Howdy folks. Name’s Barron Von Crow, welcome to the first part of my 2014 SuperCoach Scouting Report.
I’ve been recruited to give all you fine members of the Jock Reynolds community a look at all the teams for the upcoming AFL season. And let me tell you, I haven’t had a chance to stop since I was given the assignment.
With these bloody high altitude camps that are all the rage I’ve had to fly all over the world to take a gander at the clubs during pre-season training. I’ve been to bloody Dubai to look at the Power, South Africa to watch the reigning Premiers Hawthorn and took a quick jaunt to Arizona, Colorado and Utah to check out teams like Brisbane, St. Kilda, Carlton, Essendon, Gold Coast and North Melbourne. Thankfully for the petrol bill there were a few teams like Sydney, Adelaide and Geelong who decided to stay home, and let me tell you, all 3 of those sides are looking in tip top condition.
We’re going to kick off the 1st part of the 2014 scouting report with the Adelaide Crows. A disappointing 2013 saw them miss the finals, but they still provided us with many useful SC players and also a few high priced duds. So let’s see what the outlook looks like for the Crows in 2014.
ADELAIDE CROWS SUPERCOACH 2014 SCOUTING REPORT
2013 Record: 10 wins, 12 losses
INSEddie Betts (Free Agent)
James Podsiadly (Traded from Geelong)
Kyle Hartigan (Promoted Rookie)
Rory Laird (Promoted Rookie)
Matt Crouch (Pick #24, National Draft)
Riley Knight (Pick #46, National Draft)
Charlie Cameron (Pick #7, Rookie Draft)
James Battersby (Pick #24, Rookie Draft)
Jake Kelly (Pick #40, Rookie Draft)
Alex Spina (Pick #52, Rookie Draft)
OUTSBernie Vince (Traded to Melbourne)
Ian Callinan (Delisted)
Aiden Riley (Delisted)
Nick Joyce (Delisted)
Richard Tambling (Delisted)
Ben Dowdell (Delisted)
Tim Klaosen (Delisted)
Tim McIntyre (Delisted)
Dylan Orval (Delisted)
Graham Johncock (Retired)
2014 Team Preview
2014 Bye Round: 8
Final 4: Brisbane Lions, Richmond Tigers, North Melbourne Kangaroos, St. Kilda Saints
One of the biggest issues the Crows faced in 2013 after the off-season loss of Kurt Tippett and the early injury to Taylor Walker was they simply didn’t have the targets up forward to kick goals. They had games where we witnessed amazing goal kicking prowess from players on a singular basis with Tom Lynch kicking 10 against GWS and Sam Kerridge with 6 in the 2nd half against North, but no one single player to make up for the loss of Tippett and Walker. The Crows hope to transform their forward line in 2014 with the big and small additions of James Podsiadly and Eddie Betts, as well as the mid year return of Taylor Walker.
The opening 3 weeks may be one of the toughest in recent memory for the Crows. Games against top 8 sides in Geelong, Port Adelaide and Sydney could potentially see the Crows in a 0-3 hole to begin the year. Lucky for them their schedule opens up a bit after that with games against St. Kilda, GWS, Western Bulldogs and Melbourne. They have to play Port Adelaide, Collingwood and North Melbourne twice, but make up for that with multiple games against St. Kilda and GWS.
Their final four games of the year is a 50/50 proposition, with tough games against Richmond and North Melbourne sandwiched in-between easier games against Brisbane and St. Kilda. That final St. Kilda game could be a big winner for Super Coachers playing in the Grand Final who have Crows in their side.
2014 Projected Wins/Losses: 13 wins, 9 losses
2012 SC Average: 118.9
2013 SC Average: 112.9
Starting Price: approx. 615K
What’s in store for Dangerfield in 2014? Hopefully more of the same! While not SC relevant players for the Crows, the recruitment of both Eddie Betts and James Podsiadly will give the Crows two legitimate targets up forward while Taylor Walker is out and will ensure that Dangerfield doesn’t have to play long stretches of the game in the F50, which means more time in the middle of the ground to gather those point boosting contested possessions. Due to the new interchange cap rules he’ll still rotate forward at times to rest, rather than bringing him off, but this should mean he’ll still maintain or be near his 2013 1.6 goal average.
He does have his disposal issues, with a disposal efficiency of 63.7%, this is often due to his “see ball, get ball, kick ball” style of play through stoppages, he’ll often win the clearance and throw it on the boot into the forward 50 for the Crows, this is reflected with his 5.5 clearances a game (ranked 14th overall) and 5.1 inside 50’s a game (ranked 8th)
A contested ball winning machine, he’s a perfect SC player. He can win the pill, tackle, kick goals and take contested marks. He’ll be one of the top priced players coming into 2014, but with good reason. Also comes the fantastic news that he’ll be a FWD eligible player next year, that decision will likely see his ownership % skyrocket as I think every side will go lock Dangerfield in as a forward player.
Word of caution! As was helpfully pointed out to me by one of the fantastic members of the Jock Reynolds Community, the past 2 years Dangerfield has had a slow start to the season. His first 4 game averages were the following
See another slow opening month of football on the cards for Dangerfield? If you think so then he’d move from a starting lock to a fantastic upgrade target, but either way I think by the end of the year you’ll have Dangerfield in your side.
2014 SC Projection: 115-120
2012 SC Average: 103.92
2013 SC Average: 107
Starting Price: approx. 585K
Sloane is a player that doesn’t dominate any single one category, he’s simply a blue collar player who goes out there and often wins the ball out of sheer force of will. His improved fitness base ensured that he did not suffer those late season fadeouts he did in 2012, with 2013 seeing him score 100+ points in his last 5 matches, compared to the once he scored over 100 points in the last 6 games of 2012. He most likely won’t reach the elite heights of Dangerfield, but still a solid selection if you can’t afford a top 5 priced midfielder.
He was ranked 14th for midfielders last year, so he’s a guy you can stick in your side and worry about upgrading towards the tail end of the year if you wish. If that starting price holds up, many may feel more comfortable paying the extra 50-60K to get a premium with the runs on the board, but if you’re slightly short of getting another premium midfielder in your side, Sloane is a terrific option.
2014 SC Projection: 103-108
2012 SC Average: 60.50
2013 SC Average: 85.29
Starting Price: approx. 465K
I’m sure you’re looking at those 2012/2013 SC averages and thinking to yourself “That’s not that impressive, why the heck would I seriously consider him?” Simply put, it’s because Ricky finally found a position to play. Often used as a swingman throughout his career, he’s been played up forward as a goal kicker, on the wing, down back, he’s displayed flashes of brilliance with his terrific speed, booming kick, solid decision making and good aerial ability and in 2013 he finally found a position to call home. During the first 10 rounds he was once again used in this swingman fashion, which saw him dropped after Rd 5 and averaging a measly 65.14 SC points over his first 7 games. However, once Brent Reilly went down with a shoulder dislocation in Rd 14 against the Gold Coast, Ricky was moved into that loose man in defence role that Reilly occupied and excelled. In his next 7 games playing down back his SC average jumped to 105.42.
If he had of played the entire year with that sort of consistency he would have been the #2 ranked SC player in defence, and along with Brendon Goddard, one of only two defenders to average over 100 SC points. I know defence was an absolute headache for many Supercoachers (myself included!) last year, that’s why Ricky is on this list. His 2013 season ended early due to knee surgery; however this was only a minor procedure and hasn’t cut in to his pre-season training at all.
I’m feeling really optimistic about him going into 2014, if he’s allowed to continue to play an uncontested style of footy though 2014, he should be the goods. I’m not overly concerned about him being tagged out of games as he has the leg speed to burn off a defender and he’s a player that will most likely be in my Rd 1 side at this stage.
2014 SC Projection: 98-105
2012 SC Average: N/A
2013 SC Average: 87.1
Starting Price: approx. 475K
I tell you, I could not have been happier with the play of Brad Crouch in 2013. Initially I was sceptical of his recruitment in the 17 year old GWS mini-draft, but he absolutely blew me away. He was a player many SCers had in their initial sides, but faced some disappointment after being overlooked in Rd 1 and then got off to a slow start, only playing 4 of the first 11 games, and averaging 66 SC points. I know many traded him out after his prolonged absence between rounds 5-10 (guilty) or after Rd 11 when he was dropped after playing 1 game back, but from Rd 14 to Rd 23 he became a vital part of the Crows midfield and averaged a solid 95.6 SC points.
His price will most likely make him an awkward buy, I know many use the Guns ‘n Rookies approach to SC, which would take Crouch out of consideration, but I really like this kid. I think he’s got the potential to jump up into the Top 30 ranked midfielders for Super Coach in 2014, that’s how highly The Barron rates Brad.
2014 SC Projection: 98-105
2012 SC Average: 64.9
2013 SC Average: 75.6
Starting Price: approx. 415K
I had big wraps on Brodie going into 2013. He ended his last month of 2012 football averaging 89.5 points per game and I had high hopes of him continuing that form into 2013. However a broken collarbone in pre-season saw him miss the tail end of training and rounds 1-4 of the AFL season. After that he never quite seemed to catch up and struggled a bit with form and fitness.
He’s on this list though because he’s another player who could potentially solve some of last year’s defensive woes. Has a terrific disposal efficiency of 80.5%, he also has averages of 4.8 contested possessions and 12.8 uncontested, which is the cause of his high disposal efficiency numbers. Sando has talked about freeing him up from the defensive role he plays down back and letting him run through the midfield more, a move which could have a significant impact on his SC scores going into 2014. If that occurs I’d expect his contested/uncontested ratio to stay about the same as he has terrific speed and would be used as more of an outside mid, but with his speed and terrific attack on the ball, he’ll be freed up to play a more natural style of play.
2014 SC Projection: 88-95
2012 SC Average: 102.1
2013 SC Average: 85.3
Starting Price: approx. 465K
After a fantastic 2012 which saw Big Sauce average 102.1 SC points and narrowly miss out on AA honours 2013 was nothing but a disappointment for Jacobs. Initially one of the most expensive ruckman in 2013, there were more than a few (myself included) that felt burnt by the bigman. Rumours of an Achilles injury dogged him a bit in Adelaide, but the Crows ruck stocks were so thin with only Angus Graham (I heard Crouching One kicked a hole in his wall he was so excited to see Graham leave Richmond) as a legitimate ruck backup so they persisted with him. So Jacobs playing through poor form and potential injury probably tells you what they thought of big Angus!
His starting price is still fairly high, I do think he’ll have a better 2014, Jacobs knows he’s under the gun and he’s too good to repeat that kind of performance. He saw both his disposal and hitout count fall in 2013, but I think he’s good enough to bump them up to near 2012 levels. Still, I know many will go with either a premium ruck combo, or stick with the midpricers, which will rule out Jacobs for many.
2014 SC Projection: 93-98
2012 SC Average: 110.5
2013 SC Average: 97.6
Starting Price: approx. 530K
Scott Thompson has been an absolute champion for the Adelaide Crows over the past few years, winning the B&F award in both 2011 and 2012 and coming equal 4th in the 2012 Brownlow Medal, but I’m afraid the best of Scott Thompson may be behind us. He still racked up the contested possessions in 2013; however his clanger count (ranked 3rd in clangers per game, 2nd in total clangers) saw his scores reduced from 2012. He dealt with persistent hip and groin injuries throughout the year, which has seen him spent his off-season so far recovering from minor arthroscopic hip surgery. Age (he’ll be 31 come the start of the 2014 season) makes fools of us all, and I think Thompson has 1-2 years left of quality AFL football left in him. The good thing for the Crows is they have young talent in the Crouch’s, Grigg, Kerridge and Lyons who can all pick up the slack as Thompson begins to taper off. Good news for the Crows, not for people looking to pick Scott Thompson in their SC side.
2014 SC Projection: 90-95
2012 SC Average: 80.4
2013 SC Average: 102
Starting Price: approx. 555K
Many Crows fans I’ve spoken to have gotten a little angry at me for this. “Douglas was a gun in 2013” they yell “He played the best season of his career” they scream. And yes, all this is true, he was a gun in 2013 and he did play the best season of his career. However, I do not see a repeat performance in store for Douglas in 2014. Don’t get me wrong, he’ll still be a good player, but not one who will be relevant for SC at his current starting price. If you picked him up last year, you must posses bloody fantastic scouting powers that The Barron could only wish for, or you did your team on auto-pick, in which case you’re a lucky bastard. Nabbing a 100+ point player for a starting price of 430K is SC Gold, getting a 100+ point player for 550K, not so much. If you’re going to spend 550K on a midfielder it should be one you think has a chance to score you 105-110 points, something that I don’t think will happen with Douglas.
Douglas started off 2013 with a bang, averaging a cool 110.3 in the first 11 rounds. However, once teams figured out he was often one of the Crows best midfielders and that he couldn’t shake a tag his average fell to 93.54 over his final 11 games as he copped more attention from opposition players. He did have a terrific year for inside 50’s, often delivering the ball into the Crows attack, he ranked 5th in total I50’s, 4th in I50’s per game at 5.3 and 11th for total goal assists.
Overall, I see Douglas hitting a middle ground of his 2012 and 2013 scores come 2014. He’ll be a solid scorer, who’ll be capable of putting up 100-110 scores on a good day, you may even consider him mid-year if you suffer a long term injury to a player, but because of his starting price, he’s not someone to pick in your initial side.
2014 SC Projection: 95-100
2012 SC Average: 100.2
2013 SC Average: 69.4
Starting Price: approx. 380K
I know a lot of people will see Walkers initial price, see his 2012 average and jump on him first chance they get. However, I am going to advise against picking Taylor Walker in 2014, at least initially. He is recovering on schedule from the terrible knee injury he suffered in 2013, but as we have seen with other players who have suffered similar knee injuries, they usually take longer than the initial 12 month recovery time to get back to their best. Walker injured his knee on April 27, so following that 12 month recovery period guide; he’d be looking at a Round 7 return in 2014. The Crows have the bye in Round 8, so they may postpone his first game back until Round 9, however you would think that a Round 7 return against Melbourne might be a nice warm up match for him. The recruitment of James Podsiadly was in part to replace Walker in the F50, so I’m sure the Crows will feel no immediate rush to get Walker back playing before he is 100% ready to go.
Considering trading in Walker after his first 2 games would be dependant on if he receives an injury discount to his starting price. If he receives a major discount, he might be a decent F8-F9 and generate some decent cash, in which case you may put him on your “consider” list. Otherwise I’d stay away from Walker in 2014 and put him back on your SC radar in 2015.
2012 SC Average: N/A
2013 SC Average: 82.0
Starting Price: approx. 430K
Drafted late in the 2nd round in 2011, it wasn’t until the tail end of the 2013 season that Grigg was given the opportunity for his senior debut for the Crows. His draft stock dropped in 2011 due to his lack of speed, but he makes up for this with an absolutely booming and pin point accurate left kick, great decision making and the ability to create space. Go back and watch the Rd 19 clash against Port Adelaide and listen to Bruce McAvaney gush about this kid, I think he has the skills to be an absolute standout midfielder for the Crows. Take away his sub debut game against Geelong which saw him score 29 and his remaining 4 games saw him average a healthy 95.25. I almost wish Sando left him at Norwood for the last part of the year as getting him for a full year at his rookie price in 2014 would have been a terrific buy. He may get a discount from that projected price due to only playing 5 games, if he starts the year as a 300K player, then he should definitely jump into the consider list.
Now the question is do we pick him for 2014? Much like was talked about with Josh Caddy in 2013, I just don’t see this year being his year we put him in our SC sides. He’s an awkward mid-pricer, and while I love him as a player, I don’t think he’s worth a buy in 2014. Not SC relevant, the Barron has already gone and chucked a tenner on Grigg for the 2014 Rising Star award.
2014 SC Projection: 85-90
2012 SC Average: 80.0
2013 SC Average: 67.2
Starting Price: approx. 370K
The prize acquisition for the Crows during the off-season. Forced to previously play 1 dimensional smalls like Jared Petrenko (defensive only) and Ian Callinan (offensive only) the recruitment of Eddie Betts finally gives the Crows a 2 dimensional small forward to play off the likes of Taylor Walker, Josh Jenkins and new recruit James Podsiadly. Used more of a lead up forward in Carlton’s attack, he won’t have as much direct delivery to him as he did with Carlton, but will have plenty of crumbs to pick up from the Crows big targets. A fantastic forward, he has averaged 42 goals a season since 2009, he has also led the league in score assists (195) and forward-50 tackles (168) during that period. Even with a down 2013, he was still 2nd in average goal assists a game at 1.4 (narrowly beaten by Taylor Walker with 1.5).
Many may consider him as a good F5-F6, but the fact of the matter is most small forwards in the AFL just aren’t Super Coach relevant unless you’re getting them for a bargain basement price. He won’t score high enough to be a keeper, or to be a cash cow, so your money is better spent elsewhere. He’ll be a great addition to the Crows forward line, but not to our SC forward line.
2014 SC Projection: 75-80
2012 SC Average: 73.5
2013 SC Average: 76.3
Starting Price: approx. 415K
Part 2 of the Crows solution to last years forward line woes, James Podsiadly is a “young” 32 due to only being in the AFL system for 4 years. Last year saw him ranked 6th in Total Contested Marks, 17th in Contested Marks per Game and 20th in Total Marks Inside 50. He’ll give the Crows the big man target up forward they’ve been missing since Kurt Tippett left the team, something they missed a great deal in 2013. The Crows will use him as an “insurance policy” until Taylor Walker returns to full strength with Brenton Sanderson quoted as saying he expects Pods to play “10-to-15 games a season”. The truth of the matter is Pods hasn’t been a good SC pick since his rookie year and if the 10 to 15 games prediction pans out, it all but guarantees that we will put a line through Pods name when it comes to SC selection time.
2014 SC Projection: 65-70
2012 SC Average: N/A
2013 SC Average: N/A
Starting Price: approx. 109K
Drafted with Pick #23 in the National Draft, know how I earlier said Thompson only has 1-2 years left in the tank? That’s where this guy comes in. Matt “BoB” Crouch is set to replace Scott Thompson as a midfielder in a few years. A ball-winning magnet during the TAC Cup, he averaged an impressive 37 disposals a game. I know Jock has Matt on his watch list, but I’m going to have to advise against it. From all reports he doesn’t have a tank yet, and I think the Crows will let him build up his endurance in their SANFL reserves side for a year before bringing him into the main side. Crows have other options such as Grigg, Kerridge and Lyons ahead of M. Crouch on the depth chart, so I don’t think he’ll be a consistent 22 threat.
As with all rookies though, keep an eye on him during the pre-season and see how goes leading up to round 1, he may be given a few games to give him a taste of AFL football, but for cash generation purposes, 2-3 games isn’t going to help us at all.
Quick list of lower ranked players to keep your eyes on during pre-season
Cameron Ellis-Yolmen – MID – approx. 119K
Lewis Johnston – FWD – approx. 380K
Jarryd Lyons – MID/FWD – approx. 345K
So that’s how The Barron sees the Adelaide Crows in 2014. Any players you think I’m wrong about? Or any players you’ve think The Barron has missed?
Let us know in the comments below or give us a shout on the twitter @BarronVonCrow and we’ll see if we can’t help you out.