Team Reveal: Azza
26th September 2021.
The 2021 AFL season has come to a close, but this is the same day my 2022 SC pre-season began.
In the days and months following, I was collating all the available data I could source then analysing the data looking for immediate value, potential breakouts, hidden gems etc. Then the trade period, national and rookie drafts came and went, and come November I had my first SC draft side.
16,438 different variations and 3 months later, here we are, my JR team reveal. Am I happy? Yeah. Will it change another few hundred times before now and the first round lockout? Absolutely.
It’s here in defence and in my forward line where the majority of changes have happened throughout the pre-season. There’s plenty of great premiums to select (Lloyd, Ziebell, Crisp, Ridley, Short, Whitfield) and they’ve all featured in my side at some point.
Rookies have come, gone and started to dry up (Chesser, Wilmot, Dean, Gould all gone) then there’s the various midpriced and fallen premos options (Hewett, Sicily, Coleman, Milera, McInerney) that have all been in consideration as well, causing me to reconsider my structure many many times.
When SC finally opened, Lloyd was my second picked defender behind Aaron Hall and he is one that hasn’t left my side all pre-season. Lloyd plays a very SuperCoach friendly role and is a known premium who will hopefully return to a 120+ average with Dawson out of the side.
Short is another player that looks set to benefit from team changes with the retirement of Bachar Houli at the end of last season. In 2021, Short averaged 92.8 SC when Houli was playing and 105.0 SC when Houli wasn’t playing. His recent score of 138 vs Hawthorn is another indicator that a boost is likely to the delight of SuperCoach players.
Years have shown that Leon Cameron cannot be trusted with players from GWS in SC. Over the years, Whitfield has had MID, MID/FWD, DEF, MID/DEF statuses being thrown around the ground. But amidst the chaos, Whitfield has shown time and time again that he’s a valuable premium averaging as high as 111 in 2019. I’m praying he stays fit and reaches those lofty heights again.
When Damo speaks, you listen. He’s identified Chapman as a potential breakout defender at Fremantle, and his recent performances in the two pre-season matches against West Coast support that thought. Playing a SC friendly intercept role in defence, Chapman scored 86 and 107 in his two matches locking him into my side at D4.
Given the current lack of guaranteed Round 1 defensive rookies, I’ve had to get a little creative and play it a little safer, spending big on rookies starting with Hinge. Hinge looks set to take a step out of the shadows as fringe player and into the senior group after impressing on multiple occasions on the wing in match simulations. Scores of 79 and 64 across the two pre-season matches were enough to lock him in until team sheets are named.
Traditionally key defenders aren’t great selections in SuperCoach (remember Prestigiacomo?) but in recent memory the tides have changed with the development of the modern defender. Gibcus’s traits are that of the prototype modern defender with exceptional leap, fantastic awareness, intercept ability and clean hands. Since being drafted, he’s impressed coaches, players and fans alike and looks locked in for Round 1 and thus my side.
Bench: Paddy McCartin, Sam De Koning
It’s fantastic to see the former #1 draft pick back playing AFL and fingers crossed he can stay injury free. Both McCartin and De Koning have valuable DEF/FWD status, which could prove very handy down the track, but they’re needed here in defence for now.
What more can be said, the midfield is the heart and soul of any SuperCoach team. Little has changed here, and I’m very happy with the setup.
A player that needs no introduction and should be in every team. Averaging 120+ in the past 4 seasons with exceptional consistency, evident by his low score of 97 last season. Western Bulldogs also have a SC friendly draw to start the season not to mention with early matches, he’s going to be my perma-VC.
After breaking out in 2020, Steele backed it up in 2021 to show that it wasn’t a fluke and Steele is the reele deele. Much like Macrae, Steele is another premium you can lock away with confidence given his similar outstanding consistency.
Clayton Oliver and Touk Miller is one of many coinflip decisions I’ve made making this team but I’ve gone Oliver purely on ceiling at this stage. Can Oliver make it three in a row going over 200+ in SC against Adelaide in 2022? (Sorry Baz). A player with a ceiling as high as Oliver is incredibly valuable to any SuperCoach side.
Might come as a surprise, but this was also another coinflip decision. One of the players I’ve really wanted to include but can’t because of cost is…Patrick Dangerfield and Neale was and still is the player that could make way for him. But alas, I’ve resigned to the thought that as good as a POD Dangerfield is, not having Neale could be worse if he explodes back to a 130+ average. Remember, K.I.S.S.
Arguably the biggest “will he, wont he?” conundrum this pre-season. After two interrupted seasons will Rowell return to the incredible debut form of 2019 or will his injuries get the better of him stifling his average? Fingers crossed it’s the former and from what we witnessed against Geelong, it’s looking like Rowell could be a valuable stepping stone or at worst an M8 keeper.
Jason Horne-Francis / Nick Daicos / Josh Ward
Lumping these three together because there’s really no need for an explanation here. All three players look to be the top cash cows of SuperCoach, and with the new mid-season positional changes could be more valuable than ever with Horne-Francis odds on for M/F DPP and Daicos odds on for M/D DPP.
If you somehow needed further encouragement, Daicos averaged 159SC in the U18s in 2021, Ward averaged 133, and JHF averaged 85 in the SANFL seniors….
Bench: Nathan O’Driscoll, Connor Macdonald, Brody Hough
Somewhat placeholders, somewhat locks. Nathan O’Driscoll has been impressive on the wing for Fremantle in the pre-season and looks like a likely R1 debutant. Like Ward, Connor Macdonald has been a standout for Hawthorn and with their new youth policy should have excellent job security. Brody Hough was locked in only moments ago after confirmation he will play Round 1 for West Coast.
In the 15 years I’ve been playing SuperCoach, I’ve never once had a “set and forget” ruck line. Over the many years I’ve had some wonderful combinations, risking it all on players like Mitch Clark, Todd Goldstein, Jonathan Giles, Matthew Kruezer etc. This year is no exception…
The anchor of my ruckline, and in my opinion, the best SuperCoach ruckman heading into 2022. Max Gawn has Luke Jackson, Sean Darcy has durability concerns and Nic Nat has a greater midfield problem that could hamper his scoring ability. Grundy has no competition and a great midfield around him, not to mention looks in sublime fitness. A return to his 130 average seen across 2018-19 is definitely not out of the question.
Finally, a POD! As of writing, English is currently in 9% of SuperCoach teams, and is my biggest question mark heading into Round 1. But there’s logic to my madness and it stems around English’s valuable RUC/FWD DPP status. The talk around Footscray is that English is the Dogs breakout star in 2022, and the only person stopping this is Stefan Martin. But I’m not buying English as a ruck, but as a forward.
Presently, he’s already the 12th highest averaging forward and if Martin takes a back seat, he’ll definitely be a season long keeper. Long term, my strategy is to use one of my mid-pricers as a stepping stone to a premium ruck given the concerns at the top.
Bench: Jack Hayes
Who else but Jack Hayes, a new SuperCoach favourite. I really hope he gets consistent time at St. Kilda, because his SuperCoach scores in the SANFL in 2021 were insane. In the 20 games he played, he eclipsed 200 THREE times and averaged 128.5.
This is the line that seems to be causing the most headaches this pre-season for SuperCoachers. With so many potential breakouts (Butters, Thomas, Bailey, Heeney, de Goey), midprice options (Coniglio, Brodie, Rayner, Curnow, Ralphsmith, Gresham), premiums (Dunkley, Taranto, Martin, Treloar) and rookies, there is endless possibilities here.
In the first 6 rounds of 2021 before his injury, Dunkley was playing like a man possessed and averaged an incredible 129 SC points. However, after returning in Round 18 he didn’t quite have the same impact, only averaging 78.3 for the remainder of the season. Could be considered a speculative pick, but his scoring potential is there, and with limited premium options available, he’s locked in.
After moving from Collingwood in a shock trade at the end of 2020, Treloar never quite got going at Western Bulldogs in 2021 averaging 88.8 from 13 games across the season and 91 if you include finals. A lot of last season can be forgiven due to injury and an easing into his new home evident by his spread of CBA% and MID/FWD DPP status for 2022. It was the 2021 finals series where we really saw Treloar in full flight with SC scores of 102, 46, 123, 122. Given he’s averaged 105+ in 6 of the past 8 seasons, he’s very underpriced and must be considered, Bevo salad aside.
Zac Butters / Tarryn Thomas
Of all the coinflips and speculative picks, this is by far the hardest. I’ve been big on Tarryn Thomas all pre-season based on the raw stats and statistical analysis I’ve done and all signs point to a huge breakout in 2022.
But the allure and breakout of Zac Butters in his new midfield role has well and truly sucked me in, especially after his two scores of 114 and 167 in the pre-season.
Do I go with my head (Butters) or with my heart (Thomas)? Time will tell.
At the time of writing, 72% of SuperCoaches currently have Coniglio in their side, and with very good reason. After three injury-interrupted seasons, Coniglio is priced at a SC average of just 48 in 2022 which is insane given his previous averages of 105+ in 2016 and 2018. He just needs to stay on the park to see a significant price increase in 2022 and could potentially be a season keeper along the way.
Like Mitch Hinge, Brodie has been on the fringe at Gold Coast for 5 seasons, but after a trade to Fremantle, he looks set for the opportunity he’s been craving taking up Adam Cerra’s role in the midfield. After scores of 100 and 120 against West Coast in the two pre-season matches, he is locked and loaded into my forward line.
Like Horne-Francis, Daicos and Ward, Rachele comes at an expensive price but appears to be very much worth the extra money. Averaging 130 in the U18s last year for the Bushrangers, Rachele has drawn comparisons to Toby Greene for his X-factor up forward along with outstanding footy smarts and incredible goal presence. With back-to-back 85 scores in the pre-season and praise from his teammates, Rachele looks to be a very safe rookie pick rounding out the forward line.
Bench: Nick Martin, Hugh Dixon
Cheap and cheerful here on my bench. Both Martin and Dixon have been added to their respective sides as SSP picks, but both have been incredibly impressive and could very well be lining up in Round 1. Much more of a placeholder here at the moment, but there is a lot to like especially given the flexibility of Dixon via his RUC/FWD DPP.