Hawks vs Swans
Friday night football returns to the MCG with an intriguing clash between the Hawks and Swans. These two teams have had some terrific battles in recent years and Buddy and Titch facing their old teams adds some extra spice. From a DFS perspective, tonight is equally as intriguing. There isn’t a great deal of value around so it’s another contest for the thinking men of DFS. Perhaps the biggest factor to consider tonight is the weather. Rainfall of biblical proportions is forecast for Friday. Before this forecast, I thought Hawthorn would win comfortably. If it does bucket down, things will tighten up significantly. Make sure you keep your eye on the radar before lock out and don’t forget that the MCG drains remarkably well.
A really interesting selection of rucks is on offer tonight. Each of the four choices has their strengths and weakness, so I thought I’d do a little cost/benefit table just for those people who studied Business Management in Year 10 like I did.
My takes: Roughead (if dry), McEvoy (if wet)
I’m torn between two options in my forward line tonight. Part of me sees the forward line as a place to save some cash. Swans forwards provide us with the best opportunity for this with Ben Ronke and Will Hayward. Ronke has shown enough to suggest that he’ll be a Swans player for many years and I really like his speed and aggression. Hayward has been the biggest beneficiary of Buddy’s absence kicking three goals in each of the two games Buddy has missed. Sydney has also provided us with even more opportunities for salary relief by selecting NEAFL beast Dan Robinson and debutante Tom McCartin. (That's such a typically Sydney way to debut - against Hawthorn, in the rain, at the G. Ouch).
The other strategy is to plan for a Hawthorn victory and target some mid-priced Hawks forwards. I mentioned last week that Sydney has been given up a surprising amount of fantasy points to key forwards. This pattern led me to suggest Ben Brown when in fact it was Mason Wood who took advantage. Tonight I’m looking at Jack Gunston to be the next in line. Gunston has great historically form against Sydney (averaging 99 in his last 6 games). However, like all big men on this slate, Gunston’s output may be rain-affected.
With improved consistency, Luke Breust has been the most effective Hawthorn forward this year. Breust has kicked at least three goals in 5 out of his 7 games this year. His fantasy scoring has been boosted by some increased midfield/wing time.
As long as Dan Hannebery remains out, I don’t mind giving Kieren Jack a run. Jack’s price remains fair and his increased midfield role will bring him closer to value.
My takes: Pay down option: Ronke, Robinson. Pay up option: Gunston and Breust.
How long is too long to chase that Ryan Burton bounce back game? If I play him tonight it will be because of sheer stubbornness rather than a real belief in his scoring ability. Defenders have scored fairly well against Sydney this year and at $8,200, surely Burton can get close to value. For a few grand more, you can opt for the safer floor of Blake Hardwick or Taylor Duryea.
Heath Grundy has wound back the clock over the past fortnight, snaffling 23 marks in two games. I doubt that the Hawks will allow him much freedom tonight but his recent form must be acknowledged.
If Sydney win tonight, they’ll need to control the ball perfectly across half-back. This brings Callum Mills, Jarrad McVeigh and Jake Lloyd into the game. As the most expensive of the three, Lloyd may go under-owned tonight, especially as people are drawn to the high ceiling of James Sicily.
My takes: Burton, Hardwick, Mills.
With rain forecast, it’s hard not be drawn to midfielders who love to tackle. This makes premium options Josh Kennedy and Liam Shiels prime targets. Both are contested ball animals and if our friends at the Bureau are correct, then both should raise the bat.
My favourite value play is Jaeger O’Meara. This time last year the media was awash with articles which questioned whether he’d ever play again. A year is a long time in football and O’Meara’s fitness is rarely discussed. While he’s only scored one 100+ score this year, O’Meara’s form has been solid. It’s also worth mentioning that his one 100+ score featured 9 tackles.
Time after time this season, I’ve been tempted by the sexy seductress that is the fallen premium. Tonight’s femme fatale is Luke Parker. Since Buddy has gone down, Parker has spent a fair amount of time helping out Sydney’s young forward line. His output has dropped and so has his salary. With Buddy still out, you’d think this hybrid role will continue. That said, Parker’s two 100+ scores have both come off the back of high tackle counts.
My takes: JPK, Shiels, Jaeger and Jack.
Although I’ve locked in my team already, I’ll be paying close attention to the radar before lockout. If the rain clears, I might make some last minute changes to avoid the chalky ‘slog-fest’ selections.