Brisbane Lions 2014: Supercoach scouting report
Howdy folks! Welcome to Part 2 of my Supercoach scouting report. We’re gonna be taking a gander through the ‘ol binoculars at the prospects of the Brisbane Lions in 2014.
Brisbane are shaping up to be one of the best teams for us to select cheap rookie priced players from with 6 players picked from the first 35 picks in this years National Draft. With the amount of outs they’ve had this year, they’re bound to have a few of them play a decent amount of games next year.
BRISBANE LIONS SUPERCOACH 2014 SCOUTING REPORT
2013 Record: 10 wins, 12 losses
Jackson Paine (Traded from Collingwood)
Trent West (Traded from Geelong)
Luke McGuane (Delisted Free Agent)
Justin Clarke (Promoted Rookie)
James Aish (Pick #7, National Draft)
Darcy Gardiner (Pick #22, National Draft)
Daniel McStay (Pick #25, National Draft)
Lewis Taylor (Pick #28, National Draft)
Tom Cutler (Pick #33, National Draft)
Nichoas Robertson (Pick #34, National Draft)
Jonathan Freeman (Pick #64, National Draft – Academy Pick)
Isaac Conway (Pick #23, Rookie Draft)
Zachary O’Brien (Pick #39, Rookie Draft)
Archie Smith (Pick #69, Rookie Draft)
Simon Black (Retired)
Aaron Cornelius (Delisted)
Sam Docherty (Traded to Carlton)
Patrick Karnezis (Traded to Collingwood)
Billy Longer (Traded to St Kilda)
Niall McKeeve (Delisted)
Jesse O’Brien (Delisted)
Jared Polec (Traded to Port Adelaide)
Elliot Yeo (Traded to West Coast)
2014 Team Preview
2014 Bye Round: 10
Final 4: Adelaide Crows, Collingwood Magpies, Fremantle Dockers, Geelong Cats
2013 was a tough year for the Lions, they had high hopes starting the year after winning the NAB Cup, but the pre-season promise didn’t fully materialise during the year. They sacked Coach Michael Voss in a surprising move to some as it was looking like he may have the beginnings of a decent team. New Coach Justin Leppitsch may have some growing pains on his hands as the Lions faced a lot of talent leaving, but that has also meant there are a slew of new players being brought into the side. Also leaving was the A grade champion of football, Simon Black, but he’ll be taking his talents from the field up into the box as an Assistant Coach.
The 2014 fixture will be a massive test for the Lions, their first 10 games they only face 1 team who finished below them on the 2013 ladder (St. Kilda) with 5 of them being against teams in the top 8 in 2013 and another 3 against teams (GC, North and Essendon) who will be looking for a top 8 finish for 2014. Their Final 4 is also tough with a home game against Adelaide, followed by games against 3 teams who are likely top 6 finishers in Collingwood, Fremantle and Geelong. They also got a tough draw on the double up matches, having to face North Melbourne, Richmond, Gold Coast, Fremantle and Geelong twice. With the draw they’ve been given in 2014, I can’t see how they’ll manage a repeat of last years win/loss record, but as we’ve seen, sometimes new coaches bring out the best in teams, so maybe they’re a sneaky chance to outperform expectations?
2014 Projected Wins/Losses: 6 wins, 16 losses
2012 SC Average: 90.7
2013 SC Average: 95.7
Starting Price: approx. 520K
The sensational Irishman is looking like a definite lock for 2014. The 95 average may make some scoff, but the defenders last year were so troublesome with only Brendon Goddard averaging 100+ points for the year that we’ll likely be looking to lock in anyone who will look like capable of being a 100+ point player in defence. A fantastically gifted run and carry player, for a defender he was impressively ranked 15th in Total Inside 50s and 12th for Inside 50s per game.
Out of the 20 games he played last year he had 8 games with 100+ scores (including an impressive 160 in Rd 2 and 141 in Rd 3); he also had another 6 games with 80+ points. If you exclude the two batches of games between Rd 10-14 that saw him average 67 and Rd 20-23 where he averaged 77.25, he would have been looking at a 111.4 average for 2013.
If he can work on not getting tagged out of games then I think he has the potential to oust Brendan Goddard as the #1 ranked defender in 2014. I think he still has more upside than most 25 year olds due to him being a convert, so I still think he can improve on his 2013 performance. Has gained midfield eligibility for 2014, I don’t think many will be picking him as a MID, but it’s always handy to have another swingman in the side, especially when the bye rounds start.
2014 SC Projection: 100-108
2012 SC Average: 97.3
2013 SC Average: 109.7
Starting Price: approx. 600K
2013 was a fantastic return to form for Rockliff after a disappointing 2012. His FWD eligibility saw him owned by a third of Supercoach teams. He also polled a terrific 21 votes in the Brownlow Medal which saw him finish equal 5th for the prestigious award. He may well lose his FWD line eligibility in 2014 which would probably see his owned rate fall considerably, but we saw this year and in 2011 when he had a year average of 113 that he’s capable of putting the runs on the board. As long as he doesn’t have a 2012 repeat of spending a huge amount of time in the F50, I have no doubts that Rockliff will be in for a repeat of his 2011 and 2013 averages.
Unfortunately it appears Rockliff has not retained his FWD eligibility for 2014, which is disappointing to hear. Still, the less people that own a player, the more of a POD (Point of Difference) he becomes. I think the majority of SC players will go for your big ticket MIDS, the Pendles, Swans, Selwoods etc, so Rockliff could be a very sneak POD player for your side in 2014. Sometimes that’s what sets you apart from the rest of the pack.
2014 SC Projection: 105-110
2012 SC Average: N/A
2013 SC Average: N/A
Starting Price: approx. 170K
Likely one of the more expensive rookies we’ll be considering, we saw last year with similar priced players like Ollie Wines and Nick Vlastuin that you shouldn’t be completely turned off by a rookie just because of a high price tag. Like Jock, I’m an absolute fan of Aish. He’s been knocked for not having enough bulk to handle the AFL yet, but he has plenty of experience playing against senior sized bodies having debuted in the state side for the Norwood Redlegs when he was 16 years old (making him the youngest player in 134 years to debut at SANFL league level). Aish has fantastic disposal, can kick on both sides, he’s also a terrific user of the ball with brilliant disposal efficiency, with the highlight being a kicking efficiency of 86.7% at the U18 competition. Has been criticised due to not being able to handle a tag yet, but the kid is 18 years old, and if he’s playing in a Brisbane Lions midfield consisting of the likes of Rockliff, Redded and Rich, they’ll be the ones copping more of the opposition attention instead of Aish.
He’ll still need to bulk up a bit before he goes into the hard contests, but he’s skilful enough to be able to play as an outside midfielder. I do think him running outside rather than in may lessen his SC scores somewhat compared to the scores that bigger bodied rookies like Wines or Crouch were able to produce at times last year, but he’ll still be a terrific pick nonetheless.
2014 SC Projection: 65-72
2012 SC Average: 90.8
2013 SC Average: 85.9
Starting Price: approx. 468K
That mathematical genius Higgo has talked previously about the “breakout zone” for AFL players. For those of you unfamiliar, it’s the theory that when players “breakout”, they do so between the ages of 20-22. Daniel Rich will be 23 in 2014, which just puts him out of this zone and it’s looking like it may be his last chance to breakout and become a SC relevant player for us. The simple fact of the matter is he just needs to find more of the pill. Averaged 18 possessions in 2013, which was his lowest amount since his rookie year in 2009. We’ve also seen his tackle count steadily decrease, falling from 4.8 in 2011, to 3.2 in 2012 and 2.8 in 2013.
If he can get his disposal average up to the 23-25 range, while keeping his disposal efficiency in the 70% range he’ll be a very good selection, numbers like that would likely boost his averages to the 100-105 range. He’ll also need to work on being able to break a tag, something he struggled with at times in the past. Do you think Rich is capable? If you do then he’s a player you should seriously consider for that price. If not, then he’d move down into the skip ‘em category. As for The Barron, he’ll be giving serious consideration to Rich in 2014.
2014 SC Projection: 95-102
2012 SC Average: 100
2013 SC Average: 82.9
Starting Price: approx. 450K
A disappointment for many in 2013, he was a SC revelation in 2012 averaging 100 SC points a game as a mature age rookie. His dual position status had many jumping on board the Zorko train, but he could only manage a disappointing return of 82.9 SC points. He regressed in a number of categories, dropping from 19.6 disposals in 2012 to 15.1 in 2013. His marks also dropped from 4.6 in 2012 to 2.6 in 2013 and also his tackled count decreased slightly from 6.1 to 5.3, which if we’re being honest is still a healthy amount and it saw him ranked 17th in total tackles in 2013.
Still, I think he has potential to get back up to being a 100 point scorer in SC, and this time we won’t be paying a premium 535K for his services. As has been said before, swingmen with the MID/FWD eligibility are worth their weight in SC gold, so as long as Zorko The Magnificent retains this, you should keep him on your radar.
2014 SC Projection: 90-100
2012 SC Average: 70.3
2013 SC Average: 97
Starting Price: approx. 530K
Those of you who picked up Big Luey in 2013, give yourselves a pat on the back. A cheap 301K starting price, he may have scared a few after not playing in Rd 1, but managed to play 20 games in 2013 and saw his price peak at a healthy 507K. While not reaching the heights of 2011 when he had a SC average of 102.3, he still posted a respectable average of 97, which was ranked 6th for ruckmen. Was ranked 4th in Total Hitouts and 5th in Hitouts per game, he also averaged 13.6 possessions and 3.6 marks per game.
Always a hit and miss player injury wise, it seems when this guy hurts himself, he really does himself in. Has recorded 4 seasons of 10 or less games, 2 of which he only managed 3 games for the year. He did play every game in 2010 and 2011, SC who pick Luey will be hoping for a repeat performance of that in 2014. As long as Leuenberger is healthy for the start of 2014, then he’s a guy you should seriously consider as a starting ruckman, but do so with his injury history in mind.
2014 SC Projection: 98-105
2012 SC Average: 66.4
2013 SC Average: 40
Starting Price: approx. 215K (Not including potential injury discount)
Claye, the younger brother of Collingwood’s Dayne Beams, may be a surprise entry to a few players. We didn’t get to see a whole lot of Claye in 2013 as he only managed 2 games for the Lions before rupturing his ACL during training, which put an end to his year. Looking back, he was on a few peoples radar after a fantastic end to his 2012 year which saw him finish the year with scores of 80, 103 and 115. The simple fact of the matter is there should be plenty of opportunities for young players at the Lions, and if he receives an injury discount to his projected price, he will potentially be the same price as a rookie. Keep your expectations in check, but if he does get game time he could be a nice little cash generator. Watch him in the pre-season and if he’s fit and firing and looking likely to play round 1, he could make a nice M8 or bench player for your side.
2014 SC Projection: 60-68
2012 SC Average: NA
2013 SC Average: NA
Starting Price: approx. 115K
Picked at #22 this year, Gardiner was rated as one of the best KPD’s in the draft. Fits into the emerging trend set by tall defenders such as Harry Taylor and Ben Reid, Gardiner is capable of going forward and kicking a goal or two, something which might make him very valuable to a Lions squad that only has an aging Jonno Brown as a legit target up forward. Still, as a defender he doesn’t have huge upside as a SC player as he plays that one on one defending role as seen by the likes of Ben Rutten, or Brisbane’s own, Daniel Merrett, which would see his average be limited to the 50-60 range.
Not a guaranteed started for 2014, but we need to take a look at him as he’s a rookie and even an average of 50 or 60 will generate us some cash. If he looks likely to play in Rd 1, then you can take a punt on him being in your side, just don’t expect too much from him.
2014 SC Projection: 50-58
2012 SC Average: 102.9
2013 SC Average: 98
Starting Price: approx. 533K
Self admittedly “not naturally a skilful player”, Redden often gets the job done though nothing more than hard work and determination.
On the plus side for Redden, he has been a terrific tackler, ranked in the top 5 for tackles every year since 2011. He is also a extremely durable player, having played every game in the past 4 years, which is always a big plus to Supercoach players. Redden had averages of 102 SC points in both 2011 and 2012, but hasn’t shown the ability to crack into the big leagues of SC Premium status.
I do like Redden though, he played for Glenelg in the SANFL which means I’ll always have my scouting sights on him. I had a real tough time deciding whether he’s worthy of SC consideration or not, but once I put my scouting goggles on, he ended up moving himself into the skip ‘em category. He won’t be considered for most sides looking for premium capable scoring players; his starting price is extremely awkward and most likely won’t average enough to be a cash generator. I am prepared to be proven wrong on Redden, but I think that most SCers will find themselves looking elsewhere in 2014.
2014 SC Projection: 100-105
2012 SC Average: 76
2013 SC Average: 64.3
Starting Price: approx. 350K
Traded from Geelong in the off-season, West may get a few glances from SC players looking to take mid-price options in their rucks at the start of the year. His SC scores have never really set the world on fire and he certainly won’t be in line to do so now that he’s moved to Brisbane. Will be firmly planted behind Leuenberger on the Lions ruck depth chart, and we’ve seen that players on teams that play 2 genuine rucks often struggle to score to score due to splitting hitout numbers.
West played 13 games last year for Geelong, with an average of 64.3 with a Time on Ground percentage of 80.4%, which isn’t a great return on the time invested on field. He may be looked at by a few SC players if Leuenberger does down with another LTI injury, but lets all hope that doesn’t happen! And even if it did, unless you were completely cash strapped, West isn’t someone that should be looked at as a long term ruck option.
2014 SC Projection: 60-65
2012 SC Average: 67.7
2013 SC Average: 84.7
Starting Price: approx. 460K
Started 2013 costing us 362K and ended up finishing the year costing almost the same. He was a very good mid priced selection last year, his price peaking at 480K in Rd 8, while averaging 97.3 in that time. After that he only managed another 8 games for the year, with a SC average of only 72. If you had Moloney in your starting side last year (like I did) and jumped off him at the right time (which I didn’t), then you would have been pretty happy with selecting Moloney in your side.
We’ve seen Moloney be on the cusp of being a very good SC player with averages of 93.7 in 2009 and 99.3 in 2011, he just hasn’t shown the ability to break through and become a consistent 100+ point scorer for us. Also has some durability issues, out of his 9 AFL seasons, he has 3 years where he’s played 10 or less games and another 3 years where he’s played less than 20.
Like a number of Lions players, he’s a terrific tackler, averaging 5.2 a game in 2013 and a healthy 5 clearances a game, but on the downside he posses an average disposal efficiency of 68.2% and only 20 possessions a game. The simple fact of the matter is his starting price makes him a poor selection, and if you were faced with only having 460K to spend on a midfielder, you’d be much better off spending that kind of coin on a 23 year old Daniel Rich, rather than a 29 year old Brent Moloney.
Quick list of lower ranked players to keep your eyes on during pre-season
Jack Crisp – MID – approx. 240K
Jackson Paine – FWD – approx. 200K
Marco Paparone – FWD – approx. 220K
Any other Brisbane Lions on your SC radar for 2014? Whack ‘em in the comments below or shout ‘em out to me on Twitter @BarronVonCrow and we’ll discuss their potential in 2014.