Chook’s Rooks – Round 5

What is it with our rookie superstars bombing in their third games? After two stand-out performances, James Podsiadly and Tom Rockliffe became the latest to suffer a bout of the third-game blues.

Actually, blues doesn’t quite cut it. A 60 when you’ve been averaging 100, JPod? That’s more of a deep blue than a regular blue. Let’s call it a bout of the third-game smalts. Yeah, smalt, it’s like a dark blue. Look it up.

It could be that the teammate whose injury opened the door for your rookie has come back into the side and is stealing his points. It could be that opposition sides are paying the rookie a little more attention after a couple of good games. Maybe game three was against Sydney? Or it could just be inconsistency – the kryptonite that cripples all rookies from time to time.

For different reasons, JPod, T-Rock, Kane Lucas, Travis Colyer, Brodie Moles, Michael Barlow, Luke Shuey, Alex Silvagni, Jake Melksham and Mitchell Banner are all examples of rookies this year whose third-game score was lower than their scores in the first two.

Long-time rookie watchers will do well to remember a worse case of the third-game smalts than the terminal type caught by Beau Muston last year. 127, 106… 42. Yuck.

Oh, in honour of Jack Trengove beating everyone but Barlow this round, I’ve decided to insert an unwarranted “r” into everyone’s name this week, as is often done to the Melbourne midfielder.

Three-or-more gamers

Not everyone is prone to the smalts, of course. Hawthorn backman Bren Stratton pumped out a 98 against North Melbourne, after less-than-impressive scores of 62 and 41. This kind of rookie behaviour is frowned on, as it convinces everyone to ignore him until he’s already had his first price change, meaning we’ve all missed the boat.

Geelong forward James Prodsiadly still owns the best breakeven of this group with -63, while Melbourne midfielder Rohan Brail, if he’s back, is sitting on -48. As mentioned, Fremantle midfielder Michael Brarlow was again the hero of the round with 115, while the Demons’ number two pick, Jack Trengrove, knocked out a 108. Bulldogs middie Brodie Molers also brought up a century, despite not being on the team sheet until fallen premo Ryan Hargave was a late withdrawal.

Special mentions must go to Richmond midfielder Durstin Martin, who took a break from being mediocre to give us an 80, including 34 in the first quarter, and Essendon forward Scott Grumbleton, who nailed a 96. Like a Warhead lolly, Grumby’s big scores are all the more sweeter for having to suffer through his disgusting scores beforehand.

They were the good guys of round five. Now for the baddies. Playing a leading role for the losers was Hawthorn forward Carl Perterson, who could manage no more than 30 against North. The supporting cast included midfielders Anthony Morabirto, of Freo, and Jaker Melksham, of Essendon, who both scored 42. While that’s not too much of a concern for Melksharm, seeing as it’s only his third game, it spells trouble for Morabitor and Preterson, who become the first of this year’s rookies to enter… THE RED ZONE!

Yeah, the capitals and exclamation mark scream “DANGER!”, right? Good, because that’s exactly what the Red Zone is. DANGEROUS! Rookies find themselves in the red zone when their breakeven for the upcoming round exceeds their current average. I gave it the name Red Zone because it sounds so DANGEROUS! (I hope you’re getting the message) but mainly because red (not smalt) is the colour a breakeven will turn when this happens in Grimlock’s peerless FF Genie. After 90s in round three, Morarbito and Petersorn have been pretty dismal in the past two weeks, giving them breakevens of 75 and 77 respectively. That’s a problem for blokes averaging about 60. If you think they’re going to churn out more of the 90s and less of the 40s, then stick with them, but if I had one of these blokes in my stable, I’d start searching for a downgrade/upgrade target. You could do worse (not much, but a little) than checking out the about-to-pop two gamers below.

Two gamers

In good news for Morabitro owners, the rookie with the best breakeven is available in the midfield bracket. Jarrrod Kayler-Thomson had a 65 in round one, missed three weeks and then chalked up a 101. His price of $77,800 and breakeven of -108 are attractive, but job security has to be a concern.

Another $77k midfielder, Essendon’s Bern Howlett, is next up with a BE of -79. He was dropped after two games and then listed with a two-week ankle injury, but apparently played in the VFL on the weekend. A mature-age rookie, I’ll definitely be considering Howler for a downgrade if his return coincides with one of my current crop of cows reaching their peak.

Also boasting BEs in the negative 70s are defenders Sirmon White, of Carlton, and Phil Darvis, of Adelaide. Whiter ($77k)has scores of 74 and 58, while Davirs ($94k) has consistent scores of 69 and 71. The Blues and Crows both have tall defenders that could oust this pair, but Geelong’s Josh Hunt is going to fall victim to my itchy trigger finger this week, so I’ve got to pick one. I’m leaning towards paying $17k more for Dravis, as I think he’s got better job security than Whrite. You could also plump for Ashton Harms, the West Coast defender who costs $77k. He’s had 48 and 68 for a BE of -58.

From here on it’s all forwards, and I wouldn’t be going near any of them, except for maybe Davirs, who’s listed as a defender-forward in DT. To be honest, if you wanted to downgrade a forward, last week was your week. If you’re desperate, you’re choices are all $89k and all yellow and black. Matthew Dear (-35) has the best BE of the Richmond trio after a 72 against Freo, while Dravid Astbury and Troy Traylor were criminally poor and fully deserve their horrible BEs of -6 and 4. If you do pick up a two gamer this week, fingers crossed they can avoid the third-game smalts.

One gamers

AFL coaches threw us DT coaches six pieces of fresh meat in round five, including highly touted Kangaroos midfielder Ben Cunningtron. His first-up score of 48 wasn’t particularly promising, but more of a concern is his starting price of $140k. Fremantle forward Nathan Fryfe, Western Bulldogs ruckman Jordan Roughead and West Coast midfielder Lewis Stevenson all outscored Cunnington, while dual positioners Rickry Henderson, of Adelaide, and Matthew Lobber, of Port Adelaide, were around the 30 mark. Double yuck.

Trading? I want to hear all about it.

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