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What Makes a Mid-Pricer Worth It?

In the wake of Season 2012, I’d like to ask one very important question as we look forward to a new year. With 2013 looming as ‘The Year of the Mid-Pricer’, I’m here to have a look at what it takes to be a successful pick for your side.

G’day Sports Fans, I’ve been thinking a fair bit lately about mid pricers (haven’t we all) given the likely change of focus in AFL Dream Team for 2013. With the risk of subbage and the much lower number of rookies likely to start the season due to having no new footy franchise start-ups, 2013 should see the return of the true mid-price player. With coaches already talking up the inclusions of the likes of Ball, Embley and RiskyTelly in their midfields, I’d like to pose the question – as it does differ depending on your expectations: What makes a mid-pricer worth it?

The answer to this question lies (I think) around what you believe the yardstick is for a ‘keeper’. For some, they can rest easy simply knowing that their mid-pricers have made them a bit of cash, scored slightly higher than a rookie with better job security and provided a better platform to upgrade to a premium.

Personally, my interpretation of a successful mid-pricer is one that will play all year and increase their average close to, or equal to that of a premium in their respective position. I’ve noted a few examples below of what I believe would’ve been great mid-price options worthy of selection in 2012 – then also a few that just didn’t make the grade…

For the purposes of clarity, I’d like to point out my personal definitions for what I’d be happy to be classes as a ‘keeper’ in 2012:

  • Defender – 75 average minimum playing 20 games or higher
  • Midfielder – 95 average minimum playing 20 games or higher
  • Ruckman – 80 average minimum playing 20 games of higher
  • Forward – 80 average minimum playing 20 games of higher

Successful Picks for 2012

Brad Ebert

Club: Port Adelaide
Position: Midfielder
2011 avg: 62.2
2012 avg: 98.7
2012 GP: 22

Ebert came across from West Coast as a promising young player that was to be reunited with his brother and family in SA. He shone brightly in his first year at Port, after costing only $308k in February.

Ivan Maric

Club: Richmond
Position: Ruckman
2011 avg: 59
2012 avg: 97.8
2012 GP: 21

It seems there’s a pattern associated with good mid-price picks. Mature players going to new teams in search of new opportunities appear very likely to flourish (provided they have the talent and drive). This may speak volumes for those considering one Brent Moloney, who’s likely to end up at Port, Sydney or Melbourne in 2013.

Others in the mid-price category who would’ve been ‘keepers’ in 2012 – Callan Ward, Brendan Whitecross, Shaun Grigg, Harley Bennell and Clancee Pearce.

Picks that ‘didn’t quite get there’

Mitch Wallis

Club: Western Bulldogs
Position: Midfielder
2011 avg: 55
2012 avg: 83
2012 GP: 19

The young Bulldog had a great season by 2nd year standards, rising enough to make a bit of cash and improving on both his games played and average considerably. Unfortunately though, he fell well short of the mark for a midfield keeper. Another year should see him break into the 95-100 region in his all-important third year.

Andrew Gaff

Club: West Coast
Position: Midfielder
2011 avg: 65.3
2012 avg: 86.6
2012 GP: 22

After being held back by constant green/red vests in 2011, Gaff broke out from his ‘Kermit’ nickname to make some big improvements and be one of West Coast’s most consistent players. Whilst he didn’t prove to break out to premium status in his position, I’d expect (like Wallis) that he will do so in 2013. At that awkward a price though… it’s a fair risk.

Mitch Golby

Club: Brisbane
Position: Defender
2011 avg: 53.6
2012 avg: 73.7
2012 GP: 13

After starting out the year with labels such as ‘Trollby’, the young Lion had a change in fortunes and started living up to expectations. Notching up several hundreds mid-season suddenly made those who kept him geniuses as he settled into the Brisbane best-22. Ultimately, injury tainted his season and made his figures look lower than what he’s capable of. If he’s fit and has a great preseason, there’s no reason that he can’t go onto break into that 75-80 range in 2013.

Others that would’ve been a DT Fail in 2012 in my books are Ryan Hargrave, Jack Trengove, Matthew Kreuzer and Christian Howard.

Moving Forward

Have you had past success with any mid-price picks? Or perhaps have some massive fails you’d like to share? Let us know in the comments so we can all learn from each other’s experiences.

Keep your eyes out over the preseason, as there will be plenty of action happening that will have an impact on our selections for 2013. Things like: how many decent rookie options pop up from the AFL Draft (and Rookie Draft) and (perhaps more importantly) what the results of Trade Week and the inaugural Free Agency are – these will shape the beginning of next season and will give us plenty to discuss over the formative months of Season 2013.

Hopefully this article has given you a bit to think about when choosing your mid-priced players for Season 2013. Before you go locking in all of the cheap fallen premiums or rising stars, stop and have a think about what your expectations are from them and whether they’re likely to get there. Otherwise, the risk in choosing them may not be worth it at all.


For further insight into how difficult it is to pick a cheap mid-pricer becoming a keeper, check out my Miracle Men article review from earlier this month.

Until later, hit me up @McRathDT on the Tweetvine.





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