MidPrice Madness

Written by Schwarzwalder on January 8 2019

(Written & Created By AllSaints)


Do you feel lucky punk?

Well …

Do ya?

If so, read on.


Aside from the rookies who make loads of cash, there are always a few others that make a fair load too; whether they be mid-pricers who make more than enough cash to act as a stepping-stone to an elite pick or better still, average well enough to become a keeper, aka a BREAKOUT!


To qualify for this analysis, we’ve looked at EVERY player back to and including 2012 (seven seasons) who:

Played at least 18 games in the relevant season AND

Was priced above $210k at season’s start (ie is NOT defined as a rookie), AND

Made at least $180k (ie was safely worth starting based on the value of a trade) AND

Finished that particular season in the top 20 money-makers for the year

The criteria may seem harsh, but that is deliberate. There are players like Greene, R.Gray, B.Crouch, Neale, S.Martin and A.Hall who have all been excluded due simply to # of games played. By being more critical, we can better identify the common traits and so will likely err on the side of caution when it comes to picking the right mid-pricers. ONLY if a player satisfied ALL of the above criteria, is he included in this analysis, because these players are MORE valuable than a rookie (by definition); they offer the same if not better cash-generation AND definitely more on-field points. Some of them, dependent on their starting price also turn out to be KEEPERS and not just stepping-stones to something better. It’s worth doing the analysis, especially in a year where it looks like we may be short of genuine rookie numbers come Round 1. That is, we may not have a choice!!


Some generic findings:

There have been 18 players who have met these criteria in the last seven seasons; an average of 2.57 players per year.

For the last five years, there have been at least two mid-priced players who made more than $200k during the season:

o four players in 2017 being the highest


We can split these players into two categories:

i. BREAKOUTS – averaged 95+ (DEF/FWD) for the year, or 100+ (MID/RUC), and so can be defined as genuine KEEPERS, and

ii. MONEY-MAKERS – made more than $200k, but there ave. doesn’t warrant keeping them for the entire season, and so can be defined as STEPPING-STONES

Let’s look at each separately.


From 2012 there have only been six BREAKOUTS who meet our strict criteria. Of course, there have been other genuine breakouts who have made it to the elite level in this time, but more gradually (and therefore haven’t met the cash-generated/money-maker criteria). The tools for best identifying these slower potential breakout players was covered off in the previous ‘Elite Analysis’.

There are some commonalities:

– All bar one of them (Josh Dunkley) were first round draft picks (and in the top 10)

– Ave. season to do it was 3rd season (earliest 2nd and last 5th season)

– Had played an ave. 31 games PRIOR to their breakout season (as few as 13, as many as 62)

– Ave. 20.3 years old (youngest 19 and oldest 22)

– Average cash gain was $229 333

The players are: Dangerfield (2012), Wingard (2013), Macrae (2014), Oliver (2017), Brayshaw and Dunkley (both 2018)

Genuine freaks the lot of them, but the other common theme, not surprisingly, is considerably more MID-time than the previous year, while both Dunkley and Brayshaw also made shedloads of cash having played 7 games or less AND had injury-effected output(s) in the previous year (so deflating their starting price). Which brings us on nicely to the other lot …



Excluding the BREAKOUTs (as they will skew the results) there are 12 other players who have met ALL the criteria listed earlier. Rather than being breakouts, they may well have already been classed as elite and just had an off-season, or they made a load of cash and scored decently enough to act as a stepping stone to something better. There are a number of traits that these players share to some degree, and they are all related to the season prior:

– Missed the entire previous season (1)

– Played 7 or less games, so received a price discount (9)

– Had injury-effected scores (10)

– Had averaged significantly higher earlier in their career, so seemed genuinely under-priced (11)

– Not far off genuine breakout, or first big leap in SC average (6)

– Changed clubs in the off-season (2)

Every player meets at least two of these criteria. Eight of them (two-thirds) meet three or more. Their average cash gain was $248 983.




In summary then:

There are approximately 2.6 players per year who will bear ‘mid-price madness’ fruit. One of them may even be a keeper. Look for the signs. If they share at least three of the commonalities they’re a genuine chance; I’d be looking for four of the traits to be sure. I think I’m right in saying only one of them had had a knee reconstruction (the players included are listed below, along with those who just missed out).

Happy hunting SCTers!!



Sample: Will HOSKIN-ELLIOTT, Matt KREUZER, David SWALLOW, Jarrod WITTS (all 2017), Daniel WELLS, Jarryd LYONS (both 2016), Dylan ROBERTON, Patrick CRIPPS, Mitch WALLIS (all 2015), Dom TYSON, Aaron SANDILANDS (both 2014) and Jarryn GEARY (2012).

Nearly-men: Billy LONGER (2017), Brad CROUCH (2016), Aaron HALL, Jamie MacMILLAN (both 2015), Toby GREENE, Anthony MILES, Stefan MARTIN (all 2014), Ricky HENDERSON and Lachie NEALE (both 2013)


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19 thoughts on “MidPrice Madness”

  1. Hugh McCluggage may be a chance to push his average towards 95-100 this season. Only two scores from 18 games in the 80-90 bracket in his first season, however, 7 scores over 90 with 3 tons last season and appears to have a high ceiling with two scores of 130+ against good opposition.

    Has well rounded game with natural progression shown in second year, however, maybe a year too early? Definitely worth looking at in the pre-season games.


  2. Might not be as likely as some others mentioned, but Zac Fisher may be worth a look as well. Entering his 3rd season, played 34 games, and showed he can score with 2 tons last year. I dare say with 3 preseasons behind him he may have enough of a tank and enough bulk to take on a more important role in the midfield. One to watch during JLT.


    1. Nice one Ben definitely a candidate. Earlyish draft pick too right? Kyle Langford is another that springs to mind for me.


      1. That’s actually the only criteria he doesn’t meet! He was taken at pick 27, however SOS and our drafting team have had a good track record of taking gems with our later picks recently (Williamson, Cunningham, DeKoning etc.)


    2. I wouldn’t count on it. Expect Dow, Walsh and Setterfield to take more midfield time and E Curnow to maintain his or slightly lower


    3. He was drafted as a midfielder, so he’s likely to spend more and more time there as he builds up his tank. Definitely watchlisted.


  3. “……. especially in a year where it looks like we may be short of genuine rookie numbers come Round 1….!!”
    The 2018 draft was supposed to be the best draft since 2001. Every year there has been plenty of R1 rookies with “lesser” recruits. Why are all the SC sites predicting R1 rookie doom. It doesn’t make any sense to me. Are all the teams so complete that top class youngsters wont get a look-in first up?


    1. For about 4 years straight we were spoilt for choice as we had Gold Coast and GWS enter the comp followed by Essendons banned players. I’d say that’s where the comparison comes from.

      But nice point made though Lazza, I certainly think it should be at least as good as last year


    2. I hear ya Lazza, and it’s good to get some constructive criticism and I apologise, I should’ve given the piece some context or BACKGROUND if you like. So,

      Given that we’re still two months off season’s start, the point of writing this piece now is simply to help with planning. To help get people’s heads around what to look for when it comes to mid-pricers. And to warn everyone that there aren’t as many (worth having) as you might think.

      Personally I think we will have similar rookie stocks to last year come Rd1 (yet that’s nothing like it was back in the day, as Phil rightly points out). BUT
      what if there really is a dearth of rookies come Round 1? It could happen, or more likely, a lot of the starters might be premium-priced rookies ($140k upwards), so what then?

      It’s great to read/get everyone’s thoughts on who the breakouts might be, but there were NONE in either 2015 or 2016 (who met those strict criteria). What if that happens too?!

      While both situations are unlikely, for those who are on SCT at the moment (obviously planning), it makes sense to consider worst-case scenarios, should they eventuate. If we get a heap of rookies and GnR are the go, then it doesn’t matter. But the point of the piece is to be prepared in any event.


      Dunkley (FWD) and Brayshaw (DEF) only made it into the BREAKOUT category because they had DPP status. If they had been classified as MIDs only, then yes they would have made you a heap of cash, but to start with either of them would have been a mistake (neither averaged 100+)! Most likely if you’d started Dunkley (as AlfArt did, sorry mate), you’d have probably traded him for something better before he went boOom. Brayshaw to a lesser extent, but the point is players need game time (in a role) to get into their ‘rhythm’ before they will start producing decent SC output. Not by chance, they both came good AS their roles changed to predominantly MID-time in the middle of the season.

      So picking genuine BREAKOUTS is HARD, on average there are less than one per year (who also make enough cash to take the risk). Some years there are none.

      Take McCluggage or Berry (both BRL) for example. The way they are priced makes it a big risk to start either of them. If they don’t average 105+ they will be an M9 at best. At worst, they will cost you a trade and lose you money (think Billings or Hibberd in 2018). When it comes to elite/premium players, we ought ONLY start with those who are proven.

      While I will likely be starting both Zac Williams and Miles, I don’t expect EITHER to be premiums, at best they are D6 (I’ll take 90 after last year) and M9, at worst they’ll be traded before the Rd 14 bye (and Williams at a loss). I have no expectations. Of either of them.

      The point of the article was to suggest that we should be looking for mid-price cash-cows and IF they turn out to be keepers (Breakout) then all the better.

      The players I see as cash-generators who meet three + of the criteria in the piece (should they be fit in 2019) are (in no particular order):
      Anthony MILES – not injured and should play 22 games, new club/bigger role, one game last year, proven SC output
      Dylan ROBERTON – risky, but will make $150k if heart’s ok, <8 games, one injury -effected score and proven SC scorer
      Zac WILLIAMS – ankle is healed, could be a keeper and add $$s, proven and missed entire season
      Sam MAYES – back home, fewer games, past ave v good, high-draft pick and IF he plays will make good cash
      Dean KENT – <8 games, big ceiling, two low injury scores, new club
      Esava RATUGOLEA – two horrendous injury scores (incl. a -2), second-year, on the improve
      Jayden HUNT – if he starts, horror 2018 with injuries, but has proven himself in the past, 80+??

      I may have missed a couple!

      If I had to pick a BREAKOUT at season's start it would be Wayne MILERA (DEF), but will watch until his inevitable increased MID-time starts rolling in.
      Will also watch Kyle Langford and Zac Fisher (both have FWD status) who could both easily ave. 95+ in the back half of 2019.

      Then went on a bit. Hope the context helps make more sense of it. And they're not recommendations, just thoughts. I'm hoping I don't have to start any.


      1. Joe DANIHER, Toby GREENE and Corey ELLIS are three others I obviously missed.

        PS an average of six mid-pricers have made $160k or more in the last five seasons. Never less than five!


        1. Oh and of course Aaron HALL, tho’ surely now he’s at North, ought to be rated on the Higgins scale?!? Last played 20+ games in 2013. But when he’s played 17+ since (twice), he averages more than 90. Massively underpriced if he can play a full season AND the man himself, Shaun Higgins, is hugely impressed by what he’s seen so far.
          North on the up too … or have they just done a Port?!?!


      2. No need to apologize to me AllSaints … you’re work is outstanding. My comment was more musing…
        You have set us a doozy with the homework to work out those mi-price breakouts. 🙂
        I’m with you on Milera … he is on my watch… his last 2 months of 2018 was eye catching.
        I too will probably start with Zac Williams and Miles and Toby Greene as well. I’m looking at Greene and Williams as keepers.

        Re the Breakouts – what are peoples thoughts on Andrew McGrath?
        Fits a number of criteria – Top 10 draft, Age bracket, 3rd season, Games (41), should see significantly more mid-field game time this season. Has a high score of 110 .. but only has a few tons to his name. He also has DPP which is useful. Priced at $384k,
        He averages ~20 disposals and 3’ish tackles a game . However his 2018 average is only 71, not much different to his rookie season 2017.


        1. Good on ya mate. And thanks, it’s great to get that feedback. All of this has only been made possible by spending a year on here and learning so much.

          On McGrath, I’m not convinced but will talk specifically in a mo’.

          If you look at ALL the players who’ve been elite (SC-wise) at some point in their career (I think I’ve looked at all of them, sad do that I am), those who slow-burn their way to the elite level, tend to have a stasis (two consecutive years in the 70s, 80s, even 90s) before going boom. That for me is a positive sign of things to come!

          McGrath however, is at a club who see a window, and have recruited as such, specifically to win a flag. God help them if it goes wrong. Recruiting people like Shiel, to me, means they’re slowing McGrath’s progress to an extent. You’d think DevonSmith will also get more/ the same mid-time and Kyle Langford was so impressive (caught my eye anyway) on their impressive run home last year, that I can’t see McGrath turning it up SC-wise anyway, to the degree you’d want him to, to start him.

          Finally, he has the first bye, which means if he doesn’t deliver vs expectations, you’ll find yourself in a quandary (you won’t be able to trade him on his bye for an Uber who’s already had his bye) so will lose an elite output, one way or another, through the byes.

          It is for these reasons that I’d have him and Langford on my watchlist to pick them up after Rd12, especially if an injury affords either of them the opportunity for more MID-time on the run home.

          That’s why Taranto (I won’t) would be the ONLY potential Breakout I’d consider pre-season. One extra pre-season, better numbers than the rest, top draft pick, semi-proven and Griffen, Shiel and Scully no longer vying for MID-time. I’ve almost convinced myself, but the crucial factor is that he has the Rd14 bye. At worst, you can trade him during the byes to ensure 23 scoring rounds at M8 while likely losing no cash in the process. At best, he averages 110+ and is a keeper. I wouldn’t put it past him. Gun.


    3. Regarding the 2018 draft, it’s worth noting that most of the best rookies each season don’t come from the previous year’s draft. And most of those that do are mature-agers.


  4. So toby greene ,seems like a lot see him as underpriced, but is he even training properly yet. I see him as a fwd premo when fit , but will he be fit in time for next season?


    1. Was still wearing a moonboot the last I read (pre Christmas). That’s not necessarily a bad thing. They won’t start him if he’s not properly ready for RD1, which means you’ll be able to side trade a gun FWD rookie when Greene’s on the bubble come RD7 or whenever.

      I’d actually prefer he not play Rd1 so we can let him play a couple of games before deciding; minimises the risk.
      Could all just work out perfectly.


  5. Greene, Miles and Roberton could all easily do it again. None played a heap of games last year and are all at a substantial discount



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