The Defensive Headache
If you are anything like me you would have got sick when you logged into your Supercoach account on Sunday evening to witness the carnage we all feared and all knew was coming.
In a year where I failed to drop below 2100 in any round I managed to just scrape past 1600 in round 13. The only consolation was that everybody else was in the same boat and I only dropped down the rankings 50 odd spots. However these byes have now left a bad taste in my mouth and I fear those dark round 13 clouds have yet to pass and there is a very serious outstanding issue left over in many of our teams after these byes. Our Defensive Lines.
- Disclaimer: In saying that, the bad taste in my mouth could just be the left over taste of my own spew, as a good portion of the consumed “End of Byes Party” drink ended back up in Jock’s sink, only this time without the aluminium cans surrounding them and with little extra bits of carrot. I didn’t even eat any carrots.
A lot of us up until this point have been running with at least one rookie defender on the park in Goodes (owned by 59.39% of teams), Vlastuin (owned by 49.8% of teams) or Terlich (owned by 26.97% of teams). To put this in perspective only Brendan Goddard finds himself in more teams than either Goodes or Vlastuin, while Terlich is the 8th most common selected defender.
I’m sure some of you reading this have had a combination of the three on the park and in some extreme cases all three. The one round we needed these guys to produce the goods was round 13 and only Terlich owners could come away saying they were happy. Goodes came up with his worst score of the year with a 61, while Vlastuin could only manage a petty 31. Matty White for the tiger’s managed more in a quarter coming on as the sub.
I think for all of us who thought we could run until the end of the season carrying one or more of these popular rookies, the dream is over. Scores like these popping up in your team is going to cost you in your overall ranking and potentially cost you some league wins. Of that trio I would say Goodes is the most likely to keep his scoring up but the problem there is Goodes has hurt his wrist and is a good chance to miss this weekend against Melbourne. Even then he has only cracked the tonne on two occasions the last back in round 4 and his top scores now tend to be in the 90’s.
Add to the rookie dilemma that many of us just traded in Grant Birchall, only to get 3 quarters output out of him as he was subbed off with a knee compliant and reports yesterday say he will be out for between 4 to 6 weeks after damaging the posterior cruciate ligament. With only ten rounds left to play I think this is too long to carry him on our benches and he too needs to go.
So it’s one thing identifying a problem but the really difficult thing can be trying to find a solution to it.
The defensive line this year has been hard work. Some players have come with great promise and amounted to nothing, others have sucked us in with massive scores only to completely drop off as soon as we’ve paid top dollar for them, and meanwhile only one has managed to play every game and average over 100. Thank you Brendon Goddard. So in one aspect I feel it is now time to part with our rookie backmen but the fear is whoever I decide to get in could be just as bad. So thought I’d throw a little of my own analysis at this equation and see if there are any solutions out there for us all.
The No Brainers
In this year of unpredictability there have been some shinning lights and if you still don’t have any of the following men then I would be doing everything in your power to get them in. For these are the no brainers and should occupy spots D1, D2 and D3 everybody’s teams who are serious about supercaoch.
Brendon GoddardAverage: 104.83 Breakeven: 77 Current Price: $500,900 Priced to Average: 97.45 Games Played: 12 The Mad Irishman’s Verdict 2013 Predicted Status: Premium Predicted Average from here on out: 105-109pts
Final Word: Hasn’t smashed it like some thought he might after his change of club but has been Mr. Consistent down back and the ever reliable. Had a season high score of 129 in his last outing and I’m betting he’ll kick on from here and have an even better second half of the year. If you are one of the 39% of coaches who don’t own him I suspect you probably won’t be reading this, however in the off chance you are, do yourself a favour and get him this week.
Bryce GibbsAverage 104.89 Breakeven 54 Current Price $503,300 Priced to Average 97.91 Games Played 9 The Mad Irishman’s Verdict 2013 Predicted Status: Premium Predicted Average from here on out: 107-112pts
Final Word: Bryce has been a revelation under Mick Malthouse and is having a far better year than he’s been given credit. His lowest score for the year was 65 in the game against Adelaide where he was subbed off at halftime with a tight hamstring. If you take this injury affected score out of his averages he’d actually be the top averaging defender with an average of 109.9 pts per game. With his hamstring problem behind him and now with Marc Murphy out I can only see a continuation of the high scores Gibbs has been getting, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he was the top scoring defender from here on out. Surprisingly only in 35% of teams, so if you are one of the 65% of coaches who don’t have him, I’d be jumping on this week.
Heath ShawAverage 107.11 Breakeven 55 Current Price $557,900 Priced to Average 108.54 Games Played 9 The Mad Irishman’s Verdict 2013 Predicted Status: Premium Predicted Average from here on out: 104-108pts
Final Word: Heath is only selected by 17% of all teams so is still somewhat of a unique player. I suspect this figure is on the low side not because we all doubt Shaw’s ability but because many of us have some serious trust issues when it comes to selecting Heath. Notorious for missing games and been a late out, many still not forgiving him for his eight week suspension back in 2011, he has already missed three games this year.
He is however the top averaging defender showing that when he does play he does score big. Warnings do have to be made that he isn’t as consistent as the other two no brainers and he is likely to come up with the occasional dud score. With his price as high as it currently, you certainly won’t be getting value for money at picking up Shaw now but if you already have both Goddard and Gibbs in your side then he is the next (and only other) best thing.
I said last week that I’d eat my hat if he didn’t drop below 500k again this year but with Birchall going down I’ll be jumping on Shaw this week, fully priced and expecting more pain from the Supercaoch Gods. You watch he’ll have that dud score this week.
Every year there are players that flirt with taking their game to the next level and suck us in thinking this is the year they break out. Early season form showing nothing but promise as they churn out 100+ scores at ease, only then to go missing at the first sign of an opposition player showing some interest in them. (Grant Birchall would be in this category too if he wasn’t unavailable)
Pearce HanleyAverage 97.82 Breakeven 131 Current Price $435,100 Priced to Average 84.67 Games Played 11 The Mad Irishman’s Verdict 2013 Predicted Status: Strong Midpricer Predicted Average from here on out: 87-92pts
Pearce is probably the first County Mayo man in history to be called a flirt.
Known more for his battled hardened qualities, Peace has taken to this beautiful game better than most who have come from the Emerald Isle. Showed some really promising signs at the tail end of last season that he could become very fantasy relevant in 2013, and those who selecting him at the start of the year on the back of that form must have thought they were onto a winner. Pearce was averaging 111pts per game after round 9, priced at $547,600 and every one without him was pulling their hair out trying to get him in. If it wasn’t for the upcoming bye in round 11 I dare say a lot more people would have got him in too.
Lucky for them they didn’t as Pearce’s own early season form was to be his own detriment as he has now become Brisbane’s number one marked man. In the last three he has only managed to average 60.7pts per game and his price has plummeted as a result. Like most who cop a hard tag for the first time he hasn’t managed to break through it and for Hanley this is another thing he will have to learn when playing this game. Gaelic football is a lot different in this regard and he would have never played a game where the opposition’s sole purpose was to stop him from getting the ball. Because the hard tag has been so successful on Hanley I suspect that opposition coaches will continue to send their first tag to him as a guarantee that they are shutting down one of Brisbane’s most damaging players. For example there would be no point in trying to tag Redden when he could break the tag with Hanley running free as well.
It is for that reason that I fear for Hanley’s output in the short term anyway. Voss has tried to move him to the forward line to break the tag but he looks lost up there. The best thing for his development would be to play him on the ball so he can learn to deal with the attention. He is a fast learner and I think this period of his career will only make him better going forward. Brisbane’s draw does open up on the run home and maybe if the likes of Rich, Rockliff or Redden start dominating it will force the opposition to send the number one tag away from Hanley.
Final Word: I would monitor the situation over the next few weeks to see if he is managing the tag any better or if it has moved away from him all together. However if you were looking for an option this week I would have to recommend you look elsewhere as there is just too much risk associated with his marked man status. Also his price is set to drop even more in the coming weeks as that 42 he scored at the weekend sits in his rolling average.
Hamish HartlettAverage 89.58 Breakeven 83 Current Price $432,100 Priced to Average 84.06 Games Played 12 The Mad Irishman’s Verdict 2013 Predicted Status: Strong Midpricer Predicted Average from here on out: 86-91pts
I have been reminded by many in our beloved community about a passing comment earlier in the season when I said the following about Grant Birchall after round 4;
Mick’s Gut Feeling: The tag is coming. Very interested to see how his disposal numbers will be affected by Brain Lake coming into the team. At his current price there are enough doubts to keep me away. Am sure he will have low scores like the 68, 71, 75, 66 and 55 he had last season and once a few of them run through his rolling average I will consider bringing him in at a lower price. Anything over 500k is too pricey for a defender at this stage of the year. If you want a defender for this round Hartlett is your man. Over 70k cheaper and more likely to average more than Birchall from this point on.
Those last two lines will haunt me for a while. Now you know if I was a politician I would tell you that I didn’t actually tell a lie in that statement. Hartlett would have saved you 70k and he has averaged more than Birchall since this statement was written. However this probably says more about Birchall’s form that it does about Hartlett’s. When I did write that statement I too was sucked into Hartlett’s early season form and I will put my hands up and say I thought at that point in time Hartlett would comfortably finish inside the top 6 scoring defenders for the year. After 12 rounds he currently sits 8th in overall points scored and 19th in average points per round.
After 5 rounds he had 4 scores over 115, with monster scores of 140 and 144 in rounds 4 and 5. However just like Pearce, Hamish’s own early season form was to be his own detriment as he became a marked man inside Port’s engine room, and the similarities with Pearce don’t end there either. Because the hard tag was so successful on Hamish opposition coaches have continued to send their first tag to him as it guarantees that they are shutting down one of Port’s most damaging players, even though through different spells both Boak and Corns have been far more damaging they have been given easier rides as Hartlett has become an easy shut down target.
I had thought that if Hamish could go injury free this season that he would be a real chance to be a premium defender but what I didn’t take account of was his inability to handle a tag. He is currently well down on his best and you can see that his confidence has been shoot too, not being able to influence the game like he knows and we know he can. It is for that reason that it is hard to foresee his early monster scores coming back any time soon and it is most likely that he will fizzle out the rest of the season with scores in the 80’s and 90’s.
Final Word: I hope for my sake that I’m proved wrong again by Hartlett because I have him cemented into my backline with little prospect of moving him on. However currently I don’t see where those early season monster scores can come from and if I was looking to bring in a defender this week it certainly wouldn’t be Hamish Hartlett. 10 weeks can be a long time in football so let’s hoping I have these last two lines highlighted at the seasons end.
Tomorrow I will look at the forgotten men in the backline, the tight arse options and some unique break out contenders. Remember you will also have Mr Crimmin’s Flesh for Fantasy and Jock’s video advise tonight. Big week ahead folks.
Mick the Mad Irishman
Mad as a cut snake, spews in Jock’s sink, brain the size of Phar Lap, and one hell of a fantasy footballer. Click here for more from the Mad Irishman
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