Power vs Demons
I’m not sure I can watch this game tonight. This game is just too important to Melbourne’s season that I think I may need to pretend that I’m Amish for the evening. It’s not that Melbourne’s finals chances are sunk if they lose tonight, far from it. But after such a disappointing performance on Queen’s Birthday, Melbourne simply have to make a statement tonight. Port will be looking to bank another home win and if they are a real contender then they have no option but to win against a Demon outfit which could still be a little shaken.
On a night where value players are hard to find, it’s difficult to make a case for playing Max Gawn. Big Maxy will set you back $15.5K tonight and although he’s probably going to be the highest scoring ruckman, I think playing Maxy just makes your lineup too one dimensional.
Patty Ryder’s recent form has been excellent and looks like he’s pretty close to peak fitness. I never like playing Ryder when he’s more than $12K so tonight might be the last time I give him a run.
Melbourne’s inability to defend against key forwards was highlighted for the first time for a while last week as Mason Cox went to town. Charlie Dixon hasn’t had a decent night out in a while but if Port get a hold of this game then Dixon could go large.
Tim Smith comes back in to play Melbourne’s backup ruck/third forward role. Smith was a must play just a few weeks ago but his price of $10K makes him a tricky proposition.
My takes: Dixon, Gawn (if you can fit him in)
I’m a little unsure about how I’m going to structure my backline tonight. With so many good mid-priced players in the forward line and midfield, paying down in your backline will (as usual) be a popular strategy. Joel Smith had an excellent season debut and was a solid contributor on a dark day for the Demons. Smith’s price has increased to $8,200 so his appeal has diminished a little but on a night with little value, you might need to give him a run.
Jasper Pittard backed up his value exceeding 74 with an underwhelming 46 last week. This is a typical pattern for Pittard and with a price of $8,300, I’m not confident of him reaching value tonight.
I don’t love the mid-priced defenders of offer tonight as their respective outputs just haven’t been consistent enough this year. Players like Michael Hibberd and Christian Salem were bankable prospects last season but both struggled to score consistently this year. Salem has the higher upside and I don’t expect him to be highly owned tonight. Similarly for Port, just as Darcy Byrne-Jones looked to be building a solid floor, he’s put in a few sub-par performances of late.
My takes: Joel Smith, Pittard, Salem.
As I mentioned earlier there are about a dozen players tonight who could easily have 100+ games. Both teams are characterised by mid-forwards who have high ceilings. Chad Wingard, Robbie Gray, Sam Gray, Tom Rockliff, Travis Boak, James Harmes, Bailey Fritsch, Jesse Hogan and Alex Neal-Bullen are all priced between $10-13K and have all scored big 100s this year. Now before you say “thanks for that Captain Obvious,” I will actually get off the fence and let you know who I’m choosing out of this group.
To determine which of these players to pick in your team(s), you need to forecast what kind of game you think this is going to be. Personally, I think this is going to be a shootout. The contests will be tough but as soon as the ball gets loose, it will fly straight down the ground to goal. This means that I’m going to target players will superior running ability. I’m also going a little one-eyed tonight and stacking my Demons.
First, Chad Wingard is one of the only Port players I’m rolling with tonight. He’s spent heaps of time in the midfield recently and I can’t see why that would change tonight. Todd Marshall is my bargain bin play tonight. Marshall is only $6,620 and I think he’s a good chance to scrap together 8-10 x value. The Demons aren’t great against key forwards and if Marshall can pop up for a couple of goals then he’s worth a spot.
As for my Demons, I’m trying to fit ANB, Harmes, Fritsch and Hogan into my lineup. Not only do I think they’ll each have good nights, but I think they’ll each have low ownership.
My takes: Marshall (value punt), ANB, Hogan.
After you’ve consider the mid-forwards you didn’t select in your forward line, there are a few other options to consider in your midfield. Jake Melksham could have one of his ‘Joe the Goose’ nights if the ball pings around the ground all night. Dom Tyson gets his chance to prove his place in Melbourne’s best 22. Tyson will enjoy the Adelaide Oval wings if he’s not overshadowed by Angus Brayshaw.
Steven Motlop and Jared Polec are also on my shortlist, especially if this game is played mainly on the outside. Brad Ebert hasn’t gone large in a while and I’m little concerned about that his role has changed a little (he seems to be playing more across half-back than he has previously).
My takes: Harmes, Wingard, $13K+ plays.
I’m living by the Demons and potentially dying by the Demons tonight. This tactic will probably invite a flood of criticism should we lose, but I’m willing to take the chance.