Deck of Dream Team 2012: James McDonald
James McDonald is back, and this time he’s with the Giants. Virtual Sports, somewhat surprisingly, priced him at $98,700 right alongside all the other draftees! This throws him right into calculations – is Old McDonald on your radar this year?
2010 Average: 94.8
2010 Games Played: 16
Predicted Average: 71
Why should I pick him? Does $98,700 mean anything to you? The former Melbourne captain had a year out of the game in 2011 due to retirement (well before it was due, by the way) and has been acquired by GWS as a player-coach.
McDonald was a fantasy relevant player at the height of his career at the Dees, with his best year coming in 2006 where he averaged a highly respectable 98.9 from all 22 matches! But tbetta, he’s 35 now, surely his production suffered with age? Well, not really – he averaged 94.8 in his last season at AFL level in 2010 – only two years ago! And, that was in a weak Melbourne outfit in a season when the veterans were being phased out.
His ability to score tons was still there, posting 8 from the 16 games he played, after his 2010 was interrupted by a mid-season hamstring injury.
Basically, he’s so bloody cheap that you have to consider him. He’s a player-coach, so his Job Security will always be great, and as we’ve seen with the Suns this year, a lot of the ball tends to go through the senior players in expansion clubs. At 35, it’s doubtful that he will set the world on fire, but we have a guaranteed 65+ average and 15+ games player available for base price… I don’t care if his offspring is old enough to play at the same level, J-Mac is definitely on the radar!
Why shouldn’t I pick him? This section will be more predictable than the likelihood of Rockliff lining up for destROY this year, but let’s go through the motions anyway:
He’s 35 years old. Age equals a higher probability of injury, and usually means a decrease in output, etc… But McDonald, already a graceful ager, had a full year out of the rough and tumble of the AFL while still maintaining his conditioning while playing for the Old Xaverians in the Vic amateurs – he should be great guns to play out most of the year injury free, even if it means that the AFL had to create a pension for him in the latest CBA agreement.
What will his role be? Will he run through the midfield which already boasts Scully, Ward, Palmer and Power, or maybe he’ll line-up off half-back to add some much needed seniority down there? Personally, I think the latter, but watch the nab cup for an early indication. The midfield is a double-edged sword; more exposure to the footy but probably much less TOG to protect his aging body. The backline should allow him to stay fresh, shepherd the young kids, and spend enough time on ground to accumulate a decent total for us, week-in, week-out.
Deck of DT Rating: JACK – The bottom line is McDonald is as cheap as Kim Duthie after half a bottle of vodka, and just as predictable. Why take the risk on a rookie who could deliver the same thing when you have the timeless J-Mac locked in to provide you with the 70-odd average that you require from a rookie-priced recruit? So do yourself a favour, and get in Old McDonald – the biggest cash cow in his farm!