I’m not sure that a group of long-haired soft-rockers from New Jersey actually play AFL SuperCoach, but at this time of year – directly following the JLT – we all need to take a leaf out of Bon Jovi’s book and Keep the Faith.
You’ve spent all summer pouring over articles and statistics to select your team, putting together a group you were very happy with – until an ordinary score or two in the ‘doesn’t matter comp’ has left you wondering what you were thinking, even with some of your premiums.
Today we will look at some popular picks who failed to sparkle in the JLT, and work out why you should sit on your itchy trigger finger and keep them in your lineup for Round 1 and beyond.
Devon SMITH (Ess) – $531,300 MID/FWD
Selected in 20% of teams – primarily as a forward – Smith has been all the rage over the off-season given his almost 20 point increase in his SC average in season 2018.
However, it has to be said he has hardly set the world on fire in the JLT, totalling 99 pts for the two games at an average of a disappointing 49.5 points per game (from an average of 60% game time). Does that mean anything?
Smith is a tackling beast, which accounts for a large portion of his scoring – in JLT games, where the intensity is generally less, that can be the first thing to drop off. To be honest, he hardly looked to be trying in the Geelong game. Stick with him once the real thing starts – with confidence.
Brodie GRUNDY (Coll) – $708,200 RUCK
The big fella from Collingwood is popular despite his man-bun, selected in a whopping 44% of SC teams at the present time.
It’s not hard to see why when he averaged 130 points per game in 2018, and was generally considered another midfielder the way he moved around the ground and gathered possessions. Despite this, he has not had the greatest lead-in to 2019, with an injured toe (has that made him handball more?) and an ordinary JLT, with an average of 89 points across the two matches.
Forget about the ‘Cox Curse’ – this guy is a star, scoring over 150 seven times last year, and this year he adds Beams to his array of midfielders to tap to. Lock and load.
Dustin MARTIN (Rich) – $563,800 MID
Dusty dropped off slightly in 2018, finishing with an average of 104 points per game and not dominating as much as in 2017, where he averaged 119 points per match. As a result his price is lower this year – but which Dusty will be coming out to play in 2019?
Was 2017 one out of the box, and will his scoring sit more regularly in the 2018 range? He’s a tricky one to assess, especially when you add in his JLT form, which was far from disastrous (especially given some limited game time) but still did not see him crack the ton in either game, averaging 79 points.
At that starting price, I think Dusty is well worth the investment – he doesn’t care about this JLT rubbish, he wants the real stuff. If you were keen on him a fortnight ago, then stick with him.
Josh KELLY (GWS) – $617,800 MID
Despite not playing a JLT game this pre-season, ownership of GWS young gun Josh Kelly still sits at 14% – a significant amount given that he hasn’t managed to get on the park yet.
Whilst he is expected to suit up come round one, no match fitness under his belt means that the huge outlay of cash is slightly risky, especially given that the likes of Neale, Treloar and Coniglio are all around the same price but have shown a lot in the JLT with some big scores.
Should you give in to that inner voice and trade him out?
Don’t. Do. It.
Kelly is a gun and will have no problem slotting into a midfield that is now minus Dylan Shiel, meaning even more of the ball. Hang tough, he’ll be fine – provided he is named of course!
Anthony MILES (GC) – $342,000 MID
Get on Miles, they said. $342,000? He’s cheap as chips, they said. Gold Coast haven’t got anyone else to get the ball anyway – just watch him in the JLT, he’ll be flying, they said. Hmmm.
Of all the potential selections in our SC teams for 2019, perhaps the hype around Miles has been affected the most from two very ordinary JLT games. Still currently in 10% of teams, Miles only managed to average 51 points per game (66% game time), and legitimate questions are now being asked.
Will the new Sun be a gun? Anthony Miles player profile
Can he get back to the scoring of 2014, 2015 and 2016, where he averaged 100, 97 and 90 points per game from a significant amount of matches for the Tigers? I think he can. If you have him, stay strong – he’ll get you a 90+ average for the season.
Alex WITHERDEN (Bris) – $455,000 DEF
Another SC season begins and it’s another year where Lions defender Alex Witherden is touted as a potential SC breakout. This time it has been the new kick-in rule that has led to the hype, with thoughts being Witherden will increase his scoring by a decent amount from that change alone.
Pricey – and surrounded by other options such as Rance or Stewart, or cheaper candidates Mills or Williams, Witherden has still cornered 10% of the SC market at this stage, even with a JLT average of just 71 points per game.
Ironically Witherden wasn’t even in the top 20 players in the league for kick-ins across the JLT competition. Expect that to change come the main game, along with an average in the 90s for the season, and a big tick.