For the second season in a row coaches would feel indifferent towards the year Tom Rockliff delivered. Multiple times he was injured and multiple times coaches traded him out. Yet the one thing that Rockliff posses which can set him apart from the pack is his ceiling. But is it enough?
Name: Tom Rockliff
Club: Brisbane Lions
2016 Highest Scores
204 Vs Carlton, Round 11 (SuperCoach)
184 Vs Carlton, Round 11 (AFLDreamTeam/AFLFantasy)
Personal Best Scores
204 Vs Carlton, Round 11, 2016 (SuperCoach)
190 Vs Gold Coast, Round 18, 2014 (DreamTeam/AFLFantasy)
Why Is He Relevant?
When you think of players that are fantasy relevant based on their scoring potential Tom Rockliff is one of the first names that comes to mind and understandably so.
Despite having some injury affected games over the past few seasons not many can go with him when he gets on his points scoring roll. Last year he had 13 scores of 100 or more in DreamTeam/AFLFantasy and 10 of them over 120. If you’d picked him up from his return in round 11 he scored 11 of his hundreds in the next 12 games going at an average of 133. In SuperCoach last year he went over 100 in 11 matches, 8 of those were over 120. Just like in DreamTeam/AFLFantasy once he got back from his injury in round 11 onwards he averaged 125.
In 2015 after a few early injury affected games he got on yet another run. From round 7 onwards in DreamTeam/AFLFantasy he scored 9 hundreds, all bar one were 120+ and during that time he averaged 117. In SuperCoach he scored over 100 on 10 occasions and averaged 115. Only 1 game from during this time did he not score over 90 and that was a Ben Jacobs affected tag. In 2014 he was simply stunning. 18 games, an average of 134 in RealDreamTeam/AFLFantasy. It featured 15 hundreds, 11 of which were scores of over 130. In SuperCoach he averaged 131 with 15 hundreds and 10 scores of 130+.
While you have to go back to 2013 for when he last played over 20 games in a season, it’s the the only small chink in an otherwise unbeatable armor. However, that game number could be argued it’s void if he can deliver averages similar to that of non injury affected 2015 and 2014 games simply because what he scores coupled with the bench cover you use you’d still end up on top compared to starting almost every other midfielder ahead of him.
What he offers that makes him almost unbeatable is his frequency of ceiling. Over the past 50 games he’s scored over 140 on 17 occasions in DreamTeam/AFLFantasy compare that to Scott Pendlebury (4), Dan Hannebery (4), Patrick Dangerfield (4), Nat Fyfe (1) and Adam Treloar (0). He’s scored over 140 in his past 50 games on 13 occasions in SuperCoach. Contrast that with other popular premiums Scott Pendlebury (10) Patrick Dangerfield (11), Nat Fyfe (4) Adam Treloar (4) and Dan Hannebery (6). As you can see what he’s lacking in games played he made up for it in the ceiling.
One of the knocks on him was his work rate and fitness last year, but through the preseason he’s worked on this and is noticeably leaner and has improved his running. He’s thrilled his new coach with his leadership around the club both in direction and attitude and is ticking every box fans and fantasy coaches could’ve hoped for.
To be honest, I probably don’t need to spend much time talking and WHY you should select him as it can be highlighted not just by what I’ve spoken of above but by just one word. Ceiling! What he can do in all formats (especially in DreamTeam/AFLFantasy) and how frequently he can do it makes him relevant. However, I’d like to look at some of the ‘red flags’ surrounding Tom Rockliff.
A new coach always signifies change! A change in ethos, game style, structure, player roles and maybe even captaincy. With Chris Fagan what changes (if any) will impact Tom? While we can hypothesize and speculate based on the odd piece of information that does come out in preseason press conferences and interviews that great indicator will be around what Brisbane do in the preseason. As a junior, he was used predominantly forward and even early in his career at Brisbane he was often used there to great effect. With an eye to the future could Fagan use 2017 as a year to allow great midfield time and development for the likes of Rhys Mathieson, Hugh McCluggage and Ben Keays? Again, only time will tell. The key is to ensure if you are planning to start him that you watch his role during the JLT series, if he’s playing predominantly midfield he’ll score well when on the field, if playing more forward it may be cause for concern.
For the past few seasons starting Tom Rockliff was the wrong move! He now has a history now of being a poor starting squad option due to continual injuries. Over the past 2 seasons you could have spent a maximum of 4 trades per year trading him in & out of your side. I don’t care who you are, that’s a hell of a lot of trades especially in DreamTeam & SuperCoach. While the past doesn’t automatically equal the future, it does give us a pattern and something to table that history says starting him is a risk For those who are steering clear of those with a previous poor injury history or only selecting a few players with ‘risks’ attached to them, then you’ll need to be consistent and place Tom within that list too.
Rocky could be anything in 2017! He could become your go to weekly captain who goes on to become the top scoring player of the year. Equally as possible has he suffers multiple injury setbacks and forces you to use multiple trades (again) on him, or he could deliver 10-15 points under his current price due to a greater forward role and be considered a ‘bust’ as a midfield premium based on what your initial financial investment is. Regardless, for those aboard the Rockliff train the one guarantee you will have about him is that it certainly won’t be dull!
In a draft, depending on the format you play will determine where he goes. If it’s a DreamTeam/AFLFantasy scoring format he’ll be gone in the opening few picks and is every chance to go at #1 overall selection. While in SuperCoach he’ll be selected anywhere from the late first round through to somewhere in the second.
Who’s Next – #9?
So far in this series, we’ve revealed only 3 Rucks. Goldstein, Martin and Sandilands. Tomorrow we head to the line with the smallest amount of premiums eligible on the field and the line that could well define the success of your season. Who am I talking about?