FORWARD LINE FRENZY

Published by Matt Forrest on

The forward line is a difficult to position to navigate at the best of times. You rarely have premiums to fall back on, and the “locks” that you had selected in December are injured or playing a different role than expected come February.

But fear not, fellow SuperCoachers. I have been challenged to break down the difficult path, in an attempt to find true value in this year’s crop of forward line talent that we have available.

In years gone by, the SuperCoach gods occasionally bless us with a premium midfielder, who played just enough minutes in the forward fifty to get dual position status. Last season we had Patrick Dangerfield, Josh Dunkley, Tim Kelly, and Travis Boak. These four players were the top scoring forward line options over the course of the season, with only Rowan Marshall (a Ruck/Forward eligible option) averaging more than the lowest player’s score (Tim Kelly’s 104.2 average). However, Marshall dipped below on total points due to missing two games, and for this analysis, we will be primarily looking at the total points accumulated over the course of the season.

This year, the same gods that blessed us twelve months ago have cursed us. We have been gifted Lachie Whitfield and Dustin Martin, however in return we had to sacrifice Dangerfield, Dunkley, Kelly, Boak, Marshall and Worpel to appease them. That is six of the top ten scoring forward eligible players gone from the board, and that isn’t including LekDog’s favourite: Caleb Daniel. Whitfield and Martin join Michael Walters as 2020’s only forward eligible players to average 100+ points per game last season.

So how are we able to accumulate the total points required to make a competitive forward line? It’ll take a bit of creativity and thinking outside the box, but where’s the fun in going with the norm in SuperCoach?

If you were to think positively, six of the top ten forwards are gone, which means there are six spots up for grabs in 2020. And using my moderately sized brain, I will try to decipher who that may be.

I have broken the top 20 scoring forward options for 2020 into three different groups.

Improving

The first category’s players are typically younger, or have adopted a new role, whether that’s at a new club or in the same system. In this grouping we have two of the top four scorers, Isaac Heeney (2069 @94.05) and Dustin Martin (2000 @100.00). Heeney has been a perennial breakout option for the last few seasons, however hasn’t reached his lofty potential yet. It was confirmed at the end of 2019 that Heeney played through 2019 with an ankle injury, and has been fully fit throughout the preseason, bar a thumb injury that he has now recovered from. With Sydney transitioning into a younger side, the 23 year old is primed to take on more midfield responsibilities, and hopefully this results in him eclipsing the 100ppg mark. Dustin Martin did (just) average 100 points per game last season, which was his lowest season average in 2014 (99.5). Nothing suggests he will start declining, or start playing a forward only role, so expect him to hover around the 100-115 average, depending on how dominant he wants to be each week. 

A few other players who aren’t as “lockable” slot into this improving category as well. #9 Darcy MacPherson, #11 Christian Petracca, and #18-20 Jordan Dawson, Darcy Parish and Connor Rozee are all expected to reach and exceed last years efforts, mainly due to their youth and added responsibility.

MacPherson (1798 @81.73) played 22 games last season for the first time; finally breaking into that fortress of a line up known as the Gold Coast Suns. In his 9 games after his bye last season, he had four scores over 90, as well as three in the seventies. This isn’t too much to read into, but he featured heavily in Gold Coast’s midfield in the first Marsh Series game against Geelong on the weekend, so I can’t see his 81-point average going backwards.

Christian Petracca (1788 @81.27) put the SuperCoach world on notice with a massive score in the first Marsh match up. Another perennial breakout option, he is looking much fitter than he has in previous years. One concern is Goodwin said after that Marsh series match that Petracca’s midfield minutes were a “week-to-week proposition.” He obviously looked the goods on the weekend, and even last season he was #11 in total points in 2020’s forward line options.

Jordan Dawson (1723 @86.15) missed two games yet still had a very strong average for a relatively unknown commodity. Going into 2020, however, he is seen as a breakout SuperCoach option. In his last five rounds in 2019, he had two tons and two 93’s, and there’s been plenty of talk about Dawson’s role being slightly adjusted to a half back option with the potential to play some midfield minutes. He scored well off the half back flank for the Swans in the first Marsh Series match, however Sydney were missing Jake Lloyd and Callum Mills. Hopefully we can see the three of them together so we know how he will feature alongside the star backmen. A SuperCoach-friendly role will definitely see his points increase this season.

Darcy Parish (1714 @85.7) is another player who’s had a continued upward trajectory since entering the league, but hasn’t popped just yet. He is continuing to earn midfield minutes, whilst also featuring as a half back, as well as a high half forward. Having midfield eligibility is huge for Parish, as he wouldn’t get looked at in the same light if he were just a midfield eligible player. When he pushed into the midfield last season he had scores of 137, 120 and 110 in a three-week stretch, so hopefully he can move to a more permanent midfield spot.

Connor Rozee (1710 @77.73) really bucks the trend, and will offer us an exciting SuperCoach prospect in just his second year. Plenty of talk about playing a midfield role, combined with 108 points in 57% game time during the Marsh series gets a lot of SuperCoachers jumping for joy. When Wines and Gray return it’ll be interesting to see his production, but hopefully Port opt for youth and keep him in the guts.

Hugh Greenwood (1194 @ 85.29) didn’t finish in the top 20 last year, however he is predicted to increase his output now that he’s with the Suns. Barring injury, he should play every game, so he would only need to maintain his average of last year to score 1876 points, which would slot him into #7 on the total points list. He is expected to play more of an inside midfielder role at the Suns, rather than the small forward who pinch hit in the centre that he played at the Crows. This change of role should see his scoring ability trend upwards, and you could see that as early as the first Marsh Series game, where he scored 109 points.

Declining

The category identifies those who may drop away a bit, and while some may finish as a top 10 forward, they probably won’t average as much as they did last year. Last year’s #1: Michael Walters, and #3: Gary Ablett, are the first on this list. Walters (2217 @100.77) had a career-best year in terms of SuperCoach, averaging 100+ for the first time. In fact, it was 12 points per game better than any other year (88.9 in 2014). He played more midfield minutes, which helped account for more points per game. However, with Fremantle having a new wave of young midfielders coming through, he may be forced to spend more time up forward than what he did in 2019. One other statistic that is probably worth mentioning is that he kicked two match-winners in two games in a row, which saw his scores bumped up to a handy 110 and 127. These two scores aren’t responsible for his whole season average being 14 points per game better than what he’s ever done before, however it is worth mentioning that he received approximately 20 points for the match-winning point, and 30 for the match-winning goal.

Gary Ablett (2009 @95.67) is another player who saw a midfield role diminish last season. Gary will be 36 this season, and is kicking the bucket in a SuperCoach sense. Last season was the first time since his debut year where he averaged less than 105 points per game. With more forward minutes coming for him this year, don’t be surprised if his average plummets again. I wouldn’t be surprised if he missed games throughout the year, too. It’s very hard to see him maintain a top-10 position this year.

Jack Ziebell (1999 @90.86) was fifth on the total points for 2020 forwards last year, and while he’s a lock for a game every week he’s available, I can’t see a small forward maintaining an average of 90 this year. After the bye last year he moved into a relatively exclusive midfield role, which saw him pile on five tons (four being 120+) in nine weeks to finish off the season with a nice points boost. However, when he played exclusively forward, his scores ranged from anywhere between 43 and 100+. He may be someone who sneaks into the top 10 in total points this year, but I don’t think he can maintain a 90+ average on the year.

Tom Hawkins (1884 @85.64) finished sixth in total points, after having a monster year in 2018 (2036 @101.8). However, the 32 year old has only averaged 100+ once in his career, and is much more accustomed to averaging from 65-85ppg. I can’t see a scenario where he contributes more per game than what he did last season, especially with Esava Ratugolea returning to full fitness after missing a chunk of games last year, and breaking his leg badly the year before.

Luke Dahlahus (1788 @85.14) has been on a downward trend since averaging 104.5 in 2015, with last year being a resurgent spike as he moved clubs. However, like Ziebell and Walters, I expect he’ll feature almost exclusively as a small forward. He finished 10th in total points last season, but I can’t see him clinging onto that top 10 finish in 2020.

Sam Reid (1724 @78.36) apparently finished 17th in total points out of this year’s crop of forward options, and to be honest I’m a little surprised. He did play 22 games, which always helps, however he should slide out of that top 20 this year pretty comfortably. He is a consistent 55-70ppg average-player each season, with last year being his best season. He is more likely to slide back to that 70 points per game, as his role at Sydney isn’t changing, if not already diminishing due to younger options like Nick Blakey stepping up.

Maintaining

The third category touches on players who I can’t see increasing or decreasing their output too much, so I lazily lumped them into this category together. This group features #7 Jack Darling, #8 Jeremy Cameron, #12 Lachie Whitfield, #13 Tim Membrey, #14 Charlie Cameron, #15 Ben Brown, and #17 Tom Papley.

Jack Darling (1859 @84.5) and Jeremy Cameron (1856 @92.8) are both key forwards who score well. Both are relatively young (27 and 26 respectively), and while Darling has consistently averaged around 85 for the last two seasons, Cameron’s rise in average coincided with his Coleman Medal-winning season. Although it’s hard to predict whether he’ll win it again this season, he will be in the conversation throughout the whole season. I don’t see their outputs declining this year, as they are both important cogs in their teams’ forward lines. Cameron is probably a little more attractive, especially if he can play 22 games. His ability to move up and down the ground, collecting disposals and setting up goals, as well as kicking bags himself, make him a great prospect.

Lachie Whitfield (1780 @111.2) is arguably unfairly ranked, as he is an uber premium option, and at his average he should be outstandingly the number one forward this season. However, his inability to play out a full season really hinders his ability score bulk total points. He only managed 16 games last season, but still ranked 12th in total points, so plenty will select him and cross their fingers and toes hoping he stays fit. However, rumours circulated suggesting he had ankle surgery in January, and while that hasn’t been confirmed by GWS (as far as I’m aware), ankle injuries are nasty. It is unclear whether that will affect him at all, but he hasn’t featured in GWS practice matches just yet.

Tim Membrey (1768 @80.4), Ben Brown (1750 @79.5), Charlie Cameron (1755 @79.8) and Tom Papley (1724 @78.4) all feature highly in the overall rank, however none play a very attractive brand of SuperCoach football, and all four rely on kicking bags of goals to score well. They all played 22 games last season, which really boosted their total points, but only Membrey averaged 80+, and none look like their role is changing enough to be an attractive selection.

That’s it from me, community! How are you structuring your forward line? Is it a couple of premiums and plenty of rookies, or are you betting on some midpricers to finally blossum? Let us know in the comments!

Categories: Supercoach

24 Comments

FozDaddy · 04/03/2020 at 17:04

Hey Community,

Going to start a cash group (not league), where the entry fee is as small or as much as you like (more or less). It gives you an opportunity to get involved in winning some cash if you like the idea of chasing overall rank, but don't seem to get close enough to get a sniff.

If you would like more details then send me a message on twitter @mattforrest29, on instagram @matt.forrest or send me an email at: [email protected]

Alternatively, reply here with easiest way to be in contact and I'll message you.

Love you guys xx

FozDaddy

    Jorg Ancrath · 05/03/2020 at 06:40

    The woke police have arrived.

Jorg Ancrath · 04/03/2020 at 17:48

I'm on Whitfield, Heaney and Martin at present. Like Greenwood as an option too.

    Max · 06/03/2020 at 07:27

    I have D Smith from the bombers Petracca and Whitfield I don't know but it allows me to have an extra mid in Cogs (GWS)

John · 04/03/2020 at 19:57

Hi Matt, thanks for your thoughts on our unpredictable forward line, I was wondering what your thoughts are on Ceglar (2020 Marshall?) TMac (97 avg 2018) and Jack Steven (averaged 90+ the last 4yrs bar last year and had only missed 2 games in that stretch) thanks in advance.

    FozDaddy · 05/03/2020 at 00:45

    as a Hawks fan, I don't see the CHB McEvoy experiment lasting too long, and with such a tall forward line we'll probably only need one ruck. My fear for Ceglar is he only manages to play half (at best) of the games, with Patton and O'Brien able to play the second ruck role.

    Jack Steven is still a no for me, until I at least get a look at him and what sort of role he has at the Cats. Last I checked he still had a dinged calf, but my information may be outdated.

    Tommy Mac is probably the one to take the punt on out of this trio, however still not completely sold. He operated so well as the second/third tall forward in 2018, behind Hogan, but dropped away when he took on the number one key defender. Depends how the Demons line up, and what role he has in the forward line. Keep an eye on him though, could be a decent pod if everything works out well

      John · 05/03/2020 at 04:00

      Thanks for reply, the fwd line is doing my head in ATM with all of these potential midpricers popping up and trying to sieve through them, I think if enough capable fwd rookies show themselves between now and Rd1 I’ll end up going Whit Dusty rookies x6 and let the premo forwards present them self to me.

      Tibor · 05/03/2020 at 13:15

      Not sure on T Mac either when he is the no.1 forward. Did perform well without Hogan in 2018 finals and even bobbed up with some good scores finally last year before he got injured. A real mystery package that I would put a line through but the price is tempting if he does get a good run at it

Lazza · 04/03/2020 at 20:01

I thought Papley was stepping up to a part mid role this season…similar to Dunkley in 2018.. Not sure where I read that …anyone have further insight about his role for 2020?

Plop · 04/03/2020 at 20:22

I heard somewhere that longmire said heeney would stay in the same role as last year, has anyone else heard this same news and is there a source for it?

    Tibor · 05/03/2020 at 13:09

    What exactly is his role. Seems to be taking a few big hangers, providing a highlight reel the odd good score then goes missing and kills the sc season for his owners….

Captain_Risky · 04/03/2020 at 20:27

You missed the Chad! … mind you that would probably need another category.. Nice article. I have Dusty, Parish, Petracca, Rozee & Dawson.
Parish & Dawson i'm pretty confident about. Not far away from being keepers based on how they averaged for the second half last year. Parish had a concussion affected game which lowered the avg a bit, but has shown a nice progression year to year.
Haven't been burnt by Petracca before, so I might as well take a punt! Surely Melbourne have to improve a little this year.
Rozee looks talented, just hoping he can progress. looked good in marsh 1

    Tibor · 05/03/2020 at 13:05

    I dispute that Petracca has actually burnt anybody. Has never been above a mid price cost and delivers above 80 average and was 11th ranked forward. Hardly spectacular and I suppose disappointing that he hasn’t broken out….yet…..but not really burning anyone. We just expect a lot from him, rightly so, more encouraged by his obvious fitness improvements than one big practice game score, keeping the faith and one more ride on the tracca train…

      Derek · 05/03/2020 at 15:47

      He has been the Mills of the forward line

EndoftheWorld · 04/03/2020 at 20:32

Acres hammy – Damn you Supercoach, foiled again !

TommyC99 · 05/03/2020 at 14:55

I know hes a bit up and down but in a year where forward line is a bit of a mess, thoughts on De Goey? Ceiling probably isn't high enough for his deviation but if he can get that mid time we've been asking for past few years he becomes a very good option.

    Russty_ · 06/03/2020 at 02:31

    I started him last year Tommy and I regretted it soon after, got tagged in his first game and then got an 82 and then did ok for awhile until he got injured…although he ended up ok average-wise it could've been better without the 59 and 47 in there.
    I reckon he could get to 90 – 95 if he stays on the field, Stephenson could have a good year I think, I might take a punt on him.

      TommyC99 · 06/03/2020 at 08:21

      Hey russty, glad i am not the only one who has/is considering De Goey! Stevo is a very interesting one. Obviously a discounted price as opposed to De Goey so doesn't have to increase his output as much. The only question for mine is if he gets the mid time to increase his floor. As a pies man im looking for any excuse to start a pies player so this could just be supporter bias lol.

    The Ranger · 06/03/2020 at 10:31

    Before the first Marsh series game Degoey said he would be playing a 50/50 split between the fwd line and mids this year.
    And with Treloar out that might increase.
    Still not going there personally but…

Derek · 05/03/2020 at 15:43

Every good forward option, maybe except for Travis Cloke in 2011, has one thing in common…… they play in the guts.

Stuff the forward who plays as a forward, they can rack off.

Great writing with good words Foz

Kelly, Dangerfield, Walters, Wortley, Boak, Dunkley, even Mundy, all last year were the ones to have.

Not sure where Whitfield even played last year, but he ran a lot. He was like a good Tom Scully.

That was the problem with Heeney last year, didn’t play enough in the guts. Probably had something to do with Buddy not there, but I suspect it is because he is a better forward than a midfielder ( his one on one ability is unbelievable, where in the congestion of the midfield he is found out a bit)

Simple question before to select, are they classified forward but really a midfielder?

The same can’t be said for defenders, there are plenty of points running around the half back line.

    The Ranger · 06/03/2020 at 10:34

    Spot on Derek, it's all about the midfield minutes.

      derek · 06/03/2020 at 10:39

      ive watched enough auskick in my time to know where the kicks are.

      midfield minutes put a reasonable floor on their score. if they are in the guts for long enough, the eventually get a kick.

      i watched Townsend run around the forward line last week for half a game, never looked like touching it. he went into the midfield in the second half and did ok.

derek · 06/03/2020 at 09:43

not really. if it was Lobbe instead of Lobb i might be interested, for old times sake.

BigBoy is on the waivers, might look at him

SC_2020 · 06/03/2020 at 17:25

Rozee or Stephenson, who averages more in 2020?

Comments are closed.