Shiel moved to Essendon in a blockbuster that strengthened their case as a favourite to shoot up the ladder. He has eye-catching skills, he can rack up disposals and can kick goals out of midfield.
So why has he never averaged more than 103 in a season with perennial finalists GWS?
Dylan Shiel is undoubtedly a star midfielder, and he is also one of the headline names in this year’s exciting class of players moving clubs.
Shiel really emerged from 2014-2017, where he showed his ability to be a game-breaking, goal-scoring midfielder. In this span, he averaged 25.8 touches and kicked 44 goals in 79 games, averaging 98.6 sc points with 24/79 (30%) 110+.
At GWS, Shiel was arguably the fourth best midfielder, with Kelly, Ward and Coniglio all being genuine A-graders. Now at Essendon, it’s fair to say he is Zach Merrett’s number-two, and while some believe Shiel will take some heat off Merrett, my assumption would be that teams will continue to try and shut down Essendon’s best midfielder and ball user (Merrett).
While Shiel had a strong run from 2014-2017, he dropped off significantly last year, and showed a worrying floor by dropping below 80 points on seven occasions. He also only managed five 110+ scores in his 89.7 average.
This lack of consistency that has plagued Shiel throughout his career has meant that even his career best year in 2015 only saw him average 102.8 from 14 games – good for 27th best in the midfield in per-game scoring.
He appears to be set for a more expansive role with Essendon, but he would need seriously clean up his disposal efficiency to be able to even threaten a 110 average without touching it 30+ times a game.
I touched on briefly in “The Bad”, but Dylan Shiel is one of the more prominent butchers of the footy in our game.
Yes, there are times he can burst from a contest with excellent pace, take two bounces and hit a forward on the lead lace-out, or kick one himself from 50.
But the fact remains that Dylan Shiel only hit the target with 55% of his kicks last year, meaning that pretty much every second kick was a waste of a stat as far as SuperCoach is concerned.
Dylan Shiel is an outstanding recruit for Essendon, and I think he will win them games off his own boot at times. But, in saying that, there is nothing that suggests that this is a good SuperCoach pick.
At 480k, he would need to be a keeper to be worth picking, and he has not shown the ability to string together a 110 average for more than a month at a time.
I absolutely believe Shiel can average 100-103 without much issue, but I would need to see it with my own eyes before I could buy Dylan Shiel as an every-week Superstar of the game, which is what a 110 average looks like.
He is able to go very big on occasion, and has all the tools to be a star, and there is every chance he puts it all together in his new scenery and leads Essendon to a top-four spot and September glory. But I will happily wait and see, and I’m shocked that he is in 10% of teams while players like Zorko (4%) and Sloane (7%) are only 40k more expensive.
What you reckon, community? Will opposition teams see Shiel as damaging enough to leave Zerrett alone?