The remaining 9 teams squared off to complete the first round of the NAB Cup over the weekend. While the trial rules dampened the relevance of the pre-season matches, serious DT coaches were still taking notes and sizing up their team for the season proper. Here are a few players whose stock rose and fell over the weekend in the eyes of the DT population.
Ryan Gamble STK
This guy has barely made a blip on most coach’s radar until this weekend. Gamble exploded in the absence of Riewoldt and kicked 4 goals over the two shortened contests. Scores of 50 and 41 meant he was only second to fantasy gun Montagna in terms of points scored for St. Kilda. The big question is whether he can maintain this output when much of his supply will be redirected to Saint Nick when he returns. But at $157,800, he is well and truly worth a look over the remaining cup games.
Stewart Crameri ESS
Crameri has barely been an afterthought as an Essendon midfielder, thanks to the H-twins, Hibberd and Heppell, soaking up all of the interest. He played the last three games of 2010 for an average of 57.3, meaning he’s priced at $166,700 for 2011. While currently he’s too expensive to take a risk on, his scores of 40 and 37 were impressive, especially with his touch around the goals.
Cameron Richardson NTH
Wow, this guy has really come out firing! He has been considered as a bench player in most forward lines until now, but was hard to lock without DPP like Mzungu and Krakouer…Not any more! He looks like a stat machine, picking up at least 12 touches in both games. He also lead North in both contests with scores of 57 and 44 against two quality outfits. It’s fair to say that after this weekend, many coaches will be getting on Richardson, and rightly so.
Shaun Higgins WB
There has been a fair bit of discussion about whether picking up Higgins is worth the risk or not, with most of the concern directed towards his history of soft-tissue injuries. While those concerns are still there, there’s no doubting that he has had a great pre-season and his performance on Sunday proved that. He scored 50 and 38 with much of his trademark class. Higgins is now a legitimate option as an underpriced DPP for 2011.
Jonathan Simpkin GEEL
The rookie-listed midfielder from Geelong put up his first serious bid for consideration after solid scores of 40 and 42. While he is now on the radar, his job security is almost non-existent and he seems to be behind a few other Geelong youngsters(think Duncan, Menzel, Christensen). Could be a mid-season downgrade option if he makes his debut later in the season, but shouldn’t press for your round 1 team.
Mitch Wallis WB
Everyone was watching this father-son and pick and the guy he will forever be compared to, Tom Liberatore, to see what they could do. While Libba was solid in his single game, Wallis failed to fire. In his first game he looked energetic, but failed to generate a decent DT score. Being subbed on late in the second game didn’t help his case either. While he was unlikely to start round 1 anyway, he should be exiting most coach’s minds as that third midefield bench option.
David Swallow GC
The fall in Swallow’s stock is not his fault at all. In fact, he looked right at home against bigger and older bodies, posting 39 and 25 in possession-happy football. The decrease in value is more due to the fact that Daniel Harris played so well (45 and 42 to lead GC for the day) at a much lower price. If you only wanted to own the one GC midfielder, then Swallow shouldn’t be your first choice.
Maverick Weller GC
While Swallow did nothing wrong, same can’t be said for Weller. Many teams have considered Weller in their midfield, but he was barely sighted over the course of the day only picking up the 5 disposals. While it’s unwise to write someone off based on only one day, it was hard to be optimistic about this guy’s fantasy potential.
Brent Prismall ESS
Prismall would have only been considered as a few, being an awkwardly-priced almost-premium. But after his horrid performance, he should be forgotten. While it’s only one game (well, two), an experienced player should be able to manage more than 7 disposals if he was fully fit. Either way,through bad form or bad health, his value has plummeted after the weekend.
Todd Banfield BRIS
It’s hard to get a read on Banfield from the data gained over the weekend. He started with an error-riddled 10 in his first game against Essendon, but was red hot with 2 goals and 57 against the Saints. It’s difficult to know which game is the exception and which is the norm, so watch the rest of his cup closely.
Josh Toy and Michael Coad GC
The first round of the nab cup didn’t do much to separate these two as your rookie backman from the Suns. Coad scored higher (38 and 25) than Toy (37 and 17), but Toy’s second game was limited due to a corked thigh. Coad seems to have better job security, but Toy’s game-style looks more suited to DT… Will need more time to make a call here.
Jared Polec BRIS
Polec looked polished in his 34 in the Lion’s big loss to the Bombers, but went missing against St Kilda. There didn’t seem to be any real reason for his fading, except for inexperience. Still popular for a midfield bench spot, we’ll have to see more before we can gauge his potential for 2011.