It is a great honour to receive the call from Jock to reveal my current side to be picked apart by your beautiful selves before the 2017 season.
Though I must admit the timing is not ideal. The side you will see is a very early iteration of version 3 of The Be Sharps 2017 as I’ve finally lost patience with Todd Goldstein’s spluttering pre-season. There was a little re-structuring needed to fit the big bearded bastard Max Gawn at R1 for this team. My flexibility has been compromised by having clearly the three most expensive players in the game, but at least it saves the headache of getting them in later.
My structure is mostly Guns and Rookies, with David Swallow, Aaron Sandilands and Paddy Ryder slotting in as mid-pricers. Patch’s article about mid-pricers has been referenced several times on this site since it was posted and with good reason, it was bloody brilliant. It confirmed my long-standing hunch regarding mid-pricers, that you only pick them if they have exposed form as premium scorers. All three fit into this category so I feel comfortable running with them despite the inherent risks. For this reason there’s no room for Isaac Heeney or any other breakout contenders.
I won’t bother dwelling on rookies (or my ‘Babies on Board’) here as they’ll be chopped and changed during the JLT series.
But without further ado..
..let’s meet The Be Sharps 2017.
For so long the backline has been the bane of our SuperCoach existences, but not this year. There’s reliable premiums, fallen premiums, breakout contenders and robust rookie options, the 2017 crop has the lot.
I believe Docherty and Shaw are the safest bets to finish as top 6 defenders at the end of the season. They both do it all, win intercept possessions, get plenty of it from teammates and use it well. I generally have a no key defender rule, but key defenders generally aren’t as good as Alex Rance. I expect there’ll be plenty of heavy lifting to do in the Richmond defence this year and no one does it better than Rance. He’s averaged 98 in consecutive seasons and I think he’ll continue in that vein. Rory Laird has spent plenty of time in that spot but he shares a bye with Adams & Shaw, so Rance edges him.
I wrote the community article on Taylor Adams and was far more confident in him before I did my research and discovered his poor history with injury and suspension. But I watched him play mostly out of the centre square in Collingwood’s recent intraclub match, so his scoring potential is too tempting to pass up. I believe he can average in the 105 – 110 range and end the season as the top ranked defender if he can keep his body right.
My first two midfielders need no introduction. They’re durable and locks to average 120+. I don’t know where I threw the key for these two and I’m not going to waste my time looking for it. Fyfe’s also a no brainer. He does have an injury history but he also has a rare ability to post SuperCoach scores. Will return with a point to prove having lost his mantle as king of the AFL last year. Selwood gets the nod just ahead of Rory Sloane. Like Sloane, Selwood has a soft early draw, playing just two finalists from last year – Hawthorn and Norf – and plenty of appearances at Kardinia Park through the middle rounds. Selwood has a marginally better track record than Sloane, so is in.
I’m backing the Bont to be a top eight midfielder for this year and well, for the next ten as well. His 2016 average of 107 is slightly misleading. He split his time with stints up forward for the first six rounds, before moving permanently into the middle and averaging 116 from that point, plus 114 in the finals for good measure. I expect this output as a minimum from him this year. He will lose the ability to go third man up, but this will just allow him to wreak more havoc at ground level. Lock.
The two premos not in the side I’ll be tracking most closely are Tom Rockliff and Patrick Cripps. Rockliff’s best year is better than Dangerfield’s 2016 (ave 132 v 131) and he’s slimmed down to hopefully spend more time on the park. If his head’s right and he looks fit I may start him. Either way, I will certainly end the season with him as there’s no better finisher in the game. Cripps was firmly entrenched in my midfield before news of his back injury broke so I’m cautious for now. But if he gets through a preseason game or two and looks 100% hitting Round 1 he’ll be extremely difficult to pass on.
Swallow is one of my riskier selections but provides irresistible value at that price as long as he continues his faultless preseason. I expect an average of around 90-95 and an appreciation of $200k prior to his Round 9 bye, allowing me to flip him to a fallen premium.
— Jock Reynolds (@jock_reynolds) February 12, 2017
I had been reasonably comfortable with Goldstein at R1 and no Gawn as my major POD of the season, until I saw this tweet;
Roo Todd Goldstein on sidelines for preseason games as North fitness guru takes step back. Lengthy injury list https://t.co/YF1yFad4cL
— Jay Clark (@ClarkyHeraldSun) February 8, 2017
It was the last straw for me. Goldy has been a great contributor for The Be Sharps for several years now, but his services won’t be required this year, not to begin with at least.
The result was I didn’t really have any choice but to put big Maxy in at R1. Though I am warming to the possibility of picking Brodie Grundy. So far I haven’t had him in as I feel his ceiling is around a 105-108 average which would fall short of Goldy and Gawn as the number two ruck. But if Goldstein’s preseason keeps going the way it is maybe that figure will be enough to secure the second spot behind Gawn. I’ll reassess this as we get closer to Round 1.
As for Sandilands, my thinking is pretty much the same as what Kev outlined yesterday in his team reveal. The big prick just needs to give me six to eight weeks of good scoring before he appreciates enough to turn into a premium ruckman who won’t break down and/or be rested. Worst case scenario if he does go down early, I have Ryder as cover or can use Jarrod Witts to perform Sandiland’s role. I feel the potential reward outweighs the risk involved in Sandi’s selection.
I’ll plug Darcy Cameron in at R3 if it looks like he’s a chance for a game after the JLT, but for now Strnadica holds the floating donut role.
I don’t have the stomach to ride the key forward rollercoaster so it’s the two Doggies flying the (premiership) flag up forward. I anticipate these two will finish as top-six forwards and depreciate far less than the big blokes around them.
Ryder is in partially as a foil to Sandilands, but I also think that in isolation he’s a valid selection. He’s twice averaged triple figures as the primary ruckman previously, the role he figures to hold for the Power this year. Even if he doesn’t reach those heights following his suspension, he’ll still fill a valuable position in my finished team as ruck cover, saving me a trade later on.
Jarryd Roughead was the sacrificial lamb to make way for Gawn in the ruck. It looks as though we’ll have enough rookies to sustain a 2-1-5 structure like this so I feel reasonably confident without Rough in the side.
I have $165k in the bank following the Roughie downgrade. I’ll likely leave it in the bank for now as a buffer in case the higher priced rookies look tasty or the lower priced ones don’t emerge as I hope they will. There’s the option to bump Swallow up to Beams or Murphy, but I’m not overly buoyant on either of those two as options.
The side is fairly vanilla at this stage, especially now that it includes Gawn, but I think PODs are far more important at the end of the season as opposed to the start.
So now I’ll throw it open to the community for their opinion. Come at me. (But please be gentle, it’s my first time!)