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Chook’s Rooks – Round 7

It’s goodbye Ed Curnow, hello… er, hello… Tendai Mzungu? With a lack of suitable downgrade targets this week, you might have to get a little creative when you cash in this year’s greatest cow.

AFL footballers are going to great lengths to emulate their heroes these days. You needn’t go past the reigning premiers for some examples. Dayne Beams is so desperate to be the next Dane Swan, he’s got the tatts to prove it. Dale Thomas, Alan Didak and Scott Pendlebury are clearly huge Ghost fans, with Daisy rocking the windswept Patrick Swayze look, Didak doing a decent Demi Moore impression and Pendles honouring Whoopi Goldberg with his mid-length dreads.

Over at Carlton, Ed Curnow had his hopes pinned on being the next Michael Barlow. Like Barlow in 2010, Curnow’s a mature-age rookie who stepped straight into senior footy and delivered premo-like scores from the get-go. There’ll never be another Barlow, of course, and where the Freo man was pumping out 130s, Curnow was coming up with 110s. Still, who are we to scoff at centuries from blokes we bought from the Dream Team bargain bin? And then comes the sad part of the story. There’s Curnow, running around at Blues training yelping “I’m the next Michael Barlow, I’m the next Michael Barlow!” to anyone who’ll listen. Brock McLean, keen to steal away some of the young gun’s midfield minutes, stops doing burn-outs in the car park long enough to say: “Oi, Ed. You’re Dream Team tonnes and rapid price increases may be reminiscent of Mick Barlow, but don’t forget he suffered a season-ending injury, too.”More like Brock McDirty, but, anyway, Ed knows what he has to do. And so it unfolds that in the first quarter of Carlton’s Monday night match against St Kilda, Curnow goes and gets himself rubbed out. It wasn’t season-ending – I’ve heard four weeks – but serious enough to force a tough decision on us DTers. After 13 against the Saints, Curnow dropped a smidge and will take a breakeven of 90 into his next game, whenever that’ll be. I’ll be taking a wait and see approach at this stage.

Three-or-more gamers

Curnow’s injury-depleted score and the absence of Western Bulldogs midfielder Tom Liberatore left a big hole at the pointy end of the rookie ranks. Fitting, I guess, that the biggest rookie of all stepped up to the fill the gap. Gold Coast ruck Zac Smith scored the only 100 of the round to take his total money gain past $100 grand. That’ll be a tasty bit of cash to access once he’s done his job of covering doughnuts for your starting rucks (post-round 16 for those with the Cox-Sandi combo). But you don’t want to know about the guys that are flying – the Smiths, Heppells and Darlings of the game – you want to know who’s drowning, about to leak hard-earned cash if you don’t kick ‘em to the curb. Well, after Curnow, Brisbane back-fwd Jesse O’Brien has the highest breakeven, taking a BE of 80 into round 8 following a sub-affected score of 15 in the first Qclash. Fremantle’s Jayden Pitt can’t use a green or red vest as an excuse for his lowly 37, giving him a new BE of 76. Now that he’s priced in the region of $300,000, Essendon’s Dyson Heppell has to contend with a BE of 67. He’s scored above that in all of his games so far and his BE is beginning to become irrelevant as he shapes as a potential seventh defender.

Two gamers

If you were thinking of downgrading Curnow to a rookie on the verge of their first price rise, think again. All the options here are forwards or defenders, with little to get excited about. North Melbourne defender Cam Pederson made his long-awaited follow-up to THAT round one score, but only managed 42 in second appearance. Teammate Kieren Harper was also less impressive in his second outing for the Kangaroos, although Skilled Stadium against an in-form home team is a tough place to pull big scores. Harper followed his first-up 61 with a 40, giving him a BE of -29, while Pederson’s is -62. Gold Coast forward Liam Patrick did well in his first full outing, scoring 79 in the Suns’ win after being the sub in his debut game against Essendon. He now has a BE of -24, but can expect that to drop further once his sub-affected score of 21 drops out of calculations. The vest has been a blight on Jamie Cripps’ start to his AFL career, too. After debuting off the St Kilda substitutes bench last week, Cripps this week was the recipient of the red vest when he suffered an ankle injury while on 37 points. His BE is nought, so will make money as long as he plays. I haven’t seen an update yet, so keep an eye out before you fish for Cripps.

One gamers

Eleven players debuted in round seven – as many in one week as I can remember, although only three of them reached the half-century. The top scorer was GC forward Tom Lynch, who justified his higher starting price of $120k with a 95. The Hawthorn first gamers were next, with Isaac Smith’s excellent second half raising his score to 89, and Paul Puopolo’s poor second restricting him to 62. They’re both priced at $92,500, but I’m a tad concerned about their job security at this stage.

Let rip in the comments with any trades you’re making this week that involve rookies.





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