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Deck of Dream Team

Deck of Dream Team 2012: Michael Barlow

Michael Barlow is the Messiah.

End of story.

Name: Michael Barlow
Club: Fremantle
Position: Midfielder
Assistant Coach 2012 Price: $424,800
Bye Round: 12
2011 Average: 85.9
2011 Games Played: 9
Predicted Average: 111

Why should I pick him?

Because Barlow was the Messiah in the first half of 2010, and , like Jesus, we believe he’ll rise from the dead and become the scoring machine that we know he is. It’s just taken longer than 3 days is all…

Barlow was still sidelined by the horrific leg injury that he sustained in mid-2010 (even more horrifically,  Palmer was unscathed). When he finally made his 2011 debut he was fantastic, collecting 25 possessions on his way to a highly respectable 98. Unfortunately, snapping your leg clean in two tends to have lingering side effects, and one of these was soreness following the weeks after his first game in 12 months. So when he returned 4 weeks later he was green-vested, but from that point on he continued to show us why he was such a loved DTer in early 2010.

He is priced at his average of 85.9 (no discount), but that includes his vested 25 in Round 17 – remove that, and he went at 93.5 points a game. Now, considering the fact that having your leg turned into a deck chair has serious repercussions on your confidence, fitness and ability, and that he is also undertaking his first full pre-season at AFL level, I think it’s fair to say that he can only get better in 2012.

If he attains an average close to the 111 I’ve cautiously predicted (a bee’s dick away from the 109.8 he averaged in 2010 – his debut year!) he’ll make you more than $120,000. Or probably more appropriately -as Mick will become a Midfielder keeper by season’s end – you get a Gun in your mids at 23% off! Absolute bargain if you ask me.

Why shouldn’t I pick him?

Maybe you’re short-sighted and are mistaking the 13 games in 2010 and the 9 games in 2011 as poor durability. Forget about it! Snapping a leg is a freak injury, it’s not even comparable to the soft-tissue babies like Higgins or the bad-luck boys such as Jack Grimes. And Palmer isn’t even there anymore to ruin his career.

Maybe you’re worried that players who snap their legs never come back and regain their form. Well, I decided to look back over 3 players who broke their legs in similar fashion: Michael Voss in 1998, Nathan Brown in 2005 and Chris Newman in 2006.

Player

Average Year Before

Average Year After

Average 2 Years After

Voss 66.2 73.4 89.1
Newman 66.9 76.4 81.8
Nathan Brown 93.5 60.0 82.3

Just a bit of background : Voss was coming into his prime years at the height of Brisbane’s reign, almost equally his career-best year with that 89.1 average in 2001 at 25 years of age. Newman was also coming into his prime, having a then career-best year (his best was 2010, 82 average) at 26 years of age. Nathan Brown was slightly different; he took much longer to recover from his injuries (he later said that he regretted coming back too early), only playing 10 and 11 games in the two years following. However, he did play 18 games in 2008 (his 3rd year after his injury) and averaged 91.8, much closer to his best.

Anyway, I rambled on a bit there, but the two main things to take out of this are;

  1. All three of these players increased their average significantly from the year after (low on confidence, fitness, etc.) to two years after they suffered their broken leg.
  2.  All three of these guys had their career-best years in Dream Team when they were 25-26 years of age. Guess who turns 25 in 2012?

As always, structure could be another issue. Maybe you’re going full Guns and Rookies (which by the way, is sort of like going Full Retard a la Tropic Thunder – you never do it, man.), and don’t want to take a risk on someone at his awkward price (don’t like bargains, hey?). Or maybe you’ve committed yourself to a midfield full of Collingwood, Geelong or Essendon players, and can’t fit him in.

Deck of DT Rating:

Barlow displays Queen qualities – someone who could make you a bunch of cash by increasing their average by more than 20 points – as well as Ace attributes – someone who could be a must-have midfielder by season’s end. But I’ll play it safe and rate him a KING, because I can guarantee you that Barlow will be a premium midfielder this year based on my favourite stat – Barlow scores over 95 DT points 76% of the time!

At this stage, mainly due to his great value and low risk, Barlow is a 95% chance of lining up for Tbetta Than You in 2012. Don’t miss the boat!

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