It seems funny to look at strengthening a part of the field that doesn’t appear to have a direct effect on our weekly score, but the bye rounds are the perfect time to emphasise how important it is to have a strong bench. Last week may have been an anomaly in the fact that so many rookies managed to produce scores that made some of our premiums look like poorly chosen mid-pricers, but for many teams the scores from Ruggles, Collins, Phillips and McCarthy could not come at a better time as they were all required players on the field. As we all know, these bench players become even more crucial in the run home as trades run out and premiums are either rested, injured or managed and put out to pasture for the remainder of the season.
There are two sides to the story that we need to look at in regards to the bench. The first is the players that we are trading in and the second, which is just as important, is the players that we are trading out.
Firstly, any rookie that is traded in now needs to have good job security. It is not the time to be taking risks and bringing in guys who are on the borderline of 24th-25th in a playing list. Currently, the 10 most traded in players in RDT this week contain only two rookies. One of them is Tom Phillips, who Rids has pointed out is a clear priority when it comes to rookies this week and is an easy choice http://coachespanel.com.au/cash-cows-round-14/. Phillips appears to have found a spot in the Collingwood side and is clearly set for an extended run over the remainder of the season. He is the perfect player to trade in. The second player is Nathan Broad, who has only played the one game. Broad was a late inclusion on the weekend and although he scored a solid 58 on debut, it would seem that he was only a direct replacement for Batchelor, who has been the preferred option all year. It is a huge risk to get Broad this week even if he is named. Darcy Tucker, Tom Ruggles, Sam Collins and Tom Sheridan are the top 4 defenders who are being moved on by coaches for Broad. In my opinion, these trades are not strengthening the team. All four players appear to be best 22 options in their respective sides and appear likely to average anywhere from10-20 points a game more than Broad. If they are being moved on it needs to be in an upgrade trade, as opposed to a backwards one.
Secondly, we need to choose which rookies we trade out from here. Jacob Hopper is now an easy trade in the midfield, due to his injury prognosis. Again we need to consider factors of job security and scoring potential. Tom Phillips is a solid move from Hopper and will net close to $200k, as well as adding DPP to the forward line. Suprisingly, Christian Petracca has snuck into the top 10 most traded out players. Petracca is the perfect bench player from here. He has shown that he is clearly in the best 22 for Melbourne and also has solid scoring potential posting 1 x 100 and 5 scores between 71 and 86 in his 8 games. There will be times when he is needed from here and should kept as perfect bench cover.
In addition to the rookies that we trade in and out, there are some potential bargains around that may be considered for that last on field spot and first bench position. Brad Crouch is a perfect example and almost a straight trade from a Hopper type. Crouch has had injury concerns and has only just returned to the Adelaide side, but he has undoubted scoring ability and is clearly in Adelaide’s best side when fit. Crouch’s position is similar to that of Anthony Miles in 2014. Miles had struggled for opportunity, due to a combination of form and fitness and was unleashed by Richmond in the second half of the year. He was priced in that awkward range and came with risk, but those that selected him were able to end the season with a M9 that averaged 90 for the last 12 games of the year. Depending on the structure of your side, Crouch may be an inspired choice, His first half was scratchy last week, but the longer the game went on he was able to get up to speed and show his class. For a little bit more, Andrew Gaff could prove to be one of the bargain buys of the year in the latter part of the season. Across other lines players to start the year as premiums, but are now under $400k include Kade Kolodjashnij, Taylor Duryea, Shane Biggs and Steven Motlop. All are capable of going at a level to keep pace with the top 10-15 cut off in their lines and could be solid bench choices, with the ability to be put on the field, depending on match ups.
Are there any players that you are looking to bring in to strengthen your bench? Do you have any trades to have a near premium on each line or is it just crazy to even consider these moves? Let us know on Twitter @brettfish15 or @coachespanel or join in the conversation at our Facebook group here.