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  1. #101
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bomber18 View Post

    Not sure on his scoring potential, but could play in R1 with a decent JLT. Averaged 67 in his debut year. Wasn't very good last year but think he had an interrupted preseason.

    Not mentioned at all in the articles though so perhaps one to keep quiet
    Have even seen suggestions around he might pinch hit in the ruck (can't remember where) so I have him in sights as a backup option if the cheapies don't come through.

    Ditto Byrne from Carlton (not the ruck bit lol ). "Monitor in JLT" as the saying goes.
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  2. #102
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bomber18 View Post

    Not sure on his scoring potential, but could play in R1 with a decent JLT. Averaged 67 in his debut year. Wasn't very good last year but think he had an interrupted preseason.

    Not mentioned at all in the articles though so perhaps one to keep quiet
    Not a swans fan and haven't gone to the stats to back this up but my feeling when I have seen him play is that disposal efficiency is a problem and that disposals are usually short, both not good for sc.

  3. #103
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    Nice work Presto... Not a fan about the amount of spoon feeding the Herald Sun is doing this season though.
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  4. #104
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bomber18 View Post

    Not sure on his scoring potential, but could play in R1 with a decent JLT. Averaged 67 in his debut year. Wasn't very good last year but think he had an interrupted preseason.

    Not mentioned at all in the articles though so perhaps one to keep quiet
    Quote Originally Posted by Leroy View Post
    Have even seen suggestions around he might pinch hit in the ruck (can't remember where) so I have him in sights as a backup option if the cheapies don't come through.

    Ditto Byrne from Carlton (not the ruck bit lol ). "Monitor in JLT" as the saying goes.
    Quote Originally Posted by blue dreamer View Post
    Not a swans fan and haven't gone to the stats to back this up but my feeling when I have seen him play is that disposal efficiency is a problem and that disposals are usually short, both not good for sc.
    There was an article recently on Aliir on zero hanger. Somewhat value if he could get back in the side and score at least around 70 ave which would get him to $325k without a spike score.

    Swans defender could re-emrge in a big way in 2018
    Stephen Marson - January 31, 2018 - 11:55 am
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    After playing just three games in 2017, Sydney defender Allir Allir could soon become an important piece in the Swans’ game plan for 2018.

    Allir broke into Sydney’s best 22 during his debut season in 2016, and played 13 games that season with his blistering run out of defence and strong marking presence his best attributes.

    The 23-year-old played the first three games of last season but was dropped in round four and didn’t return, although coach John Longmire told he struggled to break into the side last year because of a pre-season turf toe injury.

    “It was a pretty significant injury and that really set him back a bit. Then when he started to get going, Lewis Melican had got a start in the team as a key defender, we were on a bit of a winning roll and it was hard for Aliir to get back in the team,” Longmire said.

    The coach believes Allir is an important member of the side and will break back into the team this season, although a new role could be on the cards.

    “We think he can really add to our team but we’re keen to get him back in that form he was in two years ago, whether that’s down back or in other roles. We’re keen to see Aliir really grab those opportunities,” Longmire said.

    “We think he can play as a key defender, but also a third tall role and give us some more rebound and punch from our back half. We think he can also play in the ruck as a second ruck and give us some real mobility around the ground.

    “Ultimately, it will be determined by form and what roles are there – he just needs to grab them.”

    Allir’s opportunity in the side comes after Kurt Tippett’s retirement, with the key-position veteran calling time on his career earlier this month after failing to recover from his latest ankle injury.

    Longmire understands Tippett’s loss would be a big one, although is confident the Swans have the tools to adequately replace him.
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  5. #105
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lost In The Sky View Post
    Nice work Presto... Not a fan about the amount of spoon feeding the Herald Sun is doing this season though.
    I reckon the only saving grace is that they’re doing so much of it that you’d basically need to be an experienced coach to be able to take proper advantage of all the good info in amongst the filler
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  6. #106
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    Quote Originally Posted by Darkie View Post
    I reckon the only saving grace is that they’re doing so much of it that you’d basically need to be an experienced coach to be able to take proper advantage of all the good info in amongst the filler
    I was thinking this too. It's an information overload!
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  7. #107
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    SuperCoach 2018 rookie bible: All the mature-age players you should consider

    KATE SALEMME and AL PATON, Herald Sun
    February 13, 2018 5:00pm

    SELECTING premium players and the top draftees from last year is only the beginning when it comes to SuperCoach.

    Everyone knows the likes of Patrick Dangerfield, Dustin Martin, Josh Kelly and Gary Ablett will be among the topscorers, while North Melbourne’s Luke Davies-Uniacke, Richmond’s Jack Higgins and Brisbane’s Cam Raynor are among the most popular picks so far of last year’s draftees.

    But when it comes to picking a successful side, you need to look deeper into the draft selections and trades of last year and even the year or two before to unlock the key to SuperCoach.

    That means searching and finding the diamonds in the rough of the cash cow world — the mature-age “rookies”.

    These players will either be your last players on the field in defence, midfield and forward line or become crucial role players generating cash on your bench.

    Scroll below to read the top prospects you should consider in each position to fill the cash cow role and who could become key scorers for your side in 2018.

    Some you would have heard of, others you may not have. So who do you pick?
    We’re here to help.



    Collingwood fans were stunned at what their club gave up to secure former Sydney rookie Sam Murray but clearly coach Nathan Buckley has a role in mind for the 19-year-old. After the retirement of Ben Sinclair and delisting of Jackson Ramsay at the end of last year, combined with the departure of Marley Williams at the end of 2016, the Magpies are desperate for a dashing halfback who can also play on the opposition small forwards and it seems Murray will be that man. Brayden Maynard will spend more time in the midfield in 2018 so Murray should get loads of opportunities to impress. Excelled in the NEAFL as a defender where he was rated elite for uncontested possessions and score involvements and above average for intercept possessions, contested possessions, disposals and clearances. The only knock is he has been limited over preseason after arriving from the Swans with a pre-existing injury. A must-have.

    CAM O’SHEA (CARLTON) $166,000 DEF

    Cam O’Shea is the must-have SuperCoach cash cow of 2018 and if you’ve signed up and picked your team already but don’t have him, then you may as well pack up now. O’Shea is guaranteed to play 22 games for Carlton this year, barring something dramatic happening, following the season-ending ACL injury to Sam Docherty. The Blues love to play through their halfbacks and O’Shea, after playing 81 games for Port Adelaide, will be the go-to man alongside veteran Kade Simpson. That means points, points and more points.


    One of the more intriguing prospects this year, Dylan Buckley has been thrown a lifeline by GWS and is available for dirt cheap. We know the Giants pluck experienced players to fill roles — Matt de Boer and Tendai Mzungu anyone? — and Buckley can fill a role across multiple positions. The con is he’s only available as a defender and he’s never been a prolific SuperCoach scorer — his best season was 2014 when he averaged 55.8 points from eight matches. He could be a downgrade option around the byes but not solid enough to start with in your side at Round 1.


    Another of the forgotten recruits during the off-season, Alex Morgan switched from Essendon to North Melbourne for more senior opportunities and should get them at Arden St. A rebound defender, Morgan should feature during the preseason and is one to keep an eye on before committing to him in your Round 1 side. Hasn’t set the world on fire in the VFL, rated below average for Champion Data ranking points, disposals, contested and uncontested possessions. Still, if he is a regular for North Melbourne and can average around the 60 mark, you’d take it.


    Crows fans and SuperCoach players hope Doedee will step straight into the spot in the Adelaide backline vacated by Jake Lever. A former No. 17 draft pick, Doedee plays just like Lever — he was the No. 1 intercept player in the SANFL last season (a stat rated highly in SuperCoach). He also finished second in the Crows’ state league best-and-fairest, behind veteran Scott Thompson. If he’s part of the back six (Alex Keath and Kyle Cheney are other contenders for the Lever vacancy), he’s a safe bench pick.


    We couldn’t, could we? Luckless Swan Alex Johnson finally made his return from five knee reconstructions at the end of last year and played nine games in the NEAFL, which was a great sign. He’s been redrafted as a rookie and will likely spend more time in the second-tier competition before featuring at AFL level. Not in the equation at this stage but if he starts tearing it up, we could be tempted as a mid-season downgrade option. Had had to undergo minor groin surgery after experiencing hip and groin pain.


    Missed all of last season with achilles and foot injuries but is back fit and will be hoping to impress in the JLT Series to push for a Round 1 spot. Is behind Jake Carlisle and Nathan Brown, however, as key defenders so where he fits exactly remains to be seen. Job security both back and forward, where he can also play, isn’t great. Pass.


    At 26 years of age the former Box Hill Hawks defender finally has his opportunity at AFL level after Hawthorn picked him up in the rookie draft. While available at a bargain-basement price, don’t expect Mirra to earn you much cash this year as he’s most likely at Waverely as insurance should Alastair Clarkson’s side have another horror run with injuries down back. Mirra can play both tall and small, which does work in his favour and racked up the most Champion Data ranking points of any defender to play 10 or more games in the VFL last year.


    He was a lock in most SuperCoach teams at this time last year but Mitchell Hibberd failed to live up to a bright pre-season, scoring just 23 points in Round 1 then not making another senior appearance until Round 15. The same theory applies this year — he can win the footy and the Kangas need to blood young players, but it would take a big leap of faith, especially at his elevated price.


    Was a popular rookie selection after he was selected for Round 1 last year but lasted only 16 minutes before suffering a serious shoulder injury. Still in the rookie price bracket but is on a modified training program as he recovers from a leg injury. Better options elsewhere.


    Irishman broke through for two senior games in his first season, which is a fair effort but scored 28 and 35 SuperCoach points. Pass.


    TIM KELLY (GEELONG) $117,300 MID

    The third-most popular mature-age selection of the draftees from last year so far, Kelly looms as a must-have barring any preseason mishap. Coach Chris Scott has already flagged an early-season debut for the 23-year-old — but we’re expecting him to feature from the outset in Round 1 as the Cats look to inject more speed into its line-up. He will play across half forward but can also push up into the midfield. Use the ball really well and has no trouble finding it. He’s a lock.


    The former Demon is the forgotten man after Port Adelaide went on a recruiting spree over the off-season but he could prove the most valuable to SuperCoaches. Barry played five games for the Demons back in 2014 before stepping away from football but after a standout season in the SANFL is ready to give an AFL career his best shot. The 23-year-old has already been labelled as one of the standouts at Power training and assistant coach Matthew Nicks declared him the best runner he has seen. In fact, he said: “It wouldn’t surprise me if we see him a lot earlier (at AFL level) than most people would probably have predicted.” Big tick.


    A former top-10 draft pick priced as a rookie? Yes please. Kangaroo Paul Ahern is coming off an ACL injury but after missing all of 2016 and 2017 the former Giant is now fit and ready to get his AFL career started. North Melbourne are in the rebuild phase and their kids are getting plenty of senior exposure so load up on the royal blue and whites. Ahern last played NEAFL in 2015 and impressed by gathering 30 disposals or more five times and is rated elite for disposal efficiency and uncontested possessions, while rated above average for clearances. He’s in my team.


    The tenth-most popular player in SuperCoach so far this year, Garlett is expected to be a regular for the Blues this season after being plucked from South Fremantle in the biggest shock of draft night last year. The former No.15 draft pick played 17 games for Gold Coast — and didn’t set the world on fire in SuperCoach — before walking away from footy to deal with a family matter but has vowed to make the most of his second chance. He has been on a modified training program and did not compete in match simulation late last month, so that is a concern. If he doesn’t feature in any preseason matches SuperCoaches won’t have any indication where he’ll play or if he’ll suffer the Pickett curse we touched on earlier. He’s worth the risk and is in my side but I’ve got some concerns. Can we trust him?


    Former Crow Wigg was a lock before he fractured his foot in early December but a fortnight ago said “I’m available for Round 1 at this stage.” The 21-year-old won’t feature in AFLX or the JLT Series and so could be held back for some match fitness before earning his debut. Will be a very late addition to thousands of SuperCoach sides if he’s picked in Round 1, so don’t forget about him. Even if he plays NEAFL in Round 1, you’d think his senior debut wouldn’t be too far away — the Suns need senior bodies in the midfield.


    Every footy fan is hoping Jack Trengove finally gets a clear run at an AFL career after the former No.2 draft pick has battled so many injuries and setbacks but he’s not really in the SuperCoach frame. Won’t be in Port’s best 22 at the start of the season but could be a downgrade option mid-season if he finds form and wins selection.


    The rookie draft often throws up a few surprises and it was definitely a shock when former Blue Nick Holman landed at the Suns after a stellar season in the SANFL where he won the Central District best and fairest. Gold Coast need experienced bodies in the midfield and Holman, despite being on the rookie list, should feature early and be a good contributor both for the Suns and as a SuperCoach cash cow. He averaged 26 disposals and seven score involvements in the SANFL last year and was rated elite for contested possessions. All good news in SuperCoach land.

    MATT SHAW (CARLTON) $180,300 MID

    While most of the SuperCoach cash cow attention has been on fellow recruits Cam O’Shea and Jarrod Garlett, Shaw has also come into the Carlton system after seven seasons at Gold Coast. He plays his best footy across halfback or on the wing, which suits the Blues perfectly given the serious injury to Sam Docherty. Shaw could slot in alongside O’Shea down back and is one to watch over the preseason, although he is one of the more pricey cash cow options, so tread carefully. His best SuperCoach season came in 2013 when he averaged 72.8 points from 18 matches. The 26-year-old’s average usually hovers around the 60 mark, which would be handy as a bench option.


    All the SuperCoach noise at West Coast is around Liam Ryan and Nic Naitanui but last year’s No.32 pick Brayden Ainsowrth could be a smoky. The 19-year-old is a midfield bull and with the Eagles looking to replace Matt Priddis and Sam Mitchell, Ainsworth could be a ready-made replacement. He’s already played against senior bodies in the WAFL Colts and was a standout, ranked second for disposals and fourth for clearances. He was also prominent in the Under-18 Championships, winning more clearances than any other player. Has been selected in the Eagles’ AFLX side, so we’ll get an early look at him. One to monitor.


    Is 2018 the year Nathan Freeman finally makes his AFL debut? He is a cash cow in waiting but his body is the massive question mark given he breaks down at training and in the VFL, so how will he go in the pressure-cooker that is AFL level? Has had an interrupted pre-season but has completed his own program and was involved in some of the Saints’ match simulation last week, which is a promising sign. Wait and see if he features for the Saints during the JLT Series as that will give us an idea if he’s close to a debut.


    One of Gold Coast’s prized top-10 picks in 2016, Brodie played just the three senior games last year so is still available for a reasonable price. He didn’t light up SuperCoach, averaging just 42.7 points in those games but performed really well in the NEAFL, rating above average for disposals, contested and uncontested possessions, clearances and score involvements. With another pre-season under his belt, the 19-year-old could be ready to find that form at AFL level. Keep an eye on him during the JLT Series.



    After delisting Zac Clarke and Jonathon Griffin the Docker replenished their ruck stocks with a couple of mature-agers and Jones is one of those from East Perth. He’s quick and has good endurance for his size, while he can also push forward and kick goals. Will be behind Aaron Sandilands and Sean Darcy in the pecking order. Bench option as captaincy loophole.


    Meek is a good athlete for his size, is clean at ground level and his ruck work is impressive, ranked fifth for hit-outs to advantage in the TAC Cup but will obviously be behind Aaron Sandilands and Sean Darcy and possibly Scott Jones in the pecking order. Like Jones he’s not a dual position player but could be a ruck bench option to use as a captaincy loophole.



    West Coast is looking to inject more speed and x-factor into its team and mature-age recruit Liam Ryan is one who should be given plenty of opportunities. The 21-year-old is expected to be unleashed for West Coast in their AFLX matches after showing glimpses of brilliance while training with the forwards over preseason. The only concern with Ryan could be how much time he spends as a small forward — last year SuperCoaches were burnt by popular cash cow Jarrod Pickett who averaged just 46.2 points as a small forward and was in and out of the Carlton side. Ex-Hawthorn recruiter Gary Buckenara says Ryan plays like superstar Cyril Rioli.


    While about $55,000 more expensive than the cheapest of last year’s draftees — No.1 pick Cam Rayner costs $202,800 — Crameri is at an enticing price given he should slot straight into Geelong’s forward set up as the club looks for more avenues to goal. The concern is Crameri has played only two games since 2015 after his drugs ban in 2016 and hip issues that restricted him last year. He had his best SuperCoach season way back in 2011 when he averaged 83 points as a Bomber but since then has averaged 78.5, 72.4, 68.0, 43.4 and 58.5 in his two games in 2017. The plus is he should get plenty of supply from the superstar Cats midfield so there are points to be grabbed but can he perform well enough to cement his spot in the best 22? He’s not in my team at this stage, not sure the reward is good enough to justify the risk.


    Fremantle has been a SuperCoaches dream for cash cows with Luke Ryan, Alex Pearce, Sam Collins, Tendai Mzungu and Michael Barlow all popular money-making picks in recent years and Sam Switkowski could be the next cab off the rank. Plucked from the VFL where he played as a small forward for Box Hill last year and booted 19 goals from 12 matches, it is his speed, pressure and competitiveness that catches the eye and is something the Dockers desperately need up forward. He’s not huge, listed at 178cm and 70kg, but the Dockers need a player of his ilk as Hayden Ballantyne nears the end of his career and Michael Walters spends more time in the midfield. Definitely on the watch list and should be given opportunities during preseason.


    GWS desperately needs a nippy small forward to ramp up their forward pressure after being too top heavy last year and little-known draftee Zac Giles-Langdon could get first crack at the role. The 22-year-old was selected with pick 56 in the national draft and is ready to go after spending the last two seasons playing against the bigger bodies in the WAFL for Claremont. He has great endurance and elite running and foot skills and can also push up the ground. Keep an eye on the Giants during the JLT Series to see if he features and keep your eyes peeled for their Round 1 side. One to watch with interest.


    Last year it was Mitch Hannan, this year it’s Bayley Fritsch. Melbourne now has a bit of a history of plucking players from the VFL and turning them into valuable role players. The Demons know Fritsch well, with the 21-year-old playing for the club’s VFL affiliate Casey last year where he booted 42 goals from 19 games. Melbourne is looking for a small forward to help Jeff Garlett and could turn to their No.31 pick in last year’s national draft, who at 81kg should be ready to step straight in if needed. Coach Simon Goodwin said last month Fritsch had been a “standout” during preseason and has slotted in seamlessly alongside the forwards. The Demons obviously rate him highly and have a role in mind otherwise they wouldn’t have used such a valuable pick — the Demons also held pick Nos.37 and 48 — to bring him into the club. One to watch over the preseason with his elite kicking and he makes the most of his scoring opportunities.


    Schache finally found a new home with only minutes to spare in the trade period and everyone will be hoping the new Bulldog can reach his potential. But he doesn’t have the scoring power just yet to justify picking him in SuperCoach.


    Clever small forward who applies pressure … sound familiar? The cousin of Cyril and Daniel Rioli was restricted by hamstring injuries in his first year on the Eagles list but expect to see him at senior level this season. The question is when?


    Kayle Kirby is a goalkicking freak who booted 42 majors to finish second in the VFL goalkicking. He was given a taste of senior footy in Round 23, scoring 32 SuperCoach points. We should see more of him this year but his scores are likely to be very hit or miss given he doesn’t do much apart from kick goal.


    Traded from Port Adelaide to West Coast, Ah Chee will cost you more money than you’d like but he’s looking for more midfield time and should get it. He dominated in the SANFL and was the No.1 ranked mid-forward in the league for Champion Data ranking points. The 24-year-old should feature from Round 1 but given his price tag, watch him closely in the JLT Series to gauge his scoring potential at his new club. Averaged 64.7 points in his best season, 2016, when he played 11 games for the Power.


    The former Magpie didn’t play a senior game last year in his return from a drugs ban and didn’t light it up in the VFL, either. Has been given a lifeline by the Giants as depth given he can play a variety of roles as a key position player or back-up ruckman. Played his best footy in 2013/14 but is too inconsistent. Pass.


    Plucked from Footscray in the VFL, Gowers has been in the AFL system before as a rookie with Carlton where he played mostly as a halfback or on the wing but was moved forward last year. Luke Beveridge likes to give players an opportunity but Gowers is on the rookie list and priced at $117,400 because he’s been in the system before. Pass.


    The former Docker was a very popular downgrade option last year before he took time away for personal reasons and was then traded to the Demons. Is more expensive but has potential given he rates well for pressure, disposals, contested and uncontested possessions and score involvements. Melbourne is looking for another small forward to help Jeff Garlett, could Balic get his senior opportunities inside 50?


    Adelaide’s top pick in the 2016 national draft, Gallucci is being groomed as a small forward to replace the traded Charlie Cameron. He’s been a standout at training and there is a spot there for him if he wants it. Played his best footy in the SANFL late in the year last year, when he won at least 100 ranking points in four of his last five games. He’s more expensive than Cam Rayner but could be worth a punt if his JLT Series form (and scoring) is good. He does his best work in tight, rating elite for contested possessions and clearances.
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  8. #108
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    The Phantom’s 2018 SuperCoach pre-season: Rookie-price ruckmen
    The Phantom, The Advertiser
    February 14, 2018 8:30am
    Subscriber only

    HELLO, rookie rucks, can you hear me?
    I’m in the Lair dreaming about who you will be…
    Yes, The Phantom has resorted to catchy pop songs but we’re singing out for some ruck bench cover in 2018, especially with the uncertainty around the returning Nic Naitanui.
    But, unfortunately, the stocks appear thin.
    If you aren’t throwing the R3 position for captain’s loophole purposes – more on that later if you are new to the game – these are the three names to pin your hopes – and dreams – on.

    Darcy Cameron
    (Syd) $123,900
    While Callum Sinclair formed a solid partnership with No. 1 ruckman Sam Naismith in the latter stages of 2017, his two-disposal, 10-point performance in the semi-final loss to the Cats was anything but solid.
    And, along with the retirement of Kurt Tippett, this has left the door slightly ajar for 22-year-old Cameron to push his way in.
    Sinclair is more than capable as a forward, with his five goals in Round 18 and three goals in the elimination final highlighting this. But so is Cameron.
    In 2016, prior to being drafted, Cameron took 43 contested marks – the most in the competition – and booted 36 goals for Claremont in the WAFL.
    While Cameron’s numbers in the NEAFL prior to a Round 11 injury last year – 24.6 hitouts, 7.4 to advantage – would suggest he is a better ruckman, it still remains to be seen whether he can match it with the big boys at senior level.
    Let’s hope he gets a chance to prove it in 2018.
    The Phantom’s Verdict: It’s hard to see the Swans playing all three big men so Cameron may be forced to bide his time in the NEAFL early in the year if Naismith and Sinclair are fit.

    Tim English
    (WB) $134,700
    In his draft year, English was compared to a young Dean Cox in the way in which he gets around the ground – sometimes appearing like a fourth midfielder.
    Tim English at Western Bulldogs training. Picture: Mark Wilson
    But, given English played plenty of junior footy as a midfielder before a 20cm growth spurt three years prior to his draft year, it’s little surprise the 205cm can win his own ball.
    In his two debut-season games, English won only seven disposals in each appearance but 2017 was all about development for the lightly-framed big man.
    However, English, who averaged 13 disposals and 18 hitouts in the VFL, did enough to earn a contract extension only months into his career.
    While 2018 is likely to be another year of development for English, who has put on seven kilograms since joining the club, should be in the selection frame given neither Jordan Roughead or Tom Campbell have established themselves as dominant ruckmen in the game.
    The Phantom’s Verdict: We all know it takes longer for ruckmen to develop but The Phantom believes it will be worth the wait with English. Should feature in the JLT Series and hopefully at some stage at the top level in 2018.

    Archie Smith
    (Bris) $224,300, forward
    For so long, the SuperCoach community has been opposed to the idea of Smith forcing his way into the Lions’ side given the negative effect it has on fantasy favourite Stefan Martin’s scoring.
    But in a year where the dual-position ruck-forward options are limited, maybe we should swap sides.
    Archie Smith training with Brisbane. Picture: Grant Wells
    The 22-year-old played six games last season, all with Martin in the team, and struggled to make an impact, averaging just 45 SuperCoach points.
    Smith spent the majority of his time as a forward with little success, recording only four scoring shots for the year.
    But he’s show he can score as the No. 1 ruckman, tallying 96 and 90 points in the first two games of his career in 2016.
    Although he’s still number two at the moment, Martin is 31 and Smith is the long-term replacement so Brisbane may give the combination another go in 2018.
    The Phantom’s Verdict: Keep your eyes – and your mind – open over the JLT Series.
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  9. #109
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    The Phantom’s 2018 SuperCoach pre-season: Rookie-price forwards
    The Phantom, The Advertiser
    an hour ago
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    FROM first-year draftees to mature-age recruits and those who have been around a while but yet to make their mark. The Phantom is here to steer you through the all-important rookie-price options in the forward line.


    Jordan Dawson (Syd) $123,900, midfielder
    After a dominant year in the NEAFL, the 20-year-old, who played one senior game, won Sydney’s Cathy Lees Award for ‘most promising young player or best blossoming talent’ for 2017.
    The past three winners are Nic Newman (2016), Isaac Heeney (2015) and Jake Lloyd (2014).
    That’s a good indication we can expect big things from the third-year Swan in 2018, especially after posting some enormous numbers in the reserves last season.
    Dawson, who played through the midfield and up forward, averaged 136 SuperCoach points, ranking elite for disposals, contested possessions, uncontested possessions, contested marks, goals and tackles per game in 2017.
    Now that’s what you call an all-round game.
    In one match last year, Dawson recorded 40 disposals, 14 marks, eight tackles, seven clearances, six inside 50s and three goals.
    The Phantom’s Verdict: Sure, his role may not be quite the same at senior level but if Dawson is there Round 1 — and The Phantom thinks he will be — he’s a lock.


    Luke Partington (WC) $219,000
    While there are number of West Coast forwards on the SuperCoach radar in 2018, Partington’s name has hardly received a mention.
    But, after six appearances last season, including the final against Port, and three pre-seasons under his belt — don’t underestimate the benefits of this — the 21-year-old is ready to step up and help fill the void left by Sam Mitchell and Matt Priddis in the midfield.
    At the top level in 2017, Partington spent most of his time as a small-forward but he was prolific as a ball-winner in the WAFL.
    The hard-running Partington averaged 28 disposals and 93 SuperCoach points, winning 10 or more contested possessions in 10 of his 13 games last season.
    The Phantom’s Verdict: Might show that he is worth the extra cash during the JLT Series.

    Liam Ryan (WC) $117,300
    One player that has been talked about a lot is the excitement machine from the WAFL.
    The 21-year-old, who is a mid-sized forward at 181cm, booted 73 goals from his 23 games last season — nine more than any other play in any major state league, not just the WAFL.
    Don’t let his height fool you.
    Ryan is outstanding overhead, taking the third-most marks inside forward 50 last season, plenty of them while sitting on a defender’s shoulders.
    Expect to see plenty of highlights from the mature-age recruit in 2018.
    The Phantom’s Verdict: The perfect bench option at the moment.

    Daniel Venables (WC) $123,900
    It’s a fair chance we would’ve seen the strongly-built 19-year-old in the Eagles’ line-up during his debut season if it wasn’t for injury.
    After a delayed start to his first pre-season due to a foot injury, West Coast’s first pick in the 2016 draft played eight games in the WAFL, two of them in the reserves, last year before a toe injury ruined his chance of a mid-season debut.
    The explosive Venables played predominantly as a forward in those eight games but his mix of power and speed, that has many onlookers comparing him to star teammate Luke Shuey, could see him push into the midfield.
    The Phantom’s Verdict: Although Venables has never been a big ball winner, his ability to impact the scoreboard — off his own boot and by dishing off to others — should still see him score well, if he gets a chance

    Willie Rioli (WC) $123,900
    Lewis Jetta had some pretty strong words to say about the 22 year old, who battled hamstring injuries during his first season on the club’s list, earlier in the week.
    “You can expect magic from him. He is a freak. He is pretty similar to his cousins (Cyril and Daniel). He knows where the goals are, knows how to kick a ball and he has worked really hard over the pre-season.”
    As Jetta’s comments reiterate; Rioli is highly rated at the Eagles.
    Injury restricted the dangerous small-forward to just two games in the opening 17 rounds of the WAFL in 2017 but Rioli was so impressive late in the season that he was in the selection frame for the Eagles’ elimination final against the Power after only three senior WAFL appearances.
    The Phantom’s Verdict: Just like they have so far over summer, expect Rioli and Ryan to form an exciting forward combination in 2018.


    Paul Ahern (NM) $123,900, midfielder
    After two knee reconstructions, is it finally time to see the No. 7 pick from the 2014 make his debut?
    The Phantom sure hopes so because the former Giant can play.
    In 2015, after averaging 98 SuperCoach points as Vic Metro’s top-ranked forward at the 2014 under-18 championships, the classy 21-year-old averaged 23 disposals at an impressive 76 per cent efficiency in the NEAFL.
    Unfortunately that was the last time Ahern was on the field.
    North Melbourne took the risk on the hard-running right-footer, trading for him at the end of 2016 even though he wouldn’t take the field the follow season.
    But he’s been back in full-training since November last and looks set to finally make his mark on the competition.
    The Phantom’s Verdict: If all goes to plan, expect Ahern to confirm his lock status over the pre-season competition, starting with the AFLX tomorrow night.


    Will Setterfield (GWS) $195,700, midfielder
    Although he battled injury, the tall midfielder, who was rated as one of the most complete in his draft year, played two AFL games in his debut season, registering 12 disposals, six tackles and 63 SuperCoach points on debut.
    In that draft year of 2016, the 190cm Setterfield averaged 121 points in the TAC cup and was the only midfielder in the competition to rate elite for goals, score assists and tackles per game.
    Expect the Giants to make the most of those attributes by giving the 19-year-old a role in the forward line in 2018 before the inevitable full-time midfield move eventuates.
    The Phantom’s Verdict: Sometimes it pays to pay for those players who have been in the system longer — even if they’ve only played two senior games.


    Cam Rayner (Bris) $202,800, midfielder
    The No. 1 draft pick, who averaged 20 disposals, two goals and 122 SuperCoach across all games last season, is going to be a star. There is no doubt about it.
    But Rayner, who has drawn comparisons to a young Dustin Martin — and rightly so — is likely to spend much of his debut season in the forward line as he builds up his endurance.
    Sure, the powerful 18-year-old could — and will — do some damage as a forward but will it be often enough for his SuperCoach scoring to match his high price tag?
    The Phantom is unsure.
    The Phantom’s Verdict: Given that uncertainty, I’ll be looking elsewhere to start. Although I am slightly worried he’ll prove me wrong.

    Jaidyn Stephenson (Coll) $180,300, midfielder
    Stephenson was once touted as a potential No. 1 pick but a heart condition scared a number of clubs off.
    But not Collingwood, who swooped on the line-breaking midfielder with pick No. 6.
    The 19 year old, who possesses speed and great hands overhead, exploded in the second half of last season.
    After scoring 146 SuperCoach points, on the back of 28 disposals and five goals, against South Australia in the 2017 under-18 championships, Stephenson averaged 132 points in the TAC Cup for the remainder of the year.
    Stephenson has the ability and skill-set to add to the Magpies’ side immediately with his goalkicking nous allowing him to play a variety of roles.
    If he gets a chance early, it’s not out of the question for Stephenson to post Will Hoskin-Elliott-like numbers of 2017.
    The Phantom’s Verdict: High on the watchlist. Should light-up the AFLX.


    Jack Higgins (Rich) $130,800, midfielder
    Over summer, all the signs were pointing to Higgins potentially being one of the best cash cows of the season but Richmond coach Damien Hardwick’s comments on the AFL’s ‘ask the coach’ segment earlier in the week have dampened expectations.
    When asked about the chances of Higgins playing in his debut season, Hardwick said “it probably won’t be early,” but added that he would be disappointing if he didn’t put his hand up midway through the year.
    So it looks like we will have to wait a while longer to see the prolific midfielder who averaged 144 SuperCoach points across his junior career, breaking Tom Rockliff’s longstanding junior record.
    The Phantom’s Verdict: As frustrating as Hardwick’s comments are for SuperCoaches, Higgins will be worth the wait.


    Bayley Fritsch
    (Melb) $117,300
    The 188cm forward, who possesses great hands, booted 42 goals and averaged 82 SuperCoach points for Melbourne’s VFL affiliate Casey Scorpions in the VFL last season.
    The Demons were so impressed they jumped with pick No. 31 in the draft, giving the high-marking Fritsch a shot at the big time.
    And they continued to be impressed with coach Simon Goodwin declaring Fritsch “has been a real standout in our training” and “is working really well with our other forwards”.
    Melbourne went with mature-age forward Mitch Hannan from the outset in 2017 and Fritsch is tracking on the same path.
    The Phantom’s Verdict: Another nice bench option if he’s named in Round 1.
    SuperCoach:  12621 (2017)  1799 (2016)  36059 (2015)  54421 (2014) 

  10. #110
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    The Phantom’s 2018 SuperCoach pre-season: Rookie-price smokies
    The Phantom, The Advertiser
    February 16, 2018 6:00am
    Subscriber only
    THE top draftees and standout mature-age recruits always get a mention at this stage of the year but there are a number of rookie-price players flying under the SuperCoach radar.

    Kieran Lovell (Haw) $174,800, midfielder
    Ball magnet alert.
    In his draft year of 2015, Lovell averaged 35 disposals and 187 SuperCoach points at the under-18 championships and 34 disposals, 17 contested possessions and 159 points in the TAC Cup.
    The following year, the strong midfielder played two AFL games in his debut season, winning 18 disposals, nine contested possessions and 62 points in his second game.
    With the departure of Sam Mitchell at the end of 2016, Lovell, drafted at pick No. 22 in 2015, was earmarked as a potential replacement last season.
    But a serious shoulder injury, that restricted him to just three VFL matches, ruined any chance of that.
    In one of those games, the third-year Hawk tallied 34 disposals, 16 contested possessions, nine clearances, eight score involvements and seven tackles.
    The Phantom’s Verdict: If he gets a chance, Lovell and teammate Tom Mitchell might be fighting between themselves for the ball soon.

    Jack Trengove (Port) $162,700, midfielder
    Even with all of the discussion around Trengove’s struggles at Melbourne — prior to the serious foot injury in 2014 — when he was handed the responsibility of co-captaining the club at just 20, the former Demon midfielder’s numbers still provide good reading.
    In his first four seasons in the competition, the smart decision-maker played 79 of a possible 88 games and averaged more than 75 SuperCoach points in each year, with a high of 88 in 2011.
    But then the foot troubles started.
    Trengove only managed two games AFL games in the following seasons of 2014 and 2015.
    Despite putting the major issue behind him in 2016, the 26-year-old failed to regain his spot in Melbourne’s senior side, making 32 appearances in the VFL and only five at the top level.
    But, back in his home state, can Trengove take hold of the opportunity Port Adelaide have given him to start again with both hands?
    And give the SuperCoach community another midfield cash cow to choose from?
    An impressive performance at the club’s recent intra-club — where Trengove spent some time at half-back — shows there is a chance.
    The Phantom’s Verdict: Could be a decent scorer if he can push his way in. But that’s the challenge.

    Nathan Freeman (St K) $123,900, midfielder
    Speaking of unlucky, Freeman has missed 57 games — 49 hamstring related — since he was drafted by Collingwood at pick No. 10 in 2013.
    The midfield speedster played four VFL games in his first year at the Saints in 2016 before making 13 appearances last season, in a promising step forward.
    And, in a number of those games, the 22-year-old showed why he so highly rated.
    In a mid-season run of five games, Freeman averaged 29 disposals, 15 contested possessions, six clearances and six tackles.
    The Phantom’s Verdict: Fingers crossed Freeman finally gets a good crack at it. He might be a mid-year downgrade option to keep in mind.

    Mitch Crowden (Fre) $117,300, forward/midfielder
    In his draft year, there were concerns the strongly-built Crowden had little development left and lacked leg speed.
    There were also similar concerns over Richmond premiership hero Jack Graham.
    But, simply, like Graham, the 18-year-old can play the game and boasts some great junior numbers to back it up.
    The 174cm, 84kg midfielder dominated the under-18 championships in both years he played. Crowden averaged 31 disposals and 141 SuperCoach as a bottom-age player in 2016 before averaging 23 touches, five tackles, two score assists and 109 points last year.
    And Crowden, who possesses an elite left-foot, also has experience playing against men, lining up in nine senior matches for Sturt in the SANFL in 2017, where he averaged 12 disposals — at 78 per cent efficiency — and five tackles.
    Lachie Neale played in Round 4 of his debut season and his fellow South Australian, Crowden, has similar traits.
    The Phantom’s Verdict: Who knows what Ross Lyon is thinking but don’t be surprised if Crowden is a late pre-season bolter.

    Jeremy Finlayson (GWS) $123,900, defender/midfielder
    After playing most of his junior football as a forward, Finlayson, who is now in his fourth year on the Giants’ list, has transitioned nicely into an intercepting defender in the NEAFL over the past few seasons.
    Finlayson increased his disposal average from 14 to 20 in 2016 before averaging 28 disposals in his first six games of 2017.
    The versatile 21-year-old averaged 127 SuperCoach points — the highest of all defenders in the competition — over this period, earning him an AFL debut in Round 15.
    Unfortunately, Finlayson went down with a knee injury in the second quarter and played only three more NEAFL games for the year.
    But now with rebounding defenders Zac Williams (injured) and Nathan Wilson (Fremantle) missing, Finlayson, along with second-year defender Isaac Cumming, will be pushing hard to fill the void.
    The Phantom’s Verdict: We should find out who is leading the race between Finlayson and Cumming through the JLT Series.

    Matt Guelfi (Ess) $117,300, forward
    After 19 senior games for Claremont in the WAFL last season, the 20-year-old is another young player with experience playing against the bigger bodies.
    Guelfi was overlooked at the 2016 draft but after averaging 15 disposals, eight contested possessions and 85 SuperCoach points, while also bagging 21 goals, as a small forward in the WAFL, he gets his chance with the Bombers.
    Guelfi, who boasts a great mix of speed and endurance thanks to a junior track-and-field career, has fitted in well during his first pre-season and gets his chance in the AFLX tonight.
    The Phantom’s Verdict: His versatility — Guelfi played predominantly as a midfielder in his junior days — is his strength so look for him to play a role at some stage in 2018
    SuperCoach:  12621 (2017)  1799 (2016)  36059 (2015)  54421 (2014) 

  11. #111
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    Early eye-catchers from the first-ever AFLX tournament
    Al Paton and Chris Vernuccio, Herald Sun
    February 16, 2018 10:58pm
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    WHETHER you liked or loathed AFLX, the new concept still gave fans the chance to assess which players are worth keeping a close eye on before Round 1.
    Most teams blooded a lot of youth but there were some standouts who will push for a spot in the best 22 — and our SuperCoach teams.
    Here are a few players to shine on nights one and two.

    James Worpel (Hawthorn) $117,300 MID
    The No. 45 draft pick is 19 but has the body to play against men and certainly didn’t look out of place on Friday night. Known for his contested work, he laid a couple of big tackles and moved well with the ball, particularly in one passage where he wove through heavy traffic then hit up a teammate with a perfect pass. His strong AFLX tournament followed a two-goal effort in the Hawks’ intraclub game last week. Keep this up and he’ll be hard for Clarko to overlook.

    Paddy Dow (Carlton) $193,800 MID
    Champion Data’s Twitter SuperCoach expert Fantasy Freako noted that Dow had the highest disposal per minute ratio of any Blues player over their two games. But it wasn’t just his possession numbers that caught the eye. Dow burst into the clear and generally used the ball with precision and looks set for a starting spot in Carlton’s midfield. Very pricey, though.
    Paddy Dow showed why Carlton took him with pick 3 in the draft.

    Bayley Fritsch (Melbourne) $117,300 FWD
    A mature-age draftee from Casey Scorpions in the VFL, Fritsch did his Round 1 chances no harm with eight disposals and three goals in his sole appearance on Friday night. The Dees need to find more goals — is Fritsch the answer? One to watch.

    P aul Ahern (North Melbourne) $123,900 FWD/MID
    One of the most popular selections in SuperCoach started both of the Kangaroos’ games on the bench but hopefully that doesn’t mean too much. He was serviceable without starring in either game but veteran Scott Thompson talked him up in the commentary box. Hopefully we’ll see a bit more in the JLT Series.

    Hunter Clark (St Kilda) $175,800 MID
    Another teenager with the body to compete against the big boys, Clark did some nice things on the field but it was teammate David Armitage’s on-air assessment that really got our attention — he compared Clark to Marcus Bontempelli for his strength in the contest and ability to get a handball away. Armitage said both Clark and Nick Coffield ($171,300 MID) were likely to feature early in the season.

    Tom Doedee (Adelaide) $123,900 DEF
    There are high expectations on the third-year defender touted as Jake Lever’s replacement, and he showed on Thursday night he could be ready to step up with seven disposals (at 100 per cent kicking efficiency) in the final against Geelong. He recorded a game-high three intercept possessions in the opening game against the Magpies.
    Adelaide could fill the defensive void left by Jake Lever. Picture: AAP

    Cam Ellis-Yolmen (Adelaide) $263,900 MID
    Redrafted as a rookie last November after missing the entire 2017 season with a knee injury, Ellis-Yolmen immediately pushed his case for an upgrade to the senior list with 11 disposals, six marks and two goals (including a “Zooper” goal) against West Coast. Would be very attractive if he was a bit cheaper.

    James Aish (Collingwood) $312,700 MID
    Aish hasn’t been known as a big disposal winner during his AFL career to date, but the 22-year-old shone with 10 disposals, two goals (one Zooper) and three score assists in the Magpies’ first match on Thursday night playing as a forward. Awkward price, though.

    Michael Walters (Fremantle) $478,300 MID/FWD
    A PCL injury ended Walters’ season prematurely last year but the exciting forward was brilliant against Port Adelaide with 10 disposals, many of them in midfield, after he was rested from the opening game. He has dual-position eligibility this year which makes him an enticing option in the forward line.

    Stefan Giro (Fremantle) $102,400 MID
    No many would have heard of Giro before Thursday night, but the Dockers rookie emerged as a SuperCoach bolter against Geelong with 13 disposals and a Zooper goal. His long blonde hair will soon make him a fan favourite.

    Tim Kelly (Geelong) $117,300 MID
    Mature-aged recruit Kelly, who was runner-up in the Sandover Medal last year, was outstanding in the decider against the Crows with six disposals and a Zooper goal. Kelly has already earned high praise from Cat coach Chris Scott and is shaping as a likely Round 1 starter. Lock him in.

    Riley Bonner (Port Adelaide) $257,300 DEF
    The exciting halfback made an early impression with 13 disposals and nine marks in the first AFLX match. Bonner also kicked the very first Zooper goal. In his third AFL season, Bonner will be striving to be a regular in Power’s 22 after playing the last three games of the 2017 season, including Port’s elimination final loss.
    Riley Bonner will be hoping to break into Port’s senior side for Round 1. Picture: Calum Robertson

    Jack Petruccelle (West Coast) $117,300 FWD/MID
    The Victorian teenager, picked up by the Eagles with pick 38 on draft night, has speed to burn as well as an eye for goal, booting five of them across both games. Still very skinny.

    Hamish Brayshaw (West Coast) $117,300 MID
    The brother of No. 2 pick Andrew, the brothers both played on the opening night but it was Hamish, the 68th pick in last year’s draft, who stood out more with nine disposals and three inside-40s against Collingwood. Docker Andrew picked up seven touches and a Zooper goal against the Power — but he is priced at almost $80,000 dearer.
    SuperCoach:  12621 (2017)  1799 (2016)  36059 (2015)  54421 (2014) 

  12. #112
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    4 Not allowed!

    The Phantom’s SuperCoach face offs: Lineballs in defence
    The Phantom, The Advertiser
    11 minutes ago
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    RORY Laird or Michael Hurley? Kade Simpson or Heath Shaw?
    The Phantom’s Facebook and Twitter pages have been swamped with requests for advice from SuperCoaches who need to make a decision between two players of similar cost.
    With that in mind, here is The Phantom’s defender form guide to help with some of the borderline calls which could make or break your SuperCoach season.
    Tomorrow, we’ll be looking at the tough decisions facing all SuperCoaches in the midfield. If you can’t decide between two players, drop The Phantom a line on his Facebook page and he’ll try to help you out.
    But for now, here’s the Phantom’s call on six key defensive selections.

    All Australians Hurley and Laird are closely matched, but the Essendon star has a scoring edge.
    Michael Hurley (Ess) $563,500 v Rory Laird (Adel) $550,800
    Hurley, the All-Australian centre half-back, averaged 26 disposals at 79 per cent efficiency in 2017. Laird, also an All-Australian last year, averaged 30 disposals at 81 per cent efficiency.
    Hurley averaged 0.9 points-per-minute during the home-and-away season. Laird pipped him but only just, averaging 1 point-per-minute.
    Including finals, Hurley posted 13 SuperCoach tons for the year. As did Laird.
    Do you see where I am going with this?
    These two are hard to split.
    Even their season averages have followed a similar trajectory.
    The time-frame is slightly different due to the year Hurley missed with suspension but in his past three seasons, the tough, highly-skilled Bomber has increased his average from 86 to 95 to 102.
    Adelaide’s damaging half-back flanker went from 94 to 97 in 2016 before pushing that number to 100 last season.
    Maybe Hurley just wins that category given his sharper spike.
    And a closer look reveals that, even though they broke the 100-point barrier 13 times each, Hurley played four less games and, after a quiet first month, scored 100 points or more in 13 of his final 17 matches for the year.
    Both players are SuperCoach stars and, barring injury, will sit comfortably among the top 6 defenders at the year’s end but Hurley averaged 1.8 more rebound 50s, 1 more intercept mark and took double the amount of contested marks.
    That’s why his scoring power remains slightly higher.
    VERDICT: Hurley. But only just. Have both if you can.

    Crisp has a durability edge over Hanley.
    Pearce Hanley (GC) $428,000 v Jack Crisp (Coll) $455,300
    This is the ultimate high-ceiling or durable and consistent debate.
    In the past three seasons, the Collingwood midfielder-turned-defender has played 66 consecutive games, scoring more than 80 points in 68 per cent of them.
    In contrast, Hanley, has made 46 appearances in this time, passing the 80-point barrier in 54 per cent of them.
    But, over his career, Hanley has recorded eight scores in excess of 140 and boasts a personal best of 191.
    At this stage, there is no doubt Hanley’s scoring power is greater than that of Crisp, who has only scored more than 120 points three times in his 84-game career.
    However, Crisp, who averaged 91 points after the bye in 2017, has scored 1810 more points than Hanley over the past three years.
    And total points is what wins you the $50k major prize in SuperCoach.
    VERDICT: Crisp. Sure, Hanley, who is set for a greater midfield role in 2018, is more likely to average 100 but, going on recent history, Crisp is more likely to play 22 games. And, after settling into a new role as an attacking defender at the back-end of 2017, a 95-point average looks achievable.

    Houli was influential on grand final day, but Brandon Ellis has better SuperCoach figures.
    Bachar Houli (Rich) $517,400 v Brandon Ellis (Rich) $502,500
    Houli, who was influential on grand final day last year tallying 118 SuperCoach points, averaged 94 points per game in 2017 — the third time the dashing defender has averaged 90 points more in his 11 seasons.
    The 29-year-old’s scoring was, again, inconsistent and this is the main reason he’s failed to average more 95 in his career. In his 18 games last season, Houli passed the 127-point mark on four occasions, while also failing to score more than 77 points four times.
    His teammate, Ellis’ 91-point average was also the third time he’s passed that mark in his career.
    But the 24-year-old has only been in the competition for six seasons and he’s already averaged more than 97 twice, a figure that Houli is yet to reach.
    A closer look also reveals Ellis’ scoring in the back-half of the year, after adjusting to a positional move into defence, was better than the 91-point average suggests.
    In the final 13 games of the home-and-away season, Ellis averaged 100, scoring 96 points or more nine times, including a huge 30-disposal, 147-point performance in Round 10.
    VERDICT: Ellis. He’s played 106 consecutive games and The Phantom believes he’s got another gear to go to. Whereas Houli might not.

    Witherden is more likely than Lloyd to be an elite scorer.
    Alex Witherden ($478,900) v Jake Lloyd ($479,900)
    After averaging 100 points in the opening nine rounds of 2017, Lloyd suffered a nasty concussion and never really got going again after that, recording only one SuperCoach ton after the bye and failing to score more than 82 in the his final five games of the year.
    Lloyd is a reliable ball-winner and user, averaging 26 disposals at 79 per cent efficiency last season but, given he only averaged 87 SuperCoach points, can he become more damaging with the ball to compensate the uncontested nature of his game?
    While — despite being a small sample — Witherden’s numbers show a similar outside game, in just nine appearances, the 19-year-old showcased how precise and damaging he can be with the ball going forward.
    And the young Lion has only just scratched the surface.
    The question with Witherden, who also averaged 87 points in his debut season which featured three SuperCoach tons, is how high — and how quickly — can he go?
    The question with Lloyd, however, is whether or not he can develop into an elite scorer in his current role?
    VERDICT: Witherden. Yes, $478k is a lot to pay for a second-year player but, while Lloyd should hold is form, Witherden is the one more likely to become an elite scorer.

    McGrath is likely to get more midfield time than Mills.
    Andrew McGrath (Ess) $388,400 v Callum Mills (Syd) $403,100
    The two young stars going head-to-head in the midfield is going to be a sight for football fans and SuperCoaches to behold.
    But for this to eventuate, both will need to be released from their half-back roles.
    And, even with The Phantom’s begging of Sydney coach John Longmire, going by pre-season reports, it appears it will be McGrath who will get an opportunity first.
    The 19-year-old Bomber averaged 20 disposals and 71 SuperCoach points per game playing in defence in his debut season but, as a midfielder in the TAC Cup, the composed McGrath averaged 32 disposals and 144 points.
    With the arrival of Adam Saad, Essendon look set to inject McGrath into the midfield on a permanent basis in 2018.
    While Mills was also a prolific ball-winner throughout his junior career, he’s become so important to Sydney across half-back in his first two seasons — averaging 77 and 73 SuperCoach points — that Longmire may again keep him there.
    Like he did last year after teasing us with Mills the midfielder through the JLT Series.
    VERDICT: McGrath. While The Phantom believes Mills will be the better scorer long term, McGrath looks set to win the race for more midfield time. However, if that appears to change over the next month, so does this verdict.

    Although his average fell in 2017, Simpson is the better of the two SuperCoach Hall of Famers in 2018.
    Heath Shaw (GWS) $458,100 v Kade Simpson (Carl) $516,300
    The battle of the veterans and future SuperCoach hall-of-famers.
    After averaging 113 and 106 in the previous two seasons, Shaw’s average dropped to 83 in 2017, the lowest of his 12-year career. The fall was mirrored in his ball-winning with Shaw’s disposal average his lowest since 2013 as young rebounding defenders Zac Williams and Nathan Wilson took charge across half-back for the Giants.
    But, through injury and a move home to Perth, they will not be there for the majority of 2018.
    Does that mean Shaw picks up from where he left off in 2016?
    The Phantom doesn’t believe so.
    While his responsibility — and the amount of footy he sees — will increase slightly, Shaw doesn’t replace the speed and long-kicking ability of Williams and Wilson. Shaw will be the leader but the Giants may look to a number of youngsters or one of their line-breaking midfielders to become the outlet out of defence.
    And that’s why, although his average fell from 106 to 94 in 2017, The Phantom thinks Simpson is the veteran to go with in 2018
    VERDICT: Simpson. The Blues defender, who will also step up in the absence of injured star Sam Docherty, scored four more SuperCoach tons than Shaw in 2017 and, although he, too, is reaching the twilight of his career, he appears to have more to offer.
    SuperCoach:  12621 (2017)  1799 (2016)  36059 (2015)  54421 (2014) 

  13. #113
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    2 Not allowed!

    The Phantom’s SuperCoach face offs: Lineball calls in the midfield
    The Phantom, The Advertiser
    February 20, 2018 6:30am
    Subscriber only

    JOSH Kelly, Clayton Oliver or Matt Crouch? Jaeger O’Meara over a rookie?
    The Phantom’s Facebook and Twitter pages have been swamped with requests for advice from SuperCoaches who need to make a decision between two players of similar cost.
    With that in mind, here is The Phantom’s midfield form guide to help with some of the borderline calls which could make or break your SuperCoach season.
    Tomorrow, we’ll be looking at the tough decisions facing all SuperCoaches in the ruck. If you can’t decide between two players, drop The Phantom a line on Facebook or Twitter and he’ll try to help you out.
    But for now, here’s the Phantom’s call on six key midfield selections.

    The next generation - Josh Kelly, Clayton Oliver or Matt Crouch?
    Josh Kelly (GWS) $628,800 v Clayton Oliver (Melb) $612,800 v Matt Crouch (Adel) $608,300
    The young trio, aged 23 or younger lead the next generation of SuperCoach stars.
    But with all three now priced in the elite-bracket – and rightly so given they are premium scorers – you cannot start them all.
    The smooth-moving Kelly averaged 114 points in 2017 - 27 points more than 2016 – to finish with the sixth-highest average in the game.
    He’s only been in the competition for two years but Oliver’s numbers are remarkable. The 20-year-old, who ranked second in the competition for contested possession in 2017, has scored 80 or more points in 28 of his 35 games, with 17 SuperCoach tons.
    After glimpses, Crouch announced himself as a premier ball-winner of the competition, recording 27 disposals or more in every game last season. Including finals, his 825 disposals was a new AFL record.
    They’ve all got good numbers; there is no doubt about that.
    But there is one statistic that separates them.
    Last season, Kelly booted 19 goals and 24 behinds.
    Crouch (7) and Oliver (4) only managed 11 goals between them.
    The Phantom’s Verdict: KELLY. In SuperCoach, goal-kicking midfielders rule and Kelly has more strings to his bow.

    The SuperCoach veterans - Scott Pendlebury or Josh Kennedy?
    Scott Pendlebury (Coll) $586,500 v Josh Kennedy (Syd) $564,200
    They are fast being overtaken by the next generation but that doesn’t mean we can forget about the SuperCoach veterans just yet.
    Last season was the first time since 2010 the Collingwood skipper failed to average more than 110. A drop to a 107-point average was on the back of the usually-consistent Pendlebury posting seven scores of less than 95.
    It was a similar story with the Swans captain.
    Kennedy, who averaged 28 disposals per game but less score involvements, tackles and contested possessions – even though he still ranked 3rd in the competition - than in 2016, finished 2017 with a season average of 103 – his lowest since 2011.
    In 2018, on SuperCoach price, Pendlebury and Kennedy are ranked as the 19th and 21st-best midfielders in the competition.
    Even though their form fell away slightly last year, astute SuperCoaches will see the value that both stars of the game present.
    But, given this is the first time Pendlebury has been available for less than $600k – let alone $584k – since 2011, his value is greater.
    Sure, there has been talk about Pendlebury spending more time behind the ball in 2018 but he’s still Collingwood’s most important midfielder.
    And, unlike Kennedy, who has had a limited pre-season due to off-season knee surgery, Pendlebury is primed to bounce back.
    The Phantom’s Verdict: PENDLEBURY. The value is hard to ignore and Pendlebury should push his way back into the top-15 scorers this year. He might even be unique.

    The battle of the mid-price midfielder
    Connor Blakely (Freo) $490,300 v Dion Prestia (Rich) $456,000 v Stephen Coniglio (GWS) $452,400
    The battle of the mid-price midfielder.
    Blakely, who began his career as a tagger, relished the opportunity to play a ball-winning role across half-back and through the middle last year. The 21-year-old averaged 28 disposals and 110 SuperCoach points between rounds six and 18, before a dislocated shoulder ended his season.
    That was a glimpse.
    And, although a breakout year is looming, we’ve seen more than just a glimpse from Prestia and Coniglio.
    At the Suns, Prestia averaged 97 SuperCoach points in 2013 before pushing this number to 106 in his fourth year in the game the following season.
    Injury then got in the way.
    But in his first year at Tigerland in 2017, although he took a while to find his groove, the 25-year-old averaged 111 points in his final seven matches, including scores of 130 and 114 in the Richmond’s finals campaign.
    Coniglio shares a similar story.
    The No. 2 pick from the 2011 draft made his mark as a genuine A-grader of the competiton in 2016, averaging 106 points and ranking No. 1 at the Giants for disposals and contested possessions.
    An ankle issue restricted him to just 10 games last season but, like Prestia, showed how important he is to his side’s midfield, scoring 120 points or more in two of the Giants’ three finals.
    Despite the injury hiccups, Coniglio and Prestia are still in front of Blakely in the race to elite status and more likely to turn into keepers.
    The Phantom’s Verdict: CONIGLIO. The Phantom has both Coniglio and Prestia but ranks Coniglio just ahead given his all-round game.

    The injury-prone Hawk or the first-year star?
    Jaeger O’Meara (Haw) $315,800 v Luke Davies-Uniacke (NM) $189,300
    Davies-Uniacke is the example here but this debate works with any of the other top-end rookie-price players, such as Paddy Dow, Will Brodie and Andrew Brayshaw, who The Phantom believes can all average in excess of 80.
    The question is; is it worth overlooking the standout cash cows and spending the extra $100k or so on the supremely-talented, yet injury-prone, O’Meara?
    While there is little doubt, O’Meara, who played every game in his first two seasons, averaging 90 and 98 points in each year respectively, has the ability to be a premium scorer, can he stay on the park?
    The 24-year-old has only played six games in the past three seasons, all coming last year in his first at Hawthorn, after on-going knee issues.
    But the reports over pre-season have been positive and O’Meara’s performance at the recent intra-club turned heads.
    It’s the ultimate risk/reward scenario.
    If he plays 22 games, O’Meara will average 100 but it could also be a repeat of last season when many SuperCoaches were sucked in over summer.
    The Phantom’s Verdict: DAVIES-UNIACKE. The Phantom is not against starting O’Meara but it shouldn’t be in place of Davies-Uniacke.

    The battle of the big guns - Patrick Dangerfield or Dustin Martin?
    Patrick Dangerfield (Geel) $749,800 v Dustin Martin (Rich) $656,000
    The Phantom analysed the battle of the big guns earlier in the pre-season so I’ll keep it short.
    While Martin averaged a career-best 119 SuperCoach points in one the best individual seasons we have ever seen, Dangerfield scored 239 more points even though he played one less game.
    Dangerfield, who averaged 17 more points per game, is expensive but he’s worth every cent.
    The Phantom’s Verdict: DANGERFIELD. If you’re not starting with both, Dangerfield is still king. I don’t even care where you would spend the extra money – it will come back to bite you.

    Gary Ablett - Yes or No?
    Gary Ablett (Geel) $631,100 YES/NO
    The Gary Ablett debate is one that is forcing SuperCoaches to pull their hair out across the country – The Phantom included.
    There is no need for The Phantom to go over Ablett’s scoring history – we all know he is the greatest SuperCoach scorer of our time.
    However, the concern over his body remains. Ablett, who turns 34 in May, has only played 49 out of a possible 88 games in the past four seasons at the Suns.
    And, even though he’s back at Geelong, fit, firing and turning heads at training, it’s unlikely Ablett plays 22 games in 2017.
    With the Cats only travelling outside of Victoria three times before their Round 14 bye, there is every chance Ablett plays every game in the first-half of the season.
    And when he’s on the park, he scores, meaning he could be the clubhouse leader at the Cats’ bye.
    But what happens after that?
    SuperCoach is a long-term game, my friends.
    The Phantom’s Verdict: YE…NO. Given his price, the round 14 bye and the uncertainty, it’s a no. But not a certain one, just yet.
    SuperCoach:  12621 (2017)  1799 (2016)  36059 (2015)  54421 (2014) 

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