SC expert, commentator, 2x top 350 overall finisher
January 6, 2024
Well here we are, suddenly nearing the end of the BBL SuperCoach season. As always it’s been a rollercoaster, but with careful planning hopefully you’re in a position to chase a good finish.
Round 7 presents to us the second ‘mega round’ with more than two teams on the double. As such, this will give Coaches a huge chance to move up or down the rankings given the variety on offer. Most of you will already own Scorchers, and now it’s time for the Heat and Hurricanes to join them on the double.
Per the ‘Andrew Langley Method’ – yes, Champ, you’re getting quoted now – it’s important to give yourself maximum scoring involvements and also be considerate of if your ‘Double Game Week’ players are versing each other.
The theory goes that each game typically averages ~1000 SuperCoach points that the players have to share, with most often going to the winning side. If you’re picking players who are versing each other, it’s unlikely they’ll all score well. In this example, it does detract a little from the value of the Brisbane Heat who play the other two ‘double’ sides in their matches.
Additionally, with only two rounds remaining after this ‘double’ we need to be conscious that we may need to finish the season with the players we bring into our sides from this point. Looking ahead to Rounds 8 and 9 is therefore critical to ensure we’re not trading in players who could hurt us in the long run.
This article will help breakdown some notes on role, form and match-ups for this round and the future rounds so you’ve got all the intel you need to make good decisions. I’ll finish with a short ranking of my favourite options for round 7. Lessgo!
vs Sydney Thunder @ Showgrounds, Brisbane Heat @ Gabba
What we know
A great team and some of the best SC prospects in the game. But having a heap of them in your team already courtesy of the Round 6 double game week, do we need much more?
The Cooper Connolly experiment as opener is now over, with his role in the team now quite poor. As such, he’s a reluctant play if you own but someone that you could trade if you wanted to do so. In his place, Sam Whiteman has finally found relevance and scored 40 SC points in his first dip as an opener. While we’ve lost the loop, if he holds the openers spot he might be a decent guy to put on the field to maximise numbers for the double. He might even make a bit of cash by the end of round 7.
As skipper, Aaron Hardie is not bowling himself. And with five bowlers picked since their opening two matches, he needs to be viewed as a bat only. If you don’t own already, he’s a great ‘anti-POD’ option.
We could see a bowling rest and rotation in Round 7, so I’d be reluctant to invest any further in the bowling stocks if possible.
Showgrounds is a profitable place for fast bowlers. And this Scorchers attack could decimate the out of form Sydney Thunder who are consistently playing what feels like a batter short.
The Gabba offers plenty to batters and bowlers. We’ve seen scores over 200, and sides bowled out. All the players should be in the game.
The Thunder are in all sorts. They’re a young team and have wilted against the pressure of quality opposition. Their lineup has consistently proven to be wrong, so we may see an extra batter come in and Dan Sams moved down to number 7, but in all they lack quality and it’s hard to see them challenging the Scorchers.
Conversely, the Brisbane Heat might now be challenging the Scorchers for the best bowling attack in the competition. They’ve got 6 fantastic options and cover all bases – swing, pace, spin and at all times of the match. This will be the biggest challenge the Scorchers have faced since the Big Final last year and could test their batters.
Draw to finish the season
While there’s no byes on the horizon, with games against the only other ‘good’ sides in the Heat and Sixers to finish the season, personally I don’t want to invest much more than I have already in the boys from Perth. There’s every chance they still score well against those sides but it’s a very different prospect playing good teams compared to the bottom five sides who’ve been awful this year.
Given we already own so many Scorchers, it’s hard to advocate for anyone specifically but I’ll provide two scenarios.
Lance Morris – if he tears up again in Game 2 of Round 6, his Breakeven will be ridiculous and he could be a fantastic short term money grab while giving great point scoring potential. If he is rested for Game 2, he should be fit to play both in Round 7. I don’t hate the trade in if he’s got the great breakeven.
Sam Whiteman – now as an opener, if you need to desperately get away from Harper (he’s fine if you can stash but you may not have the luxury), Whiteman could be a decent option as an affordable player. He’s the leading runscorer in this season’s Marsh Cup to-date and is one good innings away from cementing the openers role.
Look elsewhere unless you’re desperate for cash gen.
vs Hobart Hurricanes @ Gabba, Perth Scorchers @ Gabba
What we know
Last year’s runners up have won 10 of their last 12 BBL matches – one of those losses was the Big Final. They made a huge call this season to not offer Sam Heazlett a contract and drop loyal servants Max Bryant and skipper Jimmy Pierson. It’s paid off in spades with arguably the most balanced side in the competition. I don’t know why we ever doubted them.
Seven games in, we know the roles. Neser only opens the bowling, Bartlett is now bowling death and surge. Tall Paul bowls three overs including surge and death and can bat (one of the best roles in the game) and Billings bats five.
The spinners build pressure and hunt for poles in the middle overs. Bartlett, Spencer and Tall Paul are the finishing act, capitalizing on that pressure. They’re professional and have made winning a real habit.
I’ll rinse and repeat what I wrote above. The Gabba offers plenty to batters and bowlers. We’ve seen scores over 200, and sides bowled out. All the players should be in the game.
The only difference is that we know the Heat play this ground as well as anyone and have made it a bit of a fortress.
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The ‘Canes have been plain ordinary in the Big Bash. They’ve got firepower with the bat there’s no doubt, but have struggled to string it together consistently and their bowlers lack penetration. To show just how bad their bowlers have been;
The Brisbane Heat side have taken 41 wickets via their bowlers in five games
The Hobart Hurricanes have taken just 24 wickets in six games
The powder puff bowling attack and the high-scoring Gabba could be a recipe for some big runs from the Heat bats.
Again, conversely the Perth side are arguably the most evenly matched with the Heat. They’ve taken 34 wickets in five games and have match-winners with the bat in Crawley, Hardie and Laurie Evans. This should be a helluva test for both sides – a potential Big Final preview?
Draw to finish the season
The Heat play Perth in round 8 then have the bye. That’s really tough, albeit with the importance of loops, owning one of them in round 9 could prove fruitful.
Most coaches will own only one or two Heat players due to their draw. Here’s a ranking of their options for Round 7:
Paul Walter; bowling the party overs and hitting boundaries is a good recipe for SC scoring and he’s averaging over 68 as a result. He isn’t cheap but looms as a great VC option.
Xavier Bartlett; who knew he’d become the spearhead? What looked like an experiment to start the season has turned into a permanent role as the Heat death bowler. He’s also swinging the ball nicely upfront and taking on what we thought Neser would do. His price will keep most away but he looms as a super POD
Colin Munro; big price, but if someone is going to go big against Hobart, it’s a fair chance it’s the skipper
Nathan McSweeney; more in the Aaron Hardie ‘anchor’ mould is the Heat number 3. Has one big innings to his name to-date this season and comes at a very friendly price.
Mitch Swepson; started with a bang and still averaging close to 60 for the season. Hobart boasts a lot of left-handers which might traditionally count against him but he’s been great all season
Kuhnemann; no one has taken more catches and his bowling is rock solid.
Josh Brown; cheap, low ownership and coming off two scores in a row. Would be a good POD.
Tall Paul is a priority trade in particular as someone who is very playable in next week’s Round 8 with no side on the Double. One or two batters will go huge for them this round against Hobart, while their bowlers are all performing admirably. A good team to take a punt on, or conversely go against given the Scorchers factor.
vs Brisbane Heat @ Gabba, vs Adelaide Strikers @ Adelaide Oval
What we know
Strugglers this season and change is needed. Injury has robbed them of some of their stars this year, with Matt Wade battling a back complaint and McDermott missing games with concussion. Their bowlers have changed every game with their fifth option being a lottery.
Their batters are their strength with a top order of Jewell, Wade, Wright, McDermott and Tim David possessing serious game breaking quality. Hopefully this round is where they finally click.
Two belters for the ‘Cane train. The Gabba offers plenty for batters and bowlers and Adelaide Oval is a batters paradise. AO has strangely also heavily favored the spinners this year with Cam Boyce and Glenn Maxwell recently the only two bowlers to escape with decent economy rates in a game with over 400 runs scored between the Stars and Strikers. You’d think one or two batters from the ‘Canes could go massive this round.
Jeckell and Hyde. The Brisbane Heat are title contenders with a bowling attack that hunts like wolves. It won’t be easy at the Gabba to defeat them, however that match could turn into a shootout with the bat.
The Strikers are battling for the wooden spoon against the Renegades. Despite possessing the number 1 and 2 leading run scorers, they can’t take wickets. It could present some great run scoring opportunities for this Canes outfit.
Draw to finish the season
It’s a nice draw to finish the season with a home match-up against the Strikers, followed by a trip to the MCG to play the Stars. As far as assessing all three teams on the doubles run home, this is the best by some margin for those reasons. Blundstone offers a bit to bat and bowlers while the Stars bowling attack is poor and again could be leaky.
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The good news about the Hurricanes struggles is that no player is too out of reach. We’re still waiting for some of the team to have their moment – especially the bowlers – but are games at the Gabba and Adelaide Oval going to present that? Only time will tell. Here’s the options I like:
Ben McDermott; on price and form, he’s a solid option for all coaches and is already widely owned. Even better for him if Wade misses out and he gets to open and keep wickets.
Caleb Jewell; it was the Adelaide Oval fixture last year where Jewell broke out. Form he has carried in all formats for over 12 months now. He’s cheap and due.
Mac Wright; Super POD and a really good young batsman who should hold down the number 3 spot. Seems to score well everytime he gets a crack at BBL.
Paddy Dooley; the forgotten man. Has lost over $65k on his starting price and has suffered from a bit of second-year syndrome with teams cottoning on to his tricks. Is fairly priced now and both venues have shown to be good places for spin bowlers. Would be a risky POD with a bowling strike rate of just 30 this season, but could pay off.
Nikhil Chaudary; would’ve been significantly higher on this list had he bowled at least three overs in round 6. The Canes troubles seem to be impacting his role. If he’s used properly by the skipper he should bowl four and bat seven which is decent. Let’s hope that’s the case in round 7.
Nathan Ellis; hasn’t really fired a shot this season and is averaging 30. We know he can have a breakout and at this price you could do worse.
Matt Wade; only injury has him this low. A risky pick given his age and back which has seen him miss multiple games already this year. If named for their first game, he could be worth a crack for sure. Has form at both grounds.
Chris Jordan; his ‘all rounder’ status is greatly exaggerated, but he bowls death and fields in hot spots so can accumulate points. Only three wickets in six innings so far.
The bowlers are cheap but that is warranted given their form. The opposition they face and grounds they play mean a gamble on batters could be the move which pays off.
There’s many ways to go about it this round and hopefully this gives you some things to think about. As an owner of six Scorchers already, I am happy to steer away from them and instead turn my attention to the other teams. Tall Paul interests me greatly and he looms as an ideal VC candidate. Elsewhere, a flyer on a ‘Canes batter looks fun. A piece of the Heat bowling stocks also seems like the smart money given how many points they’ve scored collectively.