Calculated risks. That’s the approach for coaches looking to downgrade this weekend. Let me remind you that it is reasonable to sacrifice your D8, M10, R4 and F8 positions with a rook that may or may not play regularly. Two trades a week allows us to make any forced changes so don’t stress too much about taking a punt!
So with very few rooks getting a go at this point, who do we turn to? Fortunately, there’s a bunch of rookie priced players doing well in the reserve comps around Australia and some are worth the risk. I’ve dedicated a whole section below. Enjoy.
There were a heap of three-or-more gamers that performed very well in Round 15 but no performance was more timely than that of Tom Mitchell (MID, 104, $324,900 & BE 17). With GAJ ruled out at the eleventh hour, Mitchell was an emergency in many teams and he didn’t disappoint. He finished with 12 kicks, 15 handballs, 2 marks, 6 tackles and a goal playing at half forward and was again named in the bests for the Swans. Mitchell comes up against GWS this weekend so make sure you start him on your field, as he should score another ton.
Neil Craig’s third game in charge at the Demons and Dean Terlich’s (DEF, 107, $410,800 & BE 46) third consecutive ton…see the correlation? You’d be silly not to start Terlich on the field this weekend even though the Dees face the might of Geelong at Skilled Stadium. Terlich’s teammates Jack Fitzpatrick (RUC, 104, $254,100 & BE -6) and Max Gawn (RUC, 96, $252,500 & BE -33) also appear to be benefitting from having Neil Craig in charge. If you managed to trade in Fitz or Gawn when they were on the bubble, well done because they are both solid ruck back ups and both have a few decent price risers left in them.
Lachie Whitfield (MID, 102, $322,400 & BE 38) and Brett Goodes (DEF/MID, 100, $347,200 & BE 66) also had 100+ scores in Round 15 and Whitfield especially looked to enjoy a free reign along the wing. Goodes’ game on the weekend reasserts himself as a decent D7. Ollie Wines (MID, 90, $351,700 & BE 29) and Brad Crouch (MID, 84, $318,200 & BE 0) backed up their 100+ performances in Round 14 to score 90 and 84 respectively last weekend. Both play an on ball role so they should continue to score 75+ over the next few weeks.
After his four-goal haul on the weekend, Brandon Jack (MID, 67, $122,100 & BE -28) was one of Sydney’s best players against Melbourne even after starting in the green vest. Jack is a one grab player and very clean below his knees. As good as he was on the weekend, he only scored 67 dreamteam points and is still prone to the green vest thus I wouldn’t necessary call him a keeper but he deserves a mention none the less. If you don’t have him, I’d resist the temptation to trade him in but if you’ve already got him then hold.
Other notable performers from Round 15 include Brent Staker (FWD/DEF, 91, $245,100 & BE 13), Sam Mayes (FWD/MID, 88, $275,800 & BE 73), Mark Blicavs (RUC/MID, 86, $332,100 & BE 70), Brent Macaffer (FWD, 80, $347,600 & BE 82) and Tom Nicholls (RUC, 76, $272,100 & BE 32).
Mitchell Clisby (DEF, 58, $148,800 & BE -34) didn’t score as well as his owners would have liked but that’s no reason to panic. He is set as a back pocket player for the Dees and has a healthy breakeven making him an ideal D7 or D8.
Brad McKenzie (MID, 19, $144,000 & BE -8) copped the green vest last weekend but is still playing a role for North Melbourne. After the Kanga’s great win against the Tigers I doubt they’ll make too many changes and with a breakeven of -8, I’d hold McKenzie and see how he goes over the next couple of weeks.
TRADE, TRADE, TRADE
As per usual, if I haven’t categorised a player from Round 14 under ‘Keepers’ or ‘Don’t Panic’ then trade them out as soon as you can.
Special mention to Jaeger O’Meara (MID, 74, $424,600 & BE 100) who has peaked in price and is likely to lose a considerable amount of coin over the next few weeks. In my opinion, Tommy Mitchell is a far better M9 so I’d be cashing in on O’Meara if you haven’t done so already.
If you’ve got Dawson Simpson (RUC, 50, $212,800 & BE -9) then I’d be a bit worried. He was subbed off in the third quarter and it looks like he could be replaced in the team after Chris Scott talked up Nathan Vardy during his interview on Fox Footy’s On the Couch on Monday night. With Vardy and West waiting in the wings, Simpson’s job security was always going to be an issue.
Tom Sheridan (MID, 23, $108,500 & BE -17) and Andrew Boston (MID, 12, $89,300 & BE 39) were the only two gamers to get a run in Round 15 and both received the green vest. Sheridan is good young player with decent skills but Ross Lyon has used rooks intermittently all year so tread carefully. Lachie Neale, Cameron Sutcliffe and Viv Michie (FWD & $108,500) are all in hot form in the WAFL and I’m tipping Sutcliffe will take Sheridan’s spot in the Derby this weekend. In his second AFL game Boston had only 2 kicks and 2 marks in just over a quarter of footy and scored a mere 12 dreamteam points. Obviously Boston goes missing in his time on the field and that accompanied with a breakeven of 39 is enough to put me off.
Tom Bellchambers’ 5 goal haul last weekend will keep Joe Daniher (FWD, $143,200 & BE -52) out of senior action for a while yet. Unless there’s an injury to Bellchambers or Ryder, don’t expect Daniher to come back into the Bombers’ 22. Additionally, Essendon are very keen to resign Bellchambers beyond 2013 and in my opinion, he is being ‘given’ games in an effort to convince him that he’s a required player.
I’m still confused as to why Lachlan Hunter (MID, $102,700 & BE -39) is not getting a game at the Bulldogs. He’s a quality young player and he proved that in his first game. Surely, he’ll get another go soon but he’s up against it this weekend given that he couldn’t prove himself in the reserves with Williamstown having the bye.
With Beau Waters’ latest injury setback, surely Blayne Wilson (DEF, $108,500 & BE -62) gets a run in the derby. If he’s named to play then he should hold his spot for the next month. Fingers crossed.
Zero. Zip. Zilch. Zippo. Not a single rookie priced one gamer got a run on the weekend.
Above I touched on calculated risks. The key word here is calculated. There are a number of untried rookies that can accumulate the footy and with a bit of luck, a handful of them will get a run soon. In these desperate times let’s look at those AFL teams likely to miss finals because the probability of these teams playing a few rooks in the second half of the season is pretty high.
It’s a given that the Giants, Dees, Bulldogs, Saints, Lions and Suns will all miss the finals this season. So which untried rooks from these teams are in form? Lets take a look…
Jonathan O’Rourke (MID & $179,200) has now played five consecutive games in the NEAFL and I’m baffled as to why he wasn’t named last weekend. O’Rourke wins a lot of the footy and is very effective by hand and foot. With Coniglio sidelined with injury and Adams suspended, expect O’Rourke to be named this weekend but with a price tag of $179,200 I’d be waiting to see what he produces before trading him in.
Kristian Jaksch (FWD/DEF & $134,200) was selected by the Giants with pick number 12 in last year’s draft and has been playing as a key forward in the reserves. He’s strong overhead will get games at some point this year, so keep your eye on him. The biggest advantage with Jaksch is that he’s a defender, forward DPP that can be moved about as required for those with Brent Staker.
Mark Whiley (DEF & $171,900) has been named in the bests 8 times out of his 11 NEAFL games this year. Whiley is a medium defender who played three senior games in 2012 and has made one appearance this season scoring only 29 dreamteam points. He’s an expensive option but given his NEAFL form, he should be rewarded with a few more games at AFL level so if he scores well, he could be a great pickup.
The Dees have already played six first year players this season so there aint a lot of room for too many more fresh faces. Josh Tynan (DEF & $134,000) played two games last year and has showed some decent VFL form for Casey. Tynan is a running defender so if he gets a game it’s likely going to be at the expense of Mitch Clisby. Lets hope not.
There doesn’t appear to be a stand out untried rookie from the Bulldogs putting his hand up to play AFL. Little pressure from rooks in the reserves builds a strong case for Lachlan Hunter to play more games later this year.
St Kilda Saints
Tom Curren (MID & $108,500) is a rookie listed player dominating in the VFL. He’s averaged 24 kicks, 10.5 handballs, 4.5 marks and 4 tackles in his last two games but has found it hard to break into a Saints midfield with the likes of Montagna, Dal Santo, Steven, Armitage, etc all playing well. If the Saints cop an injury to one of their midfield crew, expect Curren to be there abouts.
Callum Bartlett (FWD/MID & $108,500) is the only untried rook at Brisbane who I think could get a game but he would need to be upgraded to the seniors as he is still rookie listed. Bartlett is a goal kicking midfielder similar to a Ben Kennedy or Kyle Martin. In my opinion, Brisbane has lacked a bit of goal scoring punch so don’t be surprised to see Bartlett line up soon, it just may be in a green vest.
Gold Coast Suns
There aren’t many standout rookie priced players in the Gold Coast reserves. With the Suns looking set in their line up don’t expect too many untried rooks to get a go. Tall forward Josh Hall (RUC & $123,600) may get a run given that Daniel Gorringe and Sam Day are both under injury clouds but don’t forget about veteran Nathan Bock who is slowly gaining fitness and pending no setbacks, will suit up in the seniors soon.
Other Notable Sleepers
Who’s the bloke in the pic you say? It’s Mitchell Grigg (MID & $108,500), a 20 year old left footer from Adelaide who can kick it a mile and run all day. Grigg has been killing it in the SANFL of late and I suspect that he’ll replace the injured Aidan Riley who has been ruled out for the rest of the season with a broken leg. Grigg is an accumulator of the footy and last weekend he had 20 kicks, 9 handballs and 2 goals playing for Norwood. If he can avoid the vest, he’ll likely average 70+ and if I decide to make a downgrade this weekend, I’ll be taking a punt on him.
Kyle Hartigan (DEF & $101,300) has also been playing good footy in the SANFL and as a result was recently upgraded to the Crows senior list (source). Hartigan is a mature age, tall defender who is suited to a ‘third tall defender’ role at the Crows. Last week he was named as an emergency so expect him to get a game soon.
I’m calling it early…Nick Graham (MID & $102,700) will make his debut this weekend against the Saints. In Round 15, Graham was very, very close to being named for the blockbuster against Collingwood but I assume he was held back given that it was a big occasion for a young fella. After the Blues poor showing against the Pies, it’s fair to assume that there will be a few changes this weekend and one of them will be the inclusion of Graham. Graham is a hard and smart midfielder who impressed early in preseason but sustained cartilage damage to his knee, which put him out of action for 10 weeks. In his return from injury, Graham has played 4 VFL games and been named in the bests in 3 of them. Keep an eye on Graham…this kid can play.
Troy Menzel (FWD/MID, $138,700 & BE 19) is still on the bubble after playing two games earlier in the season. Like Graham, Menzel has also been tearing it up in the VFL and his DPP eligibility is a big plus. With the Blues in serious doubt to make the finals, expect guys like Menzel to get a regular run in the last half dozen games of the season.
Brodie Grundy (RUC & 107,200) has overcome his back injury sustained on the eve of Round 1 and is gaining valuable fitness in the VFL. Personally, I think that Grundy is a better forward/ruck option for Collingwood than Witts. Grundy is far more agile up forward and thus more of a threat. I’m not holding my breath about seeing Grundy suit up this year and if he doesn’t, lock him in as a R4 next year!
Will Langford (DEF & 108,500) is a hard at defender who loves to tackle. He’s not effective by foot but he can play a shut down role when required. Langford was named as an emergency for the Hawks last weekend and if he does get a game soon, I don’t expect him to average more than 65 dreamteam points per game. Keep an eye on him none the less.
Don’t forget about dual position player Liam McBean (FWD/RUC & $102,700). If you’ve got Nicholls and Blicavs as your R3 & R4 then it’s a no brainer to trade one of them out to McBean but only if you have Cox and/or Roughy in your forward line. Both Nicholls and Blicavs will play out the season but you don’t need both and if trouble strikes then just switch McBean with your other ruck DPP’s.
Well I hope that helps guys ‘n’ gals. I’m off to Bali on Friday night so there will be no Jeppa’s Juniors next week but keep an eye out for my tweets on Thursday and Friday for my rookie advice.
Got a question? Ask me on Twitter @JeppaDT