The SCP team have put forward the three players that we’ll be strongly considering locking into our 2018 SuperCoach teams. Some are pretty straightforward and some are a bit more speculative but we’ve all got our reasons. Take a look and let us know whether you’ll be having a good look at any of the following players:
Jack Billings – High draft pick a few years back who has yet to rip the game to shreds on a consistent basis. Played every game last year and averaged 92.7 SuperCoach points despite some fluctuations in his output. He’ll retain his DPP status and despite entering the season as one of the top priced forwards, he has plenty of room for improvement, his finish to the season proves that. He averaged 109 over his last five games and with another season under his belt, there’s no reason he can’t hit triple figures consistently in 2018. He’s a lock for me.
Nathan Wilson – He’s a rebounding defender with plenty of toe, playing – in 2017 – with perhaps the most talented list in the game. Alongside aggressive defenders Zac Williams and an ageing Heath Shaw, Wilson managed to make his mark, particularly late in the season. If as expected Wilson succeeds with his request to be traded to Fremantle, he’ll be the main man providing run out of defence for the Dockers. He had five scores of 90 or above this year and I’d expect him to increase that number. For a defender who’ll be priced at an 80 average, he could be a bargain.
Connor Blakely – Spent a lot of time in the backline for Fremantle, particularly late in the season and scored well as a result. He found plenty of the football at stoppages and via intercept and in his last four full games – he was injured early in his last game of the season – he averaged over 120 SuperCoach points. If he can gain a position change for SuperCoach 2018 to be a DEF/MID he’s worth serious consideration.
Marcus Bontempelli – I just about fell over laughing this week when I heard some people on social media label the young prodigy as “overrated”. That tag might have had merit two years ago, but not anymore – this guy is the real deal. After averaging 107 points last year, The Bont backed it up with another strong season, finishing up with a season average of 105 points this year. What made his performance even more impressive was that he spent the second half of the season carrying a hip injury, but still managed to average 98.25 points from Rounds 12-23 despite not being fully fit. The injury will result in him starting 2018 underpriced, and a fully fit Bontempelli is capable of averaging over 110 points next year. Should be one of your first players picked next season.
Stephen Coniglio – Injuries cruelled Stephen Coniglio’s 2017 campaign. After missing the start of the season with an ankle injury, Coniglio returned to the senior side for two matches before suffering a recurrence of the same injury, which kept him out for a further 10 weeks. Coniglio returned to the side for the last stretch of the year and played all three of the Giants finals, but his overall scoring rate was down on 2016, going from an average of 105.9 to 91.4 this year. Despite this, he managed to score 126 and 132 in the Giants first two finals this year, and a full pre-season and a good run with injuries next year could see him be a handy pickup with a discounted price tag.
Callum Mills – The 2016 Rising Star winner has now made a couple of seasons in the big league, and the time has come for him to take his game to the next level. After averaging 77.2 points in his debut season, he maintained similar numbers, averaging 73.3 points this year, but once we remove the game against Melbourne where he was controversially floored by Thomas Bugg whilst still on 0, his average bumps up to 76. Whilst they’re not great numbers, his natural tendency to intercept opposition kicks and attack the game sees him well suited to the SuperCoach scoring system, and with a disposal efficiency of 80.2% last year, he’s very capable of breaking into the elite bracket next season. Many jumped on him this year and might be mindful of backing him again, so he could be a nice unique option next year.
Max Gawn – As a very popular pick at the beginning of 2017, many were backing Gawn to retain his status as the premier ruckman in FantasyLand after his dominant 2016 season. However, things didn’t go to plan for the big man as he suffered a severe hamstring injury early in the season, and although he returned for plenty of games, the Demon never really hit his straps, finishing with an average of 91.6. The positive for SuperCoaches is that the 2016 All-Australian will be available at a discount in 2018, and his potential output will certainly be much higher than his price will suggest.
Robbie Gray – 2017 saw Power dynamo Robbie Gray adopt a different role to previous years, with the livewire predominantly spending his time in the forward 50. Although he still had a fantastic season and was ultimately rewarded with All-Australian honours, he tended to go missing in some games and broke his streak of three consecutive years of triple-figure SuperCoach averages to only average 91.5 points in 2017. Without
Jordan De Goey – Despite Collingwood’s poor season, there was a little bit of a spark that will encourage fans from the back end of the year, and much of this is due to the form of Jordan de Goey. As a high draft pick, the midfielder burst onto the scene with an impressive debut season but didn’t really kick on, with off-field dramas hindering his form. But in a six week period, de Goey managed four SuperCoach tons and showed he can find plenty of the ball and hit the scoreboard. After averaging 79 this year, the Pie looks set to breakout in 2018.
Alex Witherden – Interesting to have a player who has played less than nine games on this list as a lock, but from what we saw in those nine games, the Lions have found their defensive distributor. Witherden debuted in Round 14 and dropped below 20 disposals just twice (18 and 19). His ability to rebound the ball and hit targets running off the half back (15th in kicks per game) converted into big SuperCoach scores. The 19-year-old scored over 100 three times, averaging 87 along the way. I’m not worried about those second-year blues, this is a guy who has all the tools to build himself into an elite defender by the end of next year.
Isaac Heeney – Plenty where on the Heeney train after he rolled into things a quarter of the way through the season, he showed his high ceiling with three scores over 130 and superb consistency to finish the season off. After three seasons, Heeney’s season averages read 70, 80 and now 98. It’s time for people to seriously consider this guy as a midfield option – let’s hope SuperCoach are kind enough to give him durability up forward again!
Josh Kelly – The second hottest name in footy this year, the way he broke out in 2017 was sublime to watch. You can’t dislike the way he goes about his business, silky, quick, and still plenty of potential. Kelly finished the season averaging 114, he scored in the 90’s four times and as well as a season low of 88. His game against Essendon in Round 11 was convincing enough for me, 38 disposals, 10 tackles and 10 inside 50’s helped him to a score of 176 points. He won’t come cheap, but after locking away a two-year deal with the team that drafted him, I can already foresee Kelly receiving back to back All-Australian honors.
Nic Naitanui – This man will probably be the first man selected in my 2018 SuperCoach side. A year on the sidelines with an ACL injury will see NicNat come in at a juicy price-tag next season. He began 2017 at a price of $576k after averaging 106 points from his 15 games in 2016, so I’d suggest a $100k discount is on the cards. A top three ruckman for under $500k? Now THAT is an absolute steal. The athletic Eagle ranked fourth for hit-outs per game this season, but his high-flying contested marking and ability to change the course of a game (#scaling) is what he is known for, and what makes him a fantastic SuperCoach player. We know he has a high ceiling as well, churning out a whopping 153 points in his first game of 2016. Lock.
Clayton Oliver – Clarry put the age-old ‘second year blues’ to bed in 2017. Starting the year at $382,500, the red nut rose nearly $200k across the season, posting 17 tons and failing to fall below 80 on one occasion. While Oliver is a handball happy individual – which generally doesn’t bode well for SuperCoach – it doesn’t matter when he is getting bulk contested pill week in, week out. We say it about a lot of players, but his game is perfect for SuperCoach. Of his 30 possessions per game, 15.6 were won contested, while also averaging 6.6 clearances per game. Has already asserted himself as one of the premiere inside midfielders in the competition, and he has only just turned 20. Won’t cop tags, either. I was without Clayton for most of this season, but I certainly won’t be in 2018. He will be on my side from the very start.
Luke Davies-Uniacke – An unfamiliar name to those who aren’t keen draft followers, Luke Davies-Uniacke will soon become a household name of the competition, and SuperCoach. LDU – or UDL © as I affectionately call him – is a contested ball-winner who is capable of going forward and kicking goals. He is a classy operator with the Sherrin in his hands, and at 187cm and 86kg, he is a prototype of the modern midfielder (g’day Bont and Fyfe if you’re reading). The youngster is predicted be one of the top three selections in the draft, so his price will probably be just above the $200k mark. Considering Brisbane, Gold Coast and Carlton possess these picks, I’d say he is certain to play senior footy in 2017, with the majority of that time spent in the guts. Worth the extra coin in my eyes as a starting M7/M8.
Michael Barlow – I’m hoping that Michael Barlow can have his price knocked down a bit lower than where it finished. After starting 2017 at over $530k, he finished at just over $420k due to his premature finish. He’ll be really enticing if he opens at around $400k, given that he has a history of scoring well. Despite being 30-years-old by the time the 2018 season rolls around, Barlow held DPP status this season, and if he manages to maintain that, what more could you ask for than a $400,000 DPP averaging 90+ sitting in your forward line?
Tom Doedee – Although he hasn’t played a game yet, there’s every chance that he could play quite a few next year. Yes, he will be at a bargain basement price but with Jake Lever leaving, there’ll be at least one spot down back for either Doedee or Alex Keath. Playing in the SANFL this season, he finished first for intercept possessions which would help any SuperCoach output. I’ll be comfortable with having him in my team, even it is on the bench to begin with.
Zach Merrett – Zach Merrett fell around $120k from the start to end of the 2017 season. Despite the price fall, he brought up 12 tons, and only had one other score below 80 from his 21 games. He averaged 109.2 this year and at 22-years-old has the capabilities to increase his scoring output. In an ideal (but at the same time still realistic) world, the Bomber’s midfielder could begin the new year at $500k.