Funny things start happening to a man when he turns 30… his hair begins to recede, his appeal to the ladies starts to lessen and with that comes a period of reflection. He starts to complain about the music of today and usually starts most sentences with the line “Back in my day….” Or “Remember the time when…..”
When it comes to footballers there is a stigma attached to players that have turned or are about to turn 30. Most DT’ers will start fazing them out for fear of injury or form drop but is it really warranted? Not everyone can be Dustin Fletcher or Craig Bradley but mere mortal elder statesmen can still serve a purpose. With everyone going on about a changing of the DT guard this year I thought I’d take a look at some of the fantasy relevant geriatrics* to see if there is any DT life left in them before they get shipped off to the old folk’s home.
*Geriatrics being players born in 1982 or earlier.
After averaging 110 in 2006 Brown has since hovered around the 80-90 mark. Probably doesn’t put him in the premium range but he does seem to have bursts where he will score a block of 100’s in a row, if you can time that he can be a winner. Priced at a 67 average he is surely cheap enough and has put in a strong pre-season but can the kamikaze Brown put together a solid year for DT coaches? Not for me.
Scotland has already shown he isn’t too old to go out at 2am and get in punch ons but how about matters on the field? Since averaging 104 in 2006 he has hovered around the high 80’s and 90’s ever since. Last year he came in at 99 which is elite for a defender. He is durable too, only missing a handful of games in the past 8 years and he plays a DT friendly game just mooching ball off half back, can he continue this year? I think so but will I buy him? Not for me, a few other options appeal more.
For so long he has been the talisman at Freo, dragging them into games and being a DT genius along the way. He has been very durable over the journey, missing 9 games in a decade and averaging 90’s each year along the way. Last year he started to show some signs of inconsistency with big differences between scores, one week 100 one week 60, this to me means he is finished as a fantasy prospect. Big watch on what the new coach has in mind for him but In any case, not for me.
Big Sandi is a DT champ, for years on end he was first picked but for some reason this year people are going off and looking at younger ruckmen. This may even put Big Sandi in the ‘unique’ category. But why? Well I guess carrying that huge frame around has to be a strain on the lower joints and the turf toe incident is still fresh in the mind, added to this are rumours that the new coach may allow the old man a little rest by playing a second ruckman….. is this enough to scare you off? If so just remember he is 211cm tall and gets 1pt taps at will…… the choice is yours.
Once an angry little man Chappy has mellowed slightly in old age, and it seems his hammies have also become less highly strung over time too. For years Chappy has been THE risk reward pick for coaches, He would always smash out big scores but it was just a matter of when the soft tissue injury would strike. In the past 2 years he has clocked up 20 and 21 games so he does seem to be getting more reliable with age. Since 2006 he has consistently averaged in the 100-110s and even last year ended on 102. Chappy is the prime player that coaches are thinking of trading out for the younger models in your Martins, Beams and Zakas….. Will you stay on for the old man ride? Again he isn’t for me but he could be a winning pick for others.
Once a part of the much vaunted ABC midfield Corey has lost currency in recent years. He had 3 years averaging in the 100s but then the knee injury kicked in and he followed up with 2 years in the 90s, ending last year at an average of 92. He is probably still too expensive to take a risk on but if he could get back to pre-injury form he would be a good unique buy.
Another veteran cat that remains a viable option because he is a back. He has missed 4 games since 2006 so is a durable player and plays a DT friendly type of game. He has averaged around 90 for the past 6 years including last years 91.9. But for a player who makes some huge scores he also makes some smaller ones also and this makes me not fully trust him with a place in my team. I don’t think age will weary him this year; I’ll call it another 90 ave.
Sam is just one out of the box; he is one of the rare players that continue to get better with age. He is a master around the clearances and loves a little mark, chip kick, handball receive, kick combo. Sam averaged 90’s for 4 years then kicked it up into the 100s for the next 2 years, following the loss of the captaincy he ramped it up to 112 last year and was close to must have. I don’t see him slowing up in a possession friendly hawk unit, there is not a lot of risk in this pick… old man or not he is a DT gun.
Since 2006 Green was a solid high 80’s to high 90’s average and was usually a solid unique pick however he was given the captaincy and really stunk it up last year with the weight of the world on his shoulders. This leaves him priced at a 77 average this year and we are all wondering if the loss of the captaincy can do for him what it did for Sam Mitchell. Big watch during the NAB for Green in an improving Melbourne team.
Boomer is another who has lost the captaincy and we wait with baited breath to see if it can improve his average in previous years. He has been an out and out gun over a long career, he averaged solid mid 90s most years but last year stated to show signs of age with an 88. He still had some big scores but they were mixed with far too many small ones as well. As with Pavlich the inconsistency is a worry and I reckon he is gone as a DT’er. Could be a unique pick for others with balls though!
Big Drew took the league by storm at times last year, he is a huge unit and he used it to full effect scoring ten 100’s and coming from a 50 average to an 87 average. With a full year under his belt can he back it up and boost the average up enough to justify a spot on your team? It’s a bit of a roller coaster with Drew, he will score huge or score nothing, if you’re a league player he may win you a few games off his own boot..(Or lose). Tough to have this year at full price.
The tiger’s captain is a strange one; he hovers around the mark of being DT relevant but doesn’t quite get there. He generally averages high 70’s to low 80’s but I’m having a sneaky look at him this year for one reason. The tiges have drafted a couple of defenders and Newman has been seen training in the midfield group this pre-season. He has elite disposal and could be a go to man for the forward entry, if this happens I could see him having an old man spike in his scoring, from last year’s 77 to ?. That’s the big question I’m wrestling with.
The heart and soul of the saint’s midfield Hayes has always been a solid pick that generates a lot of points via tackles. In a game that is stoppage heavy these days I reckon that will keep Hayes DT relevant for a few years to come. He had been averaging low 100’s for two years until last year’s knee reco stopped him at an average of 86. Is bargain priced if he can get back to the Lenny of old, can he do it?
Big Nick had a stinker last year in so many ways. Since 2006 he has averaged high 90’s with one year in the 100’s but he ended last year on 84 after a series of on and off field events that stopped any momentum he had been building. I think this guy is a pure professional and I fully expect him to come out this year and prove a lot of people wrong. He will be in my team.
Another of the ageing Saints who probably flatters to deceive in a DT sense. He has averaged mid 80’s for 5 years now and will probably continue to do so. He has a great disposal so gets used as a quarterback type; this can lead to him being often tagged out of games. But he generally plays a loose style of game which means old age shouldn’t stop him.
Another gun of the competition; Goodes may be old, but he certainly doesn’t play old. He is still the fastest player on the Swans list so while he keeps his pace, he will keep scoring points as he does the familiar burst away from a stoppage or spring at a mark. He has been averaging high 90’s for the past few years and he NEVER misses games.I think you can continue to pick him with confidence. Let all the people who worry about being 30 not pick him…it’s their loss.
To be honest I haven’t picked him for a few years because I’ve been expecting him to slow with age but he just keeps on keeping on. He averaged 93 last year and I missed out, I won’t pick him again this year and I hope it doesn’t burn me again, surely he can’t keep gong the same way can he?
Cox is in the same bracket as Sandi, people seem to be overlooking him for a younger model but jeez! This guy IS the archetypical DT ruckman! He got the ball rolling for everything we want to see in a ruckman. He pumped out a 107av last year and has topped the 100 in three other season. Realistically there are only 2 reasons why you are not picking him. 1: He’s too expensive or 2: NicNat is coming. Ignore Cox at your peril….he is experienced, he is a gun and he knows what it’s all about, you’ll be watching WCE games through the gaps in your fingers as he racks up cheap ball all over the vast wings at Subi. Do you really want that stress?
Another veteran, another gun. Like Mitchell he has been a bit of a slow burning type whose average is getting higher every year. He backed up a 115av in 2010 with a 116 last year and who’s to say he can’t do it again? He is fairly unobtrusive, he just burrows away doing his job then at the end of the day you find out he has had a million touches. Pricey but worth it if he fits your structure.
Our last old timer is Brian Lake…. Back in my day he was called Harris. Lake is coming off a horror year where he had issues with his body and the coach. He has slowly built up his average to a 99 in 2010 but ended last year on 51. He is dirt cheap so if you think he can bring his score back up to past averages take him, in reality the 99av in 2010 was one out of the box, His previous best before that was 81, and that’s probably about the best you can expect from him now. If that’s enough for you jump on, it’s still a fair whack for your money spent.
So there’s a few of our elder statesmen. Are you scared off by the magic 30 number? Are you going through a rebuilding year and bringing in the kids or are you sticking fat with the tried and true? How many veterans are you going in with?