I don’t really know how many people I’m writing to here – probably just a handful. The final edition of tbetta’s Bullets for 2011 is more for continuity’s sake and, if you’re anything like me, a bit of extra content to rifle through in the long wait until 2012’s AFL and Dream Team seasons!
To be completely honest, the final round of the 2011 season was quite horrible. I’ve finally made peace with the disappointment of my last round of the 2011 season, so I won’t bring up bad memories such as the Hawks resting 8 players, basically giving my opponents’ Suns valuable points… There were also season-lows from premiums and above average scoring from a few rookies, which meant many match-ups were tighter than expected and there were more than a few upsets.
But no point complaining – like the AFL, the premiership goes to the best team on that one given day.
It’s also worth acknowledging the overall winner JettaVendetta, who now owns a brand new though funny-looking SJ Cruiser. Our boy Shellers was great, but unfortunately couldn’t make up the 80 or so points he needed to snatch back the lead, although he did score higher than Vendetta in Round 24.
Always next year!
If you went against the grain this week and had Boyd as Captain, you carried in a massive advantage to Round 24. With most captaining Swan, that’s 69 points you gained. The Bulldog Captain had an unsurprising 35 touches and 7 tackles to notch his 155. In retrospect, he was a sure thing against a reserves-strength Fremantle outfit.
Brent Harvey bounced back from an average showing against the Saints to score his 2nd highest score for the year, a handy 129 against the Tigers. His career form against Richmond has been fantastic, and Round 24 was no exception. Recent form wasn’t convincing enough to trade him in this week, so long-time owners cashed in here.
Although he was one of the most popular forwards before Round 24, Adam Goodes was the most traded in player over the week. That’s not surprising given the carnage dealt, with Pavlich, Fyfe, Sylvia, Franklin and Rioli all popular premium outs over the DT finals. Like the two previously mentioned here, Goodes should poll maximum votes for his 4-goal, 29-possession domination of the Lions.
With half the Hawthorn side pathetically lounging around Box Hill while most of Box Hill went to the Gold Coast, Isaac Smith’s 111 was a welcome consolation prize to the coaches who strategically stocked up on Hawks. He always bobs up for a few goals does Izzy, but most importantly he bobbed up for a few sides in a tough final round.
Nick Duigan was one of those rookies who were reluctantly fielded this week, but amazed coaches with a great return. 110 was his only ton for the year, and it was delivered with great timing, given Birchall, Heppell and Lower were all popular defenders absent in the final round of the year.
Honourable mentions go to Captain Gablett (147), Matera (133), Kade Simpson (163) and Gilbert (116).
- Higgins 30
- Cloke 54
- Fisher 41
- Riewoldt 43
- Swan 86
It’s only fitting that Higgins is Round 24’s greatest Breaker, seeing as he’s been weak as piss all year. For a change. Devastatingly started as the sub and would have lost a few coaches their games this week.
He was always going to find it hard against the Cats, but Cloke convinced enough coaches he was good enough to be the 3rd most traded in player this week, only to disappoint. 2 easy missed goals were crucial to not only his score, but also to his confidence.
Sam Fisher is probably this year’s version of Heath Shaw past – great when he’s on, but always susceptible to the forward tag. Due to his late season form he was still a unique for some, meaning his 41 could have easily cost you.
Riewoldt was another Saint who put in an average performance, and unfortunately the 2nd successive unique Shellers had in this week’s Breakers. It’s hard to believe the Saints beat quality opposition in the Blues with Roo failing to kick a sausage roll.
The harshest Breaker, but probably the most universal, was Swan’s 86. The most popular captain heading into the final round for 2011 tainted his fantastic season with a lazy effort in a thrashing. His failure left the door open for underdog opponents who possibly went in with double points to Boyd or Ablett, and I’m willing to bet more than a few took the opportunity.
Honourable mentions go to Jolly (41), Barlow (47), Callinan (35) and Mumford (54).
2011 was always going to be an interesting year, what with the dozen rule changes at AFL level and the modifying of the Dream Team competition to compensate. I think we can agree that this season has had its fair share of up and downs, excitement and drama, and here we are at the end of it.
To honour the players who made the year successful, interesting or notable, we have the Tbetta Trophies.
The Channing Tatum Medallion
This Trophy is awarded to the fantasy player who took the biggest Step Up this year.
While it’s probably no surprise, Nat Fyfe nonetheless deserves to be recognised for his fantastic and surprising year which has him in All-Australian calculations. He pushed his average up 30 points to 98.4 a game this year, an amazing return from a 2nd year teenager.
Honourable mentions go to Liam Shiels, Tom Rockliff and Jack Redden.
The Lance Armstrong Memorial Trophy
This Trophy is awarded to the fantasy player who went on the biggest streak this year, in honour of Lance’s 7 straight Tour De France wins.
This was difficult to award. Sam Mitchell and Tom Rockliff both had 11 game streaks of 100+ scores, while Gary Ablett experienced a massive purple patch, scoring 118 or over 5 games in a row and averaging 141.2 in that time. But ultimately Scott Pendlebury’s 12 straight tons was a hot streak, ended with a ‘lowly’ 94. What a gun.
The Jekyll and Hyde Award
This Trophy is awarded to the fantasy player who changed personalities for long periods of time.
This honour goes to one of 2011’s most frustrating players, Greg Broughton. We all know the story – he started like a crab, was moved into the midfield and smashed out tons like they were nothing, then went back to his old ways for the remainder of the season. Here’s the proof: Averaged 62 in his first 6 games, 106.5 in his next 10, then back to 66 for his last 5.
The Katy Perry Distinction
This Trophy is awarded to the fantasy player who is the most hot and cold, yes and no, in and then out, and most importantly, up and down.
This award belongs to none other than Roos colossus Drew Petrie. A man of both extremes, he has consistently been inconsistent this year. He’s posted 9 scores of 71 or less, and 9 scores of 100 or more, meaning he only scored in between those two figures on 3 occasions.
The Titanic Memorial Trophy
This Trophy is awarded to the fantasy player whose DT scoring sunk in the fashion of that famous ship.
It should come as no surprise that flasher Nick Riewoldt takes home the Titanic for 2011. His yearly average of 84.2 is his lowest since his 3rd year in the league, despite playing 21 games this season. It might be time we reconsidered whether the big Saint is still a DT premium, or just a role-player.
The Simon Prestigiacomo Plate
This Trophy is awarded to the fantasy player who followed most closely in the steps of the Collingwood great, who averaged 27.6 DT points over his career.
The only player to play more than 5 games this season and come even close to Presti’s amazing career record was, you guessed it, Karmichael Hunt. The funniest thing is that he’s owned by over 11% of teams in the competition.
The Super Soft Sorbent Trophy
This Trophy is awarded to the player whose soft tissue more closely resembled toilet paper than human flesh.
Jack Grimes was a huge setback, Jason Porplyzia was disappointing, and even Knights was a let-down, but no-one can evoke the same amount of disdain and pure hatred that Higgins produces. He is easily the softest and most frustrating player to coach. The worst thing about it is that he has so much potential.
The AMI Nasal Delivery Medallion
This Trophy is awarded to the fantasy player who was considered to be the fastest finisher to the AFL season.
You can’t go past Nathan Van Berlo as a late-season bolter in 2011. He averaged 83 points a game with only 2 tons up until Round 19 this season. That’s when Neil Craig was replaced as head coach, and the Crows Captain was finally unshackled. He went on to average 121.7 in his last 6 games for the year, all of them tons.
Honourable mentions go to Tom Rockliff and Jordan Lewis.
The Brendan Fevola Memorial Trophy
This Tropy is awarded to the player who made the biggest off-field brainfade, resulting in pain for DT coaches.
Heath Shaw, you fool. One cheeky bet meant plenty of pain for unsuspecting coaches all around the country, forcing you to miss the last 8 games of the year. Runner-up is Essendon rookie and popular fantasy pick Michael Hibberd, who was left out of the side for the last few games of the season due to an assault charge.
The Shaquille O’Neal Plaque
This Trophy is awarded to the player who moved clubs during the off-season and went on to have a big impact at his new club.
Gary Ablett is the first person we think of, and rightly so, with the Suns captain enjoying a stellar debut year in the expansion side. But he actually averaged 7 points less than last season. A more worthy recipient is Nathan Bock, who bumped up his seasonal average by a couple of points whilst anchoring a young side.
The Sherminator Memorial Trophy
This Trophy is awarded to the player who gained the coolest nickname this season, in memory of the hilarious American Pie character.
Hearing Garry Lyon and JB swoon over ‘Tip Rat’ – St. Kilda’s Stephen Milne is hilarious, while watching a Freo game punctuated by Brian Taylor’s unrelenting praise of Nat ‘The Knyfe’ Fyfe is amusing. But the genuine glee and awe all commentators and supporters alike experience when Trent McKenzie unleashes a booming left-foot kick is unparalleled, and has earned him the nickname ‘The Cannon’. What I would give for nickname like that.
The C Judd 3 Votes Medal
And finally, this Trophy is awarded to the player who was DT’s most valuable player over the course of the season.
After a lot of deliberation, I finally decided on who I think deserves to honour of DTer of the year. Many will disagree, but I have been totally amazed and impressed by Tom Rockliff’s year, and so he is my pick for the Most Valuable DT player of 2011. He averaged a huge 112.05 points per game this year (5th in the league), and was the highest averaging player that increased in price over the season – just a lazy 101k mind you! He had it all – consistency, high ceiling, and durability.
Honourable mentions go to the big three – Swan, Pendlebury and Boyd.
Sneak Peek to 2012
Whether we like it or not, the first thing that we will think of once the AFL season is over is what our team will look like next year. Yes, it’s going to be a long summer….
Luckily, next year the old format will (mostly) return, which means we only have to think about price, ability and return when selecting our players. None of this ‘bye’ crap. Here is a short preview on who has earned early contracts for Tbetta Than You in 2012, assuming no positional changes (like there will be).
- Bryce Gibbs
Assuming he still has his DPP (which I’m not convinced he will, think Hodge last year) the best defender of 2011 will be a walk-up start.
- Brett Deledio
A solid option that you don’t even need to think twice about.
- Brendon Goddard
His start to the year was underwhelming but he finished off the year well, and I’m more than convinced he is still a DT gun. His average was about 20 points of the pace from last year, which only means he’ll be cheaper for us in 2012.
- Beau Waters*
Remember 2010, when he started at rookie-price and tore the game apart? He’ll be nowhere near as cheap next year, but he has only played the 8 games this year, which last year was enough for a 10% discount. And his injuries have caused his average to stay low, meaning a lower price still. Still have the question marks over his durability, in particular those pesky elbows.
Your Captain lock from day one.
He’s taken real steps this year – leaps actually – to be a must-have in 2012. Brisbane’s midfield will get a year older and a year better, and the scoring can only increase. He is a statistical marvel, being the only player to average 25+ touches, 5+ marks and 5+ tackles a game, which means he gets his scoring from everywhere. And if he doesn’t touch the ball as much as usual, you can be sure he’ll still get enough tackles to tick over the ton, and vice versa.
This pick will all depend on whether Freo can convince me in the pre-season that they’ll be competitive. They should be with a healthy list. He has played too many games to get a discount, but in his return from injury he has underperformed (as expected – you can’t just go back to normal coming off a snapped leg), averaging just over 90 for the season. That’s about 20 points less a game than his debut year – great things to come.
Playing just two games in 2010 meant a 30% discount from the previous year’s average, and I expect the same will happen for 2012. Hayes only played the two games for an average of 86 – he’ll be massively underpriced. His age and St Kilda’s 2012 fortunes are the only concerns.
- Aaron Sandilands
Still in his prime, and injury this year hampered his progress and average.
- Matthew Leuenberger
An up-and-comer. Will be expensive thanks to his form this year, but I’m a big fan of the ‘Set and Forget’ ruck strategy, and with Cox getting on, Leuey is a likely starter.
- Billy Longer*
Touted to be the first ruckman picked in the 2012 draft – that’s enough for me!
- Lance Franklin
Still coming into his prime, which is frightening.
- Nat Fyfe
A DT mainstay for years to come. It’s very hard to believe he is only a 2nd year player…
- Travis Cloke
Collingwood should still dominate next year thanks to some amazing list management, and Cloke will continue to be a focus. He’ll throw up the odd 50, but being a key position player, that comes with the territory.
- Alan Didak
Massive disappointment this year, but it is our own fault. He should never have been in starting squads (I’m guilty myself) because of his lack of pre-season. DT guns don’t fade overnight, and Dids will be hugely underpriced thanks to a lean year.
Finally, I just want to give a big thanks to everyone for a highly enjoyable year of Dream Team. The majority of the posters in here provide good talking points and opinions, as well as a sharp sense of humour – I hope everyone stays on board for the post/pre-season through to 2012 and beyond!
Also, a big thanks to the DT boys Warnie, Roy and Calvin for taking a punt on me and helping me give birth to the Bullets. I’ve had an awesome year writing them, and hopefully made the most of the extra homework…
And a belated congratulations to Chook, who took out the All-Stars League over golden boy Roy, by a slim 31 points! Great effort.
Anyway, until (hopefully) next year!
For off-season twittering: @tbetta9