Good day community and welcome to this second edition of our pre-preseason analysis of traded players.
Today will look at the very first official trade of this trade period involving one, Colin Sylvia.
Trade: Melbourne to Fremantle
2013 Average: 86.11
2014 Starting Price: $443,000 (approx.)
When Paul Roos was announced as the Demons head coach in the off season, I wondered if Sylvia would hang around for the next chapter in the club’s history. I’m sure Paul Roos would have done everything he could to persuade him to stay but I don’t think anyone can begrudge him the move to Fremantle.
He has had 10 years now at Melbourne and in that time he has only experienced finals football once, all the way back in 2006. I am guessing the then 20 year Sylvia couldn’t have envisioned the lack of success the club was about to experience over the next 7 years. So when a club who is most probably going to be playing finals for the duration of the three year contract they are offering you comes along, and a serious flag contender at that, I think I’d have come to the very same decision that Colin has made.
You won’t find too many people that will dispute that Sylvia is a great football talent. However he finds himself in that bracket of players that hasn’t fully lived up to their potential, and maybe unfairly so. Drafted at pick three in 2003 expectations were always very high and after showing glimpses of class in his early years at the Dees, the consistency of performance never really followed and the glimpses remained just that, glimpses.
From a fantasy point of view, this obvious talent has had many of us sucked in over the years. However like his on field performances his fantasy scores were also inconsistent and he remained the proverbial flirt, never quite breaking into the elite bracket.
The table below shows Sylvia’s SC performances over the last 5 seasons.
His best Supercoach season was back in 2011 but apart from that near premium year from Colin all his other averages have fallen between 80 and 90 points. It is also worth noting Sylvia has never played a full 22 rounds of football in his career to date, and he is now going into his 10th season.
If we quickly have a look at his stats over the last three years we can see where he is falling short from becoming a premium Supercoach player and if there is any area’s we can see him improving at Fremantle.
The first obvious stat we can look at as to why he has never broken into the premium bracket is simply his disposal numbers. He has never averaged above 20 disposals a game. 2011 was his best year in this department where he managed an even 20 disposals a game.
Then there is the problem of when he does get it he doesn’t use it very well. Although he has been talked up as a quality ball user and an intelligent footballer his stats don’t quite show this. His best disposal efficiency over the last three years again came in 2011 when he had a modest effective disposal percentage of 68.5%. Last season it was only 63.9%. The clanger count is also high, coming in at an average of one clanger for every 7.2 disposals Sylvia has had over the last three years.
The rest of his stats aren’t too bad but like the perception of much of Sylvia’s career to date, they are pretty average in comparison to the elite performers of the competition.
Now we all know that a change of club has transformed players fantasy scores in the past but can we expect Sylvia to finally break into the premium category under the guidance of his new coach, Ross Lyon at Fremantle?
The two club’s fortunes couldn’t have been much further apart last season. As we know Fremantle made it to the Grand final, while Melbourne managed just two wins all year and narrowly avoided the wooden spoon. So as you might expect the two clubs stats are also very far apart. Let’s have a look at their comparisons and see if there any obvious areas we can see improvement in Sylvia’s stats at his new club.
As you can see Melbourne only beat Fremantle in two categories. They won more free kicks and had more rebound 50’s, which would make a lot of sense since the ball spent so much time inside Melbourne’s defensive 50. They occasionally won the ball in there and kicked it out, but as we all remember it didn’t take too long to get back in there.
The easy thing to assume is that because Sylvia has moved to a new club that gets more of the ball, uses it better, has more clearances, more inside 50s, more tackles and more goals that these stats will trickle down to Sylvia and all his stats will go up as a result. This is a very dangerous assumption to make and one that could have a very negative outcome for your Supercoach or AFL Fantasy team. We’ll have to look a little closer at Fremantle to be able to speculate as to where Sylvia might improve, or if he improve at all.
First up, while Sylvia has played a lot of time through the midfield at Melbourne, I actually don’t think he will get very much time in there with his new club. In fact I wonder if Sylvia would be at Fremantle at all if it was the Dockers who took out last year’s flag instead of the Hawks? I say this because I feel Sylvia was brought to Fremantle to give them more composure inside their forward 50. Fremantle had their chances in last year’s final but failed to take their opportunities and as a result came up short. I assume they will hope Sylvia will bring them that class and composure to be able to take their chances, instead of blazing away.
Fremantle’s midfield is pretty handy as it is, with the likes of Fyfe, Barlow, Mundy, Crowley, Hill, Mzungu etc. This midfield core might just be a little bit more threatening than Melbourne’s core, and so I really can’t see Sylvia playing as much time in the middle as he did at Melbourne.
Instead I expect to see him as an almost permanent forward. Fremantle aren’t exactly an inside 50 machine either and although this might be an area they will aim to improve on in 2014 they actually only ranked 15th in the competition for inside 50’s. Surprisingly they only had St Kilda, GWS and Melbourne below them in this category. That being the case, it would be very hard to see Sylvia’s disposal count increase and if anything we might even see it decline.
On the positive side of things Colin as always been very good at applying pressure at the breakdown and has averaged over 4.5 tackles a game with Melbourne over the last three years. This is one area of his game I can see improving at his new club as Fremantle rank very high when it comes to average tackles per game. They sat 6th in the competition last year. I suspect Sylvia will be utilised to apply forward pressure at Fremantle and we could very well see his average tackle count closer to 5 a game next year.
Also if I am correct that he will play a lot more time forward next year then it will be easy to assume he will kick a lot more goals, especially playing in a more successful team. He only averaged 0.5 goals a game last season, and in his best season in 2011 he averaged 1.3 goals a game. I expect he will be more in line with another Fremantle forward in 2014, in the shape of Hayden Ballantyne and average 1.6 or more goals a game.
This all being said I don’t see the improvement in both the tackle count and goal tally offsetting his low disposal numbers, and I can’t foresee Sylvia breaking out into premium fantasy player at his new club. Instead I see his current averages remaining pretty close to the averages he has amassed during his career to date. If he starts training with the midfield group, and gets a lot of time in the guts in the preseason I might have to reconsider but I really don’t see that happening.
The Mad Irishman’s Verdict
2013 Predicted Status: Strong Midpricer
Predicted Average 2014: 87-92 points
Status: Not Considered
Just can’t see him getting enough of the ball in a Fremantle team to push him up near to a premium fantasy player. Starting the year fully priced he just doesn’t offer an incentive to put him in my team and for those reasons I won’t be considering Sylvia in my team in 2014. Will you?
Mick The Mad Irishman
- 27th overall in Supercoach 2014
- Runner Up: Jock Reynolds Premier League 2014
- Mad as a cut snake
- Has spewed in Jock’s sink
- Follow the great man on Twitter:@Da_Mad_Irishman