For years the number one man in SuperCoach land has been clear – Gary Ablett.
After his serious shoulder injury late last year, Gazza managed not one pre-season hit-out and had many wondering whether the little master was worth his hefty price tag in 2015.
Yet the golden rule came in to play. Always. Pick. Ablett.
Two rounds in – disaster.
Ablett has returned below par scores of 119 and 87 and his now sidelined indefinitely. The only positive being this has been announced prior to the price changes and we can put some money into our bank no matter who we choose as his replacement. So let’s get to that, who will replace Ablett in our sides?
Scrolling down the price list, Rockliff is of course out while Pendlebury is facing his own injuries at the moment, naturally this rules them out. Although Pendles will have to be brought in at some stage if you don’t have him yet.
The obvious choice is Nat Fyfe that speaks for itself. Josh Kennedy is another no-brainer when it comes to premium mids. Joel Selwood and Patty Dangerfield are other names that roll off the tongue and are all worth options.
But if you want a couple of alternate premiums aside from the real top-end midfielders that are often talked about. Two clear candidates stand out for me. Rory Sloane and Jordan Lewis.
Sloane has started the season in a blaze of glory with scores of 145 and 134. The Crows too are flying, making him a hugely popular choice, with Dangerfield perhaps drawing more attention. But don’t let that form the conclusion Rory is a 100-105 player once tagged. This man is a jet. He wins the hard ball, tackles, kicks goals and stands up when his side needs him.
At $616,900 you pocket a tasty amount of cash and recruit a man who looks bound for a top ten placing in our 2015 midfield group.
As for Lewis, he destroyed the Cats in round 1 scoring 154 and backed it up with 111 points when he was well held for much of the match, but still stepped up to almost be the match winner.
Lewis loves the contest but is also an architect with his precise left boot. He is a safe bet for your midfield, the Hawks won’t lose many games this season and the reigning premiers control the footy so well it allows onballers such as Lewis too rarely “go missing”. Lewis looks set to back up his career best 2014 season and is a more than viable option.
Don’t like these options? Need more coin? Feeling risky? Here are two young stars of the competition that have less experience behind them but could well have equal upside.
Marcus Bontempelli … who? Ohh… “The Bont”…
The Bont has been a stand out in the Dogs first two victories scoring 126 and 142 and has certainly lived up to the pre-season hype.
He can be selected as a midfielder or a forward as well as being at the bargain price of $422,300 for a guy who looks set to average 105+ … or will he?
Don’t get me wrong, I think he will be a star of the future, if not already. But does he stack up as a replacement to Ablett? What we’re looking for here is lock and load mid that has no risk factor. Bontempelli comes with risk factor.
He will receive much more attention from here on out and while he may well prove me wrong and be one of the buys of the season, I wouldn’t be jumping all over him as a midfielder just yet. The true test will come when the Dogs lose a few games in a row and “The Bont” is copping a lot of attention, could we see a 75 … the odd 60? Hopefully not, but he will certainly throw in some unpremium like scores.
But you be the judge, because if you want a slice of the Bont you’ll pocket $312,300 with one hit of the trade button.
Secondly, Ollie Wines, “Quadzilla”.
Another one of the elite young talents in the land. He too has started the season well with scores of 130 and 105 in two Port Adelaide losses.
You will have to pay a little more cash in comparison to Bontempelli, at $539,200, but Wines looks like a man who is ready to produce week to week premium performances and wins plenty of his own ball which we know is a constant in all SC stars.
I wouldn’t be afraid to invest in him, Port Adelaide have started slow but will only get better and Wines is showing he doesn’t need the side winning to bust out three-figure scores, another asset of our premium midfielders.
All these options have their pros and cons. Personally, I didn’t select Ablett, but if I had this conundrum on my hands I would play it as safe as possible and bring in a proven SuperCoach gun. But, that extra cash is bound to be a temptation for many.
So who will take your fancy? Let me know who you are bringing in for the great man in the comments!