Welcome to the fifth edition of Lefty’s Leftfielders – where the name of the game is giving consideration to those blokes you may have walked straight past….
This week on Lefty’s Leftfielder’s is former Demon current Lion – Brent Moloney.
Name: Brent Moloney
Club: Brisbane Lions
Ok I need to clear one thing first when it comes to Brent Moloney – in 2012 he did not want to be at Melbourne and it really showed. Moloney has been a stalwart of the undermanned Demon midfield for years, with only Nathan Jones providing any consistent support. He requested to be traded to a team with a chance to play finals before his career ends (picking recent times whipping boys Brisbane is a fair indication of how far off the mark Melbourne are both currently and for the foreseeable future) and I will cover his 2012 in more detail later when I go through the risks of picking him. In short I believe what we saw in 2012 was an aberration due to mental reasons rather than a slowdown due to age, injury etc.
From 2009 to 2011 he played 21, 18 and 22 games respectively for averages of 88, 81 and 88. Good numbers in any ones book – but not enough to be classed a premium mid. In 2011 he belted out 9 scores of over 100, with his highest scores being 138, 127 and 125 which is definitely premo territory. All this while playing for the horribly coached (and subsequently tanking investigated) Demons shows his ability to win his own ball in close and still spread to receive from teammates (often errant kicks that need mopping up). A clearance and tackling machine, Moloney is often the last one up from packs and is always near the action.
In 2013 Moloney joins a Brisbane side which if the preseason cup means anything appear to be on a rise. A centre square combo of Redden, Rockliff and Moloney (with Rich, Black etc in rotations) is certainly on par with many in the comp and opposition sides may have to spend some time actually tagging when playing Brisbane. I see both Redden and Rockliff more likely targets of this than Moloney so I think you can select him without fear of being tagged out of games.
He has stated he wants to play finals which is why he has left Melbourne after 8 years (he also spent his first 2 years at Geelong). I think he will have a massive point to prove and will be desperate for success and we will see the best of Moloney this year and next.
His first 3 rounds are against Western Bulldogs (2011 score of 69) Adelaide (2011 score of 111) and Gold Coast (2011 scores of 101 and 104) which is a combined average of 96.5. Not bad for a bloke priced at a 60 point average!
NAB cup form isn’t always the best gauge of players – particularly established players as coaches will often give the kids increased mid time to see how they go – which is why 27 points in a half from Moloney in week 2 of the NAB didn’t worry me too much. His 88 last weekend is a much more accurate gauge in my opinion and is bang on my expected output for this year
There is no hiding from the fact that 2012 was a train wreck for Moloney. 15 games at an average of 60 was a horrible return from an established midfielder that some of us took a punt on as a POD (I was lucky that the week I was going to get him I was $200 short…) How much of this can be apportioned to his lack of desire and effort due to the Demon environment?
The ongoing fitness issues of the Berger is a concern as well – Moloney used to get great feeds from big Mark Jamar during 2009-11 and the demise of Jamar in 2012 may have been a factor in Moloneys fall as well. Whilst Billy Longer may become a good ruckman in the future, it is hard to see him breaking even this year if called upon to do the bulk of the ruck work.
As with any change of clubs we will have to wait and see what role Moloney plays – Voss may even have plans on using his desperation and contested ball winning ability as a tagger.
With the injuries to Ball and Embley likely to delay their starts to the season, Moloney has jumped up the pecking order in the mid-priced midfield options. Hard to see him being vested, a durable body and a refreshed mind set all tick the box for me.
He will likely not be a keeper for mine – he will start at M5 in a 4/1/5 midfield set up and will either be my last mid upgrade or my first depending on his output. I am hesitant to start too many mid rooks and I think 3 are enough in the mids.
I predict an average of 85-90 for Moloney which is 25-30 points above what he is priced at and has him topping out at $450,000