2014 SuperCoach Average: 56.8 (four games)
2015 SuperCoach Average: 70.3 (19 games)
At 22 years old, Jackson Thurlow will waltz into 2017 after a year away from the game. The young defender suffered a season-ending knee injury during the pre-season of 2016, a time when he was just starting to get the feel for the madness that goes on at Kardinia Park.
Due to his injury, Thurlow looms as an excellent bargain and although he may be more expensive than some breakout contenders, his potential is limitless.
With the retirement of Corey Enright last year, it would have been a good chance for Thurlow to learn from him through his rehab. If the young Cat can mirror his game half as good as Enright then he’s almost a lock for future SuperCoach selections.
What’s exciting about Thurlow is what we’ve previously seen, he’s an attacking defender who has used his season away to pack on some size – and will also learn a lot from the experienced Zach Touhy who played a very similar role in his years at Carlton.
If we combine season 2013 and 2014, Thurlow played eight games for a SuperCoach average of 61.5, in his debut year (2013) he showed real promise with scores of 77, 85 and 72.
Pan to 2015 and the youngster showed enough work on the track to secure himself a spot across Geelong’s half back, managing 19 games for the year. From Round 5 -7, Thurlow scored three consecutive 100’s and his SuperCoach price peaked at $435,800. – as close as you can get to a premium.
With Enright gone and a full pre-season, Thurlow instantly becomes SuperCoach relevant. So far, he’s passed the test, completing all three JLT matches in the last month – and doing it with a chip on his shoulder.
During week one Thurlow shadowed himself behind new teammate Touhy’s sublime opening performance (130 SC). Thurlow collected 18 touches for a return of 74.
He followed this game up with another 18 disposals, going at 84 percent efficiency and recording 84 points. It was all about getting through unscathed for the attacking defender, but last week Thurlow showed his worth with 17 possessions (100% efficiency) and 90 SuperCoach points.
Thurlow, a former first-round draft pick, scored an average of 82.6 across three pre-season games, for a $267,000 defender you’ll deal with that to start the season.
As we enter crunch time in the decision-making process, it’s time to consider where Thurlow can be placed in your side. If it’s possible, it’d be smart to have him as your fourth defender and hope he eats enough cash to later deal a sideways trade with an elite defender. Using him as your fifth defender isn’t a terrible idea, but most SuperCoaches tend to stack their midfield line before they load up on premium defenders.
The 190cm defender spent time with both Matthew Scarlett and Enright during his injury year. He added plenty of muscle and learnt how to become an elite defender with advice from two multiple All-Australian defenders.
Mid-priced defenders aren’t overly appealing, but Thurlow has plenty to offer and if he averages anything over 75 in the first month he’ll be above $400,000 before you know it. By selecting him instead of a premium defender who you aren’t 100% sold on, you gain the cash to be used elsewhere.