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Deck of Dream Team

Deck of Dream Team 2012: Grant Birchall

Birchall was one of the great improvers in 2011. From season 2006 through to season 2010 he had been a solid performer whose average was always between 70 and 79. He has also been a consistent player with his lowest amount of games played coming in his first year where he played 16 games. Is he in your calculations?

Name: Grant Birchall
Club: Hawthorn
Assistant Coach 2012 Price: $448,900
Position: Defender
Bye Round: 13
2011 Average: 89
2011 Games Played: 21
Predicted Average: 95

Why should I pick him?

Birchall was one of the great improvers in 2011.  From season 2006 through to season 2010 he had been a solid performer whose average was always between 70 and 79.  He has also been a consistent player with his lowest amount of games played coming in his first year where he played 16 games.  He has also been very consistent with his disposals where he has always been between 19 and 22 average across those years.  Then in 2011 he lifted his average up to 89 and his disposals lifted up to 23.76.  The bonus for his scoring was that the increase in disposals came from kicks which improved his K:H ratio which means more points for us!

During 2011 it seemed as though he took on a lot of the role that Hodgey was previously playing in the backlines for the Hawks.  He was the link up man across half back and spent a bit of time across the midfield helping out too.  All of this translated into higher scores for Birchall.  When looking at his scores for the year, his averaged is really affected by 3 poor games of  58, 62 and 63.  If you take those three out then his average bumps to 94.4.  His other poorer scores were all in the 70’s.  However at the upper end he had 6 hundreds and a 124 as his best.  There were another 4 in the 90’s.

Why shouldn’t I pick him?

The aforementioned poor scores are a little of a concern.  Whilst there were only 3 of them, they came against Adelaide, Geelong and North so there isn’t really a pattern to it.  So you just never know when he is going to misfire.

The bye’s aren’t very friendly to him in the backlines.  He shares it with Carlton, Richmond and St Kilda.  This means popular picks like Scotland, Carrazzo, Goddard and Delidio.  This might make it hard to fit him into your team, particluarly if you are looking at his teammate Suckling also.  Whilst he is the cheapes of these guys, he and Suckling are the only ones that don’t have Mid eligibility.  This makes it very hard to pick him as he just doesn’t have the flexibility.  Lids and Carrots are only about 9k more expensive whilst he is 30k less than Goddard and 50k less than Scotland.

 Deck of DT Rating:

Queen. Birchall had a great increase in his scoring during 2010 in a tight Hawks backline.  He has taken on a bit of a general role in the backline which has allowed Hodge to play in the midfield.  If he can continue to be a link up man through the backline for the Hawks he will pick up a number of cheap stats and will improve that average up to the mid to high 90’s.  I think his low scoring days will become 70’s and not low 60’s like last year, but once again we need to see the Hawks structure in the pre-season to get a feel for how he is going to use Birch in 2012.

However, the biggest issue for me is still that bye.  You may want to have him to get through the other bye weeks and then trade him out before rd 13.

Hit me up on twitter @pkd73.



  1. GrandOldFlag

    January 18, 2012 at 6:15 am

    No sale. Doesn’t work with my structure and don’t think he is as good value as your article suggests.

  2. giants

    January 18, 2012 at 6:15 am

    The Round 13 bye is the only reason he’s not in my squad at the moment.

  3. eeepobreci

    January 18, 2012 at 6:39 am

    Nice choice for the deck Dunny!
    Is in my team ATM, and unless he does a “Broughton,” I won’t be trading him out!!!
    Having said that, Scotland & Carrazzo don’t appeal to me, (age/price & tagging roles respectively,) so he fits my “structure.”
    At the end of the day, I’m aiming for overall ranking, so the few games where he may not score as well really doesn’t come into the equation- so long as his overall average goes up a bit on last year, (every possibility,) and at 24yrs of age, me likey!!!
    Nice write up, and again a great choice for the deck with a plethora of top defenders with the rnd 13 bye.
    Good stuff Dunny.

    • GJayBee

      January 18, 2012 at 5:55 pm

      eeep you stud, you’re lucky that you are going for overall because that makes Birchal perfect. I’m going for league wins and I’m scared Birchal will be rested in the grannie like he was last year! Clarkson may be a good coach, but who can deny that he is a #$%&? hahahahah

      • thommo

        January 18, 2012 at 8:36 pm

        I’m a Hawthorn member and Clarko supporter, but even I agree after THAT round!

      • eeepobreci

        January 18, 2012 at 10:07 pm

        Well my friend, me thinks that if I do ok overall, there’s a good chance of finals action.
        Hoping to have trades/cover for when he gets rested, like you say.
        Hmmm, rnd 20 v GCS or rnd 21 v Port????
        I can always sideway swap him for Heater in round 20, after Heater has served his club imposed 6 week suspension for doing as Calvin put it, “something moronically stupid.” hahaha

  4. cptFantasy

    January 18, 2012 at 6:47 am

    There’s only room for one Tasmanian in my team and when I “upgraded” to Birchall last season he actually made my side worse.

    • mtooler

      January 18, 2012 at 8:42 am


  5. Pettiger

    January 18, 2012 at 7:35 am

    There are too many cards in this deck. Can’t fit them all in. Good write up Dunny.

  6. Mezzoculo

    January 18, 2012 at 8:40 am

    Good one.

    It will be interesting to see how a non-injury depleted hawks backline affects the scoring of Birchall and Suckling this season.

  7. adzman

    January 18, 2012 at 8:50 am

    will anyone be rated a joker?

    i reckon hawks will again slut it up down back its just a matter on which one to choose. Im actually not sold on carazzo/scotland or even lids atm so i can squeeze a hawk in.

    this guy or superboot?

    • GJayBee

      January 18, 2012 at 6:00 pm

      I’m on Suckling because he is less likely to be rested in rd 24 (If the hawks have a second chance, about eight hawks, including Brichal, will be rested and therefore make a mockery of the VFL finals and more importantly ((sorry god)) DT finals)

      and Adz, how can you not be sold on Lids? If leaving him out isn’t because of some holy ‘esoteric bye structure’ you may have some information I want! Lids has been locked in the Team Fang dungeon for years!!

      • adzman

        January 18, 2012 at 6:57 pm

        dunno mate, hes just never really done it for me! ive risked him the last couple of years and it hasnt really burnt me yet, I’m sure he will fulfill his potential one day but will it be this year? He just seems to get given gigs by the coach that have him out of the game for periods of far too long….

  8. jigojitoku

    January 18, 2012 at 9:24 am

    With the return of Stratton and Gilham, it remains to be seen what the Hawthorn backline structure will look like. Could Suckling or Birchall take a wing?

    • Warnie


      January 18, 2012 at 9:27 am

      Their return could only be a good thing for Birch! NAB watch for me, for sure!

    • thommo

      January 18, 2012 at 8:43 pm

      Don’t know if Hawthorn can fit any more midfielders/wingers. If they are injury free there is going to be MASSIVE competition for spots in the midfield and backline this year. If you were going to move one to the midfield, surely it would be Suckling as he is not a great defensive player, but probably won’t happen.

      But then again, at this time last year I thought Sucklling would struggle to get a game – shows what I know!

  9. 7ator

    January 18, 2012 at 10:00 am

    For my its a flip of a coin between him and Suckling, not sure yet who will get the gig.

  10. Chuck Norris

    January 18, 2012 at 10:06 am

    Even if I was going to pick up a Hawk in an already “round 13 bye” plagued backline,I would go Suckers in front of Birchall.

    I think Suckling has better potential to lift his average by more because of the fact he can really go BANG! Having picked him up in rd. 2, I can remember countless 130+ scores but his average dropped near the end of the season.

    Suckling or Birchall? Suckling for me.

    • mordja

      January 18, 2012 at 10:35 am

      Countless? Suckling scored >130 once after round 2 (133 rd 8).

      Birchall in the same period (post round 2) topped 100 7 times, while Suckling only 5.

      You are cherry picking stats.

  11. PurpleArmy

    January 18, 2012 at 10:34 am

    Its funny that i only have Buddy from the hawks seeing as there the best dt point team. I already have 4 rd13 bye players in the backs i dont think i can have any more

  12. Nooie

    January 18, 2012 at 12:04 pm

    Great write up Dunny! ATM Pass.

    P.S. Sorry to be a pain, but you spelt Deledio wrong ;)

    • Dunny

      January 18, 2012 at 1:13 pm

      No worries, I am impressed that is the only one I got wrong!

  13. GJayBee

    January 18, 2012 at 6:06 pm

    Nice work Dunny,

    I had Birchal and Suckling last year. I picked up Suckling on the cheap and then Birchal when Grimes went down. Birch was great, a pillar of almost premium, but then came the holiday in rd 24!

    Suckling for me. Can anyone else remember when Suckling kicked out to himself after a point, then handpassed it out and got it straight back, did the same again, then kicked it! Even Dennis Commetti made a comment about DT heaven hahahah

    The one thing that got me thinking was Jijo and Warnie talking about Suckling of Birchal heading to the wing. If one of them plays the wing, they would be a freaking lock.


  14. dtHobzie

    January 19, 2012 at 12:16 am

    yeh like most i’m struggling with rnd 13 backmen!

    Got Delidieo and Goddard locked so now its between Birch Suckling and Scotland.

    Leaning towards Birch hoping he might be the link of halfback and play the wing abit!
    But i like Sucklings kick to himself when kicking in from a behind which served well last year!
    (he’ll probably kick it to Birchell??) – probably better for Birchell points that way!??

    …and Scotland with the DDP throws the other spanner in….Hmmmmmmm!!!!!????

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