This series of ‘club preview’ posts are written by DT TALK regular contributors choosing their 5 players they have on their watchlist from the respective club. These aren’t who we think will be the top 5 highest scoring players… and are not necessarily in order. They are just our opinions of the 5 players who we have on our watchlist heading into the 2012 season.
Tbetta’s Five from the Eagles:
1. Dean Cox (RUC) – $532,000
Cox has without a doubt been the best fantasy ruckman of the past 5 years, but interestingly he was cast aside in pre-season planning by many coaches. Yes, he’s getting older, and yes, Naitanui’s going to spend a fair bit more time in the middle. But if his pre-season form is anything to go by, Cox will still be smashing out 100’s even if he rests in a forward pocket a little more frequently. In the absence of Josh Kennedy, Mark LeCras and sometimes Quinten Lynch, Big Coxy has stood up and taken a bunch of contested grabs up forward. Cox looks like he will again be the premier DT ruckman, but is he worth the coin? Ignore at your own peril.
2. Beau Waters (DEF) – $338,200
While Waters has always been a much-loved player of mine, I’ve learnt as an Eagles supporter not to trust those pesky elbows. He’s missed more games due to his elbow issues than he’s been able to play in the last 4 years, suiting up for 37 out of 88 possible home-and-away matches. Yes, he can score – his 2010 average of 87.5 proves this, but remember that he didn’t play at all in 2009 and this is a period sandwiched in between two years of 8 games for a 68 point average. He leads a very short list of ‘premium’ defenders from the Round 11 bye, but I can’t help but remain wary over his durability. A big risk-reward type pick at his price.
3. Koby Stevens (MID) – $104,200
The wraps on Koby are huge, and it has always reminded me on the hype surrounding Shuey at the dawn of his third season. We all know how he turned out. Despite some obvious similarities, Koby is a very different footballer to Shuey, emerging in a much different landscape. Shuey, a silky, speedy, goal-sneaking midfielder, got his chance last year immediately after the Eagles ‘won’ the wooden spoon. Midfield time was a given for himself and the other youngsters coming through (Scott Selwood, Masten, Gaff). Stevens however, a hard-at-it, lateral-moving inside midfielder, arrives in a completely new football environment just one year later. West Coast’s success last year means it will be a difficult task for a newbie to break into the best 21, let alone 22 players on a given week. If anyone can do it though, it’s Koby. Look at him for a midfield bench position, as I’m tipping he’ll be much vested early(Gaff, circa 2011) if he earns an opportunity.
4. Chris Masten (MID) – $278,500
Half of me says you’d be mad not to at least consider Masten, but the other half says you’d be crazy to ever pick him. What does that say for my sanity? Many of you would know my personal feelings towards Masten, but I’ll try to put up an unbiased picture of him here. Masten finished 2011 very strongly with 140 and 115 in the last two regular season games, and his good form has continued right through the Nab Cup. His weekly nab scores have read 74, 89 and 96, going at 108 DT points per 100 minutes. That’s more points per 100 minutes than other much-hyped mid-pricers in Sloane (100), Ballantyne (95), McCarthy (103), Hayes (68), and Gaff (81) this pre-season. There no doubting that he can find the footy and score well (especially with his newly found tackling prowess) but will he play enough midfield time in the season proper? I have a nagging feeling he will fill Ebert’s HFF role early on…
5. Josh Hill (FWD) – $276,600
I wanted to chuck in a Smokey here, and I’ve landed on Hill. He has scored 57, 57, and 58 over the first three weeks of the Nab Cup, despite much reduced playing time. He was recruited with filling Ebert’s HFF spot in mind, but LeCras’ season-ending injury throws things up in the air a bit. Regardless, it can only be a good thing for Hill, who will certainly be given early opportunities to make the spot his. He’s dead cheap, priced at 55.9, but I’m worried about that his playing-style is too well suited to the vest. Hill is a giant unknown that could go either way, but if you’re looking at forwards with a Round 11 bye, he could be worth a closer look.
OTHERS ON THE WATCHLIST: Luke Shuey ($413,000 MID) has proven he will be prolific this year with a high PPM in Nab 1 and a lauded pre-season, but he is significantly more expensive than this time last year. Scott Selwood ($431,000 MID) has had a great Nab Cup despite off-season back surgery, but is also around that awkward price for a midfielder. Gaff ($322,900 MID), Sheppard ($253,700 DEF/MID) and Weedon ($104,200 FWD) are also options, if you’re not concerned with the former’s slight injury or the latter two’s job securities. Nic Nat ($371,300 RUC) is someone who hasn’t garnered a lot of talk this pre-season, especially in a wide-open ruck race, but expect the freak athlete to improve on his 75.1 average from last year with plenty more contested marking.
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