Hi Scouts, it’s The Barron here with Part 4 of our 2014 Super Coach scouting report.
In this column we’ll be taking a look at a superb team – the Collingwood Magpies.
Let me tell you what, as an elite talent scout I often have my binoculars at the ready as I fly all over the country, looking out for the best young kids coming through the ranks. And no team has impressed me more with the level of young talent they have brought in during the last 2 years than the Maggies.
They’ve done what many teams struggle to do. They bring in great youngsters like Scharenberg, Adams, Kennedy, Grundy, Broomhead and Freeman while keeping their core of Pendlebury, Swan, Cloke, Beams, Sidebottom, Maxwell, Ball, Harry O, and Reid intact. They’ve also brought in a few more youngsters and also players like Adams, Karnezis and White in via trades. So how do you think the Magpies look for 2014? I’ve got high expectations for them, that’s for sure.
COLLINGWOOD SUPERCOACH 2014 SCOUTING REPORT
2013 Record: 14 wins, 8 losses
Taylor Adams (Traded from Greater Western Sydney)
Jesse White (Traded from Sydney)
Patrick Karnezis (Traded from Brisbane)
Sam Dwyer (Promoted Rookie)
Adam Oxley (Promoted Rookie)
Matthew Scharenberg (Pick #6, National Draft)
Nathan Freeman (Pick #10, National Draft)
Tom Langdon (Pick #65, National Draft)
Jonathon Marsh (Pick #77, National Draft)
Corey Gault (Pick #10, Rookie Draft)
Heath Shaw (Traded to Greater Western Sydney)
Dale Thomas (Free Agent to Carlton)
Jackson Paine (Traded to Brisbane)
Alan Didak (Delisted)
Darren Jolly (Delisted)
Andrew Krakour (Delisted)
Jordan Russell (Delisted)
Ben Johnson (Retired)
2014 Team Preview
2014 Bye Round: 8
Final 4: West Coast Eagles, Brisbane Lions, GWS Giants, Hawthorn Hawks
An off-season highlighted by the departure of long time Magpies Darren Jolly, Alan Didak, Ben Johnson, Heath Shaw and Dale Thomas, the transformation of the Magpies has continued under Nathan Buckley as he slowly remoulds the team he inherited from Mick Malthouse. For the 2nd year in a row they’ve brought multiple 1st round selections into the side, they’ve also traded in Taylor Adams from the GWS, who was a top 15 pick in the 2011 AFL draft. They’ve boosted their forward stocks, by bringing in Jesse White from Sydney, who will be looking to replace Quinton Lynch as the backup for Travis Cloke. The players they’ve lost in Krakour, Didak and Jolly are all replaceable with the current talent they have in the side and shouldn’t be missed too much.
The 2014 fixture is a bit of a mixed bag for the Magpies, they have 14 games scheduled for the MCG, but they face a tough run at the start of the year, with their first 8 games against teams that made the top 8 in Fremantle, Sydney, Geelong, Richmond, Carlton and teams looking to make it back into the 8 with games against North Melbourne, Essendon and Adelaide. If the Magpies can win 5-6 of those they should be in a good position going into the rest of the year. On the double up front, they will play Adelaide, West Coast, Essendon, Carlton and Hawthorn twice, a series of matches they should win the majority of. The final 4 is a good run with games against West Coast, Brisbane and GWS, though that GWS match might result in a few players rested if they decide to pull a “Fremantle” to rest up for finals time, then it’s a tough matchup with Hawthorn for the SC Grand Final.
I really like Collingwood’s chances in 2014, at worst they should have a repeat of last years 14 wins, and if they score a top 4 rank I think they’re good enough to make it to the Preliminary Finals or better.
2014 Projected Wins/Losses: 16 wins, 8 losses
2012 SC Average: 124.7
2013 SC Average: 126.6
Starting Price: 683.1K
I shouldn’t have to tell you this, but Scott Pendlebury should be a lock in each and every one of your sides in 2014. Sure, he’s likely to be one of the most expensive players in the game, but for good reason. Unbelievably only had 2 games dip below 100 points last year and they were both in the 90’s. He’s also played less than 20 games only once outside his rookie year.
2013 saw him ranked in the near or at the top of the league in a huge number of categories, including being 1st in Effective Disposals per game, 3rd in Disposals per game, 3rd in Handballs per game, 10th in Uncontested Possessions per game, 11th in Contested Possessions per game and most importantly, 2nd in Supercoach points per game, trailing the great Gary Ablett Jr. by 3.4 points.
Has the Round 8 bye, which is a nightmare for the Mids this year in Supercoach, but it’s hard to say no to this guy. There’s absolutely no reason why Pendlebury can’t repeat this performance again, he has 3 consecutive years of an average over 120 and he’s looking likely for a 4th in 2014.
2014 SC Projection: 122-130
2012 SC Average: 126.2
2013 SC Average: 117.3
Starting Price: 632.6K
Will be a lock for many, it’s hard not to put him in that category, but I won’t be recommending him as a lock, at least in your initial sides. Swan underwent his second right wrist reconstruction during the off-season, surgery which will see him removed from contact drills in the pre-season until at least February or March. Also add in the dreaded Round 8 bye, he’s looking like a good mid-year upgrade target, rather than a starting pick.
Buckley faced some criticism for using Swan up forward and in a more defensive role at times, other than a few individual games, it didn’t have a major impact on his season as a whole. Like Pendlebury, Swan has a laundry list of categories he excelled at, including 1st in Kicks per game, 2nd in Possessions per Game, 3rd in Uncontested Possessions per game, 7th in Inside 50’s per game and 5th in Super Coach points per game.
Will still have a high price tag, but I don’t see any reasons for Swan to have a major dip in his scores and should still be a top 10 SC player in 2014.
2014 SC Projection: 115-120
2012 SC Average: 122.9
2013 SC Average: 102.4
Starting Price: 497.2K
Beams suffered through a persistent quad injury during 2013, an injury that saw him out until Rd 16 and limited him to only 8 games for the year. Still, we’ve seen what a fit and firing Beams can provide us by going back and looking at his 2012, a year that saw him ranked 4th in Supercoach Points per game. Even with his down year by 2012 standards Beams was still ranked 2nd in Effective Disposals per game, 5th in Clearances per game, 4th in Handballs per game and 8th in Disposals per game.
Has also received an injury discount, which means we’ll likely want to pick him in our starting side to get the full worth of his cash generation. May provide some difficult decisions to those who want other Rd 8 Bye midfielders like Ablett, Pendlebury, Swan, Cotchin, Selwood and Dangerfield in their midfield, this is the reason I’ll be looking at guys like Swan as an upgrade target, rather than an initial selection.
2014 SC Projection: 115-120
2012 SC Average: 74.9
2013 SC Average: 76.2
Starting Price: 410.9K
Arrived in the trade that saw the departure of Heath Shaw to GWS, Adams is shaping up as a terrific pick for those who like to have a few mid-priced players in their midfield. A good clearance player, his scores have usually been lessened by his effective disposal ratio, which sits at an average rate of 63.8% for his career. That was with the young bodied GWS however, so he’ll be moving into a midfield that boasts two of the best midfielders in the game in Pendles and Swan, as well as other top notch players such as Beans, Sidebottom and Ball.
His disposal numbers will likely hover around the same rate of 18-20, if he can work on getting his efficiency up to the 70’s it should help his scoring game improve. Has only cracked the SC Ton once in his career, a one sided loss to the Hawks, he had 26 disposals and an impressive 9 tackles, which was well above his 3.2 average. Will be overlooked by many in favour of the higher scoring Magpies, but if you decide to go in another direction Adams is a decent look.
2014 SC Projection: 80-88
2012 SC Average: N/A
2013 SC Average: 74.8
Starting Price: 363.3K
Played the final 7 games of 2013, with the delisting of Darren Jolly Grundy now finds himself as the #1 ruckmen down at Collingwood. Was an absolute steal for the Pies at #18 in the 2012 National Draft, Grundy is looming as a fantastic choice for those of you who go into the season without picking a premium costing starting ruck. Costing only 363.3K, he would likely make a quality, and more importantly, cheap, ruck tandem with Aaron Sandilands, a move that will free up significant cash to upgrade other areas of your field.
Will most likely begin the year as the starting ruck ahead of Jarrod Witts, also keep an eye on the status of Ben Hudson, who is currently on the rookie list, but may be upgraded if the Pies feel Grundy and/or Witts aren’t ready yet. I don’t think that’s a likely scenario, but it is one that has a small chance of playing out.
2014 SC Projection: 75-85
2012 SC Average: N/A
2013 SC Average: N/A
Starting Price: 192.3K
Drafted at #6 in the National Draft, Scharenberg has been described by former Port Adelaide coach Mark Williams as the best schoolboy talent he had seen since Wayne Carey. High praise indeed! Scharenberg is looking like a potential Heath Shaw replacement for the Magpies in 2014; he’s able to kick on both feet, reads the play well, makes great decisions and has good aerial skills. I saw plenty of Scharenberg playing in the SANFL at the Bay in Glenelg (The Barron’s favourite watering hole is down there), I have no doubt in my mind that the Pies picked a terrific player with this kid. Like Aish, played senior SANFL football as a teenager (at 17 years old), he won’t have any issues adapting to AFL football.
Has had issues in the past with his feet, suffering from sesamoiditis, a condition that causes inflammation in the sesamoid bones of the feet. Keep an eye on his status leading up to the start of the season, the Collingwood medicos don’t think it’ll be a problem, but you never know with these things.
2014 SC Projection: 70-75
2012 SC Average: N/A
2013 SC Average: 40.9
Starting Price: 220.7
The most likely benefactor of Didak and Krakour leaving the side, he has the potential to slot in as a damaging small forward for the Magpies. He’s extremely quick and agile and also is terrific around the stoppages, which will make him extremely dangerous around the goals if he gets a game. Will be more expensive than your standard rookie, but has a year up in development on them, which is always a bonus. Was drafted as an on-baller, so there’s potential there for him to maybe switch into the midfield at times, which will be what’s needed to boost his scores.
The Pies have used similar sized players like Jamie Elliot, Jarryd Blair, Sam Dwyer, Josh Thomas and Kyle Martin in their side last year, with Elliot, Blair and Thomas all averaging in the 70’s and Dwyer in the 60’s. Keep an eye out for him though, as above, the Pies do have plenty of similar sized players running around, so it may be difficult for Kennedy to get a full seasons worth of games.
2014 SC Projection: 62-68
2012 SC Average: 81.5
2013 SC Average: 95.2
Starting Price: 513.4K
Cloke averaged his 2nd highest ever score in SC, narrowly missing out his best average of 97.7 that he achieved in 2011. The biggest problem with Cloke in SC is he just isn’t a consistent scorer and is usually a yo-yoing type player with his scoring. Has 13 games under his average of 95, his 2013 average score was boosted by over 5 points by a single game in Rd 4 that saw him score a massive 195 SC points.
He’s still a terrific player for the Pies, he ranked 1st in Contested Marks per game, 2nd in Total Marks per game, 1st in Total Marks Inside 50 per game, 1st in Goals Scored per game and 2nd in Total Goals with 68. On the downside, his goal kicking conversion rate was 51.26%, which isn’t even counting those shots on goal that went out of bounds on the full! I’m sure he’ll still be a popular pick for many SC players, but I prefer to avoid the big KPF units who need to rely on goal kicking to score big.
If Cloke has a bad kicking day at the park, it’s hard for him to post quality scores. He started off approximately 60-80K cheaper last year, so you’ll be back to paying full price for Cloke in 2014, which means he may be your most expensive player in your forward line if you select him (he’s the 4th most expensive forward this year). Not an appealing proposition for mine.
2014 SC Projection: 90-95
2012 SC Average: 106.2
2013 SC Average: 103
Starting Price: 555.3K
A quality pick in 2012 that saw him with FWD line eligibility, his appeal decreased somewhat when he was made a midfield only option in 2013. That has continued into 2014, so it’s hard to recommend him for SC, not because he’s a bad player, simply because there are 3 better options available from the Magpies in Pendlebury, Swan and Beams. Beams is almost 60K cheaper, but at his peak probably has a 15 point advantage over Sidebottom.
Still, he’s an extremely durable player and last year he ranked 12th in Kicks per game, 19th in Uncontested Possessions per game and 17th in Total Effective Possessions per game. He had 2 absolute stinkers in 2013 in Rd 3 against the Hawks where he scored 39 and Round 6 against the Saints where he scored 41. Take those two games out and his average jumps up to a career best 109.25
For many he may be lumped into the Skip ‘Em pile for the reasons above, but there may also be a few players who’ll take a look at him as a POD selection. Still a good player, but a 50/50 proposition for SC, but the Pies midfield is a deep one and with Beams being so cheap, it’s hard to recommend Sidebottom this year.
2014 SC Projection: 100-108
2012 SC Average: 62.3
2013 SC Average: 67.6
Starting Price: 364.5K
White came over from Sydney, where he had spent his previous 5 years bouncing back and forth from playing for the Swans and being demoted to the NEAFL. White has been a constant tease for a lot of footy fans, showing some absolutely incredible skills during games, but then disappearing for weeks after. That sort of form continued in 2013, in games like Rd 11 where he scored a 97, he followed it up with his next four scores of 28, 46, 57 and 78. Rd 18 he scored 103 and it was followed up with scores of 42 and 39. Rd 21 he produced a score of 121 and it was followed up with a 57 and an 80.
He’ a good player, but not a consistently good player, something that we strive to look for in Super Coach. The ton he scored in Rd 18 against Richmond was only his 3rd 100+ score out of 71 games. A game which due to the return of Kurt Tippett to the Swans saw Ricky Pettard manning him up, a player who is 10cm and a good 15-18 kgs lighter than White. He’s kind of like a bully at times, he’ll beat up the guys smaller than him where he can use his terrific combination of size and speed, but put him in a fair fight with a guy near the same size and he’ll turn to powder.
He’ll look likely to replace Quinton Lynch as the Pies 2nd tall /backup ruckman, he should have an easier time in Collingwood as he did in Sydney once Tippett returned and copped the majority of the defenders attention, which is why I think he’ll get some looks from a few SCers. I’ll have to recommend against White though, he’ll have you tearing your hair on the weeks he scores 40-50 points, which happens far too often to make it tolerable.
2014 SC Projection: 60-65
Quick list of lower ranked players to keep your eyes on during pre-season
Tim Broomhead – FWD – 119K
Patrick Karnezis – MID/FWD – 250K
Nathan Freeman – MID – 150K
That’s how The Barron see’s things playing out for the Pies in 2014. What do the members of the Jock Reynolds community think? Let us know your thoughts below or drop us a line on the Twitter @BarronVonCrow.