One bye round done, two to go! No Dusty Danger or Jelwood this week but once again we are fortunate enough to get two shots at a solid captaincy score with the Thursday night loophole in Real DreamTeam & AFL Fantasy. We get that opportunity in SuperCoach every week of course so let’s take a look around all the formats and see if anyone is putting their hand up for the armband in round twelve…
1) Scott Pendlebury
Mr Consistent. Pendles is averaging 127 in his last three games this year and a safe option for the Queen’s Birthday match next Monday. On that note, what are the AFL thinking spreading fewer games across more days during the bye rounds?! Seriously I love Thursday night footy and I love Monday Public Holiday footy but damn it’s going to be a very long round to get through. Anyway Pendlebury is an absolute jet and has now scored 10x 100+ scores in a row against the Dees. He’s not a sexy new option like Clayton Oliver or umm Josh Kelly (ok ok, see below) but you just know he’ll get the job done.
2) Josh Kelly
Chasing points? Maybe a little. The young star is in irresistible form at the moment and it’s hard to look past someone who just busted out a lazy 176. Kelly now has five consecutive 100+ scores to his name and hasn’t dropped below 92 in this format all season. Last year when he played Carlton he banked 118 for his coaches and I think we all agree that he has improved since then. A fun unique option if you’ve got him in your team already.
3) Tom Mitchell
Still just the one score below 100 for the season which takes a lot of risk out of your captaincy choice here. Combined with a huge ceiling (scoring 158 a few weeks ago) makes this man a very solid option. Consider also that Titch is playing his favourite opponent in this format, averaging 129 from his four encounters with the Suns, and I think we could be looking at a nice little jump on the 105’s that he has produced in the last fortnight.
4) Rory Sloane
Sloane has been up and down like the bride’s proverbial this year with his last month summing up his season nicely – 70, 119, 177 & 89. The Saints aren’t really tagging at the moment and if Rory runs free, at home, we could be looking at the upper end of that range this week. He’s also going at a lazy 134 in his last four games against the team he supported as a kid, and playing early in the round makes Sloane a perfect Vice Captaincy option this week.
5) Gary Ablett
SuperCoach hasn’t quite been Ablett’s domain this year in the way that it used to be. However as he reminded us a month or so ago when he chalked up that 210 (was it 420 for you?!), on his day he can still score like very few others. His last eight scores going back to 2011 see him average 131 against the Hawks including 159 last year. Giddy up.
1) Gary Ablett
May the little master never retire. He is having an unbelievable year when many commentators had written him off due to age and injury. Averaging 127 in his last four games this year, Gaz is also going at 141 from his last few against Hawthorn. And looking back a little further, Ablett has now had a run of 13 consecutive games against the Hawks at 109+ and hasn’t scored less than triple figures against them since back in 2007. For perspective – this was the same year that the first iPhone was released, the Simpsons Movie was in cinemas everywhere, and Carlton defeated Brisbane in the NAB Preseason Cup.
2) Tom Mitchell
Still hasn’t dropped below triple figures this season. A safe bet with a high ceiling, which he is every chance to exploit given his record against the Suns; four games of 131, 162, 132 &115 for a career average of 135. Not bad!! Gold Coast have also been giving up four 100+ scores a week since their bye and I’d expect Tom will ensure his name is amongst the top scorers again this week.
3) Tom Rockliff & Dayne Zorko
I couldn’t quite split these two Lions this week so I’m putting them here together. Rockliff is going at 156 in his last three games against Fremantle but is coming off that shoulder injury (assuming he is named??), while Zorko has a tidy 113 in his last three against the Dockers as well and no injury issues to worry about. Both are flying this year as the #1 and #6 players in the comp by average so it’s hard to go wrong choosing either here. The kicker is their opponents this week have given up an unbelievable 8x 100+ scores in both of their last two games and will once again be playing without Sandilands giving them first option. Good signs for the big Lions and I wouldn’t talk you out of picking Beams either just quietly.
4) Zach Merrett
Zach has been a little quieter than usual these last two weeks, just creeping over the 100 mark on both occasions. However his record across the season still puts him in the captaincy conversation each week and I think he will be a strong option against Port Adelaide. Merrett averages 115 against Port from his three outings against them and has gone nicely at 127 in his last four games at Etihad.
5) Brad Ebert
Something a little left field for #5 is a man currently having a career-best season and when averaging over 110 by this stage of the year needs to be considered. Ebert faces Essendon this week, who have given up 8x 110+ scores across their last two games including Josh Kelly’s 159 last week. We’ve seen a decent ceiling from Ebert many times over the journey and having now added some consistency and brought his low-end scores into the 90’s this year, there is less risk than first presents with this option and plenty of upside. Are you game?
Thursday Night Vice Captain…
Lance Franklin is the top choice for this game. Buddy is in great form this year and averaging 105 in his last month of football including a handy 133 in that time. His record against the Bulldogs is not bad either – 118 from his last three – and importantly the Dogs are giving up plenty of points this year with opposition players scoring 3x 120+ in both of their last two games before the bye. The solid form is all well and good but what we’re really after here is for Buddy to have one of those out-of-the-box games where he just goes nuts. As good a chance this week as any, hey?