That’s right, I’m going with the cheesy pun headlines right from the start this year. It’s true, though. With prices about to change for the first time this season, now is the week to leap aboard the Curnow express if you want an instant cash injection. The $96,400 Carlton midfielder has the honour of bagsing the highest breakeven (-127) on the eve of the first price movements following scores of 107 and 91 in the opening two rounds. It’s possibly the biggest negative BE we’ll see this season. For the uninitiated, a breakeven is exactly as it sounds – the score a player needs to break even, or hold his current value. If he scores above it, he’ll go up, and if he scores below it, well, he’ll go down. In Curnow’s case, the former Box Hill best and fairest winner will have to go statless apart from giving away about 40 free kicks in order to “breakeven” with his current price tag. Even against the all-conquering reigning premiers, that’s not going to happen, obviously. If Curnow keeps up his current average of 99, he’ll rise almost $80k. And even if he scores half that, (which is the more likely scenario, to be fair), he’ll still go up $60k.
So, Curnow’s got a big pay day coming. Why wouldn’t you turf out the gastro maestro Nathan Foley and replace him with Corn-Row, the mature-age ball magnet who was best on ground an amazing five times in a row for Box Hill before breaking his leg last year? Well, you might want to consider Western Bulldogs rookie Tom Liberatore first. Little Libba chalked up a tasty 112 against Brisbane on Sunday to go with his first-up 72 against Essendon, earning a breakeven of -118. Like Curnow, he’s also a midfielder, but is priced marginally cheaper at $92,500. While $4000 is hardly a deal-sealer, Liberatore does have another factor in his favour. Little Libba certainly has the easier third-round opponent in the hapless GC, while Carlton face Collingwood. Both, unfortunately, have questionable job security. Libba did suffer a knock to his knee just before the final siren in the Doggies’ big win on Sunday, so monitor that during the week and for the love of God(dard), check the teams on Thursday before pulling the trigger. If overall ranking is your main concern, then Curnow is definitely a better bet than Libba if you already have a Boyd/Montagna/Bewick combo in your midfield, thus avoiding a doughnut in round four when the Saints, Bulldogs and Lions all have a week’s rest.
I’m not going to try to talk you into one over the other, because both have their merits. For the sake of transparency, I’ll reveal that I’m going with Libba at this stage, but it’s a 50/50 call, as evenly balanced as a seesaw with the Michael Long of today at one end, and five Michael Longs from his playing days at the other. If you’ve already got both because you picked them in your starting line-up, then f%$^ you, you smart-a$%$ mother-f$%*er.
The other big trade-in this week is likely to be Melbourne forward Luke Tapscott, who has produced back-to-back 80s. About 45,000 coaches have already jumped on the second-year Demon, but if you’ve seen his shoulders you’ll realise he can carry a shite-load more of us. (Apologies for the massive amount of man love for Tapscott, but as a Demons supporter, he’s one of the few good things going for us at the moment). A third consecutive 80 would see Tapscott rise about $65k, so if you’ve got some dead weight in your forward line, then the time to tap into Luke’s potential is now. “Tap into”, get it? Don’t worry, I’m not charging for the extra cheese. Those with an eye on national ranking will need to be wary of overloading their forward line with Demons (Sylvia), Swans (Goodes/O’Keefe) and Eagles (Darling) before picking up Tapscott, especially if you’re also switching Petrie to the rucks to cover Cox, given that all of those teams share a bye in round 5.
After those three, you can expect chunky rises from popular picks Nick Lower and Andrew Krakouer, despite both having their round 2 scores slashed by the sub rule, and the likes of Rohan Bewick, Jack Darling, Shane Savage, Dyson Heppell, Nick Duigan, Jarrad Irons, Stef Martin and Jesse O’Brien, with moderate rises from Cam O’Shea, Ryan Lester, Jasper Pittard and even Simon Buckley, if they maintain their two-game averages (and get a gig in round three). Unfortunately, some of our rookies (and rookie-priced players) are only due for marginal gains due to the sub rule (Andrew Gaff, Claye Beams), their inflated initial price (Reece Conca) or Presti-like ability so far to score DT points (Jake Batchelor, Lukas Markovic, Cameron Guthrie, Shaun Atley and Brad Helbig).
The introduction of the bye will mean Gold Coast (round 1), Adelaide (round 2) and North Melbourne rookies will have to wait another week before getting their first price rises. Of those who’ve played just the one game so far, fingers crossed for more of the same from Daniel Harris (97 points), Shaun McKernan (83), Zac Smith (81), Trent McKenzie (76), Harley Bennell (72) and Josh Toy (53 in a half of footy); pull you finger out Alik Magin (30) and Marc Lock (29); and cop a middle finger salute Karmichael Hunt, who is actually on track to leak money after scoring just 18 in the Suns’ debut match against the Blues. No sweat, though, no one would have him. Oh, hang on… he’s in 37,000 teams, about 10,000 more than those with Curnow. Go figure.