AFL

Free Agent Targets: Round 20: Finals and the Future

The weekend saw established guns fire across all matches, and unfortunately not many potential free agents stood up this week.  Round 21 is the first week of finals, and if you’ve made them, congratulations.  If not, it’s time to take stock of your squad and see who you can bring in to improve it for next season, if you’re playing in a keeper league.  If you have an allocated amount of rookies (players with under 50 games to their name) to stash away and are unsure about keeping the ones you have, some players announced themselves over the weekend.

We’ll look at things a bit differently to address coaches in both situations, highlighting players who performed in Round 20 that are likely to provide solid cover for next week, as well as suggesting younger players who could be worth bringing in to see if they’re worth keeping for next season.  Let’s go:

 

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BACK OF THE WEEK: Matt Scharenberg

Scharenberg had a dominant day playing on second-game Roo Nick Larkey, racking up 17 kicks, 10 handballs and eight marks for 96 points.  After a string of long term injuries ruined his first three seasons, the key position defender had been a strong addition to the Collingwood backline in the second half of 2017.  After a few low-scoring games, Scharenberg was dropped, but his last four games since returning have seen him average 87 points for a season average of 73.  If you need defensive cover for a final this week, strongly consider bringing the Pie (available in 34% of leagues) into your side.  No such consideration is needed if you’re out of contention and need a rookie keeper – Scharenberg is well and truly a player worth holding onto!

Best of the rest:

After a big game last week where he scored 138, Luke Ryan backed it up against the Suns, scoring 126 points from 21 kicks, seven handballs and a staggering 16 marks.  While barely a ‘free agent’ now that he is only available in 25% of all leagues, if the 21 year old is on your waiver wire, don’t hesitate to bring him in! He’s going at 82 points per game, an average he’ll build on next season.

Round 11’s highlighted defender Brayden Maynard (30% availability) had similar stats as Scharenberg on Saturday, collecting 17 kicks, 10 handballs, six marks and three tackles for a total of 101 points. While his impressive form had dropped off over the past month, the young Magpie is averaging 73 points per game, and could be a great late-season find if available.

Rejuvenated Cat Jackson Thurlow (84%) had 23 disposals, six marks and three tackles in the loss to Sydney on Friday night for 90 points, but his form and shaky job security doesn’t warrant consideration at the moment.  Hyped as a promising option pre-season, monitor the Tasmanian’s output across the next few weeks before bringing him in.

While his scoring hasn’t been at an elite level, big Crow Jake Lever (39% availability) has had a breakout season to become one of the most desired trade targets as the season nears its end.  His 80 points in his return from injury in the Showdown on Sunday came from 18 disposals, eight kicks and two tackles, to take his season average to 70.  If you’re playing in a keeper league bring Lever in, now!

 

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CENTRE OF THE WEEK: Mitch Hallahan

A huge call seeing as the game against Fremantle was the former Hawk’s first of the season,  but with not many free agent midfielders standing up, Hallahan’s 25 disposals, four marks and four tackles for 88 points sees him named this week’s nominated standout.  Hallahan played just the five games last season, but his average of 77 from 12 games in 2015 suggests that he has the ability to score when selected.  With Aaron Hall likely to miss the rest of the season and both Brayden Fiorini and David Swallow under injury clouds, inside midfielder Hallahan looks likely to seize his opportunity and go for broke in the next few weeks.  If you need a midfielder as bench cover or to field to get you through this week’s first final, the 24 year old Sun is available in a whopping 91% of all leagues and should be considered.

Best of the rest:

Previous highlighted midfielders Trent Dumont (43% availability) and Ryan Bastinac (35%) both played well on the weekend to register relevant scores.  Dumont managed 99 points after collecting 27 disposals, five marks and four tackles in the loss to Collingwood, backing up his Round 18 ton.  He did score only 47 last week, highlighting his inconsistency, but with an average of 76 the tough Roo is worth considering.  Bastinac’s 18 disposals, six marks and two goals gave him a score of 84 points, and he is the pick of these two mids with an average of 79 for the season.

Carlton veteran Dale Thomas (58% availability) scored an even 100 points after managing 22 disposals, seven marks and five tackles in the blockbuster against Essendon on Saturday.  While he’s coming off a shocking fortnight, he had been a steady scorer all season to average 71, but don’t expect fireworks.

Alex Sexton (75%) scored 92 points from 19 disposals, nine marks and two goals against the Dockers, but steer clear.  The Sun’s inconsistency and the ankle knock he sustained on the weekend mean that he’s just as likely to grind out a low score in the vein of the 34 he managed in Round 19.

Bomber David Myers (84 points; 72% availability) and Hawk Billy Hartung (86; 36%) both played their respective roles in Round 20, but bear in mind that they’re unlikely to get you more than 90 points in a game should you decide to bring one of them in.  Hartung has been the more consistent performer this season, despite what Hawthorn fans might tell you.

Finally, Sam Powell-Pepper‘s lowly 16 points in the Showdown may see his ownership percentage decrease, which is a good thing.  The first year Power midfielder (33% availability) has had a tremendous debut season, but struggled against the dominant Crows and his output wasn’t helped by five free kicks against, either.  He has scored 70 points or more in 11 of his 19 games, and he’s a rookie you must make a priority to bring in if you’re playing in a keeper league.

RUCKS:

It’s a tough time of year to be in need of a ruckman, but to succeed in acquiring the right big man this week you’ll have to be vigilant in monitoring team news.

Docker Jonathon Griffin made the most of his match against the Suns, scoring 96 points from 11 disposals, four marks, five tackles, 34 hit outs and a goal.  Unfortunately for the 31 year old (57% availability), he was brought in to give Sean Darcy a rest, and is likely to be back out of the side this week.

Griffin’s opponent on the weekend, Daniel Currie (69% availability), managed 70 points after battling for 13 disposals and 37 hit outs.  Like Griffin, he is also likely to go out of the team this week, depending on how Jarrod Witts’ shoulder is.

If GWS Giant Shane Mumford is suspended for his bump on Max Gawn, then Dawson Simpson is worth bringing in.  The former Cat scored 98 points last week when replacing Mumford, and is available in 78% of leagues.  Nathan Vardy (45%) could return for West Coast, but has battled in recent weeks.

 

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FORWARD OF THE WEEK: Ryan Clarke

Dual position mid/forward Clarke had a big game against Collingwood, racking up 12 kicks, 19 handballs and 10 marks to score 101 points off the half forward flank.  The 20 year old Roo scored 81 last week, and had been building towards a ton all season.  Averaging 18 disposals and 64 points from his 12 games, Clarke was a prolific ball-winner at junior level, and is slowly working towards becoming part of the midfield brigade at Arden Street.  Perhaps not likely to score you what you require in a final this week, Clarke (72% availability) should be considered as a future keeper only at this stage, but don’t leave him on the waiver for too long.

Best of the rest:

Peter Wright scored 95 points against Fremantle after a big all-round performance, collecting 16 disposals, seven marks, tow tackles, nine hit outs and booting three goals. The 20 year old key forward, available in 60% of leagues, is going at 70 points per game this season, and is a definite future star of the competition.

Cult figure Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti scored 93 points and won plenty of new fans after gathering 16 disposals, four marks, five tackles and kicking three goals in a match-winning performance against Carlton.  The DPP back/forward (35% availability) is also going at 70 points per game, and has the potential to increase that average in the absence of the injured Orazio Fantasia, if you’re bold enough to select him.

Ryan Lester and Drew Petrie have both been relatively consistent scorers this season, and scored 84 and 87 points respectively in Round 20.  DPP mid/forward Lester (37% availability) had 16 disposals, nine marks and four tackles rotating between defence and attack, and has a season average of 74.  Petrie, the more consistent of the two in recent weeks, played mostly in the ruck to have 13 disposals, five marks, eight tackles and 15 hit outs against the Saints.  He’s available in 33% of leagues as a free agent.

Keep an eye on Roo Taylor Garner, who scored 82 from 19 disposals, five marks and four tackles against the Pies.  He’s averaging 69 points after an impressive month, and can be selected as a free agent in 67% of leagues.

In terms of rookies, dual position mid/forward Corey Maynard (87% availability) impressed on debut for the Demons after sensational form in the VFL, scoring 78 points, while DPP mid/forward Jacob Allison (91%) did some handy work in his second game for Brisbane.  Teia Miles (97%) also looked at home for Hawthorn in his third ever match, scoring 71 and taking the game on.

Top 5 for finals:

Luke Ryan

Matt Scharenberg

Mitch Hallahan

Ryan Bastinac

Drew Petrie

Future Keepers:

Sam Powell-Pepper

Brayden Maynard

Jake Lever

Ryan Clarke

Peter Wright

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