Captain’s Choice: Round 18

Thank you Patrick Dangerfield! Many, many coaches put the big C on Danger last week and would’ve been horrified when he limped off in the first quarter. Danger came back and put on a masterclass though and pumped up 140s in all formats – amazing, week-saving stuff! Who’ll be the hero of Round 18?



Getting it out of the way early – Danger to me would be the one, if he plays. Despite being injured the reasons for this are as follows: Since Round 8, his lowest score is 141. He’s averaged 156 in this period. This is amazing – this bout of scoring is the rarest of the rare and he’s done it in the midfield, up forward, at home, away to GWS, fit, injured – you name it. It’d be a brave individual who didn’t even slap the VC on him on Friday night if he takes the field. That elephant in the room now noted, onto the rest…

1) Gary Ablett

There’s no clear cut #1 this week – all of the top 5 were incredibly hard to split. They all have huge positives but all also have drawbacks to differing degrees so the order is a lot less scientific than usual and a bit more gut feel. With that rider in mind, Ablett gets the top spot this week. His SC form has been slowly building up and he’s had some big scores lately – when’s he’s played. He scored 150+ last week and got 153 on the Dogs last year too. With the Suns in need of his midfield prowess and his recent form this year and on the Dogs, he seems the most likely to put out a big score.

2) Nat Fyfe

Now this will be a little controversial. Fyfe has certainly had a big fall this year in his average – from the point of view of those expecting him to step right back into his 130 averaging days. He’s not been terrible though and he has played a fair chunk of this season injured. His new contract is signed, sealed and delivered now though, he’s had his mid-season break and his last two games really started to look like he’s back. He scored 126 & 139 in his last two and I’m on board. The Hawks have been giving up better scores this year than in the past and, while Fyfe’s record on them in the past hasn’t been amazing, this week should be the week where he finally goes large against them.

3) Tom Mitchell

It was really hard to slot Mitchell into the top 5 – which spot suited him best? He’s only had one score below 100 all year and is averaging 117 so he’s a very, very safe option here. Still, he’s only scored above 130 once this year and it took him getting 50 possessions to manage that one, so while he’s a safe 100 he doesn’t feel at all likely to pump out a whopper. Still, in a week with no clear standout you could do worse than give him the armband.

4) Marcus Bontempelli

Another pick with a touch of gut feel about it – the Bont’s also been a bit up and down in recent weeks. He scored 120 last week though and had a 139 on North recently, plus his last two on the Suns were a 120 & a 140 so he does love playing them. The Dogs, on the back of an easier draw now, seem to slowly be turning the corner and a depleted, ordinary Suns side is just the thing for the Bont to take apart.

5) Josh Kennedy (Syd)

JPK has been pretty consistent in recent years, especially when he gets on a good run and in terms of the Saints he’s on just that – having had 7 consecutive 100s on them (ignoring his injury in 2014). The Saints have been giving up some big ones (think just last week against the Dons) and JPK would be licking his lips at the matchup.

The Rest

Dan Hannebery was desperately unlucky here, as was Dusty. Hanners’ last three on the Saints are 137, 131 & 109 and he clearly loves playing them. Dusty already scored 144 on GWS earlier this year (away as well!) and so would have to be a chance to replicate that.

None of the Blue-boys (Doch, Gibbs, Murphy or Kreuzer) have much of a record against Brisbane so they’ve all been passed on. Zorko is way too risky to captain nowadays – will he get tagged again? If he does then he’s a chance to put out another 50 for you. Neale has slowed somewhat and none of the uninjured Collingwood gang look likely this week. Zach Merrett could be good though. Lastly, Callan Ward has been in pretty huge form so he may be a smokey again as mentioned by MJ in this article last week.

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1) Tom Mitchell

It’s no surprise but it still needed to be put on the table – with Danger’s injury we turn to the absolute sure thing of season 2017 – Tom Mitchell. Zero scores below 100, in fact a low of 108 and an increasing amount of scores over 140 – Titch is slowly becoming a chance at ending the year with the highest average of any player in history. His average is 131 and if he can get that up to 134 he’ll be the new record-holder. Swan & Rocky were perma-captains when they averaged 133 – when we look back, will we wonder why Titch wasn’t our perma-captain in 2017?

2) Gary Ablett

The great man has missed the odd game lately but when he’s been on the park he has been sensational. His season average is now 121, which would be his 2nd-best average ever (behind only his 2012 Brownlow winning season where he averaged 124). Against the Dogs, 9 of his last 10 have also been over 100 so history – recent and older – is on his side this week.

3) Zach Merrett

Another no-brainer really, Zach Merrett is averaging over 120 and has been for pretty much the entire season. He scored 140+ last week and he also scored 143 on North last year. North’s also been giving up generous amounts of points lately so there’s every chance that Zach goes big again. The one minor concern is that North has been attempting to tag players lately so there is some chance that this happens to Merrett, be it from Mountford or otherwise.

4) Dustin Martin

Alright, so this is a bit weird. Dusty plays GWS this week yet he’s in the top captains options?!? Well… yeah. Part of it is that there aren’t enough others that just leap off the page this week when everything’s taken into account and the other is that Dusty’s record on GWS is really, really good. He cracked 120 earlier this year on them already – away! His last three on them are 122, 112 & 132 & he’s been in pretty ripping form lately too. There’s some chance that the Giants try to tag/restrict him (eg Coniglio may be back this week) but I still reckon Dusty’s record has him in the top 5 this week.

5) Dan Hannebery

Whoa! Hanners has been the very definition of up & down this season and is certainly not inspiring confidence for those picking captain choices. However, his record on the Saints demands attention and the Saints are also giving up plenty recently and on many occasions this season. Hanners’ last three on St Kilda are 159, 128 & 133 and given the Saints gave up by far the most DT points last week to Essendon, I reckon the Swans are onto a winner this week and Hanners will be the one to take full advantage.

The Rest

I’m just gonna say it – Danger has been nothing short of amazing. Since Round 8 his lowest score is 116 and his average is 136. If he plays this week then teams will captain him (possibly a large % of those being teams who forget to change their captains). Some will stick with him regardless of injury and his record on the Crows is fantastic (averaging in the 120s since he moved). Not necessarily a terrible option, but still a risky one.

Doch’s record on Brisbane is not good at all (only one score above 74 in his last four and that was in the 80s), plus Brisbane are tough-ish on defenders. None of Gibbs, Murphy or Kreuzer have particularly great records on Brisbane either. Zorko is completely untrustworthy now – will Carlton tag him? If they do he’s every chance to go sub-50 again. Taylor Adams has been up and down lately though did go 140 on West Coast last year while Treloar was solid without being spectacular. Shuey & Gaff don’t scream pick me either with recent scoring or history v the Pies. Josh Kelly could be ok though no Lions scored 100 on the Tigers last week and Prestia/Miles types may run with him as they did with Zorko. Freo have the standout fixture (against the Hawks) but neither of Neale or Fyfe have great records on them in the past. JPK has been good recently on the Saints and could be solid this week though a big captaincy score seems less likely – likewise with the Bont against the Suns.

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