PLAYERS SET FOR MIDFIELD TIME
A few weeks ago the community were sitting around, having a quiet beer and listening to stories of Jock’s 900+ game career for the Karingal Bulls, when we received a call from one of our loyal followers. It was a question that had all of us up in our chairs.
We were asked just who are the defenders/forwards also training with their midfield groups. Being the most aerobically fit person at the community, I was quick to put my hand up and tackle this question.
Fantasy Football has become a midfielder’s game. To maximise our performance, we try to select as many midfielders as we possibly can. The fellows who run the great game have been super generous in giving us extra cattle in the midfield this season. However, there’s still a god forsaken limit to how many midfield players we can select. Selecting forwards and defenders who run through the middle could be the answer, just like me selecting another light beer when the Seaford RSL runs out of Foster’s Light Ice.
I donned my old Melbourne U/19s jumper and tried to join in on all 18 AFL club’s pre-season training sessions. While I was unwanted, I did come across some forwards and defenders doing some sneaky training with their respective midfields.
PREMIUMS MAKING THE TRANSITION
Bryce Gibbs | $509,800 Supercoach |$473,300 Dreamteam
The big one making the transition from defense to midfield is Bryce Gibbs. Days of being butchered in defence by Ratten are long gone as Mick himself has challenged the former number 1 pick to lift his game in the midfield. Malthouse said back in November that he’d “…like to think he’s going to be playing in the middle, but it’s covered with half-back and half-forward.”
The man is a midfielder, and the fact it was his least effective season stat-wise was in 2012 playing as a set-up defender shows just where he needs to play to get the best footy out of him. We were all thinking it last season, and finally Mick has acted. Lucky for us, he’s a DEF/MID, meaning we can slot him into our defence despite him playing the majority of season 2013 the midfield. No brainer really ladies and gentlemen, must be selected as a premium defender.
Brendon Goddard | $541,500 Supercoach | $501,300 Dreamteam
Another premium that must be selected as a defender is the Goddard lad. Played mainly as a defensive sweeper last season with the Saints. Brendon has already been touted as a midfielder at Windy Hill and looked every bit the possession gatherer on the weekend. While he’s yet to recapture his form of 2010, Brendon’s output has still been up there with the best.
In a year where his average number of fights per game increased, BJ still collected 24 disposals per game, along with 6 marks and 3 tackles in 2012 – but only 12 goals. Brendon’s switch to the guts will be of benefit to us as he’s still a DEF/MID. You’d be very silly not to take advantage of this and select him as a defender – because this could very well be the last year we see Brendon listed as an AFL Fantasy defender.
We’d love to have our defenses and forwards full of premium DPPs (Dual Position players to the newcomers). It’s not possible with our budget. What will separate the top ranked coaches from the poor ones will be those who find the right mid priced gems. Most midfields will be loaded with premiums and rookies, so finding players in the defense and forward who will see midfield time may be the key. They also provide a cheaper option, and for a tightarse like me that is right down my alley.
Angus Monfries | $356,700 Supercoach | $352,300 Dreamteam
First one to take into consideration is young Gus Monfries. Many down at the Seaford Public Bar jump thought me a fool before his stellar performance at AAMI park at the weekend. To some, including myself, he’s that diving menace, but he could be value this coming season. He’s been training solely as a midfielder since his move from Essendon to Port Adelaide and certainly showed promise at the weekend. He has suffered a slight hamstring complaint but nothing to get oneself in too much of a pickle about.
During his time at Windy Hill, he showed a bit in the AFL fantasy caper. In his career-best season of 2011, he averaged a touch under 20 disposals (going at 77% efficiency) and kicked 31 goals. Against Adelaide in Rd 17, 2011, he amassed 35 touches and clunked 10 marks. Even in 2012 despite being the least impressive statistical season of his career, Angus showed us he could collect disposals – picking up 21 v PA, 28 v GC, 17 v WCE and 21 v GWS, before falling away towards the end of the year (wasn’t the only Essendon player to do so). All this while playing as a half-forward.
Jarrod Harbrow | $414,40 Supercoach | $321,400 Dreamteam
Jarrod Harbrow will be unleashed into the Gold Coast midfield on the back of Greg Broughton and Tom Murphy coming to the club.
Like Angus, he too has shown patches of ball winning brilliance. The lad averaged 20+ disposals in 2 of his 3 seasons at Whitten Oval, and also his first season at Gold Coast. An elbow injury hampered his 2012 season, but when he returned he played further up the ground. Jarrod found a bit of the ball, while also kicking more ball inside 50s. McKenna releasing the Harbrow Handbrake and letting him run around the middle will compliment the ball winners of Ablett, Prestia, Swallow, Rischetelli and the incoming Jaeger-bomb. Track his NAB Cup, but Jarrod, selected as a defender, could be the extra midfielder you need, and again, a potential match-winning point of difference.
Greg Broughton| $441,900 Supercoach | $408,000 Dreamteam
One man last season quite high on Vince Gambino’s ‘To Kill’ list was Greg “bloody” Broughton. I spent many a weekend drinking my fantasy sorrows away at the local Seaford RSL thanks to Ross Lyon and his treatment of Broughton. Those who stuck by him were on a rollercoaster ride, with 90+ one week, then 50 the next.
However, a change of scenery and game plan may just be what’s required to ignite Greg’s form. When he was thrown into the midfield by Ross he proved to be quite an effective player. Interestingly he recorded the best clearance differential of the top 10 midfielders at Fremantle. That said, I do think Broughton was recruited with the intention of playing out of the defensive 50. As a lockdown player? No. The recruitment of Tom Murphy (as mentioned above) and the pending return of Nathan Bock will fill that role. Greg will act as a rebounder, which will hopefully see the return of midfield-like numbers. Prior to Ross arriving, Broughton did average 22 touches in ’09, 24 in ’10 and 21 in ’11. Greg can be selected as both a defender and a forward, and while it may take time for trust to return, I’m confident in being the one to put my hand up and suggest you select Greg Broughton…only in SuperCoach though.
Shaun Atley | $380,400 Supercoach | $311,200 Dreamteam
Talented Kangaroo Shaun Atley looks set to elevate his game further and see more time in the middle this season. One aspect of Shaun’s game which improved dramatically last season was his kicking. Atley’s efficiency by foot improved from a lowly 52.1% in 2011 to 72.9% in 2012. He was also ranked equal 9th amongst top 160 kick-winners in competition for metres gained per kick, while also averaging a touch over 18 disposals across half back. Shaun could be a handy SuperCoach pick up as a mid-priced defender if he sees more midfield time. Monitor where Brad Scott plays him over the NAB Cup.
A nest of Tigers
Shane Edwards | $431,500 Supercoach | $358,600 Dreamteam
Ricky Petterd | $240,800 Supercoach | $254,500 Dreamteam
Chris Knights | $248,300 Supercoach | $254,500 Dreamteam
If you look between the lines, the boys down at Mr Crouching One’s beloved Richmond are going to have quite a number running through the midfield. Shane Edwards, Ricky Petterd and Chris Knights have been doing a bit of training with the midfield groups, and may see a bit of time in the middle. However, the two I’d keep a close eye on during the NAB Cup period are Chris Knights and Shane Edwards.
Chris’ move to Richmond from Adelaide could be just what he needs to re-ignite his career. He’s struggled to string games together, managing just 26 in the past 3 seasons. You have to go back to 2009 to see just how good Knights was in his prime. He averaged 18 disposals and 2 goals per game. Since then, injuries and form have held him back. However, he spent the SANFL season as a midfielder and dominated – averaging 26 touches per game, which included 4 games about 30+ disposals. Given he can only be selected as a forward and at his price; he should be a lock as your mid-priced forward.
Shane Edwards, from what I saw when I was down there, is having a sensational pre-season, and looks to be spending more time in the middle this season if you listen to Damien Hardwick. Shane’s scores last season suggest he should only be looked at from a Supercoach point of view, averaging 81 compared to 70 in Dream Team. It was the equal-second biggest rise in AFL Supercoach points of any Richmond player last season. So there are signs young Shane is on the up.
While playing across half-forward last season, he had a career high in contested possessions and goals. On top of this, he had the greatest impact on the scoreboard behind Jack Riewoldt, and was ranked 3rd for goals. It’s clear that Shane can be a real weapon in attack, and could be a headache for sides if he goes into the middle. He is an impact player who suits the Supercoach game beautifully. Ignored by most, if not, all coaches, Shane should be seriously considered as he looks to improve on his good 2012.
So, if you are constantly referred to as a “tight arse” like myself, or desire that team of midfielders we can only dream about, those forwards/defenders that will see time in the middle could be the answer. Definitely keep an eye during the NAB Cup period for those with elevated midfield time, because they could very well be the difference between fantasy success and failure.
I’ll throw it out to you guys now – got any players who may see more time in the guts?