Mad Monday: Never Again
With AFL Dream Team finals finally upon us, Griff looks at the players who made getting there as difficult as possible. When your chips are down, and you’re at the end of your rope, these guys make it worse. Never Again! Welcome to Mad Monday.
Welcome to MadMonday.
Never again! We’ve all said it. Be it after a heavy night on the drink, or a sneaky bet on GWS for the win, we all make mistakes. Our emotions and misery gets the better of us, and we swear by hell or high water that we will never make such mistakes again. But for most, these mistakes are quickly forgotten, and come Friday night the following week, we’ll be back on that untrusted steed quicker than it takes Channel 9 to cut to commercial during the final moments of an Olympic Gold Medal event.
In the AFL Dream Team universe there are plenty of Never Agains. Never Again will I play a rookie over a premium, Never Again will I take the Captaincy off of Ablett or Swan and Never Again will I trade Blah Blah into my team. We’ve all said it, or thought it, but when preseason rolls around and the pain has subsided, we start to second guess ourselves. What if it’s different this time? How do you decide if you are being emotional or intelligent? It call comes down to the Inconsistent/High Scoring Line. Let me illustrate!
A player is allowed to be inconsistent as long as he is equally high scoring. Thus, if he’s *this* bad one week, he has to score *this* much the next. You want the player to be above this line; also known as the ‘Greg Broughton Diagonal’. This player I owned. He played jump rope with that line. He’d start in the back pocket, and then made 10 tackles. He’d defensively tag himself out of a game, and then bust out consecutive 130s. [pause] I should call him…
The problem is that there is always a chance that Blah Blah will be able to go from one side of the line to the other; from Inconsistent Never Again status to High Scoring Premium. And how do we rationalize this? Wattsis Nayme may no longer be his coach or De Udder Gai may have been traded leaving Blah Blah a hole to fill. Or the worst of them all, we hear that “Blah Blah is having his best ever preseason and his body is fitter than it’s ever been”. Working out why a player is on your Never Again list can be the difference of riding on that perfect rocket ship as it new heights, or being strapped to an Acme rocket ship as it plunges off a cliff.
So who are the players who don’t make the cut? Who are the players that AFL Dream Team coaches wish weren’t even listed when Dream Team opens? Well, I put it to the public last Friday, and at the rate of one tweeted suggestion per minute over the following hour (there’s a lot of hate out there), I compiled a list.
Never Again list
Featuring in a massive 93% of all replies in the first hour; there is a reason it’s called the Greg Broughton Diagonal. The Fremantle defender has had a horrid run this season, with a broken finger the icing on the sour, stale cake. His scoring potential is huge but it simply cannot outweigh the inconsistency he has shown under Ross Lyon at Fremantle. In fact, Fremantle features three players in the Top 15 responses, with Paul Duffield (9) and Aaron Sandilands (14) joining Greg on the list. Collingwood also feature three players, with Travis Cloke (4), Heath Shaw (7) and Alan Didak (10).
The Bulldogs, Carlton and Melbourne all featured two players each, with Ryan Hargrave (2) and Shaun Higgins (3), Bryce Gibbs (8) and Matthew Kreuzer (13), as well as Colin Sylvia (11) and Jack Grimes (12) making the list. Brent Stanton (5), Brendon Goddard (6) and Josh Drummond (15) rounded out the no-hopers.
So what is it about these players that make them so unwanted? Well, for most, it’s their ability to find new and exciting ways to get injured each and every week. From stubbed toes to sore backs, broken ankles to mysterious illnesses, you just can’t trust them to be there when you need them. For others, you just can’t trust their form. Despite some pretty impressive scores, their inconsistency is shocking. Four in particular: Cloke (24 – 125), Broughton (36 – 109), Gibbs (49 – 129) and Stanton (62 – 193); not knowing if they will pump out a 110+ or a sub-60 score is just too painful to bare.
Maybe Next Time
So now we have identified them, who has the courage to stick with their convictions? Before we get to February 2013, and start to think that just maybe these players can turn a corner, and start looking for reasons for why they ended up on the list to begin with, I have pre-compiled your rationale for jumping back into the fire.
Interestingly, of the top fifteen Never Again suggestions, eleven of them are currently playing under new coaches (Collingwood, Melbourne, Fremantle, St Kilda & Western Bulldogs). Will club stability help these players next season? Factor: Coach.
Eight of the top fifteen Never Agains are defenders (if you count Gibbs as one – you really should) meaning that Stanton is the only pure Midfielder listed. Cloke is the only sole forward, with Higgins, Didak and Sylvia all dual position players. Will a change of position help their scoring consistency? Factor: Position.
There are some players with a heavy weight of expectation in the list, who were taken high in their respective drafts Gibbs (1), Goddard (1), Kreuzer (1), Didak (3), Sylvia (3), Higgins (11), Stanton (13) and Grimes (14), as well as two father/son picks for Collingwood in Shaw and Cloke. Maybe we are just judging them too harshly and they’re yet to have their breakout season? Factor: Expectation.
The reality is that these factors probably don’t have anything to do with why we categories these players as Never Again. As much as things could change, players end up on a Never Again list for long term reasons, not singular ones. So when next season rolls round, don’t be a chump. Heath Shaw will do something monumentally stupid, or get injured, or get injured doing something monumentally stupid. Brendan Goddard and Travis Cloke may change clubs, but why would that mean anything to their scoring? Shaun Higgins and Colin Sylvia… Well, I imagine their health insurance premiums are pretty bloody high. And Greg Broughton? Never Again!
So who’s missing? Who should be on the list, and who shouldn’t be? Where do players in your team sit in the Inconsistent/High Scoring scale that makes their output acceptable risk? And what factors would you consider to take a second bite of that sour cherry?
One twitter user simply suggested anyone at Port Adelaide or Fremantle. Personally I wouldn’t go near any rookies who play under John Worsfold or Michael Voss. Let me know via twitter or share it in the comments below.
Until next time,