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.
RLGriffin’s five from the Giants.
I’m going to take a play from the Giants Coach Kevin Sheedy here and be frank. If I told you to pick Giles in your ruck, or suggested that McDonald was good value in your midfield bench, I’d be blowing wind up your Lane Cove Tunnel if you know what I mean. Telling you what is already a given is a waste of time and the Dream Team Talk community expects more. So instead, let’s throw a cat into the pigeons – or an Eddie into the land of the falafel, and throw up some food for thought.
1. Curtly Hampton (FWD/MID) – $104,200
Left out of my Pre-NAB cup article and only getting an honourable mention, Hampton has been slowly impressing in the NAB Cup and could be ready for a round one debut. Kevin Sheedy was an early advocator of his work, labelling him “one of the best young talents in the country” and more recently singling him out as one who has impressed him on the track this preseason. With silky skills and an ability to find space, it has been said that Curtly could one day be one of the greatest players to come out of the Northern Territory, and plays to a similar style as a young Adam Goodes. He does not fit the mould of the Substitute (often a midfielder with a smaller tank, or a smaller goal sneak or defender), so if Hampton is selected for round one, it’s not by chance, and he should hold his spot for a while.
2. Devon Smith (FWD/MID) – $121,200
So here’s all you need to know; when asked about Devon Smith, region manager Michael Turner for the Geelong Falcons said “He’s got a big, big future,” and “he’s the best small I’ve had in the Falcons system”. If that doesn’t mean anything to you, know this, Luke Hodge and Garry Ablett Jnr were also managed under Michael Turner in the same team. Generously listed as a DPP (Thanks VS!), Smith tore up in the Giants intraclub game, playing in the absence of midfielders Dylan ‘removed appendix via his foot’ Shiel and Adam ‘always next week’ Treloar. Scoring a NAB Cup tonne [108 pts] against the Hawks two weeks ago, and resting last week, he was named in Sheedy’s early round one team. An ability to score, DPP, more midfield time, better than GAJ at a young age and a rookie low price? Cheque please.
3. Stephen Clifton (MID) – $121,800
This is where we talk about your approach to cash cows. It’s averages versus total points in this game of chance. You can chase down sporadic 100’s matched with sub-par 40’s (see: Prestia) or go for constant quality (see: Stanley), as you’ll rarely ever get brilliant scores week in and out (see: Lord Barlow). Clifton is this years Stanley, a mature aged recruit with a big tank (he won the first GWS 3km time trial), who will be on the park each and every week. Clifton has been constant across the entire preseason, without being outstanding. Almost certain to never fall under 60, but with a lower ceiling then say, Koby Stevens, Clifton could be your certain money maker, who never has to take the field, but if he does, you know what you’ll get. For those out their looking for a safe bet rookie, this is where the money’s at.
4. Sam Darley or Thomas Bugg (DEF) – $104,200
I’ll be honest: I can say with no certainty who has the better job security out of these two, and if anyone suggests otherwise it’s mostly hot air. As such, let’s look at them both, as they are fighting for the same spot on the field, and in your teams. Bugg has the motivation after missing many of last years NEAFL games whilst he was completing high school, and training one on one with Jimmy McDonald. Darley has the conditioning due to being around the team longer. Darley had a blistering start to the NAB Cup, Bugg has been slowly improving. Bugg has played every week whereas Darley only missed last week’s game due to an illness. Here’s the thing. Despite suggestions to the contrary, both can fit in the one team, and probably will. Rebounding defenders are going to be needed down at Blacktown, and these two are some of the best young rebounders we’ve seen in recent years. So stop this he said/she said approach to these two; they’re both on my bench, and if both named for round one, you shouldn’t be upset with one or both on yours.
5. Rhys Palmer (MID) – $323,500
The name brings out all sorts of emotions. From an all-star cash cow (2008, DT avg. 87.5) to an all-star leg breaker, Rhys has had a remarkable fall from grace in the last four seasons. Last seasons whipping boy for Mark Harvey (Avg. 65.4), Rhys has stepped up since moving to the giants and has been a constant standout in the NAB Cup. In fact, he’s been in the top two scorers on every occasion he has taken the field this preseason for the GWS. Guaranteed in the best 22, plenty of game time and an outside role conducive to Dream Team, Rhys may be the perfect fit for a mid-priced strategy and a major smoky for those looking for alternatives to Gaff, Ebert or Christensen. If he was a FWD/MID, he’d be a lock, so expect big things this year. [Don’t] break a leg Palmer!
OTHERS ON THE WATCHLIST: Falou (FWD – $115,800) and Cameron (FWD – $104,200) will both destroy backlines in years to come, but I’m not sold it will be this year, but could be worth a punt. Speaking of punts, how about finding room for Dylan Shiel (MID – $104,200) in your midfield? If listed for round one you should trust the hype; I’ll be making room! Obviously DT Talks future man crush after Rocky will be Stephen Coniglio (MID – $175,200) and rightly so, but is he worth the extra $70,000 over Shiels, Smith or Clifton? And finally, Phil Davis (DEF – $225,900), the new co-captain and most expensive GWS defender has told me he will play both a defensive role and a rebounding role this year, whatever is needed in each game. Although he has a history of Glass-esque scores, and a history of injuries, if you are looking at the likes of Lake, Hargrave and Conca, how about considering Davis? After all, the ball will be down his end quite a bit. Oh, and Giles could be good for your ruck bench! Just saying.
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