Harbour Heroes whacks his boys under the microscope today. One of the few teams with the firepower to unseat the reigning premiers, there’s sure to be some nuggets on their playing list that need consideration for your squad. Our thanks go to HH for his tremendous work in getting this done. Let’s get on with it…
After sweeping all before it to take the Minor Premiership in 2014, Sydney
looked on track to complete their domination of the 2014 season, but
instead were humiliated by Hawthorn in the Grand Final.
Revenge seemed possible for Sydney in 2015 who seemed poised to take the
challenge to Hawthorn, especially when they defeated the premiers in round
8. Hawthorns revenge was merciless, an 89 point drubbing in round 16 that
saw the Swans wobble towards the finals in consecutive thrashings from the
eventual grand finalists.
An easy run home saw Sydney in with a double chance, but with stars Jack,
Parker and Buddy all missing due to injury, a close run but wildly
inaccurate preliminary final against Fremantle was all Sydney had left in
the tank and they were knocked out of the finals in straight sets.
The best 22
A number of personnel changes raise some serious questions as to Sydney’s
B Nick Smith Ted Richards Jeremy Laidler
HB Dean Rampe Heath Grundy Jarrad McVeigh
C Kieren Jack Daniel Hannebery Gary Rohan
HF Luke Parker Sam Reid Isaac Heeney
F Ben McGlynn Lance Franklin Callum Sinclair
Fol Kurt Tippett Josh Kennedy Tom Mitchell
Bench Michael Talia Harry Cunningham Callum Mills Jake Lloyd
Emergency Dean Towers Brandon Jack Zak Jones James Rose
The biggest question regarding the Swans is whether Buddy can overcome his demons and lead his new club to defeat his old one on the biggest stage.
For a club with arguably the best midfield in the competition, another
strong finals challenge is necessary to wipe away the bitter taste of
failure from 2015.
But are the Bloods caught in an intergenerational shift between the old
warhorses of Richards, McVeigh, Kennedy and Jack and the new breed of
Parker, Hannebery, Heeney and Mills?
Players of note
The biggest supercoach news in 2016 is most notably the Essendon saga,
which has in all probability reduced the relevance of young budget players
such as young James Rose, who broke onto the scene with a bag of goals in
Cashcows with restricted game time have dropped right off the radar in
2016. Guns and rookies returns with a vengeance.
It’s mainly about which premos (or fallen premos) are worth a punt here.
Seems a cop out, I know, but is anyone really taking a punt on James Rose
or Aliir Aliir when Mitchell Brown and Shaun Edwards just got an elevation
to Essendon’s best 22?
Jarryd McVeigh. The aging warhorse has been granted a new lease on life
with the reinstatement of his def/mid dpp. Unloved in 2015 as a midfielder,
a return to defence moves McVeigh straight into the upper echelons with
three years of 100 point averages in a row. Minor preseason niggles can
likely be ignored, despite his age McVeigh has been proven one of the most
durable players, playing 20 or more games in 9 of the last 10 years.
Verdict. Undoubtedly a top 6 defender for 2016. The price of entry is high,
but it’s come with a guarantee of 90+ averages from 2008 to now. Quite
probably the most popular Sydney player in SC this year.
Zak Jones. Let’s face it, new blood in Sydney’s defence is about as common
as Buddy going a season unsuspended. What blood there is usually comes in already pre-tested like Rhys Shaw, Jeremy Laidler or Michael Talia, and
thus already priced to potential. Not much good for supercoaches. Zak
Jones breaks the mould, playing half a season last year, but prices are
kept down by the sub. Like Ben Kennedy and Jed Anderson, could be a huge winner out of the removal of the sub rule.
With reduced rotations expect to see some younger legs in Sydney’s defence,
and young Zak has be one of the more likely candidates.
Verdict: Watch the preseason closely for how Sydney adapt to the new
Aliir Aliir. For a left of field pick, this young Sudanese talent
represents the generational shift of the big defenders. Much beloved Teddy
Richards showed some worrying signs of football mortality in 2015, getting
manhandled at times and definitely a few steps short in pace. Along with
the recruitment of Talia, Aliir certainly has the size and strength to grow
into this role, but unlike Talia, comes at a rookie price.
Verdict: Probably 2 key defenders out of the side, but if injury strikes
might be in for an extended run.
Sydney is known for its gun midfield, and with names like Hannebery and
Kennedy seemingly welded to the super premium list. Unless this is your
first season in supercoach or you have amnesia, there is nothing I can tell
you new about these players. We’ll have to look further afield for some
Luke Parker. A human wrecking ball who showed no fear and no limits during
Round 1, his $583k price tag looking like the year’s biggest bargain. Until
concussion saw him subbed out early with 35 possessions. From there his
season suffered with 4 straight sub 100 scores, concussion clearky taking
it’s toll. From round 6 to 18 Parker dropped under the ton twice, before a
nasty break ended his season early.
Verdict: Watch his preseason, as a break like his could take some recovery.
At his best one of the most exciting young midfielders in the comp, but a
concern is growing that Parker may end up being the next Ziebell, rather
than the next Dangerfield.
Isaac Heeney/Callum Mills. A year apart, these are the two kids who broke
the Academy system. (Well, with a lot of egging on by Eddie). Both
prodigious young talents, the story is much the same in 2016 as 2015 – who
can you drop to give these youngsters a go?
Verdict: Heeney’s interrupted 2015 possibly places him in a better position
than Mills from a supercoach perspective, with a bit more confidence is his
position in the 22 without suffering the full effects of the dreaded second
year pricing blues. Yet due to the starting price it seems hard to see
sufficient game time or points in either to cash em in.
The winners from the Essendon saga are the Fwd/Ruck types. With players
like Ryder and TBC out of action, and Gawn, Dixon, Kreuzer, Roughy and co
all single position, the best reliable (yes I’m talking about you, Luey)
Fwd/Rucks are Kurt Tippett and Callum Sinclair. Whether as a cheap ruck to
swing forward after a bit of Gold(y)digging, cover for byes or just because
the forwards look thin these boys are the best on offer.
Verdict. Depends on your bye strategy, but Sydney’s early fixture could see
Tippett monster some pretty weak sides early. Callum Sinclair needs a clear
shot at R1 to be value.
At this stage, of the two, you’d go Tippett.
Sam Naismith. Sorry, but the recruitment of Callum Sinclair just put
Naismith on hold for another year.
Verdict: Might get a handful of games if injury strikes, but 2017 or even
2018 is more likely.
Lance Franklin. Buddy. Oh the conundrum. We know he can singlehandedly win
a game with 8 banana goals from impossible angles. We know he can have a
team sapping meltdown that sees him reported and singlehandedly lose you a
But at well under 500k, is he not worth a risk, with Gray, Swan, Titch,
Bont all relegated to the midfield?
Verdict: With so few genuine 100 point forwards left, and Buddy not having
started a season this cheap since 2007, can you deal with the stress? And
have you got a good F7 cover?
Dean Towers. A special mention to Dean Towers for his 121 SC points in
Round 23. I have Ben McGlynn, Dean Towers, Jake Lloyd and Harry Cunningham
all struggling for maybe 1 forward spot and 2 bench spots.
Verdict: All will get some time, but Dean’s probably just outside of the
22, unless he has a monster preseason.
Don’t forget McGlynn either, he was a big part of Sydney’s 2014 success.
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