The +10 Club #8

Written by Thommo on March 4 2019

Under the steely, beautiful blue-eyed gaze of Luke Hodge, this player has been whipped into shape for 2019 so a break-out season, and selection in the +10 Club, is merely a formality.

Welcome to The +10 Club…

He looks 15 but he can play the game…

Name: Alex Witherden

Team: Brisbane

Position: DEF

Price: $454,200

Bye round: 13

2018 average: 83ppg

2018 games played: 21

Why will Witherden improve by 10 points?

There are so many reasons for Witherden to break-out in 2019, you could write a novel about this guy. The most obvious statistic is that he is a high-ish draft selection (Rd 23, 2016) entering his third season but the “Third year break-out theory” is highlighted so often it is little more than a cliché. A player entering his third year isn’t always ready to break-out, but in Witherden’s case he actually does fit the profile.

After a fantastic start to his career in 2017, when he averaged 24 possessions and 87 SC points per game in his first nine matches, Witherden got a little lazy in his preparation to start 2018. By his own admission he enjoyed a little too much Christmas cheer and didn’t turn up in the greatest of shape for 2018 and he didn’t feel like he played his best footy until late in the year. He still averaged 83.8ppg up to the bye with three scores over 100 points, but he lifted this to 92.3ppg post-bye (not including injury in Round 22). Thankfully he has quickly worked out what is required to play footy at the highest level and turned up for the 2019 preseason in good shape.

As well as being fitter this season, the new kick-in rules will help him improve marginally. If you look at his kick-in statistics from 2018, he has taken the kick-ins 187 times in his career and played on 80 times, which is 43% of the time. If he lifts that figure to play-on 70-80% of the time, he should benefit by approximately 5-7ppg. The only proviso to this is that Brisbane don’t seem to have a ‘designated kicker’ in 2019 so he probably won’t take any more kick-ins than he did last season.

While he  won’t benefit from the kick-in rule as much as some other defenders, he should remain quite loose in defence this season. The Lions traded for Marcus Adams who, if fit, will do the heavy lifting down back. Harris Andrews will swing forward and back as the Lions need, meaning that Witherden shouldn’t be forced to play a lock down role too often. With luck he will float free, racking up uncontested ball at will.

Finally, the most simple reason for Witherden to improve in 2019 is because he is slightly discounted. He suffered an injury on 15 SC points in Round 22, 2018 that has given him the equivalent of a 3 point discount on his starting price.

While that discount isn’t a huge selling point, I call it the icing on the Witho-cake.

Why won’t he improve?

Witho’s biggest problems in Supercoach is that his game style isn’t really suited to the scoring system. True he can rack up possessions, gathering 30+ possessions three times in the second half of 2018, but they are mostly uncontested disposals. In fact only 19% of his possessions come in a contest and of his 7.2 marks per match, he averages less than 1 intercept mark per match. Good for AFL Fantasy, not so much for Supercoach.

In a year with quite a few high averaging defenders in Lloyd, Laird, Whitfield, Simpson and Sicily, it is a concern that Witherden may increase his average but get caught in the No-man’s land of the low 90s where he is just short of the top 6 defenders.



Alex Witherden has all the hallmarks of a genuine break-out contender with the added benefit of the new kick-in rules. His uncontested game-style will probably prevent him from reaching the Supercoach elite but his statistics do match Jake Lloyd’s quite closely (Jake Lloyd averages 22% contested possessions per match) and an average of 95ppg seems achievable. Even though that average leaves him just short of the very best defenders, he should sneak in to the lower end of the top 6 defenders. Not bad when priced to score 83ppg.

Will you select Alex Witherden in your 2019 starting squad?

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12 thoughts on “The +10 Club #8”

  1. Been in and out of my team all preseason.
    At the end of the day its between him and Williams at D3. Williams has proven himself before and at 407k is too good of value to ignore.

    Both to average a touch under 100.


  2. May well deliver, but better lock AND value options for me. Plus I need one line that’s not bursting at the seams with Rd13 players!


  3. I am undecided on Witherden as he has been in and out of my team. He has been swapped with Newman as I feel Newman can produce similar scores at his new club. The problem is my defence is full of Rd 14 byes. All 4 premos are out round 14. I can bring in Witherden and make it a round 13 bye, but i need to find the money to upgrade Newman. Adding players like Walsh into the team takes that spare cash, but I don’t really want to be downgrading any of my premiums.


  4. I’m seeing this “Adams will be the main lockdown defender freeing up Andrews/Withderden” narrative pushed a lot, but I don’t think it’s the case at all. Adams is a BRUTAL one on one defender who is far better off when he can zone off his opponent and take intercept marks. Plus he’s already injured and will likely continue to get injured throughout the season as is his wont in life.

    Not saying it’s a reason *not* to pick Witherden, but don’t think it should be factored in as a positive either.


    1. I agree that Adams is injury prone and I believe Andrews will mostly play in defence. However when he’s fit, I am certain Adams will play on taller forwards ahead of Witherden. Witherden is poor at spoiling and pressuring, but very attacking with ball in hand, so the Lions will want him free to attack ahead of Adams.


  5. In and out for my team too. However as the season draws closer he hasn’t been in for a while now. Williams obviously however i’d rather punt on mills than witherden


  6. He’s certainly good value, but personally I have Williams, Newman, and, for the price, Roberton ahead of him. I just don’t think I can fit him in!



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