Under Buckley, the Pies midfield transitioned as the year progressed with young mids such as DeGoey, Crisp and Adams spending more time in the centre while Pendlebury spent more time back and Swan more time forward. The youthful midfield was capable of frenzied pressure early in the year that offset the skill errors that the Pies still made all too often and they pushed many good sides like Hawthorn and Fremantle. Unfortunately when that pressure dropped off as the year progressed, they were exposed by most teams with losses to teams like Melbourne and Essendon.
So what did that mean?
It meant another Jekyll and Hyde season with 8 wins and 3 losses in the first 11 games but 2 wins from the final 11 games.
Still the year wasn’t a complete disaster with valuable game time put into many promising youngsters. In addition, during the trade period Collingwood secured GWS star Adam Treloar, Brisbane’s James Aish and Melbourne frequent flyer, Jeremy Howe, to increase the already formidable depth of the list.
B: Marley Williams, Nathan Brown, Jack Frost
HB: Tom Langdon, Ben Reid, Alan Toovey
C: Jack Crisp, Scott Pendlebury, Steele Sidebottom
HF: Dane Swan, Darcy Moore, Jeremy Howe
F: Jamie Elliott, Travis Cloke, Jordan De Goey
Foll: Brodie Grundy, Adam Treloar, Taylor Adams
I/C: Jarrod Witts, Travis Varcoe, Levi Greenwood, Brent Macaffer
Fringe: Jesse White, Tim Broomhead, Jarry Blair, James Aish
With the acquisition of Treloar and the development of Adams and Crisp, the Pies midfield depth is impressive and bodes well for 2016. With Macaffer returning from injury and players like Aish, Broomhead and Blair fighting for a spot, there will be plenty of competition for the best 22.
The Pies defence is solid enough if Frost, Brown, Langdon and Reid can stay fit while father-son forward Darcy Moore looks like the tall forward the Pies have been chasing for years to support Cloke. The addition of Howe will help although his preseason has been derailed by foot soreness. Add another year of development for Grundy and Witts in the ruck and the list looks pretty solid even if the list is a little young to challenge for the ultimate prize.
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Tom Langdon – D – $461,100
2015 Av. 85 from 22 games.
2015: He wasn’t an elite scorer, but an amazingly mature and consistent year for a second year player.
PROs: Can find the ball, averaging 21 possessions per game and due to his efficiency, he can score highly with 5 scores over 100. Entering his third year so expect an increase.
CONs: Like all defenders, he can put in the odd stinker with two scores in the 50s.
VERDICT: A smokey, could break out in his third year. Watchlist.
Marley Williams – D – $462,400
2015 Av. 86 from 20 games.
Past: 71, 75, 52.
2015: Williams showed what he is capable of in the Heath Shaw style of rebounding defender role, averaging 21 possessions across the season.
PROs: A fantasy-friendly player who scores over 100 on 6 occasions and can go large with a high of 137 in 2015. Entering his fourth year, he’s a definite break-out candidate.
CONs: Awkward price, a bit inconsistent in 2015 despite strong average.
VERDICT: Watch his preseason closely, a smokey.
MIDPRICE MADNESS ($200K – $400K)
James Aish – D/M – $275,700
2015 Av. 51 in 11 games
Past 5: 71
Vests: 1 R (mid 3rd against WC in Rd 4), 1 G (Half time against Melb in Rd 16)
2015: After a promising debut season in 2014, Aish went backwards in 2015 most likely as a result of his desire to leave the Lions. He was in and out of the side until a jaw injury caused him to miss round 10-12 and on return he wasn’t much better but at least he held his spot until his season ended in round 17 due to a finger injury.
PROs: He’s much better than his score suggests with the great skills that the Pies need and he’s eligible as a defender.
CONs: Is he in the best 22 of the very deep Pies’ midfield?
Verdict: A risky selection despite the cheap price tag but you have to consider him with his defender status.
Scott Pendlebury – M – $627,200
2015 Av. 116 from 22 games.
Past 5: 124, 127, 125, 129, 111.
2015: The Pies hid Pendlebury’s pre-season shoulder surgery from the world but it didn’t seem to effect his performance too much. However as the year progressed Buckley moved Pendles out of the midfield more often, playing loose in defence on occasion. The reduced amount of contested possessions and clearances effected Pendlebury’s output somewhat although he only scored less than 100 on 4 occasions, with 81 being his lowest score.
PROs: He super-durable and this is his cheapest price since 2011.
CONs: Buckley looks likely to give Pendles less midfield time as his young midfielders develop so he may not reach the highs of pre-2015.
VERDICT: A value pick as he will not score less than he did in 2015 but expect less contested possessions due to less midfield time. Tough call on him this year.
Adam Treloar – M – $576,400
2015 Av. 106 from 21 games.
Past: 107, 87, 83.
2015: We all had high expectations of Treloar and we were perhaps a bit disappointed with his average only matching 2014, but he is only 22. He is a gun when you consider he only dropped below 100 on 9 occasions and below 90 only 4 times.
PROs: He’s pretty durable, entering his fifth year and joining a strong midfield so he could explode.
CONs: Some players take a while to settle in to a new club. His role in the side is unknown currently.
VERDICT: He is unlikely to let you down but there is better value around in 2016.
Steele Sidebottom – M – $562,200
2015 Av. 104 from 16 games.
Past 5: 113, 103, 106, 83, 84.
2015: Looked an inspired choice by smart Supercoaches at half time in Round 1 when he was carving up the Lions but a broken thumb after half time saw him miss 6 matches. On his return he was again prolific until he received more attention from taggers, which saw him score under 80 three times for the remainder of the season (twice against the Demons!).
PROs: An under-priced ball magnet who works hard to find space and will receive less attention this year with the arrival of Treloar and development of younger midfielders.
CONs: Struggles to score heavily when tagged.
VERDICT: With the slight discount he’s worth a look as a P.O.D but there’s better value out there.
Taylor Adams – M – $528,500
2015 Av. 98 from 18 games.
Past: 70, 76, 75.
Vest: 1 R, subbed Q3, Rd 19 (Carlton).
2015: Adams realised his talent in 2015 with more midfield time, averaging 27 possessions per game across the whole season. He missed only 2 games with niggly injuries (toe and foot) but he also missed 2 through suspension when Westhoff head-butt his knee. The most impressive statistic was his finish to the year when he managed 7 scores over 100 in his final 10 games and a Supercoach average of approximately 108 per game and that included a score of 40 when he injured his quad and was red vested against Carlton.
PROs: He loves contested ball, he isn’t skilled enough to be tagged and Buckley looks to prefer him in the centre.
CONs: Buckley likes to play funny-buggers with positions and does swing players forward just to annoy supercoaches.
Verdict: If you want to be different, he could go elite immediately. Seriously consider.
MID-PRICE MADNESS ($200K – $450K)
Jordan De Goey – M – $318,400
2015 Av. 58 from 16 games.
Vests: 4 G, 1 R. He was subbed on in the third quarter in 3 of these games, the other 2 he played most of the game.
2015: Sometimes you can watch a first year player and you just know they are going to be good. De Goey has enough poise to win a Miss Universe title and is tough in the packs with 5 tackles per game. As the year progressed he received more midfield time and he made his first tonne in round 20 against Sydney.
PROs: He a gun and will play plenty of time in the midfield.
CONs: He won’t improve enough to be a keeper so he’s a bit too awkwardly priced.
Verdict: Although he’ll improve in 2016, he won’t jump enough to select this year. Pick him in 2017!
Brent Macaffer – M – $174,200
2015 Av. DNP.
Past 5: 54, 60, 0, 46, 82.
2015: Spent all but the last 4 games in rehab for his torn ACL from late 2014. Looked good in the VFL in those 4 games and he’s likely to return to the seniors in 2016.
PROs: Likely to be rookie priced and is definitely in the best 22.
CONs: Hasn’t scored over 50 in years so don’t expect too much.
VERDICT: If midfield rookies are hard to find, Macaffer is your man.
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Brodie Grundy – R – $488,800
2015 Av. 91 from 19 games.
Past: 63, 75.
Vest: 1 R, subbed Q3 of Rd 23 (Essendon).
2015: Improved greatly from his poor 2014, taking over the ruck from Witts until his neck injury at training. Had to odd off game but impressive third year for a young ruckman.
PROs: Entering his fourth year, will only improve.
CONs: Performed too well in 2015 and is too expensive to offer value.
VERDICT: Unlikely to let you down by probably not enough upside.
MID-PRICE MADNESS ($200K – $400K)
Travis Cloke – F – $373,900
2015 Av. 69 from 17 games
Past 5: 73, 95, 81, 98, 91.
Vests: 1 R (subbed in Rd 16 against WC on 1!).
2015: The Pies kicked to Cloke way too often and as a result the defenders sat on Cloke all year which meant Cloke dropped his average again. Perhaps age started to tell with Cloke missing several games through soft tissue injuries.
PROs: The Pies should improve so expect more goals (or points for big Trav). He’s very cheap and may receive less attention with the addition of Howe and the development of Moore.
CONs: A risky pick now he’s approaching the soft tissue injury age of the late 20s and he’s a one man rollercoaster.
Verdict: He will make you cash but you’ll soon find yourself saying, “Imagine what he would have scored if he could kick straight.” I respect myself too much to select him.
Mason Cox – R/F – $117,300
2015 Av. DNP.
2015: The big rookie progressed rapidly in the VFL last year with his best game coming in Round 21 where he kicked 5 goals against the Richmond seconds. By years end he was very close to making his debut.
PROs: He’s 25, forward eligible and improving rapidly.
CONs: He’s third in the pecking order behind Grundy and Witts so he will rely on injury to earn a game.
Verdict: I reckon he’ll debut but he’ll mainly be selected for the forward/ruck swing as there’s better rookie ruck options this year (especially for the loop-hole early in the year).
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