Happy Tuesday! Thommo’s back for your reading pleasure this morning. This time bringing you the quickly improving Suns. Great work, Thommo! Lets get into it…
As was widely expected at the start of 2014, Gold Coast arrived last year….and then promptly departed. If anyone doubted Ablett’s greatness, a quick glance at how the Suns performed without him from Round 17 onwards sums it up. 9 wins, 6 losses with him; 1 win, 6 losses without him. He’s a gun and he makes the players around him better. BUT obviously such a reliance on one player is unhealthy, so Rodney Eade has likely spent the off-season restructuring and educating the young midfield. Rocket knows the Suns must make the finals in 2015.
So can he do it; can he take the Suns to their first final? If history is any guide, the answer is yes as he has done it before at Sydney and the Kennel. In both of those cases he doubled the previous year’s number of wins and he didn’t have nearly as much talent as he now has at his disposal.
A trip north could get scary very quickly in 2015!
Round 12 bye shared with Collingwood, Essendon, Fremantle, St Kilda and Sydney.
This is really tough! It will be a miracle if this is 80% correct!
B Lemmens Thompson McKenzie
HB Harbrow May Malceski
C Rischitellli Ablett Kolodjashnij
HF Bennell Lynch Swallow
F Matera Dixon Martin
R Smith O’Meara Prestia
I Day A Hall Hallahan Saad/Shaw
Fringe: Stanley, Lonergan, Miller, Nicholls, Russell, Garlett (how good is this list!)
Gary Ablett MID, Av. 137, $734,600. You know the drill.
Verdict: Pick him or waste your weekend stressing about your captain.
Harley Bennell FWD/MID, Av. 96, $514,600. A gun on his day, Bennell has a high ceiling but can go missing on some days. His best was a 167 against Geelong on the back of 6 goals but his worst was a 35 point game against Brisbane. He has only played 15 games in each of the past 2 seasons but he did string together 15 from 16 games from Round 7 after starting the year late in 2014. Considering he has had a full preseason this year he is likely to improve.
Verdict: Risky but has definite upside and could go big this year. Has been in and out of my side several times.
Jarrod Harbow DEF/MID, Av. 82, $438,800. He is reasonably durable and consistent but he is unlikely to increase in value significantly nor post many 100 point scores.
Verdict: There’s better out there, or at least I hope there is.
Nick Malceski DEF, Av. 105, $566,600. Clearly the highest averaging defender available, Malceski increased his average from 91 in 2013 to 105 in Sydney’s minor premiership. Due to recurrent knee reconstructions in the past he is seen as injury prone but has actually played 72 from a possible 75 games since the start of 2012.
Verdict: I don’t like selecting expensive players after one big year, especially after age 30 and a change of clubs. Upgrade target.
Trent McKenzie DEF, Av. 80, $431,400. McKenzie has only been included as he is a defender with a pulse. He struggled one out in 2014 but was good at playing a sweeping, intercept marking role. My concern is that he may lose his spot to Malceski this year who played the same role for Sydney.
Verdict: Too risky!
Jaeger O’Meara MID, Av. 98, $525,000. I love the way Jaeger plays his footy. He wins his own ball, tackles hard and often and has not missed a game in his two years in the league. For a young player he is also amazingly consistent with only one score in the 60s and 4 in the 70s in 2014. The only concern this year is his interrupted preseason otherwise he would be as popular a pick as Ollie Wines.
Verdict: Won’t drop in value but can’t see him increasing early in the year after an interrupted preseason.
Dion Prestia MID, Av. 106, $569,800. He has increased his output every year in the AFL and managed to play all 22 games in 2014 showing he is hopefully over his injury issues. As noted in MJ’s great article in the Herald-Sun on March 5, Prestia scored best with Ablett in the side averaging 110, but he is certainly no slouch even without Ablett averaging 101 in his final 7 games.
Verdict: A great point of difference, especially if he does step into the elite bracket but a lot of competition for him in the Round 12 bye round.
David Swallow MID, Av. 103, $554,600. Started the year with Swallow in my defence in 2014 and enjoyed his start to the year where he didn’t drop below 100 until round 7. Like Prestia, Swallow is quite consistent for such a young player but I’m not sure he can push into the elite in his fifth season.
Verdict: Gun but there’s better value in the mids. Wish he was still a defender!
Mitch Hallahan MID, Av. 65, $312,000. In a “Sliding Doors” moment, one Co-captain from the Dandenong Stingrays was drafted to Sydney, the other was drafted to Hawthorn. If Parker has ended up at Hawthorn would he be the player he is today and would Hallahan be a gun, or is Parker just a much better player? Well, we’ll find out now. In 6 games at Hawthorn in 2014 (1 vest effected) Hallahan didn’t post any brilliant scores, with 83 and 93 his two highest scores, but with more regular game times he could be a smart pick.
Verdict: Early signs are good, with 24 disposals and 100 Supercoach points from 74% TOG in his first preseason hit-out. But (there’s always a but) I’m still not certain he’ll stay in Gold Coast’s best 22.
Kade Kolodjashnij DEF, Av 68, $367,600. A couple of injury effected scores late in the year dropped his average slightly but KK still managed to average 104 minutes per game across 18 games. Entering his second year he’s at risk of plateauing especially with the addition of Malceski but in a weak defensive group, he may be worth a punt.
Verdict: 84 SC points from 65% TOG in the first preseason game has him in my D4 (temporarily?)
Jack Martin FWD, Av. 56, $303,400. Started 2014 weighed down with the hype claiming that he was better than O’meara, but lacked the body of Jaeger. Showed some good signs late in 2014 after returning from injury and has added some size for 2015 so Martin might be a smart pick if you’re short of a bit of cash.
Verdict: Currently there are several good forward line rookie options, so it’s hard to justify his awkward price.
Zac Smith RUCK, Av. 76, $409,600. When he first played for Gold Coast he was anointed as the next Dean Cox. Four years have passed and Smith has become the forgotten (Ruck) man after a poor 2014 season that was interrupted by injury and marred by poor form and a seeming lack of interest. But now that he had been given a Rocket he seems to have rediscovered his mojo with a commanding performance against an admittedly weak Geelong ruck combo. With Nicholl’s terrible run with injuries, Smith seems likely to be the No. 1 ruck.
Verdict: Wait and see if he is named the loan ruckman as I can’t see him scoring well with Nicholl’s in the team.
Jarrod Garlett MID, $152,300. He looked good against Geelong but as a light framed, fast and athletic player he is made to wear a green vest. Even if he manages a full game don’t expect big scores.
Verdict: Likely to be better midfield options out there.
Touk Miller MID, $117,300. He didn’t look too bad in the first preseason game and was a tough inside midfielder as a junior who loved to tackle. May play a few games this year but hard to see him holding a spot in that midfield unless injuries strike.
Verdict: Watchlist but probably not this year.
Adam Saad DEF/MID, $102,400. Defensive rookie alert! He has looked pretty handy in the two preseason games he has played to date so let us collectively pray he is upgraded. He showed some good scoring ability with Coburg in the VFL in 2014 so considering the lack of options he only needs to average 60s to be a top 20 defender!
Verdict: If he’s upgraded, he’s in!
Alan Sexton FWD/MID, Av. 40, $218,100. Whether he wore a vest or not, Sexton barely troubled the statisticians in 2014. Honestly, I had no interest in Sexton until his performance against Geelong where he scored 111 supercoach points from 65 TOG (18 disposals, 6 tackles). However, I’m still not sure there’s room for him with so many talented players to return.
Verdict: Watchlist, but likely not best 22.
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