Hey Community, Dave here.
I thought I’d do a little piece on low percentage selections in the forward line, specifically some more speculative ones. Some of the more popular forward selections come with multiple questions and what-if-isms *cough* Westhoff, Heeney, Gray, Dunkley *cough*.
This time of year, and all the way up to lockout you’ll hear “if he” SO. MANY. TIMES. You’ll say it, I’ll say it. It’ll drive you nuts thinking about it.
“If he plays more time in the midfield”, or “if he backs up his last half of 2018”, or “if he plays 22 games”.
If, if, IF.
The guys below really interest me (although none are in my current team… yet) as they’ve flown under the radar, been written off or not really considered and certainly not talked about.
Defence has been a focus in this price bracket for obvious reasons, with rule changes and multiple value selections, but I’d argue there’s plenty to like for your one make-or-break mid-pricer at that $420- $440k price point in the forward line.
Jack Billings – 2% Ownership
2018: 80.6 from 21 games
This. F*cking. Guy.
I had him, you had him, we all had him and the agony he brought, but here’s the stat: 92.7 from his last 9 games.
He averaged 92.7 from 22 games in 2017 and was tagged with the potential to go again in 2018. A poor start, role changes and poor form around him hurt his scoring.
Could this be his year? I certainly think he’s better than his 80.6 last year and with some more support around him could easily push that up to 90-95 in 2019.
What’s the question for young Jack you ask?
How many games will the Saints win?
- 4 wins in 2018 = 80.6
- 11 wins in 2017 = 92.7
If you think they can put up 8 wins or more he’d have to be considered. It’s not as tenuous a link as it looks… Billings is a guy who scores well in winning games, even close games.
He averaged 107.6 in victories (including his 85 in a draw against GWS) in 2018 and 100.3 in winning games in 2017.
The Saints have a reasonable draw and Billings is another year in the system and more mature. He certainly eclipses the 80.6, but by how much? Who’s ready for the Billings roller-coaster circa 2019?
[EDITOR’S NOTE: Patch is absolutely onboard the Billings train. Choo choo!]
Tom Lynch – 6% Ownership
2018: 78.4 from 10 games
Hmmm… while Tom Lynch’s ownership is mostly hopeful Tigers fans, here’s the stat: 85.1 from 19 games in 2017 & 93.2 from 22 games in 2016.
We don’t like key forwards.
Well, we’re trained not to like them. Buddy is always the exception, though maybe not this year. I tossed up JJK for this article, but after looking through injuries and form issues, I had to put a line through him.
Big Thomas is an interesting one.
The potential is huge. He’s going from the equivalent of the Sandy VFL to vengeful Tigers outfit that will give him 12 more inside 50’s a game and inside 50’s from some elite midfielders.
How many goals will he kick? After 66 goals in 2016 led to an average of 92.3 , you’d think he kicks 60-70 in yellow and black. However, working up the ground and being a more mature forward in a winning team with increased inside 50’s, he’d go 95-100 in 2019.
He’s coming back from PCL surgery, is recovering well and fully expected to play round 1, but he still may be a wait and see and if he comes out firing in the first few he’ll be hard to go past.
Jade Gresham – 1% Ownership
2018: 79.1 from 22 games
No bullshit for this one.
There’s a lot to like about this kid. He’s another Saint, but one that isn’t as impacted by the Saints ladder position. He is rock solid fit and has played back to back 22 game seasons. In the last 12 rounds of 2018 he put up a 95.4 average.
Yes, Dunkley put up 111.3 over his last 10, but he also has never played a full season and isn’t guaranteed to play the same role again in 2019. That’s not a knock on the Dunkley selection, I think he’s under-priced, but not 111.3 under-priced, even as a midfielder (that’s a Lachie Neale average by the way).
Gresham really had a year split in two, averaging 66.2 in his first nine games and 95.4 in his final 12, where he played a more midfield-centric role and it translated to almost a 30-point differential. Not much else to say, he has the talent, Richo likes him in the guts and he’s on the rise;
Will he play in the Saints midfield?
- 2017: 66.3 from 22 games
- 2018: 79.1 from 22 games
- 2019: 95-100??
My (substantial) gut tells me Gresham is a better pick than Dunkley, for 3 reasons: he’s durable, he’s $90k cheaper and he will play in the midfield.
It’s not going to be a popular selection, but may be one that frees up $90k for you to spend elsewhere.
Thanks for reading Community, let me know what you think below!