Chook’s Rooks – Round 12
We’ve got a new record rookie score for 2012, with Dayne Zorko blowing Horsley, Greene and Treloar out of the water. Don’t get too distracted by that big 140, though, there’s downgrading to be done.
Job security. It can be low, like when you snap and take a nine-iron to all of the computer screens in your office and a co-worker uploads the video to your boss’s Facebook page. Or it can be high, like when it’s 1953 and you’re Queen Elizabeth II. Strong job security is a pretty important ingredient to throw in the mix when you’re picking rookies for your AFL Dream Team, but it’s even more so as we enter the second half of the season. At the start of the year, you don’t give a toss if rookies only play six games for the year, as long as they’re the first six and they’re scoring at a high enough rate that you can sell them off for a big profit. Now, though, as we start to finalise our squads, the blokes you pick are likely to be with you for the long haul, and you’ll want them on the bench week-in, week-out, ready to cover for the inevitable short-term injuries to the frontline soldiers.
In round 12, some of our rook-stars sent pieces of LCD screen flying in every direction with pitiful performances that will no doubt inspire some Donald Trump-style sackings, while others sent their job security soaring with exceptional efforts. I reckon we campaign to have Dayne Zorko’s portrait pressed into our coins in place of Lizzie the next time the Mint does another run.
Brisbane mid-fwd Dayne Zorko was clearly the stand-out rookie from round 12; it’d be a ridiculous week if 140 points didn’t put you in pole position. It was the highest score by a rookie this season, exceeding Gold Coast mid Kyal Horsley’s 123, GWS mid Toby Greene’s 122 and GWS mid-fwd Adam Treloar’s 119. Some have Zorko firmly installed as their F7 on the back of that performance, (and the fact that, if you take out his first sub-affected score of 26, he’s averaging a touch under 110ppg), but rookies – even mature-aged ones – are renowned for dropping off the pace so I’d expect him to eventually slot into a back-up role for both forwards and mids, if you’ve still got a link in place. Injuries that keep on keeping on, like the one to Scott Pendlebury currently, will ensure he gets a run on my field most weeks anyways, I imagine.
While he scored half of what Zorko did, Adelaide defender Sam Shaw was another who cemented their job security with an assured display on the weekend. His 69-point performance resulted in a $55k rise – his first price movement – and saw him wedged between fellow popular defenders Brandon Ellis (71 points), of Richmond, and Sam Darley (68 points), of Greater Western Sydney. Some coaches have commented that Darley did some golf club-wielding damage to his job security with some errant decision-making in round 12, but I’m hopeful he’s banked enough credit to see him named again this week.
Western Bulldogs forward Tory Dickson continued his renaissance, completely banishing memories of his first two scores (37 and 25), with a 90 to go with some strong returns over the past month and a half. The GWS boys were back to pad out the rookie scores, with Katy Perry forward Jeremy Cameron matching Greene on 87, and back-from-the-brink defender Tommy Bugg notching an 82. There were 70s for Horsley, GWS mid James McDonald and the aforementioned Ellis, who each have 60,000 owners, making it a decent week to be forced to field a few rookies on the field.
Unless, of course, one of those was a GWS mid-fwd by the name of Devon Smith, or worse, Treloar. Smith struggled to 37 in the end, but Treloar could only muster 21 points for the match. The same Treloar that we were talking about amassing 119 a few paragraphs ago had the ignominy of being stuck on a Tommy Walsh-like -3 for the first quarter. His breakeven has shot up to 113, while Smith needs 102 points to hold his price, so if you need the cash, then now is time to sell. Holding either as bench cover until the end might not be the worst decision, either, but it depends on the make-up of your team. Keep in mind Kevin Sheedy’s projection for 14 games, or thereabouts, for his kids, but he could well make an exception for Treloar (eight games so far) and Smith (10 games), given their (pre-round 12) quality.
Don’t bother. Seriously, it’s Richmond forward Brett O’Hanlon, who has the bye this week, and Fremantle mid-fwd Hayden Crozier, if he’s picked for his third game, on the bubble ahead of round 13. Crozier has, admittedly, had the sub’s green jacket slowing him down during his first two games that yielded just 16 and 42 points, but he played close to a full game on the second outing, coming on early for toe-strung ruckman Aaron Sandilands. No, if you’re in the market for a downgrade target, then you’ll have to take a chance on a…
There were six rookie-priced players making their 2012 debut last week, including the number-one pick from last season’s draft, GWS power forward Jon Patton. There’s no doubting that Patton will be a superstar of the game within a few years, but young key-position players make for notoriously inconsistent Dream Teamers, even the really, really good ones. He nabbed 46 points against Richmond, with some scores half as big, others twice as big and a couple about the same sure to follow in the coming weeks. I talked up job security over scoring potential earlier in the piece, and Patton should be given a real crack at the back half of the season, but a high starting price makes him an expensive bench warmer. While Patton’s debut had been eagerly awaited by the AFL community in general, there was far more salivating from the DT crowd over the first senior appearance by North Melbourne midfielder Sam Gibson. After a slow start, Gibson warmed to the task and finished with 67 points. Simply, he’s your best bet if downgrading this week, with the other one gamers including Gold Coast forward Liam Patrick (who just squeezes in, costing about $5k less than Patton, the cut-off point this year) and defender Taylor Hine, and GWS housemates Mark Whiley (back) and Sam Schulz (mid).
What are y’all doing in these downgrade-light days? Let me know in the comments or on Twitter @ChookDT.