The world of AFL related media is vast, dynamic and fast paced. If you aren’t engaged on a daily basis, you’re bound to miss something in the flood of news articles, opinion pieces, videos and social media posts – and how relevant are they all to your SuperCoach team anyway? This preseason, we’re solving your problem. Each week we’ll give you our take on the most SuperCoach relevant media.
At the conclusion of Round 2 this year, things were looking awfully bleak for Ross Lyon’s Dockers.
On the back of a bitterly disappointing 2016 campaign, Fremantle was languishing at the bottom of the ladder and was coming off a demoralising 89-point drubbing at the hands of a resurgent Port Adelaide.
It had put Lyon in an incredibly difficult position; so often in his career at both Fremantle and St Kilda, he had been able to turn to his more experienced players, who would be able to get the job done on a weekly basis in a consummate and highly professional manner with minimal fuss. Clearly, that method wasn’t going to keep him in a job for much longer. He had to do something that he hadn’t ever done before in his successful coaching career – change.
The following week, Lyon made six changes to the Dockers line-up, most notably playing the inexperienced kids at the expense of the serviceable warriors he had turned to so often in his coaching tenure, and it worked. This youthful Dockers line-up managed to defeat the Western Bulldogs at Domain Stadium. A week later, they came back from five goals down in the third term to defeat Melbourne at the MCG. Seven weeks after that defeat to the Power, the Dockers have lost just one game since, and they’re now sitting pretty in fifth spot on the ladder.
Much of the praise has been directed at the Dockers younger players driving a new culture and re-instigating Fremantle’s winning mentality, but what Lyon has been able to do with some of the more experienced Dockers who have survived the selection cull is equally as impressive, and Exhibit A of this is Michael Walters.
Often earmarked as a small forward capable of floating in and out of games on a regular basis, Walters has been issued a new lease on life by Lyon over the past three weeks, being granted a move into the midfield in an attempt to make better use of his leg speed and precise kick. The move has proven to be so successful that Walters is averaging career-best figures in SuperCoach. Up until Round 7 this year, Walters’ career-best SuperCoach performance saw him accrue 129 points in Round 7, 2013.
However, in his last three matches, he has scored 119, 137 and 135. Whilst his average is currently sitting at a rather low 81.8 points so far this season, it’s worth taking into account that his early-season scoring form was no doubt hindered by Fremantle’s struggles as a side, and Walters’ constantly sitting in the forward line. But
Whilst his average is currently sitting at a rather low 81.8 points so far this season, it’s worth taking into account that his early-season scoring form was no doubt hindered by Fremantle’s struggles as a side, and Walters’ constantly sitting in the forward line. But now that he has been given this new role, he has been able to make the most of the vast expanses that Domain Stadium has issued him with.
Two of his last three games have been played in Perth, whilst the third was at the MCG, a ground also known for its open spaces. We’re yet to see whether Walters can make the most of his leg speed on smaller grounds where space isn’t as easy to come by, clearly when he’s afforded it in the midfield, he can be extremely damaging.
With a breakeven of just -4 this week, he’s still relatively cheap, but if he keeps up this kind of form he won’t be for much longer. Like every unique selection, he’ll carry a certain level of risk, but if you have faith in Ross Lyon, Fremantle, and Michael Walters, he could very well turn into a punt worth taking.