For some players, footy is a simple game: See ball, win ball, handpass ball.
With Tom Mitchell out for the season, this addition to The +10 Club will be the biggest ball winner in the league in 2019.
Name: Matt Crouch
Bye round: 14
2018 average: 101.6ppg
2018 games played: 18
Why will Crouch improve by 10 points?
Any coaches who are selecting Matt Crouch are doing so because of his ball magnetism and his late 2017 form. After a slow start to 2017, Crouch went ballistic from Round 10, pumping out 15 tonnes from 16 matches which culminated in an average of 125ppg after his bye. His single score below 100 points was 91 points from 34 possessions against the Swans in Round 22. Across the entirety of 2017 Crouch averaged a massive 33 disposals and 5 tackles per match.
Unfortunately an early hamstring injury in 2018 prevented Crouch from returning to the 111 point average he achieved in 2018. He was still consistent, with only the two scores below 80 points for the season, but he just couldn’t achieve the high scores of 2018. Statistically his year wasn’t that different to 2017 with 32 disposals, 4 marks and 4 tackles per match and an almost identical retention rate so it’s hard to see exactly why his average was so much lower, but it’s likely he suffered from the absence of Sloane and Brad Crouch along with the Crows’ poor form. Despite the drop-off in form, Crouch still averaged 110ppg after the bye in 2018 showing he enjoys the second half of the season after averaging 125ppg in the latter half of 2017.
Along with his brother, Brad, Matt Crouch appears to be fully fit in 2019 and ready to return to those heights of 2017. With Rory Sloane also tracking well this preseason, expect the Crows to force their way back into the top 8 once more.
Why won’t he improve?
I think we can all agree that Crouch is almost guaranteed to improve, so my argument is not that he won’t improve but rather that you don’t have to start with him. I know that sounds counterintuitive: If he’s going to improve, why wouldn’t we start with him?
I have two issues with Crouch: One, that he is a slow starter, the second that he has a low ceiling. If you look back over his five season career, he has never scored overly well in the first half of a season. Even in his best season of 2017 he averaged only 98.25ppg to the bye. To be fair he showed signs of halting this trend in 2018 with 105 points in Round 1, but the Round 2 injury dragged down his average to only 93ppg before the bye. The fact is, in 5 seasons Crouch has never averaged over 100ppg pre-bye.
And while Matt Crouch can certainly rack up the possessions his tendency to handpass and inability to kick goals prevents him from pumping out monster scores. Even when he averaged 125ppg between Round 10, 2017 and the 2017 Grand Final, Crouch only scored over 140 one single time.
Not that consistent scoring is a bad thing but it just means that his score is unlikely to spike to unattainable levels should you wish to pick him up later in the season.
Unless he injures himself again, Matt Crouch is guaranteed to score you a SC tonne every week. He won’t reward you with many sexy 150+ point efforts, but at least you know he won’t drop a stinky 70 points either.
Lock him in with confidence if you like consistent points.
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