The fun has arrived, community!
No more aimlessly staring at our teams, hoping that the magic formula will just miraculously appear in our heads, like a genie suddenly appearing from a lamp, or Higgo strangely appearing in one of Lekdog’s beer bottles on Monday night. No, now is the time when all of our pre-season research will be put to the test in our grand quest to claim the ultimate prize a Supercoacher could hope to achieve – bragging rights over our mates. (Though you wouldn’t say no to $50,000 either!)
Before the season begins, there is absolutely no way to know what structure you will need to have a successful 2018. Not one of us have a clue. We saw Damo go deep in the midfield with five $600k premos, myself selecting four premo defenders despite it being the best line for rookies, Kev’s mid-price madness, Barron’s absolute breaching of the no-flog policy with Sicily and Greene in the same line, Patch’s downright insane one-premo defence, and Lekdog’s more conservative team being the glue that holds us all together. But that’s what makes our game so great, community – with its unpredictability, the rush, the thrill – even the trades you wish you could erase. Like the time I traded Nat Fyfe for Cam Guthrie in 2015. I still have those demons whispering in my ear, by the way.
One thing that will absolutely define your season, though, is how well you select your captains each week. You could rely on gut feel, and if you read my team reveal you’ll know I’m a big believer of faith over facts. But that belief relates to trivial things, like the 30 players that make up your starting squad. When it comes to the big issues, (such as captain choices) it is wise to have a plan of action.
Welcome to MaSloane’s captains report.
There was never a Supercoach winner in history who didn’t make wise, thought out captain choices. A good captain choice can set you up for mammoth victories, and an unwise captain choice can leave you reaching for that third bottle of rum you swore you were going to give up. For example, picking a JPK and banking a captains score of 260 will put you a lot further ahead of your mate, who slapped the duties on Goldstein and watched him unenthusiastically churn out a captains score of 180.
In 2017, however, there wasn’t really any thought you had to apply in picking your captain. You just knew it was going to be Dangerfield. Danger would come out and score 300 as your captain every week and the only thing you had to decide was who would carry the title of Vice-Captain. But are we seeing the end of the perma-captain? Our two perma-captains of the last decade, Dangerfield and Ablett, are now in the same team, and we have yet to see how they will impact each other’s scoring. I’ve also seen a lot of coaches on the twittersphere going without Dangerfield, and all this means one thing – captain choices are going to make or break you this year.
Key Captain Choices:
Price – $605,800 – 2017 Average 110.2
Last 3 vs Essendon: 92,124,141
Avg vs Essendon: 105.8
Sloane came out of the blocks firing last season, and was the highest scoring player in the AFL after the first 10 rounds. Essendon also don’t have any noted taggers, making Sloane very dangerous. Beware though, Etihad stadium isn’t his strongest ground.
Price – $608,300 – 2017 Average 110.6
Last 3 vs Essendon: 139,78,89
Avg vs Essendon: 90.3
Backed up his impressive run home with a 107 and 98 in the JLT, as Adelaide’s highest PPM scorer. I wouldn’t pick him though, due to the likelihood of Sloane gathering most of Adelaide’s clearances in a tagger-less bombers outfit.
Price – $608,900 – 2017 Average 110.8
Last 3 vs St Kilda: 109,108,93
Avg vs St Kilda: 97.5
Zorko the Magnificent can be quite unpredictable, but has generally been fairly consistent against St Kilda. Brisbane will be looking to improve on last season, and Zorko could improve his output by 5 points, but I don’t think he’s the best selection for captaincy this game.
Price – $557,600 – 2017 Average 101.4
Last 3 vs St Kilda: 109,144,126
Avg vs St Kilda: 107.4
Here is a player I like for VC on Saturday. Historically plays well against St Kilda, and will be hungry to lead the charge for the lions. Last time he played St Kilda he racked up 30 disposals, 5 marks and 8 tackles. If you have him as a POD, you will be well served to slap the VC on him.
Price – $540,000 – 2017 Average 98.2
Last 3 vs St Kilda: 125,98,132
Avg vs St Kilda: 103.2
Another one I like for VC. St Kilda is the team big Stef plays best against, which is understandable given Tom Hickey and Billy Longer are both trying their best to have a full career in the ressies. With the absence of Archie Smith, Stef will eat whoever is selected as St Kilda’s ruckman. Won’t let you down.
Price – $603.7k – 2017 Average 109.8
Last 3 vs Richmond: 135,121,62
Avg vs Richmond: 98.3
The big Kreuz will be a safe VC/C option every week, but we don’t know how much improving Nankervis has done. If you wanted to get your VC out of the way on Thursday he’s a decent pick, but I’d rather pass.
Price – $537,300 – 2017 Average 97.7
Last 3 vs Richmond: 134,50,106
Avg vs Richmond: 86.2
Should hopefully average 110 this year, but I think we should wait and see before we try our luck throwing the VC duty on him.
Price – $586,500 – 2017 Average 106.7
Last 3 vs Hawthorn: 78,142,118
Avg vs Hawthorn: 113.9
Would love to say Pendles is a reliable captain option every week, but last year was really down on his standards. I’d rather wait to see what Bucks does with him (I hear he could play off a flank – typical Bucks) before giving him captain duties.
Price – $534,700 – 2017 Average 97.2
Last 3 vs Hawthorn: 105,92,116
Avg vs Hawthorn: 93.2
Can see Grundy and Big Boy being evenly matched, and he will be sharing the ruck load with Cox, so I’d pass this week.
Price – $600,600 – 2017 Average 109.2
Last 3 vs Adelaide: 120,92,30
Avg vs Adelaide: 80.7
You have to go back to his rookie year to find that 30 score, and Merrett looked great in the JLT. You could do worse than putting the VC on Merrett for Friday night.
Price – $563,500 – 2017 Average 102.5
Last 3 vs Adelaide: 120,81,87
Avg vs Adelaide: 79.0
There’s no Tex this week, so Hurley may be able to float around the backline rather than locking down on a key forward. This could see his score hit around 120-130 if we’re lucky, but I’d rather go Merrett or even Sloane for this game.
Price – $597,900 – 2017 Average 108.8
Last 3 vs Port Adelaide: 117,115,141
Avg vs Port Adelaide: 107.0
Fyfe is life, baby! Typically scores well against Port Adelaide, and averages 123.5 at the Adelaide oval. Should be in most teams, so whack the VC on him for Saturday arvo if you want a safe 120+.
Price – $599,300 – 2017 Average 109.0
Last 3 vs Port Adelaide: 129,149,87
Avg vs Port Adelaide: 107.6
Racked up 16 contested possessions from his 34 disposals last time he played Port Adelaide, despite Fremantle losing by 89 points. If I had Neale I’d be whacking the VC on him. But I don’t. So I won’t.
Price – $749,800 – 2017 Average 136.4
Last 3 vs Melbourne: 138,155,74
Avg vs Melbourne: 90.6
Needs no introduction. Melbourne isn’t historically his favourite team to play against, but Dangerfield averaged 136.4 in 2017. He’s as safe a pick as there any, despite a hamstring niggle.
Price – $631,100 – 2017 Average 114.8
Last 3 vs Melbourne: 82,119,161
Avg vs Melbourne: 115.1
It will be interesting to see how Bald Headed Jesus fairs in his old team. Honestly, he could reach the heights of a 120 average, with a reborn love for the game, and make footy fans all over the country very, very excited. Plus he makes my trousers fit tighter around my crutchular area. Good captain pick, especially if you’re running without Dangerfield.
Tom J Lynch
Price – $467,600 – 2017 Average 85.1
Last 3 vs North Melbourne: 126,87,81
Avg vs North Melbourne: 75.9
Played well last time he played North Melbourne, and the kangaroos are looking pretty bloody hopeless this year. Tommy could kick a bag, and if he does, you’d want to hope you had the foresight to whack the VC on him.
Price – $628,600 – 2017 Average 114.3
Last 3 vs Western Bulldogs: 132,90,70
Avg vs Western Bulldogs: 76.3
I personally would wait to see how he fairs without the big Mummy slapping the ball straight down his throat. Having said that, he should score well regardless and is currently my M2.
Price – $489,900 – 2017 Average 89.1
Last 3 vs Western Bulldogs: 56,102,58
Avg vs Western Bulldogs: 76.0
Cameron could break out this year and push his average up to 95, but he’d need to be kicking bags regularly. Very risky pick, but could pay off. Hasn’t had any notable scores against the bulldogs.
Price – $653,500 – 2017 Average 118.9
Last 3 vs Collingwood: 128,158,127
Avg vs Collingwood: 119.5
Collected 85 disposals and 6 brownlow votes against the pies in 2017. Say no more. If you have him, he’s definitely the captain choice from the Hawthorn vs Collingwood game.
Price – $475,800 – 2017 Average 86.5
Last 3 vs Collingwood: 88,79,137
Avg vs Collingwood: 78.9
With Goldsack out, Roughead may be able to bully his opponent a bit more, who is likely to be a young player, and kick a bag. I wouldn’t bet on it though.
Price – $612,800 – 2017 Average 111.5
Last 3 vs Geelong: 102,N/A,N/A
Avg vs Geelong: 102
Very small sample to go by, and Oliver has been battling an injury niggle since the JLT. Is also playing against Dangerfield, Ablett, Duncan and Selwood. Good pick, but not for captaincy this week.
Price – $503,700 – 2017 Average 91.6
Last 3 vs Geelong: 27,63,146
Avg vs Geelong: 82.0
Last time Melbourne played Geelong, The People’s Beard caused Supercoach carnage by going down early in the game with a knee injury and missing the majority of the remainder of the season. He looks to be back to his best now though, and if you’re running without Dangerfield could be a handy captain option.
Price – $545,200 – 2017 Average 99.2
Last 3 vs Geelong: 88,73,86
Avg vs Geelong: 81.8
Not captaincy relevant for this game in my opinion, with a career average of 81.8 against Geelong.
Price – $521,400 – 2017 Average 94.8
Last 3 vs Gold Coast: 100,77,125
Avg vs Gold Coast: 109.5
Provided he plays as the solo ruck, Goldstein is a great pick for VC. Witts kept up with him last time they met, but if Goldy is back to his best Witts won’t stand a chance. Average of 109.5 against the suns makes him a big yes in my books.
Price – $566,500 – 2017 Average 103.0
Last 3 vs Fremantle: 75,88,77
Avg vs Fremantle: 81.7
Sandilands is getting old in the tooth, and Ryder will jump all over the top of him and collect 50 hitouts. Good VC pick for Saturday evening, but I’d prefer Fyfe or Neale for that game.
Price – $529,400 – 2017 Average 96.3
Last 3 vs Fremantle: 92,104,170
Avg vs Fremantle: 108.1
Once a prolific points pig, Rockliff crashed down to earth in 2017 with his worst season average since 2012. Injuries have plagued Rocky, but hopefully he can finish off a wonderful career in style at Port Adelaide. Has a great record against Fremantle, could score 120+.
Price – $656,000 – 2017 Average 119.3
Last 3 vs Carlton: 121, 159, 86
Avg vs Carlton: 83.3
This guys always going to be captaincy relevant, especially as he plays the first game of the season tonight against a fairly weak Carlton midfield. Absolutely killed it in the season opener last year, if he can replicate that and you have the VC on him you’ll be very happy.
Price – $498,600 – 2017 Average 90.7
Last 3 vs Brisbane: 116,99,96
Avg vs Brisbane: 86.8
Wouldn’t captain him this week, but I think Steven will return to form this year and average 105+. When he goes big, he goes huge, so be sure to try and snag a 300 point captain game at some point during the year.
Price – $546,000 – 2017 Average 99.3
Last 3 vs West Coast: 92,129,105
Avg vs West Coast: 111.4
Many are backing Parker to be a top midfielder again this year, after a disappointing 2017, and if you wanted to put the C on him, this is the game. Averages 111.4 against the eagles, and while Sydney are lacking decent ruck stocks, West Coast are lacking Priddus, Mitchell and a fully fit Nic Nat. Good captain choice if you ask me.
Price – $536,300 – 2017 Average 97.6
Last 3 vs West Coast: 52,65,N/A
Avg vs West Coast: 58.5
Nope, don’t rate his chances of a 120+ score seeing as his highest score against the eagles is 65.
Josh P Kennedy
Price – $564,200 – 2017 Average 102.6
Last 3 vs West Coast: 113,101,107
Avg vs West Coast: 101.0
JPK will want to redeem himself in 2018, and who better to kick it off against than a dilapidated West Coast midfield? Averages 105.4 at Domain, so hopefully he can continue along that trajectory at the new Optus Stadium. I’d pick Parker over him though for this game.
Price – $540,500 – 2017 Average 98.3
Last 3 vs West Coast: 77,83,84
Avg vs West Coast: 83.9
Showed good form in the JLT, with scores of 134 and 90. If he can keep up that form heading into Sunday’s game, he could set you ahead of the pack early with a 300+ captains score. God, that would be arousing.
Josh J Kennedy
Price – $514,200 – 2017 Average 93.5
Last 3 vs Sydney: 110,63,55
Avg vs Sydney: 76.8
Won’t be back for a few weeks but is captaincy relevant when he does play, so I’m keeping him here for now.
Price – $577,800 – 2017 Average 105.1
Last 3 vs GWS: 108,141,112
Avg vs GWS: 109.8
Good captains pick, community! I’m personally not running with Bont to start 2018, but he is a great pick to shoulder the captaincy load against the giants, with an average of 109.8 against them. Bont gets points just for tying up his shoelaces, so with a 25 disposal game he could easily knock out 270+ as a captain’s score.
Price – $587,800 – 2017 Average 106.9
Last 3 vs GWS: 61,102,78
Avg vs GWS: 84.0
Kicked the winning goal against the giants in the 2016 prelim, and missed the same shot to win the game last year. This means he’s becoming less relevant against the giants, right? Pass for mine.
Post MaSloane’s Top 8 (Non-Dangerfield) Captain Picks
8. Luke Parker
7. Stefan Martin
6. Todd Goldstein
5. Dayne Beams
4. Nathaniel Fyfe
3. Marcus Bontempelli
2. Tom Mitchell
1. Lachie Neale
Thanks community, let’s kick off season 2018 in style. Be warned, if my advice causes you to take a captain’s score of 100, I take no personal responsibility. But if my advice causes you to snag a captain’s score of 300, please jump around in next week’s comments and tell me how I saved your round 1 score – for that I’ll take complete responsibility. Who’s shouldering the load for your team this week? This is it community, where the rubber meets the road. Good luck, let’s chat in the comments.