Here we are, folks. Finals have arrived. And with it, absolute bloody carnage.
But that’s what this game is about. It takes those of us who can thrives in the fires of crisis and thrusts them onto a beautiful marble pedestal, far above the cesspit of scuffling and fighting in the mud below.
Apparently. You get a lot of these metaphors. While parallels to the trenches are uncanny, it’s more like a set of small, muddy mounds where everyone is shooting cold water and water balloons at each other instead of lead and shells.
It’s still miserable, but.
And some of us, like this humble reporter, are out of ammo. We’ve used all our water balloons, and our water pistols are running on empty.
So community, let the high stakes game of dodgeball begin.
BUT BEFORE WE DO – we’ve still got this CoachKings caper coming along in leaps and bounds and I’m so bloody proud. I’ll be down at the Vaulcuse Hotel in Richmond along with Jock, Higgo and Lek TONIGHT for Richmond vs Collingwood.
— Jock Reynolds (@jock_reynolds) August 4, 2016
We’d be rapt if you game in, had a drink with us, played some CoachKings – and then maybe help with the search party for The Crouching One afterwards. Crouching old mate, if you’re reading this – come home, son. Although the silly twat’s probably blind drunk from sinking the nation’s rum reserves. And to be fair, if I were a Richmond supporter I’d probably join him.
Tom Liberatore is gone for the season and needs to be gone from your sides. The magnificent, beautiful young stallion has run his race in our Supercoach sides for the year, and needs to be taken out to the back paddock. However, Matthew Boyd is back for the Dogs. Matthew Suckling is still out, as the notorious Suckling PiG’s Achilles is still not doing… whatever it is Achilles heels do. Crows ruckman Sam Jacobs hasn’t pulled up from his game against Essendon last week. The Big Sauce went down 10 minutes in, and the Crows will understandably take no chances with him. Hasn’t missed a game since 2012 so a huge blow to those who have him. Stef Martin is also still struggling to get up from his hip complaint and will miss this week’s game against the Crows, which leaves Archie Smith up against debutant Reilly O’Brien, who is replacing Jacobs.
Leppitsch says Stef Martin ‘unlikely’ to play v Crows, Ribs, hip and knee niggles
— Greg Davis (@GregDavis_cmail) August 4, 2016
Shattering for Stef owners, who have stuck with his putrid performances all year and now have to put up with his buggered hip. It’s bloody disappointing he hasn’t been able to get up for us in finals, especially after he won us so many in 2014. Any poor bastard with a massive POD ruck setup might be hit very, very hard this week, but may welcome the news Mason Cox is back for the Pies after Darcy Moore’s hamstring let him down last week. Jordan De Goey has also been dropped. The high-leaping Nic Naitanui is BACK. Those with Scott Lycett should have another week or so as Nic Nat works his way back into the swing of things, Dylan Shiel has had done something to his groin, which may or may not have been a result ofhis extensive screwing over thousands of Supercoach teams on weekly basis for most of the year. He should miss a week, but it’s still disappointing from the man dubbed #TheRealDealDylanShiel, which my attorney advices me is the most blatant case of false advertising since the film The Never Ending Story. Essendon’s resting policy over the past month of the season is warming up with Orazio Fantasia having a spell.
Woosha says we’ll probably be resting some of our younger players over the next 3-4 weeks.
— Essendon FC (@EssendonFC) August 2, 2016
However, Woosha Worsfold has said he’ll be resting players like Zach Merrett, Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti, Darcy Parish David Zaharakis, Michael Hartley and Matty Dea over the coming weeks as Essendon ramp up their finals prepar… wait hold on.
IN BREAKING NEWS, TEAMS THAT WON’T MAKE FINALS AREN’T GIVING A STUFF ABOUT OUR FANTASY FINALS. Bastards.
Mitch McGovern and Scotty Thompson from the Crows is having a spell, which I fear Adelaide will continue to do the closer they get to ACTUALLY playing finals (you hear that, Woosha?). Sloane Ranger owners should be mildly worried.
Melbourne are to unveil another top 10 draft pick in Sam Weideman this weekend, but at the expense of Josh Wagner if anyone has him for cover.
Kane Lambert has been dropped from the Richmond side, Cyril Rioli and Tex Walker returns, Scott Selwood will play his first game for the Cats and Nick Malceski is out injured.
A word of warning as well… Sam Menegola from the Cats is in the bottom three emergencies for Sunday’s side against Essendon… double and triple check he is named before you trade him in this week!!
THE PATCH UP
The beautiful, magnificent podcast covered what to do with Tom Liberatore in depth, so I won’t cover him here, and Lekdog as always has done a majestical effort patching up around the grounds. However, our ruck lines have taken a pounding this week with Sauce Jacobs and Big Stef still out, and I’m going to have a slightly more in depth look at the ruck options if you need to trade.
I’d hold Jacobs if you’ve got cover, hold. If you don’t have cover, you need to assess how many trades you’ve got, and if you can win with a donut. If you can’t, HIT THAT T on Sauce. I’d look at ditching old mate Stefan Martin either way. . His hip’s obviously not right, and Brisbane have nothing to play for now they’re clear of the bottom. Besides, they will continue to play the impressive Archie Smith over the back end of the season in tandem with Martin when he returns.
And do we remember the last time Stefan shared rucking duties?
Those are the four games Martin played alongside Trent West earlier in the year, and they make for sobering viewing. I don’t think Martin will play to this level, but I don’t think the resurgence we’ve seen over the past month will continue when he returns, and in the finals there can be absolutely no passengers.
So who do we bring in for him?
IN THE PREMIUM CORNER:
Obviously if you have the cash, Max Gawn is your man and then some. Genuinely surprised he hasn’t ripped someone open and feasted on their innards this season. Just pick him. Absolute jet.
If you want to punt on a returning Nic Naitanui, he’s at $521,000, some 60k more expensive than Martin. Take out his two injury affected games and he’s averaging over 114 and will be a huge POD in finals – I’d wager a large number of the 14,000 coaches that have him are your average punter who plays for half the season and forgets about the thing.
If you don’t have the cash to go that far up, Brodie Grundy is averaging 108 from his last three and is emerging as a very valid R2 option for next year, and with Richmond, the Doggies, the Hawks and the Suns to come doesn’t face a monster ruckman on the way home.
IN THE BARGAIN CORNER:
“Awww, I have three injured premiums and no money. Why can’t I have no injured premiums and three monies?”
If you’ve got absolutely no cash, you’re in a bit more of a pickle. Sam Naismith is at 270k and averaging 80, and bargain-basement Archie Smith scored a 96 on debut and should play every game from here on out. He won’t score that every week, but might hit a 75 average and give you mountains of cash if you need it, and if your plumbs are as large as Crouching Tiger’s pile of rum cans after a Richmond loss.
Yet again, Barron von Crow’s rookie scouting report is the only place on the internet you should be looking for all the rookie news. Breakevens are no longer relevant to the large majority of Supercoachers, as there is no long term to plan for here, but if you need a cheapie, Barron is the best in the business and has you covered.
It’s a tough week with to pick captains with Zac Dawson suspended, but this week looks likely to pit one of Dustin Martin or Scott Pendlebury with the VC and Paddy Dangerfield as C. It’s the safe choice and should net you a 140 out of one of those three.
If you need something left field, I’m channelling my inner Barron von Crow and picking out some guys worth having a gander at. One of these blokes has the VC or the C on them this week for my side, and because I know they’ll look at The Panic Room for a hint as to who I’m picking for that crucial leg up (that’s right, Throttlefinger. I’m onto you, son.)
Dan The Man Hannebery: Averaging 112, playing Port at the Adelaide Oval. His last two against Port have been 91 and 142 (both last year), and his last two games at the Adelaide Oval have been 134 and 129, both against the Crows. Plays early Saturday arvo. Back in form after a 140 last week.
Heath Shaw: Wallopped the Suns for 143 last time they played, and a 126 in round 16 last year. Averaging 108 for the year, but only 86 in his last 5. Working his way back into form with a 129 last year, and my gut is liking this choice. The last time my gut liked Heath Shaw he scored 200.
Rory Sloane: mashed Essendon into a pulp last week with 141 and has Brisbane this week, which are only just a step above. Last week was only his 4th week above 130, mind you, but is averaging 109. With Scott Thompson having a rest he needs to do more work and can’t sit back and ride along. Some would be worried about the lack of Sauce, but Jacobs was being soundly beaten by Luenberger before he got injured a few minutes into the second, and the Sloane Ranger had no issue racking up the big numbers.
Sam Docherty: Also with only the 4 scores over 130, but playing on the wide expanses of the MCG, which he loves. Scored 141 against the Saints last time, and his last game on the Hallowed Turf of the MCG led to a 138 against the Eagles. I’m firmly in Lek’s camp – this kid can play and will be my first picked in defence next year.
That’s it for me, community! Best of luck to all of you as we saunter on bravely into finals season – except anyone I’m coming up against this week, of course!