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The rising stars in line for a debut at your club during August’s footy frenzy
As if footy everyday wasn’t exciting enough. An influx of debutants are set to feature during the next four rounds of a jam-packed fixture. Who will get a taste of senior footy at your club? Dan Batten looks at the candidates.

Dan Batten, Herald Sun

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It is an exciting time to be a footy fan with a fixture frenzy awaiting us.

Adding to the sense of anticipation will be the influx of young talent set to get their first taste of senior footy, as injuries mount and experienced players are managed through this trying period.

Some clubs have been generous to their young talent this season as they rebuild, while other sides, like Carlton, have blooded a host of debutants in previous seasons.

Which young guns are in line for a debut over the jam-packed next four rounds?

Check out the leading debut candidates at your club.

Adelaide
2020 debutants: Fischer McAsey, Will Hamill, Shane McAdam, Ned McHenry, Andrew McPherson

On the cusp: At 0-7, the lowly Crows will continue to play the kids and expect more debuts to come in the next month. Second-year defender Jordan Butts and 2019 draftee Josh Worrall impressed down back in a recent scratch match against Port Adelaide. Inside midfielder Harry Schoenberg, the club’s second pick in last year’s draft, is edging closer to an AFL berth and was matched up against Tom Rockliff at the weekend. Ruck understudy Kieran Strachan is ready if they decide to give Reilly O’Brien a rest.

Brisbane
2020 debutants: Deven Robertson, Tom Berry

On the cusp: The Lions have a very settled line-up with players such as Alex Witherden struggling to get games. Bullocking midfielder/forward Ely Smith could be given his first crack with a hardened body ready-made for the rigours of senior footy. Academy graduates Keidean Coleman and Connor Ballenden may come into considerations after being named emergency last week, with Coleman able to provide speed in their front half. Will Corey Lyons, brother of Lions star Jarryd, finally get his chance in his fourth season on Brisbane’s list?

Carlton
2020 debutants: Sam Philp

On the cusp: We are more likely to see familiar faces such as Paddy Dow and Lachie O’Brien re-enter the frame for the Blues, but there’s a couple of names to watch out for. Rookie forward Josh Honey lit up a recent scratch match with three goals against St Kilda’s reserves and could add some spark to their forward mix. Gut-running defender Matt Cottrell was named as an emergency in Round 7 and may be called on and is yet to debut after joining the club with mature-age success Michael Gibbons during the supplemental selection period last season.

Collingwood
2020 debutants: Tyler Brown, Will Kelly, Atu Bosenavulagi

On the cusp: Following a week’s rest after Round 8, Collingwood has back-to-back four day breaks, so you’d expect Nathan Buckley to get creative at selection. Irishman Mark Keane impressed with his intercept work during pre-season and can help plug a hole down back. Running machine Jay Rantall, who took out both of the Magpies’ 2km time trials in his first pre-season, could also be promoted while Scott Pendlebury (quad) is sidelined.

Essendon
2020 debutants: Ned Cahill

On the cusp: Coach John Worsfold indicated senior opportunity is coming for ruckman Sam Draper and he shapes as an exciting prospect standing 205cm and weighing 108kg. Developing tall Harrison Jones, their first pick of the 2019 draft, has to overcome a foot injury but could be called on given Essendon’s injury woes up forward. This may also work in Irving Mosquito’s favour if the Bombers continue to place an emphasis on pressure — as they did in Round 8.

Fremantle
2020 debutants: Sam Sturt, Hayden Young, Caleb Serong, Minairo Frederick, Tobe Watson

On the cusp: Fremantle is keen to play the kids having already trialled five debutants, the most recent being mature-age defender Tobe Watson, who held his own after being called up as a late in against Geelong. There are several more uncapped Dockers Justin Longmuir will consider, with ruckman Lloyd Meek front of the queue if they opt to give Sean Darcy or Rory Lobb a rest. Second-year midfielder Luke Valente has impressed during match simulation and should enter calculations, as will fellow rookie Tom North. Will the Dockers unleash their third top-10 selection from last year, exciting forward Liam Henry, over the next four rounds?

Geelong
2020 Debutants: Brad Close

On the cusp: Three games in two states across 14 days await the Cats, so expect a number of changes at selection each round. Key-position forward Nathan Kreuger and rangy defender Ben Jarvis were both named as emergencies in Round 8 and the South Australian duo loom as likely debutants. Tall defender Sam De Koning held the No. 1 ruck mantle in their recent scratch match with recognised ruckmen Rhys Stanley and Darcy Fort injured. Both will miss their blockbuster clash against West Coast, but Geelong are likely to allow Esava Ratugolea and Mark Blicavs to share duties again. First-round draftee Cooper Stephens is another who could be thrown in if experienced midfielders are eased through.

Gold Coast
2020 debutants: Matt Rowell, Noah Anderson, Connor Budarick, Izak Rankine

On the cusp: The Suns have another first-round selection from the 2019 draft to unveil in Sam Flanders, who will add power and a sense of x-factor up forward and through the middle. Wingman Jeremy Sharp, a second-round pick in the same draft, could enter the frame with his elite skills on the outside, while largely forgotten defender Jez McLennan is still yet to debut. The 23rd selection in the 2018 draft has been named as an emergency numerous times and this is as good a time as any to give the talented junior a taste.

GWS
2020 debutants: Tom Green, Lachie Ash

On the cusp: Greater Western Sydney’s midfield logjam has kept first round draftee Xavier O’Halloran on the outer since he arrived at the club at the end of 2018 and they will be eager to see what he can produce with his contract finishing up at the end of the season. The Giants have recruited two ready-made forwards in the last two drafts, with VFL product Jake Riccardi and 25-year-old goalsneak Thomas Hutchesson able to be called on if required. If they decide to change things up in the ruck, Kieran Briggs or Matthew Flynn may be considered.
 
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Hawthorn
2020 debutants: Harry Jones, Will Day, Josh Morris

On the cusp: Alastair Clarkson hasn’t been afraid to blood debutants with their three this season coming in the past month. Small defender Damon Greaves, who shone during a pre-season game, will be in the mix. Midway through his third season, Jackson Ross is yet to be given an opportunity and can provide pace to their front half, while 2019 father-son selection Finn Maginness has a great tank and could also be trialled. Changkouth Jiath and Dylan Moore, who both debuted last season, are yet to feature and should have a more prominent role in the back-half of 2020.

Melbourne
2020 debutants: Luke Jackson, Kysaiah Pickett, Trent Rivers, Toby Bedford

On the cusp: Interestingly, only three players on Melbourne’s list are yet to play at AFL level and one of them, Aaron Nietschke, has been ruled out for the season with injury. James Jordon appears the most likely of those to feature but the Demons already have a stack of youngsters ahead of him, including 2020 debutants Toby Bedford and Trent Rivers.

North Melbourne
2020 debutants: Jack Mahony, Tristan Xerri

On the cusp: North Melbourne has been forced to give plenty of kids a run as their injury concerns mount and 2019 mid-season draftee Lachie Hosie looms as the next cab off the rank. The high-leaping forward plays taller than his 189cm size suggests and will surely come into coach Rhyce Shaw’s thinking. Otherwise, watch for ruck-forward Tristan Xerri to return to give Todd Goldstein a chop-out.

Port Adelaide
2020 debutants: Mitch Georgiades

On the cusp: Father-son midfielder Jackson Mead was closing in on a debut early in the season before injury struck and could earn a call-up, while exciting forward Miles Bergman has been unsighted to date. The Power’s first pick of the 2019 draft is another medium forward and will be sure to give the Alberton crowd plenty of highlights. Small forwards Tobin Cox and Dylan Williams will enter calculations if they look to change up their forward mix. While he has already played at Geelong, Wylie Buzza may make his Power debut following Todd Marshall’s injury blow.

Richmond
2020 debutants: Jake Aarts

On the cusp: Watch for debuts from Riley Collier-Dawkins and 2019 draftee Thomson Dow while Dion Prestia is sidelined. Collier-Dawkins is a tall inside-midfielder and has been close to getting his chance since joining the club as a first-round pick in the 2018 draft. Dow, the brother of Carlton’s Paddy, was also taken in the first round and can play on a wing or in the coalface. Callum-Coleman Jones (1 game) and Ryan Garthwaite (9 games) could also play a part.

St Kilda
2020 debutants: Max King, Ryan Byrnes

On the cusp: St Kilda’s team appears settled with experienced names like Dylan Roberton struggling to get a look in, but untried key defender Oscar Clavarino is in line for a debut over the next four rounds. After battling persistent hamstring injuries throughout the year, Clavarino pressed his claim in their recent scratch match against Brisbane, showing off his marking prowess in wet conditions. With Nathan Brown leaving their hub, the key defender will be front of mind for coach Brett Ratten. Otherwise, second-year midfielder Jack Bytel will be considered if they opt to rest their ball-winners.

Sydney
2020 debutants: Dylan Stephens, Chad Warner, Elijah Taylor, Matt Ling

On the cusp: The injury hit Swans are injecting plenty of youth into their side and there could be a few more debutants coming. Sam Wicks and Barry O’Connor will enter calculations after being elevated to the senior list this week, with injured stars Isaac Heeney and Josh Kennedy placed on their long-term injury list. Ruckman Joel Amartey and Michael Knoll should get their chance soon, Knoll (aged 27) being the most likely candidate to give Callum Sinclair support once fully recovered from his knee injury. Draftee Will Gould has a ready-made body and can impact from the get-go.

West Coast
2020 debutants: Nil

West Coast are yet to blood a debutant this season but may be forced to in the coming weeks. Mature-age forward Nic Reid, 25, joined the club during the supplemental selection period and was named as emergency last round, on standby for Liam Ryan, and could feature. Ruckman Bailey Williams looks to be have leapfrogged Tom Hickey and Nathan Vardy and is likely to be given a crack as they manage Nic Naitanui through the fixture frenzy. We are yet to see their second round pick in the 2018 draft, midfielder Xavier O’Neil, or the big-bodied Hamish Brayshaw, brother of Angus and Andrew.

Western Bulldogs
2020 debutants: Ben Cavarra, Laitham Vandermeer, Louis Butler, Cody Weightman, Callum Porter

On the cusp: Luke Beveridge has played the equal-most debutants in 2020 and there aren’t too many players left yet to pull on red, white and blue. The most likely is 22-year-old ruckman Jordon Sweet if Tim English is rested, but English’s tank resembles that of a midfielder. Rookie defender Buku Khamis is raw but provides athleticism in spades and could press his claim during this period.
 
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Josh Dunkley will take on the Power on Monday night after six weeks on the sidelines with an ankle injury.

Western Bulldogs coach Luke Beveridge said the loss of Matt Suckling to a hamstring injury had paved the way for Dunkley — who has not played since Round 3 on June 19 — to return and provide the consistency that he said the Dogs craved.

“Dunks will play, so there’ll be at least one change there,” Beveridge said.

“As you know, Matty Suckling hurt his hamstring last week and we’ve got a run this morning, just a really light run and we’ll release our team (on Sunday) afternoon.

“(Dunkley) is just a great team player. A great teammate. He does everything right in the game – he works his backside off … and he reads the game really early.

“He’s strong and hard in tight, and he really gets out. Our boys have done an inconsistent job over the course of the year inside and out, but Dunks is a really consistent player who continues to apply himself. And he’s a shining example within our four walls of what we’re after.”

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Josh Dunkley will return for the Bulldogs.

Lachie Hunter, who has taken a break from AFL to deal with personal issues, will play in a scratch match on Sunday afternoon and Beveridge said he was making positive strides.

“Maddie’s up now, which is great, Lachie’s fiancee,” Beveridge said.

“They did have plans to get married – I’m not sure how that sits in this COVID-19 world at the moment.

“He’ll play in the scratch match today … so that’ll be good for him. And we’ll see how he comes through over the course of the next week or two and work out whether he’s considered to come back in to the AFL team.”

See the full teams for Monday night’s clash between Port Adelaide and Western Bulldogs here from 6.25pm tonight.
 
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KFC SuperCoach Round 11 trade bible: Best targets coming off the bye

Patrick Cripps of the Blues.

Tim Michell, Dan Batten

Herald Sun

Subscriber only

August 7, 2020 10:23am

Trading in players coming off a bye is a proven strategy to KFC SuperCoach success.

SuperCoaches who built up their bank in preparation for Hawthorn, Fremantle, Carlton and West Coast returning in Round 11 will have their choice of some of the game’s best scorers — at discount prices. In fact, the timing couldn’t be better if you don’t have stars like Patrick Cripps and Tom Mitchell.

Cripps already features in 52 per cent of teams but is a bargain at less than $500,000, while Mitchell’s price is about to boom after a score of 164 in his last outing against Cripps’ Blues. There are also players such as breakout star Andrew Brayshaw, top-ranked forward Michael Walters, prolific Eagles Elliot Yeo and Tim Kelly and rookie star Caleb Serong to consider.

Getting your trades right in Round 11 will set you up for a successful run home and leave your team primed to reach full-premium status in coming weeks.

Coaches will be considering parting with popular picks such as Marlion Pickett and Izak Rankine, although trading any player who features in their team’s best 22 comes with an element of risk this season.

With about 18 hours between the end of Round 10 and the first game of Round 11, trade decisively.

Patrick Cripps has not been this cheap in KFC SuperCoach since 2016.

TOP TARGETS

Patrick Cripps (Carlton) $488,500 MID, Average: 101.6, Break-even: 68

Cripps was available for less than $500,000 in KFC SuperCoach for the first time since 2016 before Round 9 and only rose by $10,400 despite scoring a season-high 149 against Hawthorn. Cripps, who averaged 119 and 117 in 2018-19, opened the campaign with three successive scores of 112 or better but then only posted more than 85 once in his next five games. If you didn’t start with the Blues co-captain, this is the perfect time to bring him in after Carlton’s bye. His 27-disposal performance against the Hawks was the first time since Round 1 he had more than 25 touches and coaches will be hopeful it signalled a return to top form.

Tom Mitchell (Hawthorn) $568,800 MID, Avg: 114.1, BE: 72

The Brownlow medallist will soon rocket back above $600,000 after continuing his dominant record against Carlton with 164 KFC SuperCoach points. Mitchell has been consistent without matching the scoring feats of big guns Jack Macrae and Lachie Neale this season, recording at least 95 points in eight of his nine matches. He was the fourth-ranked midfielder for total points after nine rounds, behind only Macrae, Neale and surprise packet Jack Steele. While that trio is worth more than $600,000, Mitchell is available for $62,100 less than his starting price ahead of Round 10.

Tom Mitchell reminded SuperCoaches of his scoring prowess with 164 against Carlton.

Tim Kelly (West Coast) $557,800 MID, Avg: 101.8, BE: 93

The first-year Eagle was available for as little as $483,600 after Round 5 before recording scores of 140, 105 and 150 in consecutive matches. Kelly dropped back to 90 against his former side Geelong, but has produced an eye-catching past month. While he features in more SuperCoach teams (12.8 per cent) than Elliot Yeo (8.5 per cent) and Andrew Gaff (6.8 per cent) Kelly is still a point of difference selection. Especially when most other coaches will target Cripps, Mitchell or Nat Fyfe this round.

Luke Ryan (Fremantle) $551,100 DEF, Avg: 101, BE: 80

Ball magnet Jake Lloyd (125.6 points) is the only defender who has a better average than Fremantle intercept specialist Ryan (117.6) in the past five rounds. Despite being forced to play as a tall defender in the absence of players such as Alex Pearce and Joel Hamling, Ryan has flourished in the past five rounds, reeling off five straight hundreds – 109, 105, 125, 118 and 131. Ryan benefits from kick-in points and intercept possessions, of which he had a team-high nine against Collingwood.

Luke Ryan was the second-ranked defender behind Jake Lloyd from rounds 5-9.

Nat Fyfe (Fremantle) $588,200 MID, Avg: 114.3, BE: 155

Will you really gain much by waiting an extra week to get Fyfe? The Dockers skipper dropped $50,800 after scoring 112 on his return from injury in Round 9, but will only lose another $15,000 if he matches his projected score of 120 against Hawthorn. Fyfe amassed 154 points against the Hawks in Round 17 last year. While his durability has been a question mark, if Fyfe gets through the remainder of the campaign he will rival Lachie Neale as the No. 1 midfielder from Round 11 onwards.

Reigning Brownlow medallist Nat Fyfe is rarely available for less than $600,000.

Marcus Bontempelli (Western Bulldogs) MID, Round 10 price: $521,300, Avg: 100.6

The Bulldogs skipper is another of the midfielders who started the season priced at more than $600,000 but is available for more than $100,000 less than his starting quote. A combination of taggers and time spent forward have caused Bontempelli’s average to drop by 14 points from last season. But he’s still one of the best players at accumulating points swiftly, as he did in Round 4 against Sydney when he had 111 points at halftime.

Shannon Hurn (West Coast) $429,100 DEF, Avg: 86.3, BE: 79

Not a pick for the faint of heart, but one that could pay huge dividends if Hurn can recapture the scoring prowess he displayed in recent years. The Eagles defender peaked at $567,500 after Round 3, but his initial price rise was due to a Round 1 score of 152 against Melbourne. Since then, Hurn has averaged 78 and his mantle as the topscoring West Coast defender has been taken by Brad Sheppard. There’s always risk attached with taking on a fallen premium (especially at age 32) but at least the upside with Hurn is obvious — playing games at home and benefiting from kick-in stats.

Jayden Short (Richmond) Approx price: $497k Avg: 98

Short has blossomed into a premium KFC SuperCoach defender this season, lifting his average from 64.3 to 98 with four scores of 110 or better. Despite that, he’s still set to be available for less than $500,000 in Round 11. He had 23 disposals at 100 per cent efficiency against Brisbane Lions, recording 125 KFC SuperCoach points. The looming return of Bachar Houli will have prospective buyers treading carefully, but the pair scored well together earlier this year. He’s an alternative if you missed out on Tom Stewart.

Andrew Brayshaw (Fremantle) Price: $546,800 FWD-MID Avg: 102.7 BE: 85

Only two players who had the Round 10 bye have scored more points than Brayshaw this season — James Sicily and Tom Mitchell. After failing to reach 90 in his opening four games, Brayshaw has gone on a run of five successive KFC SuperCoach tons. He has averaged 122 points a game during that stretch, with the highlights scores of 144, 122 and 136. The only slight concern is his minutes were down against Collingwood in Round 9. In rounds 6-8 he played 96, 81 and 81 minutes. Against the Magpies, when Nat Fyfe returned from injury, he played 73 minutes. A points per minute ratio of 1.5 was still promising though.

Jy Simpkin (North Melbourne) Approx price: $398k FWD-MID Avg: 96.9

Simpkin returned to form against Geelong on Wednesday with his first KFC SuperCoach ton since Round 6 (103). The North Melbourne breakout star seemed unattainable when he reached $555,800 but scores of 57, 35 and 56 in successive weeks have caused his price to crash to within $20,000 of his starting price of $383,000. That’s too good to pass up for coaches who had to watch him string together five hundreds and a 97 in the opening six rounds with envy. Don’t be put off by his three low scores either — one was with a heavy Ed Curnow tag and the 57 was when he only played 59 minutes of a possible 98 due to an ankle injury.

Tom Stewart (Geelong) Approx price: $460k DEF Avg: 89

If you prioritised Mitch Duncan or other targets in Round 10, Stewart will still be available for about $70,000 less than his starting price of $533,000. A price tag of about $460k is cheap for a player renowned for his consistency. The only concern is Geelong has flagged the likelihood of managing its stars through a gruelling period of matches. While that doesn’t mean he will be rested, Stewart only played 80 of a possible 105 minutes against North Melbourne. His kicking efficiency of 45.5 also contributed to a score of 68, his lowest in a full game since Round 22, 2018.

Tobe Watson (right) scored 73 KFC SuperCoach points in his second game for Fremantle.
 
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ROOKIE WATCH

Tobe Watson (Fremantle) $155,400 DEF, Avg: 61, BE: -29

After being a late inclusion in Round 8, Watson held his spot and finished with 12 disposals, four marks, five tackles and 73 KFC SuperCoach points against Collingwood. While he jumped by $31,500 after his second game, Watson will still represent an attractive downgrade target in Round 10. SuperCoaches who have held onto Magpie John Noble will be able to make more than $150,000 by trading him to Watson. If that helps facilitates other team upgrades, it’s a no-brainer.

SCROLL DOWN TO THE SEE THE BEST ROOKIES RANKED

Tom Lynch (Richmond) Approx price: $323k FWD Avg: 69.6

This is one for the risk takers. Yes, he’s technically not a rookie, but Lynch is available for a fraction more than rookie price and has scored 97 and 109 in the past two weeks. The likelihood of more rounds with the best 18 scoring system bring him into the mix. While he can throw in a stinker — he had three recent scores in a row of 42 or less — Lynch is capable of big numbers as he showed when he managed 132 points in Round 19 against Collingwood last year.

Harry Schoenberg scored 42 points in the second half of his debut against Melbourne.

Harry Schoenberg (Adelaide) Price: $117,300 MID Avg: 59

There was plenty to like about the debut of last year’s No. 24 draft pick. An inside midfielder, Schoenberg battled to 17 points at halftime before showcasing his talent with a 28-point third term. He finished with 12 disposals, two marks, two tackles and KFC SuperCoach points. Midfield rookies have been scarce this year and the Crows don’t have much to lose by continuing to play the kids. Although he should only be bench cover, downgrading a player such as Harley Bennell or Marlion Pickett to free up cash will be a popular move in Round 11.

Lachlan Sholl (Adelaide) Price: $123,900 DEF Avg: 52

Sholl soared to 38 KFC SuperCoach points (scaled to 42) by quarter-time of his Crows debut and is all but guaranteed a second game after teammate Will Hamill was sidelined by concussion. Sholl slowed down in the last three terms, only finishing with 52 points, but the rate with which he flew to 42 by quarter-time was eye-catching. With Rory Laird thrust into the midfield, where Brodie Smith has also spent more time, there’s going to be ample opportunity for players such as Sholl at halfback. He averaged 19 disposals and 75 ranking points in the SANFL last season with a disposal efficiency of 76 per cent.

DAN BATTEN’S ROOKIE RANKINGS

1. Tobe Watson - Fremantle ($155,400, DEF) Ave: 61 BE: -29

2. Harry Schoenberg - Adelaide ($123,900, MID) Ave:

3. Lachlan Hosie - North Melbourne ($123,900, FWD) Ave: 54

4. Sam Draper* - Essendon (RUCK) Ave: 73

5. Lachie Sholl - Adelaide ($123,900, DEF) Ave: 52

5. Sam Wicks - Sydney ($123,900, MID) Ave: 80

7. Trey Ruscoe - Collingwood ($117,300, DEF/MID) Ave: 43

8. Boyd Woodcock - Port Adelaide ($102,400, FWD) Ave: 43

9. Jack Payne - Brisbane ($123,900, DEF) Ave: 45

10. Jeremy Sharp - Gold Coast ($117,300, MID) Ave: 34

11. Xavier O’Halloran - GWS ($123,900, MID)

*Price to be determined after Round 10 match*

SuperCoaches have been searching far and wide for rookies in recent weeks and now there is almost too many to choose from.

In terms of job security and scoring, the best of the lot has already risen in price.

Docker Tobe Watson had the bye in Round 10 but is coming off a score of 73 points in his last game and the 22-year-old intercept defender presents as an attractive downgrade option.

North Melbourne debutant Lachlan Hosie slotted two first quarter goals on debut playing in the role previously held by cash cow Curtis Taylor, who will be sidelined for the next three weeks.

It means Hosie, a mature-age recruit from last year’s mid-season draft, should have a solid run at it over that period — especially with forward Ben Brown also suffering an injury blow in Round 10.

Don’t expect a 50-plus score each game, though.

Lachlan Hosie booted two majors on debut. Picture: Getty Images

Alternatively, Sam Draper taking the reigns as Essendon’s sole ruckman could make him a significant money-maker.

He is projected to be priced at $165,000 after Round 10 but looms as a shrewd buy with the injury-affected Max Gawn in doubt for his date with Todd Goldstein.

Draper will provide valuable cover if he misses and while his scoring is unlikely to rival Marc Pittonet, it is no secret that No.1 ruckman score well in SuperCoach - meaning his price could skyrocket.

Assess how he fares against GWS ruckman Shane Mumford on Friday before taking the plunge.

Sam Draper could provide cover for Max Gawn while making cash. Picture: Michael Klein

If you are after basement price options in the midfield or defence, Harry Schoenberg and Lachie Sholl are worth considering.

Schoenberg spent an encouraging amount of time at centre bounces while Scholl started with a bang playing on a wing, scoring 41 points in the first quarter, before fading out of the game.

The Crows did manage several younger players for their clash with Melbourne and unforunately we will not know their team line-up until later in the round on Monday night.

Of the pair, Schoenberg appears most likely to hold his spot with outside runner Brodie Smith, a late withdrawal in Round 10, a chance to take Sholl’s place.

Sydney rookie Sam Wicks is sure to be a popular option after impressing with 80 points from nine touches and six tackles but has a bye in Round 11.

Sam Wicks has the bye in Round 11. Picture: Getty Images

Wicks is a safe bet and will likely remain in the Swans’ side if you wish to avoid the unwanted stress waiting for Schoenberg to be named.

Magpies debutant Trey Ruscoe could have easily had two or three goals to his name but instead kicked an inaccurate 1.3.

The DEF/MID rookie played as a forward and should receive more opportunity considering Collingwood’s injury crisis, while rock-bottom cheapie Boyd Woodcock ($102,400, FWD) faces a nervous wait at selection.

First-year Docker Caleb Serong has relished greater game time in the past two rounds.

MID-PRICE BOLTERS

Caleb Serong (Fremantle) $330,100 MID, Avg: 78.2, BE: -35

Injected into a prominent midfield role in the past two rounds, first-round draftee Serong has been a revelation for the Dockers and KFC SuperCoaches. The 19-year-old went head-to-head with Patrick Dangerfield in Round 8 and finished with 118 points. The return of skipper Nat Fyfe did not derail his scoring spike as Serong then scored 114 against Collingwood. His price has jumped by $83,500 in the past two rounds but with a break-even of -35 he’s projected to rise above $400,000 by the end of Round 12. Serong averaged 63 minutes a game in his first four matches but featured in 80 minutes against the Cats and 79 against the Magpies.

Oscar McInerney (Brisbane Lions) RUC-FWD Approx price: $391k Avg: 79

McInerney was outstanding against Richmond, finishing with 11 disposals, four marks and 19 hit outs to register 128 KFC SuperCoach points. His price will boom by about $36k ahead of Round 11 but the Lions big man is still worth considering due to strong job security with Stefan Martin and Archie Smith sidelined by injury. Forgive his season average of 79, it’s his average in the past two weeks as Brisbane’s No. 1 ruckman of 109.5 you should be interested in.

Noah Balta (Richmond) RUC-FWD Approx price: $327k Avg: 71.3

Don’t be concerned about the low numbers Balta posted last year. In the absence of Alex Rance and David Astbury, the young Tiger has emerged as an aerial threat in defence. His intercept marking has been a feature in the past two rounds, when he has produced scores of 107 and 96. That role is much more KFC SuperCoach friendly than when he spent time as a forward and in the ruck last season. Balta only needs to average 80 in the next three rounds to get to about $390k, which would be a great result. If you’re still holding Devon Smith, a sideways swap is worth consideration.

Alex Witherden (Brisbane Lions) DEF Approx price: $436k Avg: 98.7

After a lengthy absence from Brisbane’s team — extended by the COVID-19 shutdown — Witherden has returned with scores of 170 and 85. Whether he can maintain that type of scoring when Daniel Rich returns remains to be seen, but the one-time KFC SuperCoach prodigy has at least put himself back on the radar. His past two games have displayed the type of form SuperCoaches were excited by when he averaged 87.1 in nine games as a rookie in 2017.

Approx prices thanks to Brice Mitchell — follow Brice on Twitter @bricemitchell
 
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