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Deck of Dream Team

Deck of Dream Team 2012: Nathan Van Berlo

When the coach with two first names left after round 18 last year, this guy exploded. Does VB have it in him to continue this form into 2012? Have a read and find out why you should consider him for your team.

Name: Nathan Van Berlo
Club: Adelaide
Assistant Coach 2012 Price: $462,700
Position: Midfield
Bye Round: 11
2011 Average: 93
2011 Games Played: 22
Predicted Average: 106

Why should I pick him? There were two Nathan Van Berlo’s last season.  There was the Craigy version and the Bickley version.  The Craigy version of VB averaged 83 whilst the Bickley version averaged a touch under 122!  Those last 6 games read:

  • 120 vs Port Adelade
  • 137 vs Brisbane
  • 102 vs Geelong
  • 126 vs Gold Coast
  • 143 vs Richmond
  • 102 vs West Coast

This shows that when let off the leash and allowed to run he can rack up some massive scores.  Also, he smashes the weaker teams and with the Crows draw of 2 x Port, 2 x GC and 2 x GWS he should have 6 games of over 120pts.  During that run of 6 games he had a possession average in the 25+ range whereas the previous 6 were in the mid teens. 

These are the scores and possession counts of the elite midfielders, the big question is what is the game style of Brenton Sanderson?  Well if he plans to bring the game plan of the Cats over where the midfield racked up  high possession numbers then this should help boost Van Berlo right up there to that 106 that I think he can average without the Craigy schackles.

As with teammate and other Deck inductee Scotty Thompson, his bye is a fairly nice one, the only issue is if you have teammate Scott Thompson or the Red Rock combo from Brisbane.  Other than that he is in the clear from the key guys from Collingwood, Geelong and Hawthorn.

The other thing he has is durability, he hasn’t played any less than 19 games over the last 6 years.  So you know that he will be there week in week out.

Why shouldn’t I pick him?  The biggest variable here is the new coach.  Whilst we can only hope (from a DT points perspective) that Sando lets VB run loose through the midfield we don’t know exactly what will happen so this is one of the bigger risks.  All we can do is look at the preseason and get our best guage from that.

He is very awkwardly priced.  His price is in the same league as proven scorers such as ROK, Pav and Barlow.  Whilst he presents value based on those last 6 games, we don’t know if this is a true indication of his form as by that stage of the season they had lost their coach and it was fairly clear that they were not going to make the finals.  Once again, the preseason will be the thing to check.

Deck of DT Rating: Queen.  Van Berlo appears to be a guy on the rise.  He certainly proved that lifting his average by 12 points last season.  If he is left to run through the midfield with any tag going to Thompson, he should be a big accumulator of touches through that Adelaide midfield.  Just keep an eye on him during the preseason and see what his role is.  I think that he will bring that form of the end of last season to the start of 2012 and he could start his climb to be one of the top midfielders in the DT competition.

Thoughts?  Find me on twitter @pkd73



  1. nickc

    January 12, 2012 at 7:22 am

    Good post Dunny. You’ve certainly thrown the cat (or crow) among the pigeons. Currently have Thommo in my side but at $70 K odd cheaper, he could be the way to go pre-season depending. I def want one of either, but thinking ST has the edge at the moment

    • Hurl_the_Pears

      January 12, 2012 at 12:18 pm

      I too had that crazy fleeting thought of replacing Scotty T with NVB instead and saving the $ while reading the article.. but then again my friend did something similar by going Cross instead of Boyd 2 years ago and it cost him in the finals.

      Always go the proven premo gun..

      Although last year I went with that theory and picked Hodgey instead of taking a risk and going the unprovenRedden/Rockcliff and that was a bad decision..

      Ok I dont know what to do now! NAB cup cant come soon enough!

  2. Birdy

    January 12, 2012 at 7:58 am

    too risky for my liking, great read though :)

  3. Pettiger

    January 12, 2012 at 8:29 am

    Good write up Dunny. Unfortunately he doesn’t fit in my team structure at this stage.

  4. dimsim

    January 12, 2012 at 9:45 am

    i really would love him as a unique but when you can get barlow/hayes for a much cheaper price i have to pass on him.

  5. Dusty Cotch n Conks

    Dusty Cotch n Conks

    January 12, 2012 at 9:54 am

    Wasn’t on my radar, but now is for pre-season form. Thanks Dunny, great entry to the deck!

  6. Calvin


    January 12, 2012 at 10:12 am

    Great write up.
    The stats dont lie…. and his form at the end of the year is awesome, but the most common comment here will be the point you have already made. THE COACH and what will he do? Hopefully the same as Bicks but it’s just too risky when there are safer options

    • Dunny

      January 12, 2012 at 10:25 am

      Exactly Calvin, new coaches can kill a players DT form or they can make it.

    • Mad__5kills

      January 12, 2012 at 11:04 am

      Point worth noting, those last 6 games they won 3 and came close to Geelong. Not bad for a team that finished with 7 wins for the year.

      • James

        January 12, 2012 at 12:32 pm

        The three games we won were against the three teams below us on the ladder: GC, Brisbane and Port. We also lost to Richmond by 20 points, so that record may not be as good as it looks.

  7. Chuck Norris

    January 12, 2012 at 10:48 am

    Awesome write up, Dunny.
    It’s almost convinced me to pick VB from my beloved Crows but I can’t find a spot for him in a midfield of Swan, Rockliff, Gablett and Barlow. Where do I fit VB?

    • Dunny

      January 12, 2012 at 11:03 am

      Tough call mate. All I can suggest is perhaps put him in for one of the higher priced 3 and use him to upgrade to them. That is about the only way you will fit him in.

      • JimmyBob

        January 12, 2012 at 11:48 am

        not sure about that Dunny. if you pick NVB at that price you want him to be a keeper.

        • Dunny

          January 12, 2012 at 11:55 am

          Fair point, was just thinking that you could squeeze him in and use the money elsewhere and if you wanted to change he is a cheap upgrade to one of the premos, but I do take your point and agree to some extent.

  8. PurpleArmy

    January 12, 2012 at 11:21 am

    my main problem with him is his round 11 bye. Already got Rockliff, Zorko, L.Brown and Shiel. His form was quite impressive in his last 6 games though. Nice dunny but i might pass for the time being

  9. Big Feller

    January 12, 2012 at 11:21 am

    Great write up Dunny and my current midfield looks like this:
    Swan, GAJ, Thompson, Van Berlo, Barlow, Horsley (Trealor, Brown).
    I don’t give a rats tossbag about the byes and I’m thinking about going with a theory of throwing one of the bye rounds so that I have a better chance of winning the other 2 rounds!

    Spent a bit too much time in the shower this morning and had a couple of thoughts:
    Where are the fixtures for 2012? All I’m getting on the AFL page is “contact us” information.

    Also is there a chance that you guys might do an article on last years winner of DT? I’d love to get an analysis of what he did (starting team, trades, why he made the moves that he did) and what he did with the Cruiser.

    Cheers Ears

  10. ChampsorChumps

    January 12, 2012 at 11:46 am

    Thanks Dunny,

    Great article Mate … And from all reports VB is burning it up on the track. One other Crows midfielder I have my eye on is Rory Sloane. Rory is entering is third year, averaged around 87 last year from memory and I have a feeling he could be in for a break out year if he can stay on the park.

    I would be interested in people’s thoughts.

    I look forward to reading more from the DTTalk Brigade over the coming season. Your thoughts and advice certainly helped me last year … went from 10000 to inside the top 500. :-)

  11. Ronaldo

    January 12, 2012 at 12:10 pm

    Those stats look good however I wouldn’t put him ahead of Swan, Ablett, Rockliff and Barlow.

    • Adamant

      January 12, 2012 at 12:47 pm


  12. Dangerfield888

    January 12, 2012 at 2:09 pm

    he’s been tearin up the track during preseason. Finished 2nd in the 3km run behind dangerfield but won the repeat test. Sanderson has stated that more players will get rotated through the midfield so thats a plus for crows players in your DT sides. but a pass for me unless somethin happens during the NAB cup or one of my mids gets injured.

    • giants

      January 12, 2012 at 6:11 pm

      Van Berlo wins Adelaide’s time trials every year, I wouldn’t read too much into that result. I’m far more interested in Dangerfield.

      • Dangerfield888

        January 12, 2012 at 11:43 pm

        True , danger finished in the middle of the pack in the repeat test. Sando hasn’t let much slip on dangerfield. When asked if he’ll get more time on ball he kinda tip toed around it and said more players would go through the middle but we all know its a matter of time when he explodes

  13. juddy69

    January 12, 2012 at 2:16 pm

    Have been considering him for a while and will just have to wait for NAB

  14. Sloth

    January 12, 2012 at 2:29 pm

    Cheers Dunny, good read.

    I personally struggle to fit any crows players in – bar a rookie now and then – because of my sheer disdain for the club. I am 27 and coming through school, when we first started getting on the piss and watching the grand finals, the crows along with the roos really ruined those initial grand final drinking experiences for me (1996 – 99).

    Plus, there seems to be a typical ‘look’ that crows players go for. That bleached spikey hair ala Van Berlo, Thomson, Vince… so when your watching the footy they have about 5 or 6 clones just running around and each time you get your hopes up for a +3 but it turns out to be someone else. But really I suppose I could put that stuff behind me in return for a 105+ average!

    VB killed it towards the end of last year, but there is another crow that offers a lot of value, the guy who threatened to become a super premium 3 years ago but seems to have had a few to many late nights out at the casino in the off season the last few years. Bernie Vince.

    His last 4 years are:
    – 75
    – 100
    – 85
    – 80

    I wonder what his role will be with the new coach and if he can keep himself fit and off the piss? If he could up his output by 20ish point he would nearly offer the same value as Barlow…? thoughts?

    • Dangerfield888

      January 12, 2012 at 3:35 pm

      dont know if he can stop the partying , left skycity at 6am on new years. I just happened to be there too

      • Brappinalong

        January 12, 2012 at 6:03 pm

        You mean xmas night bro, he got kicked out because somebody he was with pissed on a pokie machine.

        • giants

          January 12, 2012 at 6:13 pm

          As you do.

          • GJayBee

            January 12, 2012 at 9:45 pm

            With this new information, he may be a lock in my team hahahahah

  15. McRath

    January 12, 2012 at 3:03 pm

    Very tempting – those scores don’t lie. Will see how he starts 2012 and seriously consider as an upgrade target in place of Thompson in round 12 if doing well.

    • Gozzie

      January 12, 2012 at 3:46 pm

      Thanks Dunny, right on the money. I’ve had him in my side since the Fanplanner first came out, so it’s bitter sweet to see him so well written up here. The saving grace is that he won’t fit a lot of team’s structures for premos or byes.

      I agree with the ‘awkward price’ tag he has, and some preferring a ‘super-premo’, but a 106 avg certainly qualifies for a 5th or 6th mid.

      So, as you said, the question really is what’s the coach going to do with him? All these new coach teams (bar Buckley) keep everything in our DTs very provisional until we see their game plans & player roles in the NAB.

      I agree too, with the stuff said re Sloane. I’m keen, but can only fit one of him, NVB, or ST. Until I see what Sando does with them, I’m sticking with VB.

      On a couple of other Crows… I was disappointed that Petrenko didn’t get the dpp that Monty believed he would, and what’s worse was listed as a mid instead of a def. I thought he could’ve been worth a look as a dpp with his form-line. Also, what are your thoughts on Porp, and do you know how his pre-season’s travelling?

      • Sloth

        January 12, 2012 at 6:50 pm

        Porps is an interesting one, he is priced a little to high for my liking. I heard before christmas that he was tearing up the track but at $220k or whatever he is I reckon he is a bit much.

        • Warnie


          January 12, 2012 at 6:55 pm

          I disagree with that. Are you one of the ones that wanted him at rookie price like the Fanplanner had him at? That is ridiculous!

          He had an average of 78 in 2008 and 75 in 2009 and then was priced (with a discount) on his 2010 average of 68. This year he is priced at 41. That is getting DT greedy and getting excited because an unofficial resource thought wrong.

          Priced there makes him not a gimme pick, but a bargain just the same. VS have got it right.

          • Sloth

            January 12, 2012 at 8:46 pm

            Hey Warnie,

            I wasn’t saying that I wanted him at a rookie price, in those previous posts I was just inquiring as to the consistency in the way VS priced players like Porps, Hayes, McDonald and I also brought up Cousin’s price after he came back from a year off.

            You said that they use their discrepancy with pricing so as to not make the game to easy, which I totally agree with, but I reckon McDonald is an interesting one.

            For me, Porps, at what he is priced at is a little pricey for the potential average score and return you would get for your money, when you could possibly pick up someone like Saad or Clifton who could knock out that 70 odd average and are priced around $100k cheaper so, for me, present better value.

            But he could shake off his injury worries and prove to be a good pick.

          • Warnie


            January 12, 2012 at 9:12 pm

            McDonald’s pricing… has me puzzled too! ;) …maybe one that went through to the keeper!!

            I’ll put money on Porpz averaging more than 20 points more than Saad and play more games than him… even with his massive injury risk. As for Clifton, he should do alright, but is mid only.

          • giants

            January 12, 2012 at 9:19 pm

            I can’t agree with you on Porps, Warnie. Not because I want a gimme pick (because let’s face it, at a higher price at least it means there won’t be the same player in every single team like he would be if he was 100k, and a harder game makes for a better game), but just because they’ve never done this for any other player, as far as I know. Maybe I’m just being too stubbornly rule-oriented and thinking that things should always stay the same, but I would’ve preferred he be priced on his 2011 average just like everyone else, even if that means he’d be in every team in the comp.

          • Warnie


            January 12, 2012 at 9:31 pm

            Each to their own, giants. But for the integrity of the game they can’t price someone below rookie price… and as well, they havent had this problem before. I am pleased VS have used their smarts here. (Even if we were the ones who told them he can’t be priced at under-$100K).

            Just like prelisted GWS players getting premiums put on them.

            While ‘rules are rules’, we all play by the same ones… and it’s good that VS’s intellectual property isn’t ‘stolen’ each year because of the so called rules with planners, etc. keeps the game on an even playing field!

          • Sloth

            January 12, 2012 at 9:57 pm

            So the question is Warnie – are you going to pick the Porpus?

          • Warnie


            January 12, 2012 at 10:01 pm

            He’s in there at the moment. Capable of scoring 100s. Midfield time (like everyone). What’s not to like at $200K?!

          • Gozzie

            January 13, 2012 at 1:04 am

            Yeah, he’s in for me at the moment. Great value, if the shoulder holds up. At his price, he must be on the field, but I think he can get enough points to hold up the 6/7th FWD slot pre-upgrade. I have him bracketed with Callinan. Do you think Callinan will get further up the ground and pull more points than Porp?

  16. swanlow36

    January 12, 2012 at 4:13 pm

    Too expensive for me to start him in the Big V Superstars. Will pick him around mid-season as Murphy, Rocky and Co are better options around NVB’s price.

    • TheAussieDigger

      January 12, 2012 at 5:55 pm

      Murphy and Rockcliff are more expensive than Van Berlo. The sort of blokes Van Berlo would be competing for a spot for would be the Barlow types, slightly cheaper.

  17. giants

    January 12, 2012 at 6:15 pm

    In the past Van Berlo has been used primarily as a tagger, hasn’t he? I can’t see him maintaining that kind of average over 22 rounds.

  18. eeepobreci

    January 12, 2012 at 7:26 pm

    ATM its 80% Scotty T. vs 20% VB + $70K + Risk.
    Very difficult to ignore the easy draw these guys have.
    The other thing that’s doing my head in is wether or not I want a midfield premo with the round 11 bye in my starting line up?

  19. GJayBee

    January 12, 2012 at 9:50 pm

    Nice work Dunny.

    A couple of times when I’ve been planning my team I’ve had just enough to get VB. But, I’ve been burned before by going to second best. Tommo for me.

  20. GrandOldFlag

    January 12, 2012 at 10:07 pm

    Nice write up but not really considering him even now. Too hard to squeeze in with Swan, Rocky, Barlow, Hayes already there. Really want SMJ too (and have spare salary cap!) so might squeeze Hayes out for him.

    I like this write up as it surprised me to see him in the deck. That’s what the deck is all about: players that must at least be considered or on the radar.

  21. Henry

    January 13, 2012 at 4:09 pm

    He’s in my team at the moment! Provided he is played as a midfielder, he is locked in.

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