It’s hard to believe that All Australian Zach Merrett is only 22 years old. The zippy midfielder is an exceptional talent and has SuperCoach relevancy once again this year.
Player: Zach Merrett
Games played 2017: 21
2017 average: 109
100+ scores: 12
90+ scores: 18
So many times in the past we’ve seen young players get better each year. So the fact that Merrett is still only 22 and has season averages of 111 and 109 under his belt is very exciting. Merrett is an elite ball winner averaging 30 disposals a game, ranking him third in the competition. In addition to his disposals per game, Zach averages 4 marks and 6 tackles a game. All that is needed is a little improvement in 2018 as he gets older and we can see Merrett averaging well over 110+.
Unlike other SuperCoach relevant midfielders for this season, Merrett doesn’t have many players in his teams midfield that can steal a chunk of his points. Whether you look at the duo at Fremantle of Fyfe and Neale, or the elite midfield at the Cats featuring Ablett, Dangerfield, Duncan, Menegola and Selwood, or even the talented Crows midfield highlighted by Sloane, M.Crouch, B.Crouch and now Gibbs too. Each player averages big numbers and can from time to time steal some minutes in the midfield and touches of the pill from each other. Merrett however had no other midfielder in his team that averaged over 100 last year. Dyson Heppell being the closest averaging 99.5.
Merrett tended to play a bit on the wing during the 2017 season and due to the retirement of Essendon champion Jobe Watson ,and Goddard getting even older I believe he will play a lot more on the inside this year. Another preseason under Merrett’s belt will perform wonders for him in terms of his strength at the contest and contested footy ability, screaming more SuperCoach points. Merrett’s body looks to be in really good nick the last two season playing 22 and 21 games. The one game he missed was due to suspension for his ‘gut punch’ on Lachie Plowman.
Negatives for selecting Merrett are hard to come by but becoming the main man in a team’s midfield means that teams start to put time into stopping your impact on the game. I think Merrett will have to expect taggers coming his way in 2018. Will this effect his game? Who knows? But, the game these days does have quality taggers that can take quality players out of the game.
One minor concern about Merrett is that his average actually went down last year from 111 to 109. However I think that was because of all Essendon’s banned players coming back and pushing Merrett to the wing on occasions. This year Merrett can hopefully gain more minutes in the core of the midfield and elevate his game above a 110+ average again.
Summary: Merrett is such a talented player already at a very young age. He is a proven scorer, racks up the ball, tackles frequently and doesn’t have to compete with other big averages in his team’s midfield. He has a body that allows him to play out seasons without injury and should play more inside-mid minutes with absence of Watson and Goddard getting older. Merrett could expect a tag this year but whether he can combat that yet is unknown. Overall Merrett looks a quality option.
Verdict: You could do a lot worse than selecting Merrett at M3 to M5. I currently have him sitting at M4 and think you should strongly consider picking him too.