We here at SuperCoach HQ love going an early crow, so we’ve dusted off the crystal ball and come up with our season 2018 SuperCoach predictions before a game has even been played (AFLX doesn’t count right?). Of course we want your input so let us know who you would vote for and what you think of our picks in the comments section or on Twitter or Facebook!!
PLAYER OF THE YEAR
1 vote: D. Martin and J. Kelly
2 votes: N. Fyfe
4 votes: P. Dangerfield
Personally, this was a tough choice, with Dusty coming off the best year a player can have, the return to fitness of Nathan Fyfe, as well as young and upcoming players like Josh Kelly wanting to take the mantel as the most damaging SuperCoach player of 2018. Ultimately, Dangerfield was the player the majority decided would be the must have player this year, however it was far from unanimous.
While it is commonly accepted that Danger is likely to be spending more time in the forward line this year with the addition of a handy midfielder in Ablett, after what we saw last year, I’m not sure this is the negative that for other midfielders it would be.
ROOKIE OF THE YEAR
1 vote: W. Brodie and P. Dow
6 votes: L. Davies-Uniacke
The voting for ROY honours was by far the most unanimous of all the categories we voted on.
Many pundits believe that LDU is the most AFL ready player from the 2017 draft. He’s a good decision maker who was ranked #1 for disposal efficiency in the TAC Cup, meaning that he will slot nicely into North Melbourne’s best 22.
While his price is on the high end ($198,300) for a first year player, expect and Andrew McGrath type year from the #4 draft pick of 2017!
CASH COW OF THE YEAR
1 vote: D. Venables, C. Byrne, J. Worpel, S. Murray
2 votes: C. O’Shea, J. Dawson
For as unanimous as our rookie of the year selection was, our cash cow of the year selections were the complete opposite. With only O’Shea and Dawson receiving multiple votes, the cash cow of the year title is still very much up for grabs.
Each of the above players are quite different and have been selected for a myriad of reasons.
Cam O’Shea and Sam Murray have both moved clubs and will be looking for more opportunities, Jordan Dawson has been tearing it up in the NEAFL (Tom Mitchell style) and looks set for a big year if he can force his way into a strong Swans midfield.
Daniel Venables is a second year rookie from the Eagles (drafted #13 2016) who will be trying to break into the West Coast best 22 after their retirements last season, while Ciaran Byrne is returning from a serious injury and has proven to be a decent scorer in the past.
Lastly is James Worpel a mature age inside midfielder who could quite easily see himself getting a number of games in the Hawthorn midfield.
Whatever type of player you favour, any and possible all of these guys could be the cash-cow you need to kick start your year!
BREAKOUT PLAYER OF THE YEAR
1 vote: J. Sinclair, J. De Goey*, D. Moore, M. Kennedy
2 votes: J. Billings, C. Blakely
Every year there is that one, or maybe two, players who come from the clouds and announce themselves as premium selections for the years to come. Last year it was Clayton Oliver and Bryce Gibbs (to a lesser extent) who both fulfilled this phenomenon and had teams clamouring to trade them in.
This year, you want to be ahead of the curve and so do we, so we’ve looked into the future and come up with the players who could just explode in the early rounds, leaving you wishing you had of started a couple of them!
Both Jack Billings (despite an injury interrupted pre-season) and Connor Blakely seem to be prime contenders to breakout in the way Oliver did last season, and while four of us think either of these two are most likely to warrant selection at some stage, a move into defence for Darcy Moore could make him a viable option, as could new seasons and another pre-season under the belt for Jack Sinclair, Matty Kennedy and Jordan De Goey* (given voting was conducted prior to De Goey’s indiscretion he has been removed as an option for this poll).
BURN MAN OF THE YEAR
1 vote: E. Yeo, J. O’Meara, C. Curnow, P. Ryder, R. Lobb
3 votes: N. Naitanui
It is indisputable that Nic Nat is one of the premier ruckmen in the competition, yet he is our overwhelming favourite to be the player that burns so many teams this season. There were lots of whispers around Christmas time suggesting that Naitanui had suffered some setbacks and would not be returning to training as early as had been expected in the New Year. There has been no confirmation from the Eagles regarding those rumours but it is enough to make it far too risky to start him unless we see some form in the JLT.
Other popular choices for the title of burn man 2018 include popular selections, Elliot Yeo, Paddy Ryder and Charlie Curnow, who ended season 2017 on fire. For those with a love for mid-pricers, both Jaeger O’Meara and Rory Lobb aren’t likely to be able to help your team in the way you might think according to our writers.
Which popular choices are you avoiding for fear of them letting you down? Let us know!
STEAL OF THE YEAR
1 vote: A. Brayshaw, N. Naitanui, P. Cripps, A. Christensen, D. Armitage, T. Rockliff
Absolutely no consensus could be made around one particular player being the steal of the year. Each of the above guys are either proven scorers returning from injury who should return to their elite scoring ways, while others could be set for a breakout year or are just too cheap to ignore. The final decision rests with you.
TOP AVERAGING DEFENDER AND MIDFIELDER
1 vote: D. Rich
2 votes: M. Hibberd
5 votes: R. Laird
Voting was as expected with both Laird and Dangerfield taking out the gong for their respective positions. Hibberd and Fyfe could both prove to be stiff competition particularly if Adelaide’s defence begins to struggle with Brodie Smith missing. Will teams begin to target Laird and if they do can he cope? Fyfe proved in the International Rules Series that he was clearly getting back to his damaging self and if we see a return to the type of form that saw him dominate SuperCoach a few years back, Dangerfield’s title as top SuperCoach midfielder may very well be in ‘danger’.
1 vote: D. Martin, J. Kelly
2 votes: N. Fyfe
4 votes: P. Dangerfield
TOP AVERAGING RUCKMAN AND FORWARD
2 votes: S. Jacobs
3 votes: M. Gawn, B. Grundy
Tough choices aplenty in these two categories with a unanimous decision extremely hard to come by.
Max Gawn and Brodie Grundy top the vote for highest averaging ruckman with three votes each while Sam Jacobs follows closely behind on two votes. Can Gawn return to his season 2016 form? Will Mason Cox have an impact on Grundy’s scoring? Will father time catch up with Jacobs? Will another ruckman like Todd Goldstein come flying up the scoring charts? All of these are legitimate questions that have many of us unsure as to who we will start with in our two ruck spots come Round 1!
1 vote: L. Franklin, T. Greene
2 votes: J. Billings
4 votes: I. Heeney
Isaac Heeney is a stud and with the potential to find himself a spot within the Swans midfield rotation in season 2018, the lure of him being the #1 ranked forward by the end of the SuperCoach season was too much to pass up. Concerns remain regarding whether he has had an injury interrupted pre-season but with Billings also experiencing injuries we are willing to take the punt on Isaac coming through for us. Can Toby Greene stay on the park enough to earn the top spot? Can Buddy continue scoring goals for fun and provide our teams with a season to remember? Give us your thoughts!
So, that’s all from me for now. Let us know what you think of our predictions and who your tips are to be the must have players for season 2018!