I wrote an article in the latter stages of 2014 on Pearce Hanley. It was preseason, and we were all excited at the prospect of a DEF/MID Hanley, alas, for 2015 and all the years since – he has been MID-only.

This year is the first – since 2014 – that we have been gifted a Hanley DPP.

However, is it too late?

In the years following my dissection of his selection potential, he simply has not lived up to the hype.

He missed the first 3 months of 2015 due to hip surgery and a few weeks post-bye with back-related hamstring tightness. His 2016 season was ‘indifferent’ and he admitted to not playing to his potential; and his 2017 season was derailed due to the tragic death of his younger brother Tommy. He also missed 2 weeks in the latter half of the season due to back-related hamstring tightness.

The end of 2017 saw Hanley play for Ireland in the International Rules Series – where he subsequently broke his hand and had his 2018 preseason interrupted.

All those games missed.

With all that in mind, I still think he is fantasy relevant.


2018 facts $428,000 DEF/MID
2017 games 13
2017 average 77.8
2017 100+ scores 4
2017 sub-80 scores 6
2017 highs and lows High of 119, low of 31

These numbers don’t scream “PICK ME”, but I see potential.

This year, Gold Coast are a shell of a team – filled with middling players and a core of young potential stars. Considering Hanley is 30 this year, it puts him in the oldest handful of players in the team, meaning he will want to be a leader and step up his game.

Where does he play?

I think Hanley will almost certainly run off the flank. With the likes of Miller to probably run off the other flank.

If he is not off a flank, it will be a wing-role for mine.

Going over Hanley’s heat maps from previous seasons, he has mostly played defence – with the exception of 2014-2016 – a closer to 50-50 split in mid-fwd possessions.

His 2017 heat map indicates a clear shift back, with stints on the wing.

His numbers speak for his majority outside-style play.

In 2018, if we exclude his injury-affected game against North Melbourne, he averaged 6.25 contested possessions. Considering he averaged 20.6 disposals in those matches, he is more likely to receive the pill and run, than bulldoze into packs.

He kicks the ball more, which is a tick (avg 11.9 kicks to 7.7 Handballs) – but does not like to tackle much (avg 2.2 per game).

Hanley averaged 5.1 marks a game, and his efficiency with the ball was good at 69%.

Hanley will rarely hit the scoreboard, and his clanger-rate could improve (3.4 per game)

Another stat of note – his average SC score in wins compared to losses, last year was negligible – 76 in wins, and 78.4 in losses.

Going back to his 2016 season, he played for the Lions and was playing more 50-50 between mid and defense (according to his heat maps).

His numbers however, were very good.

Hanley opened the 2016 season with 6 straight 85+ scores and 3 tons to average 110 – yet his following 6 matches yielded 3 sub 80’s and an average of 77.5.

I couldn’t find a reason why his numbers suddenly dipped other than lack of possession and bad efficiency.

His stats for the year compared to his 2017 campaign were similar, with one major standout – his rebound 50’s compared to his inside 50 average (3.5 I50 in 2016 – 1.9 I50 in 2017, and 2.0 R50 in 2016 – 3.3 R50 in 2017)

Either way, if Hanley plays off a flank or wing – at his price, he only needs to average around 80 to be worth his money, I feel he could average 90-95 – with some large scores in there.


Plays for Gold Coast – not many other good players to take his share of points.

Kicks more than handballs.

Good efficiency.

SC average in losses isn’t much different from wins.

Has a history of high scores.


Injury history.


Plays for Gold Coast – they will get more beatings than most this year.

Is an outside player, if tagged, will likely stain your team.

Rarely tackles.

Unknown coach – where will he play Hanley?


A near-lock in defense at his price for mine, and the DPP status just gives more flexibility to your team.

Isn’t Sam Docherty or Heath Shaw (in his prime), but a handy 90-95 a week will be a good return on investment.

In my team at D3, and will need to not play to be moved.


Let us know community, are you picking Hanley?

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Canny · 22/02/2018 at 14:29

Lovely Dex.
There was an article on the Suns a bit earlier in the preseason which had an interview with Stewy Dew who said he loved Hanley and could see him playing a fair bit of time in the guts. So that's a big tick for mine.
He was also recently promoted to the (rather large) leadership group the Suns have going up there a couple of days ago. So good signs there as well.

I have him at D4 at the moment behind Hurley, Hibberd and Simpson. Hoping to see a couple of good hit outs from him in the JLT.

    Dex_ · 22/02/2018 at 15:36

    Thanks Canny.
    providing his body holds up, he'll be top 8-10 i reckon.

INPieman · 22/02/2018 at 14:47

Nice to see an article from you Dex. First 11 weeks of the season on the road. Including China. A man with not much recent durability that's a tough ask. Nice price with DPP & the man can score big. I don't mind the pick but there's a lot that can go wrong with it

    Dex_ · 22/02/2018 at 15:34

    Thanks INP.
    Yeah, durability a concern – but providing you have a backup plan and don't pick too many risks you should be ok – and at that price, i'm onboard!

      INPieman · 22/02/2018 at 15:48

      Fair enough. I don't have a line through him just yet. If he looks good in the JLT he might find a way into my squad

        Derek · 22/02/2018 at 17:00

        I’ve got Barlow at F3, Hanley is just too much Sun.

James · 22/02/2018 at 14:54

Hanley or Sicily?

    GloryDays90 · 22/02/2018 at 15:30

    Sicily for me

      Don Drumpf · 22/02/2018 at 22:48

      Hanley or N.Wison?

TRIGGA_HAPPY · 22/02/2018 at 15:59

Nice one Dex a head scratcher.
He and the Suns will be the travelling man early.
Liked the bit:
The good "plays for gold coast"
The bad "plays for gold coast"
Which sums up pearce off to a tee – if you start him will need to take the good with the bad.
DPP is nice but.
Lots of choices around that price range in defence
I like Wilson or bullseye at the moment or a sneaky saad on the side.

WYatt · 22/02/2018 at 16:05

His my D3 at moment at that price he could be a gun also could burn everyone

LHMORWOOD · 22/02/2018 at 17:31

Who’s a better M6:
Rockliff or Coniglio ???

    Bells · 23/02/2018 at 12:45

    A rookie.

    Randomcliche2 · 24/02/2018 at 09:55

    Last year demonstrated the changing of the guard with new premos establishing themselves. It's a balls on the line kinda game.

dontblushbaby · 22/02/2018 at 18:56

I’m looking at either Hanley or Heater as my D3 for a Risk v Reward pick , who knows they both could be value ?

Mike · 22/02/2018 at 19:40

Not touching him

paul · 22/02/2018 at 20:15

I have 20 locks so far in my team and Hanley is one.10 variables which is a wait and see JLT

    ZerrettForPM · 25/02/2018 at 03:34

    20 locks is impossible

StevoRivo · 22/02/2018 at 20:52

Not for me Dex, despite the DPP. Injury history worries. Happy with Hibberd at D3 and rolling the dice on rookies to fill the remaining spots. I’ve got plenty of risks elsewhere!

Steeeve · 22/02/2018 at 21:08

Can't fit in Hanley but feast your eyes on this midprice madness.

Laird, Shaw, Brayshaw, Birchall, O'Shea, Doedee (Mirray, Goddard)
Danger, Titch, Fyfe, Pendles, Cripps, Coniglio, JOM, Brodie (Wigg, Polson, O'Connor)
Gawn, Nic Nat (Cameron)
Heeney, Dahlhaus, Curnow, Deledio, W Rioli, Ryan (Higgins, Garlett)

I am so excited about this team someone please talk me out of it

    dontblushbaby · 22/02/2018 at 21:21

    Birch won’t play R1, official from the club, Nic Nac is also a major doubt for R1, only just training with the main group and Dimma said Higgins won’t play In R1 unless an injury happens , sorry mate as had some these names also

      Steeeve · 22/02/2018 at 22:00

      Bugger back to boring guns and rookies

    Derek · 22/02/2018 at 23:21

    Birchall to Mirra who is now a lock for round 1, gives you 175k.

    Delidio is just too much risk, id even have a Cyril ahead of Lids. Delidio to Billings gives you a really strong forward line.

      David C · 23/02/2018 at 17:10

      Birch comes back in say R3 and goodbye Mirra.

      neil Demons Delight · 24/02/2018 at 15:19

      will he be elevated

    fatboyfat7 · 23/02/2018 at 17:01

    Is Wigg injured or is he back? Expected to play R1?

    Post_MaSloane · 26/02/2018 at 22:31

    This terrifies me

Derek · 22/02/2018 at 21:26

Any North Melbourne fans can help me.

The more I look at Luke McDonald the more he becomes a really solid pick.

Averaged 81 for most of last year until he was thrown into the guts. Averaged 95 for his last 5 games.

Aged 23 and just hitting his prime.

Gibson leaving has made the midfield spot his to loose.

Apparently he was BOG in their first serious intra club game.

$461k is not cheap. Looks ok at D3?

    TommyC99 · 22/02/2018 at 22:47

    Yeah I’m beginning to really warm to him. Although currently got simmo/Howe at D3

      INPieman · 23/02/2018 at 09:35

      Howe currently has a calf injury. And missed last night's intra club

        Tibor · 23/02/2018 at 11:47

        Spot on Pieman. With a nice group of options here why would you start with the bloke who is struggling with a calf. How many times do we see calf injuries linger and ruin seasons?

    Bootsmaaa · 23/02/2018 at 10:10

    see him avraging more or less 90

      Bootsmaaa · 23/02/2018 at 10:17

      was on the wing majority of the season not just last 5 although don't mind the pick

    fatboyfat7 · 23/02/2018 at 16:57

    That all sounds appealing, wouldn't mind seeing a write up on him… Does stint of that 'more midefield time' myth though…

Danners · 23/02/2018 at 09:56

Great work Dex, just made his way into my team in the past couple days. A good JLT would probably see him stay there

StevoRivo · 23/02/2018 at 11:50

No Hanley. Starting team with mid price risks also…

D: Hurley, Laird, Hibberd, Bonner, O’Shea, Doedee (Murray, Morgan);
M: Danger, Dusty, Fyfe, Cripps, Coniglio, Armitage, LDU, Brodie (Kelly, Spargo, Worpell);
R: Ryder, Gawn (Cameron);
F: Heeney, Gray, Petracca, Christensen, Rayner, Dawson (Ryan, Higgins).

Nic Nat, Stringer and Yeo got the chop. Might change a couple of rookies but think it’s now balanced up ok. Any feedback appreciated folks…

    David C · 23/02/2018 at 17:13

    Like the Bonner pick, he seems to be firming for R1. Can't see O'Shea playing R1, Byrne and Mullet are ahead of him. St K are experimenting with Armo in the forward line so that might affect his scoring ability.

    leedy · 23/02/2018 at 20:39

    Don't know about Armitage at 309k, particularly with the emerging midfield brigade at the Saints. He has only had one ripper year and a couple of others where he averaged in the 90's. Good luck though.

The Ranger · 24/02/2018 at 09:38

Good to see you back on the site Dex.
Tempted by Hanley. Like Lek I hate paying more than 500k for a defender so at one point I had a D1-3 of Lloyd, Witherden and Hanley but I can't face going into the rd9 bye with both Hanley and Ryder.

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