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 2013 season.
ROY’S TOP 5 FROM THE BLUES
1. Bryce Gibbs MID/DEF ($473,300)
Gibbs is arguably the best selection this year and is a “must have” for anybody who wants the 50K 1st prize. Gibbs basically ticks all boxes, so saddle up as I go through them:
- He is DPP and the fact he can be selected as a defender is priceless.
- Based on what he has done in the past, Gibbs provides amazing value. Twice in his career he has averaged 107, including an amazing finish to 2011 with 8 straight 100’s (only 2 of them were under 110) to truly show his potential. While playing as an attacking midfielder during that period, he scored with the likes of Gary Ablett and Dane Swan. His negative role across half back in 2012 saw a big drop in average, which has resulted in a bargain price for us this year.
- New coach Mick Malthouse has a brilliant history of working with players in the Gibbs mould and has indicated that he will be a midfielder as opposed to playing predominantly in defence.
- Gibbs embraced his role change in the NAB cup recording scores of 36 and 38 in the shorter versions of the game.
- I predict that Gibbs will have his best season to date with an average of 110+.
2. Marc Murphy MID ($522,000)
An absolute star who provides amazing value on the back of an injury interrupted season. In 2011 Murphy was in the elite bracket averaging an impressive 111 but last year he dropped back to 101 due to an injury which he suffered on just 27 and subsequent troubles upon return recapturing his early season consistency. Before being struck down, Murphy started the season just the way I expected with 5 straight 100 point games with a lowest of 114. A bonus with Murphy is that he has a high ceiling as he demonstrated against the Bombers in round 21 where he had 37 touches, 2 goals and 163. His NAB form was solid with 18 and 33.
3. Mitch Robinson MID/FWD ($478,600)
Robbo is sitting in my team at the moment because I think he will take his game to the next level this season. When able to play an attacking role last year, Mitch showed his potential early on when between the rounds of 2 and 6 he never dropped below 100 and twice scored above 120. In the last few weeks of 2012, Mitch played a number of games affected by injury and negative tagging roles and on a couple of occasions he didn’t even reach 50 with scores of 48 and 39 which have brought his price down nicely for this year. Mick Malthouse will have a positive influence of Robinson’s development and he should push his average toward 100. Although he looked busy in the NAB cup, his scores were nothing to write home about with 26 and 10.
4. Sam Rowe RUC/FWD ($108,500)
After overcoming a battle with cancer last year, Sam Rowe looks poised to be the feel good story of 2013. Despite being considered deep in a line of big men at Carlton with the likes of Kreuzer, Warnock and Hampson, he showed outstanding form in the first NAB game vs GWS where he scored a team high 44. He displayed great hands and provided a strong target for the Blues midfield. With so many popular rucks given DPP eligibility this year, Rowe would provide a handy link between the ruck and fwd lines. Track his progress as he is unlikely to play round 1, but hopefully gets a taste of it early.
5. Chris Yarran DEF ($311,400)
Last year Yarran battled injury and form issues to average a disappointing 60. Hopefully a change of coach and a good bill of health can help Yarran not only return to his best, but reach the lofty heights many believe he is capable. Early signs were promising during the NAB cup where he collected 8 and 6 touches for solid scores of 24 and 31.
OTHERS ON THE WATCHLIST
Although Troy Menzel FWD/MID ($138,700) is an extremely talented youngster, he does not look set to appear in round 1. He is worth keeping a close eye on because he should play in 2013 and provide coaches with a good downgrade option.
Unfortunately veteran Heath Scotland DEF/MID ($493,400) will miss the start of the season due to a club imposed suspension. Last year he continued to defy age and average and impressive 96 points per game. He showed great durability last year and will once again provide an upgrade target as he is one of the elite players available in defence.
DROPPED OFF THE RADAR
Chris Judd MID ($465,800) dropped his average to 90 last year which is well below his 2010 and 2011 averages of 102. With a new coach and growing defensive focus on you stars like Marc Murphy, Judd could be freed up to play some Dream Team friendly footy and push his average back toward triple figures.
Former number 1 draft pick Matthew Kruezer RUC ($403,700) has shown flashes of brilliance over his career but recently injuries have hindered his development. He is happy with how he has travelled this pre season, completing more sessions than recent years so a break out could be on the cards.
Since losing DPP, Andrew Carrazzo MID ($467,000) has not generated as much interest this year. What interests me here is if he has a role change where he loses the number 1 tagging responsibilities, he could return to his ball magnet ways of 2007 where he averaged 100.
A new coach could provide more opportunities for Kane Lucas MID ($251,200) although his awkward price, MID positioning and form in the NAB did nothing to excite me on the back of scoring 15 and 16.
At this stage I am locking Gibbs and will most likely have Robbo in my starting squad. I have a real interest in whether Rowe can fight his way into the team and I haven’t ruled out Murphy as an under-priced premium selection.
Follow me on Twitter: @RoyDT