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Deck of Dream Team

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?

Name: James McDonald
Club: Greater Western Sydney
Position: Midfielder
Assistant Coach 2012 Price: $98,700
Bye Round: 11
2011 Average:  N/A
2011 Games Played: Retired

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!



  1. Pettiger

    December 23, 2011 at 6:57 am

    Good pick Tbetta. At the price you can’t go past him. GWS haven’t got him to sit on the bench.

  2. Dunny

    December 23, 2011 at 7:59 am

    Certainly a Lock for me Tbetta! Can’t go past him really at that price and as you say, he will play unlike some other rookies at that price.

  3. RLGriffin

    December 23, 2011 at 8:47 am

    Damn. A lot of those stats look familiar. :-D

    The biggest question people will be asking is how his playing/coaching role will affect his game time, and will he be a sub?

    Well, earlieer this week Sheedy said that if he is getting over-loaded, it will be his coaching that takes a side-step, not his game time. And as for subbing, he won’t start with a green vest, as his 35 year old body if going to be needed on the field, laying tackles, putting on bumps, protecting his team mates. He may be penciled in for a red vest in some games, but how often do coaches plans actually allow them to pick a player before a game who’ll get the red vest?

    In my Giant write up I said the only reason you wouldn’t pick him was if he carried a price tag of $200K+. At less than $100K, if you don’t pick him you might as well start planning your 2013 team.


  4. mtooler

    December 23, 2011 at 9:03 am

    He looks the goods at this early stage.

  5. Benatration

    December 23, 2011 at 9:05 am

    I’ve been following the Giants very closely and I support them aswell (along with my current club of course!), but I’ve never seen a massive pass in all my life. Anyone locking him in is a fool. He just won’t play regular games, he’s at the Giants to coach and give feedback about what it’s like on the field out there. He won’t play many games at all because every game he plays is costing a young kid 1 game’s development. Cornes and Power might play majority of the games…maybe Brogan if his body holds up…..but not McDonald. I mean just look at the midfield the Giants have, the Giants don’t want to be taking games off them. And most of those young kids will be better than a 35 yr old McDonald too, so why would McDonald get regular games? McDonald will play a couple of games at the start of the year and then a game every now and then throughout the season. I can’t see him playing more than a third of the season.

    • The Stig

      December 23, 2011 at 9:13 am

      I disagree with the comment that ‘most of the GWS young midfielders will be better than him anyway’. They will only be 18 year olds. Sure they may be more agile and probably have more pace. But McDonald will have vision, tacking, attacking position, better ability in a 1 on 1 marking contest. A whole bunch of things that experience leads to. I agree with you that he is as much of a lock as people suggest but i dont think that GWS can afford to just play the kids. Because they will get even more flogged than the suns did in the early season.

      • Benatration

        December 23, 2011 at 9:25 am

        McDonald may have had those qualities a few years ago. But he is a 35yr old and at the start of the season he wouldn’t have played an AFL game in 18 months.

        And the Giants don’t care about the results, don’t you see? They just want to get games into the kids for the first 2 years

        • Kuruki

          December 23, 2011 at 2:33 pm

          There is nothing worse for a new club then to throw out all there young guns to the wolves, have them get killed for 2 seasons destroying there confidence. Meanwhile the crowd and support they are trying to muster gets smaller and smaller because of the results. They need a good mix of youth and experience.

  6. Big Feller

    December 23, 2011 at 9:51 am

    This guy’s a line ball decision for me!

    Yes the price is right and the past numbers look great but as we all know “past performance is no indicator of future performance”.

    I’m worried the game has passed him by! I can almost hear his hammies go twang as he runs to the toilet dealing with his bung prostate!

    • james_10

      December 23, 2011 at 12:36 pm

      Saying past performance has no bearing on future performance is bull mate, that’s like saying your not gonna pick any of Swan, Pendles, Ablett, Murphy, Rocky etc because there past performances give no indication that they will average over 110 again.

      • Big Feller

        December 23, 2011 at 1:50 pm

        Sorry Champ – I’m a financial planner so it’s drilled into me!

        By the way if anyone’s looking to lose a lot of money really quickly, give me a call!

        • GJayBee

          December 23, 2011 at 3:49 pm

          it’s great to see a financial planner taking the piss out of his job. the worst of my mates wear suits and are in big business, they are animals!

  7. Henry

    December 23, 2011 at 10:03 am

    Tom Mitchell, Kyle Horsely, Dylan Shiel, Dayne Zorko all seem better options to me.

  8. Koopa

    December 23, 2011 at 10:09 am

    Has to be a lock.
    They got him to help out the young players and protect them, they need the senior bodies.
    GWS want to be competitive, not do a Melbourne and sit on the
    Bottom of the ladder for 4 years playing only young players.

  9. feathertopDT


    December 23, 2011 at 10:13 am

    I’ll probably pick him 90+ average in a Melbourne team that was worse than GWS will be next year speaks for itself

  10. Gghippo

    December 23, 2011 at 10:34 am

    Locked In! Can’t see the point of this guy getting a sub vest. So if he plays, he’ll play the full game.

  11. thejamster

    December 23, 2011 at 10:59 am

    Nice wrtie up, the problems i have with J Mac is his job security and his durability. If he can do as well as Robert Harvey did in his late days as a saint, he will be a great addition to any team

  12. bestguykai

    December 23, 2011 at 10:59 am

    He’s a 50/50 prospect for me. If he looks good in the NAB I may consider. His age, body and how GWS are going to handle the grandpa gang are my biggest worries.

    On a side question, I’ve been going over the byes and racking my brain but I can’t seem to come up with a strategy to avoid donuts in rounds 11 to 13. Has anyone come up with a viable option?

    • eeepobreci

      December 23, 2011 at 11:35 am

      The ONLY way to avoid donuts is with the R/F dpp, BUT you need Scott Lycett to play in rnds 12 & 13.
      Now, if he was playing, would you waste a trade to get him in, considering you”ll also need 2 other R/F’s to dpp with?
      Just cop the donuts like we all will.

      • bestguykai

        December 23, 2011 at 11:45 am

        That’s what I thought I’m just happy to hear others say that the will be coping them too. Thanks mate.

        • eeepobreci

          December 23, 2011 at 12:08 pm

          No probs, I’m pretty sure you’d also need to have the only rnd 12 R/F, Joel Hambling from the Cats in the team, and he would have to be playing in rnds 11 & 13.

  13. POWER

    December 23, 2011 at 11:04 am

    • Shazzam66

      December 29, 2011 at 9:22 am

      Rory Sloane is an interesting 1 this year….


    December 23, 2011 at 11:11 am

    Locked and loaded he only needs to play 6 or 7 games. Moooo

  15. eeepobreci

    December 23, 2011 at 11:29 am

    As crazy as it sounds, I was thinking of having J-Mac in my team when he was 200k, and if it didn’t pay off, trade him out before round 3 to a well performed rookie.
    @$98k a risk I’m obviously more than happy to take.
    Like FLOPITOUT1 said, just needs to play 6-7 games to make good $’s.

    • PurpleArmy

      December 23, 2011 at 1:02 pm

      hopefully all in a row rather then have 2 game breaks in between.

  16. neenie21

    December 23, 2011 at 11:32 am

    People are forgetting that you need to treat J Mac as a cash cow not a keeper! He’s rookie priced and you’d bring him in for one reason only and that’s to make you cash for keepers.
    Why wouldn’t you bring a rookie priced J Mac in who is definitely going to get games over another rookie who might keep your bench warm and not play until the years nearly over?
    A lot I people are going to wait and see how he goes in the NAB cup but I’m not 100% sure he’ll play in the NAB. I have a feeling that GWS will use the NAB cup to audition the younger guys for starting positions in round 1.

  17. PRo_MoE1144

    December 23, 2011 at 11:56 am

    mcdonald = daniel harris????

    • Damion


      December 23, 2011 at 12:03 pm

      Just came on the website to post the same thing lol.

      will miss a lot of game I’m guessing Sheedy loves playing the Kids.

      • Henry

        December 23, 2011 at 12:12 pm

        I agree. Dan Harris averaged 107 DT and 120 SC points when the Suns were competing in the VFL.

        Harris only averaged 64.09 DT and played just 11 games.

        I can’t see him playing anymore than 5 games.

        Zorko has dual position, Mitchell and Shiel have much better scoring potential and Horsely is supposedly got great scoring potential as well, and being at GC means he will most likely play a lot for them. If any of these players look like being locks for their respective teams in Rnd 1, I’ll pick them ahead of McDonald.

        I haven’t ruled him out, but I have others ahead of him.

  18. Benatration

    December 23, 2011 at 12:18 pm

    In first half of the season he might play maybe 3 or 4 games IMHO. He will play 6-8 games scattered across the season…not in one go. He is a COACH. He will only play to get a perspective of what it is like out there and give feedback on what he sees to the rest of the coaching staff, he might play the first few games to help the kids out and protect them, but by few I don’t mean 6 or 7 games….

    I see lot’s of kids getting games over McDonald actually
    A) Because they’ll be a lot better than a 35yr old who hasn’t played in 18 months when the season starts
    B)They’ll be alot fitter. (Are people seriously going to select a 35yr old?!?! I don’t care what his price is, that screams injuries)
    C) Giants don’t care about results, they just want to get games into kids.
    D) Have you seen the Giants midfield…….there will be hardly any room in the UWS Giants (Reserves team) for him

    McDonald is a horrible DT choice. He won’t get regular games.

    • Benatration

      December 23, 2011 at 12:18 pm

      aimed at neenie21

      • neenie21

        December 23, 2011 at 12:30 pm

        I guess it’s something I’ll either look back on and say it was a great choice or something I’ll wish I never did. Either way, I’m a giants fan and have some good inside sources that by the start of the year will be using to my advantage. So I guess we’ll see.

    • TheAussieDigger

      December 23, 2011 at 2:31 pm

      I completely agree with you.

      Just leave everyone else to make the mistake of picking him while we do the smart thing by picking someone else :p

  19. PurpleArmy

    December 23, 2011 at 1:17 pm

    Its hard to work out what he’ll be doing next year, if he plays the first 8-9 games without any problems then his job is done as a cash cow, durability is a problem, i have a feeling he may miss a couple games or more here and there in the first half, stalling his increase. But his numbers in ’10 were good, he averaged 8 tackles/game in 16 games. Im gonna wait for NAB cup before i decide….50/50

  20. dyslexia

    December 23, 2011 at 2:48 pm

    What about the no players over the age of 30 and he is 35.

    • tbetta

      December 23, 2011 at 2:53 pm

      I think I mentioned his age enough in the article.

      It’s purely based on his price – while I would struggle to pick a premium that far past 30, at base price it’s a whole other question.

  21. The x Factor

    December 23, 2011 at 3:49 pm

    Iv’e locked him in!

    I think he will play most of the first half of the season get tired maybe retire as a player but he will be out of my team by then.

  22. GJayBee

    December 23, 2011 at 3:58 pm

    Nice Tbetta, some great turns of phrase and some home truths as well.

    I don’t see how you can go past him at that price. Harris put on enough weight to go to the slaughter house and I think Mac will as well.

    (Great to read that comment about Sheedy saying that if anything, Mac’s coaching duties will be put aside instead of his playing.)

    How stoned does Mac look in the photo above! Hahahahahah Maybe he was just thinking about Sheedy’s haircut.

    When Mac and that other old stud got cut by ‘I’m a joke’ Bailey, my Melbourne mate didn’t believe me!

    In 2012 I will lock in Old Macdonald’s farm and create an alter at my house to pray for his hamstrings. Ahmen.

  23. The x Factor

    December 23, 2011 at 4:11 pm

    a bit off topic but why are there nab cup matches scheduled after the first round already?

  24. Gozzie

    December 23, 2011 at 5:39 pm

    Well, it certainly seems this one has polarised opinions!

    I’m with you Tbetta – all misgivings aside, Old McDonald’s Farm is hard to ignore at that price.

    They WILL play him – they need someone on the field to show the young animals on the Farm how it’s done.

    The only problem is injury, and when the main way you earn your points is as a tackler, enough said.

    At 98k, an average of 70 would make more than enough dosh, but calves don’t become cows unless their on the paddock. No wonder opinions are polarised.

    And Tbetta, thanks for your post re DPPs yesterday – big help.

    Can I also ask, of Warnie, I presume. VS say the prices are still provisional until the official release on Feb 1, does this mean they can/will change the discounts on any players?? The complete lack of any discount being applied to Caddy/Hayes/etc seems really inconsistent with the other discounts applied to players who played little or no games this season. Can you make a submission to them on our behalf???

  25. Adamant

    December 23, 2011 at 6:49 pm

    He would have to beat either Tom mitchell, Zorko or Shiel for that midfield spot and they all seem better picks than old mcdonald at this stage imo

  26. James

    December 23, 2011 at 9:56 pm

    Eye opening article, would never have considered him. Will need some kind of indication before the season starts that he will play the first six or seven games, if I am to select him. If he only plays against the more difficult, tougher opposition teams, or is rotated with Cornes and Power, than he is no use to me DT wise I’m afraid. Regardless, nice work Tbetta.

  27. Zoostar84

    December 23, 2011 at 10:28 pm

    I’m not sure who is older, James McDonald or Pope Benedict XVI?

    Try and avoid players over 30
    McDonald didn’t get any younger having a year off playing AFL
    21, 19, 18, 16……(Games played by year 2007-2010)

    I know he’s cheap, but at high risk of getting injured.

    Pick a rookie


  28. TheAussieDigger

    December 24, 2011 at 3:33 am

    if it isn’t too late for suggestions i reckon sam butler is an alright smokey

  29. Athan

    December 28, 2011 at 12:20 am


    He is 98K and will ave 60 and make you 100k and offer you depth.

    What is the issue? He will play early 100%

  30. PurpleArmy

    January 19, 2012 at 1:24 pm

    Its been said a few times that hes gonna look after the younger guys while being a player/coach, Has anyone thought maybe hell be used as a sub to ‘look after’ the younger kids injury wise?. Can see him coming on in the 3rd-4th for a younger kid who is stuffed and may do an injury. He can coach and give advice to all the guys while he’s on the bench that whole time etc. I’m very cautious of this thought

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