SuperCoach Spotlight – Rookie Midfielders

It feels as though the wait becomes longer and longer with each passing season, but football has finally returned for Season 2017, and whilst not every team has had the opportunity to play as of yet, most supporters have now had an opportunity to see their team in action, and gain a better understanding of their teams entire squad ahead of another season.

Meanwhile, for us classed in the SuperCoach spectrum, it’s an opportunity to just hit the pause button for a moment and re-evaluate our Preliminary squads. Whilst it’s important to reiterate that no one should be reading too much into one pre-season game (and you certainly shouldn’t be seriously considering dropping one of your star players just because they haven’t blown out all the cobwebs just yet), it’s a great opportunity to have a closer look at some of the rookies running around during the early stages of the JLT Community Series.  Before the start of the pre-season we all would’ve concocted a list of midfield rookies who were regarded as must-haves in our sides. Most of them would’ve played over the last few days and wouldn’t have done themselves any harm. But, as always, new rookies also jumped out at us as several classic pre-season surprises were sprung.

The rookies aren’t paramount in terms of point-scoring, but are fundamental aspects of a successful SuperCoach squad, so let’s take a look at some of the best midfield rookies as the 2017 season proper draws ever closer. For the purposes of this article, players who are priced as a rookie, as well as actual rookies, are included, but they must be eligible to be selected as a midfielder.

David Myers

Price: $133,700
2016 SuperCoach Average: N/A
JLT Community Series Game 1: 38

It’s been a difficult couple of years for Myers, with a host of injuries restricting him to just two games over the last two seasons, but he has an opportunity to make amends this year and has spent most of the pre-season being touted as a must-have in any serious SuperCoach squad heading in 2017. Priced at just $133,700, he is slightly more expensive than most rookies in the game, and about $80,000 cheaper than No.1 draft pick and fellow teammate Andrew McGrath. Adding to the positive signs that Myers has shown so far in the pre-season, he did line up for Essendon in their opening pre-season game against Collingwood last Thursday. Admittedly, he only managed to score 38 points, but given his recent history with injuries, getting through the game is far more important at this stage than scoring big. Besides, before the injuries started in 2015 he averaged 85.6 SuperCoach points in 2014, and 74 points the year before, so Myers certainly has the ability to score, and will look to improve on his output as the pre-season progresses.

Tim Taranto

Price: $207,300
2016 SuperCoach Average: N/A
JLT Community Series Game 1: 93

Granted, Tim Taranto is a rather expensive rookie option, but I don’t think that will bother too many people if he continues to produce performances like the one he had on the weekend. In his first official outing for the Giants, Taranto had a particularly impressive performance, finishing the day with 93 SuperCoach points, leaving him as the sixth-highest scoring Giant on the day. During his junior days, his contested ball-winning abilities often had people drawing comparisons between him two of the game’s great players – Nat Fyfe and James Bartel. Clearly, if you’re being likened to those two players, you have some serious talent. At the moment, the only issue that surrounds a player such as Taranto is the enviable depth of the Giants midfield, which is more than capable of forcing Taranto to ply his trade in the NEAFL instead. But if he can continue to build on the impressive start that he instigated over the weekend, then he is going to be a very difficult player to keep out of the side, and will certainly be causing Leon Cameron a few headaches at the selection table on the eve of Round 1.

Hugh McCluggage

Price: $202,800
2016 SuperCoach Average: N/A
JLT Community Series Game 1: 67

The last couple of seasons have been difficult for the Brisbane Lions, but the silver lining is that they have had VIP access to some elite young talent, and Hugh McCluggage is every inch that. McClugagge arrived at the Lions with the reputation of being one of the most prolific midfielders in the TAC Cup competition last season, averaging  28 disposals a mammoth 143 SuperCoach points from his 12 games. With numbers like that, it came as little surprise that he went so high in the draft, and it also doesn’t come as much of a shock that he will start the season priced at over $200,000. However, one thing to consider is that a player as talented as McCluggage is a sure thing to get plenty of game time for the Lions this year, and he started his season in very promising form on the weekend, registering a final score of 67 in his first outing of the season. Considering his ability to score heavily in SuperCoach, and the amount of game time he will get this year makes McCluggage a must-have in SuperCoach.

Jordan Foote

Price: $182,800
2016 SuperCoach Average: 42
JLT Community Series Game 1: 82

With Tom Mitchell having departed the Swans during the off-season, a vacancy in the Swans midfield has emerged for an inside midfielder to take advantage, and so far, it’s youngster Jordan Foote who has made all the right moves in the pre-season. Foote only made one AFL appearance last year, but it was in the NEAFL where he made a name for himself, averaging 117 SuperCoach points at that level last season, and off his first pre-season game in 2017 he appears to have carried that strong form with him to AFL level, scoring 82 against North Melbourne. He is another player that will set you back a bit more than most rookies, but scoring big in SuperCoach isn’t foreign to him, and if he can maintain strong form over the next few weeks, he should certainly see himself in the Swans best 22 come Round 1, and should be a serious contender for your SuperCoach side also.

Sam Powell-Pepper

Price: $135,500
2016 SuperCoach Average: N/A
JLT Community Series Game 1: Yet to play

A big-bodied midfielder who is every chance of playing come Round 1, Powell-Pepper and his Port Adelaide teammates are yet to step out onto the field for their first pre-season clash (they play St Kilda on Thursday), but you can expect Powell-Pepper to be unleashed on Thursday and feature prominently through the JLT Community Series. His attack on the ball has been particularly impressive, and his overall aggression is just what the Power would be looking for to help compliment midfield stars such as Ollie Wines and Robbie Gray. Powell-Pepper averaged 120 SuperCoach points during his time at the WAFL Colts last season, so is no stranger to accruing sizeable scores, and his use of the ball is elite. Considering he comes a lot cheaper than most high-profile rookies, Powell-Pepper should be very high on your watch-list throughout the pre-season.

Follow Matthew Donald on Twitter


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