Cow Talk R1 –> R2

Written by Father Dougal on March 24 2021

Hi Everybody!

So, it looks like a lot of us have to make big decisions about who we bring in for Rowell and/or Dangerfield. I’m not going to get into should we trade, but more on how to figure out who to bring in.

A trap that is easy to fall into is doing the “obvious” things without really thinking about it. Doing the obvious thing might be the best thing to do, but it also might not be. What the obvious thing to do is, is probably different to different people, which is another reason to actually think things through, and read stuff like this. (Shameless plug.)  

I think the biggest obstacles to really looking at all our options are the established stories about players. People think in stories. They are a great shorthand / shortcut for understanding and acting.  But they also can channel our thinking in ways that limit our options, or really what we perceive our options to be.  And a big thing limiting those stories in the language we use to tell them. Not English, or in Crazy Frog’s case French, but the language of Supercoach. Thus the  “McGuire-Sapir–Whorf”  hypothesis. 

“The language and jargon of Supercoach influences and channels our behavior.”

For example, using the traditional jargon of Supercoach, you can’t properly describe Jack Ziebell.  He doesn’t fit the definitions of a cow or premium. He would have to be a mid-pricer.  What does the term mid-pricer immediately bring to mind? Madness. Mid-price Madness. Something to be avoided at all costs. But, Jack Ziebell is the opposite of avoid at all costs. He is in about 44% of all teams, which is high, but not close to as high as he should be. I blame that on his not fitting into the way people think, because any sort of analysis would lead to him being selected. He is at a minimum 35 points underpriced.  He could easily be 60 points underpriced. He has a steady job – he’s the flipping captain! He is playing a role that is known to score well.  What more could you ask for? 

For a lot of people, all that doesn’t matter, because he is a mid-pricer, who are automatically suspect and not part of a “proper” Guns and Rookies team.  For other he was an mid-priced option but not a must have, because no mid-pricer is a must have.  Someone you get rid of to find cash, instead of someone you find the cash to have.  

How should he be described?  Worst case he is a cow-like-object, who is priced higher than cows but with the same or better money making potential.  He would need to score about 83 to be a successful one of them. An 83 seems likely. But, I think he is really a fallen premium. Ok, he is a premium who has fallen so far he is reigning in hell rather than serving in heaven, but still a premium.  Premium is based on scoring not on price.  Premiums at forward usually starts at about 95, and he has scored 95 in the past, and now he has a better role. Someone priced to average 95 would cost $510,400. Ziebell costs $257,900.  Most of us could find a use for the $252,500 difference.  

But, even better for figuring out who to buy are some hard numbers; expected points and cost. Add in injury risk and job security, which are not a hard numbers but we can make a decent assessment of, and  we can get right to an answer without letter words get in the way. 


Expected averages for Ziebell at $257,900:

Low = 85  is $3,034 per point

Middle = 95  is $2,715 per point

High = 105  is $2,456 per point


Now, if his expected averages were too low, then he would not be a good pick. If we think he will go for a 70 average, that is still a great cost per point, but he wouldn’t make enough cash  and he wouldn’t be worth a spot in the eighteen. 

The below players priced  at their 2020 averages, cost per point. 

Dangerfield = $5,372

Hawkins = $5,372 

Dunkley = $5,372

Martin = $5,372

Zorko = $5,372

Butters  = $5,372

Heeney = $5,372

Phillips = $5,372


What a surprise, of course the same.  But how about with a guesstimate of their 2021 average?  


115 – Dangerfield = $5,321

100 – Hawkins = $5,372 

115 – Dunkley = $4,871

105-Martin = $5,158

100-Zorko = $5,258

100-Butters  = $4,714

105-Heeney = $4,329

90 – Phillips = $4,473

100  – Ziebell = $2,579

Suddenly value shows up!

Just to be extra generous, let’s assume Martin goes at 115, which is I think way high.  (I think a lot of those are high, but that hurts my point and so erring in that direction.) 

115-Martin = $4,709

So, if you do not have Jack Ziebell, I suggest you think about him, based on numbers.  But if it bothers you to spend just $257,900 on a forward who should average about 100 in place of Dangerfield, you can just buy Zorko for  $525,800. He’ll average about 100 as well, and you won’t have to deal with the stress from having to find a use for an extra $267,900.  

Of course you might have the Z-man already. So, who else might be value? Well, first if you can afford to just go up to Macrae or Oliver or another known high end premium, then it is perfectly fine to do that, especially if you need a captain option.  But, if you would rather get value before the price rises…..


Some  mids, with my current guesstimates:

110 Brayshaw = $4,947

115 Walsh = $4,724

110 Cripps = $4,760

100 Taranto = $4,537

105 Cerra  = $4,617


Some defenders , with my current guesstimates::

110 – Laird = $4,947

112 – Ridley = $4,947

115 – Mills = $4,737

105- Stewart = $5,123

105 – Short = $4,945

None of these lists of players cover everyone by far. 

Another factor is byes. How much risk there is a very individual thing. 

The other players to look at are the near-Ziebells.  

85 – H Young = $3,287

80 – J Clark = $3,023


These guys are tougher to bring in since they are probably just short of both keeper-hood and cow-like-object-ness. On the other hand, they both will provide very low cost points combined with cash growth, which might be well worth it overall. Hayden Young looks to be secure in his spot down back and split kick-ins with Ryan. They could be points at D5-6 for a long time while other spots get upgraded.


Oh, and a quick preview of next week, because next week came early:  Do not overvalue one week of stats, do not ignore one week of stats. If you had an opinion about a player, their having had one good or bad week often just means they had a good or bad week and you should not throw out all your pre-season research.  What is more useful decision making-wise is the information about who played where and how. Who attended how many center bounces. Who took kick-ins and played on from them? Who did and did not get more midfield time. While getting a huge score is not meaningless, the guys with the most points at the end of the season are probably not the ones who had the best weeks this week. And, if you have three real issues, fix one this week. If you have two, think about fixing one this week, in case you get more before next week. 


Dodgy Advice:

Look, so Dustin Martin has averaged  103, 100, and 101 the last three season. His first round score the last three seasons have been 139, 109, and 126.  If you really think that at age 29 he is going to average a lot more than the 101 you are paying for now, then bring him him. But, if you don’t think he is going to be averaging well over 101 from here on out (not for the year, from now on)  then do not bring him in. “Dustin Martin” is a story, a very influential one, but the numbers point at someone cheaper with the same point potential.    Actually that may not have been dodgy advice now that I think about it.  Needs a poll…..

Was that actually dodgy advice?

  • No, that was good advice (74%, 160 Votes)
  • Yes, definitely dodgy advice (20%, 44 Votes)
  • No, that was just bad advice (6%, 12 Votes)

Total Voters: 216

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Remember the Cow Talk guarantee: “All predictions wrong or triple you money back!”  (Offer not valid if money is actually involved.)

I am time zonally challenged.  When Cow Talk goes live, I’m probably asleep, so replies from me may take a while.

Thanks for reading!


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25 thoughts on “Cow Talk R1 –> R2”

  1. I believe that this year, above all others is a year where more mid-pricers like Zeibell and Clark are going to be in punters teams, because the cows especially in the backline are rare. I am no different. I have a few in fact. It doesn’t worry me at all (as long as they keep up the healthy scores) because I am thinking of getting 2 premuim upgrades per 3 trades. This will hopefully allow the mid-pricers to pay their way, provide some healthy scores in early rounds (2293pts Rd. 1) and get me the premiums I want earlier. It sounds like a good plan, but I’ll let you all know whether it comes together. Good luck all for Rd. 2 🙂


    1. That is a perfectly good plan for him! I’m not sure when it will make sense to get off the Z-Train, but I do think it is one to be on right now.


    1. I’d say he doesn’t average 100 but he certainly averages more than 85.

      The question to my mind is more total points i.e. how many rounds he misses.

      For me, this is useful advice in that it confirms that someone else sees things the same way. Although that “someone” is actually 44% of someones.

      There is no midprice madness. There is only the madness of picking the wrong players, regardless their price.


      1. “There is no midprice madness. There is only the madness of picking the wrong players, regardless their price.”

        Oh, that is well put! I may steal that. The more I think about it, the more I think the whole idea of midprice madness is toxic to good player analysis. Pretty much all teams are GnR now. They just vary in how they implement it.


  2. Thanks FD

    I started Zeibell (F2), J Clark (M6) and H Young ( F5 )

    I will also be watching Lachie Young ( 85 ) closely this week. Dow was less than impressive and now named at H/F . If Lachie can keep going ok, ( 80+) with the addition of Anderson, Hall and co, I may swap them over.

    My first option is to downgrade Dow to J Jordan if he can hold his spot. I do have Brockman and Bergman that may need dealing with as well.

    Thanks also for your thoughts on Dusty. I may have to rethink getting him this week. I still feel you will need him at some point,as he should easily finish top 6 Forward.

    He also looks very fit this year, and seems determined to try and get the Tigers another flag. If he can return to close to his 2017 year. you don’t want to miss out.

    Thanks again Father.


    1. Look at what Dusty has scored in say rounds 2-4 or even 2-6 in the last few seasons after his consistently big Round 1 scores after playing Carlton. Go back a few years for more data.

      While, as they say in Superannuation ads, “past performance is not a reliable indicator of future performance” it sure looks and smells like chasing last weeks points to me.

      Especially when you can look at say Ziebell, Taranto or Heeney’s discount, or Cerra’s continuous rise (check out his 2019 score, then pre bye 2020, then post bye 2020).

      Or look at Young, or Chapman with the freo injuries. North Melbourne’s Young. Or Jordan Clark. Or a cashcow.

      That’s the point of the sermon. You don’t have to take a replacement for Danger/Rowell at the same price point.

      You’ve been forced into a trade.

      You take what represents the best value, because what all those rookies being traded in and out of your side are about is to generate cash.


      1. re: Cerra – copied and pasted from another post on him.

        2019 Average 62.4
        2020 before byes: 80.5
        2020 after byes: 101.1

        122 first game this year (small sample obviously).

        Seems a solid progression.

        If I’m making a corrective trade, he’s probably it.


  3. Thoughts on Hunter Clark FD? I went back through your Def projections but no luck, however he turned up in your team.


    1. I didn’t try to project breakout candidates this year, because there is so much random it is hard to make a useful prediction. Depends more on what job they get and not a progression based on their numbers. Although I’m thinking about way to do that.

      I like Hunter Clark, as you can guess from his being in my team. At that low price, he offers a lot of value. Certainly players a proper midfield role in round 1. Hard to know for sure if that keeps up, but being over $100,000 cheaper than many guys who won’t score a lot more, he seems like a good one to have. He’s less of a risk after his R1 performance. Still might not be top 6, but I think he will be good enough to keep. Very much the value sort of player I am looking for this year.


  4. Jack Ziebell has never averaged more than 95 in any season in his whole career and has only played in excess of 20 games in 5/12 years. So unless you have him already then he will cost you another trade? The only bonus is that he has a genuine role this season where he may be able to average 100 for 2021.

    Plenty of premiums in forwards this year?


    1. You’re buying him at a price of almost 50 points below that average.

      Of course you expect him to cost you a trade. A trade on which you most likely are in line to make SC$200,000.

      I don’t see plenty of premiums in the forward line.

      Sonny is injured and in the twilight of his career. Danger is suspended. Hawkins is extremely overpriced based on a likely unrepeatable freak season at 32 years of age. Marshall is injured and his Ruck DPP may not be worth that much this year. Sidebum is 6 years past his best footy and hanging on for dear life in supercoach terms.

      There’s Dunkley, Dusty and maybe Zorko to choose as premos right now.

      Most people probably have one or two of them.

      If you don’t have Dusty now, he averaged less than 80 from round 2-5 last year, so despite his big score in round 1, he had lost price and was averaging sub 90 by round 5. Dusty always has multi week lulls in scoring.

      As does Zorko.

      Outside of them, you’ve got Heeney and Greene.

      For me, I’d say speculation and then waiting for the usual fallen premo status from Dusty or Zorko is the best option.



    2. I don’t think most coaches have Ziebell in as a keeper – more likely a ‘cow-like object’ / stepping stone. He’ll score well enough to field (especially in the early rounds when rookies are usually more up-and-down with their scoring) and once he’s made his money (hopefully before he gets injured), there should be more clarity about who will be the other forward premiums.


  5. Great reading as always, Father. Another cheap forward option people could look is Jaidyn Stephenson. He’s riskier in so much as he is a breakout candidate rather than a fallen premium, but if he keeps playing as a midfielder I see no reason why he shouldn’t keep scoring like one.


    1. Anderson (test), Dumont (2 weeks) and Cunners (tbc) all to return to the midfield mix soon. Buyer beware for those interested in LDU and Stephenson.


  6. As usual very informative and useful thanks FD. I looked closely at Martin but just think Heeney is more value., and it meant i could pick up a ziebell in R3


  7. Dusty’s the best player in the league so he’s definitely a fwd keeper He looked extra fit and hungry Ian not missing out



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