Blue Chip Investment
Dustin Martin – MID/FWD – $569,300
Martin returned career best SuperCoach numbers averaging 105.5 last year and I think there is still improvement to come.
He has all the attributes of a game breaker. He can find plenty of the ball, whether it be in the contest or breaking out of it. He can go forward and be a headache of a matchup for any defender. However, if there is one area he could tidy up it’s his ball use, having ranked third for clangers per game last year.
Nonetheless, I am confident there will be a time where Dusty averages 110+ and tears a season to shreds. He has so many weapons as a player and as he turns 25 this year, his best football years are yet to come. And while we can still pick him as a forward, he is quite simply a no brainer for your starting squad as far as I’m concerned.
NAB SC scores: 118, 35
Mid Price Potential
Jacob Townsend – MID – $302,200
Look, firstly I must say. I’d love to unveil a bargain mid-pricer to keep your eye on that’s about to explode. But truth be told, The Tigers are offering extremely little in this department, and the ones that do are on the sidelines.
Chris Yarran ($400,100), while risky, was one player I thought could finally harness his potential at his new club but he’ll sit out the first six weeks following foot surgery. While Reece Conca ($284,100) offered some value and with the opportunity to finally find his feet at AFL level and deliver on the potential that saw him drafted at pick 6, his body has once again let him down – expected to miss 10 weeks with a hamstring injury.
But Townsend at $302,200 has attracted some interest at times throughout the pre-season, while he isn’t someone I would consider. He is the most relevant and fit, despite a head knock in NAB 3, mid-price option at Richmond.
The former Giant is a tackling machine and best-known for his hard edge and contested brand of football. In his two full NAB Challenge matches he backed this up with seven and 10 tackles respectively. He won’t rack the ball up like some of the other talented Tigers but he could be of value to the Richmond line-up, however I think he offers less value for yours.
NAB SC scores: 62, 108, 46
Point Of Difference
Bachar Houli – DEF – $516,100
Behind Heath Shaw and a fully fit Jarrad McVeigh, Houli looks to be the next most reliable defender. He is capable of big scores as well as offering quality consistency which saw him return an average of 95.6 in 2015.
The Tigers love the ball in his hands, he notched up at least 20 disposals in 16 of his 22 matches with his uncontested possession and handball receive count high as was his efficiency, disposing at an impressive 80.2%.
He will cost you as much as ever following his career best season, but he is a worthy investment given the lack of reliable options we have in the back line. If you’re after consistency and someone who is relatively unique at the moment (in less than 9% of teams) – Houli is your man.
NAB SC scores: 116, 92
Nathan Broad – DEF – $117,300
The mature-age recruit was taken with the Tigers 67th pick in last year’s draft and his spot in the round 1 side is looking increasingly likely. Broad averaged 20 disposals from his 20 WAFL games last year and enjoyed some consistent NAB Challenge performances.
Given he is 22 years old and ready to go physically, the Tigers certainly recruited him for the now. With the ability to find the ball and lock down an opponent, he was always going to be a quality addition to the list. But his addition to the senior side could be earlier rather than later given his good form and injuries to Reece Conca, Shaun Grigg and Chris Yarran.
Grigg doesn’t look to be as serious, but Conca will be missing for some 10 weeks while Yarran will be at least six and Broad looks a likely replacement, if he wasn’t pushing his case already.
At $117,300 in our backline, if named round 1 lock him into your defence.
NAB SC scores: 67, 66
Alex Rance – DEF – $523,700
What a year Rance had. The key defender averaged 97 SC points, dropping under 85 just six times as well as showing a huge ceiling, topping 150 on two occasions. But perhaps the most relevant part of that sentence was at the beginning – key defender.
Is he one of the best defenders in the game? Yes. Is he one of the best readers of the play? Yes. Is he the most relevant key defender is fantasyland? Yes. Will I be picking him? No.
As a key defender, he naturally has a higher tendency to score poorly and his scores to fluctuate, 2015 was a career-best season and provided impressive numbers. But I’d strongly warn off starting him in your initial squad. Why? Scott Thompson.
Scott Thompson (Of the North Melbourne variety) and Rance’s numbers have followed similar paths, averaging 84.7 and 87.8 before jumping to 98.2 in 2013. While Rance delivered averages of 87.2 and 88.6 before jumping to 97 last year. Both broke out at similar times after 92 and 105 games respectively.
How has Thompson faired since? 78.6 and 73.5.
Of course this is just one comparison, but I feel a very relevant one. I don’t think Rance will drop away that much by any means. But I do think he should be an upgrade target if he is still in the blistering form of last year and looking like a 90+ average is on the cards once again. If this is the case then look to bring him in with confidence, but for now I will keep scrolling.
NAB SC scores: 113, 93