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.
Average – 90.75
Games played – 20
High Score – 141
Low Score – 55
No. of 100+ scores –6
No. of sub 70 scores – 4
Average – 89.67
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.
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