Prior to the 2016 season kicking off, Footy Prophet ran the eight-part “Tiebreakers” series, pitting two players against each other in a pre-season forecast on which player would take the cake. So how did we go? Some very close contests, and some not that close at all. Hindsight, it’s a wonderful thing!
Pre-season prediction: Dangerfield
What we got right: Practically everything. The pre-season forecast here had Dangerfield let loose in an exciting Geelong midfield. He has done exactly this, and is enjoying a career best season. Despite giving his all for the Crows, the move back home to Moggs Creek has given Danger a new lease on life, and it has reflected on his football this year. As predicted, Sloane did get off to a relatively sluggish start, scoring just one ton in the first five rounds. Since then however, he has gone from strength to strength, scoring nine tons in the next 16 games. Slight improvement for Rory was predicted, and he has indeed done this, enjoying a career-best average of 105.9 – 1.3 points better than his 2014 best.
What we got wrong: Very little. As above, Danger excelled while Rory gradually improved to excellent levels. If anything, Sloane’s forecast improvement was reliant on the form of Brad Crouch. In the end, this wasn’t exactly the case, with Crouch’s upturn in form coming a fair while after Sloane’s excellent mid-season burst.
Final verdict: Despite both players enjoying career best seasons and being in contention for the Brownlow (until the MRP stepped in), it is Patrick Dangerfield that matches the pre-season prediction of a huge year numbers-wise. Dangerfield’s numbers have been phenomenal this year, averaging 118 points per game – 12 higher than his previous best in 2015. He averages 31.3 disposals per game, and even his much-maligned efficiency is a career best 68.2%. As predicted, Dangerfield is now well and truly in the echelon of fantasy elite.
Pre-season prediction: Adams
What we got right: Touted as “Mr Consistency”, Treloar has lived up to this pre-season prediction. Dipping below 80 just once for the entire season, Treloar has shown himself to be exactly the type of player you want in your fantasy side. On the other end of the scale, Adams has certainly lived up to his Rollercoaster moniker, not points wise – but injury-wise, missing eight games for the year.
What we got wrong: Out of the two, it was Adams that was predicted to have the highest fantasy average at the Pies’ by season’s end. In the end it was Treloar that ended as Collingwood’s best, while Adams averaged the third highest total at the Pies.
Final verdict: Due to Adams’ injury issues, it’s Adam Treloar that takes the cake here. Aside from Dangerfield, Treloar has been the recruit of the year. He has been the Pies’ best player for season 2016 and is likely to win the Best & Fairest award in his first year at the club. He’s usurped Pendlebury as Collingwood’s best fantasy player (no mean feat), averaging an elite 111.5 for the year.
Pre-season prediction: Bartel
What we got right: As predicted, McVeigh’s early season injury issues counted against him, not playing until Round 4 and registering just two fantasy scores over 100 up to Round 10.
What we got wrong: Bartel was touted as a picture of consistency, and despite being serviceable, has had a few off games in season 2016. Scores of 52, 45 and 56 brought down his season average. Father time was predicted to catch up to both of these players, however McVeigh’s early injury issues aside, injury barely affected either player’s season.
Final verdict: While neither have set the world alight as the next generation of fantasy defenders come through (Laird, Docherty), it is Jimmy Bartel that edges here. He has played two more games than McVeigh for the year, and averaged over five more points per game.
Pre-season prediction: Martin
What we got right: “The only thing that can stop Martin is injury or suspension”. While Martin didn’t miss a game after the big hit from Steven May which knocked him out cold, his output dropped somewhat from this point, failing to reach the heights of 2014/15.
What we got wrong: Prior to the season, Goldstein and Martin were the undisputed top two fantasy ruckmen in the competition. In the end, it was the likes of Grundy and Gawn that ended as the top two, and the only two ruckmen to average over 100 for the year.
Final verdict: Despite both ruckmen underwhelming for various reasons, Todd Goldstein eclipses Martin here. While he was unable to reach the heights of 2015, Goldstein’s season average was a more than acceptable 96.4, missing just one game.
Pre-season prediction: Deledio
What we got right: Unfortunately, not a lot. Neither player gave their fantasy coaches much joy throughout the year, struggling with form, injuries and consistency. Having said that, we did predict Barlow to give his owners a rollercoaster ride throughout the year – and he definitely lived up to that expectation.
What we got wrong: Where Barlow was touted as the Rollercoaster and Deledio Mr Consistent, it was in fact both players that took us on a rollercoaster. Barlow fell out of favour with Ross Lyon, and Deledio suffered injury setbacks galore, playing just 11 games and ending his season prematurely in Round 17.
Final verdict: Neither player have featured at AFL level since Round 17, and are likely now sitting in the Free Agent pool (if you are not in a keeper league). Despite this, Michael Barlow takes a very underwhelming victory here, playing two more games than Deledio and averaging a shade less than five extra points per game.
Pre-season prediction: Williams
What we got right: The somewhat orange-tinted prediction of Williams over Sheridan. Despite both being backed in to have breakout years, Sheridan seemed to the one getting all the love. Williams also benefited from when Heath Shaw copped a tag, hardly receiving any opposition attention.
What we got wrong: League wide, Sheridan was backed in to have a breakout season, but failed to live up to the hype. Williams was tipped to take a back seat to Heath Shaw, but in fact hugely benefitted from Shaw’s tutelage, with he and the likes of Nathan Wilson having excellent seasons.
Final verdict: Much like our pre-season prediction, Zac Williams had a far better year than Sheridan. Where both were touted for breakout years, only one of these two did, Williams averaging a very good 82.5, missing just two games. 2017 promises even more from Williams.
Pre-season prediction: Jacobs
What we got right: Jacobs was forecast to have another excellent season as Adelaide’s number one ruckman, with little competition. Not much changed there, and Jacobs has been once again unchallenged at the Crows. He missed just two games for the year with an ankle injury, and despite the impressive couple of games from youngster Reilly O’Brien, Jacobs still remains Adelaide’s undisputed number one ruckman.
What we got wrong: Literally everything about Lobbe. After backing in Lobbe to bounce back after an indifferent 2015 season and re-establish himself as the premier ruckman at the Power, he fell further back. After an inconsistent start to the year, Lobbe was dropped for youngster Dougal Howard before injuring his PCL and missing three months of football. He now faces the potential of spending a lot of time in the SANFL in 2017 if his form does not improve.
Final verdict: By the biggest margin in the entire Tiebreakers series, Sam Jacobs takes the honours here. Jacobs has enjoyed another consistent season, despite averaging his lowest (88.3) in three seasons. A closer look shows that without the score of 24 in the Round 19 game where he got injured, his average rises to 94. Another strong season from one of the premier rucks in the competition.
Pre-season prediction: Yeo
What we got right: Yeo’s fantasy potential. Touted with a big question mark as a player with the ability to hit a 90+ average, he managed 79.1 but when he pushed into a midfield/forward role, his numbers spiked considerably. Yeo’s strength lies in his versatility, and this may forever be a hindrance on his ability to consistently hit big scores.
What we got wrong: Referring to Suckling as consistent and unspectacular. He was neither. Suckling lacked consistency in the sense that he missed seven games due to injury problems throughout the year. On the flip side, when he did play, he generally scored a fair bit better than his Hawthorn days, 10 of his 15 games scoring more than 85.
Final verdict: Had Suckling played more, it would likely have been him getting the nod. However, Elliot Yeo caps off the Eyecatchers Season Review, playing every game for a passable average of 79.1.
2016 Tiebreakers Report Card: 5/8