Chook’s Rooks – Round 5
The subs vest bit hard in round five, decimating our scores and bringing some of our cash cows to a standstill. Luckily, a rising Sun gives us hope for a brighter future.
There’s been more than few bad-ass characters front up in the Mortal Kombat franchise over the years – Baraka and Goro spring to mind – but the two that strike the most fear into the hearts of Dream Team coaches are lizard-like ninja Reptile and dread-locked cyborg Sektor. It’s not Reptile’s acid spit attack or Sektor’s chest missile, as fearsome as they are, but more to do with what they’re wearing: a green and red vest. If one of your Dream Teamers is spotted wearing either vest, there’s every chance you’re league opponent is preparing to bellow “finish him”, and more than one vest is a near-certain sign that your side is headed for a fatality that week. The worst-case scenario is one of your DTers getting Reptiled (green-vested), only to come on to the field and Sektor, or red vest, another one of your players, as happened to many a coach in round six when popular pick Devon Smith started as the sub and then dragged GWS teammate Stephen Coniglio, screwing both of their scores (and money-making ability) in the process. The vests aren’t the exclusive domain of the rookies, of course – just ask Nick Malceski and Josh Drummond owners – but they’ve copped the lion’s share of them since the inception of the substitute last year.
In round five, Geelong def-fwd Billie Smedts was the worst hit by Reptile, scoring just four points once he shed the green vest. Other popular picks to have their scoring slashed by the vest included Fremantle mifielder Lachie Neale, Richmond defender Brandon Ellis and and St Kilda defender Beau Wilkes. Among others to be either “Sektored” or “Reptiled” (it’s not going to catch on, is it?) were Kirk Ugle, Aaron Young, Paul Seedsman and Cory Dell’olio.
Anyway, a few of our kids managed to avoid the vest and churn out some decent numbers (although the round’s only rookie hundred belonged to a first gamer), so let’s do a review thingy. Of the round. Now.
I keep the rooks who’ve played three-or-more games apart from those who haven’t to make it easier to identify when it’s time to offload these cows – the time they reach the red zone, when their breakeven starts to approach or exceed their average. I’d love to report that there’s plenty of cash left in all of our rooks, but the truth is that some are ready for the chop. The week’s biggest breakeven belongs to St Kilda forward Rhys Stanley, who needs 62 to avoid a drop, but the big fella has shown that’s well within his reach with scores of 98 and 88 already this year so we turn the blowtorch instead on Greater Western Sydney mid-fwd Devon Smith. Some solid scores over the first four rounds have seen Smith double in price from his initial cost of $120k, but a sub-affected 39 against the Western Bulldogs now gives him a new breakeven of 52. Personally, I’m backing him to beat that and continue making us some cash. I’m hoping, too, that coach Kevin Sheedy and co count his half a game on the weekend as a rest and he gets to skip a visit from General Soreness. We’ll find out on Thursday night, I guess. If there’s a forward or mid that’s about to skyrocket and you don’t want to miss out on them, then Smith may well be the one you sacrifice, but I’d be holding on to him if that isn’t the case.
Port Adelaide midfielder Chad Wingard managed to avoid a vest for a change, but still struggled to make an impact on the DT scoreboard, registering 48 points in the Showdown loss. A new BE of 39 puts him dangerously close to a price plateau, given he’s averaged 40 over the start of the season. The kid does have class, though, and looks capable of busting out a big score at some stage – here’s hoping it’s not the week you offload him. I’ve heard rumours of a shoulder injury, so keep an eye on that, Wingard coaches. The aforementioned Smedts is the other who’s close to leaking cash. His round-five score of four is a real kick in the teeth to those coaches who waited a couple of weeks for him to finally play his all-important third game – the one where you’re supposed to rise, like, a kazillion dollars (see James McDonald/Adam Treloar this week) – but instead saw a slight increase of $9,100 and a new BE of 34. Three more popular picks who saw their BE rise big-time in round five were Stephen Coniglio, whose knock to the head and subsequent subbing resulted in a lowly score of 46, Collingwood defender Marty Clarke, who scored 45 in a shut-down role, and Richmond defender Steve Morris, who managed 48 points, only one more than teammate Brandon Ellis despite the latter playing significantly less time on ground due to being subbed off. The new BEs for these three, each with more than 50,000 owners, are 23 for Coniglio, 26 for Clarke and 21 for Morris.
That’s the bad and the ugly. The good was all orange and charcoal, with GWS occupying the top five slots in this bracket for round five. Defender Tommy Bugg was the top scorer with 96 and, like Danny Stanley last year, looms as a potential keeper this season, averaging just over 80 points. Second was yo-yo forward Jeremy Cameron, whose record this season reads 39, 80, 19, dnp, 92. That’s young key position players for ya. Midfield duo Toby Greene and James McDonald both had 90s – Greene in his return from a week’s rest and McDonald in his first money-making game, netting owners a cool $84,400. Such has been his scoring power, McDonald has retained a better breakeven (-57) than any of the two-gamers, bar Brisbane midfielder Jack Crisp (who’s on -61, but more on him later). Dependable ruckman Jon Giles rounded out the top five with an 89-point haul, taking his season average to 89. Melbourne midfielder James Magner (86), GWS mid Dylan Shiel (82), Gold Coast defender Karmichael Hunt (63) and GWS mid-fwd and popular downgrade target Adam Treloar (63) were the other notable scorers from this group in round five.
Port Adelaide journeyman Darren Pfeiffer (75 and 50, breakeven -51) boasts the highest average of the two-game group, and will no doubt tempt those who skipped fellow mid-fwd Adam Treloar last week, with his round 13 bye an important point of difference between himself and the GWS boys. A starting price of $117,800 is a little off-putting, but the biggest concern is whether he’ll be getting a third game this week. His performance in the Showdown wasn’t overly impressive, and the majority of Port fans I’ve trolled on the internerds don’t want to see him in the team to take on Richmond in round six. (They are keen to see ruckman Jarrad Redden back in though!) Job security, it seems, is a real worry for Pfeiffer. Brisbane midfielder Jack Crisp ($85,800) has done only marginally worse than Pfeiffer in the scoring department (67 and 49), and his job security looks a little better, with the chance that he’ll assume Andrew Raines’ tagging role while he’s suspended this week. If I had a midfield rookie screaming out for a downgrade, I’d consider him, but I don’t, so I won’t. However… another midfielder on the verge of their first price rise is Geelong’s Jesse Stringer ($104,200), who scored 77 points in round five on the back of 10 tackles in the wet at the Gabba. His first-up score of 37 doesn’t look overly impressive, unless you recall that he was Reptiled in that match, (green vested, if you’ve forgotten already) and didn’t get on to the ground until the fourth quarter. You have to wonder whether Stringer will get a decent run of games to work as a cash cow – he’s now the fourth Cat with two games’ experience this season alongside Gillies, Horlin-Smith and Stephenson, which suggests a fair bit of rotation for the reigning premier’s fringe players – but it could be a risk that pays off handsomely. Essendon forward Cory Dell’olio got his chance due to the Bombers’ piled-up injury list, meaning his stay in the senior side could well depend on how quickly his teammates heal. He started as the sub against Collingwood, but got a fair chunk of game time after Michael Hibberd went down in the first quarter, finishing with 35 points. I’m not keen on two-game defenders Shaun Edwards (GWS) or Mark Austin (Bulldogs), but Fremantle midfielder Lachie Neale ($98,700) is one to consider. His scores have been decimated by vests, grabbing just 17 and 26 in the past two games, meaning it’s possible to window shop him for another week before buying. If he scores 50 he’ll only rise about $10k, while an $80 would see him go up about $25k. Yet another appearance as the substitute would be enough to turn me off the youngster, I’d reckon.
There were some familiar faces in the 10 rookie-priced players that debuted in round five, with Collingwood defender Nathan Brown, St Kilda defender Beau Wilkes and Gold Coast forward Charlie Dixon getting their first run of 2012, but the debutant of most interest wasn’t one with AFL experience. Gold Coast midfielder Kyal Horsely was huge in his first game, scoring the only rookie hundred of the round with a 101 from 19 disposals and eight tackles. Elevated from the rookie list last week for Jarrod Harbrow, it’ll be interesting to see how (or if) Horsely operates with Gary Ablett back in the side, but we’ve got at least another week before we’re faced with that scenario, so here’s hoping for another monster score this week. Elsewhere, look out for Brisbane ruckman Billy Longer to get his second game as the Lions do battle with Essendon’s ruck combo.
Follow on Twitter: @ChookDT. I’ll be keeping an eye out for #reptiled and #sektored to start trending over the weekend. About as likely as my DT cracking 2000 points and my Demons getting their first win. ;)