Selecting your SuperCoach side takes time, research, and sometimes, just a little bit of luck. When making these serious selections, all good coaches know a balanced team must consist of rookies, premiums, and unfortunately, those risky type players we like to call ‘mid-priced’, or ‘smokeys’. Here is a list of a number of players in this category that Blake Gray believes could make a difference to your Supercoach side.
Matthew Leuenberger (Bris)
Yet another player coming back from injury, Leuenberger looks to be the best available ruckmen selection in 13. With Naitanui and Sandilands out at the beginning of the season, there is only one available premium ruckmen left, that being Dean Cox. After Cox, what’s left is a number of 300-500k priced ruckmen who all loom as uncertainties to perform consistently. Leuenberger has proven in 2011 that he has the ability to consistently score well and finished the year with an average of 102.2 and played all 22 games. As we have all been accustomed to in previous years, it can be infuriating for a coach having to consistently play the emergency ruckmen because of an injury. In 2010 and ’11, he played all 22 games and one can only hope he can replicate that durability in 2013.
Verdict: Lock him in! Looks to be a safe option in the ruck and should rise in price almost immediately.
Brent Moloney (Bris)
The Brisbane Lions recruited Moloney as a free agent in 2012, and will be hoping he can replicate his midfield display in 2011. Melbourne’s 2011 best and fairest has shown he has the ability to dominate as an in and under midfielder, although his 2012 season was poor to say the least. He was dropped from the senior side on numerous occasions, and only managed a below par 67.73, down from his 99.2 average the previous season. The inclusion of Neeld as the head coach was obviously an issue for Brent Moloney who sought out a move at the conclusion of the 2012 season in the hope of invigorating his career.
Verdict: He is one to keep an eye on under new coach Michael Voss and could be a point of difference for your SuperCoach side, although don’t expect him to become a premium midfielder.
Luke Ball (Coll)
Ball is coming off a season-ending ACL injury in Round 3 of 2012, and how players recover from these serious injuries is always hard to tell, although reports suggest he has been training well and is looking at a return for Round 1. In saying that, Ball is a risk worth taking at only 300k as he has been known to produce in all fantasy leagues. His 2011 average of 97.8 is the benchmark for Ball, who at 28 years of age still has several years of good footy ahead of him. With the increase to eight midfielders in 2013, many are avoiding the mid-priced players and going with a premium and rookie approach, but Ball’s priced is almost guaranteed to rise and could potentially maintain a solid 95+ average.
Verdict: At only 300k, Ball is an ideal candidate to make some cash and should provide a consistent 85+.
LeCras returns to the field in 2013 after an injury interrupted season, which saw him sidelined with an ACL injury before the season even began. Although he is a better player than his SuperCoach average suggests, he has averaged 80+ in his previous two seasons and is hard to look past. LeCras is predominantly a small forward, but in 2011 he was given a number of bursts in the midfield which should see an increase in score in comparison to the average small forward.
Verdict: One of the easiest picks of the season. Should average 80+ again and with limited medium-low priced forward, he presents the safest option.
Travis Varcoe (Geel)
After his Grand Final heroics in 2011, many were expecting Varcoe to have a breakout season in 2012. Unfortunately, this was not the case for Varcoe in what was an injury-plagued season, thus, the measly 268k price tag on this speedy Cat. He has shown glimpses of his potential since he was taken with pick 15 in the 2005 draft, although at aged 24, I believe he is yet to play his best footy. Being a dual-position player adds value to his selection, although previous SuperCoach scores suggest taking Varcoe is a risky option. In 2010 he averaged over 82 points, although in 2011, he plummeted down to just 71, with inconsistency being a key concern. At such a cheap price and with the six new added trades per year, he is worth the risk and is an almost guaranteed cash cow.
Verdict: A risky offer that could backfire, but at 268k it is one that is almost too good to refuse. Keep an eye on him during the NAB Cup and if all goes to plan, lock him in.
Nathan Bock (GCS)
Gold Coast defender and Vice-captain Nathan Bock is an interesting SuperCoach prospect in 2013. Bock has been ruled out of at least the first round of the season as he recovers from a broken leg he endured in round 6 last year and Gold Coast have admitted they are going to ensure he has a full recovery. When he does return in what is expected to be the first half of the season, he is a probability to rise in price, although only a possibility to make enough cash for the trade to be worthwhile. In saying that, Bock is a proven SuperCoach gem. Excluding 2012, Bock has averaged 90+ in three of his last four seasons, and proved he can score well after the move to Gold Coast. He is also a dual position player, adding value to his selection and reducing the risk of a wasted trade.
Verdict: Wouldn’t recommend in the forward line as there are a number of better mid-priced prospects. Leave for now as he is set to miss the first few rounds, but keep an eye on him during the early part of the season and look to potentially straight swap from a rookie valued around the same price in defence.
Blake Gray is a second-year Bachelor of Journalism (Sport) student. You can follow him on twitter @blake_gray14.