|0 & 15
|2nd – 3rd round
Why should I pick him?
In 2023, arguably no player had as many extreme highs and frustrating lows as the Sic Dawg. But when he was good, he really was the goodest boy. Deserving of all the doggy treats and belly scratches in the world!
The Hawthorn skipper had 7 scores over 120 in his 19 games. They included a 165 against St Kilda in round 11 and a 160 against the Pies in round 21.
To put it in perspective, Nick Daicos had 6 scores over 120 from 20 games and a high score of 150. In fact, none of the other 6 top-priced defenders had more than 5 games over 120 and more than one over 150. Ceiling games can launch you up the rankings and win league match-ups.
Simply put, Sicily has a higher ceiling than Saint Peter’s Basilica (It’s really high….thanks Wikipedia).
A large chunk of Sic Dawg’s scoring came from being involved in the Hawks’ chip-chip game across the backline. The Hawks ranked 4th for total marks in the AFL and 1st for uncontested marks, with a gap of 8.5 marks per game back to the Saints in 2nd. It’s an ideal game style for a backline general like Sicily and he took full advantage, averaging the most marks in the AFL with an outrageous 9.95 per game. 2nd place? Cal Wilkie with 8.62. It wasn’t even bloody close!!
Another major contributor to Sic’s awesome season was his super high time on ground percentage. He averaged 95% TOG, following on from a 96% average in 2022.
Sicily is the Hawks best player. They want him on the ground. And when he’s on the ground he scores.
If the combination of high TOG, and the kick-mark gamestyle at the Hawks continues, then it seems unlikely that Sicily will regress much in 2024. Expect him to be locked in as a top 6 defender again this year. Plus there’s no early bye!
Why shouldn’t I pick him?
I remember years ago I was playing with our family dog. He’s a good boy but apparently he didn’t appreciate me invading his personal space at that time and snapped at me out of the blue.
It was very Sic Dawg-esque. One minute, everything is fine and lovely. Next minute, he’s suspended for 3 matches for body-slamming the opposition’s forward pocket.
Sicily was suspended twice in 2023, for a total of four games. To be fair to him, both were for footballing actions. In the past, he’s been susceptible to full-blown brain fades. Maybe the captaincy has mellowed him…..kind of. Either way, it’s not ideal picking a premium who has a shocking history of being rubbed-out. He’s likely to cause you a headache at some point given the way he plays.
Sicily’s white-line fever is an issue, but the biggest reason why I would caution against starting him is because he doesn’t appear to have much scope for improvement on his starting price. His mark tally last season was phenomenal but it’s tough to see that increasing again in 2024. In fact, no player has averaged more marks per game since 2016, when Nick Riewoldt was giving defenders nightmares. At times last year, opposition coaches also sent a defensive forward to negate his influence. It wouldn’t surprise at all if that happened again in 2024, which could further impact his output.
Finally, we have to consider the Hawthorn game-style. The Hawks weren’t fantastic in 2023 but there were moments of real promise. They should improve again this year which might mean that there is less ball in their defensive 50. The top teams in the AFL are also moving the ball much quicker than what the Hawks did under Sam Mitchell. Will he tweak the team’s approach slightly and look to be more fluent when advancing from the defensive half? Direct ball movement is the enemy of premium defenders and would be a major barrier to Sicily returning to a 100+ average again.
Deck of DT Rating.
Sic Dawg is undoubtedly a fantasy jet but it is fairly easy to make a case to fade him this year. I’ve got him regressing by about 5-10 points per game due to slightly less chipping around in the Hawks backline. He’ll still be a top 6 defender but you should be able to pick him up slightly cheaper as an upgrade target part way through the season.