMITH (DEF, $117,300). Got played in all 3 preseason games scoring 17, 28 and 29 (the last score coming in 38% TOG). I liked the look of him.
Verdict: Worthy of consideration if named R1.
MATTHEW DICK (DEF, $123,900). Played twice in the preseason scoring 35 and 51. Doubt he’ll make our R1 team. Only 20 years old so could take a while to come on. (Dick. Come on. OK lets move on.)
Verdict: Doubt he’ll get more than a few games this year and even then is likely to be vested. Wait until he’s played 2 and been named for a third if you’re considering bringing him into your team.
DYLAN VIOJO-RAINBOW (DEF, $117,300). Only got played once in the preseason and scored 1. ‘Nuff said.
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