THE BLUE CHIP – LACHIE NEALE
2016: Games/22 Average: 111 DT/113 SC
Chips don’t come in a much better shade of blue than this gem. He is and will be one of the biggest scorers for the next decade. A magnet and a game that rarely gains the opposition attention. Both inside and outside player just like our fantasy Gods. So how does he compare to the elite after the first 5 seasons?
Player 100+ ave 110+ ave Top ave
Treloar 3 1 111
Rockliff 2 1 112
Neale 2 1 111
Titch 2 0 106 (played 4 yrs)
Macrae 2 0 104 (played 4 yrs)
Adams 2 0 102
Z Merrett 1 1 117 (played 3 yrs)
Pendlebury 1 0 106
Parker 1 0 103
Dangerfield 1 0 102
JPK 1 0 101
Dan Han 0 0 89
Ablett Jnr 0 0 77
Many have questioned what Nat Fyfe’s inclusion will have on his scoring, the answer is none. Neale has been growing with and without Nat. The best illustration of that is points per minute. Yes, natural development is always part of any breakout but a player’s ability to rack up possessions is key to identify the true breakout contenders.
In 2015 when Nat Fyfe won the Brownlow medal, Lachie Neale was in his fourth year of football. He averaged 101 DT, had mid 70% game time, 1.10 points per minute. His increase the following year was game time, nothing else, exactly 1.10 points per minute. Lower rotations, no subs and natural tank build were all contributors to his break out. His game time was 81% last year, the majority of the leading midfielders have between 82-87 percent game time. So there is both game time and natural development in him.
I rate him highly, remember that in draft it is about the whole season not the first month. Yes, his pre-season was a little slow to start, but it’s the end of the year result you want. Draft in first round and enjoy the rewards.
BARGAIN OR BUST – HARLEY BENNELL
2015: Games/15 Average: 92 DT/100 SC
The talent of this man is undisputed, his lack of durability is also undisputed and discipline, well, nuff said. Now 24 and after a trip to Germany to see ‘healing Hans’ there just is a chance that it could all happen for both him and the club this year.
At his best he could be an elite forward, therefore it is a truly risk/reward option if you were to draft him. You could look like a genius, or star on our “You Suck” podcast.
It’s hard to be definitive on how his season is going to go, so it is smart to decide when you should take the leap of faith. The best way would be to evaluate how many forward options there are this year. Although many will talk about the lack of premium forwards this year, what we do have is a plethora of potential breakout players (Billings, Steele, Heeney, Caddy etc.) and we should be thinking of securing them all first.
My recommendations are to have at least 3 Def, 4 Mids, 1 Ruck and 3 forwards before taking a punt on any major risks. Therefore I believe Harley should be taken from round 12 onwards (based on 10 team league).
LATE PUNT/WAIVER WIRE JET – CONNOR BLAKELY
2016: Games/15 Average: 75 DT/73 SC
One benefit of a poor year on the ground and injuries is the development of a club’s list. It’s like an extended JLT (aka NAB) challenge. One thing we learnt last year is that Connor Blakely will make the level. His junior record was outstanding, playing a full year of senior WAFL footy at 17 and averaging just under 20 disposals. He led the clearances at the National Championships in 2013 and rightly was named All-Australian.
In 2016 he was able to play 15 AFL games and 9 WAFL games. For the AFL games he averaged 20 disposals at a DT average of 75, this with just 63% game time. He is in an elite group of players to have averaged around the point a minute within his first two years. In the WAFL he led the Peel midfield in their first ever premiership win with 42 disposals in the Preliminary and 38 in the Grand Final.
Depth players have moved on as the club changes it’s list profile, so opportunities will continue to come and with his points per minute already at an elite level and improving, it will only take an increase in game time into the low 70% range to make him very relevant.
Watch in draft, BUY ASAP in keeper