Craig Bird – Lefty’s Leftfielders

craigbird

Welcome to the second edition of Lefty’s Leftfielders – if you missed last week’s write up on Nick Riewoldt I am trying to find a few players for your team that you may not have considered previously- and help you find that early season unique that goes bang!

This week on Lefty’s Leftfielder’s is Swan’s tough little bugger Craig Bird.

 

Name: Craig Bird

Club: Sydney Swans

Position: Fwd/Mid

Price: $354,300

 

Argument For

In 2012, Bird played all 22 games for an average of 69 (including 3 vested games of 19, 38 and 80)

His 3 best regular season scores in 2012 were 127,113 and 97 with another 4 scores in the 80’s.

Hang on a minute – that’s only 7 scores of 80+ from a bloke who played all 22 rounds in 2012 I hear you say? Why is Lefty talking up this bloke for a starting gig in his squad for 2013?

Here is the logic behind my selection.

Bird started the 2012 season in a flurry with scores of 127, 82, 87, 97 and 113. That’s an average of just over 101 and certainly has him in premo forward territory. Even more important is who this run of top form was against – including GWS and North – and how he plays these same teams in rounds 1 and 3 in 2013.

By all reports he is injury free and having a ‘best ever’ preseason (mind you who isn’t!) and I don’t see anyone at Swans putting pressure on his spot (Ben McGlynn is injured again and likely to miss the start of the season)

Something else to note is Bird’s form in the Prelim and GF last year. Scores of 88 and 79 may not sound super impressive but he was a serious contributor in the finals series and finals games are generally not high DT scoring affairs due to the contested nature of the games.

Most importantly of all, Bird plays his 3 best scoring teams in the first 3 weeks – GWS, Gold Coast and Nth Melbourne.

The swans first 4 games in 2013 and Bird’s 2012 scores are:

Team Bird’s 2012 scores
GWS 127, (plus a 38 scored in 1 qtr due to being sub)
GC 80(started as sub!!)
Nth Melb  97   (104 and 91 in previous years games also)
Geelong 73 and 59

So if Bird maintains his form against his first 3 opponents he will be averaging a tick over 100 after the first 3 rounds. Priced at a 70 ppg he has the potential to not only gain you valuable points in the first 3 rounds but also make you some serious cash by round 5. I know I said it last week in my write-up, but the seeming lack of forward rookie options this year has me scrambling to find highscoring forwards in the mid-priced/fallen premo price bracket.

I see Bird as definitely in the Swans best 22, and barring injury see no reason he can’t continue his progression into the ranks of rotating mids/half forwards.

Argument Against

Bird was the starting sub in 3 games last year which is always a horrible result for your supposed ‘secret weapon’. Nothing is worse than sitting down, opening that first cold frothy on a Saturday arvo and flicking on the TV to see your man wearing green and heading to the pine.

He occasionally gets the forward tagging role which can result in some poor scoring games, and his disposal isn’t not elite so I doubt he would be the ‘first choice’ handball receive.

Bird is capable of some low scores – unsubbed returns of 42, 45 and 47 in 2012 illustrate this and I will be monitoring his role very close after the first 4 rounds.

Lefty’s Call

With the aging Swans on ball brigade of ROK and Bolton surely having to slow down soon, I see Bird joining the likes of Hannebery, Jack, JPK etc in the midfield this year on a more regular basis. I see a bit of Scooter Selwood in the way Bird has been handled to this stage, and will not be surprised to see him freed up more often this year. He averages over 4 tackles per game which is a handy 16 point start so once he concentrates on finding space a bit more he should take more marks and provide more link-ups between defence and attack.

Bird has also increased his DT average every year since he debuted 5 years ago which is another tick in the pick me column in my book!

I am hoping for a 100 point average over the first 3 weeks and will assess after that – I believe an 80+ point season average is certainly achievable in 2013 and he may end up proving a great F7/M9.

I don’t think it is any secret St Kilda and Sydney have very friendly starts to the year with GWS and Gold Coast games, and I am looking to maximise my chances to gain points and cash with under-priced forward and mid players from those clubs.

So there you have it – the second of Lefty’s leftfielders. Hope it makes you at least consider Birdy for your starting squad, once again I reckon the 2 trades per week rule makes a guy like this a lot more appealing than in previous years.

32 Comments

  • Looking at someone to replace Johnson in the early weeks and both articles have peaked my interest, but i am thinking Roo over Bird at this stage

    • As per the last couple years, I’m running a $200 cash league. Prizes include $2000 for league winner, $800 for league runner up and $800 for the most points scored.

      Please register your interest by emailing Lminopou@deakin.edu.au

      Numbers fill up fast! First in best dressed

  • Great work, I love these articles. My fwd bench ATM is Byrnes and ‘Caff because I don’t like any fwd rooks.. I might start with Bird and Nick so I can down/upgrade around round 5.. Thanks mate.

  • will be on watch list thoughout preseason will most probably starter on my team looking to trade out to dusty martin at round 4 or 5 after he makes me some cash

  • He is now the swans bet tagger so I will say no, good write up though mate

  • Bird for first 3 games as 4th Mid (As mentioned playing GCS and GWS) then trading to Stevie J at round 4-5.

  • Thoughts on Leigh Montagna this year?? 2010 ave. 108, 2009 ave. 113, can he get back to that?

    • Some Saints supporters I hear from think he could tag more, though I thought Jones was their shutdown man.

    • If you asked me, no, I don’t think he will. But he is year another who you may want to consider due to his early draw.

      • How about Nick Dal Santo??

        • I dont think Montagna tagged in NAB did he? It is the nab cup though

        • What you can do with these St Kilda and Sydney players is have a dig through their previous scores against GC and GWS to get a gauge of if they indeed benefit from them or in fact do worse (GAJ vs GWS for example). I haven’t seen NDS’s scores against them but if they are good then he’s definitely an option too.

  • THE BIRD IS THE WORD

    Great writeup

  • Opinions on Nick Dal Santo this year? anyone’s apprciated.

    • I’ve locked him in for the first few rounds, then maybe offloading him in rounds 3-5.

      Very durable player, definitely starting with him :)

  • Very compelling stuff, has me considering him when I never would have otherwise, which is exactly what these are meant to achieve. I’m wary of going overboard on these types of guys. Too many planned sideways trades leaves you with little room for LTI’s and early cow management, such as your rook getting omitted and trading to another on the bubble. I already have Hanley, wouldn’t want to get too many more. Bird vs NRoo vs Neither would in fact make an interesting face-off article, vying for that spot in your forward line dedicated to early fixture and whether it’s worth having that spot at all.

  • God I love this article series. All pre-season we hear about the serious contenders for our team, and never hear about the 50/50 players. Really really great to have these write ups!

    Personally, as a long time Swans fan, I do not see Bird jumping his average too much for the season. BUT, as a few Swans will, his average for rounds 1-5 may be quite tasty. It’s one of the, but not the only, reasons that K Jack is a lock in my side at M5.

    Go Swans!

  • I may as well just let you pick my team, Lefty, because every time you do one of these I end up wanting the guy! So please choose me a killer squad…

  • Nice write up. No chance he will make my team. Much better mid price options. His role changed after the 5 rounds. Unless it changes again he will make you tear ur hair out DT wise.
    It wasn’t a case of his opposition that he posted those big scores. It was his role.

  • Well written piece lefty…. But an awful player to pick as a left field option, I don’t see any upside in him, he may have started last year with a bang but it is a pretty small sample group to work with, for similar price you can have either ball or lower and at least they have proven they can score well against all opposition not just a small portion of the competition, just remember this guy played 22 games last year and is still priced like this…

    • fair call mate – i am taking a punt on him as F4 would not take such a chance on him as a mid only(as both Ball and Lower are?Embley is better than both those IMO?)
      The plan is to get him for the (hopefully)fast start and cash out – last year he started fast and scored his best against these teams he plays early.
      I see Dt (AFL) 2013 running similar to NBL DT – its not the best players that will win you leagues but the best “streak” players
      But hey – I am just happy anyone reads my stuff so thanks for the comments – please keep them coming as these guy I pick are gonna divide the crowd.

  • This makes a lot of sense Lefty, nice article mate. One of the few FWD’s I see as providing genuine value for money.

  • pass for me

  • That one certainly came from leftfield, Lefty. Exactly what these article are all about.
    As a long time Swans supporter, I would love to see Birdy jump into that 90-100 average but I still feel that he is too often now given the number one tag role that he has taken over from jumping Jack. One Swan player that i believe does have the capability of doing so and is a great bargain for those looking at some mid pricers is Luke Parker. A 66 average last year due to vests (both green and red) is underpriced. I do not believe he will be the emerg candidate this year.

  • agree bandicoot had my eye on him since my prospectus arrived mid Jan. At 343k parker is on suicide watch for sure. what i need to work out is how do you predict score increases? Parker with break even of 69 averages 85 over first 5 rounds how much cash do i make?????

  • As per the last couple years, I’m running a $200 cash league. Prizes include $2000 for league winner, $800 for league runner up and $800 for the most points scored.

    Please register your interest by emailing Lminopou@deakin.edu.au

    Numbers fill up fast! First in best dressed