One of the most difficult SuperCoach seasons in recent memory is over.
Congratulations to those who made it to the top of the mountain and either triumphed in their leagues or succeeded in their quest for rankings supremacy.
A stunning performance from Buddy Franklin ensured things went out with a bang on the weekend.
Plus there was a certain Crow who all but cemented his position as a must-have player in 2018.
When he’s on, he’s unstoppable. Lance Franklin (171 SC) produced a performance for the ages on Saturday night, taking a much-improved Liam Jones to the absolute cleaners. Bud booted 10 goals to storm to a Coleman Medal win, also delivering 10 marks and 11 contested possessions in a commanding display.
Put this in the book now, Matt Crouch (150 SC) is a must-have for 2018. His 45-disposal outing on Sunday was the latest in a long line of performances in the back end of 2017 that helped push his season average up to an imposing 110. He will only improve that figure next season. Jump on.
Fellow Crows midfielders Rory Sloane (149 SC) and Brad Crouch (133 SC) also benefited from the dominance of Sam Jacobs at stoppages in their match against West Coast on Sunday. Sloane racked up 38 disposals, 23 contested possessions, 14 clearances and 9 tackles while Brad had 42 disposals, 29 handballs, 15 contested possessions and 10 clearances.
A brilliant display from emerging Bomber Zach Merrett (144 SC) helped him produce a big performance to finish off the season with an average of 109 per match. He had 4 goals and 31 touches in Essendon’s victory over Freo. Hawks ball magnet Tom Mitchell (120 SC) capped off a magnificent season with another workman-like game. His season average of 118.9 ranks only third behind Patrick Dangerfield and Dustin Martin.
Sam Menegola (131 SC) has benefited from extra opportunities in Geelong’s midfield following the absence of Joel Selwood. He finished with 3 goals, 34 disposals and 15 contested possessions to help the Cats dismantle GWS. Menegola will be a tantalizing prospect if given forward status next season.
Other significant scores: Matthew Boyd (133 SC), Jarryd Roughead (132 SC), Brendon Goddard (129 SC), Sam Gray (127 SC), James Sicily (124 SC), Callum Ward (123 SC), Shaun Grigg (123 SC), Ben McEvoy (122 SC), Brad Ebert (121 SC), Dyson Heppell (121 SC).
Nick Riewoldt (75 SC) and Luke Hodge (47 SC) were probably more focused on their farewell games rather than giving their owners adequate scores, while Tom Rockliff (77 SC) and Dayne Beams (76 SC) were most likely concentrating on making sure the Lions gained the number one draft pick for next season.
Popular defensive options Michael Hibberd (79 SC), Sam Docherty (66 SC) and Alex Rance (66 SC) let their owners down with below-par returns while forward trio Luke Dahlhaus (66 SC), Robbie Gray (66 SC) and Isaac Heeney (64 SC) all had games they would rather forget.
In a year where good cash cows have been extremely hard to find, Alex Witherden (99 SC) just pips Hugh Greenwood for rookie of the year. Witherden finished the season averaging 87 and his DEF-MID eligibility provided extra flexibility for his owners.
It’s been an up and down year for Kade Simpson (118 SC), but he finished it off nicely with a 29-touch match on Saturday. Despite his average dropping by more than 10 compared to 2016, Simpson registered his ninth year in a row averaging 93 or more.
After starting the season in irresistible form, Toby Nankervis’ (119 SC) second half of 2017 was fairly ordinary. So it was pleasing for his owners that he finished off the minor round with a bang. With Ivan Soldo out of the side, the Nank was back to full time ruck duties and benefited significantly, finishing with 31 hit outs.
Heath Shaw (42 SC) has taken out the title for the biggest let down of 2017, narrowly edging out Tom Rockliff. For many, including myself, he has gone straight on the never again list. It’s been a dramatic fall from grace for Heater, with his average dropping by a staggering 23 points per game compared to 2016. In fact, Shaw’s paltry 2017 average of 83.3 is the first time in 12 seasons his average has dropped below 90. You have to go way back to 2005, Shaw’s first season, for a worse yearly return. He’s clearly enjoying the twilight of his career and simply can’t be considered for next season.