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Hawthorn Hawks AFL Fantasy Preview

Crutton looks at his Hawks for today’s Club Preview. Buddy is the most popular of the boys from Waverley Park but who else makes the 5? Don’t forget to check out the others on the watchlist in this ripper write up!


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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 2013 season.


1. Lance Franklin – FWD ($521,300)

Most DT coaches will start, or have Buddy in their side at some stage in 2013. We all know how good he is, and those dominant forwards that consistently score high, and have the ceiling that he has, are few and far between. Has averaged 100+ in the last two season, 99 the year before that. Who will ever forget the time he scored 204 against North Melbourne in Round 10 last year after kicking 13… THIRTEEEEEEEN! When he is capable of those scores, you don’t want to be the person who doesn’t have him.

However, let’s have a look at some of the negatives that come with selecting Buddy though. Frustratingly, he misses games. After being subbed out just after half time against the Giants in Round 15 last year (after whispers of a hamstring niggle the week before), he didn’t make it back into the side until Round 22, against the Swans when he could only muster 67 points. In fact, after he scored 115 points against the Blues in Round 14, he only managed 215 more for the rest of the season (average of 71 PPG). Dayne Zorko scored 864 points in that same span. To go with his 16 games in 2012, he played 19 in 2011 and 17 in 2010. His careless (and at times very frustrating) brain fades has led him being cautiously watched by the umpires, leading to countless free kicks against and also prone to suspension. All that said – when he goes on a rampage – are you content with not having him in your side?

2. Sam Mitchell – MID ($523,500)

Sam Mitchell looks fitter and stronger than he has in the past, all at the ripe old age of 30. Since 2005, Mitch has averaged at least 87.5 at the end of the season, culminating in a peak of 112 just two years ago (when noticeably his Kick: Handball ratio was higher – 1.3 compared to 1.1 in 2009, 2010 and 2012). He plays most games, and generally sits out just a week or two to freshen up and give his body a rest. I’ve documented his weaknesses in 52 Pick Up (specifically games against the Swans); however the pros far outweigh the cons. Only once did he have less than 20 disposals in a game (which was of course against the Swans), and he also averages more than 5 tackles per game. If the hawks are to succeed in 2013, much of the season rests heavily on his shoulders in the engine room. Comes at a relatively low starting price given his potential production, and I think he will push the 110 average again in 2013.

3. Jed Anderson – MID ($108,500)

Senior Coach Alastair Clarkson too has been impressed with the Hawks youngster, predicting both fans of Hawthorn and the AFL will know the name Jed Anderson by season’s end. “No one knows too much about Jed Anderson at the moment but we’re hoping that by the end of the year everyone will know him,” he told SEN radio. “He’s had a great summer for us and I reckon he’ll feature at some point throughout the year for us.”

That’s a fair rap on the young kid out of the Northern Territory, who the hawks picked up from the Giants for next to nothing (Stephen Gilham effectively – a win/win situation for both clubs). After his first three appearances in the brown and gold, he has hawthorn supporters salivating at what appears to be another young small forward in the Cyril Rioli mould. If substitutes didn’t exist in the current game that is AFL football he would be locked in my side – however he has green vest written all over him at this stage of his young career. Alistair Clarkson has shown a knack of giving one particular player ample green vests (Shane Savage got 6 in 2012, Luke Breust got 6 green plus 1 red in 2011), and I think Jed Anderson fits that mould. Proceed with caution – but he will be given plenty of opportunity in 2013, based on Clarkson’s thoughts.

4. Matthew Suckling – DEF ($426,900)

Most coaches have the Suckling/Birchall debate each year – and this year my choice is Suckling. In his three NAB Cup showings, he appears to be pushed up the ground higher, playing off the wing in a similar role to the recently departed Clinton Young. He is a fantastic user of the ball by foot, and Clarkson loves the ball in his hands, especially delivering into F50 or having a shot from outside F50. His average decreased in 2012 to 82.7 in 2012 (it was 90.7 in 2011), and only cracked the ton 5 times with a ceiling of 127 in 2012 (compared to 6 in 2011 with a ceiling of 141). While I can’t quite put my finger on why his productivity decreased in 2012, he has still only played 48 games of footy, and I get the feeling this year, with another preseason under his belt, a shored up backline, increased time further up the ground and while the hawks will continue playing a DT friendly role he can get his average above 90 again.

5. Jarryd Roughead – RUC/FWD ($472,200)

Those who are concerned about his change of role needn’t be. He and David Hale will play inverse roles with one another all season – one of them in the ruck, the other up forward. In my opinion, Jarryd Roughead is the most versatile key position player in the AFL, and one of the most important players at Hawthorn – he kicks goals, at minimum breaks even with the best rucks in the land and can swing into defence as a loose player when required. After a devastating Achilles injury in 2011, he returned with a bang averaging a career high of 91.6 in 2012, and I think he will end the 2013 season north of the 100 point average barrier. Big call I know, but he has the ability to score and play in numerous roles – absolutely required in modern footy, and is invaluable for Dream Team coaches as he spends little time on the bench. Pick him with confidence, and you can also utilise his DPP status!

Others to Consider:

Young hawks Luke Breust – FWD ($389,100) and Isaac Smith – MID ($401,000) need to add consistency to their bows, but entering their 3rd seasons at the hawks, and with talks of increased midfield time, both might prove to be valuable points of difference in your DT side. Lance Franklin says that Isaac Smith is flying, and is probably the best performer on the track this pre-season.

Cyril Rioli – MID/FWD ($425,800) – if he could stay on the park, I’d lock him in my side. Has the ability to run through the midfield, but groin and hamstring concerns (not to mention bung ankle after the NAB Cup game against Gold Coast) means you should proceed with caution.

Grant Birchall – DEF ($455,400) is a DT star, pick him with confidence to fill a position in your backline, and while on the subject of defensive options, new recruit Brian Lake – DEF ($392,800) is a former DT star who will relish in a DT friendly backline. Many +6’s to be had – but can he stay on the park?

Although Jonathan Simpkin – MID ($195,800) is awkwardly priced, considering the bevy of midfield rookie options to choose from, he is mature aged and knows what it takes to be an AFL footballer.  He might be worth paying the extra $90K on rookie priced options, so keep an eye on him for the next few weeks, I think he has a spot in the side sewn up!

Forget About It:

Luke Hodge – MID ($398,600) – it’s hard to believe he was once a must have DT player – injuries have cruelled him, and lack of DEF eligibility means he is no longer DT relevant. Will be very carefully managed again this year. Max Bailey (RUC – $216,400) – unfortunately for big Max, he is no longer realistically a part of Hawthorn’s plans – avoid, even with a low starting price.

There you have it – the Hawthorn Football Club DT preview for season 2013. It’s quite difficult only selecting 5 players from the DT friendly side that is Hawthorn, and if you have any others that might be worth considering, or any thoughts on the above players – comment below!

Don’t forget to follow me on twitter @cruttonhutton, and join in the banter in the lead up to season 2013!

Crutton Hutton loves his DT but most of all he loves a Tweet. Give him a follow for plenty of #AFLFantasy banter... @cruttonhutton.

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