Connect with us

Players of Interest

Which Mid Priced Defenders?

This week Anthony turns his attention to the Mid-Priced defenders to try and find a potential smokie.


Without expansion clubs this year it seems coaches are finding it harder to trust rookies.

Last week I wrote an article outlining a few mid priced placed forwards who you may want to consider or avoid.

This week I’ll be looking at mid priced defenders. There are a few decent rookie defenders to choose from but in some cases you may be safer to pick a mid priced option as they could score better, usually have better job security or are less likely to wear the vest of shame.

I sent out a tweet asking which players with in the $200k to $400k price range your looking at and the players below were the top mentioned.

Here’s my analysis of them.


Brandon Ellis $300,300

Why is he so cheap?

Took a couple of games to find his feet at AFL level in his first season and wore the dreaded vest 4 times, including once for a score of 6, which means he’s under priced at an average of 57

Why Should I pick him?

Ellis played 21 games in his debut season last year meaning his job security is pretty good. Should also now be out of the vest rotation as the new Tiger cubs come through.

He started as a defender but has since been pushed up onto the wing where he’s found more ball and scoring opportunities including his career high 103 against Gold Coast in round 16.

NAB Cup form has been encouraging so far averaging 89 points per 100 mins.


Hopefully if he escapes the vest and joins in with the Tigers dream team friendly midfield I don’t see why Ellis can’t push an 80+ average in his second year.

My only concern is the drafting of Vlastuin who looks to be similar type of player. This could lead to Ellis being the player to sub off when Vlastuin comes on and vice versa.

Watch Ellis over the first few rounds. If you don’t start with him he could be an excellent downgrade option for a struggling or injured premium.


Jordan Murdoch $318,000

Why is he so cheap?

Murdoch debuted late in the season and only played 6 games. He is priced at 70.

Why Should I pick him?

Geelong have huge hopes for this kid and seem very willing to play him. This is evidenced by the fact that he only played 6 home and away games last season and was still selected in the finals side.

He’s a natural footballer who at 190cm was the quickest player tested at the 2011 draft combine. Played under 18’s as an outside mid who would break the lines at every opportunity.

If NAB is any indication he looks to be playing the high half forward/wing role more this year, so far he has averaged 70 points per 100 mins.


There isn’t a lot of downside to Murdoch apart from the amount your paying for him. He is a young player who we can only assume will improve playing along side Selwood and Bartel. The thing that sells me most on Murdoch is his willingness to lay tackles. He averaged 5 and a half tackles per game including 8 on debut, meaning you can expect a lot of +4’s. Also his Job Security seems solid now as he is part of the young brigade of players Geelong are ushering through.

Another wait and see pick for me.


Jarrod Harbrow $321,400

Why is he so cheap?

Harbrow injured his elbow last year in the 2nd quarter of round 4, getting subbed off on 22 points. This brought his average down to 63  

Why Should I pick him?

Recovered well from his injury to come back from a 9 game lay off to post a 103, so we know he can score.  Also with Broughton coming across to the Suns this preseason we have seen Harbrow freed up for more of the rebounding/outside mid roles that see him score well, averaging 87 points per 100 mins in the NAB cup.


Harbrow has always been a rollercoaster scorer, depending on whether he’s playing a lock down role or rebounding free. If you select him then expect a season of 45’s and 120’s. However if he has been freed of his lock down role then an 80+ average with a tighter scoring consistency might be quite reasonable to expect.

Could definitely be worth keeping an eye on his role for the first few rounds of the regular season.


Shaun Atley $311,200 

Why is he so cheap?

For the last season Atley played I wouldn’t consider him cheap. No injuries or sub affected games. He’s at this price because of the defensive role he played as a defender/tagger.

Why Should I pick him?

Taylor Hine. Hine played as a tagger for Gold Coast last year and North Melbourne have picked him up in the draft. If Hine can crack into North’s best 22 (he hasn’t played a NAB game yet) then hopefully that will free up Atley to be a more offensive player. But unless that happens I really can’t think of another good reason to select him.


Atley is a player that I’ve been hearing a lot about this preseason, also had a lot of people mention him when I tweeted for players. I just can’t see the upside here. He’s a run with defensive player who I can’t see averaging much more than his 60 point average last year if his role doesn’t change. Has so far averaged 57 points per minute in the NAB competition.

Pass for me until he stops tagging.


Ben Jacobs $311,000

Why is he so cheap?

With a mix of Glandular fever and chronic homesickness, Jacobs two years at Port haven’t been very impressive. It’s also been revealed that he was playing under duress. Restrictive scar tissue had formed in the joints in his ankles after an operation to remove the bones that were impinging on the nerves in his ankles. Long story short this resulted in decrease in movement and creates a feeling of wearing ‘concrete shoes’. Which result in not being able to sprint or jump to your full potential. Throw in a sub effected 30 last year and Jacobs is priced at a 60 average. 

Why Should I pick him?

Jacobs has been picked up by North Melbourne who were made well aware of his debilitating injury. They booked him for surgery and cleaned out all the clogging scar tissue. Now Jacobs can sprint and jump again and has been given the running rebound role coaches were hoping for Atley.

North Melbourne are hoping Jacobs can return to his 2010 under 18 form where he was an inside midfield ball magnet, averaging 29 disposals a game. Brad Scott has also been very vocal about wanting to use Jacobs as a midfield/forward type player.

So far he’s on track, during NAB he has scored a healthy 83 points per 100 mins including adding a super goal to his tally.


Jacobs is a player of massive potential that has gone unfulfilled. The Kangaroo’s are keen to play him so I can’t see Job Security being an issue and it definitely looks like we’ll be getting a midfielder for the price of a defender. I wouldn’t be surprised if he averaged 80 this year.

An 80 average for a defender is a pretty decent return, so I’ll be keeping an eye on Jacob’s first few rounds, if he can perform at a consistent level then he could be a good downgrade for an under performing or injured premium defender. 


Nick Suban $264,500

Why is he so cheap?

In and out of the team all last year resulting in only 13 games including 3 games in the vest. Priced at an average of 49.

Why Should I pick him?

When Suban gets going he can play a very DT friendly game. For example last year he managed 41 points against the Kangaroo’s in a quarter and a half of game time.

He is one player who Fremantle are saying has been killing it this preseason and Lyon has mentioned Suban has improved his running endurance to the point where he is being considered for midfield time.


It’s still a no go for me. I was at the Fremantle vs Bulldogs game where I watched Suban get some midfield time. Unfortunately it was only when Crowley needed a break that he would rotate in and tag Cooney. Suban has always been used as a ‘fix it’ utility type player and under Lyon this doesn’t to be changing. You’ll never know what role he will be playing or if he’s even in the team for that week.
The final nail in the coffin is Suban’s yearly averages. In four seasons he has only played 22 games once and has never averaged over 60.

Far too risky and inconsistent to consider for me. Probably a situation where you’d be better off choosing a rookie instead.


Tony Armstrong $249,900

Why is he so cheap?

Played 8 games last year with 4 as a sub. Priced at 45 points per game.

Why Should I pick him?

Take out Armstrong’s subbed games last year and he averaged 73.

He has also played every NAB game this preseason for an average of 95 points per 100 mins.

Those scores show that when Armstrong plays he is a very efficient scorer.


Armstrong was a depth player for Sydney last year, being used as a sub on multiple occasions and called in as a last minute emergency inclusion in a few others. So obviously there are massive question marks over his Job Security.

So what’s changed?

Alex Johnson who played 24 games for Sydney last year as a defender has torn his ACL and will miss the majority of this season, meaning there is a position open for Armstrong to see regular games.

Armstrong’s preseason form has been excellent which should mean he’s the first player to be given a go.
Could Armstrong be the next recycled Sydney Swan’s success story?

Has proven that he can score when given the chance. Armstong has all the ingredients to have a break out year. Potential + Opportunity. Watch him closely if he is named in round 1.


Michael Hibberd $342,800 

Why is he so cheap?

Hibberd had an injury interrupted season last year resulting in two poor ‘vested’ scores. He is priced at 66.

Why Should I pick him?

He showed some glimpses of potential last year with 2 scores in the 90’s and one ton but couldn’t get the momentum going as injuries hampered him. It seems this year he’s shaken them off and is showing us what he can do if his NAB form is anything to go by. So far he is averaging 99 points per 100 mins!


What I’ve noticed so far in the NAB comp is with Essendon picking up Goddard this year and Heppell starting to look more dangerous around the ball they are demanding their oppositions attention. This has left Hibberd free to find space as a link up player during Essendon’s rebound plays. Resulting in extra mark/kick combo’s and even allowing him to end up with a goal.

Could be one too many Bombers in your backline with BJ, HepD and Hibberd so it will probably come down to money and choosing between HepD or Hibberd.

At his price you aren’t choosing him to make money. He has shown that he can score so if you believe he can average 80-90 then you’ve gotten yourself an under priced premium.


As I said before, there are a few rookies worth looking at in defense so it isn’t necessary to select a mid priced defender. But depending on the rookie, if it comes down to paying an extra $100K for a player who is more likely to score consistently and have better job security then these blokes may be worth a look.

Do any fit your structure? Who are you considering? Are there any smokies I missed in defense?
Join the conversation below and let us know what your thoughts?


As always you can find me rambling on twitter: @Anthonydsmith86



  1. The Chosen Won

    March 15, 2013 at 8:14 am

    You could almost start that back 8, all bar Harbrow i have had all those players in my team at one time or another this pre season. :)

    Good Luck

  2. The Seamen

    March 15, 2013 at 8:36 am

    Hey looking to fill these leagues only one spot in this one 999319, also 894293

  3. Rubitonurnuts

    March 15, 2013 at 8:43 am

    All 3 essendon backs are fine and im starting them – hibberd can average in the 80s so will upgrade him prior to the bye

  4. Tim

    March 15, 2013 at 9:35 am

    There was a bit of talk around dan nicholson early. Quiet nab but could still be an ok option.

  5. Alex's All Stars

    March 15, 2013 at 9:48 am

    Great read mate, Hibberd, Ellis and Armstrong have all featured in and out of my team planning, unfortunately I can’t fit all three in with Goddard, Heppell and Gibbs also there…

    What are your thoughts on Baguley? At one stage I had 4 Bombers in my defensive 6 and it was just overkill, but there was meaning to the madness.

    • matty

      March 15, 2013 at 3:13 pm

      Yeah I’ve been wondering about Baguley too, he looks good to me based on NAB form and that price. Does anyone have more info?

  6. Lefty

    March 15, 2013 at 10:10 am

    Nice write up mate.

    Armstrong is causing me to rethink my structure as he looks a great pick.

    Hmm may have to work on team version 201 haha

  7. DoubleA

    March 15, 2013 at 10:11 am

    Man….why did you have to say Vlastuin would cop a vest. I brought him in last week, I was happy with him there, and everything was settled. Now I have to rethink the lot. Thanks for nothing!:)

    Seriously though, how likely do people think Vlastuin is of copping the vest?

    I have enough cash to swap him out and move Armstrong in, but I’d rather use that money for something else if I can.

  8. MickyC

    March 15, 2013 at 10:22 am

    Interesting note at the start about Johnson’s immediate replacement being the inclusion of Marty Mattner and Nick Smith.

    Also, this earlier one which identifies Rampe putting his hand up for the spot.

  9. Dan

    March 15, 2013 at 10:40 am

    Am starting with Armstrong if he’s named rd 1, really like Hibberd and Jacobs but not sure I can squeeze either in.

    Gwilt is another option IMO…Goddard and Gram gone and coming back off a knee injury, priced at 50 odd but average of 70 the 2 previous seasons. 82 pts per 100 min in NAB so far, great early draw.

    • ElGuappo

      March 15, 2013 at 3:32 pm

      With you on Gwilt. He seemed a bit gun-shy when he first came back but looked solid in the NAB.

  10. Zac

    March 15, 2013 at 10:49 am

    A little off topic but trying to fill this league, Join if you got what it takes ;)

  11. Lukey85

    March 15, 2013 at 11:41 am

    Thanks for that.

    Currently running a 3 gun, 3 rookie backline but may panic and bring in a midpricer at the last minute. Armstrong looks the best option but would love Hibberd if I could afford him.

  12. Tom

    March 15, 2013 at 12:00 pm

    Anyone have an opinion on mitch golby? I personally have heaps of lions in my team already but averaging 119 points per hunge in the nab is impressive.

    • Tom

      March 15, 2013 at 12:01 pm

      112 points sorry, still good

    • WestcoastWarrior

      March 15, 2013 at 12:05 pm

      Could be a great pick, monitor him in the grand final.

    • DoubleA

      March 15, 2013 at 2:31 pm

      I like Golby a lot. Definitely contemplating him in by d-line, but I have so many round 11 bye players (admittedly all rooks that I would likely upgrade). Makes him more difficult to fit it.

  13. Andrew

    March 15, 2013 at 12:39 pm

    Mid-priced defenders will be a chance for my team after round 2. Just too risky when proven scorers Goddard, Gibbs, and Heppell are all relatively affordable. D4 for me is Hartlett and his early draw is too hard to ignore. But with 2 trades a week, I wouldn’t be afraid to trade out an under-performing premium for a mid-pricer who is doing well. Ellis, Harbrow, and Armstrong are looking the most likely. But people have too much confidence in Armstrong at the moment, that is a tough team to crack into…

  14. Xx_Jacko7991_xX

    March 15, 2013 at 1:53 pm

    DEF = atley or jacobs

    Def = armstrong or suban

    FOW = zorko or d.thomas

    • DoubleA

      March 15, 2013 at 2:25 pm

      Zorko over Thomas by a country mile in my opinion. Especially as I don’t know when Dale will be back, but it won’t be by round 1 from the sound of things.

      • Xx_Jacko7991_xX

        March 15, 2013 at 7:36 pm

        Alrighty cheers mate and wat about the others??

        • Anthony

          March 16, 2013 at 2:10 am

          Jacobs over Atley

          Armstrong over Suban if he’s named

  15. Brak


    March 15, 2013 at 3:04 pm

    Just did Atley to Hibberd. Am thinking Armstrong but the vest still worries me, I don’t want any non rookies to be copping vests. I still have Vlastuin so you saying he could be subbed made me squirm. I had Ellis playing nearly every week last year and those vests hurt.

  16. Sauce

    March 15, 2013 at 3:13 pm


    • barlow4brownlow

      March 15, 2013 at 4:28 pm

      He’s working on his new movie, Muppet’s in 3D

      • Sauce

        March 15, 2013 at 4:34 pm

        Hahaahaha ripper call mate lol

  17. Mr Chaplin

    March 15, 2013 at 4:54 pm

    What are your thoughts on Tambling?

  18. Arthur Mongrel

    March 15, 2013 at 8:40 pm

    WA players – have 3 spots left in our ELite league No. 220928.

    Draft is set for 7:30pm, Monday evening.

    If anyoen is interested, you’re welcome to join.

  19. DTBrendan

    March 15, 2013 at 10:45 pm

    Lad, got a league for you to join. 531131
    Pingerheads unite!

  20. Sarge

    March 16, 2013 at 1:17 pm

    Anyone looking for an AFL Fantasy Elite league join 449674.
    Draft is tonight Saturday 16th March 7PM AEST.

    Anyone welcome!

  21. jacko_r_us

    March 16, 2013 at 1:32 pm

    Jacobs write up looks great, and im almost sold but, his first 5 games see him playing Hawthorn, Geelong, Sydney, Collingwood

  22. What the bejeebers

    March 16, 2013 at 2:37 pm

    I currently have Armstrong as my mid-priced defender but not sure if I should upgrade to Hibberd or just get Heppell in instead (money is not a problem, I have enough).

  23. KruZin

    March 17, 2013 at 8:23 pm

    No love for Yarran?

  24. e.d

    March 17, 2013 at 8:42 pm

    What do people think of me getting rid of HEPPLE for HIBBERD, then upgrading to hepple later?

Leave a Reply





More in Players of Interest