Chook’s Rooks – Round 20
It’s finals time and, for a change, some of our rookies are coming along for the ride. Which young guns are part of your tilt for the title?
The arrival of Dream Team finals is traditionally a bittersweet experience for the rookie-centric coaches among us. We’re just as excited as the rest of you to see whether our teams can leap the last hurdles on the track to ever-lasting league glory, but we’re a little sad to be doing it without our beloved first-year footballers. Usually by this stage of the DT season our best cash-cow kids have been tossed aside, double traded for a gold-rolled premium and an $80k bench-warmer. This year, though, it’s a little different. The advent of the bye and the existence of some out-and-out stars in this year’s crop of youngsters mean some coaches will be fielding up to three rookies (or rookie-priced players) in their assault on the first round of finals. He won’t be around for the grand final itself, but plenty of coaches will be hoping Dyson Heppell gets them there. Other coaches count defenders Danny Stanley and/or Nick Lower as part of their finished team, while those hanging on to North Melbourne veteran Brady Rawlings could be forced to use rookie cover. The absence of fellow Kangaroos Andrew Swallow, Drew Petrie and Brent Harvey and the possibility of Colin Sylvia serving another week in the seconds means the likes of mid-fwd maestro Tendai Mzungu and ruck-fwd Matthew Lobbe will receive a call-up from some coaches. Some brave souls might even have the balls to give Ian Callinan a guernsey if he’s named to make his return from injury this week.
I was going to give a Calvin-style breakdown of the best rookie options to cover your Petrie and Sylvia-shaped holes, looking at the player’s first game against this week’s opponent, and their scoring history at the ground, but then realised I’d be doing Get Off The Bench blogger Dunny out of a job. It’s a probably a good thing that I’m now redundant around these parts, because f%^$ me does my English Premier League fantasy team need some attention…
Not much point in delving into the three-or-more gamer bracket then, so we’ll skip straight to the two-gamers in the off chance you’ve saved a downgrade trade for round 21. You’re one of the guys who put down “DT” for the religion question on last night’s Census, right?
Essendon defender Michael Ross started as the sub again, but was forced to wait much longer this week before getting a run around, coming on in the fourth quarter to register six points. Best FanFooty joke of the weekend was claiming him as your captain in SuperCoach, where he scored -2. Those jokes never get old. Not a bit.
Our other two double-gamers, Adelaide midfielder Aidan Riley and Gold Coast defender Jeremy Taylor, avoided subs vests of either colour to score 50s. Taylor was lucky enough to have the ball in his half for the majority of the game against Geelong, with four first-quarter goals kicked on him by Stevie Johnson before being moved to Cam Mooney. You can’t be too critical of Taylor; the league’s top defenders would’ve had trouble containing Johnson in that match, given the delivery he received from his loosely-checked midfielders and the rich vein of form he finds himself in.
Brisbane midfielder Josh Dyson ($92,500) became the 135th rookie-priced player to blip on my radar this year when he debuted in round 20. You heard right. 135. Anyway, you don’t expect much more than 31 points from sub-affected players, except when they get as much game time as Dyson, who got three full quarters of game time after the early injury to Joel Patfull. Not. Good. Enough. No one’s doing full-stop thing anymore, are they? Damn, I’m so 2009.
I did edge a little closer to the current decade when I finally picked up a smartphone last week, inspiring me to start using Twitter and some other stuff a bit more, so let me over the weekend which rookies are making or breaking your first week of finals @djch00k.
Oh, thanks to Who’s Your Daddy? for the reminder about the DT Talk league in the EPL fantasy competition, which kicks off this weekend. Head to fantasy.premierleague.com and enter league code 40564-160018. A Charles N’Zogbia hat trick might just ease the pain of being bundled out of the DT finals in the first week.