Revealed: The Phantom’s KFC SuperCoach team 2.0
We're away. With KFC SuperCoach officially open for 2021, it's time to get serious.
Not that my first draft in December wasn't serious, but I've made some key adjustments since then, as I continue to refine my side for Round 1.
And I'm pretty happy with where it's at ahead of February's official - and unofficial - pre-season matches.
It could all go out the window by then.
But for now...
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Jake Lloyd (Syd) $656,400
Rory Laird (Adel) $564,800, Mid
Lachie Whitfield (GWS) $561,600
Alex Witherden (WC) $456,100
Will Gould (Syd) $123,900
Jacob Wehr (GWS) $117,300
BENCH: Tom Highmore (StK) $117,300
Joel Jeffrey (GC) $102,400
PREDICTED TEAMS: KFC SUPERCOACH VALUE PICKS IN ROUND 1 MIX
If you saw the earlier version, you will notice one big name is missing - Zac Williams.
I still like the new Blue, and he's still very much in the mix if the more-prominent midfield role eventuates, but is he going to outscore former teammate Lachie Whitfield? It's unlikely. And the star Giant is underpriced, given the injury-affected eight-point score which counted towards last year's average of 104. Take that Round 3 performance out and Whitfield's average was 110 - far closer to his career-best mark of 111 from 2019.
I'm not going without Jake Lloyd again and Rory Laird the midfielder, who posted scores of 120, 102, 122, 136 and 108 in the final five games of last season, playing his new role, is a lock.
Long-time favourite Alex Witherden's move to the Eagles, the team which loves to control the ball by-foot out of the back-half, will suit his strengths perfectly.
A fitter Will Gould is ready to make his long-awaited debut - lift, Horse - and mature-age draftees Jacob Wehr, a great Williams replacement at GWS, and Tom Highmore are also strong chances to see early action.
I love Port's Lachie Jones, and I will go with him if Ken Hinkley can squeeze him in, but I needed the extra cash to fit in one of his new teammates down the field.
Lachie Neale (Bris) $721,800
Clayton Oliver (Melb) $656,700
Sam Walsh (Carl) $543,300
Matt Rowell (GC) $495,100
Tom Green (GWS) $351,400
Jackson Hately (Adel) $310,300
Will Phillips (NM) $198,300
Luke Valente (Freo) $123,900
BENCH: Cooper Stephens (Geel) $123,900
Corey Durdin (Carl) $117,300, FWD
Alex Davies (GC) $102,400
In December, this is where I wasn't so sure.
But over the past month, I've been unable to drop any of the top seven.
With a number of questions marks surrounding a number of the other top-price guns - think the Bulldogs midfield and the bodies of Nat Fyfe and Josh Kelly for starters - for me, Lachie Neale and Clayton Oliver are the two most likely to maintain their expensive price tags and average as scores even out a little with extended quarters.
And I like the next three names even more.
Walsh added 11 points to his KFC SuperCoach average in his second season (98) and the 114-point average in the final 11 games suggests he's a chance of doing it again in 2021.
Before the injury against the Cats in Round 5, Rowell averaged an extraordinary 124 points in the opening four games of his career. That sort of figure would usually price him around the $670k mark. But after missing the rest of the season - and with the six-point score included in his 2020 average - Rowell is available for a discounted price - one that's too hard to overlook.
And I'm tipping Green, who tallied 20 contested possessions and 119 points in just 67 per cent game time of his fifth career match last year, to shadow Oliver's extraordinary second year and average between 105-110.
I'm picking those six to be keepers.
Hately might not reach the same heights but, at the price, he's more of a stepping stone selection, and one who can push his price tag to $500k.
He's likely to be a part of the Crows starting midfield rotation against the Cats in Round 1 and has shown he can score well when given the opportunity.
Everyone has to pick Will Phillips.
Brodie Grundy (Coll) $648,200
Braydon Preuss (GWS) $303,000
BENCH: Josh Treacy (Freo) $102,400, FWD
Starting without Max Gawn still scares me but I can't overlook Grundy for $100k less. I'm tipping he'll back to his best in a - fingers crossed - hub-free season and, as a result, push back towards the 130-point mark.
As scores even out across the 44 players on the field with a return to 20-minute quarters, I think Gawn will average similar. And that means a slight fall so I'll be overlooking the top-price combination at this point given Preuss's new No. 1 ruck role at the Giants.
In the three games he played without Gawn at the Demons, Preuss posted scores of 84, 85 and 140. In his two at North Melbourne without Todd Goldstein, the 25-year-old scored 111 and an injury-affected 39.
Josh Dunkley (WB) $560,200, Mid
Rowan Marshall (StK) $557,200, Ruck
Dustin Martin (Rich) $541,600, Mid
Connor Rozee (Port) $377,200
Nakia Cockatoo (Bris) $123,900, Mid
James Rowe (Adel) $117,300
BENCH: Bailey Laurie (Melb) $117,300
Jack Ginnivan (Coll) $117,300
This is where the real shake-up has taken place.
Although there is still a good chance I'll pick him, because it takes a lot to keep him out of a game for premiership points, I've dumped Patrick Dangerfield after the confirmation of his ongoing groin problems.
The leftover money helps with the Whitfield aquisiton, as well as allowing for Connor Rozee's move into F4.
We could all be laughing at the $377k starting price tag by the year's end.
Despite a blistering start to 2020 in the midfield, he spent most his second season in a forward role and battled a heel injury from Round 7.
But he's fit, the Power want to get him back in the middle and we saw his enormous KFC SuperCoach ceiling, with scores of 125 and 145, in the opening two rounds of last year.
TOP PICKS: EVERY CLUB'S PREDICTED TOP 3
There are a number of options in 2021 but Dunkley - even if he spends some time forward with Adam Treloar's arrival - and Marshall are the two premium dual-position stars I can pick with most confidence at this point.
And then there's Dusty. Does he start slow again? Who knows. Maybe not with Carlton, Hawthorn and the Swans up first. Regardless, he's still likely to average 100 minimum and that's what he's priced at.
Mature-age Crow James Rowe is a KFC SuperCoach lock and Nakia Cockatoo hasn't missed a session in Brisbane yet - although I'd feel much more comfortable with him on the bench come Round 1.
Originally published as Revealed: The Phantom's KFC SuperCoach team 2.0