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Versus – Round 2: Barlow v Hayes

Barlow and Hayes are undoubtedly the two biggest ‘premium bargains’ of 2012. Both are DT guns capable of amazing feats, with both having injury affected campaigns in 2011. Priced in a similar range, many will be choosing between the two for their 4th position in their all important midfield make up.

Barlow and Hayes are undoubtedly the two biggest ‘premium bargains’ of 2012. Both are DT guns capable of amazing feats, with both having injury affected campaigns in 2011. Priced in a similar range, many will be choosing between the two for their 4th position in their all important midfield make up. Tempting as it is to take both, it will be difficult to do so within the salary cap; whilst still trying to maintain solid structure in the rest of your team.

With their injury woes hopefully behind them; watch for these guys to make amends for last year and make up for lost ground on the field. With a spot in their team’s best 21 assured; both are important players at their clubs and should be given every opportunity to return to their best in 2012.

Michael Barlow

Price: $424,800
Position: MID
Bye round: 12
Age: 24

2011 Details
Avg: 85.9
Games played: 9
High Score: 117
Low Score: 25 (sub affected)
No. 100 + scores: 3

2010 Details
Avg: 109.8
Games played: 13
High Score: 146
Low Score: 46
No. 100 + scores: 9

Lenny Hayes

Price: $382,800
Position: MID
Bye round: 13
Age: 32

2011 Details
Avg: 86
Games played: 2
High Score: 107
Low Score: 65
No. 100 + scores: 1

2010 Details
Avg: 108
Games played: 21
High Score: 140
Low Score: 65
No. 100 + scores: 17

Scoring Potential

Tossing aside the aberration that was their 2011 season, both players have a proven record of high scoring. With 9 out of 13 hundreds in his first season of AFL footy, Michael Barlow became an instant hit at the Dockers and was a fixture in the middle until his bad leg break mid 2010. With a high ceiling of 146 (against Collingwood no less), he has shown he can score and; score consistently when fit. Hayes on the other hand is a veteran at the Saints and is now coming into his 13th season in the AFL. Until last year he looked to be getting even better in his age, averaging 108 in 2010 over 21 games. In terms of his ceiling, he too can score highly gaining 7 x 120 + games in 2010 out of his 17 tons. It’s a bit hard to divide the two here as they are at different ends of their careers; however I’d say Hayes has the edge based on his sustained brilliance over time.


This ones a bit of a no brainer, however also isn’t really a fair comparison as Barlow has been affected by freak injuries during the start of his career. Playing just 13 games in his first season and 9 in his second; he won’t tick this box just yet however one can argue he hasn’t really had a fair chance to do so at AFL level just yet given his circumstances. Hayes on the other hand has a better looking record. Before last year’s anomaly, he played 80 of a possible 88 games in the preceding 4 years between 2007 and 2010. Having had 8 seasons of 19 games or more, Lenny has proven that when he is fit he can play out a whole season. As both are returning from injury, this contest is hard to predict and it all depends on how they come through the preseason and start the year.


As mentioned above, these two guys present amazing value based their previous feats and potential. If Barlow hadn’t had his 2010 season cut short, who knows what he could’ve done? He could very well have been a Brownlow winner in his first year of AFL football (a truly amazing feat). Despite his injuries and absence of supposed durability, he appears to be largely underpriced as he is capable of a 110 + average and has unlimited future potential. Hayes however is priced with a juicy discount; meaning he is around the same price as someone with a 77 average. Given he could comfortably average 100 + if fit; he too is massively underpriced and presents himself as an underpriced premium who, barring injury should be worth his place in your final six midfielders come the business end of the year. It’s hard to say who offers more value out of the two; but with the discount and his lower price one would have to say Hayes takes the prize on this occasion.


Encouragingly, the recent news surrounding Barlow is that he is pain free and flying in the preseason; closing in on full fitness. He appears to be running freely and has recently completed a full 40 minute simulated match practice session without any signs of soreness. This is fantastic news for Fremantle fans and prospective DT coaches alike; as Barlow is primed to play a lot more football in 2012. Luckily for us, Hayes’ injury was well timed in that he went down early in 2011. This in turn means that he’s had almost a full year to recover. All reports out of the Saints camp indicate he is looking fit and well on track to start the season. Expect him to be eased back to match fitness with the NAB cup and early rounds. New coach Scott Watters may even look to rest him up forward ala Gary Ablett until he gets back to 100%. It’s hard to tell, but it looks like Barlow is looking the more likely of the two at this stage, however I’d expect both to be ready to go come round 1.

Team Draw

Fremantle have a mixed start to the year, playing Geelong, Sydney and Carlton all in the first five rounds, but then go on to play Gold Coast, Port, Adelaide and Richmond in the following 6 games. Overall though, they have a positive draw – playing only one top 8 team from 2011 twice (traditional rival West Coast). Ross Lyon will also be licking his lips at the prospect of playing Richmond, Melbourne, Port and Adelaide twice in the 2012 draw. Whilst Freo have a favourable draw, St Kilda has an even better fixture. Their first 3 rounds see them play Port, the Suns and the Bulldogs – before playing Freo, Melbourne and Hawthorn in Melbourne. In all, they play last years finalists Carlton and Sydney twice, but also have the benefit of playing the Dogs, Suns and Dees on multiple occasions. Expect the flattering draws to have a positive effect on these teams’ scoring in 2012, in particular both Barlow and Hayes.

Bye Week Relevance

Barlow has the round 12 bye, which means he will be missing in the same week as popular DT studs Dane Swan, Scott Pendlebury and Joel Selwood. Coaches wanting to have more than one of these will have to think twice if they also want to cash in on the Freo gun. Have too many stars missing in any given week and it could result in a heavy loss or drop in ranking. Hayes similarly shares his bye with some big names in Gary Ablett Jnr, Marc Murphy and Sam Mitchell. As above, no matter what your strategy is; it may not serve you best having more than 2 midfield guns from the same bye week – so if you go with the Saints veteran, look to avoid starting with more than one of the above guns who have the bye in round 13.

On a side note, a popular strategy will be to choose the best midfield guns and 1 or 2 mid price bargains who will turn ‘keeper’ in 2012; then simply upgrade to the next best stars after the bye rounds. Based on their differing byes, teams could realistically start with both Barlow and Hayes without being drastically affected, given you don’t overload on guns in any given week.


These two lads are both excellent choices for your team and will be among the most popular players come round 1. All good coaches will strongly consider having at least one of them to start the season. Whilst Barlow is yet to put together a full season, his price offers amazing value for what we all know he can do – he just has to stay fit and out of Rhys Palmer’s way (luckily for him, Freo doesn’t play GWS until round 17). Hayes was touted as being a lock as soon as he went down last year; however with an awkward price and an aging body, coaches will have to think very hard about selecting him in their initial squad. As with all players returning from injury, we will need to wait until the last minute to confirm both players are fit and healthy; however I’m tipping both to fire from the start. For the record, Barlow is my pick for most likely of the two to return to DT prominence in 2012.

Barlow and Hayes: Who will you be picking?

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Click here to see the last ‘Versus’ article: Robinson v Martin



  1. feathertopDT


    January 30, 2012 at 1:08 pm

    Can’t i have both :(

  2. nickc

    January 30, 2012 at 1:26 pm

    I think we should have a team of 30 midfileders! Lol

  3. hypojezza

    January 30, 2012 at 1:30 pm

    I’ve had both of these guys locked from the get-go. Absolute bargains.

  4. Shazzam

    January 30, 2012 at 1:55 pm

    Usually would snap Barlow up and probably will closer to lock down but I’ve never had Hayes and the diff price could help.

    Also, anyone see the resemblance in the Pic of Barlow above with longer hair and Worzel Gummige?

    Fully showing my age here!

    • rainman

      January 30, 2012 at 3:18 pm

      +1 Worzel Gummidge

      What is going on with Barlows eyes? like a deer trapped in the headlights.

      Awesome article again McRath… Thank you

      • tuppy

        January 30, 2012 at 3:43 pm

        hahaha classic they both have a touch of gummige in them but barlows nearlly a dead might be a melbourne thing ,we had a bloke in our junior side that came from melbourne (about under 12s) and he looked like a gummige aswell,and he could play
        good call

        • tuppy

          January 30, 2012 at 3:52 pm

          * im a sandgoper

    • Fabregas

      January 30, 2012 at 3:46 pm

      He’s got his footy head on!

      • Shazzam

        January 30, 2012 at 5:20 pm


  5. Nooie

    January 30, 2012 at 2:06 pm

    Great write up, once again, McRath. I am not having neither, as I am using the money in forward and backline. Could be failure, could be success. I am taking the punt. Plus, my midfield is strong enough already. Swan, Ablett, Murphy and Thompson, I should be right.

    Thank you Warnie, Roy, Calvin, tBetta, TeeTee, pkd73, McRath and everybody else who has put such an outstanding effort this pre-season, you guys have really helped me. Thanks

    P.S. Join my Cricket One Day International (ODI) league!

    Code: 200997


    • 44chappo

      January 30, 2012 at 4:26 pm

      joined just then. My team will be shit though :S

      • Nooie

        January 30, 2012 at 5:50 pm

        Thanks everybody for joining! Wow! From 12 to 20 people in 3 hours! Nice.

        • Nooie

          January 30, 2012 at 5:53 pm

          * closer to 4 hours ;)

  6. Gozzie

    January 30, 2012 at 2:57 pm

    Hey McRath, thanks again – very relevant this one.

    Thanks too, for including the ‘Bye relevance’ section this time.

    Look forward to more of these if you up to it.

    Can you, or someone else who knows the Sainters backwards, answer me this: Is Hayes likely to receive the main tag again, or, given the return from injury, and NDS having his best season in 2011, will he be allowed to roam free more often??

    • McRath

      January 30, 2012 at 3:35 pm

      No worries Gozzie – also thanks everyone for the feedback.

      Can’t say I ‘know the saints backwards’ but I’d say given his injury return NDS and God etc would rcv most of the attention until he’s back to 100%. Although if he comes out firing and looks just as potent as old times then I bet coaches won’t think twice about tagging him.

      RE: Barlow’s leg – from what I hear his leg looks strong and he’s been running on it okay atm. As I’ve said – wait until end of preseason to check he doesn’t have any setbacks (same goes for Lenny).

  7. Fruitjooce

    January 30, 2012 at 3:06 pm

    Greetings people.

    Long time watcher, first time poster here.

    The only one in slight consideration would be Micky B. But surely there will be complications with that leg & how long will the Freo players take to adjust to Rossy’s game plan? It took St Kilda at least half a season. Simply more trusting options out there.

    Good luck for the season!

  8. Ronaldo

    January 30, 2012 at 3:27 pm


  9. tomjay

    January 30, 2012 at 4:49 pm

    lenny is getting old, he won’t play 22.

    barlow only for me.

  10. giants

    January 30, 2012 at 4:49 pm

    With St. Kilda playing Port and the Suns in the first two weeks, I’m thinking that even if Lenny is fit they may not play him anyway. It’s not like they’ll have any trouble overcoming either side. That’s really the only reason I’m not considering Hayes at the moment; I don’t see a need for him to play 22 games, so he’ll probably get rested against weaker opposition, which hurts his value. Barlow on the other hand is locked.

  11. Magpie Mayhem

    January 30, 2012 at 5:17 pm

    Lenny is an absolute gun with a heart as the size of the air conveyance he plays with, but there is no doubt even if he does not have a serious injury they will rest him, and you can bet it will be at the pointy end of the DT season, so for me the Freo Freak is the best bet.

  12. Noodles71

    January 30, 2012 at 6:11 pm

    Mmmmm maybe. Guns n Rooks approach.

  13. ncd2888

    January 30, 2012 at 6:22 pm

    I have been thinking of taking both then trading Lenny at bye week or b4 if needed. i think his price will rise quickly and i am planning on cashing in early on him…..

  14. feathertopDT


    January 30, 2012 at 8:17 pm

    Hey does any know if Brisbanes Sam Docherty will get a game in 2012? Need some MID/DEF in my midfield. If not him is there anyone else?

  15. Kevin

    January 30, 2012 at 11:46 pm

    I had both locked in from the start. No way I’m missing out on these DT bargains. Let’s me have Winderlich as my 7th forward.

    • Ronaldo

      January 31, 2012 at 12:26 am

      That’s really risky imo having two players coming back from ACL’s and one who broke a leg in 2010.

      I can see where you are going with it though. I have Barlow, not getting Hayes, but am 50/50 with Winders will all depend on whether he looks fit enough in the NAB cup for the season. Form is not a worry at that price just fitness.

  16. dtHobzie

    January 31, 2012 at 12:36 am

    Great write-up. I wasnt interested in either due to injury comebacks but now def one or two if not both. To use cash elsewhere.

    I went from deciding between Murphy and Gibbs to putting in Mitchell – now im thinking Hayes instead hoping his average wont be too far-off the others and upgrade somewhere else and come bye time hopefully Hayes has a good price increase to upgrade at the bye. Too many options!!

    I am scared of Hayes not starting the season against the easier teams but hopefully Scotty Waters thinks they might be a good easing start to the season rather than throwing him into those running sides they have between rounds 3 and 8! I dont know whether a return vs the Ross Lyon and the Dockers round 4 would be a good or a bad thing!? There’ll be a lot of feeling in that one. As a Docker personally i hope he doesnt play!!

  17. LivingtheDream

    January 31, 2012 at 2:07 am

    Is it a good idea to have barlow & morabito in the same midfield, or a tad too risky? I’m not worried about bye, more interested in unique picks in my mids when compared to league friends!

    • Michael1984

      January 31, 2012 at 9:58 am

      it depends if u want to win? Morabito has not been cited much this pre-season AVOID!

  18. Michael1984

    January 31, 2012 at 9:57 am

    I will be going neither. I cannot honestly seeing either in the Top 5 or even 10 Mids of the year. Sorry, looking elsewhere.

  19. Blunty

    January 31, 2012 at 1:06 pm

    I won’t Barlow and Hayes but at the moment only have barlow

  20. MyNameIsJoel

    February 5, 2012 at 10:45 pm

    Anyone else think that Scully might be more of a lock then Hayes considering he is cheaper and is probably GWS’s best mid?

  21. Ike

    February 6, 2012 at 12:22 pm

    Both barlow and hayes or swan and clifton… interesting csll but ill go bqrlow and jayes and pick up swan later

    • Ike

      February 6, 2012 at 12:23 pm

      Sorry broken wrist means opposite hand typing on mobile. U get the idea though…

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