The saying goes – you can live and die by the sword. Well the same philosophy applies when, and if, picking a mid-price player.
The temptation is always there, if you can find a player that will make you a stack of cash as well as a handy average, it’s gold!
Better yet, and the ultimate mid-price outcome, one that turns into a keeper a la Patty Dangerfield or Steele Sidebottom in 2012.
As mentioned in my premiums article, the defence can be an area where the top liners for each year fluctuate more than most. As well as the fact we have minimal quality midfield/defenders, let’s discuss a few names that might just make your good defence into a great defence. But be warned, pick the wrong one … it could also be your undoing.
One man that we know can score plenty of SC points is North Melbourne’s Scott Thompson. This year we can select him at $422,300 , which is tempting considering his average of 98.2 in 2013. That number dropped 20 points last season, yet his average disposals only dropped by three, while his tackles and marks were virtually the same.
Thompson is an intercept king and a good ball user, so why did his average drop? It’s a good question, less high possession games? Less intercept marks? Or perhaps he simply played a more disciplined role in defence. Joel Tippett is expected to take on some of the big forwards of the competition in 2015, could this benefit Thompson? Track his pre-season.
Are you feeling lucky? Like a gamble? Two men that fit that bill are Garrick Ibbotson and Beau Waters. Both at their best score plenty of points, but injury has plagued both in recent times. The respective price tags of $342,900 and $267,200 are small prices to pay for guys who can consistently return scores of 90-plus. But personally, I’d only consider Waters and I’d be extremely wary with him at best.
Three other players that fall into the returning from injury mid-price bracket are Jack Grimes, Ricky Henderson and Brendan Whitecross. I think Grimes has a permanent black mark next to his name in most Super Coach’s handbooks – and for good reason. I love Henderson as a rebounding defender; he is more than capable of causing damage in the air and on the deck. But the Crows also have Brodie Smith and Matthew Jaensch rebounding down back – verify Henderson’s role in the pre-season before committing. Whitecross may be the best option of the three, purely because he is so cheap, however I doubt he is a walk up start to the Hawks best 22. This is of concern, so again he should be watched closely over the summer.
So we’ve looked at a potentially undervalued premium, the injury affected players that offer great value but plenty of risk. The last category, up and coming rebounding defenders.
For me, this is where I think a gamble is well justified if the proper research is done and the opportunity is there. A la the aforementioned Crows, who bumped their averages up 18 and 34 points respectively.
The players that jump out at me are Sam Docherty, Gary Rohan or Dane Rampe for the Malceski replacement at Sydney, Paul Seedsman and Shane Savage. Docherty has class and could be a vital part of the Blues midfield this season. A coming of age year for the former first round draftee could be in store in 2015. I believe Rohan will be handed the role of the rebounder, while McVeigh may also do likewise at times. But Rohan is worth the punt in my books, if this role is clear pre-season – jump on. His pace is a great asset and we know he has skill to burn; he played some great footy down back in this role late last year. A solid pre-season and anything is possible.
Seedsman is similar too, replacing the void left by Heath Shaw. Seedsman loves to take the game on and I think natural improvement as well as great responsibility could see the arrival of Seedsman. Injury also played a part in his lower price tag but in 2013, where he played 16 games, he peeled off three tons with a top score of 145 – the potential is there.
Finally, Savage, an interesting selection. Savage was handed the distributing from defence role at the Saints throughout 2014 and had a hot patch mid-season. From rounds 14-19 Savage averaged 25 touches and 106 SC points. Will Fisher take back the role? Jack Newnes down back? Savage is one from left field to think about.
What are your thoughts on the mid-price options this year?