Hayden who? Most people wouldn’t know a thing about Hayden Crozier, because he’s just not a standout player.
He’s not a highlights package, he’s not a ball magnet – in fact he’s never averaged more than 17 touches a game in his seven-year, 69-game career.
A lot of people might not even know the forward flanker was traded to the Western Bulldogs in the 2017 off-season.
I bring you this to consider Hayden Crozier the running defender, rather than Hayden Crozier the half forward flanker. Shock and horror ensued when I found out Ross Lyon wasn’t playing Crozier in his best position for 90% of his career, but he’s in safe hands now. I think.
Luke Beveridge sweet talked him into requesting a trade to the Dogs, which the Dockers were happy to facilitate. Well, happier to facilitate than some other trades they had to do in the off season.
So, Crozier has been brought over, and if news reports are to be believed he is being primed to take over the role Robert Murphy left behind after his retirement. And the stats for him in that role are encouraging, despite the small sample size.
|Price (Position)||$341,400 (FWD)|
|Scores Below 80:||18|
|Scores Above 80:||1 (84)|
|2017 Highs and Lows:||High of 84, Low of 42|
Not very impressive, is it?
So what stats have we got to go on to even consider him as an idea?
Well, not a lot to be honest, but let me cast your mind back to 2016. In 2016, Fremantle had an injury crisis, it resulted in them having too many of the same player available, so they sent Hayden Crozier to defence for the final 10 weeks of the season. He wasn’t bad either. He averaged 88.4 SuperCoach points over the first 5 weeks of that 10 week period.
In the first 5 weeks of that 10 week period, Crozier had scores of 90, 100, 71, 87, 94 – Not bad for someone who mainly played in attack for his pre-registered career. Positively, he also recorded a close to 2:1 kick to handball ratio, with an average disposal efficiency of around 85%.
In the 10 weeks he spent in the backline he was ranked third at Fremantle for metres gained, and ranked the sixth best kick retention rate of the top 15 metres gained players at the club.
In 2017, despite not getting to the same lofty heights, his best scores were produced against clubs which the Bulldogs play in 4 of their first 7 games. As a forward, mind you. The Bulldogs play Fremantle (his former club) in those first 7 games, and he didn’t play in the Dockers only game against the Swans last season, another one of the first 7 teams the Bulldogs play. On top of that, in 2016, his top score of 100 came against Essendon who they play in round 3.
Not a lot to go on to consider him a safe option. His final 5 games in that 10 game stint in defence also produced scores of 54, 64, 56, 77, 62 – Not great. In fact, it calculates to about an average of 62.6 which is pretty much the average he is priced at in SuperCoach this year.
As a forward, Crozier scores terribly. Both in SuperCoach and actual terms. If Luke Beveridge decides to backflip and sends him to help out in the forward half of the ground he won’t be any good to us. According to this season’s AFL prospectus, Crozier is rated below average for goals, shot at goal accuracy and score assists.
Overall, there is not a lot to go on considering the small sample size we have for the defensive position he has been recruited for. The signs are good, but we have nothing to really bite at to quash our fears in selecting him. He had some nice scores, and his metres gained is a nice stat, but what will he be like as his new club? And will Luke Beveridge prefer to play new players like Ed Richards or Aaron Naughton over him or alongside him? What will that do to his scores? We don’t know, because there is such a small sample size. On the positive side though, we know what he can do if given the freedom to run and make the play across half back, and that’s something to monitor closely during the JLT series, because that’s probably our best indication of what to expect.
He was in my team when I started writing this. Now he is part of an contingency plan for my team, based on round one selections, and pending his JLT form.