Previously in Tales From The Left-Field, we’ve looked at breakout trends to try to identify the Next Big Thing. Small price tag + big output = Supercoach goodness. Indeed, picking the right players is what most of us worry about at this time of year – just check the various “2-up” threads on this wonderful site, and you’ll see that the common theme is “who to choose?”.
The other side of this devilish coin is who not to choose. We all have our lists of burn-men, those maddeningly erratic, injury-prone types who are just not worth the hassle, and these have already received more attention than they deserve. But then there are the stalwarts who have provided us so much joy over the years, but now face a battle with the clock. What of the fallen champion? Will they get to their feet once again? Or has Father Time had the final say, and we can only wave goodbye as they ride off into the sunset, with a memorably upbeat musical theme playing in the background?
Heath SHAW (GWS), $458 100, defender. Age 32. 7.1% ownership.
Last five season averages (most recent first): 83, 106, 112, 92, 97.
Thommo dubbed him the “Screaming Lunatic“, but it was more of a raspy croak last year. Is Shaw done? Or will personnel changes in the Giants backline see the Heat rise again? Reminder: it’s less than two years since Heath piled up a double ton against the eventual premiers….
Kade SIMPSON (CAR), $516 300, defender. Age 33. 6.8% ownership.
Last five seasons: 94, 106, 93, 96, 95.
It feels like we say Kade is too old every pre-season, and then he rocks up in the long sleeves and turns out another solid mid-90’s average. Simmo’s Starsky will be without Doc’s Hutch in 2018 – but will this hurt, or help?
Scott PENDLEBURY (COL), $586 500, midfielder. Age 30. 5.4% ownership.
Last five seasons: 107, 118, 116, 124, 127.
De-Pendlebury was less than his usual stoic self last year, missing more games than he had in the previous seven seasons combined. Has the crown slipped? Or will the Pies ironman return to his metronomic scoring ways?
Gary ABLETT (GEE), $631 000, midfielder. Age 33. 5.1% ownership.
Last five seasons: 115, 114, 114, 137, 129.
The real stat line here is not scoring average, but games missed, which reads 8, 8, 16, 7, 1. Ablett returns to the Cattery in 2018 and there may be life in the old GAJ yet. But what to call this three-headed monster Cat? Dangerwood Junior? Dangerwoodlett? Abs of Dangerwood?
Josh P. KENNEDY (SYD), $564 200, midfielder. Age 29. 3.3% ownership.
Last five seasons: 103, 113, 110, 114, 106.
The Swans’ skipper saw his numbers take a hit in 2017 and missed All-Australian selection, despite finishing fourth in the Brownlow. The all-time leader in average contested possies has been virtually ignored in the SC pre-season. Has JPK gone away? Or does he have more to say?
Todd GOLDSTEIN (NTH), $521 400, ruck. Age 29. 4.4% ownership.
Last five seasons: 95, 108, 128, 107, 113.
The Great Goldmine was the biggest and the best a couple of years ago, but the Attack of the Preuss reduced him to mere iron pyrite. Will Coach Scott unleash the beast this year? Or are we in for more dual ruck misery?
Aaron SANDILANDS (FRE), $480 000, ruck. Age 35. 3.4% ownership.
Last five seasons: 87, 71, 108, 108, 64.
211 has been the monolithic centrepiece of the Freo engine room for 15 years now, and he will wheel that enormous, creaking frame into action again this season. Undeniable value if fit….but ‘if’ should come in a bold, 72 pt font!
Michael BARLOW (GCS), $462 700 mid/forward. Age 30. 2.1% ownership.
Last five seasons: 84, 98, 93, 112, 110.
There’s no doubt that experienced Supercoaches still have a soft spot for Mighty Mick. But can he return from a second broken leg at age 30? Should we be concerned by his JLT absence? Or is Barlow, armed with forward status, truly back?
Brett DELEDIO (GWS), $339 800, forward. Age 30. 5.3% ownership.
Last five seasons: 77, 95, 112, 103, 104.
It’s one of the greatest injustices in the modern game that the Tigers won the flag the year after Lids was traded. Persistent calf complaints have decimated Deledio’s past two seasons – can he turn it around in 2018?
Jarryd ROUGHEAD (HAW), $475 800, forward. Age 31. 1.3% ownership.
Last five seasons: 87, DNP, 91, 96, 98.
Supercoach seems a trivial matter when compared to the battles that Roughie has fought in the past couple of years. But this is what we do and so we have to ask – could the Big Rough possibly be even better this year? Or will the Hawks spearhead fly south for the winter?
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