Not since Shane Falco led a rag-tag bunch of footballers into battle have we seen back-up players have such a profoundly positive effect in our Dream Teams. With key players still on the sidelines (looking at Goddard, Waters, Martin and Franklin specifically), it came down to your cover and how well they performed in a lot of cases.
In defence, we had Ellis and Spurr blitzing it for us – but more on them soon. Shaw, Darley and Morris all provided more than expected as three of the most popular options. Unfortunately, Bugg was dropped this week and Marty Clarke started with the vest; but other than that, it was a very pleasing week from the rookie defenders. I know a few people held off trading Waters, effectively opening themselves up to copping a donut this week with Goddard coming to the rescue next week. Imagine if you had Spurr sitting there as an emergency as a Hail Mary! And then again, imagine if you had him and you didn’t….
Up forward, it was all about Zorko. This will be the last week any of us are allowed to talk about him as ‘cover’ anymore, or even an F7. Since his vested 26 in Round 7, Zorks has been the 3rd-highest averaging forward, including five tons in that time. How about F3? Apart from him, Couch, Dickson and Adams were all solid, but it dropped off significantly after that. Let’s hope you didn’t have to rely on any of these guys, and with Dusty back this week, maybe we won’t have to for the foreseeable future.
Seeing as Martin and Goddard are both due back from suspension this week, we should be back to near full-strength squads and back to putting our faith in our premiums; not rookies. After all, pain heals. Chicks dig scars. Glory lasts forever.
Makers and Breakers
Over the past month there has been somewhat of a resurgence of the old school DT forwards, such as Pavlich, Goodes and Riewoldt. Ryan O’Keefe definitely fits into that category. He’s someone most of us wrote off this pre-season, with the expectation that he would start to decline with age. While he did have a poor first month, ROK has gone on to average 101.8 since Round 4, making him a top 7 forward in that time. He’s a perfect unique upgrade for your forward line, with only 3.3% of coaches taking the punt on him so far.
Over the journey, we’ve learnt not to expect too much from our premiums in their injury comeback games. In typical fashion though, Pendlebury went above and beyond the call of duty and busted out a 117 against a quality outfit. It’s been 8 weeks since your last hundred, so it’s bloody good to have you back… For those who are without the majestic midfielder, keep a keen eye in his price – he could be down to around $460k after Round 17!
If you didn’t get on Carrazzo in the last three weeks, it’s time to give yourself a swift punch to the face. Since his return from that nasty AC issue, he’s topped 110 in each game, including 123 against the Roos on a big Friday night stage. He’s now rocketed back up to $437k, almost $60k more than he was valued at a fortnight ago.
In another week where we were without Goddard and Waters, our rookie defenders again stood up and accepted the challenge. Spurr came from the brink of extinction to carve out a huge 104 points, while Tiger cub Ellis waxed his way to 103 in a perfect display of link work. They couldn’t have come through at a better time.
Defenders always seem to be hard done by when it comes around to determining the Breakers, which may have a bit to do with the inconsistency associated with the position. Although, even with taking that into account, Broughton’s 36, Suckling’s 31 and Fisher’s 18 were absolutely woeful. Broughton doesn’t have the same excuse having been thrown down forward in recent weeks for God-knows-why. A red vest sure doesn’t help either. Suckling simply just went missing, which is gutting for the coaches who snapped him up for Waters. As for Fisher… Who knows? He’s a far cry for the +6-loving defender we used to know and love. In fact, he’s dropped over 16 points per game since just last season.
Disappointment isn’t exactly an unfamiliar emotion for Kreuzer owners, but this has to take the cake. With no Warnock or Hampson and hence free reign in the ruck (Matt Watson was his back-up, for christ’s sake) Kreuz inexplicably managed just 40 points, despite totalling 29 hitouts. That’s a joke, and not a funny one.
Rather than being the poster boy for free agency, Cloke has now become the poster boy for ‘How to Lower Your Market Value’ in what is effectively an anti-contract year for him. It’s his second score in the vicinity of 40 in the last three weeks, which has to anger the hordes of coaches that flocked to him after his 112, 86 and 85 streak starting in Round 10.
A Spoonful of Concrete
I don’t think we need an official stat for us to know that 2012 has been an injury-ravaged one, DT-wise. The medicos have taken away guns like Ablett, Swan, Pendlebury, Franklin, Zaharakis, Sandilands, Mumford, McEvoy, Leuenberger, McIntosh, Shaw, Heppell, Murphy, Carrazzo and Fyfe for various lengths this season, which is just incredible. While luck is a huge factor here, it also throws one intangible towards the top of the list of trade priorities: Durability.
We just don’t have the trades to be taking a risk any suspect bodies at the moment, so let’s look at some of the most durable DTers going around. I’ll also give you an example of someone who we possibly think of as the better DTer, but due to injury has in fact been a lesser choice. I’ll credit each missed game with 50 points, as a rough estimation as to what your cover may have scored in their absence.
Brett Deledio – 108 consecutive games
If you don’t have Deledio already, you’re not a real DTer. So while we can’t exactly trade him in, I couldn’t forge a list like this without mentioning the record-holder for most consecutive games. Lids has been a great servant in his time, missing just 4 career games since he debuted in 2005, which is simply insane. He’s also averaged 89 DT points or more each season from 2008 until now, where he’s taken a massive leap and ticked over at 113.8 a game.
Matthew Boyd – 56 consecutive games
Boyd embodies toughness and defines durability. He’s one of the game’s best DT talents and he has only missed 2 AFL games since 2005. An absolute marvel of athleticism, fitness and fantasy prowess. If you’re looking for a sure thing, it’s Boyd.
Durability Bonus: Boyd’s 1786 season DT points edges out Ablett’s 1696 (1596 from 13 games, plus 2 emergency scores)
Pearce Hanley – 45 consecutive games
Hanley was something of an inspired choice this season, especially lately. He was a mild consideration last year, but has really firmed as a Premium defender by increasing his average by 7 points to 86.7 this season. He hasn’t missed a game since he solidified his spot towards the end of 2010.
Durability Bonus: Hanley’s 1300 season DT points beats out Birchall’s 1289 (1189 from 13 games, plus 2 emergency scores)
Dean Cox – 62 consecutive games
We must have a 2009 hangover, because I think everyone is still wary of picking Coxy in the fear that he’ll get injured or rested. That’s simply not the case. He’s played every game in the last three seasons, not to mention scoring a butt-load of points in that time. He’s aging, and that’s always a risk in itself; but with Naitanui shouldering half the load, he’s been rock solid thus far.
Durability Bonus: Cox’s 1519 season DT points beats out Maric’s 1478 (1428 from 14 games, plus 1 emergency score)
Andrew Swallow – 81 consecutive games
I’ve said it a few times before, but Swallow is one of those guys who bust out amazing scores, but they’re interspersed with too many 90 point totals (7 scores in the 90’s so far this season!) to be considered an elite DTer. What he lacks in that department, he certainly makes up for in durability – he’s played every single game in the last 4 seasons. He’s averaging 101.3 per game, which is still solid for your unique M6.
Durability Bonus: Swallow’s 1520 season DT points easily bests Pendlebury’s 1402 (1202 from 11 games, plus 4 emergency scores)
Brent Harvey – 69 consecutive games
This one really surprised me, I have to admit. Maybe I confused a natural reduction in output with poor durability, but when I saw that Harvey has played at least 20 games in 13 of his last 15 seasons, including every game in the last 3 years, I almost back-flipped off my chair. He’s not the DTer he once was, there’s no denying that, but he’s a sure thing as a F6 or F7 with his 81.1 average.
Durability Bonus: Harvey’s 1217 season DT points easily bests Zaharakis’ 1161 (911 from 10 games, plus 5 emergency scores)
Anyone you think I’ve missed in the Durability stakes? Who’s your go-to DTer for longevity? Let me know in the comments or on Twitter.
This is the point every season when DT becomes exclusively the domain of the fanatical DTers. We’re already seeing a sharp decline in forum activity and Twitter banter, not to mention general enthusiasm – I can’t tell you how many times over the past few weeks I’ve broached the topic of DT with other coaches, only to hear something along the lines of “I don’t really care anymore, hey. I ran out of trades weeks ago”. To me, this has always been a problem, exacerbated by the 24 trade limit; the Bye situation this season has only been a catalyst. Sure, holding trades is manageable for us serious DTers (and even then, some of us struggle!), but for the casual coach, it’s all about trading. So 16 rounds in, we’re the only coaches left, and I don’t like it.
DT is so enjoyable not just because you can watch a Melbourne vs GWS game and still be somewhat interested, but because it’s a great water-cooler topic. We enjoy talking trash to our opponents. We enjoy bragging about a huge score to our mates during the week. We enjoy having something to talk about other than the weather with someone you don’t quite know. And most of all, we enjoy trading our team into victory over all those who come up against you. This is why the concept of a ‘Use it or Lose it’ trading scheme appeals to me so much (Check out this nifty podcast for a bit of conjecture from FanFooty creator m0nty and the one and only Warnie on the big picture of DT and this topic in particular). Here’s my proposal for the perfect Dream Team competition:
Use it or Lose it
Each coach has the opportunity to make up to 2 trades every week of the season, and up to 3 trades in the bye rounds. If you don’t use them, too bad. Yes, I realise that this means that a coach can effectively use up to 47 trades in a season, which sounds ludicrous compared to the 24 trades we had this year. This brings me to the next big change:
Significantly Higher Magic Number
This will ensure that even if a coach uses all those trades, they won’t have a complete team by Round 10 of the season. With a higher MN, we’ll have to be very liberal with our cash distribution with our starting squad. We’re already setting up for a Mid-Price resurgence next year, and this would almost guarantee it.
My vision is that with this salary pressure we start the year with 6-7 Premiums, 15-16 Mid-Pricers and 10-12 Rookies, much like the spread of talent at an actual AFL club. This should ensure a high degree of uniqueness between teams, as your Premiums will even be unique as you’ll only be able to afford 1 or 2 in each position to start off the season.
Trading up to a ‘complete’ team will also be much more difficult, with less Cash Cows available (no expansion club this season) and smaller dividends milked from successful Mid-Price improvers.
I believe this would keep both breeds of DTers happy, which in turns makes Virtual Sports happy. We’ll have season-long interest from the casual DTers as they’ll be able to trade every week of the season, rather than losing interest halfway through. Hardcore DTers would now have the ability to make the most of their DT nous with smart trading throughout the season, with the bonus that a bad run with injury won’t derail your entire year. Again, the MBRs will be what separate the boys from the men, but that’s an issue that gets its own conversation.
In essence, I think this will make DT both more enjoyable and more relevant season-long. I instantly perk up at the thought that we’ll spend a fair portion of our time analysing the Mid-Price type players, who at the moment are bordering on insignificance. I feel a rush of joy at the thought that Guns & Rookies won’t be king anymore, and the prospect of going into a League head-to-head match with less than 10 players in common.
Like Martin Luther King, I have a dream. What do you think? What do you want to see brought in next year? Let me know in the comments or on Twitter!
# Could Stefan Martin replicate his unlikely run in 2011 (where he averaged 98.8 over a 10-game stretch) and become a insta-Premium? He’s probably a bit too pricey at $397k in the ruck, but he is coming off 105,101 and 118 with Jamar set to miss a few weeks a calf injury.
# Toby Greene was unlucky not to snag a spot in the Makers this week, and that’s only because not too many coaches would have played him with Murphy and Pendles fighting fit again. He’s shot up to $409k now (where the hell did that come from?!) and boasts a three-round average of 112.3. Excellent cover for the run home and a lock for the Rising Star if he were still eligible.
# Cam Bruce announced his retirement today, which marks the end of a great DT career. An absolute gun back in the day, Bruce averaged 101.3 back in 2006 (todays 115) to be the fourth ranked DTer that season.
# In the fourth quarter of the Sydney–West Coast match, the Eagles were without their 6 first-choice forwards after Darling was subbed out with hamstring tightness. That’s LeCras, Lynch, Nicoski, Hill, Darling and Kennedy all missing, which is an incredible stat really.
# Check out this article on Geelong’s courting of Travis Boak. I don’t really care that Geelong went out of their way to make their desires known; after all, it is a business decision, so anything legal goes. I was more taken shocked that Power CEO Keith Thomas compared Travis Boak and Dominic Cassisi to Joel Selwood and Jimmy Bartel in any capacity. Got to love hyperbole.
Great question. I personally shafted him after Round 2 this year, and while I regretted it slightly after he regained some form, I’m content that I used a trade to get him out. However, it’s a different prospect now, seeing as many coaches have 4 or less trades remaining.
If I still had him, I’d be very tempted to trade him out with 5 or more trades in the bank. Any less than that and it’s a no-brainer; you have to keep him and hope Lyon gives him a break. Who knows, there may be one more twist on the Broughton rollercoaster yet.
Definitely, Griff. The huge scores you talk about are team-wide, conceding 1788 DT points per game over the last month, about 220 points more than the competition average. That’s an extra 10 points that you can expect your players to earn when they come up against the Giants.
We shouldn’t be surprised though, we saw exactly same thing with the Suns last year. It all comes down to the fact that most of these GWS guys are all young and not AFL-weathered yet, and they are fatiguing over a long season. It’s a cliché, but it’s true. You just can’t expect to bridge the massive gap in experience and fitness in only one season.
I touched on this a bit last week, and was anti-Giles then, so I’m certainly anti-Giles after he was dropped this week. I pulled the trigger a few weeks ago on Griffin and haven’t regretted it. At the moment though, McEvoy and Jacobs have to be the premier options on a value basis. Both have had an exceptional last three weeks, averaging 101.3 and 111.7 respectively in that time.
There’s not much point talking about possible trades this week, seeing as we don’t have any left. On the assumption that you have 4 or less trades in pocket, LTIs should really be the only thing on your mind from now on. Even if we get lucky with injury, we still have the annual General Soreness convention, which is usually held over DT finals.
So, it comes down to our bench cover and Captain choices from here on, and hopefully a little luck. Dunny and Calvin have you covered in those categories, so I won’t waste my breath. But you may have noticed a few rookies getting a gig this week, such as Clifton, Walker, J. Hall, Sheringham, Dunell, L. Brown, Webberly, Couch and Baguley. I’d love to analyse who we should grab and who we should forget, but alas, no trade… With that said, if you need to cover a one-week donut, grabbing a Couch/Brown/Baguley type as DPP cover for the run home might not be the worst idea.
Also, did anyone get on Sylvia a couple of weeks ago like I suggested? 84, 100, 109 and 98 on the trot so far…
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