This series of ‘club preview’ posts are written by DT TALK regular contributors choosing their 5 players they have on their watchlist from the respective club. These aren’t who we think will be the top 5 highest scoring players… and are not necessarily in order. They are just our opinions of the 5 players who we have on our watchlist heading into the 2012 season.
McRath’s top five Suns
1. Gary Ablett Jnr. (MID), $554,700.
The little master has to be the biggest lock at this stage. Last season saw him drop slightly in the rankings due an expected slow start and one specifically injury affected game (you know the one). As evidenced by his previous years, he is set for an average of 120+ in 2012, which makes him excellent value; with the additional perk of walk up captaincy material. He is enjoying a great preseason and is in a much better state then at this time last year. Quite simply – he is a must have for all good teams.
2. Nathan Bock (DEF), $396,900.
Despite being a defender (as he was in 2011); Bock will likely line up as a forward in the new year. The big draw card for the Suns’ anchor is that he’ll miss the first two games due to suspension. However his preseason form shows that he’ll start the year strongly, with scores of 94 and 85 (in reduced games). Therefore, if you can put up with him being on your bench for the first two games, you’ll have yourself a solid option in your defense – otherwise he’d be a prime (and unique) upgrade target for R14 after the Suns bye.
3. Danny Stanley (FWD), $392,800.
See the piece I wrote recently featuring this guy in Point of Difference. Many will ride him off straight away due to his awkward price tag and his being in the Suns team. However on closer inspection, he appears to be a real diamond in the rough. Averaging 85.6 in his last 13 games of 2011, Stanley offers a unique option for your forward line who will only get better. With great Job Security and good consistency, he will give you a different edge to your forward 6 that few will mirror.
4. Kyal Horsley (MID), $119,800.
The 24 year old Sandover medal runner up has been on many a radar ever since he was rookie listed by the Suns in December of last year. However alarm bells have been ringing since his failure to make his debut in the preseason, with no word yet on any kind of injury. If he is named next week, all eyes will be on him to see if he can show enough to be elevated to the senior squad. Given his mature body and noted ability to find the ball, he would be a fantastic option for a midfield rookie spot on your field if he in named R1. If he’s not – its not the end of the world. I’d actually be happier with this result as he’d then be likely used by Coach McKenna later in the year to offer some relief for the Suns youngsters – making him the perfect downgrade option.
5. David Swallow (MID), $377,300.
After a meteoric rise to the spotlight in his first AFL season, young Swallow will be better equipped in 2012 to handle the rigours of the AFL. With the pressure of the world now on the shoulders on the boys at Western Sydney, we should see Swallow truly come into his own as the gun player he is destined to become. Scoring a vest-effected 40 and a solid 91, the 2011 # 1 draft pick will be out to make further improvements on his game whilst helping his young team to avoid the wooden spoon for a second year (a spot that surely must belong to the Giants at this early stage). Whilst not expecting a 100 average in his second year, his rapid development should see him improve enough to put a smile on many a faces – including yours if you choose to Swallow in 2012 (sorry, couldn’t resist).
Keep An Eye On
After managing a solid 84.3 avg in his first year with the Suns, Jared Brennan showed great resistance in his 22 games in 2011. Expect him to go one better in 2012 and push this up to the premium 90 mark. Similar to Swallow, ruck sensation Zac Smith had a great debut year thanks to his expeditious development on the Holiday Strip. With a stronger body and more time in the middle, 2012 may see him do the unthinkable; and become a premium ruck in just his 2nd year in the big time. Aaron Hall has been the only Gold Coast rookie making any kind of noise this preseason. Look for the 21 year old Tasmanian to make a positive impact in his first year. Finally, many eyes will be on popular rising star prediction Josh Caddy as he prepares to build on his 2 AFL games in 2012. Starting with a low price of $249k, he has the potential to dominate from the get go; with many backing him in as their 4th/5th mid in their starting squad.
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