The Giants lost another one of their talented players over the off-season with Nathan Wilson heading home to play his footy with the Dockers. Today he’s under the microscope.
Player: Nathan Wilson
Games played 2017: 21
2017 average: 75.9
100+ scores: 2
85+ scores: 8
Wilson gets his wish and will play in his home state in 2018. The former Giant will instantly become Freo’s go-to player out of defence, especially considering they had a lot of trouble moving the ball out of their defensive 50 last season.
He’s just turned 25, an age where most footballers begin playing their best footy. Let’s hope the same is true for Wilson, because some improvement is still required. His general statistics are getting better, such as his average disposals (17.4), tackles (1.9) and inside 50s (3.8). All these figures were career-highs and suggested that he got up the ground a little further last season.
Don’t expect that to be the case in 2018, he’ll be behind the ball more often than not.
Oh, and he led the league in metres gained last season. While it doesn’t directly translate to SuperCoach brilliance, it does suggest he kicks the ball long wherever possible. In 2017, he gained more than 12kms for his side.
While the metres gained stat is very impressive, Wilson also found himself ninth in the league for total turnovers (115), which is way too high and definitely attributed to him only averaging 76.
If we think about Wilson’s role for the Dockers, we really need Fremantle to get better at repelling attacks in 2018. Last season, Michael Johnson and Luke Ryan were Freo’s top two in rebound 50s, and they both averaged 77 points per game. Game style will play a part in Wilson’s scoring output, just as Sydney always has high scoring half-backs and St Kilda always has low scoring ruckmen.
Finally, Wilson’s price is a concern for me at the moment. His best season was last year where he averaged 75.9 (up from 66.8 in 2016), and they expect us to fork out more than $400k for him?
Summary: Wilson will become one of Fremantle’s most important players very quickly and that means his role will be carefully watched by opposition teams. We saw him tagged on occasion in 2017 and that could happen again this season.
Verdict: If you can be convinced that there will be another ten-point improvement in Wilson’s game, he’s worth considering.