As we begin looking through the many players and noting down those to consider, it’s common we toss-up between two players. On most occasions, it’s deciding which premium to go for, but occasionally, there are several players returning from injury who we must consider, and weigh up whether or not we should bring them into our sides.
Today we look at two of these players, as they seek to return to their best after 2016 campaigns ruined by injury.
2016 Average: 79.5
2015 Average: 113.4
Bye Round: 11
Durability has been a massive concern for Beams across the course of his career, having never played a full season and only twice playing more than 20 games in a year. But 2017 could be the year where his fortunes finally turn around, and with his appointment as captain coinciding with some very strong JLT Community Series form, all the signs are pointing in the right direction early on.
The last couple of seasons have been a horror show for the Brisbane Lions, but what’s made it worse is that Beams, one of their star midfielders – has been forced to do nothing but watch on helplessly from the sidelines, particularly in 2016 as he battled multiple injuries. After requiring shoulder surgery post-2015, Beams suffered knee tendinitis of the eve of the 2016 season and was forced to miss the first month of the season. He would return to play two games for the Lions, before his knee issues flared up again, and was forced to go under the knife once more as his name had a line put through it for the remainder of the season. His two scores in 2016 were 93 and 66.
Fast-forward to the start of the 2017 season, though, and Beams looks primed for a big year. Having shrugged off all his previous injury concerns, he looks to be in peak condition as we rapidly approach the start of the season. In Beams’ sole pre-season game so far, he looked in really good touch and managed to shoulder the responsibility of captain well also, as he finished the night with a solid score of 105 against the Bulldogs. Like Murphy, Beams has also been eased back into the full workload that he will have to take on during the season, but we can fully expect him to partake for the Lions on the weekend, as they will likely take the opportunity to have a full dress rehearsal before their season opener against the Gold Coast Suns in Round 1.
Whilst some may be hesitant to select Beams based on his history of not being able to play a full season, his ability to score big has never been in question. Last year was the first time since 2011 that Beams had failed to accrue a season average of over 100 SuperCoach points. The pinnacle of that strong form came in 2012, where Beams averaged almost 123 points, but he also averaged over 110 points across the 2014-15 campaigns, so his ability to perform once he takes to the field certainly shouldn’t be an issue, and if he gets through this final pre-season game for the Lions, he should seriously be considered.
2016 Average: 79.5
2015 Average: 103.2
Bye Round: 11
Carlton’s start to life under Brendon Bolton was tracking swimmingly during the first half of the 2016 season, and it was no surprise that the tapering of their form line coincided with the prolonged and forced absence of skipper Marc Murphy. Despite Carlton having struggled at the bottom end of the ladder over the past few seasons, Murphy has constantly stood out as a beacon of hope during some difficult times for the Navy Blues, and has established himself as one of the most underrated (if not best) midfielders in the competition. Whilst he often receives a great deal of public criticism, the numbers don’t lie; prior to Season 2016, Murphy had averaged over 100 SuperCoach points in every season bar one since 2009 and has missed just 13 games since that time, which points to remarkably high levels of durability in Murphy’s game.
But injuries finally caught up with Murphy in 2016, and it resulted in a significant decline in his SuperCoach output. The crushing blow that ended his year came in Round 10, early on in Carlton’s memorable victory over Geelong. Murphy didn’t even last 10 minutes in the game before he was forced off the ground with a serious syndesmosis ankle injury, ending both his afternoon and his season. Whilst much was made of Tom Liberatore’s ability to return to the Bulldogs just 40 days after suffering a similar injury, syndesmosis injuries are historically very serious and take a considerable amount of time to recover from, and Liberatore’s swift return is more due to a combination of both his incredibly high pain threshold and possibly a less severe injury than Murphy’s than anything else.
Make no mistake, syndesmosis injuries are serious, and this is probably why Murphy has played just the one JLT Community Series clash so far. In a match where the Blues were well beaten by Melbourne, Murphy looked solid on his return, he notched up 74 points and looked good without starring, but after a lengthy layoff, you wouldn’t be expecting him to be tearing the competition apart just yet. His form pre-injury wasn’t terrible either, despite his 2016 average suggesting otherwise. Murphy scored three centuries and three 90’s during his 10 games, and two of his matches were injury-affected scores which, once taken out of the equation, sees his season average shoot up to 93.4, which looks a lot better on paper. He has been named for Carlton’s last pre-season match against the Dockers, and we will want to see him do well if we’re going to consider picking him in our side.
On paper, there’s very little to separate these two players, if anything at all. Priced the same, with the same 2016 Average, and their Bye Rounds are at the same time as well. You could well be forgiven for thinking that we’ve analysed the same player twice by mistake! Considering their recent history with injuries, it might be too great a risk to select both of them in the same side, but you should certainly be considering bringing one of them into your side. Aside from last year, Murphy has proven himself to be a reliable and durable point-scorer for many years now, whilst Beams has the capacity to be one of the most prolific SuperCoach players in the game if he can get his body right. It’s a tough decision to make at this stage, and it might take their final pre-season performance for you to make up your mind. But for his proven ability to stay out on the park for longer periods of time (and given how important it is to pick players who are durable and not be forced to waste trades on injury-prone players), I’m going with Murphy over Beams at this stage. JUST.
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