No-go zone: Top 10 SuperCoach players to avoid

We take a look at the players you should be putting a line through heading into Round 1 of the 2022 AFL SuperCoach season.

AFL Key Analysis Pre Season

1. Callum Mills (SYD) $612,100 MID

Suffering with on-going Achilles issues, that’s as obvious of a red flag to avoid as possible, but I’ll elaborate further.

Mills was having these same issues throughout last year, but towards the back end of 2021 is where it really became a test for him.

It was evident the Achilles was a problem as it was effecting him during games and someone grimacing in discomfort is a clear sign things aren’t right.

The most worrying aspect of this is that we’re six months on from then with not a single game of footy in-between and he’s still being managed with that same issue.

He is a phenomenal player, has great work rate and will definitely get better, but that issue can’t be ignored.

Currently in full training only just now, but we’re under two weeks away from the first bounce and at $612k, it’d be like walking on broken glass and wondering why it hurts. Avoid.

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2. Nat Fyfe (FRE) $546,200 MID

I love Nat Fyfe, but I simply can’t pick him and do that to myself. He might get FWD/MID status throughout the year but even so, it comes with great risk.

Concerning factors include his age, his unclear role, his durability history, the fact he’s never completed a full season in 12 years, that troublesome shoulder and his pre-season which consists of missing sessions or being on light training.

There’s many players I love to watch that I simply will not pick for Supercoach and Fyfe fits this category. Of course it looks nice aesthetically putting him in the team, but with that many concerns around the one player, it’s far too risky. 

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3. Patrick Cripps (CARL) $454,800 MID

Over the past few weeks I’ve noticed his average ownership slowly creeping up.

We all love the romanticism of a player of the past who was elite that has a sudden resurgence and recaptures that same form.

Because of how satisfying it’d be to say ‘I had him from the start’ after a player goes off the charts. I get all of that, I just don’t think he is the player to tick that box. And here’s why.

For him to justify selection at this starting price, he has to either be a top eight keeper (forget it) or average 110-115, maybe more.

Plus you’re assuming his body his will hold up. Anyone can look great when fitness levels are high in match sims and practice games when there’s no premiership points on the line, but can he do it every week and back it up the week after across the whole season?

Midfield spots are so valuable where each player must justify logical selection and he doesn’t. He played through various injuries including a fractured back, which on face value appears courageous but the reality is he’s only hurting his own longevity in the game and his own body by not taking care of it. He presents a smidgen of value, but a potential hefty headache.

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4. Mitch Duncan (GEEL) $540,000 MID/FWD

Duncan last year suffered a PCL injury and also this pre-season has been battling a persistent calf issue keeping him out of pre-season intraclub and practice matches, which at almost 31-years-old is a big concern.

He is an upgrade target at best and that’s if he proves to make sense in terms of his role and fitness, which coming off a pre-season doing the bare minimum isn’t exactly filling me with much confidence.

This is only a discussion point as he finds himself DPP eligible in our forward lines and he also doesn’t have issues finding the footy, but in saying this, we can’t be tempted by one or two factors and overlook the countless red flags.

He may prove to be an okay option after the byes if things go his way, but to start the season with him, it’s a fairly concrete no.

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5. Jake Stringer (ESS) $506,800 MID/FWD

As mentioned earlier with Fyfe being a player you love to watch but should avoid for Supercoach, Stringer is very much in this category also.

He’s been dealing with groin issues which isn’t uncommon for Jake unfortunately, but it’s hindered his pre-season preparation making me think he’s another we just put a line through.

He had a terrific 2021 and I was surprised he stayed on the park for that long whilst being that consistent and showing his explosive side which we always knew was there.

I just can’t overlook his issues to pick him for Supercoach. In an interview recently he said he’d be getting even more midfield time in 2022, which is immensely hard to believe considering Essendon have three midfielders more coming into on-ball rotations (Caldwell, Shiel and Hobbs).

Plus also taking into consideration how light the Bombers are in the forward line with no McDonald-Tipungwuti, you would think he’d have to be used in the forward line to ease the pressure. The package won’t be being delivered anywhere near my team.

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6. Will Day (HAW) $345,700 DEF

I’ve rated Will Day so highly since I first saw him. I even had him in my initial team reveal for this season, which at that point I was completely unaware he was in Hawthorn’s rehab group.

Basically he hasn’t had any pre-season and has been doing some light training drills with the midfield group only recently. He’s also rumoured to be spending some time more up the ground at various stages this season as opposed to a floating half back like many were hoping.

Hawthorn have many players who can play that half back role, so Will Day’s Supercoach prospects of being a good selection with a friendly role seems firmly not on the cards.

The Hawks have a super talented player here for the next decade and he’s shown great potential in Round 1 last year with 28 disposals and 8 marks, as well as Round 15 where he collected 112 Supercoach points after 29 disposals and 10 intercepts.

Unfortunately however, he’s set to miss the start of the season. He has to be an avoid.

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7. Cam Rayner (BRIS) $278,600 FWD

At the time of writing, Rayner is sitting at a whopping 29% ownership and I’m absolutely not one of them. He is coming back from an ACL injury and it’s very pleasing to see him healthy and playing footy on the park again.

He’s never been one to rack up the footy, with or without midfield time. This ‘more midfield time’ is a great thing usually for a player’s Supercoach potential and for points boosting, however it doesn’t apply to every player.

Getting more midfield time means he’ll be used more in rotations, it doesn’t mean he’s a sole midfielder that’s going to be the next Neale and deliver crazy scores.

He’ll get more CBAs definitely, but a player who barely ever gets 15-16 touches who’s coming off an ACL, doesn’t exactly scream ‘pick me’.

His fitness levels look good and he’s been very involved, but he isn’t an accumulator of the footy that’d make him a worthy selection.

So basically if he has difficulty getting his hands on the footy, racking up contested possessions and mostly still playing as a forward then I’m really doubtful he makes $150k. I’m happy to see him back and even happier to let someone else take that risk. Not for me.

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8. Jade Gresham (STK) $299,000 MID/FWD

This one is fairly straight forward, he can’t be picked. For Gresham to be considered, he’d have to have had a full pre-season, play almost full time as a midfielder and showcase all of that in the last few weeks in the lead up to Round 1… and he’s done none of those things.

An Achilles rupture is not an easy injury to come back from and he’ll predominantly be playing across half forward.

Already this pre-season he was on a modified training program for a while. He’s had a frustrating two years and he’s a player that provides plenty of spark but the way he plays, in the role he plays, won’t translate into points for us. I hope he can have a good year for the Saints, but I’ll have to pass.

9. Dustin Martin (RICH) $503,500 MID/FWD

Dusty still looks to be the go-to player in a fair few Supercoach sides sitting at 31% ownership. It’s quite evident across the pre-season his body appears slimmer as he’s working his way back after the kidney injury in 2021 which saw him drop 15kg and an injury that wobbles anyone that much shouldn’t be taken lightly.

His durability over the years has been rock solid. Averaging over 70% CBAs last year, so on paper it doesn’t seem off putting.

I guess the frustration Supercoachers may have with Dusty is that he just tries only when he wants too. Often times just cruising during games which he may score a solid 90, when he could’ve put the foot down further and gone 110+ for example.

Also, every year at a particular point he always seems to be available at a fairly cheaper price than his starting price. So if you’re keen on him, it might be best to wait and in the mean time it’ll give you an opportunity to see if he comes back from this injury properly and if he doesn’t, then at least you won’t have taken the risk and been burnt. To start with him, it’s a no from me.

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10. Sean Darcy (FRE) $642,600 RUC

Saved the best for last. This one needs some explaining, which I’m more than happy to give.

I watched a lot of Fremantle games in 2021 because I had Andrew Brayshaw. Let me say it like this… Some coaches tend to see the score of player without seeing the actual game, particularly with non-Victorian teams and I can tell you, having seen it week in week out, Sean Darcy almost always every week had some sort of concern.

Whether he’d be hobbling, on the bench being treated, doing tests on the sidelines, getting his knee checked, whatever the case may be.

I don’t want to pay near $650k and be stressed every week wondering if he’s going to be okay. He’s already had:

– An interrupted pre-season and missed training sessions/been on light training

– Going down to the rooms for his knee

– Seems to always have knee strapping

– Had his hand wrapped after suffering a thumb splint injury

– Hasn’t played more than 50% of any intra-club match

– Didn’t play the practice match either

– As if all of that’s not bad enough, he’s also had Achilles tightness as well for example

I don’t understand the logic in Jordan Dawson’s ownership levels dropping, who only has soreness (which isn’t an injury) because it’s ‘too risky’.

Whilst a large ownership are stumping up $642k for Darcy thinking this many setbacks and interruptions is somehow fine.

There seems to be a common narrative I’m seeing where Darcy had managed game time in 2021, still scores good = good pick but NicNat also had managed game time in 2021, still scores good = risk too high. I can’t make sense of that.

He is a great player no doubt, but specifically looking at it from a Supercoach perspective, I don’t think I can pick him.

I dislike the talk of ‘he can score well and has good ceiling’. So does every other player at that price tag. I’d have no problem picking him if he participated in everything and had a full pre-season, had no setbacks, trained really well and looked great, then it’s no worries, but that’s not the case or even close.

Choosing a second ruckman alongside Grundy has been a challenge since Supercoach re-opened. If the other options in the ruck-line fall and there comes a scenario where Darcy has to be picked, then I will, but I’ll look to avoid it for all the reasons I mentioned above.

It’s just very hard to ignore all these issues that have already happened to him and this is all before a balls even been bounced.

Others may think differently and that’s okay, it’s just how I see it. At the end of the day we’re all trying our best to pick the strongest side with the least risk and biggest upside.

I really hope the talented Darcy can manage to put all these constant niggles behind him and play to his absolute full potential because it genuinely would be a joy to watch.

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