Clearly Michael Barlow loves a challenge. The week after Melbourne midfielder Tom Scully racked up a rookie-record 134 points, the lanky Freo first-year player responded immediately by setting the bar higher again with an Ablettesque 146. Hey Barlow, I bet you can’t bust out a 150. That should do the trick.
It’s a pretty key week in rookie trading this one, with a bunch of our initial pick-ups hitting their peak and some interesting two-gamers making their case for selection in our sides. Firstly, the ones that have been around for a while.
Obviously Barlow’s still got some growth left after that monster score, as does Scully with that 134 still in his system. The other “good guys” of round eight were Adelaide backman Chris Schmidt, who brought up his maiden ton, and Matts Maguire and Jaensch, who both nailed 90s. The warm feeling generated by Jaensch’s breakout performance quickly dissipated when it was revealed he’ll miss this week after hanging with former DT starlet Bernie Vince into the early hours. There were 80s too for West Coast midfielder Lewis Stevenson, Western Bulldogs forward Jarrad Grant and Hawthorn forward Carl Petersen. Grant owners will be happy with the score, but even happier with the news that veteran teammates Brad Johnson and Robert Murphy remain injured, guaranteeing Grant’s spot for some time to come. Petersen has shown it’s possible to climb out of the red zone, stringing together a couple of good scores to knock his price up and his breakeven back down to a more-than-manageable 6. Hopefully it’s an example the next lot of blokes can follow.
Sydney midfielder Lewis Jetta suffered an $8k loss last week, taking a BE of 47 into the next round. He wasn’t the only one leaking cash, however, with Melbourne’s No.2 pick Jack Trengove slipping $6k and mini drops for Carlton’s Kane Lucas and Hawthorn’s Ben Stratton. Not major losses, then, but it’s clear that it’s time to offload this lot. Brisbane’s Todd Banfield takes the highest BE into round nine, needing 84 to breakeven. He’s averaging 65 on the season. You can probably sell the likes of Scott Gumbleton, Mitch Farmer, Dustin Martin, Anthony Morabito, Ryan Bastinac and Ben Nason without sacrificing too many future price rises as well. While I’m hanging on to Gumby as a forward bench heartbeat, and Farmer simply hasn’t made enough dough to be worth the trade, I’d be looking at cashing in the other cows sooner rather than later. According to the comments on the last couple of posts, Nason in particular is going to figure in a few trades this week.
Unless you’ve already got him, Nason’s Richmond teammate Jeromey Webberley seems to be the popular target of a backline downgrade trade this week, and with good reason. While failing to score heavily yet, Webberley has done enough on field to impress the Tiger faithful that he’s worth persisting with. The other pros are his “mature-aged-ness” and the fact that he plays for a team more interested in developing their list than gifting games to the old blokes. If you’re cashing in Nason (or Hunt/Maguire, etc), then your other option is West Coast’s Brad Sheppard, who wouldn’t be the worst pick-up in the history of DT, but you’ll pay an extra $40k for lower job security and, arguably, a lower points-per-game average, too.
Melbourne forward Danny Hughes is another two gamer tempting coaches this week. Scoring doesn’t seem too much of a problem, with above par scores of 63 and 74 so far. The loss of Ricky Petterd has convinced many that his job security is good too, although I’m still wary of what impact the impending return of Cale Morton and Austin Wonaeamirri will have. As a Dees supporter, I will at least say that I’m glad someone is getting a go ahead of serial failure Brad Miller. The other forward downgrade option this week is Sydney’s Gary Rohan. Many of the same arguments for Webberley over Sheppard can be made for Hughes over Rohan, so I won’t repeat myself. The big bonus in Rohan’s favour is his dual-position status (he’s available in the mids, too), giving his owners some flexibility if short-term injury or omission strikes down the track.
The final two gamer up for grabs this week is Tony Armstrong, who would’ve made plenty of coaches take note with a monster 123 for Adelaide. The midfielder’s first game, back in round one, yielded just 36, so there’s a massive discrepancy between his best and worst. His best is pretty good though.
Five rookie-priced footballers played their first games of 2010 last week, although most of them have AFL experience and, as a result, come at a slightly higher cost than the average first-year player. None of them did anything particularly special on debut, but for the record they were forwards Henry Playfair (62), Jack Watts (53), Nick Heyne (40) and Cameron Stokes (28), and ruckman Wayde Skipper (37). I’d still be grabbing Hughes if you thought one of your forward rookies was close to hitting their peak instead of waiting for around for one of these blokes.