Aaron Sandilands – worth the punt in Supercoach 2013?

Published by Jock on

Aaron Sandilands in Supercoach and Dreameam 2013I was very interested to hear Crouching’s Slipper suggest a sandy burger in last Sunday’s Podcast.

Not because I doubt Sandilands scoring capabilities but because I know how Crouching has much distain for the “Burn Man”. To be honest Sandilands has been my biggest “Burn Man” for the past two seasons. Last year I broke a golden rule of AFL Supercoach and picked Sandilands in my initial team despite the fact that he had a highly disrupted pre-season.

A lesson learned the hard way.

Sandilands picked up a calf injury that more than likely followed on from his Turf Toe injury the year before. I’m pretty sure he played no preseason games but was named round 1 and although I thought it might have been a stroke of genius picking him up (as I saw him average 125pts in the first four games), my joy was short lived. He ultimately came undone by a limited preseason and the calf injury resurfaced and he missed the next two games. He did come back in round seven and continued his strong scoring but my worst fears came to fruition in round 11 when he managed just two minutes and a “massive” score of 5 points after coming off with the same Turf Toe Injury that plagued him in 2011.

It was the round I gave up on my chances of taking out the top prize in 2012.

At that point with the low score in round 11 Sandilands average was 102.7pts, his value dropped below $500k and I had to waste two trades to replace him. I won’t lie community, it has left more than a bit of scar tissue.

So why is it then that I find myself at the start of the 2013 season not completely ruling out Aaron Sandilands in my team for this year?? Am I Mad ?? Well yes the name would suggest that I am but as my even madder father would say “there is a method to my madness”!!

There is no doubt that Sandilands is expensive at $602,400 Supercoach dollars but even at that starting price he is under-priced for his massive scoring potential. In all of the last three seasons he has had injury affected scores. In 2010 he played two games with “plantar fasciitis” (a swelling of the sole of your foot) scoring 45 and 58 in the two games prior to missing three games on the trot. In 2011 he got struck down with Turf Toe missing 9 games in total and he came off in round 14 with a score of 44.

And last year as I mentioned above, that wonderful score of 5. The table below shows his last three years averages versus his average taking out his injury affected scores.

Aaron Sandilands Supercoach

  • In two of the last three seasons if Sandilands had managed to stay on the park he would have actually finished with Super Elite Status. When you look at the stats you can’t really be all that surprised. 
  • He is a monster of a man coming in at 211cm tall and weighing in at 120kg. 
  • He has dominated the ruck division for the last 8 years and has ranked number one for hit outs per game in 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2012. 
  • Not surprisingly he has also consistently finished in the top 10 for contested marks per game over the last number of years too. 
  • He is often the target for Freo from their kick in’s as it is next to impossible to mark a ball over Sandi. If he doesn’t pluck it himself then it’s almost always going to ground or over the boundary where here’s there to win the next ball in anyway. 
  • As a pure Ruck he’s not too shabby in the disposal count either averaging over 15 a game since 2008 and this includes all those injury affected games.

The Ross Lyon Effect

Many columns across the AFL fantasy footy world have being devoted to “the Ross Lyon effect” and to be honest I haven’t read too many positive comments. We all know what transpired with Greg Broughton last year and not too many fantasy coaches would hold Ross Lyon close to their hearts that’s for sure. But like a common law in physics, for every action there is an equal and opposition reaction, namely while Ross Lyon may have negative effects on the fantasy scoring of some players he will have a positive effect on others. Sandilands is one such player who I believe will benefit from the “Ross Lyon Effect”.

At Saint Kilda Ross Lyon developed a game plan based around forward pressure, midfield zone defence and pushing numbers behind the ball. This brought him huge success at the Saints even if he couldn’t manage to end Jock’s long awaited desire for a Flag. Last year saw Fremantle adopt a similar game plan and as to be expected with any new game plan it took a while for Fremantle players to get used to it. When they did they marched up the ladder (sorry Saints fans) with a strong second half to the year to finish in a finals spot. So how is any of this relevant to Sandilands I hear you ask?

More stoppages = more points

Well, with this type of game plan the number of stoppages will increase and with an increase in stoppages there will be an increase in the number of ball ups. Therefore the number of times Sandilands will be involved in a ruck contest will rise. I use the word “contest” loosely as we all know that it isn’t much of a contest at all, as the stats show Sandilands dominates in this department.

After a full season under Ross Lyon learning his game plan and how he wants his team to play around the stoppages I’m expecting big things from Fremantle in 2013. It is more than fair to say the Fremantle we saw at the start of 2012 was a lot different to the Fremantle that finished the year. One stat that jumps out at me from last season is that Aaron Sandilands hit outs to advantage in the first four games last season was below 50% and yet he still managed to average 125pts a game in that period. Just in case you don’t understand how the scoring for a ruck contest works, its one point for a hit out and it’s three points for a hit out to advantage. So to put it simply Aaron averaged 46 hit outs over the first four games with only 47.8% to advantage. This means he scored 90 points from his ruck work.

If however he managed to increase his hit out to advantage to 70% his ruck work alone would be worth 110 points. Granted that’s before any sort of scaling is applies. As you know there is only – you guessed it – 3300pts on offer. I really can’t read too much into his middle part of the year because he was clearly injury effected but when he did come back in the last three games of the year Fremantle had adopted Ross’s game plan and his hit outs too advantage did increase accordingly. In fact Aaron managed to average 145.6 points per game on his return to the side and this was with him being eased back in and only averaging 38.6 hit outs per game.

It is not at all inconceivable that Aaron Sandilands will average 45 hit outs a game at 70% to advantage in 2013 … I’ll let you do the math on what that will mean for his average .. if you want a clue, it’s high! Very High!

The new ruck rules – will this harm big Sandy?

I can’t do my first write up on a ruck man and not mention a very important aspect of the ruck for 2013. The AFL has introduced a new rule that players are no longer allowed to engage in contact prior to the ball being thrown up. All the talk is that this is supposed to bring an advantage to the more agile ruck men like Nic Nat and not suit the more physical big men like Sandilands. However I don’t see this rule effecting Sandilands at all. In fact we might see the big man gain more free kicks from it. He is that tall that he doesn’t need to engage in any contact prior to the toss up. In the past it was other ruck men trying to (and failing) to gain an advantage by engaging with Sandilands, while maybe a third man went up for the ball.

That can’t happen during this year and as a result I can see his hit out numbers remain high and his free kicks increase.

The “BUT”

I know you’ve been waiting a while for this and yes you are correct there is a “BUT”.

I can’t just gloss over the fact that Sandilands has not completed a full season since 2008. His “Durability Factor” is just terrible and not even a man as Mad as myself could predict that 2013 will be any different. It should just be as simple as looking elsewhere in the ruck department in 2013 as there are plenty of perceived Mid-price bargains to choose from this year. However the majority of them all have injury concerns of their own and have been on limited programs so far this preseason. All of which bring the same concerns as Sandilands without the certainty of Monster Scores that are guaranteed when Sandilands is on the ground.

It’s also worth noting that Sandilands is on a full program this preseason. While there is no talk of him tearing up the track, the shear fact that he is on the track at all is the equivalent of us hearing that Swan or Cotchin or whoever is tearing it up.

Sandilands Supercoach injury

As you can see community I am very much undecided on the big man at this stage. A lot might depend on how the above listed Mid-pricers go in the NAB Cup but Sandilands is still very much in the frame for a jumper in my side. It is very much down to that risk versus reward scenario and with the extra trades we all have got this season maybe he is a bet worth taking.

I wouldn’t be at all surprised that if Sandilands does manage to get through the season even playing 21 games. The Supercoach gun who takes out the grand prize will have had Sandilands in their team. But then again if he goes down and misses five or six games the grand prize winner will have not given Sandilands a second look.

Where do you stand on the big man ??

The Mad Irishman’s Verdict

Current Status:  Elite

Starting price:   $602,400

2012 Average:  112.6pts

2012 Games Played:  12


2013 Predicted Status: Super Elite

2013 Predicted Average:  122 to 127pts (without any injury affected scores)

2013 Predicted Games:  who knows ??

Final Word: Big Risk .. Big Reward

Stay tuned ….

Mick the Mad Irishman

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love the article! great insight and depth into a tricky pick in Sandilands.
What do you think about my ruck selections though:

Goldstein, Leuenberger, (Currie, Rowe)

Have gone with Rowe because of his DPP status and i have Cox in the fowardline.


What's your thoughts on Mumford? Think i should have him instead of Goldy?


Spot on Tom, Mumford is very much an option and as Jock says if fit has the potential #1 ruckman .. but again there is no guarantee of fitness with Mumford either, I will be having a good look at him over the next few weeks


geez mummy is a risk too. Even with the injury improvement last year he really had a pretty big stinker in his terms. Having said that I have him in atm as price wise he is a steal, but if too many get on him or his NAB form stinks out he will go.


great article mick, you made some terrific points but at the end of this article i still remain undecided like you. lot to think about!


its a tough call all right footy_head … Just really excited to see some footy over the next few weeks and hopefully it will help with some decision making


Hey Mick.

Another top write up.

Sandi can get a 120 but could just as well missed 11 games. Truth will probably be somewhere around 18 games @ 110.

Just too high risk…(especially after the tale of Staker this week)



Fair call Jimbo – Hows life over in Traralgon ??

Risk is super high all right, but can you name a ruck option without any risk, a lot of the value picks are in the same boat as sandi, the same boat as Staker


I'm taking the punt. If you remove the 5pt game from last years home and away season he would have averaged 122. Super Elite numbers.


Agreed! If he pings in the first game …. You are in the lead pack.
I'm taking the calculated risk also.


could be one of those hero or zero moments


really love the temptation.. Sandi has real appeal and huge POD, but the interruption to his preseason with an injury (whatever it was supposed to be) is a concern. He has played ONE full season his whole career, hard to see that improving. The old body is wearing out and not a full season for 3 years ? risk? that's the right word!

Though the new rules will suit him as Mick the mighty maddy points out. My thought is 600k is better spent but love your work mick great article and well worth the consideration. With Marci, NicNat, Hamish all injured picking the right ruckman will give an advantage in the mids and backs upgrade saving trades to catch all teh rising stars and cashing cows.
Maybe Bellchambers? Ryder will spend plenty of time forward and was elite last year but Bellchambers will play lead ruck this year and with likely 22 games is a good option for a full season's score and suspect he will push avg 100ish this year. Also his goal kicking will have improved too as all of Essendon's players will have, all that practice 'shooting' last year has to have helped?


Really good input mr. TheBIGShot – 600k is not cheap by any means are there are a lot of safer options in other lines for that much thats for sure .. but how will that leave the ruck line ??

Bellchambers is a very interested one, I know Hird has said he will be no. Ruck with Paddy playing more forward but that just might mean Bellchamber will play 60% ruck 40% forward and Ryder the opposite – might see them more average out between 90 to 100 .. is that enough for your ruck positions for the year ??

Its a complicated line this year that's for sure


nice view Mick. NAB will show re the Dons. But Ryder had a big year based on Hille's injury. . but think the Dons might have something to prove? Well if they stay registered that is. But given how lightly Adelaide got off I anticpate that Essendon will likely end up with more higher draft picks as punishent…lol!

On the 600k it offers a lot in the fwd line (given you have all the super elites you want in the mids) this yr so could that be the better spend ?. But who? Cheap in the rucks and hope like hell they go ok and up the spend in the mids and fwds???. Seems to be a classic mind set for 2013 and when it comes to launch day I would think doing it might be harder than saying it. 🙂 ta Mick Love your articles mate.


I had sandifloor as captain last year when he scored 5


I feel your pain young macca, ouch !!!


What do you guys think of Jenkins, Fur man, Currie, and Grundy as a starting ruck division or is that a bit light on?


Damn you, I thought I had my ruck division set! Now you will have me pondering long into the night…


There is times in supercoach jock as u well know, that u gotta keep it safe and simple and other times where u gotta risk it to win the biscuit. With all the room in our forward line for our other DPP ruck/ forwards and this fellas proven pedigree and clear underpricing… And for once being a point of difference which he never is, having a so far (touch wood) flawless preseason, he is such a good CALCULATED risk.


Exactly right Jock. If you're not taking a punt on players like macaffer, staker (well not anymore) and possible break out players he is a suitable risk to take.

I think if you go with him you need that DPP swing player (like rowe or mcbean) as ruck 4, and a combination of cox/ryder/roughie up forward to cover any short term injuries


Hi Lads ,

Im going with Loonyberger and the Orange Roughy as my R1 R2. Cox to the Forward line and The big Mcbean as my DPP with Roughy . ……… Thoughts anyone ??



Loony has some major risk too – keep an eye on him during the NAB .. like all the other options


Fantastic Mad Mick! I'm tossing up between Sandy/Cox/Ryder. I like the risk of Sandy though. He is a monster scorer and with the extra trade it might not be the end of the world if you have one of Cox/Ryder down forward to step right in his place if something happens. It's certainly got me thinking and prospect of 120's has me salivating! But with him and Berger in the Rucks I think I might just be asking for trouble!



The Combination of Sandiburger is risky alright – They could both come undone and it won't matter if you have a swing into the forward line if they are both out. I think maybe only go in with one of those two .. Lets have a look at some NAB before we make up our mind.


I know preseason form is not that big an indicator, but in my mind the only thing that will stop Sandilands from being the top scoring (or at least top 3) ruckman this year is fitness. I can't find the article (was on the afl's website), but in preseason this year Sandilands apparently is running his best ever 2km trial times (i.e., he appears to be in the best shape of his career), he says he is completely over the turf toe, and I believe De Boer (in another article on the dttalk website) has said he is back to his best. If he gets through NAB without any hiccups and looks to be in his usual form, I'll be rockin the Sandiburger this year, with Cox in my forward line providing some insurance if either of the two breakdown again.



Great inside into Sandi, thanks very much.

I will go even further than you and say he will 100% be the top scoring ruckman if he stays fit. I think after reading all the imput from the community I'll be locking him in too.


Well. So much for that. Apparently Sandilands out for 8 weeks with a hammy injury. I guess the brings him back in around round 3 or so, but I don't think I'll be taking a punt on him now. Durability obviously becomes a big concern. Sorry Sandi, you've been a DT legend, but I guess it's time to look elsewhere. Thinking Sam Jacobs at this stage.


Gotta take the risk to get the reward!!!
For me:
Sandy, Burger (Rowe, Currie) with Roughead in the forwards, ready to switch with Rowe should Sandy cop a knock.


First off, great article. We really are spoiled as a community to have writers like you guys, and it's great to see that you are just as successful with the wordprocessor as you are in a cage fight!

My thought right now: I understand that's there's a bit of a risk/reward factor, but it seems to me like a lot of people are gambling big-time on Leuenberger at the moment. Right now, I really don't think I will – and seeing that he's been on a restricted program this offseason doesn't fill me with the utmost confidence that he will stay healthy.

I feel like an injury to the Berger could really deflate teams if it happens early – he might seem like a bargain now, but he won't if you have to try to replace him before he's made you any money. I prefer taking the risk on Sandilands, as at least he will give me more liquid capital (as Higgo likes to call it) if he does get hurt. What do you think of my thinking, Jock and Mick?


Michael, great to hear from you mate,

I think you're spot on, for all the talk of risk related to the Sandman I think people are forgetting that there is as much risk if not more with Leuenburger – At least with Sandilands you are guaranteed some big numbers, Leu is yet to prove his scoring potential – is a run of 8 high scoring games at the end of 2011 season enough to justify the hype ?? The more comments I read here the more I'm leaning towards a Sandi Gold combination


With This Ruck issue in mind I have made a fool proof ruck set up…..maybe…..Any thoughts?

TEAM NAME: Trucks of Rucks
DEF: B. Goddard, B. Gibbs, J. Grimes, N. Vlastuin, J. Pittard, S. Docherty (D. Terlich, D. Van Unen)
MID: G. Ablett jnr, D. Swan, S. Pendlebury, T. Cotchin, M. Murphy, O. Wines, K. Mitchell, B. Crouch (J. O'Meara, J. Viney)
RUC: A. Sandilands, M. Leuenberger (S. Rowe, J. Witts)
FWD: D. Cox, J. Roughead, T. Rockliff, D. Martin, T. Varcoe, B. Macaffer (S. Kerridge, T. Sumner)
CASH LEFT: $1,700



Are you a Collingwood Supporter ?? Swan and Pendles in the middle ??
I like the look of your team, very strong forward line, looks menacing .. and as you said nice swing sets into your forward form the ruck.

Word of warning though, have a look at jocks do's and don't post he put up today. Agree with every word and its dangerous to pick teams based on swing sets ?? You have got to ask yourself is that the best team you can pick ?? Then worry about swing sets


no not a collingwood supporter….I still have all my own teeth…(lol)….Just that I hate my sides without Swan and/or Pendles….cant sleep at night if I've left one out.


1st things 1st Great article again Mick
Next The combination of any Rucs with Sandilands is frought with great Risk and also Great reward, I suppose it comes down to testicular fortitude
Personal sob story: I Had Sandilands last year and I had Mumford in my stating line up, but last year we had cheap covers I had The big 'O' and Giles. Can you pick up what I'm puttin down?
Definate NO Sandilands from me this year as a starter
Last week Mummy at training tapped out just 3 from 21 Ruc drills was haranged by all and saundry for his Sh1t work ethic and tap drills Guess what NOT on my team man. Cox is in my Rucs until the return of Dog Dog appling the KISS rule (Keep It Simple Stupid) that s my 2 cents rant over the memory of last year is fading reaching for a stubby of Carlton Draught reciting mantra OoooSAA OOOSaaa


Dools, have felt the burn from sandi myself – however i have had to get myself extra supportive briefs over the off season because by balls are growing daily and I think Sandi might just get the jumper.

Didn't hear that story about Mummy. Where did you get this gold ??


mate went to Sydney for w/end and saw drills being conducted by Swans. Eyes nearly fell outa of head at the drills and apathy seen by Mummy


how did the rest of the squad look?

Not sharking on us are you mate…….secretly he trained the house down and you are throwing us off there scent. 😉

seriously, was it a high intensity session?



G'fday Jimbo… I do not shark ..I have never Sharked I do not en tend to shark I'm just telling U what zI saw/….The End …Brad Dick WCE is highly possible as a Fwd pocket unfortunatly this means LeCras will NOT play in MIDs…Go figure?


Gday Ladies n fellow germs,

Just wondering about player like :-
A cordy from the bulldogs
L Tapscott from the demons an d
B thornton from the GWS

Im trying to think outside the square with some of my players and still got $310 000 left


been toying with the idea of Cordy all summer but would be fools gold just yet. I think the kid can play and as he ages he will gain strength and spend more time in the ruck. Maybe 2014?

Tapscott is a mystery to me atm but showed huge potential in 2011. Maybe the 2nd year blues saw his SC score drop to 52 from 57 when we hoped it would go up. Would need to lift but if he is your only smokey go with him. Neeld is a problem in my mind he is all about building a football side instead of making it easy for us SC coaches.

Thornton is 29yo so not over the hill and averaged 80 points in 2009 but only played 7 games last year. Big investment and unlikely to be anywhere near premium but he might give you a lift into one.


B thornton from the GWS is the pick mate….Will Play Will make Score is imntregrel to GWS Defence. ….NICE


Sandi out for 8 weeks…….hamstring….


Well that sorts out that dilemma. Lucky for all those like myself who were going to roll the dice that it happened now and not round one.


Hey Jock,
What are your thoughts on Angus Graham from Adelaide?