Pre-season is well underway, and with the 2014 season fast approaching, it’s a great time to begin researching the qualities of different players, to shed some light over the choices already giving headaches to prospective coaches. Player comparisons are a great way to separate one player from another, and highlight the key areas in each players’ armoury. Not one stat goes unnoticed, and given SuperCoach is primarily based around efficiency, this is the best way to pick the right player for the right position.
When comparing similar players it is important that the right criteria for comparison are used. Players must be similar in price, can be from the same, or different teams, and must also look at the potential risk versus reward, along with a point of difference, and be somewhat unique in their actual ability. Overall, we are investigating value for money, scope for improvement, how high their ceiling is and in the end, a sound decision based on statistics.
Two Midfielder/Forwards worth considering is Port Adelaide’s emerging star Chad Wingard and North Melbourne’s old faithful, Brent Harvey. Don’t forget to vote at the bottom of the article of who you’d prefer.
2014 Price: $531,800
2013 SuperCoach Average: 98.59
2013 Games: 22
2014 Predicted Average: 106
Bye Round: 9
Year in Review
In 2013, Chad Wingard had one of, if not the biggest breakout year of any player in the AFL. The young midfielder/forward proved to be a big part of Port Adelaide’s rise up the ladder and the acquisition of new coach Ken Hinkley also showed rise in Wingard’s SuperCoach price.
Wingard rose just over $213k throughout the duration of 2013, with his 2013 campaign consisting of a total of eight SuperCoach hundreds and 14 scores over 90. Wingard was usually quite consist during 2013 despite a couple of under 80 scores between big scores.
After winning All Australian selection, and taking home Port Adelaide’s best and fairest award, there’s no doubt that Wingard was one of the key players that helped Port Adelaide reach the semi-final, and it’s quite clear we’ve barely touched the tip of the iceberg with Wingard.
The huge upside associated with Wingard is his age and his consistent and rapid rise in improvement. Wingard will go into his third AFL season at just 20 years old, with not only high expectations but also a huge amount of potential. A large chunk of his points came from scoring in the forward line, underlined by kicking 43 goals for the season, and was in the top ten for the most inside 50’s across the competition. Wingard’s consistency to rack up more than 90 points was also a big plus in his game. Throughout his 22 games in 2013, 14 of his scores were over 90 points.
The uniqueness and potential in this young man’s game is something that separates him from other forwards priced around the $500k mark. His ability to gather uncontested possessions, play through the middle, and drift forward and kick goals is a very strong characteristic, and one that Wingard has.
A big downside in Wingard’s current game is the amount of opportunities that he gets to show his skills through the midfield. In his first two years of AFL football, Wingard has primarily been used through the forward line, hence why he was in the top 15 for total goals in 2013. If his opportunities and minutes through the midfield rise then an improvement in making consistent hundreds may also increase in Wingard’s game; something that is predicted for this season.
In 2013 Wingard only scored eight hundreds in 22 games. Six of those non-hundred games were over 90, while five of them were less than 80 SuperCoach points. Some of this came due to the fact of Wingard’s varying disposal efficiency. Wingard produced a 66% disposal efficiency for 2013, ranking in the median area for the particular statistic.
The steady improvement of the young Port Adelaide side should see Wingard take big strides in his game and hopefully again increase his SuperCoach average. Wingard has huge potential and has the ability to step up his game in 2014, hopefully increasing that SuperCoach average to over 100 points. The big test will be for Wingard to back up his sensational second year with a more difficult draw in 2014 to that of Port’s 2013 fixture.
2014 Price: $561,300
2013 SuperCoach Average: 104.06
2013 Games: 16
2014 Predicted Average: 98
Bye Round: 8
Year in Review
Heading into his 18th season in the AFL, Brent Harvey didn’t show many signs of slowing down in 2013 despite a delayed start to the season. With more than 300 games under his belt, Harvey used his trademark skills and experience to continue his healthy SuperCoach scoring productivity. Harvey had one of his best seasons yet in 2013, averaging 104.1 SuperCoach points (almost ten more than the season before).
A big upside to the game of Brent Harvey is his ability to continue to rack up consistent SuperCoach 100’s, and this comes mostly because of his very high disposal efficiency. Harvey ranked 16th in 2013 in disposal efficiency, and also was in the top ten for inside 50’s per game. He also showed his ability to get the outside ball and run, ranking 12th in uncontested possessions per game and 7th in total bounces.
A player at 34 years of age shouldn’t be able to keep fit and average just over 104 SuperCoach points in a season, but Harvey is definitely one of a kind. As stated earlier, he managed ten hundreds in his 16 games for 2013, including a season high of 137 against Melbourne in round 18.
The biggest tick for Harvey however, is that he enjoyed his highest average since 2008, and was the number one ranked MID/FWD in the competition last season. He averaged a career-high five inside-50′s per game, with his kicking into this zone the best in the competition. Harvey’s disposal efficiency also ranked him third overall in the competition,
The most obvious downside with Brent Harvey is his age and the introduction of the interchange cap. Harvey will head into the 2014 at 35 years of age, and questions marks could start to form over the durability of his body in what’s likely to be his last season. The introduction of the interchange cap will be something very new to Harvey and it’s a new aspect of the game that is likely to put lots of stress on his ageing AFL body. The downside to this is possible injuries, longer rests on the interchange bench during matches, and multiple games where he may sit out due to low fatigue and soreness.
In the six games that Harvey didn’t score 100+, he averaged just 70 SuperCoach points. His scoring in wins compared to losses wasn’t quite evident. He averaged 32 more points in wins than losses, the second-highest differential in the competition.
The young North Melbourne side is also something else that is likely to change the amount of opportunities Harvey will receive through the midfield in 2014. With plenty of young blood climbing through the ranks at North Melbourne, it may mean Harvey will play forward, and may have to wave away his chances of racking up big minutes through the middle. While Harvey is widely respected and a tremendous athlete, he may be spending more time in the forward 50 this year.
For the 35-year-old Roo, expectations will still be high, and for someone entering the later stage of their career, paying $561k may be a bit too pricey. But there is one thing you shouldn’t do and that is doubt Harvey’s ability to still compete at the highest level. He’s been doing it since 1996 and his body hasn’t given up yet. The big quality that Harvey still has is his disposal efficiency and that could be what decides whether or not to choose him, primarily for your forward line. If he can show consistency with this and his scoring ability then there aren’t a whole lot of reasons why you shouldn’t pick him.
|Chad Wingard||Versus||Brent Harvey|
|12.9||Kicks Per Game||13.1|
|8.3||Handballs Per Game||10.9|
|21.2||Disposals Per Game||24.1|
|4.3||Marks Per Game||4.7|
|1.8||Goals Per Game||1.2|
|0.8||Behinds Per Game||0.6|
|2.0||Tackles Per Game||2.7|
|0.1||Hitouts Per Game||0|
|4.4||Inside 50s Per Game||5.0|
|0.7||Goal Assists Per Game||1.2|
|0.8||Frees For Per Game||0.8|
|0.7||Frees Against Per Game||0.6|
|7.9||Contested Possessions Per Game||6.8|
|13.3||Uncontested Possessions Per Game||17.0|
|14.0||Effective Disposals Per Game||18.9|
|66%||Effective Disposals % Per Game||78.4%|
|2.5||Clangers Per Game||2.2|
|0.8||Contested Marks Per Game||0.2|
|1.4||Marks Inside 50 Per Game||0.7|
|2.5||Clearances Per Game||2.2|
|1.2||Rebound 50s Per Game||0.9|
|1.4||One Percenters Per Game||0.6|
|0.9||Bounces Per Game||3.1|
|87.5||Time On Ground % Per Game||86.6|
Follow Ben Maughan on Twitter