The go-to key defender option?
by Liam Watson
Over the last few seasons, Alex Rance has transformed himself into one of the best key position defenders in the competition, if not the best. His ability to shut down an opponent and then win the ball himself makes him arguably the most important player for Richmond heading into 2017.
Rance is a competitive beast that isn’t afraid to take the game on once he gets possession of the ball, with a great knack to rebound effectively from the defensive 50 much like a typical half back does.
Once maligned for his poor kicking, he has definitely improved to a point where Richmond wouldn’t mind the ball in his hands, with some great decision making by foot another feature of his game.
He also excels in the one percenters, making him quite simply a complete key defender who has almost changed the way these key backman are now required to win more of the ball themselves or intercept instead of simply curtailing an opponent.
|Games last season:||20|
|Average last season:||98.5|
|100+ games last season:||9|
|Sub 80 games last season:||5|
|Price range last season:||$472K – $526K|
|Missed games last season:||
He is one of the real characters of the game with his antics throughout the Richmond Football Club a highlight and there aren’t many footballers as energetic as he is.
But he also lets his footy do the talking. Three consecutive All-Australians in 2014-2016 along with a very healthy level of Supercoach scoring with averages of 88.6, 97 and 98.4 in each of those seasons.
Key defenders are definitely the same as key forwards. The highs can be very rewarding with massive scores but the lows are to be expected.
Inconsistent scores are a possibility, however Rance has shown he is capable of stringing some consistent scores together. If he can stamp out some of those sub 80 games, it wouldn’t be unrealistic to see him hit the 100+ average for the first time in his career.
In AFL news Alex Rance set to miss Round 1 next year due to concerns over his goalkicking #rodmarshlogic
— Julian de Stoop (@JDESTOOP80_FOX) October 28, 2016
Pick him with the view that he will finish up a top six defender. That is not out of the question if Rance keeps up his scores from last season. Despite missing two games he still finished ninth of all defenders in total points.
Out of all the key defenders Rance will come in as the most expensive, but it’s for a good reason. While he may have poor scores here and there, he’s generally very solid and his Supercoach scores do match up well with other defenders in the game.
- Hasn’t missed too many games. He played 17 games in 2014 but apart from that since 2012 he’s played the full 22 games and in 2016 only an undisciplined suspension prevented him from doing the same again.
- Loves the one percenters, and particularly he doesn’t mind a spoil. That’s where he can get those extra (contentious) points from.
- Takes a lot of marks and those intercepts are another way he gets more points. Particularly the contested mark from the opposition, that’s a significant area for points.
- Inconsistency is the main issue. You might get a score of 140 followed by a 70, much like any key position player out there. Rance may disappoint you with a poor score but it’s hard for most key position players to score highly every game.
- His ability to score might depend on how Richmond are faring on the day. For example, when they got belted by GWS it meant a monster score for Rance. But a low score from him could be more likely if Richmond are on top of the contest.
Rance is still only 27 years of age, a scary proposition given that there is still plenty of room to improve and grow. Therefore, don’t expect much of a drop off in output from him if any at all.
Based off his rise in Supercoach averages over recent seasons albeit slightly, averaging 100+ seems very possible and would make Rance a more than worthwhile selection.
However, given he along with fellow key position players have the tendency to throw in some shockers, he comes with an element of risk, but Rance will be able to compete with other premiums in Supercoach defences for 2017.
YES (still a good option despite the increased depth in backline options for 2017)
Great stuff Liam! Have a chat with him below, or over on twitter: @LiamWatson77
|This article has been penned as part of the Jock Reynolds Community Series, where anyone from within our proud community can have their say in front of their peers. These men and women have displayed the spirit of togetherness, positivity and community that we value significantly.|
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