Sam Jacobs come on down!!! Kudos to any of you who followed last week’s advice and put the ‘C’ on the big fella. We had our top SC option in the Bont be merely average however other than that the hit rate was pretty high with all of Neale, Rocky, Titch, Docherty etc saluting. The high risk/high reward commentary on Sloane proved correct as the Dees did follow the formula that the Roos put out and tagged him. Round 9 is a new week however so let’s get into it.
1) Todd Goldstein
There’s no point pussyfooting around here – Goldy is at #1 this week. It breaks down like this: Firstly, as people should be aware of by now the Dees have both Gawn & Spencer injured, meaning that Cam Pedersen is their main ruck these days. Now Pedersen is doing a good job (and scoring well himself I might add) but his opponents have been feasting gloriously – Jacobs got 141 last week, McEvoy got 111 & even Bellchambers put up a 94 on him. Goldy is a better ruckman and traditionally a better SuperCoach scorer than all of those however (although arguably not too dissimilar to Jacobs) and so he should again get a truckload of hitouts to advantage this week and clean up around the ground. However, it gets better. Goldy has scored back-to-back 100s the past two weeks as he runs back into form (and as Preuss shows no signs of coming back to split the duties), and to even ram the point home further, Goldy’s last two scores against the Dees are 172 & 155 – and both of those were against Gawn! In fact, he’s actually scored 140+ in five of his last six against Melbourne. So essentially he scores huge against the Dees lately, he is again the sole ruckman, he’s running back into form & he’s up against the easiest ruck division in the league this week. What’s not to like?
2) Lachie Neale
Blink and you missed it – Lachie Neale is averaging 132 in his last five with a low of just 119 in that time. His scoring has gone gangbusters since he moved back into his midfield role and his matchwinning assist vs Richmond was also well publicised. He was #2 on this list last week and saluted and there’s really no reason not to keep him here this week. He score a low-100 on Carlton last year but it was from a high volume of possessions and his SC & RDT scoring have really flipped around this year so I read that last score more positively than I would for the average player (for completeness, he got 130 DT points in that same game). Lachie should be good again.
3) Josh P Kennedy (Sydney)
Now this is where it gets a bit speculative. There are a lot of guys who could’ve been at #3 this week and to be honest it comes down to a bit of a gut feel as to who gets ranked ahead of the others from here on this week, however everyone mentioned is a top option. JPK gets #3 this week for a couple of reasons – the first is that his last six full games against the Saints (he got injured early in one) have all been 109 or better including a couple of very large scores. Clearly he likes playing the Saints and 109 as a floor is a good starting point when picking a skipper. The other reason is that he clearly loves to go on good runs of form (as noted previously by Ben in articles earlier this year) and he (possibly) kickstarted such a stretch in Round 8 by scoring 136 vs North. There is a bit of a guess here (as to whether last week was him being back in form or just a bit of a dead cat bounce) but given his history on the Saints he’s well worth backing in.
4) Patrick Dangerfield
Danger really doesn’t deserve to still be in this captains article to be honest (although I do note that a significant number of readers are still voting for him in the weekly polls – whether this is due to people believing he’s still on last year’s form or whether they simply don’t own any of the other options mentioned is unclear). He’s clearly been playing injured since the Hawks kneed him in the ribs a few weeks ago and his scoring has been either poor or just solid, often with late bursts to get him there. However – this week he is back at Kardinia Park, a ground that he scored over 110 on in every single game he played there last year (eight games). That’s a record that demands attention. There have been suggestions that the Dogs will try to tag both Danger & Selwood this week, with notes on how effective Libba was on him last year before getting injured, however Danger was already well on his way over 100 in that game last year even before Libba got injured and ended up with 173 & 144 from his two games on the Dogs last year. Picking Danger definitely has some level of risk (due to possibly tag/form/injury) however his record at home and last year vs the Dogs makes him a very high reward pick too.
5) Scott Pendlebury
Pendles has finally had a son, woohoo, which from our point of view that means he’ll be playing a full game, no questions this time. His formline is hard to read at the moment – he’s had four scores over 120 and four scores under 100 this year, which is very un-Pendles-like. His record against the Hawks is pretty good though – eight of his last nine against them have been over 110 (including a whopping 184 in 2015!) and the Hawks have been giving up a fair few points to the opposition so far this year. Someone from Collingwood will take advantage of that this week and Pendles is the man with the runs on the board, the ceiling and the ability best-placed to do it.
There are a number of guys who could easily have been slotted into spots 3-5 above, however missed out due to being more consistently solid than consistently likely to put up a captain-type score. Taylor Adams has seven of eight over 110 this year and really should continue that against the Hawks; Clayton Oliver has seven of eight over 100 this year and is very well placed to continue that against North (he scored 90 on them last year when in much worse form) & Tom Mitchell has been fairly consistent (mostly) this year so far too. Yeo, Zach Merrett, Zorko etc could also be quite solid again.
Now, for the guys who missed out. Bontempelli played the Cats twice last year, with both games being after he moved out of the forwardline (i.e. both games were in the period when he was scoring highly), yet he only managed 86 & 79. He actually got tagged by Guthrie for that 79 down in Geelong in their most recent match too (and in an interesting sidenote the Dogs haven’t beaten the Cats since 2009 & haven’t won in Geelong since 2002 so they clearly struggle against them).
Docherty missed out, despite huge form, as he has never scored 100 against Fremantle. This could easily be the week but it also easily may not be.
Sloane could easily be huge this week and make everyone who didn’t pick him look silly – his form has been massive (until Round 7) and his last three full games against Brisbane have yielded 137, 149 & 172 – massive numbers! He’s also lucky in that Mitch Robinson is out injured, a player who would’ve been a fair chance to tag him. The only point against Sloane is that, as mentioned last week, clearly tagging Sloane works. So if Brisbane is serious in trying to win the match this week they will try to tag Sloane. It’ll be fascinating too see what ultimately happens. Will you take the risk?
Marc Murphy has Connor Blakely looming large this week. Maybe. If he doesn’t cop the Blakely tag then there’s no reason he shouldn’t be pretty good.
And lastly, Dusty plays away to GWS which is a really tough matchup for opposition players nowadays – pass.
1) Zach Merrett
This bloke is as close to a sure thing as you can get this week. He has scored 120+ in six of his eight matches (with a low of 97) and has scored 123 & 137 on the Eagles in his last two matches against them. The Eagles haven’t shown a propensity to tag lately and the match will be indoors (i.e. no threat of weather affecting anything) and so there’s really no reason why Zach shouldn’t do as well as he always does this week.
2) Tom Mitchell
The next sure thing, haha. This bloke has had seven 120+s out of his eight games (with the other being a 115) and is as consistent as they come. His last two against Collingwood also yielded him a 132 & a 138 – massive form & massive history all in one. He’s well and truly earned his #2 spot.
3) Taylor Adams
Taylor is currently on a hot streak (or is it his new norm? I’m thinking it could well be) and has hit 99+ in every game bar one so far this year (that one being ANZAC Day when for whatever unknown reason he was played at full forward for a fair chunk of the game) and is averaging around 120. He’s had three scores over 135 in his eight games showing huge ceiling as well as consistency and he plays the Hawks who have been giving up big points to all and sundry (including Zorko, Rocky & Stef Martin last week even in a big loss). It all adds up to a big day out for Taylor Adams.
4) Brodie Grundy
For those who aren’t aware, Grundy’s scores with/without Mason Cox in the team rise and fall like the sun. It happened last year (avg of 112 in ten games without Cox; ave of 91 in eleven games with Cox) and it’s happening this year (four games with Cox: avg of 89 with zero scores of 100+; four games without Cox: avg of 121 with every game over 110!). He’s also playing the easiest team on current DT form in Hawthorn. In short, history suggests that Grundy is very, very likely to score 110+ this week and that’s a pretty nice base to be working from.
5) Stef Martin
Stef’s form is way too good to ignore this week. He’s scored over 100 in every match this season bar just one, he’s averaging 113 for the season, he’s had half his scores over 120 (captaincy material if ever you’ve seen it) and his last three against the Crows (his opponents) have been 151, 136 & 123. That is form, history, consistency & ceiling, in both wins and losses alike. That’s a potent combination – will you hand him the armband?
6) Todd Goldstein
He had to be included. And there’s good argument to say that Goldy could be even higher on this list this week, however his DT form isn’t quite what it is in SC (having three 90s in his last three) so this is where he lands. There’s good reason for including him in the Top 5(6?) though and it breaks down like this: Firstly, as people should be aware of by now the Dees have both Gawn & Spencer injured, meaning that Cam Pedersen is their main ruck these days. Now Pedersen is doing a good job (and scoring well himself I might add) but his opponents have been feasting gloriously – Jacobs got 132 last week, McEvoy got 124 & even Bellchambers put up a 91 on him. Goldy is a better ruckman and traditionally a better scorer than all of those however (although arguably not too dissimilar to Jacobs) and so he should again get a truckload of hitouts this week and clean up around the ground. However, it gets better. Goldy has worked his way back into form a bit lately (and as Preuss shows no signs of coming back to split the duties), and to even ram the point home further, Goldy’s last two scores against the Dees are 149 & 155 – and both of those were against Gawn! In fact, he’s actually scored 135+ in four of his last six against Melbourne. So essentially he scores huge against the Dees lately, he is again the sole ruckman, he’s running back into form & he’s up against the easiest ruck division in the league this week. What’s not to like?
Do not discount Adam Treloar this week. He’s had a week to rest his (ankle? groins?) and said it was great for his body to do so. He started the season on fire but has had a couple of lesser weeks before his rest with a pair of 82s. If he’s right he’s a fair chance to be back to form this week though as the Hawks have been giving up a lot of points to players just like Treloar and his last three against the Hawks have already been 126, 108 & 120.
Sloane could easily be huge this week and make everyone who didn’t pick him look silly – his form has been massive (until Round 7) and his last three full games against Brisbane have yielded 117, 117 & 160 – big numbers! He’s also lucky in that Mitch Robinson is out injured, a player who would’ve been a fair chance to tag him. The only point against Sloane is that, as mentioned last week, clearly tagging Sloane works. So if Brisbane is serious in trying to win the match this week they will try to tag Sloane. It’ll be fascinating too see what ultimately happens. Will you take the risk?
Marc Murphy isn’t quite in the same league as the above guys but misses out due to the risk of Blakely tagging somebody (which could well be him). Dusty misses out due to playing GWS away, a matchup that hasn’t seen an opponent hit 120 yet this year – pass. Docherty is in form but has never tonned up against Freo; Josh Kelly is in form but has never even hit 70 against his opponents (Richmond) & the Bont got tagged by Guthrie for an 85 last time out so any lingering possibility of captaining him in RDT/AF this week falls by the wayside.
Danger is in horrible form, has been playing injured and has been talked up as possibly being the target of a tag this week. However, he copped a tag from Libba last time out and was still over 40 points early in the 2nd quarter when Libba injured himself so didn’t seem fazed by it and did end up pumping out 143 & 135 on the Dogs in 2016, plus he scored 100+ in all eight games at Kardinia Park last year. So… I’m still not convinced in RDT/AF, his form just isn’t good enough to make me want to throw him the armband ahead of any of the top 6-8 guys mentioned above. It’s your call though so go there if you’re feeling the Danger love.
Shuey has had seven straight 100s and should be good again – a good option really. Zorko too should be ok, though has slowed a bit lately (prior to playing the Hawks). Pendles has a low of just 89 in his last seventeen games against the Hawks! That’s a powerful stat-line. If you don’t have one of the top options then Pendles should salute for you – in those seventeen games he’s never scored below 89 yet only three times scored above 111 so you should have a fair idea what he’ll produce this week based on that. Aaaaaand lastly, Yeo really could be good again and JPK may just be turning the corner – if he is then it may be a case of ‘watch this space’ in the coming weeks.