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The Numbers – Round 1

After a preseason that has seemed an eternity, the regular season is finally underway and we can now relax. All of the preparations; from the late nights watching NAB Cup replays with an iPhone and Laptop open simultaneously; to the hours spent at work at home scouring the AFL stat websites for some hidden gems; it has all come down to this – Round One.

Numbers… it’s what DT is all about. Price changes; averages; break-evens… the list goes on. After a preseason that has seemed an eternity, the regular season is finally underway and we can now relax. All of the preparations; from the late nights watching NAB Cup replays with an iPhone and Laptop open simultaneously; to the hours spent at work at home scouring the AFL stat websites for some hidden gems; it has all come down to this – Round One. So how did you do? Did your risks pay off, or are you in a frantic panic because you listened to that Richmond-supporting co-worker who’s only in his 1st year of DT and told you to start with Morris over Bugg? Either way, these past 2 weeks have given us a lot to think about; and I for one am just happy that the footy is back!

Let’s have a looks at this week by the numbers…

2Rounds that James ‘junior’ McDonald will miss due to his ‘rough conduct’ charge for his hit on young Swan, Luke Parker. Many will think the suspension is justification for the fact Parker himself will miss 3 weeks from his broken jaw; however I thought it was a great shot and looked okay – but unfortunately I’m not the one who decides that. As a result, he’ll be warming my bench for the next few weeks while he thinks about what he’s done. During his year off maybe he’s forgotten that the AFL is quite soft when it comes to contact charges. I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt – just this once.

4Final winning margin in a highly entertaining Subiaco showdown between Lyon’s Dockers and Scott’s Cats. Ironically, the club Lyon left in the summer (St Kilda) also had a close game on Sunday, instead going down to Port Adelaide by… 4 points. This alone raises some interesting questions – such as: Can Freo push for the finals? Are the Cats finally on the wane? And is St Kilda’s premiership window definitively ‘closed’? All will be answered come September…

7Number of ‘salads’ on show in the Richmond v Blues game. In a questionable new trend, several players (Blues in particular) sported some interesting hairstyles that seem to pay homage to the ‘Caesar of Salads’, Mr. Stephen Coniglio from the ‘Isle of GWS’. One player (not to be named) even sported a newly crowned ‘FroHawk’ to be different. Safe to say it wasn’t my proudest moment as a Blues supporter.

13.8% of coaches (myself included) who have yet again been sucked into the rollercoaster that is Greg Broughton. After spruiking him as a midfielder all summer; training him in the mids; even NAMING him on the ball; Ross Lyon has proved to be no better than his predecessor at this game. Whilst I understand he’s an elite shutdown defender, surely without Mundy he was a shoe in for a full game in the middle. For the record, I do not apologise in advance for the several negative mentions of him in this article.

26Number of ‘panic’ trades I made in the last 24 hours prior to Thursday’s lockout. In textbook paranoia, it seemed that I kept seeing my side from a different perspective each time I looked. After considering some pretty wild and crazy strategies, I finally steadied and remembered all of the preseason research I’d done. I ended up with a balanced team of which I’m confident. I’m still pissed that I didn’t pick up Bugg or Kennedy though, especially after they were in my team for weeks prior to lockout.

32Amount of debutantes that took the field in R1 over the past 2 weeks. Compared to 24 from R1 last year, 2012 should once again be a great year for cash cows. We shouldn’t take this for granted however, with these figures sure to drop drastically from next year (unless there’s a 19th team in the works Demetriou hasn’t told us about?)

63Final winning margin of Sydney over GWS. In a positive display that will have brought a smile to Kevin Sheedy’s face, the Giants didn’t back down and gave the game a real shake until the 3rd quarter, where the more seasoned team kicked 5 goals to nil; and saw them run away for a comfortable first up win.

77Sticking to the Giants theme – this is the amount of points lone GWS ruckman Jon Giles scored against Swans big man Shane Mumford. Showing he is not prepared to back down against the AFL’s best, he accumulated 26 hitouts and 12 touches in an encouraging performance; that also saw him miss much of Q3 with a head gash. Considering he also only had 77% time on ground – he was set for a 100 score if he hadn’t been injured. This performance alone is enough to justify his selection as my #2 ruck this year.

157,000Combined total of fans that turned up to see Thursday night’s Blues v Tigers clash and Friday’s Hawks v Pies match. In a great sign for the game, the AFL continues to set the benchmark for Australian Sports in terms of team membership and game attendance. With more than 78,000 at each of these games; plus 38,000 at last week’s inaugural Sydney Derby – it’s great to see the fans getting down to the grounds and supporting the game. If the close and competitive nature of Round 1 is anything to go by – these numbers should continue long into Season 2012.

2 MillionAmount of people happy to see Freo pest Hayden Ballantyne get knocked off his perch on the weekend. Okay, so maybe 2 million is a bit excessive, but even some Dockers supporters no doubt believe he deserved it – however the headlines will paint Matthew Scarlett as the bad guy no doubt; and rightly so. No matter whom it is; and however much the ‘victim’ deserves it; the AFL simply cannot tolerate striking. The one good thing I can see coming out of this is – Buddy will play the Cats in R2 without Scarlett! I can feel another 5 goals coming on…

Send me your ‘Numbers’ for the week @McRathDT

The Benchmark

In an up and down R1, there were few scores above 2300. In a week where par was about 2150, the top score this week came from Gamebreakers coached by Clint. His score of 2352 was a mixture of luck and good planning. His choice of 4 x R13 bye premium backs will surely hurt  year, however he won’t care given his great score first up. He had popular players Ablett, Swan, Buddy and Fyfe; along with Giant heroes Bugg and Kennedy on field. He also showed that the 5 premo midfield can work, including 2 mid pricers in the backs and a 3 rookie on field forward line.

Whore of the Week

Undoubtedly, this week’s whore has to be Essendon ball magnet Brent Stanton. With 35 disposals (including 26 kicks), 7 marks, 5 tackles and a clean 2.0 goals; he showed all the traits of a DT god. In another close game whereby they edged out North Melbourne by 2 points, Stanton was the best player out there – he even had the umpires on board, enjoying 4 frees in his favour. With his total of 153 points, he is our inaugural Whore of the Week and will be tough to beat.

Coach’s Pet

This is the player who has attracted the largest attention (or close to) and subsequent selection in people’s teams around the grounds in any given week. Whilst still only Tuesday morning, it is little surprise to see the 2 most traded players (in) are Giant rookies Adam Kennedy (5.7%) and Tomas Bugg (3.5%). After their incredible debuts, coaches have taken advantage of the new retractable trades rule to get their trades in first thing. I would expect this % to increase dramatically by Friday as coaches look to fix up their initial mistakes with their starting 30. Popular trades this week will be Morris>Bugg and Dickson>Kennedy. Personally, I’d wait to see how the rookies perform in R2 and confirm they’re named in R3 before pulling the trigger as such. It all depends on how much you value the trades; and how badly your team is faring.

Value Pick

Based on a simple Dollars/Points ratio, I give you a simple way to display value (admittedly biased towards rookies given their low starting cost).

My rookie value pick of the week has be Giants young gun Adam Kennedy, closely followed by Demons’ gun James Magner. Based on Kennedy’s price tag of $104,200, he scored a whopping 116 on debut to give us a D/P ratio of $898.28/pt – ridiculous value that we will be unlikely to see very often this year. If, like me you were trying to avoid picking too many Giants early on – this guy may be turn out to me one of the best cash cows of the year. So, if he backs up again with another great score in R2, an early trade may be needed so you don’t miss the boat!

Out of fairness to all of the non-rookies out there; I’ve chosen a $200k+ player as well to show that there is amazing value in the mid-price strategy. With few standout mid pricers putting their hand up in the preseason, many went with the Guns n Rooks strategy to be safe. However Ian Callinan (FWD – $217k) proved this week that there is life out there yet. His score of 99 points gave him a D/P ratio of $2191.92/pt for the week. With many opting for similarly priced Jason Porplyzia, Callinan could prove to be a real smokey choice and well worth his price tag this year.

Waste of Space

Whilst a bit unfair on the guy given it was his first game, many coaches opted for Dylan Shiel over more seasoned teammate, JMac (98) last weekend. His sub-affected 36 will likely be a stain on your field in what was hopefully a high performing midfield. I for one am not reading too much into this though given his lack of preseason match fitness – I actually saw this one coming so did choose the latter on field instead. But don’t let that 36 dampen your spirits. Assuming he pulls up okay over this 2 week break GWS and Sydney will now enjoy, I expect Shiel to play a full game in R2 and should more than double his score from R1 – all but assuring us in picking him in the first place.

You can also put down the following players as a waste of space after putting up low numbers in their first game for the year – Morris (27), Ellis (38), Dickson (37), Broughton (59), Shaw (56) Enright (38) and Lake (29).

The Round Up

Highlights – Ablett once again tearing up Adelaide as my captain, the GWS kids raising the bar for rookies everywhere; my Blues cantering home against an improving Tigers side; the Hawks v Pies and Dockers v Cats games; Magner’s ton; and Adcock’s Demon domination.

Lowlights – Magner’s possible injury; Broughton’s score and subsequent mindf*©#; and Old MacDonald’s 2 week suspension.

Team McRath – A first up score of 2152 isn’t all bad considering Morris, Porps and Dickson held us back. Also – Broughton… again? Come on McRath – really? Why?

Overall I’d say Round 1 was a huge success – possibly the best opening round ever. Amazing goals; ripping marks; edge of your seat contests; huge upsets; injuries, suspensions and of course a solid first up DT score – all of which contributed to a marvellous week in the AFL.


Feedback appreciated as always. Also – if you’re not already… follow me in the Twittersphere: @McRathDT






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