Patch has done Whatever It Took to deliver our final Team Review for the year. The Mighty Dons. Really well written with some great insights. Thanks buddy.
Righteo. Sheesh. Thank god that is over. The saga that has haunted us for 26 months should finally lift. I’m a passionate Essendon supporter, so at risk of saying something I might regret, I’m not going to so much as comment on the investigation. It has happened, they’re not guilty. Now to Supercoach.
They cut this really, really fine. Not only has it messed with Essendon’s preparation, but it has messed with our Supercoach teams. Significantly. It is too late to change structures. Do not move heaven and earth to get Jobe Watson in your side now they’re cleared. The Essendon 34 has had no pre-season matches. They are not match fit and match ready – in my opinion.
None. I have no red and black sashes in my side, and I don’t think you should either. Every Essendon player has no match practice, will struggle to make the 22 or isn’t fantasy relevant in 2015.
But that can’t be it. I can’t write that and be done with it. Because Essendon offer us serious value this year, even with a full squad. So instead of locks, I will look at some of the more popular selections and analyse them, and also at those who will present value this year.
Best Guess at a Best 22
Baguley Hooker Steinberg/Fletcher*
Winderlich Hurley Hibberd
Goddard Watson Myers
Chapman Daniher Cooney
Z Merrett Ambrose Giles
Bellchambers Hocking Zaharakis
Stanton Gwilt Howlett Dempsey
*Fletcher will play when fit, but when he is managed or injured, Steinberg should play. Neither SC relevant anyway.
These are the only bombers players you should consider starting with, in my opinion.
- Tom Bellchambers ($302,500 fwd/ruc)
The only Don I’d consider starting. While all players will have no pre-season working against them, it impacts the physical guys more as they’re just not ready. Todd Goldstein had an interrupted preseason and season proper in 2014 and as such averaged only 87 over the first third of the year. He came home to average 132 in the last part of the season, but Bellchambers is no Goldstein. Adding onto that, I have no idea if he can reach the 90 average some predict. I feel he will share ruckwork with Giles more than we’d like from a SC perspective, as Bellchambers can play forward and take good contested marks, whereas Giles doesn’t. Furthermore, if he flops, gets injured or whatever else… what’s the backup plan? Unless you’ve got a spare 150k to go to NicNat, you’re in trouble. If he’s playing as a forward, I see validity in that. Could be more solid than Langdon, Geary and co. in defence.
Projected average – 80
- Michael Hibberd ($491,500 def)
Been locked in by many since The Verdict, but I’m not sold. He has untrustworthy hamstrings and no physical pre-season matches (which won’t impact him as much as Bellchambers, however). Prone to a defensive tag, but generally very consistant, which is important. I feel because of this, he will dip in price around the byes and will be priced at around 400k and can be snaffled. I don’t think he’ll improve his average, nonetheless he’ll maintain it and finish top 6 defenders.
Average – 90-95.
Brendan Goddard ($548,800 fwd/mid)
Every year of Supercoach, back in the day, I used to grumble about locking him in. I used to think he was the floggiest of flogs to have ever flogged. But then he came to Essendon and saw him differently. I’d been wrong. While he still does floggy things and wears floggy hats, I like him. But not for supercoach. When he lost defensive eligibility, I lost interest. Now as a forward, he should be a lock. He’s even had a pre-season! He is a good selection, but there are so many guns around him in that price range who I think will outscore him. You’ll want him by the end of the year, but Bartel, Martin, Gray and Swan are more pressing.
WATCH AND WAIT
Dyson Heppell ($571,800) and Jobe Watson ($574,800)
Both guns. Serious man-love for them both. I don’t want to punt on either of them coming into the season. Hep has had ankle problems and Watson has the huge mental toll of leading his players through the saga. But by the byes they will be emerging, with a serious price dip to boot. I think they’ll both score the same number of points, but Jobe will miss a few. Look at them hard after their byes, but not before.
Average 105-110 each – but 100 before the byes and 120 afterwards.
David Zaharakis ($484,200 mid)
Since he kicked that goal to win ANZAC day all those years ago, I have been waiting for him to explode into a supreme midfielder. It hasn’t happened. This is his last year to do so in my book. Untainted by ASADA, elevated to the leadership group, strong preseason and no injuries, the signs are there. Unfortunately they’ve been there for two years. Could this be it? Maybe. I don’t know. Prefer Judd, Neale or – god forbid – Jack Stevens at that price.
Average – 85-95
Ben Howlett ($387,800 fwd/mid)
Love the way this guy plays. Should equal supercoach points, but doesn’t. Consistently goes missing, but will pop up with 22 possies, 8 tackles and 4 goals for a squillion points every half-dozen rounds. If he eliminates the bad games, he’d be a gun. Unfortunately, I don’t think it will happen.
David Myers ($460,400 mid)
Wish I’d drafted him, to be honest. Thumping #leftleg, similar to Trent McKenzie, this man has cemented his spot as the deliverer to Essendon’s forward line. Great long kick, good run and carry and in the midfield/up on the wing consistently. Love him, but awkward as a midfielder this year with picks like Wells, Rich, Wallis all much cheaper. Love the kid but it’s a no for supercoach. Great pick up in a draft if any of those are to come.
Average – 90
Now Essendon have been cleared, it’s hard to see many rookies stringing many games together in red and black. Even then, players like Kommer, O’Brien, Gleeson, The Other Merrett and Dell’Ollio are likely to fill the void. Any rookies who do slip through are massive vest candidates. Nonetheless, keep an eye out for
Shaun Edwards ($123,900 def)
Jayden Lavarde ($127,300 mid)
Kyle Langford ($142,300 fwd)
My fellow diehard bombers out there – the temptation to pick our boys is great now this darkness has lifted. Same will go for others; you might now be panicking over selections they can now make. Be calm. Be patient. Now is not the time for rash decisions. The time for red and black sashes will come. But it is not now.
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