Just like that, we’re back for 2018 and I’m more excited than ever! The first player that I will be looking at this year is 2013’s No.3 pick, Jack Billings. The Saints small forward improved his average by a big margin in 2017 and will be looking to go another level in 2018.
Player: Jack Billings
Team: St Kilda
Games played 2017: 22
2017 average: 92.7
100+ scores: 10
90+ scores: 13
Billings’ age is something that really excites me. He is only 22 and has already shown his immense talent and SuperCoach ability. Billings managed to up his average last year by a tremendous 18 points, resulting in his end of season average of 92.7 and because of his young age, you would hope that average only gets better.
As most players get older they get more responsibilities which means Billings could find himself getting more midfield time this season.
Billings kicked 23 goals last year which is a reasonable output for a player averaging 23 disposals, 6 marks and 3 tackles per game. But it could have been so much better, as Jack kicked 36 behinds in 2017. If Billings can improve on his conversion rate this pre-season and turn at least half of those behinds into goals, then we could see him kicking an additional 18 goals or so, which would boost his average up significantly.
On the flip side kicking 23 goals and 36 behinds shows a really bad conversion rate. If Billings can’t clean this up and improve on it in the off-season it could become a big liability to his scoring.
The fact that Billings has only had the one good year scares me. I tend to avoid players that have one good year and go for the players who have done it for two or more seasons in a row (hence why Elliot Yeo isn’t in my team). Whether or not it’s different for Billings because of his age is the unknown but it is something that should be considered when picking him.
Another worry with Jack is that although he played every game last year, his previous three years were injury riddled. From 2014 to 2016 he only played 16, 9 and 17 games, respectively.
Summary: Billings is a young talented kid who I think is set to explode in 2018. His price is good value as I believe he can elevate his average to 95+ this season.
Verdict: I currently have Jack at my F2 and I’m happy with him there. I think he could be a top three forward this year and he should be heavily considered.