Connor Rozee at Port Adelaide training. Photo: Port Adelaide FC / Twitter

Connor Rozee at Port Adelaide training. Photo: Port Adelaide FC / Twitter

For these players, we know they can score, but it’s time to see if they can be legitimate Top Eight candidates. Let’s look at the players with lower ownership, and why you might want to reconsider them in your SuperCoach sides.

Check out the most recent episode of ‘The SuperCoach Sanctum Podcast’ below!

Connor Rozee ($601,200 MID – 10%)

If it weren’t for Zak Butters and his elite back half of 2023, we’d be putting way more stock into Connor Rozee in 2024.

After averaging 106.8 post-bye in 2022, Rozee backed that up in 2023, averaging 107.6, a few points shy of a Top Eight midfielder breakthrough. 

Rozee wasn’t held back by volatile scoring, quite the opposite frankly, Rozee had just two sub-90 scores (84 and 75), but nine sub-100 scores. Rozee also had nine scores of 110+, it’s a scoring pattern that was just too poor to be in that absolute upper echelon.

Can he improve on that in 2024? Hard to say. He’s got the role, leading Port Adelaide in CBAs at 69%. Additionally, he’s a better scorer at home, averaging 111 at Adelaide Oval, where he’ll play seven of his first ten games.

But the stark reality for someone like Rozee is that he’s a pick who’s just hard to justify due to his teammate, Zak Butters (who was spoken about at length on The SuperCoach Sanctum Podcast).

His bye and likely natural improvement are both positives, but with a lot of competition at his price point and options from his team, I’ll pass, but I’ll keep a keen eye on if he can lift that floor.

Noah Anderson & Matt Rowell ($586,300 / $571,800 MIDS – Both 2%)

I’ll accept I’m cheating on this one, given this isn’t the first pair of players from the same club I’ve discussed, yet I think the pros and cons here are much of the same. 

Whilst their game styles are different, Rowell being a tackle-heavy inside beast, and Anderson being a more traditional on-baller with a lethal kick, I’m cautious about them for similar reasons.

My core worry is Damien Hardwick given his history at Richmond. Hardwick rarely had high-scoring mids, excluding a peak Dustin Martin. The last time any Richmond player averaged 100+ under a full season of Damien Hardwick was 2020.

The issue isn’t just related to Anderson and Rowell, who I’d have more faith in if it wasn’t for Touk Miller and Sam Flanders also in the mix. Are there enough points to go around for all of them to be viable picks? I doubt it.

This isn’t to suggest Anderon and Rowell will regress to sub-100 scores, but they both need to make up about 10 points per game to justify their selections, and I’m happy to bet against that.

Furthermore, Gold Coast have an early bye, which adds to a list of red flags to their names. I love both players and would love to be wrong, but for SuperCoach, I’ll pass on both.

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Chad Warner ($560,300 MID – 2%)

Sydney has plenty of mouths to feed in their midfield, but surely it’s time to let the Chad off the chain?

A week ago, I had far less confidence in this pick, but following the news of Luke Parker missing ‘an extended period of time’ due to a broken arm, the door is wide open for Warner to take the lead of this midfield.

Parker leaves a void of 75% CBAs, Mills another 37%, which should see Warner’s 53% rise significantly, at least in the first half of the season. 

Taylor Adams is another name on the injury list for Sydney, following a knee injury in their practice match, justifying Warner’s selection even more.

Frankly, the case for Warner is quite simple: talent + opportunity = output, and Warner should have that in spades in 2024. 

We’ll have the opportunity to look at the role in Round 0, where a successful game could warrant selection. Although, an early bye makes it a difficult question.

Tim Taranto ($596,100 MID – 3%)

Have we been too quick to dismiss the man who’ll be Richmond’s number-one centre-bounce player in 2024? I think so…

Taranto was flying before the bye last year, averaging 119, but that came to a screeching halt after the break, his post-bye average of 87 dropping his season average to 106. What happened?

It could be a few factors, involving the stepping down of Damien Hardwick, and Andrew McQualter taking over, the lack of Jacob Hopper in this timeframe, and possibly, burnout.

I’ll touch on the latter point first, at his time at GWS, Taranto’s CBAs regressed in consecutive years. 56% in 2020 became 49% in 2021, then 44% in 2022. His jump to 77% may have been an unsustainable workload for his body, which he reacted to post-bye.

Regarding Hardwick, McQualter and Hopper, Taranto averaged 115 under ‘Dimma’, but that number slid to 100 under ‘Mini’. Interestingly, in Taranto’s four games after the coach-swap and the bye, he averaged 130.5, while Hopper missed all four games.

It’s food for thought going into a new year under Adam Yze, who worked with Melbourne’s midfield as a strategic mind. It’s no surprise how well Melbourne midfielders have scored in that time, look at Oliver and Petracca for my reasoning.

Like many on this list, Taranto does have an early bye, therefore we’ll get a proper look at Richmond’s midfield mix in the Opening Round. Watch carefully, he could be a nice sneaky option. Though, please clean up the disposal, Tim.

Jai Newcombe ($549,200 MID – 9%)

The cheapest on this list, yet second most popular, ‘Duke’ is picking up steam as a breakout candidate for 2024, and one who doesn’t have an early bye!

A post-bye average of 104 is partially why people are excited about Newcombe, with a 174 against the Bulldogs being the standout, in which he missed the following game, presumably due to leather poisoning.

Jai Newcombe is still just 22 years old, only turning 23 in August, thus the 51 gamer looks primed to break out, with people betting natural development could be enough to push that 98 average up.

Newcombe, unlike the man above him, is decidedly efficient, who in 2023 maintained an efficiency of 76.9%, rating as elite according to AFL Stats.

Newcombe has seemingly ditched the ‘puppy fat’ he held, and is ‘training the house down’. In all seriousness, he’s reportedly the fittest he’s been and given he’s already built as a strong, sizeable midfielder, he could bump his CBAs beyond the 70% mark he has seemingly been capped at for the past two seasons.

The lack of bye has me very interested, Hawthorn could win a few more games in 2024, which should be good for Newcombe’s scoring.

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