FOR the past 5 months I’ve had to pretend that I was a fan of other sports. It was exhausting. While cricket and the NBA have kept me away somewhat entertained nothing can compare to our great sport.
The most controversial off-season that I can remember is now behind us and the NAB Cup is in full swing, giving players their first chance to try and win their way into our Supercoach squad.
That’s where I come in.
I’ll be sharing my thoughts on the new Supercoach system, offering advice and doing what I can to give the Football Nation readers an edge over their mates.
To kick things off I will be taking a look at the crop of defenders for 2013.
Unfortunately, 2 of 2012’s great defenders, Deledio and Carrazzo have lost their dual position player (DPP) status. Saying that there are a number of interesting new additions to the defensive end for 2013, including:
- Jack Watts (Def/Fwd)
- Bryce Gibbs (Def/Mid)
- Danyle Pearce (Def/Mid)
- Hamish Hartlett (Def/Mid)
- Dyson Heppell (Def/Mid)
That’s a pretty young crop of kids all with plenty of upside.
Anyway, down to business.
As we know there are a number of players in the league that have absolutely zero fantasy value. That is, the Simon Prestigiacomo’s of the world. They might be great players and extremely valuable to their team, but we don’t care about them in this format. No Presti’s will be discussed here!
The following is a list of premium defenders that need to be addressed, with my breakdown of whether or not they should be a part of your Supercoach squad in 2013:
Brendan Goddard (Def/Mid)- $541,500
Once an absolute fantasy stud Goddard has let owners down over the last couple of seasons. Nevertheless, he is still the best of the 2013 defensive crop averaging a respectable 101.2 last season. That’s a fair bit shy of the 130+ Goddard averaged in 2010. However, with the change of scenery and probable extra midfield time we could see BJ return to the highs that saw him regarded as one of the best players in the league.
Verdict: Can you afford to pass up on a guy that could genuinely average 115+? Is there a defender with more potential for scoring than BJ? Probably not. At the very least he will be a top 3 defender come seasons end. Lock him in.
Bryce Gibbs (Def/Mid) – $509,800
Let me preface this by stating that there wouldn’t be a chance in the world I would even think about Gibbs in my team if he didn’t have defender eligibility.
Am I being sucked in by “The Malthouse Factor” that my Carlton supporting mates keep telling me about? One thing that is certain is that Malthouse wont accept the “soft” Bryce Gibbs. He is a very important part of Carlton improving and Malthouse may just get the best out of him.
Gibbs averaged 95.3 last season, his worst return since the 2008 season. There is plenty of upside in this kid but will he deliver?
Verdict: By no means a lock but he will be in my team. There aren’t too many defenders that could average 100+ and I am confident that Gibbs will. He is unlikely to be a point of difference (POD) though.
Hamish Hartlett (Def/Mid) – $489,000
Very interesting prospect. Hartlett is a star of the future and one of the key players at Port Adelaide. He has a booming kick and a game suited well for Supercoach scoring. He averaged a very respectable 91.4 last season and when you break it down it’s a little bit more impressive.
If you take away the 2 games in which Hartlett suffered an injury he actually averaged 97. Granted he comes with an injury prone label, but an average of 97 would have seen him priced around the $520K mark. He is basically on sale!
Verdict: With the extra trades Supercoach has given us this year I am more than happy to take the risk that this kid’s body holds up. He is a lock for me because I’m confident he is going to take the next step into Supercoach stardom.
Greg Broughton (Def/Fwd) – $441,900
Dare I bring up his name after the pain he put fantasy owners through last year? There are three things I look for when trying to find a player who is about to break out: a change of scenery, a new role, or natural progression. This year Broughton ticks two of those boxes.
Broughton was extremely underused last season, averaging a mere 96 minutes per game under Ross Lyon down from 110 minutes the season before. Interestingly there were a number of games where he was playing less than 70% game time without even being the sub.
Broughton excels as a midfielder so it will be interesting to see where he lines up this pre-season. I’ll bet he won’t be wasted in a forward pocket like he was at the end of last season.
Verdict: As it stands he is in my team. People have been burnt by him, which means he will most likely be a POD. He is more than capable of getting back to or even exceeding the 99 points per game that he averaged in his first 2 seasons. I’m expecting him to fit in nicely at the Suns.
Jack Watts (Def/Fwd) – $460,100
I like this kid. Had he not have been a number one pick I think he would have a lot more respect from the footy public. Yes, he can be a bit of a seagull but he has great fundamentals. Watts isn’t even 22 yet.
Following Friday night’s performance against Richmond Watts flew onto my radar. From the opening bounce he lined up as the loose man in defence. That means intercept marks and cheap kicks. It’s a defenders perfect position for Supercoach scoring.
Watts mopped up, broke up Richmond attacks and used the ball well out of defence. He even managed to get forward and kick a goal. It seems as though Jack Grimes’ (who is also a great option in defence) move into the midfield has released Watts into a new role, in which I expect him to thrive.
Verdict: I’m not willing to commit to him just yet however the natural progression is there after averaging 54, 75 and then 86 in his last 3 years. I think he is a great pick and will reward fantasy owners this season. If not Watts maybe take a look at Grimes who also ticks 2 of the breakout boxes (natural progression and new role).
Chris Newman (Def) – $412,000
The former Tiger skipper is coming off a very disappointing 2012. He just wasn’t getting enough footy, nor using it to his usual high standard. A move further up the ground, to the wing and a bit of midfield time should see Newman become a more relevant fantasy defender.
You would also like to think that relinquishing the captaincy will allow him to focus solely on his footy in 2013.
Verdict: I can see a return to the 90+ averages of a couple of years ago. Expect more touches than last season and also a few more goals. He has a beautiful left foot and will get the opportunity to use it more in 2013. POD.
Dyson Heppell (Def/Mid) – $450,000
Heppell is another that ticks two of the 3 breakout boxes; natural progression and a new role with additional midfield minutes. The kid is a star of the future and it’s only a matter of time before he averages 100+. The question is when?
He is entering his third season, which is typically seen as a breakout season. Heppell is also an attractive prospect because he now has DPP status.
Verdict: Honestly I’m leaning towards no. I think Hartlett has more upside than Heppell. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still expecting Heppell to average around 90 though I don’t think Heppell will be a POD. Perhaps ill look at him as a mid-season upgrade target.
I can hear everyone saying “what about Heath Shaw, Grant Birchall, etc”. I haven’t written about these guys because I don’t expect their averages to change too much compared to 2012. They are safe bets and would still be very good picks.
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