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Supercoach 2019 – Player reviews: Zach Merrett

Published by Patch on

My boy Zach.

I’ve been watching the lad since he made his debut way back in 2014, and I’ve been bloody excited by what I’ve seen. Still only 24, Zach will win a brownlow before his time in AFL is up – mark my words.

I only hope he can add a Norm Smith medal in a winning side to that list – as well as many more seasons of rock solid, premium Supercoach output. Of course.

But can he?

Merrett had a down year last year after a mixture of a slow start due to concussion and the dreaded tag combined to give him a tough run at the footy.


It shows in his raw numbers, too – Merrett averaged a smidge under 30 disposals a game in 2016 and 2017, but fell back to averaging 26 last year.

What I find more concerning was that for the first time in his career, his kick-to-handball ratio fell below 1 – he averaged 12.8 kicks per game and 14.1 handballs. For someone will skills as silky smooth as Merrett, that’s detrimental to both his scoring and to Essendon’s chances of winning.

While he showed in the back half of the season he was able to deal with the tag better, there are still some worrying numbers about his decline since his break-out in 2016.

Merrett’s ceiling has dropped


*including two injury affected games

When Merrett burst into the realm of the ultra-premium (back when he still had forward eligibility, no less), he was the top dog in a depleted Essendon midfield.

Through some freak of nature, 12 of Essendon’s best players were all ruled out of the season through freak year-long injuries that we definitely don’t talk about ever, and Merrett stood tall among top-ups and rookies.

He had a phenomenal 10 scores above 120, regularly cracking 140.

Last year, his highest score was 130. That’s not a lot from someone you want to slot in at M4 for $544,800. So what’s the go, Patch? Why are you recommending someone on the decline?

Funny you should ask – let me introduce you to my good friend Dylan Shiel. He is not a good Supercoach selection on his own. He might be value, he might average 100, but nah. There are better options.

What I am intrigued by is the affect Shiel’s arrival will have on Merrett.

My money’s on Shiel drawing some of the tag off Merrett. I have no doubt Shiel will cop heavy attention in some games, but I also don’t think clubs will stick with him all season. I don’t think he’s the danger man – that tag belongs to Merrett.

He’s deadly by foot, tackles like a man possessed and is the hearthrob of both the Essendon midfield, and my life. Clubs should – and will – still tag him.

Which leaves me in the peculiar position of having talked myself into doubting my first player picked. Has he learned how to deal with the tag? How long will Shiel steal the spotlight for? How much will missing three weeks of the preseason with an ankle complaint affect him?

Can I justify selecting a player without the numbers to back it up? Just Dennis Denuto’s “vibe of the thing”?

Ah, to hell with it. He’s in.

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Certainly an option I am considering this season. But a bit scared off by his injury in the pre-season.


I'm not overly concerned by the injury – he's back up and running without too much hassle now.

Houdini Stare

Word on the street is he’s golden


Is currently in my side, but if Oliver is looking healthy in the JLT, i'll probably end up with him and make it a battle between Crouch and Merrett for M5




Correct me if I'm wrong but don't those stats show a downwards trajectory?
It's a big call to expect a little a bloke with ballet dancer ankles and two extra mids at his club to take mid time off him to reverse his downwards trend against players 10+cm taller and 20kg heavier. The stats and the extra competition for mid-time make it more likely he'll be around 95ave for the year, get on McGrath Patch your little man is finished as a premo, just like marc murphy.


He’s 24, there’s no way he’s “on the decline”. The first years of player’s stats are usually sporadic so his trajectory isn’t anything to worry about in my opinion. However it does mean he isn’t a definite lock.


Just reading the stats mate I suppose if you reverse the order it could look like he's on the improve


Ooof big call to say he's finished simply due to other mids coming into the side – Collingwood never had an issue with Pendles, Beams (part 1), Swan and Sidebum in the middle averaging 115+.

There is a downward trajectory and it's concerning, but as outlined I reckon there'll be enough factors to see him improve his average. Will it be enough to justify a midfield premo slot on him? I can't tell.

Houdini Stare

He’s a wait and see for mine.
Might be a good M8 down the track.
Can’t see him pullin a J McCrae


The downward trajectory is completely comprised of him getting tagged and not dealing with and having a concussion. He has learned to beat tags and Shiel will take the heat off him. Saying he’s declining is either myopia or stupidity.


With it *


Yeah it's a shame that the game has passed him by already blame Mclachlan not me. I didn't say he was finished that his days as a SC relevant footballer are behind him. Diesel wouldn't get a game in todays comp and Hudson, Coleman, skilton would also be in the two's. He's too small and too slow for this game. Just an opinion but his body seems to be struggling to keep up

neil demons delight

brave call all champs




What a load of gibberish, are you trolling? He averaged 111 from rounds 9-23, and has averaged around 110 for 3 years except for 8 weeks at the start of last year. Got a concussion that dragged his score down and was struggling with tags from rounds 2-8. He then put up 100’s whilst copping tags against the Saints, Eagles, Swans and Freo in the 2nd half of the year. I can only believe you’re trolling. Might start slow after an injury affected preseason but fit and healthy he’s a proven 110 scorer. Horrible take.


You're the being insultinge Will then you accuse me of trolling. Check the article again mate when numbers get smaller each year it means that the player is not getting better OR the player is getting worse. You can make all the excuses you want but plenty of players miss games due to injury and still manage increase their SC average. There's probably 50+ players that I could select a string of games where they average 11 points more than their final average but that still doesn't change their final average.



2016: 111.5
2017: 109.2
2018 rounds 1-8: 90.1 without the game where he was knocked out
2018 rounds 9-23: 111.4

2016: 79.5
2017: 108.2
2018: 92.4

Pretty obvious these two have identical numbers with an 8 year age difference to boot


Geez Will what's your problem? I never suggested that they were similar players I said that Murphy was also finished as far as being SC relevant. When you take a players worst score out of his total to quote a fabricated average you should also (to maintain perspective) delete the worst score from every other player in the comp that got injured.


You completely insult a player and call someone rude for defending them?


It has to do with stats and how you read stats, your saying he’s declining when he scored consistently around 110 for 3 years with a 7 week aberration. The 7 weeks don’t fit the rest of the data and that’s it. Try to find some other players who have 3 years of consistent scoring with 7 bad games dragging their average down, he is the definition of an underpriced mid likely to bounce back.


OK Will lets play your game where we can selectively delete 7 consecutive weeks of scores and see how Zach measures up
2016 lets take out the last 7-games as an anomaly so Zach averaged 106.5
2017 lets take out rounds 7-14 as the anomaly so Zach averaged 102.5
2018 lets take out rounds 14-21 as the anomaly so Zach averaged 92.8

As you can see if we delete those 7-week anomaly's where he wasn't tagged or was playing against weak teams he is still going backwards


mate you don’t know how to read stats. Every player has splits and runs of form but he stabilised to about a 110 average two years in a row in 2016 and 2017, you don’t remove his best scores lol. In 2018 the 7 games are an aberration compared to 56 games of 110 scoring and you want to pretend he’s on the decline? If you want to do a bigger split he averaged 113 post bye.

Find another player with the same stats and two years of 110 scoring with a 7 week aberration and get back here.


Sorry 3 years of 110 scoring and a 7 week aberration

Great fact hunt

Agree billy goat not for me.


A LOT of Bomber fans here me thinks GFH

Rick Grimes

Pretty keen on him but can't have them all. In 2016 and 2018 he averaged a good 20 points more post bye. Not as much differential in 2017 when he was consistent accross the year. Little food for thought perhaps.


He started getting tagged in the 2nd half of 2017 and struggled with them until the 2nd half of 2018. He was on track to average more in 2017 than 2016 until the tags started coming his way for the first time in his career. He was a 21 year old getting a hard tag so everyone forgive him for a second if he took a while to adjust.

Rick Grimes

I still think he's prone to the tag. Still see him averaging 105-110, good player but won't start with him.


He may still be prone to the tag but put up 100’s against Hutchings, Hewett, Banfield and Steele in the last 10 games. That’s a sign he’s learned how to deal with them


Prefer Dusty at 20k more

Rick Grimes

As do I. He'll be back to 110+ ave this year.


Sam Walsh apparently dominated scratch match today.
Looking like a lock even though he is a high price rookie

Rick Grimes

Yep, gotta pay the piper this year.


I guess if people are considering the likes of Miles , then downgrading to Walsh might be a better choice …. but neither fits my current strategy .. then again, there are plenty of Feb/Mar champions going around at present ..

Houdini Stare

Zac Merrett – He won’t win it for ya but won’t lose it for ya.
Don’t start with him. Could be a great pick up down the track


I think he can easily get back to his best…and his best is probably yet to come, he's a classy player with plenty of skill.


Looking for competitive SC league codes?

I’ve been very successful in past years and want to ensure I am in a highly competitve league.

Looking at cash prize ones too if anyone knows of any floating around 🙂


Hi Scotty, I have 1 place left in a $20 cash league. Email me at [email protected] and i'll send you the details


I like Merrett a lot but will be looking for him as an upgrade target, i want to see how the essendon midfield dynamic works before i commit to him.


Be interested in a cashy if one comes up.

Donald Drumpf

Hey Prizza, got a couple of competative $50 cash leagues if ur interested? Where’d u end up ranked last season?


Read two posts up… Derek May still have a spot…?


Very consistent 100s player, but rarely goes above 110. If you are happy with an almost guaranteed 100 each week, Zach is your man.


Shocked to see Dylan Shiel in just 10% of teams, I think he’s a lock to go 120+. Go Bombers!


I had him in my team for a while, but I've been talked around to making him a potential upgrade target if all goes well. Price-wise he's still in the premo category for me, even if he's on the fringes of it, and I want to have more confidence that those sorts of players will score big. Definitely worth waiting to see. Could also be an interested "downgrade" target if someone gets injured


Currently M5 for me Zerrett. The Shiel addition helps him massively, he's a bloody good ball user and he's 24yo.


He's in.

Jaymin McCallum

Do I trade or keep Merrett what's everyone's opinion? He played terrible against GWS looked slow and had no determination