We’re now deep into Ultimate Footy finals and the end of the season is producing some unlikely heroes.
The Bulldogs held on against Collingwood, in a match where Rupert Wills (98) continued his excellent opening three games. He now averages over 10 tackles a game, and laid another 12 in the loss. Jordan Roughead (85) performed admirably against the in-form Brodie Grundy.
Brisbane’s win over Carlton was unexpected, as was Michael Close’s (84) four goal haul. Robbie Tarrant (106) raised the fantasy bat for the second time this season in the loss to Hawthorn, while Oscar McDonald (96) celebrated his contract extension with a great game in the win over the Power.
Touk Miller (139) showed that he is 2016’s Aaron Hall with another fantastic match in the loss to the Bombers, and David Mackay (104) was a potential left field selection that may have been the deciding factor an Ultimate Footy final or two.
Standing out among these performances was the return to form of a former fantasy gem in the shape of Scott Selwood. Needless to say, his last couple of seasons have not been fruitful due to a combination of form, injuries and the dreaded sub vest.
Selwood joined his brother Joel at the Cats in their very busy off-season, taking a back seat to the bigger names lured to Simonds Stadium. His Cats career thus far has been a frustrating one, with an ankle injury keeping him out until Round 16 of the VFL season. Selwood needed just four matches to earn his Geelong debut, averaging 24 disposals, six tackles and 92 fantasy points per game during his time in the twos.
His role at the Cats seems clearly defined, that of the ‘modern day’ tagger – tag your opponent but win plenty of your own ball. In his first match of AFL in 2016, Selwood was given the job of going with David Zaharakis, restricting him to 17 disposals while having 16 of his own. Two marks and two tackles kept Selwood’s score to 50, but he did the job on the Bomber midfielder.
Roll on to Round 21, and Selwood again kept his opponent (Cotchin), to 17 disposals and minimal influence, but stood out himself with his eyecatching performance. Selwood had 25 touches, eight marks and four tackles to score 104 points – his highest score since Round 10, 2014.
Selwood is 26 years old and is now in his ninth season at AFL level. He was drafted by West Coast in the 2007 National Draft in the second round at pick 22. He made his debut in 2008, playing nine games at the Eagles. It didn’t take long for Selwood’s class to stand out, and he made himself a member of their best 22 in just his second season in 2009.
When it comes to fantasy output, Selwood’s early career was on a constant upward trajectory. A rookie average of 47 in 2008 was followed by 57.2 in his second season, 70.1, in his third, followed by 87.1 and 97.7 in 2011/2012. There were no signs of injury or form keeping him out of the West Coast side, with Selwood missing just two games from 2010-12.
The peak of his fantasy powers came in 2013, where Selwood averaged an elite 108.7 across 18 games. His numbers across the season were phenomenal – 13 games out of 18 Selwood cracked the 100-point barrier, among these were six scores over 120, with a low score a pair of 71s. By comparison, his brother Joel, a fantasy great himself, managed 106.4 in 2013.
It’s easy to forget how good Scott Selwood’s fantasy game was over the 2012/13 seasons as he started to fall away in his last two seasons at the Eagles. While form and injury were nowhere to be seen in his first six years at the Eagles, he was hit by niggles in 2014/15 and his form suffered as a result.
Selwood played the first 12 matches of 2014, but the form of the year previous was not quite there, with just three tons and two scores in the 40s. His disposal numbers dipped from 25.6 to 20.9 before missing all bar one game from Round 13 onwards due to injury. It went from bad to worse for Selwood in 2015, playing 12 games for a dire average of 58.8 – the lowest since his second year in the AFL. Among these 12 matches, Selwood’s output was hindered by four sub-affected games.
With Selwood on the outer at the Eagles, he used his rights as a free agent to join the Cats. It was a canny pickup by the Cats, despite two indifferent years, Selwood was just 25 and had plenty of football in front of him.
Selwood’s talent is undoubted – he comes from one of the more talented footballing families in history, and now has a real chance to make a spot in the Cats’ 22 his own. He’s good enough, and will be hoping his injury issues over the past three seasons are gone. The role he has at Geelong could see him return to the ball winning ways that stood out in his time at West Coast. Geelong cleverly picked him up prior to the season knowing the potential is there. Similarly, fantasy coaches across 2017 drafts would be wise to do the same.