There is no doubt this has been one of the most difficult lead ups to a season in SuperCoach history.
Unlike previous years, we have no Essendon, GWS and Gold Coast leg ups meaning our rookie stocks are bare. Different structures have had to be considered. More mid-pricers entertained. The whole thing makes me sick to the stomach. But it has become a reality.
The other bloody nightmare we face is that a large majority of the popular rookies are playing on Sunday, as flagged in the Jock Reynolds podcast. This means our plans could be thrown into disarray depending on the finalised squads of North Melbourne, Geelong and Adelaide on Friday night. It will be a stressful little period!
However, we must remain calm and every coach should approach this year with a clear goal in mind. This season I’m aiming to better my overall ranking from 2016. I went pretty well last year, coming home like a steam train after the byes to finish 410th overall. It will be a significant challenge to improve on this, but by learning from my mistakes last year, I think I’m a chance.
Key lessons learnt from 2016:
- Limit risk profile. Last season I started Gazza, Rocky and Fyfe in the midfield, only for them to all go down injured early in the piece. This cost me valuable trades. Durability is critical in SuperCoach.
- Don’t pick players based on pre season form and perceived “role changes”. I started with Daniel Rich at D3 last year. Obviously with the benefit of captain hindsight, it was a terrible move. I got sucked into his pre season form and the dreaded “more midfield time” slogan.
- Pick premos who will be reliable and definite keepers. My starting forward line premos were Barlow, Tobias Greene and Aaron Hall last year. I rode the roller-coaster with all three, keeping Greene and Hall for the entire season. None of them finished as top 6 forwards.
- Avoid mid-pricers where possible. But I’m the first to acknowledge this season is different and we have been forced to look at a few more than we would like due to lack of decent rookies. In 2016 I went in with just 2 mid-pricers, this season I’m looking at double that.
But, without further ado, here is my side as it stands:
The biggest risk in my side. The 2-0-6 structure has previously been flagged by Higgo and our good friend Patch has committed to it also. For mine, it’s simple. We have the most valid rookie options in defence out of anywhere on the field, so it makes sense to open up more spots for them.
Heater came out in the last JLT game and went “yeah, nah I’m still a pretty good defender”. I said “yeah, nah good call” and went down from Doch to Shaw at D1. Can’t go wrong either way, I reckon. Shaw will have his ups and downs, but is guaranteed to be a top 6 defender. His ceiling appeals to me more than Doch or Simpson. Lock.
Rory Laird’s risk profile is my only concern with his selection. He looked shit-hot during the JLT and should push up into the midfield more with Adelaide’s lack of depth in this area. However, as highlighted in my Dodging Premium Donuts feature in the Jock Reynolds Fantasy Footy Magazine, Laird has a high risk profile. He’s missed 12 games in the past 3 seasons, ranking him equal 16th (along with Taylor Adams) for durability out of the top 20 defenders during this period. It is for this reason I can’t justify starting with Laird and Adams at the same time.
As Patch has mentioned, Marchbank and Hampton’s job security gives me a degree of confidence to pick them at D3 and D4, and I’m hoping anyone of Otten, Vickers-Willis and Stewart will be good enough to fill the remaining two on-field spots.
The most points traditionally come from this part of the ground so it’s logical to load up on it as much as possible to enhance your team’s point-scoring capacity.
The awesome foursome of Danger, Pendles, JPK and Treloar form the absolute backbone of my side. This quartet are ultra-durable and should all average north of 110. I’m expecting they will miss only 1-2 games between the four of them this season. They are the ultimate set-and-forget players. This allows me to concentre my efforts on strengthening the rest of my side as the year rolls on.
As number one attack dog in Hawthorn’s midfield, I can see Tom Mitchell pushing his average up to 110 and beyond this season. I think he provides some good value and am banking on him to be a keeper.
Fyfe and Beams are the two with significant risk profile, but their high point-scoring capacity is just too valuable to be overlooked.
I’m avoiding the Swallow and O’Meara options to both decrease the risk profile and amount of mid-pricers in my side.
Starting only one rookie on the field is also important I feel. Powell-Pepper and Barrett are the only two decent options in this department and I think it’s imperative to have one of them as bench cover in case a Beams or a Fyfe goes down early in the piece.
I just can’t buy into all this #Nankilands and #Wittilands hype. I accept the Nank is a good option as Richmond’s number 1 ruck, which is why I’ll start him at F3 as insurance for Sandi. I think Gawn and Goldy both remain excellent options and it gives me much more comfort to have one of them at R1. I may go down from Max to Goldy to free up some cash depending on rookie selections on Thursday.
Initially I had 3-0-5 structures for my defence and forward lines, but the lack of forward rookies has forced my hand. The Bulldog pairing of Dahlhaus and McCrae are absolute locks in my opinion, and are likely to finish top 6 forwards. Both have upside in their scoring capacity after injury-impacted seasons in 2016.
Nankervis provides ruck cover and should score well in his new role at Richmond. Based on the way he looked in JLT and the fact he has the number 1 ruck role locked in at the Tigers, I think his selection as a forward is a no-brainer.
Jack Steele has been preferred at F4 over Jarryd Roughead. We all know what Roughy can do, but I have my doubts on whether he can hit an average in the 90s after a year out of the game. As with the Essendon boys, it might take him a little bit to find his feet and get up to the speed of the modern game. He’s still a good pick, but this is the logic I’m going with in selecting Steele over him. Plus the fact Steele is 20K cheaper helps with my other structures.
I think Steele is still a risk and am concerned about what his role at the Saints looks like once the real stuff begins. He was brilliant in the JLT, and the Saints love his tough inside work. He can rack up contested possessions and the kid tackles lots as well. If he gets plenty of minutes, I think he will be a great selection. It’s a big ‘if’ though.
Tim Taranto looks an incredibly impressive young kid and worth forking out the extra $ for over a basement rookie in the forward line. Showed plenty in the JLT and should be a certain Round 1 starter considering the Giants’ current injury list.
F6 will be open for a basement rookie, most likely a Brett Eddy. I’m under no illusions this spot might not score well, but if I can get 60s until I’m able to upgrade it, I’ll be happy with that.
Well, there you have it.
All in all, it’s a pretty cookie-cutter side, with not many really ballsy points of difference. But I’ve been burnt in the past by starting with too many speculative picks and I’m not going to make the same mistake this season.
My risk profile is reasonably low and I’m rolling with 4 mid-pricers as well. I’m comfortable with that.
So, let me have it Community. Feel free to unload on me in the comments or tweet me at @carlpfeiffer9
Good luck to everyone in what will be an enthralling season!