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Captain’s Choice for Round 21

Player prices go up; player prices go down, but one thing is certain — you want to get your captain’s choice correct, particular now so with SuperCoach Classic finals upon us. 

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We got it very wrong last week with an all-ruck selection; sure, perennials like Gawn, Goldstein and Grundy, plus the youngster Rowan Marshall, scored highly in Round 20, but Ben McEvoy failed to even register 100 points and Scott Lycett got dropped! So instead, we’re going a full 180 and excluding ruckmen from the equation when it comes to picking skippers.

This is primarily because the Gawn vs Grundy match-up on Saturday afternoon makes it impossible to split the two; last time around Gawn dominated, but the word around the traps has it that Grundy was struggling with a minor injury. This week Brayden Preuss may (but probably should not, given the ‘quality’ of his game versus Richmond) support Gawn, while the absence of Cox could see Rupert Wills deployed as a small-man ruck support at the Pies.

FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS

LACHIE WHITFIELD | GWS GIANTS | DEF | $521,800 | 109.0 avg.

Roaming on the outside when the likes of Josh Kelly and Steve Coniglio are getting the hard ball would be the dream of any outside running midfielder. Yet the (albeit slight) downgrade to the likes of Jacob Hopper and Tim Taranto has made little difference to Whitfield, whose return to the Giants’ side against the Tigers some four weeks ago has seen him average 104.8 over that time period. Interestingly, Whitfield has not cracked the century mark against the Hawks since 2016, when he saluted with a 135-point game. He’s projected to score 117 this week against the Hawks, but the query is as to whether or not he can get a much higher score than that. In over 30% of all sides, he’s a perfect loophole option.

ZAC WILLIAMS | GWS GIANTS | DEF | $517,100 | 101.8 avg.

Another player to have benefited from the absence of Coniglio and Kelly, Williams has moved through the midfield more often for the Giants in the last handful of rounds of football. His SuperCoach output has maintained consistency away from his ‘traditional’ role as a half back runner; his three- and five-round averages are around the same mark as his season-long scoring output. With the likes of Kelly and Coniglio replaced by the younger Hopper and Taranto, there’s little doubt that Williams will continue to have a more varied role — can he start to turn it into big-time SuperCoach scores? He’s well worth placing the Vice Captain on and executing the loophole given that he’s in a quarter of all sides.

JAMES WORPEL | HAWTHORN HAWKS | FWD / MID | $505,100 | 94.4 avg.

If Worpel had played one less game in 2018, he would have been eligible for the Rising Star in 2019. Taking up the slack left by the absence of Brownlow Medalist Tom Mitchell, Worpel has tapped a rich vein of consistency in the last four weeks in particular, with his 149 points against the Kangaroos in Round 20 his peak score for 2019 so far. Over that period of time he’s been averaging 117.3 ppg, far in excess of his season-long average. If he continues to pump out these mega-scores, he could be a big DPP POD VC loophole option.

TOBY GREENE | GWS GIANTS | FWD | $515,200 | 90.4 avg.

Ignore that average as it’s irrelevant — Greene has moved into the midfield in the absence of Kelly and Coniglio, and has averaged 122.8 points per game across the last four rounds since the latter went down against the Tigers at the MCG. Prior to that return to the midfield, Greene only had two scores in excess of 100 across 10 games, and as such he is very affordable for any coach lucky enough to have the trades and / or cash to get him into their SuperCoach Classic side. With a breakeven of just 71, the likelihood is that he won’t lose value over the last three rounds of the home and away season, and has the ‘easy kill’ against the Suns in Round 23. Of his three remaining match-ups, they’re the only one he doesn’t average over 100 points against; fair to expect he’ll ton up every week for the rest of the SuperCoach season.

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OTHER OPTIONS

ADAM TRELOAR | COLLINGWOOD MAGPIES | MID | $605,600 | 113.3 avg.

What a difference a lack of pressure and a bit of composure makes! With the Gold Coast Suns not exactly locking down the Collingwood midfielder, Treloar was able to freewheel under very little defensive force, amassing a whopping 177 points. This week he comes across a similarly lax unit in the Melbourne Demons. Treloar picked up a very respectable 104 points in their easy Queen’s Birthday win, but since then the bottom has really fallen out of the Demons’ season, with their game against the Tigers in the wet last weekend seeing very little two-way work against a midfield unit that knows how to play in the wet. Expected to bucket down during the day of this match-up, you could do worse than picking Treloar as a skipper. Or just pick his teammate Grundy, who will be rucking essentially solo and will be desperate to do better than Gawn, who was one of the few winners for the Dees on Queen’s Birthday.

CLAYTON OLIVER | MELBOURNE DEMONS | MID | $592,100 | 111.0 avg.

The general narrative around Oliver’s season is that he’s not been in the same ballpark as his All-Australian season of 2018. It’s worth bearing in mind he has only recently turned 22, already has an AA selection and a Best-and-Fairest in his collection. In his last three matches Clayton Oliver has averaged well above his season average, going at 125.7 ppg, and at 122.0 over the last five rounds. He only has six scores below 100 for the season, and is one of the few Demons who maintains a strong defensive workrate. If not looking to put the captaincy armband on Oliver, pick the man who feeds him, Max Gawn, who will be striving to get a second one-up over All-Australian rival Brodie Grundy after destroying him on Queen’s Birthday.

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