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.
2016 Avg: 101
Speaking to the media after St Kilda’s first up JLT Community Series match against Port Adelaide, Assistant Coach Adam Kingsley heaped praise on former club captain, Nick Riewoldt, and hinted at his continued presence closer to the midfield.
When asked about Riewoldt’s ability to get up and down the ground, Kingsley was not short of a kind word, “he’s a remarkable player, but it’s not luck, he works incredibly hard throughout the pre-season and week to week.”
If one JLT game is anything to go by, he’s not wrong. Entering his 17th season, Riewoldt looks as fit as ever and ready to reprise the new found role he played in 2016.
“He was good on the wing last year, he gave us a lot of maturity around the ball, gave us a lot of drive,” Kingsley said, “his defensive aspect of his wing role is right up there with the elite.”
So where will he play? “He’ll play both, he’ll be forward and he’ll be wing,” he said.
A move up the ground last year saw the 34-year-old raise his average disposals above 20 for the first time in his career and lift his average marks above 10 for the first time since 2008. The result, a 10 point jump in his SuperCoach average and he can certainly maintain that.
Riewoldt’s greatest asset is his ability to run and outrun his direct opponent. He’ll find plenty of the ball as he burns off his man on the wing but he’ll give opposition coaches a headache when spending time inside forward 50.
It will be a balancing act for St Kilda in 2017 as they look to push their case for a Finals berth. They’ve got three young, developing key forwards in Josh Bruce, Tim Membrey and Paddy McCartin but they’ve also got two quality young wingmen in Jacks, Newnes and Billings.
St Kilda’s forward line will stretch the opposition at the best of times, let alone when Riewoldt is also in the mix. No longer will he be triple teamed close to goal. Expect the improvement within the team around him to allow him to play with more freedom, find more of the ball and kick more goals in 2017.
We don’t often advocate key forwards as starting fantasy options, but Riewoldt is a consistent performer with a high ceiling. He hit triple figures 12 times last year including a top score of 187 against Brisbane in the final game of the year. He doesn’t need to kick goals to score well, in his four goalless games in 2016, he averaged 96 SuperCoach points.
Don’t write him off.