This series of ‘club preview’ posts are written by DT TALK regular contributors choosing their 5 players they have on their watchlist from the respective club. These aren’t who we think will be the top 5 highest scoring players… and are not necessarily in order. They are just our opinions of the 5 players who we have on our watchlist heading into the 2012 season.
Tbetta’s Five from the Dockers:
1. Nat Fyfe (FWD/MID) – $488,600
Fyfe was considered a must-have for 2012 at the close of last season, but off-season surgery on his troublesome shoulders coupled with persistent groin issues had him exiting calculations early on. Now, two weeks out from the season proper, Fyfe has successfully negotiated his rehab, dominated an early intra-club despite being underdone, and played three Nab Cup games in which has made him the most productive Docker this pre-season. And he has claimed he isn’t even at peak fitness yet! Fyfe’s star should continue to rise, as shall his scores – expect him to better the 98.4 points he averaged last year.
2. Greg Broughton (DEF) – $416,200
Broughton is the definition of a Dream Team slut, but sometimes he can’t seem to rid himself of the chastity belt that is the lockdown role. With Lyon taking the reins at Fremantle, we can only speculate about Broughton’s role with the aid of a few Nab Cup outings. However, given the relevance of St. Kilda defenders in recent years (Goddard, Fisher, Gram and Gilbert have all had premium-calibre seasons under Lyon) I’m going to take an educated guess and predict that Broughton will play a DT-friendly role regardless of whether he plays through the guts or down back this season. His unpredictability can be frustrating at times, but ultimately I think he’ll end up being a top 7 Defender by year’s end.
3. Aaron Sandilands (RUC) – $469,900
I’ve been a big advocate of Sandilands this pre-season, and I continue to be. Sort of. I see a lot of value in him as he’s priced at only 95 due to his toe issue last year. Unfortunately, he’s gone and done exactly what the naysayers said he would, and pulled up with a pre-season injury. A small calf tear shouldn’t keep him out of Round 1 calculations according to Lyon and the Dockers’ camp, but I’m not so easily convinced. I’m torn here, because I 100% believe that he will average the ton if he stays fit, but who wants to be the guy who ignored pre-season injury reports and got burnt?
4. Lachie Neale (MID) – $98,700
Neale has been this year’s pre-season bolter, but he’s been brought to an abrupt halt in his race for a Round 1 berth. The culprit was a small ankle injury sustained in the Dockers’ recent effort against Port Adelaide. Neale has featured in each of Fremantle’s Nab Cup matches so far, meaning his chances of a Round 1 appearance was looking more probable than possible. The rumours suggesting he’s a favourite of Lyon’s (not a known rookie fan) only increase the likelihood that he’ll get a big run this year. But do you start the nuggetty forward knowing that his ankle could keep him out of the first week or two? It’s a big call… At any rate, he’s shown us he has the hunger and the ability to score well at AFL level, and it won’t be long before he gets his chance.
5. Nic Suban (DEF) – $272,100
If you were to put a gun to my head and force me to pick a Fremantle roughie, it would be Suban. He’s priced at a 55 point average and he’s unique, currently residing in only 2.2% of teams. But can he score? He averaged 59.9 in 2010 before enduring an injury affected year last year, halting his career scoring curve. Natural development and the aforementioned Lyon-Defender effect means he will definitely increase his average in 2012, but by how much? A pre-season snapshot shows his scoring being solid without being particularly notable, and he seemed to play as the designated kicker at times, although Duffield assumed that role most often. A 70 average is my conservative guess, but he has the ability to go better. Will that be enough to justify the mid-price selection? That’s up to you to decide.
OTHERS ON THE WATCHLIST: It’s not Fremantle without Pavlich ($466,200 FWD/MID) in the mix. Lyon seems to want to play him as a focal point in attack, Riewoldt-style, but will it result in the scoring we’ve seen from the Roo or the Pav in the past? Ballantyne ($356,700 FWD) has been encouraging this pre-season playing a midfield role, but will it survive the transition into the season proper? Morabito ($168,000 MID) and Barlow ($424,800 MID) are two underpriced midfield options, but be wary – both have had interrupted pre-seasons. Of the rookie bunch, we have far less options than Fremantle has had under Harvey in the past, with mature-aged backman Lee Spurr ($107,800 DEF) the only rookie besides Neale in the frame for Round 1.
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