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Get Off The Bench: Round 7

Back to a semi-normal round and we all hopefully have choices to make about who to play on the ground and who to leave on the pine. I have tried to make this a bit easier by looking at these fringe players for you.

Alright, so now we only have one team taking the week off and we should all have some choices to make in terms of who we need to play on the field.  But one of the things that is killing us all is the inconsistency of our players!  We also have some fresh meat that we can look at playing as we have Hibberd and Harper have made their debut’s.

We are also starting to see a bit of a pattern with the use of the Sub, there are some players who seem to earn a vest most weeks so we can plan for it, players in this category include Gaff, Claye Beams and Davenport.  We also know that the vest seems to belong to midfielders, particularly the green one (that is when Warnie and Calvin aren’t wearing it).  So they are the riskiest proposition in that sense.

So our job this week is to find the most consistent of our bench players rather than the worst that we should leave out!  A much nicer task, but it isn’t any easier!  With our long list of choices this week I will run through players as they would appear if sorted by team to make it a bit easier and as usual check the ratings at the bottom for the order I would play them in.


Brodie Smith has performed well over the last 4 weeks averaging 77 over that time and seems to have cemented him a permanent spot in the Crows lineup so job security isn’t an issue.  Luke Thompson has steadily gotten better since his debut with a very nice 92 last week.  I would be comfortable with this guy on the field, and with them playing Melb I reckon he might do ok.  With Tambling suspended this week and Davis out I can’t see him losing his spot.  Jesse O’Brien isn’t in the groundbreaking form he was in at the start of the season and is now returning solid 40-60 scores.  His BE of 65 now makes him a trade out option.

Nick Duigan is now starting to dip in his points production, but that last game was of course affected by the rain in Sydney.  I see this as only a temporary drop in production and I think he should be back to his normal game this week against St Kilda.  However, most of us will probably trade him out this week given his BE is now over his average.  Laidler has continued his good performance and has an 85 and 69 over the last two weeks, just watch out as he is in extended bench country.  Our other favourite Heppell had another great game against Gold Coast (along with every other Bomber) withan 83.  Still play this guy as if he is a premium!  Hibberd played his first game and got a nice 68, he showed us enought to say that he is going to be a player.  I will be interested to see how he goes against some real competition this week with the Eagles.  Just be careful, he is on the extended bench, but I reckon he will still play.  Another Bomber of note is Cale Hooker as he has had a couple of 70’s prior to his 106 last week.  An interesting choice, but some people may have him.

Freo’s Nick Lower had himself a 79 before the bye and I don’t expect him to slow down, he has only played 1 game in 3 weeks, but I don’t see him as being anything but a safe bet.  Against the Tigers he will have Nahas and J Volt to contend with but still should get his points.  Danny Stanley saw plenty of the ball last week and racked up his second score in the 70’s in a row last week.  I am liking this guy more and more as he plays more often.  Josh Toy has shown he has what it takes by putting his head where others wouldn’t even think of going and is scoring well with a 75 and 69 in 3 weeks with a 37 in the middle.  I like this guy, but he isn’t a safe bet yet, he is a good emergency and cash cow, but not a field player (unless you are desperate).

Matt Suckling is out with a busted knee, so this opens the door for Puopolo and I Smith.  I reckon these guys are ok to put on the ground against the Power, but I am always a bit nervous about untried players, but if you have trade in Puops then I think it would be safe to have him as your 7th back or your Emerg.  Alex Rance has posted a couple of 87’s over the last two weeks so he could be a good bet given Richmond’s resurgence.


As mentioned above, Claye Beams has been a victim of the vests in 3 out of his 4 games for the year, but in his one game without the vest he scored a 49, which is the same as he had last time out where he was subbed off and in round 1 where he suffered the same fate he scored 62 so his form seems a little up and down.  Jared Polec had a couple of reasonable games with a 67 and 83 before his green vested 37 last week.  Unfortunately for him he has been dumped this week, a bit stiff I reckon.

Ed Curnow has just continued dominating and keep playing him as a keeper.  Crameri had a day out again this week against the Suns wiht a 101.  This makes 3 scores over 100 now for little Stewie and I reckon he has the goods to keep this form up.  Dyson Heppell is in the same class as Curnow and keep playing this guy as well.  Hibberd is also eligible here in the mids so if you need to, play him here too.

Jay Van Berlo has shaken off a shaky start where he had 40 and 41 to come out with a 66 and 90 over the last two games.  This guy is easing in nicely, but I am just not convinced on his job security, particularly if the Dockers start to get a couple of guys back.  Daniel Harris has justified his selection with most of our teams, he has been very steady and consistent over the season.  He has been scoring in the 60’s and 70’s and if he keeps doing this he has done his job.  Trent McKenzie came to my attention last week after an 82, well stuff me if he didn’t do it again this week!  And after seeing this kid again on Sunday he looks like he can keep this up.  The kid has got a fair leg on him too, wouldn’t mind having those kicks coming into the forward line!  If you have him, perhaps give him the big E or play him if you have to.  David Swallow has continued his good form with a 78 against the Bombers in that poor showing.  This guy is maturing nicely, but I don’t think he is a keeper at this stage.

Shane Savage has had a good run of late if you exclude a 35 a couple of weeks ago.  Other than that he has been scoring 60 and above, and this week they are playing the Power who have been giving up some big scores.  Isaac Smith has come into the Hawks this week and has been touted as a star.  I would leave him on the bench as I reckon he will get the Green Vest presented to him seconds after his Guernsey.    Gysberts Gysberts Gysberts well well well just when you thought it was safe to trade this clown in.  Can I remind you of last year’s scores for him… 103, 78 and 29.  This year he has had a 103, 67 and a red vested 29.  Uncanny isn’t it.  UNLOAD THIS CHUMP!  He is on the extended bench and if Bails wants to keep his job he will give him the CHOP.

Shaun Atley has now had 3 scores in the 60’s after his opening 40’s and it seems as though his job security is ok given some of their other players who are no good currently.  Jasper Pittard had one of his lower scores with a 52 last week, but then all Power players were down as they aren’t much good at the moment.  However, if you have him, he is a viable option as an emergency or an on field 6th Mid.  Another rookie, Reece Conca started out slowly, but has picked it up as the Tigers have gotten better and has three scores over 70 in a row.  I think he will do ok as long as the Tigers keep winning.

Andrew Gaff is the most Subbed player having earnt 4 green vests out of 5 games.  Given half a chance he will score well.  68 is his only non sub affected score and he got 21 in one quarter last week.  On top of that the poor bastard has been dropped to the WAFL this week, keep an eye on him as I reckon he will come back soon and do ok.  Tom Liberatore has been outstanding from the start and is continuing this form.  But, he is another poor sucker who has suffered at the hands of General Soreness.  His other Father/Son rule draftee mate Mitch Wallis showed what he can do with a 70 in his first non sub affected game.  This kid can play and I think he will continue to get game time whilst the Doggies are struggling a bit.


Consistent forwards are a little hard to come by at the moment in this type of player, the fringe guys.  With the revolving door down at Crow land with injury Shaun McKernan should be ok to keep his spot but only has his last few scores in the 50’s so is an emergency option at best at the moment.  Jesse O’Brien has also disappointed over the last two weeks with a 48 and a 59 which is not up to the early standard he is starting to struggle a bit. 

Kyle Hardingham joined in on the fun against the Suns last week and got a nice 76, prior to that he got a few 50’s and a 63.  I don’t mind him, but I don’t know if I trust him. 

I must apologise to those with Jayden Pitt the reason for his vest affected 20 was that I traded him in the round before.  That was always going to spell trouble.  If he doesn’t get a vest I think there are no problems playing this guy.  His previous two scores were a 76 and an 87.  Brandon Matera impressed us all with his fine play against Port and his 84, but last week he came crashing down to Earth again this week with his 47 which is back to the scores he posted prior to that week.  He is a bit inconsistent to be a safe bet for mine.

Luke Tapscott is another popular choice amongst coaches and has dropped to the 60’s after two 80’s in his first two games.  I think that with the way the Dee’s are playing he could be a bit of a scapegoat being a youngster but who knows, it may be the older guys that pay the price for poor form.  On the other side of the coin we have Brad Miller who has moved to Richmond and has had 3 good games with an 85 and 64 being the best of them.

Keiren Harper had himself a tidy debut and scored a nice 61, I reckon this kid will be a good player for the Roos and has been named in a Fwd pocket this week so may avoid the Green Vest.  I would play him but he isn’t my first choice in the Forwards.

Clearly the best of the forwards at the moment is Jack Darling who has had a 98 and 100 in the last two weeks  This kid can play and can score, I can’t see any conceivable reason why Woosha would even consider dropping him or handing him a vest so play with extreme confidence.

Isaac Smith is also eligible here in the Forward line so consider playing him as the stocks are a little thin at the moment with Prestia languishing in the Magoos.  Sam Day is a debutant for the GC this week replacing Charlie Dixon.  This kid should be ok as he played a full season for Sturt in the SANFL and he was a pretty handy player for them.

So there you have it, there are plenty of choices this week and hopefully you only need to select one or two questionable scorers this week.  Here are my rankings…


  1. Heppell
  2. Brodie Smith
  3. Stanley
  4. Hibberd
  5. Duigan
  6. Lower
  7. Laidler
  8. Puopolo


  1. Curnow
  2. Heppell
  3. Swallow
  4. Crameri
  5. Hibberd
  6. Harris
  7. Atley
  8. Isaac Smith
  9. McKenzie
  10. Conca


  1. Darling
  2. Tapscott
  3. Pitt
  4. Issac Smith
  5. Matera
  6. Hardingham
  7. Harper
  8. Day
  9. McKernan

Next week I will start to drop off guys like Curnow and Heppell as these guys are now good enough that they don’t fall into the category of this column as they should be on your ground each and every game.

I hope that you make the right choices this week and start off the new run of league games with a win!  Hopefully I have helped out and I didn’t leave out one of your players, but let me know if I did and I will give you my thoughts on him, and as usual hit me with your questions on Twitter @pkd73 and I will help out where I can!

A passionate Port Adelaide Fan who simply loves footy! That is how I would describe myself. Catch my weekly article "The Thursday Scramble" with all the last minute things to think about for the weekend Follow: @pkd73.

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