Feature Article

THE FIRST PLAYER YOU SHOULD PICK FROM EACH TEAM

From the moment you first started to create your very own SuperCoach team (and every year since, for that matter), we’ve always been taught that loyalty is a ghastly, abhorrent and unwanted trait that needs to left at the front door when it comes to tossing up between two different players to fill that crucial position in your side. Yes, we all have our unwavering one-eyed devotion to specific teams and players, and more often than not the players that we do pick in our SuperCoach sides have caught our eye with impressive performances, and are players that we just love to watch play the game. And whilst it’s all well and good to play favourites, it’s paramount that we don’t allow favouritism to become too big a factor as we reach our ultimate decision; at the end of the day, the players we pick need to score SuperCoach points and plenty of them. Additionally, with the bye rounds having become a staple in the AFL fixture over the last few years, an even spread of colours across your team is now more important than ever. So without further ado, we are today going to be looking at every team, and determining the No.1 player you should be looking to try and fit into your side.

ADELAIDE

RORY SLOANE

Price: $591,000
2016 SuperCoach Avg: 108.6
Position: MID

The clear standout in an Adelaide midfield that has been criticised for its lack of depth, Rory Sloane was the only Crow to average over 100 points a game last season, and deservedly found a spot in last year’s SuperCoach Team of the Year. Sloane recorded 12 centuries and five 90’s in his 21 games last season, which underlines his remarkable consistency. He gained more popularity as the season drew to a close, but spent the majority of the year being owned by less than 10% of SuperCoaches. If you’re looking for someone who can shore up your defensive reinforcements, Rory Laird ($526,800) was Adelaide’s second highest scorer last year, and provided plenty of drive out of defence, which equated to a healthy average of 96.8.

BRISBANE LIONS

DAYNE ZORKO

Price: $593,000
2016 SuperCoach Avg: 109
Position: MID

Despite 2016 being a difficult season for Brisbane, it was an exceptional year personally for Dayne Zorko, as he established himself as one of the premier players in the competition. Zorko averaged almost 110 points; a remarkable effort in a side that struggled greatly last season. He became a very popular pick amongst most SuperCoach sides this year, the only issue this time around is that he is only eligible as a midfielder in 2017. But with such a high average he is more than capable of holding his own in a midfield role. With 14 centuries in 20 games last season, and having missed only three games in the past four seasons, Zorko is the ultimate example of durability and consistency. Other Lions worth looking into are Tom Rockliff ($603,900) who has a point to prove in 2017 and is capable of producing a massive year if he can stay fit, and forgotten man Dayne Beams ($432,500) is certainly worth a look in if his injury troubles stay away.

 

CARLTON

SAM DOCHERTY

Price: $591,600
2016 SuperCoach Avg: 108.7
Position: DEF

The premier rebounding defender in the competition last year, Docherty improved his SuperCoach output by over 20 points last year (87.7 average in 2015 to 108.7 in 2016) to not only establish himself as a mainstay in Carlton’s backline, but as one of the most popular defenders in the competition, being owned by almost 30% of team by season’s end. Docherty almost managed to record centuries in 16 of his 22 games – a remarkably high conversion rate. If you’re looking for someone slightly cheaper, Kade Simpson ($578,700) is an option, and Patrick Cripps ($585,500) is also likely to be a popular pick, although a limited pre-season may ward off potential buyers.

COLLINGWOOD

SCOTT PENDLEBURY

Price: $645,700
2016 SuperCoach Avg: 
118.7
Position: 
MID

Affectionately known as “Dependlebury” in the SuperCoach realm, the Magpies skipper is the second most expensive player in the game, and with good reason, too. Pendlebury averaged over 118 SuperCoach points last season with a season low of a relatively high 82 points. He recorded an astonishing 18 centuries in 22 games, and also managed to five games of 140+. To top it all off, he hasn’t averaged below 110 points in a season since 2009, hasn’t averaged below 100 since 2007, and has missed just five games since 2010. Gun. Having said that, if Pendelbury is out of your price range, Adam Treloar ($605,400) is the obvious alternative, whilst Brodie Grundy ($520,500) looms as an interesting prospect in the ruck.

ESSENDON

DYSON HEPPELL

Price: $513,300
2015 SuperCoach Avg: 104.7
Position: MID

For the second season running, Essendon and its SuperCoach prospects loom as the most intriguing, as the Banned Bombers return to the fray in Season 2017. Whilst they all have their points of discussion, Dyson Heppell is the Bomber that most SuperCoach players should be targeting. Whilst he can only be selected as a midfielder, Heppell is priced as a player with a 94-point average, despite the fact that he has averaged 106.4 and 104.7 over his last two seasons. If he can recapture the form he had prior to his suspension, he is one you simply have to get on board with. Brendon Goddard ($532,100) should once again prove to be a reliable option, whilst Jobe Watson ($453,300) will certainly be one to keep an eye on. If David Myers ($133,700) can stay fit, you have no excuse for leaving him out of our bench.

 

FREMANTLE

NAT FYFE

Price: $573,500
2016 SuperCoach Avg: 105.4
Position: MID

Considering he started 2016 priced at $624,600, this is a significant discount for such a quality footballer, and a deal you simply cannot afford to miss out on. Fyfe started 2016 with a horror score of just 61 against the eventual premiers the Western Bulldogs and managed 53 against Carlton in Round 5 before missing the entire second half with a leg injury, but in the three games in between those two fixtures Fyfe was in vintage form, averaging 137.6 points a game. If he can produce those kinds of numbers in 2017, Fyfe will be worth every bit of that $573,500 price tag. In Fyfe’s absence, Lachie Neale ($612,800) had an outstanding year and is another midfielder to seriously consider.

 

GEELONG

PATRICK DANGERFIELD

Price: $716,900
2016 SuperCoach Avg: 131.8
Position: MID

Seriously? You’re asking me this? This is the man who registered 18 centuries in 22 games (including two scores of 99), polled 35 Brownlow votes (the most by any player in a season), became just the third player in SuperCoach history to average over 130 points per game in a season, and single-handedly carried Geelong into a Preliminary Final. He was owned by more than half of the SuperCoach population for the entire year and more than two-thirds had him in their team by Round 21. All those people can’t be wrong. This man should be the first picked in your entire side, never mind out of solely Geelong players. Dangerfield is worth every cent of his mammoth price tag – he alone chews up a staggering 7% of your salary cap – but if you can’t afford him, Joel Selwood ($606,600) isn’t the worst Plan B, and he’ll save you over $100,000.

GOLD COAST SUNS

TOM LYNCH

Price: $507,200
2016 SuperCoach Avg: 93.2
Position: FWD

Granted, Gary Ablett ($620,600) has been a staple in many SuperCoach sides over the last decade, but after three injury-riddled seasons (Ablett has missed 31 games out of the last 51 games the Suns have played in due to injury) his durability is no longer what it once was, and as sad as it is to admit, it may be time to look elsewhere. Fortunately, Tom Lynch has proven himself to be an exceptionally gifted footballer, with a long career expected. Lynch last season averaged over 90 SuperCoach points and kicked 66 goals – a remarkable effort as a young key forward in a side that finished 15th on the ladder. He won’t come cheap, but he still has significant amounts of improvement left in him and could be a terrific point of difference in your side. New boy Pearce Hanley ($471,600) can only be selected as a midfielder but is certainly one worth keeping an eye on as well.

GWS GIANTS

HEATH SHAW

Price: $576,500
2016 SuperCoach Avg: 106
Position: DEF

Heath Shaw had yet another outstanding season across half back, and whilst the season ended in disappointing fashion, a SuperCoach average of 106 would suggest that it was a very productive 2016 for Shaw. Recording 12 centuries, and even notching up a double hundred, Shaw continued to establish himself as a pivotal member of the Giants half-back line, and back-to-back All Australian honours would suggest further that there are no signs of him slowing down. Fellow midfield compatriots Callan Ward ($574,500) and Stephen Coniglio ($575,900) are similarly priced, and you can expect similarly high standards of productivity. Brett Deledio ($516,900) was brought in over the summer to add a touch of class to the Giants, and he might be worth a little sneak peek at as well.

HAWTHORN

TOM MITCHELL

Price: $565,600
2016 SuperCoach Avg: 104
Position: MID

Considering he costs $2.4k and averages just 0.4 SuperCoach points less than his namesake Sam, there may be more in common with the two Mitchell’s than we’re willing to admit. But whilst no one will dispute Sam’s quality and his CV, Tom is no slouch on the football field either, averaging 104 SuperCoach points and notching up 13 centuries during the year. He also proved himself to be a big-game player as well, with an average of 112 points in the last three finals. Speaking of new recruits, Jaeger O’Meara ($318,900) is definitely worth a look in if he can get his body right, as is Jarryd Roughead ($367,100) once he returns to the seniors.

MELBOURNE

MAX GAWN

Price: $645,000
2016 SuperCoach Avg: 118.5
Position: RUC

No real contest here, as big Max Gawn was the clear No.1  Demon in SuperCoach last year, and the only player to challenge Patrick Dangerfield’s throne as No.1 in the competition in any meaningful sense. Gawn had a great end to 2015 and backed it up with an even bigger 2016, tearing opposition ruckman apart as he monstered his way to an average of over 118 points, which included 15 centuries and a staggering SIX scores of 150+. You can pick him in your side with the utmost confidence that he will deliver for you. Hawthorn may have given away Jordan Lewis ($540,600), but with an average of 99.4, he may be able to add something different to your midfield.

 

NORTH MELBOURNE

TODD GOLDSTEIN

Price: $588,400
2016 SuperCoach Avg: 108.1
Position: RUC

He didn’t quite hit the heights of his remarkable 2015 season, but Goldstein still managed to have a productive 2016 campaign, despite carrying an injury for most of the second half of the year. He started the year on fire, with eight centuries and a 94 in his first ten games, and even though his productivity diminished slightly as the season drew to a close, he scored below 82 just once all year. Another productive Roo is Jack Ziebell ($514,200) who looks capable of thriving in the mass pension exodus in the off season.

 

PORT ADELAIDE

ROBBIE GRAY

Price: $588,200
2016 SuperCoach Avg: 108.1
Position: MID

The Power are a very difficult team to get a gauge on, and it’s anyone’s guess what we’re in store for from them in 2017, but what we all know is that Robbie Gray will deliver for us if he’s in our team. With 14 centuries in just 19 games, he was one of the most productive players in the game, and once again can only be selected as a midfielder, meaning that he can once again be a great point of difference in your midfield. It’s also worth tracking the progress of the returning Paddy Ryder ($418,100) and Angus Monfries ($325,500) as they can be cheap recruits if they find form. Ollie Wines ($533,700) is another safe choice in the midfield.

 

RICHMOND

ALEX RANCE

Price: $535,600
2016 SuperCoach Avg: 98.5
Position: DEF

Quality key defenders are often very difficult to find, let alone key defenders that score so well in SuperCosch, which is what makes Alex Rance such a unique player. He’s not a player that you can bank on scoring big (although he did register two scores of 140+ last year), but you can bank on him more often than not getting close to around the 100-point mark, especially with the huge amount of points on offer for intercept possessions – a stat Rance excels in. Dustin Martin ($588,300) is another great option, but his inability to be selected as a forward this year makes him less of a must-have.

ST KILDA

JACK STEVEN

Price: $560,600
2016 SuperCoach Avg: 103
Position: MID

Earmarked as the heir of Nick Riewoldt’s captaincy throne, Steven did his credentials no harm with a stellar season, finishing with a SuperCoach average of over 100. He dished up some performances that he would rather like to forget, but with four scores of 140 or more, there is plenty to work with, and if he can improve on his consistency, he is every chance to become a must-have in 2017. New recruits Koby Stevens ($467,900) and Jack Steele ($347,100) are worth watching closely, whilst who knows what Jake Carlisle ($337,000) can produce?

 

SYDNEY SWANS

JOSH KENNEDY

Price: $617,100
2016 SuperCoach Avg: 113.4
Position: MID

Being realistic, this section is ultimately irrelevant, because you could go with any Sydney midfielder, and chances are that you’ll stumble across someone who can score big. But because of his Grand Final masterclass (albeit in vain), we’ve ranked Kennedy as the No.1 midfielder in the Swans engine room. With 15 centuries and just one score below 90 all season, he’s easily one of the most damaging midfielders in the competition and should be very high on your list of midfield targets. He’s the fifth most expensive player in the competition but will be more than worth every cent invested. As mentioned earlier, we’re spoilt for choice when it comes to choosing Sydney midfielders, with Dan Hannebery ($616,800), Luke Parker ($608,900), and Kieran Jack ($488,100) all safe SuperCoach options in the midfield.

 

WEST COAST EAGLES

MATTHEW PRIDDIS

Price: $593,800
2016 SuperCoach Avg: 109.1
Position: MID

With 15 centuries in his last 16 games, the 2014 Brownlow Medallist was one of the form midfielders in the competition at the end of last year. Priddis isn’t a player that’s likely to churn out a series of massive scores of 150+, but if you’re looking for a player who can consistently churn out a score if anywhere between 100-120, then he is undoubtedly your man. New recruit Sam Mitchell ($568,000) may be 34 years of age, but averaged 104.4 SuperCoach points last year, and is showing no signs of slowing down.

 

WESTERN BULLDOGS

MARCUS BONTEMPELLI

Price: $586,100
2016 SuperCoach Avg: 107.7
Position: MID

One of the most exciting and popular young players in the competition, there isn’t much that The Bont hasn’t achieved in his three years at AFL level. After a slow start to the season, Bontempelli roared into form, scoring below 100 just four times after Round 7, and scored above 120 on no less than eight occasions. Considering he’s also just 21 years of age, there’s every chance of him improving even further in 2017, and should be a very popular player. Norm Smith Medallist Jason Johannisen ($513,500) has the potential to be the best defender in SuperCoach next year, whilst Luke Dahlhaus ($520,700) and Jackson Macrae ($511,700) will both be very popular choices thanks to their dual-position eligibility.

Follow Matthew Donald on Twitter

 

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