Laying prone in the dentist’s chair yesterday, I was struck by the similarities between the multi-bye rounds and painful oral surgery. Let’s face it, these byes are as much fun as the dentist’s drill, they suck more than the dental assistant’s mini mouth vacuum and bite as hard as is humanely possible.
When the chiselling was over and the dentist asked if I’d been looking after my not-so-pearly-white pegs, I had to admit to having eaten a truckload of doughnuts over the weekend. She frowned but I said to expect plenty more over the next two weeks.
At least at the end of this dental work in a fortnight’s time, I’ll have a new golden crown. At the end of the MBRs all I’ll be wearing is a dunce’s hat.
The MBR pain has been brought about by faltering premiums, late withdrawals and injuries, but what about our rookies? What part have they played in this train wreck? Let’s have a look…
A lot of coaches have held a long-term plan to dump Melbourne midfielder James Magner this week, his bye round, for a rookie or premium who had theirs in round 11. Magner did nothing to convince those coaches to keep him around for a little longer when he burped up his lowest score this season (45) and dropped nearly $11,700 in the process. A lack of desirable downgrades could be Magner’s saviour, although the way coaches cashed up before the MBRs began suggests he’ll become Boyd/Thompson/Rockliff/Redden/Priddis rather than a rookie.
Aspiring to be like Aaron Sandilands is a fine goal for up-and-coming rucks, but following his lead by donning the red substitute’s vest is taking it a step to far. In one of the rare weeks that they actually made any Dream Team’s starting line-up, Geelong’s Orren Stephenson contributed a paltry 26 before being vested, while Port Adelaide big Jarrad Redden managed 38 before suffering the same fate.
Magner and the rucks weren’t the only ones letting Team Rookie down, though. The absence of all those emerging superstars from Greater Western Sydney (a snapshot of DT in 2013, I’m afraid) meant there was a dearth of high scores in the rookie ranks. Most weeks we have anywhere from three-to-six GWS kids in the top 10 rookie scorers, with 90s and 80s not uncommon, but this week only one three-or-more gamer managed to score above 70 – a 108 to St Kilda forward Arryn Siposs, and he’s owned by just 3000 coaches. After that it was a big drop to the 60-point scorers, like fellow St Kilda forwards Ahmed Saad and Terry Milera, Gold Coast duo Aaron Hall and Karmichael Hunt, Collingwood pair Jamie Elliott and Nathan Brown, and Richmond defender Brandon Ellis.
But, hey, 60 points was Gary Ablettesque is round 11, and at least they played. After the most astoundingly awesome start to a Dream Team career ever, Gold Coast midfielder Kyal Horsley completed the transformation to boiled lollies by following his round-9 52 and round-10 38 with a round-11 DNP (coach’s decision). Geelong def-fwd Billie Smedts has got to get a mention for going AWOL too, although his owners probably didn’t massively miss his usually meagre contribution that much.
The good news is that some of our strongest scorers return this week, with the likes of Brisbane mid-fwd Dayne Zorko and GWS posse Toby Greene, Jon Giles, James McDonald and Adam Treloar back from their bye. In fact, assuming that Horsley was just rested for a week, eight of the top 10 averaging rookies will be available in round 12. It would’ve been nine, but Stephen Coniglio is out while he recovers from thumb surgery, in case you missed it.
I still can’t help being pissed off at Dayne Zorko and Sam Darley, or, more specifically, their real-world coaches. If Brisbane had held Zorko back a fortnight, and GWS had done the same to Darley, we’d have two outstanding downgrade targets knocking down the door to our Dream Teams this week. Instead, our only options in the two-game bracket are:
- Adelaide defender Sam Shaw ($104,200) 59 in round 4, 78 in round 10
- North Melbourne forward Aaron Black ($150,400) 55 in round 9, 41 in round 10
- Western Bulldogs mid Daniel Pearce ($98,700) 36 in round 9, 6 in round 10
- West Coast midfielder Koby Stevens ($104,200) 83 in round 3, 28 in round 8
Bye to come
- Port Adelaide defender Andrew Moore ($153,300) 6 in round 10, 82 in round 11
- Fremantle mid-fwd Hayden Crozier ($98,700) 16 in round 10, 42 in round 11
There are others who’ve played two, but none that recently or that well that they inspire much confidence. Of the above bunch, Shaw is the only one that has me a little bit tempted. He’s shown he has decent scoring potential, and only lost his spot in Adelaide’s team in round five due to injury. Having said that, the Crows are a far more competitive outfit this season and there’ll be pressure on his place at some point, perhaps from Andy Otten or Ricky Henderson. Stevens has undoubted scoring power, but will likely be in and out a few more times this season before he wins a more permanent spot in the Eagles’ line-up. Of course, both Shaw and Stevens may not even be among the 22 named by their respective clubs this week, so, as always, keep an eye on the team sheets.
Unless I missed something while sunning myself in Queensland last week, there was just the one debut in round 11, made by Richmond’s Brett O’Hanlon. The mid-sized forward started with the green vest, (surprise, surprise), before racing to 32 points in the final quarter. The fact that the official Richmond web site says he’ll “take time to develop” is a tad off-putting, but I’m prepared to consider him once he’s had his bye in round 13. The other one gamers to contemplate are, of course, those who debuted before their break. That list is one name long, too, unfortunately, consisting only of GWS mid-fwd Nick Haynes, whose $150k price tag makes him pretty unappealing. He missed round 10, but if he returns this week and you’re desperate for a midfield downgrade, I’d very cautiously consider Brisbane’s Elliott Yeo.
I don’t often mention those yet to get a game as it makes sense to window shop them for two games whenever possible, but these doughnut-dodging bye rounds call for a little bending of the rules, especially when the aforementioned downgrade options are so unappetising. There’s not much point in nabbing Sydney’s Tom Mitchell this week, seeing as he still has his bye to come, but consider the likes of Kangaroos pair Sam Gibson and Will Sierakowski, or GWS mid Stephen Clifton if they’re named tomorrow. Giants forward Jon Patton looks set to make his debut, but his starting point of $179,700 is pretty repulsive and the scoring consistency of young key position players is notoriously erratic.
A special shout-out to all the coaches competing in the DT Talk Chook league this year, especially my opponent last week, Heath’s In-vincibles, who finished within the top few hundred places with a massive 1835. Sorry I’m not exactly pulling my weight over there, gang.
Follow on Twitter: @ChookDT