Why should I pick him? Although Trent West has had limited opportunities in his four years in the AFL, Geelong’s coaching staff have managed him pretty carefully, grooming him with a long-term view of his role at the club. He has had a steady build-up, including plenty of strength and endurance training. This has him primed to assume the mantle of first-choice ruckman at the Cattery in 2012 with the retirement of Brad Ottens and with fellow young tall Nathan Vardy on a rehab program after undergoing career-threatening hip surgery towards the end of season 2011.
In West’s six games in the latter part of 2011, he returned scores of 67, 95, 87, 98, 64 and 45. Given his lack of AFL experience, that output was promising and he’s coming into his fifth season without too much competition in the club’s ruck department. Through his first four seasons his average has been on the up and up: 33 over 6 games in 2008; 13 in 1 game in 2009; 46 over 4 games in 2010; and 76 over 6 games in 2011. While he’s only played a few games a season, the positive trend in his numbers and his possible role as the leading ruckman point to a breakout fantasy year in 2012.
Why shouldn’t I pick him? The arrival of mature-age rookie Orren Stephenson may have some impact on West’s Dream Team production. Which one of West or Stephenson spends more time in the ruck remains to be seen, but it’s doubtful that Trent’s 2012 average will fall below that of 2011. The big query is his durability which is unproven as he simply hasn’t had the opportunities at the top level. While there’s no doubt he will play a major role for Geelong and see out a full season in 2012, there’s no guarantee that his body will hold up under the rigours of AFL footy. West’s price point is a bit tricky too when there’s a proven ruckman in Hamish McIntosh floating around for $273k.
Deck of DT Rating: Queen. As a mid-pricer and without a complete season behind him, there is an inherent risk in selecting West in your ruck division. However, if he continues improving, gets plenty of chances at stoppages and manages a gettable average of around 90ppg or so, he could have you smiling all the way to the bank.