Although speculative mid-priced picks are important, the defining calls come from picking the right bloke for whom you folk out the big bucks. Here’s a look at the elite players who are once again ready to step up next season.
Fyfe came into 2017 and appeared to be set to rediscover his 2015 Brownlow form at a discounted price. However, frequent niggles seemed to prevent the inside beast from performing at his absolute peak for the bulk of the season. But when fit, Fyfe showed why he’s in the top handful of players in the competition, with a particularly strong finish to the season. After penning a new deal to stay a Docker for life, I’d expect the security of his future to allow Fyfe to blossom next season, especially at the new Perth Stadium. In a young side which should be on the incline, I’m backing the Freo star in the prime of his career (aged 26) to go huge in 2018.
All those who paid the big bucks for Docherty and the start of 2017 would be ecstatic with their investment. The Blue appears head and shoulders above any other defensive option in terms of scoring potential, but the query is whether there is much potential for further improvement. It’s easy to forget how young the half-back is (just 24) and Brendan Bolton’s side should start to string together some more wins as they develop. With that in mind, you’d be a brave man to bet against Docherty to at least maintain his 2017 level.
Although the Eagles made it to the second week of finals, they never really hit their straps at any stage of the season, with leg speed their major deficiency. The departures of Sam Mitchell and Matt Priddis gives Adam Simpson scope to change the dynamic of their midfield. Yeo was used in a catalogue of roles during 2017, but the vacancies in the guts could allow the former Lion to build on his All-Australian year next season.
Another All-Australian, Josh Kelly, converted the hype surrounding his talent into genuine stardom with a breakout season. The smooth mover understandably attracted plenty of interest from rival clubs but committed to GWS for the next two seasons. The pick number 2 is built for SuperCoach, with a nice balance of inside and outside ability, good ball use and the ability to do damage on the scoreboard from time to time. I can only see Kelly getting better, and barring injury should have another ripping year.
Unfortunately for Max, a severe hamstring injury early in the year derailed his season, ultimately finishing with a SuperCoach average of 91.6 from 13 games. From prior experience, we know that Gawn is capable of a much bigger output. The heartbreak from missing the finals series should spur the Dees and their ruckman on for better things, and their star big man looks set to dominate next season.