Today, we run our eye over some of the most discussed players heading into season 2019 and decide whether they are overrated or underrated, taking into account price, expected form and list changes. As always we want to hear about which players you think are over or underrated heading into the new season!
Max Gawn – Melbourne, Ruckman $692,100
Another big year in 2018 for the Demons #1 ruckman, finishing the year with an average of 127, ranking him second for his position. Melbourne will be looking to go a couple of wins better next season and their team looks to be very strong.
At some point of the year all teams should look to have Gawn as ruck No.1 or ruck No.2 but with the inclusion of Braydon Preuss the question many will be asking is whether the sizable price tag and fear of a reduced scoring impact means that Maxy isn’t a lock?
Verdict: Personally, the 700k+ price tag scares me considering we are unclear if Preuss will play a role for the Demons in 2019. On the other hand, Brodie Grundy was meant to experience a similar drop in scoring due to Mason Cox’s inclusion in the Pies best 22 and that of course never eventuated. A wait and see approach on Gawn may not be the worst approach.
Shane Mumford – Greater Western Sydney, Ruckman $320,200
The sausage eating big-man from Bunyip is back on an AFL list after a year out of the game.
After an extremely busy offseason, for all the wrong reasons, Mumford will be looking to hit the ground running. With the GWS list experiencing a pretty high rate of turnover in the last couple of years, it is unlikely Mumford would have come back if he wasn’t expecting senior opportunities.
Whether he has to share ruck duties with Dawson Simpson, or carry them alone is still to be determined. One thing is for sure. With Mumford you know he will bring physicality.
Verdict: Given Mumford has only ever averaged 100+ in three of his previous AFL seasons, and the fact that he has now been priced at 300k and not closer to 200,000 as had previously been rumoured, he is too overpriced to be an effective ruck 3 in 2019.
Josh Dunkley – Western Bulldogs, Midfielder/Forward $516,300
Having picked up dual position status, Dunkley looks like a good forward choice next year. Of the Bulldogs’ eight wins in 2018, Dunkley averaged 106 while in loses he averaged just 87.
He’s a barometer for the Bulldogs’ success. However, it was post-bye where Dunkley truly exploded, averaging 111 in both wins and losses, having managed just a mediocre average of 77 prior to the midseason break.
The big question is whether he is a Jack Billings-type trap in 2019? Dunkley slowly began to eat into Toby McLean’s midfield time late in the season and with Tom Liberatore returning will Dunkley’s midfield time go the same way?
Verdict: Some tough opening fixtures for the Bulldogs has me a little wary of starting him, but his MID/FWD status has me strongly considering. Take the chance!
Jack Billings – St. Kilda, Forward $437,600
One of the biggest burn men of season 2018, Billings failed to continue to build on the momentum he had established in 2017.
After scoring 133 in round one, owners were ecstatic with their choice and many of those who missed out traded him in after round one. While Billings managed to arrest some of his poor form towards the end of the 2018 season and with the inclusion of Daniel Hanneberry as an experienced, hardened midfielder, Billings may be able to take the next step.
Verdict: Most usually avoid the burn men of the previous season but if 2018 was meant to be his breakout year, why can’t it happen in 2019? Most definitely has the pedigree to improve his scoring and at least he comes with a non-premium price tag this year so if it doesn’t work out you can move him up or down as required. Will you be willing to take the chance again?
Nathan Fyfe – Fremantle, Midfielder $618,100
If there is one player that absolutely dominates from round one it is Nathan Fyfe. In three of the past five years Fyfe has averaged 120+ pre-bye including 2014 where he averaged 120 from seven games. In 2015 where he averaged 134 from 11 games and in 2018 where he averaged 124 from 12 games.
With five of his first eight games at home including games against North Melbourne and the Gold Coast against whom he dominates, there is no reason that Fyfe cannot start the season on fire yet again.
Verdict: A slow start to pre-season training is no cause for concern for Fyfe, who is now in his tenth pre-season and will be aiming to play a full season. While the crash and bash nature of the way Fyfe plays often sees him pick up little niggles he will likely be one of the best scorers in the game up until the bye rounds. You may need to consider trading him later in the year as he traditionally slows down, but at his price and reputation he’s a lock for me to start season 2019.
Connor Blakely – Fremantle, Defender $461,800
Has some poor past injury history which throws up some question marks from the outset, however, as another player with dual-position status, Blakely is an enticing choice. Generally accepted that with Neale moving on he will spend most of his time on the field in the midfield.
Further, he is coming into his fifth season and looks primed to take the next step. With four of the Dockers first six games at home, where Blakely has averaged 98.63 he is great option to pick as one of your teams starting defenders and won’t break the bank.
Verdict: I’m locking him in for a big year!