Johannisen – a Top Deck defender in 2017?
The role of the running half back has come back in vogue in the AFL. Heath Shaw has set the bench mark for this position in the past couple of years but there is a young apprentice beginning to emerge.
Jason Johannisen proved he can be one of the most damaging players in the competition with his performance for the Western Bulldogs during the finals series, including a BOG outing on Grand Final day.
His leg speed makes him a pivotal weapon in setting up forward thrusts for the Dogs, who look to get the ball in his hands as much possible. Johannisen is an attacking player who loves to push forward and kick a long goal from outside 50. His kick-to-handball ratio is outstanding and he loves distributing the pill by foot. All these attributes make him a tantalising option as a SuperCoach defender.
Despite an extended injury lay off, he enjoyed a break out season in 2016. Let’s have a look at his numbers:
|2017 Supercoach Price:||$513,599|
|Games last season:||13|
|Average in 2016:||94.4 (not including finals)|
|100+ games last season:||5|
|Sub 80 games last season:||4|
|Price range in 2016:||$418K – $462K|
|Missed games last season:||Missed rounds 5-14 with a serious hamstring injury|
Breakout year in 2016 after averaging 60, 64, 64 and 77 in previous four seasons
Won the Norm Smith in the Dogs Grand Final win
Drafted at pick 105 in the 2012 draft
“Top Deck” Johannisen started 2016 in a blaze of glory with scores of 130 and 123 in the first two matches before seriously injuring his hamstring in Round 4. His form was a little sluggish on his return in Round 16 and he took a few rounds to find his feet again. He then pumped out three tons in the final five rounds of the season leading into finals.
The 23-year-old was one of his side’s most prolific performers during the Bulldogs’ fairytale finals run. He delivered SuperCoach scores of 100 in the elimination final against the Eagles, 69 in the semi final against the Hawks, 102 in the prelim win over GWS and 92 in the Grand Final against the Swans. This equates to a steady finals average of 90.75.
The speedy South African’s meteoric rise last season will surely see him cop more opposition attention in 2017. He epitomises the way the Bulldogs play with his dash and ability to break lines and take the game on. Opposition clubs may now see him as one of the prime targets to shutdown if they want to stifle the Dogs’ game plan.
Durability is another risk with Johannisen. He’s one of the most fleet-footed players in the competition and with the way he runs, those hamstrings are always going to be put to the test. We all know he did a serious hammy injury while kicking a beautiful running goal from outside 50 in Round 4.
Due to his injury last year and the sluggish start upon his return, Johannisen should be reasonably priced this year at around
$480K (note from Jock has now been fully priced at $513,500). That’s reason in itself to have a look at him. Any defender priced under $500K with the potential to average over 100 needs to be seriously considered.
With a full pre season behind him and a renewed confidence in his own ability after a huge 2016, expect Jason to hit the ground running in 2017 and improve his overall average.
- Loves pushing forward to kick a goal
- Proven performer on the big stage and match-winner
- Scintillating run off half back – the Dogs look to get it to him at every opportunity
- The return of Bob Murphy should take some of the attention off him
- Looks to have a high ceiling and can go 130+ on a good day out
- Due to his emergence as an impact player, clubs my target him with a defensive tag
- Suffered a serious hamstring injury last year, meaning durability could be an issue
- Efficiency by foot is a little hit and miss at times
If he can stay injury free, I believe Johannisen has all the attributes to seriously challenge Sam Docherty as the number one defender in SuperCoach next season. The Dogs love getting the ball in his hands and his kick-to-handball ratio is exceptional.
STRONGLY CONSIDER – should be a top six defender in 2017
What are your thoughts on Jason Johannisen?
He’s a great man – get around him on twitter: @carlpfeiffer9
|This article has been penned as part of the Jock Reynolds Community Series, where anyone from within our proud community can have their say in front of their peers. These men and women have displayed the spirit of togetherness, positivity and community that we value significantly.|
Jason “Top Deck” Johannisen Community Poll: