Connect with us

Players of Interest

Versus – Round 5: Suckling v Birchall

Suckers and Birch both had super years in 2011, especially Suckling (lifting his previous year average by over 40 points!) and both are seriously being considered by many dreamers to fill that D3 position in 2012, and for good bloody reason!

Suckers and Birch both had super years in 2011, especially Suckling (lifting his previous year average by over 40 points!) and both are seriously being considered by many dreamers to fill that D3 position in 2012, and for good bloody reason! However you will probably only be able to fit one of these guys in due to that treacherous R13 bye that will affect so many of our better defence options. Placed within 6k of each other, being in the same team and averaging similarly in 2011 really makes this a hard choice to make so hopefully by the end of this article your choice will be made a lot clearer.

Matt Suckling

Price – $448, 900
Position – Def
Bye Round – 13
Age – 23

 2011 Details:
Average –
Games played – 20
High Score – 141
Low Score – 55
No. of 100+ scores –6
No. of sub 70 scores – 4


Grant Birchall

Price – $443, 500
Position – Def
Bye Round –13
Age – 24

 2011 Details:
Average –
Games played – 21
High Score – 129
Low Score – 58
No. of 100+ scores – 7
No. of sub 70 scores – 3

Scoring Potential& Consistency:

In 2011 both Suckling & Birchall stood up as premium dream team defenders with each of them at times showing there huge scoring potential. With Suckling really stealing the spotlight in some games, racking up scores like 141, 133, 126 & 120 throughout the season. However, just like it appears with all players with huge ceilings (bar the midfield uber premos), Suckling can be a tad inconsistent at times, with Birchall certainly taking the cake when it comes to the consistency stakes.Birchall also showed his capabilities of scoring big in 2011 averaging 104.5 over 8 games from the rounds 7-14 (including a 115, 124 & 129), eclipsing suckling’s best 8 game streak (containing a 141, 133 & a 120) by just over 4pts per game.

The following graphs display Suckers and Birch’s scores over the year and show the difference in their consistency.

Round 1 goes to…. Birchall, for his superior consistency over Suckling, despite his slightly lower ceiling.

Scoring Potential Rating – Suckling (8.5/10), Birchall (7.5/10)

Consistency Rating – Suckling (6/10), Birchall (8.5/10)


With Suckling entering just his fourth year since his debut there is not much to talk about here regarding him, it is worth noting however that he played just 1 & 5 games in his first 2 seasons (not in best 22) and missed 2 games last year with a couple of niggles. Birchall on the other hand is entering his 7th season on the back of missing just 5 games over the course of the last 5 seasons and also played 16 games in his debut year and from my knowledge hasn’t really struggled with injury in any season to date.

Round 2 goes to…. Going off Birchall’s great track record over the course of his career he wins out quite easily in this category.

Durability rating – Suckling (7/10), Birchall (9/10)


Being priced within 6k of each other and both having the potential to be in the top 7 defenders by years end, these two seem to present decent value for money. They are priced at an average of around 90 which seems pretty reasonable for defenders of their caliber who could and should push 95+ by years end.

Round 3 goes to…… Both of them, cant really be split in this category, but in saying that if Suckers adds some more consistency to his game he looms as the better value pick here.

Value Rating – Suckling (7.5/10), Birchall (7/10)


Seems to be absolutely no news of late regarding the two players in discussion, but one can assume this can only be a good thing. One thing of note is an article on the Hawthorn website previously regarding a more aggressive style through there back line this year but this also can only be a good thing for Suckling and Birchall one can assume.

Round 4 goes to… Hard to decide really with the little news available but one would assume that with the no news they would both be in peak physical shape, resulting in a tie in this category.

Team Draw:

Obviously being in the same team they both have the same draw so it really comes down to how they average against the teams they play twice (Collingwood, Geelong, West Coast, Port, Sydney), and how they perform at the prominent venues in their fixture.

Average against teams they play twice:

Suckling – Collingwood (83/1game), Geelong (92/2), West Coast (55/2), Port (111/1), Sydney (50/2) – in total (72.375/8)

Birchall – Collingwood (77.75/8), Geelong (77.44/9), West Coast (89.34/7), Port (75.5/8), Sydney (69/9) – in total (77.8/41)

In 2012 Hawks play 19 of their games spread across 3 venues, MCG (13), Etihad (2) and Aurora (4) so their averages at these grounds over their career could play a crucial roll in your selection in either of these 2 players.

Suckers – MCG (89.38/13), Etihad (86.33/3), Aurora (88/4) – in total (87.9/20)

Birch – MCG (79.92/53), Etihad (80.48/21), Aurora (78.41/22) – in total (79.6/96)

Round 5 goes to… Once again a tough call and I am unable to split it due to Suckling and Birchall both holding distinctly better records than the other in average against teams played twice and average at major venues respectively.

Fixture Rating – Suckling (7/10), Birchall (7/10)


Overall Ratings – Suckling (36/50), Birchall (39/50)

All in all I believe both of these players will provide coaches with really good seasons and both should rate in the top 7 defenders for 2012. In saying this I would pick Birchall if you were looking for the safer consistent option or suckling if you were looking for more upside and a few 130+’s throughout the year.

In my opinion it all comes down to personal preference and what you are looking for in a defender, let us know what you think and who you will choose in the poll and comments below.

Hope you enjoyed this article and if you want you can swing some suggestions my way for the next one of these I hope to do (as long as I don’t get hit with too many school assignments in the meantime).

Once again a big shout out to McRath for starting these articles and setting a really strong structure for me to follow.

Cheers for reading, Robdog



  1. hypojezza

    February 10, 2012 at 3:06 pm

    The intra-club match suggests that Birchall > Suckling.

    • giants

      February 10, 2012 at 3:21 pm

      Their finish to last year would also suggest Birchall > Suckling.

      • Alex's All Stars

        February 11, 2012 at 2:45 pm

        I’m going Birch for sure.

        Seeing Suckers with the green vest in the Prelim Final got me thinking about picking Birch from then on. Birch did well for me last year, I missed the Suckling boat but Birch made up for it when I needed it.


      February 10, 2012 at 3:43 pm

      As do the DT talk scores you muppets

  2. Pittbull

    February 10, 2012 at 3:08 pm

    Cheers, Robdog. I took Birchall last year of the two, he seemed to not be as volatile in his scoring in my opinion. Just noted you had Suckling have one less score over 100 and one extra score under 70.. seems to justify the slight edge to Birchall

  3. eeepobreci

    February 10, 2012 at 3:33 pm

    Cheers Robdog.
    Actually got Birchall in my team INSTEAD of Delidio…..crazy huh!?

  4. Zan

    February 10, 2012 at 3:35 pm

    Suckling for me


      February 10, 2012 at 3:44 pm

      Neither for me gimme mudguts Waters


    February 10, 2012 at 3:46 pm

    Can I just say it’s great to be back this year.
    I enjoy the witty banter
    The ROFLAO comments
    The homophobia haha.

    As always I will through my expertise in the ring (your welcome)


      February 10, 2012 at 3:57 pm

      Throw I mean haha
      Another ROFLMAO moment right there

      • Nabzz

        February 10, 2012 at 5:53 pm

        theskull is a faggot

        • unit

          February 10, 2012 at 9:33 pm

          yeah i bet he loves being skull f**ked….ROFLMAO!

        • Jesse

          February 10, 2012 at 9:33 pm

          rofl rofl

          • serious DTer

            February 11, 2012 at 3:49 pm

            Of the subject but who to choose out of mid rookies. sheil wingard or treloar? and could i put one of them on the feild?

            also would i be able to put patton on the feild as a forward or is he injured ? i have saad and pfeiffer on the bench or will milera get more games than saad?

            thanks 4 your help!

  6. Nathan

    February 10, 2012 at 4:37 pm

    can’t take either… gotta fit cornes / cheney / tarrant and ibbitson in.. god i miss presti!

  7. Nathan

    February 10, 2012 at 4:38 pm

    p.s where’s the cheney vs tarrant article… i’m pullin my hair out here!!!

    • Mumbles

      February 10, 2012 at 5:03 pm

      Right below the Nathan vs comedian article.

      • Nathan

        February 11, 2012 at 1:44 am

        ya gotta back the comedian there…. Nathan owes bookies more than FEV..

  8. R2-DT

    February 10, 2012 at 5:10 pm

    Birchall for consistency I think but neither at this stage

    League for Hawks fans : 608307

    10 spots remaining

    • Tim

      February 10, 2012 at 5:41 pm

      cheers R2 … keep missing out on the DT talk leagues … carn the Hawks 2012

      • R2-DT

        February 10, 2012 at 5:57 pm

        Yeah first year I’ve tried to battle some of you fellow readers

        Now 7 spots remaining

        • thommo

          February 10, 2012 at 8:58 pm

          I’m in, go Hawks!

          • R2-DT

            February 10, 2012 at 10:59 pm

            All full thanks guys.

            We’re a happy team

  9. PurpleArmy

    February 10, 2012 at 5:12 pm

    Brett Deledio hobbled off the ground today during the tigers intra club game. Come on scans come back with good news. May be a slight hicup for his preseason

    • PurpleArmy

      February 10, 2012 at 5:13 pm

      oh and Ellis and Morris both impressed down half back ;)

      • Pittbull

        February 10, 2012 at 7:24 pm

        no they didnt ;)

        • Nathan

          February 11, 2012 at 1:46 am

          intra-club champ….it’s got f’all to do with the season proper..

  10. Samsa

    February 10, 2012 at 5:24 pm

    Gone with Consistency over Potential so Birchall for me, won’t have Lids till the tigers face a few easy teams B2B so Goddard/Birchall/Ellis/Wilkes all out for me round 13.

  11. AzzDawg

    February 10, 2012 at 7:45 pm

    Birchall or Broughton?

  12. thommo

    February 10, 2012 at 9:14 pm

    I’ve said it before on this site and I’ll say it again. Clarko didn’t trust SUckling’s defensive ability at the end of 2011 and so he got vested in 2 finals. Given it was his first full season, Clarko’s decision may have been fatigue related, but I am concerned that his spot isn’t guaranteed if Ellis or a multitude of other defenders stay healthy.

    Birchall, on the other hand, is safe. The biggest risk for Birchall is that he will be rested late in the year.

  13. stew42

    February 10, 2012 at 11:27 pm

    How about Selwood vs Gibbs? Oooooooooh… *waves arms above his head in an eerie manner*

    • Birdy

      February 11, 2012 at 11:23 am

      they have different byes, unike all the other vs. articles, so just pick them both :)

  14. omazza

    February 10, 2012 at 11:58 pm

    Open Leauge : 917579 State of Origin

    Only serious DT players please. Had some tool last year who picked a whole team of Collingwood players which destroyed any descent leauge score.

    If you think you have joined a dud leauge get on to this.

  15. Noodles71

    February 11, 2012 at 9:43 am

    Birchall. Maybe both if Hawks are running hot, which they were last year.

  16. McFirth

    February 11, 2012 at 12:48 pm

    haha yeah the reporter says deledio ‘hobbled’ off the ground but the trainer says he ran off………just the bloody media exaggerating again…

  17. Hurl_the_Pears

    February 11, 2012 at 1:13 pm

    Great article, been tossing up between the two since last year!
    To be honest, the article hasnt really split the two either, maybe Birch by a whisker.. but I am quite tempted by Suckers massive ceiling which are game winning scores.

    Gotta wait till NAB cup to see who impresses me more!

    How about a Cloke vs N.Riewoldt one? Both play a similar role in real life and while one is younger, at his peak and plays in a better team, Cloke is fully priced while Rooey provides value.

    Or Montagna vs J.Watson. Both havent really been talked about (No DoDT article) and both will be unique plus slightly underpriced.. (Monty had a bad year, Jobe had a slight injury interruption)


  18. Kid A

    February 11, 2012 at 6:01 pm

    Great article. It’s a close decision but I think I will go Birch.

  19. Ike

    February 12, 2012 at 3:28 pm

    Considering saving cash and going Gilbert over the hawks boys… will depend on nab cup and watters game plan but i think hawks will be found out a bit or at least wont have it their way like last year

Leave a Reply





More in Players of Interest