“Why wouldn’t Port Adelaide trade Matthew Lobbe?”
That was the cry during the off-season after the Power recruited Paddy Ryder and Charlie Dixon over consecutive off-seasons. Especially after it was revealed the Western Bulldogs were heavily into him. Well, that decision to keep Lobbe now looks like a genius move now that Ryder will miss the 2016 season.
I know Hinkley always proclaimed that Lobbe was still in his best 22, but personally I just couldn’t see them fitting all that tall timber in a single side, especially with a reduced interchange cap. Now that Ryder is out, Lobbe is handed the main ruck spot again, a role he had in 2014 and excelled at.
So can Lobbe repeat that effort in 2016? Let’s find out:
|2016 Prices:||$389K SC, $431K AF, $6.7K CoachKings|
|Games last season:||17|
|Average last season:||72 SC, 78 AF, 84 CK|
|100+ SC Games last season:||2|
|Sub 80 SC games last season:||10|
|SCPrice range last season:||$345K – $541K|
|Missed games last season:||5|
The case for:
- Price. Rucks can always be tricky. You either go ultra premium on a ruck like Todd Goldstein or Stefan Martin, or take your chance on an a cheaper up and comer. Lobbe is both cheap and has runs on the board; we don’t normally get mid priced gems in the ruck, so Lobbe is looking like a rare occurrence indeed.
- Workload. Now that Ryder is out and the Power delisted Jarrad Redden, Lobbe is pretty much the only genuine ruck with AFL experience left on the Power list. If we look at the depth stocks, we’re left with Billy Frampton and Dougal Howard, both of who are only 2nd year players who need more time in the SANFL to develop. The Power are likely going to stick with Lobbe through thick and thin in 2016. He’ll still have backup in the team on gameday, but Dixon is best suited as a forward (and has the ever persistent problem of being dead) and Westhoff and Trengove are only pitch hitters.
- A multi-talented ruckman. Lobbe isn’t just reliant on hitouts and hitouts to advantage to score his points, he’s also a ferocious tackler, in 2014 not only did he rank 8th in Hitouts per game, he also ranked 8th in Tackles per game as well, averaging 6.5 last year. Even with his diminished scores last year, Lobbe still averaged 5.8 tackles per game last year.
The case against:
- One hit wonder? Lobbe has been in the league 6 years and in that time he has 3 seasons where he’s averaged in the 70’s, one season (2013) where he averaged 86 and then the big year in 2014 when he averaged 100.7 SCPoints. The Power was on fire in 2014, so was Lobbe’s Supercoach year just a result of the team being good overall? And if the Power struggle again, will his SC scores suffer along with them?
- Clangers. Lobbe has his clanger issues at times, ranking in the Top 10 for Clangers in 2011, 2012 and 2014. Clangers are bad for business in Supercoach, folks. Obviously it didn’t hit his scores too hard overall in 2014, but it’s still something to consider.
- CoachKings – An acceptable starting option for sure, but even in his best year of 2014 he had 7 games (including Finals) where he scored below 80 SC points. So maybe pick him if he has a good matchup, or if you’re short of cash on a big ruck like Goldy.
- Supercoach/AFL Fantasy – Yes, I’d have him, either at R1 or R2, depending on how much cash you want to pump into your rucks. He’s either the perfect companion piece to a big ticket ruck like Goldstein, or a R1 with plenty of upside left in him. He obviously doesn’t have the season long scoring potential of the top priced rucks, but get a good year from him and he’s likely a Top 10 scoring ruck in Supercoach.