Team Announcement: 2021 SC runner-up Niko drops squad

Last year's SuperCoach runner-up Steve Nikolovski drops his initial team ahead of Round 1 of the 2022 season.

AFL Key Analysis Pre Season

Countless hours of thinking and tinkering since the game has opened has led me here. 

Let’s hope it’s all smooth sailing with the remaining practice matches on the injury front as we head into round 1. 

I’ve always planned to start 12 premiums (season keepers) and currently have a 3-4-2-3 team structure with limited gambles and only $200 left in the kitty.   

I hope reading this helps you select your side, good luck to all for the season ahead!

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Jake Lloyd // $586,600 // DEF

Picks himself. Has averaged over 105 for the last four seasons and with Dawson gone he should have bulk kick ins again, and potentially return to his 122.2 average of 2020.

Jayden Short // $535,200 // DEF

Into his seventh season and will be the main man coming out of defence for the Tigers with Houli now retired. 

He should take most kick outs, or at least be utilised coming out of them, as they love his booming kick rebounding off half back. 

Is yet to average over 100 in his career, but I’m tipping that to change in a big way this season.

Lachie Whitfield // $502,600 // DEF MID

Has had some bad luck with contact injuries lately but now has a full pre-season under his belt. 

Under-priced if you look at his 2019 and 2020 season averages and I’m gambling he returns to that form.

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Mitchell Hinge // $180,900 // DEF

In for now after a decent display in the unofficial practice match. He laid tackles and looked clean with the ball. He could play half back and wing with Seedsman out.

Josh Sinn // $157,800 // DEF MID

I’ve heard nothing but good things coming from the coach and camp about this guy. 

He looks a great chance to debut round 1 but if he doesn’t you can easily switch to another rookie named due to his price point.

Patrick McCartin // $157,800 // DEF FWD

He’s a bit of a gamble and I can’t believe he’s not basement price. A forward turned defender who could be another success story much like Liam Jones was at Carlton. Once again at a price where you could easily pivot if it doesn’t work out.

Nathan O’Driscoll // $123,900 // DEF MID

First bench spot. This guy should get his chance with the Dockers at some stage and I’m hoping it’s round 1. 

Injury interrupted last season for him and he really impressed in the intra-club playing on ball, but that was without Fyfe, Mundy etc. Watch the next practice match and round 1 team closely.

Sam De Koning // $123,900 // DEF FWD

Geelong and rookies don’t normally go hand in hand, but this guy looks a good chance to have a spot in the side come round 1. He debuted last season but only scored a 27.  I’m not sure his scoring potential is there, but he may have some job security and valuable DPP swing.

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Jackson Macrae // $699,900 // MID

Reliability and consistency are exactly what you are looking for when shopping in this price range.  This guy brings that and more.  He has averaged over 120 for the last four seasons.  Captain material week in week out.

Jack Steele // $685,800 // MID

Has now gone back-to-back 120+ season averages. He’s leading the Saints with aplomb and is a joy to watch. He gets the ball, tackles hard and can kick goals. He ticks all the Supercoach boxes.

Touk Miller // $677,800 // MID

Took his season average of 105.9 in 2020 to 124.5 in 2021. A tagger turned ball winning machine who literally runs all day and gets to every single contest. 

A bull and relentless in his preparation and game style. I can see him averaging higher this year, especially if the Suns win more games.

Lachie Neale // $543,200 // MID

Really took his game to another level when he moved from Fyfe’s shadow at Freo to the Lions. 

He had an average of 121.3 in his first year as a Lion and 134.4 in his Brownlow year of 2020. Injury affected all last season who is now back to peak fitness. 

There’s nothing stopping him going back to a 120+ season average and you get him at a discounted price.

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Jarrod Berry // $268,500 // MID

Another who had an injury affected 2021 season. He averaged 97.1 in 2020 and I can see him returning to that judging by his performances in the pre-season.

Jason Horne-Francis // $207,300 // MID

Prized No.1 pick for the Kangas. I have my reservations at such an inflated price, but he’s in 65% of teams so I must pick him.  He will play mid and forward as he can take a contested mark and kick goals.

Nick Daicos // $193,800 // MID

The son of Collingwood legend Peter who joins his brother Josh at the Pies. He may have gone No.1 if he wasn’t a Father-Son selection. He will be sharing a half back and midfield role with captain Scott Pendlebury. That just screams Supercoach points and he’s 68% owned.

Dylan Stephens // $167,800 // MID

He only averaged 30 in six games last season but seems to have a better role in the team this time around. Once again, a watch in the practice matches and someone I can easily pivot away from.

Elijah Hollands // $123,900 // MID FWD

First bench and a place holder at his moment with his DPP. Coming off significant injury and being eased back into the AFL program. Will potentially be a downgrade option but he’s here for now in case he plays round 1.

Jackson Mead // $123,900 // MID

Pick No. 2 in the 2019 draft who is yet to debut. He has had a very good pre-season coming off significant injuries. One to watch to see if he gets his chance in round 1.

Connor MacDonald // $117,300 // MID

Sam Mitchell looks to have a youth first policy in his first season in charge of the Hawks. This guy has impressed and from all reports will get his chance to shine.

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Max Gawn // $657,400 // RUC

There’s been lots of talk about Max stepping back and letting Jackson play more ruck time, but he has reminded us why he is the premier ruckman of the competition in the practice matches. 

That Jackson CBA threat may become a reality, but Max can still score points behind the play as well as forward. With Darcy seemingly injured every week and Preuss becoming a no-go he’s almost a must pick at R1 coming off four consecutive 120+ season averages.

Brodie Grundy // $627,100 // RUC

Picks himself this year as he’s shed kilos and his hunger for the contest is back after his odd injury last season. He should return to his 120+ season average, maybe even 130+ and once again become a reliable captaincy option for us.

Hugh Dixon // $102,400 // RUC FWD

A recent addition to the game who has been given a contract by the Eagles due to their catastrophic injury concerns.  He should get games as a forward at the bargain basement price, just don’t expect too many points.

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Josh Dunkley // $558,200 // FWD MID

Injury history is a concern coming off two consecutive 11 game seasons, but his scoring power is too hard to ignore, especially as a forward option. He was the highest scoring player in the game after six rounds last season and judging by his CBA’s and attack on the ball he looks like returning to his best.

Jordan De Goey // $463,500 // FWD MID

It’s all about the role with De Goey. When he went permanent midfield last season, he averaged 110 across nine games. The talent and the role are there, hopefully his mindset follows. He will be first out if he’s not playing that role in the upcoming practice match against the Giants.

Zak Butters // $443,600 // FWD

He looked like he was all but broken out last season with a 163 and 100 at half time before injury struck. His pre-season has been elite training with the mids and his breakout year is this year. Ignore him at your own peril.

Stephen Coniglio // $261,300 // FWD MID

Giants Co-Captain coming off injury and only five games last season. He has averaged over 90 in the six previous seasons and looks to be returning to his best footy after a good pre-season. Too cheap to ignore and with 66% ownership.

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Mitch McGovern // $256,000 // FWD

My fellow contributor Dylan has been selling him all pre-season and I’ve finally bought seeing his intercepting role in the official practice match against the reigning Premiers.

He read the ball well and marked everything and was even good on both sides of the body by foot.  He looks like he could be this year’s JZ or Impey.

Joshua Rachele // $184,800 // FWD MID

What a performance from the No.6 pick in the unofficial practice match against the Lions kicking three second-half goals. I moved everything to get him in after that match. He’s a real X-factor and looks a match winner. I’m happy playing him on field even though the Crows won’t win many games.

Corey Durdin // $143,700 // FWD

I really liked what I saw from him against the Dees before he was taken off with a calf knock. Check the teams and make sure he’s not injured for round 1. If available, he is an easy selection for F6/7 as he will get games and score okay.

Kaine Baldwin // $123,900 // FWD

My final selection goes to Baldwin who has been named on field for the Bombers for their practice match against the Saints. I’m keen to see what he brings, but he’s very much a place-holder at a price I can easily move from.

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