The AAMI Community Series gave coaches their best indication of the players that will carry you to SuperCoach glory this season.
With new rules changing the complexion of the game, running defenders are back in a huge way, and contested midfielders could well be out of fashion. These are the players you need in your side before round one.
Carlton 99 v St Kilda 125
Jack Steele $658,000 MID
He had the second highest average of all midfielders last year, and doesn’t miss a game. So why is Jack Steele being continually undervalued in SuperCoach?
Just 18 per cent of the competition has jumped on the Saints co-captain after a breakout year and a casual 101 to finish the pre-season off. Steele recorded 23 centre bounce attendances in 81 percent game time as he cruised through the game without breaking a sweat.
His appetite for tackling and winning the hard ball holds him in good stead, but his ability to hit the scoreboard and work his opponent into the ground will make him one of the top midfielders in the game again.
Sam Walsh $543,300 MID
Will it be a third year breakout for the 2018 number one pick? Walsh has plied his trade on the wing for most of his burgeoning career, but a shift into the middle in the second half of last year saw him explode to score 113 plus in six of eight games.
That same role was there against the Saints, with the young gun attending 24 centre bounces in just 75 percent time on ground. His elite endurance will see that time increase upwards of 85 percent come round one, especially with Zac Williams facing a week on the side-lines.
Walsh only recorded 61 points due to his poor ball use in this game, but rest assured he is primed for a huge 2021 in the Blues midfield brigade.
Collingwood 74 v Richmond 80
Jordan De Goey $435,200 FWD
With the departure of Adam Treloar, Jordan De Goey the midfielder could soon be taking the AFL by storm. The Magpie has the scope to make a Christian Petracca-sized jump this year.
Attending an equal high 19 centre bounces, De Goey worked hard for his 27 touches, and kicked 2.2 when he pushed forward for his 120 points in 76 percent game time.
There was no Taylor Adams in this game, but the role looks very real for Jordy as he enters a seventh season; his forward status and value price tag makes him an exciting prospect for coaches this year.
Jayden Short $519,900 DEF
Short tore Collingwood apart from the back half with 43 touches, including 35 kicks at 79 percent efficiency for a score of 165.
23 per cent of coaches have quite rightly jumped on the Tiger’s quarterback, but there are a couple of red flags to be weary of before he’s proclaimed the next Jake Lloyd.
When Bachar Houli does eventually return from his calf injury, Short’s role will be eaten into slightly, and it is worth noting that Collingwood have historically given up the most points to opposition defenders out of any team in the league.
Despite these points, Short’s game on the weekend makes him a great option in the backline with the way games have been played in light of the new rules. He took five of Richmond’s eight kick ins and will have every chance to be a top six defender this year.
North Melbourne 81 v Hawthorn 120
Jack Ziebell $257,900 FWD
Ziebell finds himself in a new role this year, and it will see him mopping up for a North Melbourne backline that will be under siege.
He isn’t the best ball user historically, but he showcased his ability behind the ball against the Hawks, recording 107 points in 86 per cent game time while taking nine kick ins and going at 70 percent disposal efficiency.
These are really promising numbers for the North captain, and at his price with forward status he looks like a must have to start the season.
Tom Phillips $402,600 FWD/MID
The former Magpie winger has had responsibility thrust on his shoulders since joining the Hawks, and the points have followed.
Phillips attended 15 centre bounces, splitting his time between the middle of the ground and his customary wing role, while going at 77 percent on his 30 disposals.
His price and forward status already made him an interesting option, but the role he is playing in a shallow hawks midfield has already seen 23 percent of coaches jump on the new Hawk.
Geelong 79 v Essendon 72
Jordan Clark $241,800 DEF/MID
In one of the great performances of the AAMI Community Series, Jordan Clark exploded from a wing to remind everyone of how talented he is.
The West Australian did it all, taking seven kick outs, kicking 1.2 and recording 29 touches for 119, all while taking the entire third quarter off. Chris Scott holds his cards close to his chest, but it will be impossible to ignore the display the third year player put on down at the Cattery on Saturday.
At a premium rookie price, he has quickly become a must have in your defence for round one.
Zach Merrett $620,900 MID
Merrett looks primed for a huge year and has the potential to be the top scoring player in the entire competition.
The combination of his incredible endurance and ability to play every week holds him in good stead to improve on his already elite 115.6 average this year, and he glided across the park to record an easy 126 points on the weekend.
Merrett is a genuine captaincy option every week and will be out to prove a point in a contract year for the star Bomber.
GWS 114 v Sydney 86
Tom Green $351,400 MID
In just his second year, the hulking Giant is already one of the best contested players in the competition.
He showcased what he can do late last year when given the keys to the Giants midfield, racking up 119 points in round 17. He attended 16 centre bounces on the weekend in a good sign for the youngster.
If given the same opportunity this year, Green will add 200k to his price quickly and won’t need to be upgraded until the bye rounds.
Braeden Campbell $189,300 FWD/MID
Already one of the best kicks in the competition, the rookie finds himself playing off half back this year.
Campbell will be a SuperCoach stud this season, recording 85 points in 80 percent game time on the weekend on the back off seven intercept possessions. The role is friendly and his ceiling is high, lock him into your forward line now.
Adelaide 45 v Port Adelaide 116
Rory Laird $564,800 DEF/MID
Laird already showed off his scoring potential in the midfield last year with a high of 185 points, and has retained his defender status for 2021.
In a game where the Crows got battered from pillar to post, Laird stood up to record a 99 in 78 percent time on ground. He is a genuine contested beast in the middle, and has the ability to drift back to help out a back six that will struggle to contain the good sides this year.
He comes with a premium price tag, but Laird could potentially rival Jake Lloyd for the top scoring defender this season.
Zak Butters $471,400 FWD
The kid is a genuine star of the competition with his best yet to come. Butters recorded 127 points in the big win over the Crows they had on Sunday afternoon, hitting the scoreboard and going at 92 percent disposal efficiency.
In his previous two years he didn’t find enough of the footy to be a top six forward, but that might all change this year with a third pre-season behind him and a top four side in the Power looking to get the ball in the prodigious talent’s hands.
In just six percent of teams, Butters could prove a great point of difference this year.
West Coast 67 v Fremantle 57
Andrew Gaff $570,800 MID
There aren’t a great deal of options for the Eagles this season, with Mark Hutchings being the top selected player at under seven percent. Let me put the case forward for Andrew Gaff.
Gaff hasn’t been the highest scorer, but he may be the most reliable premium midfielder in the game, averaging between 106 and 108 points for the past three seasons. He won’t miss a match unless injured, and has already noted that he may spend up to 100 percent of matches on the ground this year, possessing unbelievable endurance.
He’s only in four percent of sides, and may well be the single biggest beneficiary of the new man on the mark and interchange rules in the competition.
Hayden Young $279,400 DEF
Young started to get going last year before he was cruelly cut down with a syndesmosis injury to end his year prematurely.
Blessed with a brilliant left foot, Fremantle will be looking to get the ball in his hands out of the backline, showcased by him taking seven kick ins which contributed to his 83 points in 82 percent time on ground.
Priced just above rookies, Young is a great option for the last spot in your back six this year.
Western Bulldogs 106 v Melbourne 67
Caleb Daniel $545,500 DEF
Daniel was an All Australian last season, but he has the capability to take his game up another level this season with the new rules.
Possibly the best kick on either foot in the competition, it is customary to see the 91 percent disposal efficiency he went at against the Demons. However, racking the ball up 34 times is a result of the rule changes, and if he continues to accumulate at those rates, he will be a must have this season.
Don’t hesitate to start with the Dog this year; he has an opportunity to lift his 101.5 average by up to 20 points.
Max Gawn $751,400 RUC
The number one ruck in the competition cruised around, as he does, in the pre-season to record a casual 102 points in just 76 percent game time on Monday.
Gawn will again be a top scorer due to his spectacular ruck work that saw him record the most hit outs to advantage this weekend, and intercept marking ability behind the play. He may spend a touch more time forward with the development of Luke Jackson, but he’ll see that as an opportunity to feature in the goal kickers regularly.
You’ll need him at some point, so you may as well lock and load the best captain option in the game from round one.
Gold Coast 89 v Brisbane 117
Matt Rowell $495,100 MID
Don’t worry about his iffy performance on Monday; Matt Rowell will tear the competition apart this season.
In his first four games of his career, he averaged 126.5 points per game. He’s prolific through middle and has an unmatched appetite for the contest; these things will not change after a shoulder injury. Rowell was quiet on Monday but still collected 91 points in just 70 percent game time.
He will be in the sides of over 50 percent of the competition come round one, but he should be in all 100 percent if coaches are being serious.
Joe Daniher $233,300 FWD
Maybe it should be Lachie Neale featuring here after his insane 134.3 average last year, but Joe Daniher could prove to be the bargain of the year.
The former Don has a career high average of 86 in 2017, but will be receiving the footy from the likes of Lachie Neale and Hugh McCluggage this year. He kicked 3.0 on the weekend for his 63 points which is a nice surprise, but he will also be sharing the ruck work with Big O during the year which will aid his scoring.
Priced at $233,300, the key forward has had a full pre-season and is a genuine threat to win the Coleman this season with the delivery from a classy Lions on ball brigade. Get him into your forward line now.
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