By Ben Madden (Patch is still chasing the boffins around trying to fix the ‘Patch posts everything’ bug.)
Can Alex Wither-TON avoid the second year blues?
Touted as a top 3 draft pick before injury struck, last year saw Brisbane Lions player Alex Witherden become a saviour to our backlines (and cash generation) everywhere. It’s time for Alex Witherden 2: Electric Boogaloo, with the defender looking to have a full-preseason and build on his short yet wonderful year (and possibly take out the Rising Star award, having only played nine games last year). But will he fall victim to the second year blues, or is this Lion ready to roar even louder in 2018?
Alex Witherden – The Facts
|2018 Facts||$478,900 DEF/MID|
|2017 100+ Scores||3|
|2017 Sub-80 scores||4|
|2017 Highs & Lows||High of 109, low of 69|
One of the reasons I think that Witherden is going to be a standout pick this year is due to his consistent Dream Team to Supercoach ratio. Often, when a player goes through an unsustainable purple patch they can tend to have a huge ratio, where one score is dratically out of whack with the other. However, when you look at Witherden’s season ratio, it actually comes out to 1:0.98. This is only going to improve as he gets more contested ball, and takes more contested marks, so I feel he has a lot of natural improvement left in his average.
The Lions have also got a young team, and with Rockliff leaving, there’s points up for grabs. Witherden might get injected into the midfield from time to time. Furthermore, he only spent 80 per cent of the game on the field over the season. With another preseason under his belt, that could bump up to 85 per cent, which would give him more minutes to score.
Unfortunately, it might take a little longer than this year for Witherden to reach his full potential. He only averaged 4.9 contested possessions last year. If you’re new to Supercoach, contested possessions = gold. Personally, I’d like to see that hit 7 to 8 a game, as that gives his average a little bit more certainty. This is a trend across his season stats averages in general. Whilst he is a great player on the outside, his game doesn’t naturally lend itself to being a Supercoach beast just yet.
For me, Alex Witherden is only going to improve this year, and whilst his pricetag is steep, the addition of Luke Hodge could propel him to the next level. He has a killer boot, and the Lions will look to direct more of the play through him, as last year demonstrated his ability to hit up targets.
If you’re looking for reliability, Witherden may not be the best option, as he is a little bit of an unknown quantity. However, Witherden is looking like he might just be a premium in the future, and he could make the step up this year. After all, how many rookies average 87 in their first 9 games?