Unless you have spent the past few months living under a rock, you will know that players can now play-on from kick-ins without first playing-on by kicking to themselves. In addition, the defender manning the kick-in now has to stand 10 metres back from the goal square, allowing more room for the defensive player to play-on.
The new rule has caused much discussion in the Supercoach forums of late so I thought I should depart from my usual programming to briefly discuss the new rule. This rule has already been implemented in the AFLW and so far, the kick-in player seems intent on playing on most of the time. While the AFL players may not be quite so intent on playing-on from the kick-in, the change in the rule makes it likely that the players will play-on far more often than they do currently.
In the AFL Prospectus, Champion Data had a brief look at the impact the rule would have on certain defenders in Fantasy Football. While I won’t reproduce the table for copywrite infringement reasons, I’ll have a quick glance at a few of the key findings of their research.
Champion Data calculated the approximate increase in output that some defenders would achieve if they played-on from the goal square more often. They decided to see what happened to each player’s output if they played on 50% and 75% of the time.
The table below shows some of the main benefactors based on their career kick-in averages from 2016-2018. Please note it shows their match averages for Total Kick-ins per game (KI/gm), Play-ons from Kick-ins (KI Self) and extra SC points made if the player plays on 50% and 75% of the time (50%, 75%):
|Shannon Hurn (WC)||6.8||1.6||+5.3||+10.4|
|Luke Ryan (Fre)||4.5||0.1||+6.5||+9.9|
|Jayden Short (Ric)||4.1||0.5||+4.6||+7.7|
|Alex Witherden (Bri)||6.2||2.7||+1.4||+6|
|Jake Lloyd (Syd)||4.5||1.2||+3.2||+6.6|
|Nathan Wilson (Fre)||4.3||1.3||+2.6||+5.8|
|Luke Brown (Ade)||3.5||0.5||+3.7||+6.3|
|Jeremy Howe (Col)||3.3||0.4||+3.7||+6.2|
So as you can see, players get a nice little points boost just as we expected. For that reason, many Supercoaches have decided to include the defenders that take the kick-ins into their Supercoach squads in 2019.
Obviously the players who play-on the most will have the smallest scope for improvement. Keeping that in mind, the following table from Champion Data that appeared in the Herald Sun on February 11, 2019 shows the players who were in the top 50 for kick-in numbers in 2018 and recorded the highest play-on percentage in 2018.
|Player||Club||Matches||Kick-ins||KI to self||KI to self %|
Conversely the players who were in the top 50 for total kick-ins in 2018 but were least inclined to play-on included:
|Player||Club||Matches||Kick-ins||Kick-in to self||Kick-in to self %|
That really makes players like Jayden Short and Luke Ryan appear very attractive, doesn’t it?
Further improvement coming from Short in 2019?
However, we need to be a little cautious with this information because it is assuming that teams will use the same players to take the kick-in this season as in 2018. I’m not sure it will be so simple.
With the added space afforded to the player kicking in from a behind, it seems likely that teams will either employ fast players to play-on from the kick-in and break the lines or long kicking players with cannons for legs to take a few extra steps and unload the ball to the centre square (think Dustin Fletcher). That indicates that defenders like Shannon Hurn and Jake Lloyd will continue to take kick-ins and Sicily will probably take over the Hawks’ kick-in role but there could be some changes at clubs like Fremantle, Adelaide and Melbourne.
The case study by Champion Data indicates that Luke Ryan will have a big jump in his output, but given he rarely plays on (only 3 times in 140 kick-ins), does he become more attacking as Ross Lyon requested, or does Nathan Wilson take over more of the kick-in duties? If he does he will certainly improve by more than the above information indicates but Ryan’s output may stagnate. Similarly, the Crows seem likely to prefer the long-kicking boot of Smith to the safe, but uncreative kick of Brown while Melbourne my return to the penetrating kick of Hibberd ahead of the zippy Salem who is dying to spend more time in the Dees’ midfield.
Is Luke Ryan a beneficiary of the new rules?
In a recent interview Alex Witherden stated that the Lions aren’t even employing a designated kicker, instead running with a first in, best dressed system.
Or so he claims!
Either way, monitor the JLT closely to discover what system each team utilizes for their kick-ins. It could be a boost, or a bust, for your defensive line.
In the comments, let us know any insights you have on how the new kick-in rule will be handled by each team.
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