The new Dream Team season is nearing ever so closer. Most coaches seem to have a pretty good idea of what their team will look like, but for others, this is a period of panic.
Undoubtedly, there will DT coaches right now wondering, “Who have I missed???”
Fear not, dear readers, here are some “must-have” picks for the 2012 season.
Brett Deledio (Rich, DEF/MID, $452,100)
Richmond finally have the players down back to allow Dids to move into the midfield, and Damien Hardwick has indicated that’s the plan for 2012. Had a slight set-back in the preseason but smashed out 140 points in limited game time last weekend against GWS. Get around him.
Greg Broughton (Fre, DEF, $416,200)
Broughton had a bit of an off year last year but with a new coach at the helm in Ross Lyon he seems to be thriving. Hit 100 points twice in the NAB Cup, with the only real concern being the fact Lyon did do some experimenting as to his role. Nonetheless, he’s looking like he’ll accumulate a fair amount of points in 2012.
Matthew Boyd (WB, MID, $573,800)
The Western Bulldogs should be on your radar for one very simple reason: new coach Brendan McCartney has introduced a very high-possession game plan. They won more of the pill than any other side during the NAB Cup. And it was Boyd at the top of the pack. I was already on the Boyd bandwagon for numerous reasons but after his preseason form (scoring 99 DT points at 91% TOG in Week 2 and 129 at 88% in Week 4) he’s a lock!
Gary Ablett (GC, MID, $554,700)
Another midfield lock. The superstar’s average dipped slightly last year adjusting to his new club, but that’s excusable and we can all expect it to go back up again in 2012. His average in his first five games at the Suns was 92. In his last five, it was 122. (His average in his last two seasons at Geelong was 119.)
Buddy Franklin (Haw, FWD, $503,000)
Buddy Love is set to spend a little bit extra time up the ground this year and if his NAB Cup scores are any guide, that can only be a good thing. The Hawks should have a big year, too, and chances are he’ll be near the top of their scorers more often than not.
Patrick Dangerfield (Ade, FWD/MID, $349,800)
Adelaide’s second-best scorer in their successful NAB Cup campaign might finally be coming of age, like all those Gary Ablett comparisons suggested he would. Previously, he hasn’t been a good DT scorer and that is a legitimate worry. But scores of 127, 86 and 83 in the last three rounds of the preseason – considering he topped 80 points just six times last year – suggests he’s a different player.
Brandon Ellis (Rich, DEF, $116,700)
The 15th pick from last year’s draft is set to play immediately and saw plenty of it in the preseason. The young Tiger is a great cash cow option.
Dylan Shiel (GWS, MID, $104,200)
Shiel is one of the best youngsters in the country, and would’ve likely been a top pick had he not already joined the Giants as a 17 year-old. Prior to that, in 2010 despite his age he averaged 30 points in the TAC Cup. Steal at this price.
Jon Giles (GWS, RUC, $117,800)
If you decide to be the only person in the whole competition not to have Giles in the ruck, well, good luck with that. As an experienced ruckman guaranteed to get games at an incredibly cheap price, he’s the most lock-able player of 2012.
Devon Smith (GWS, FWD, $121,200)
He’s locked himself in for a spot in GWS’s forward line and is ready to fire. Knows how to find the goals and is another Geelong Falcons product who looks likely at AFL level.
Michael DiFabrizio is a journalism student at the University of Wollongong. As an AFL writer, he has been an expert columnist at The Roar since 2009 and has appeared in The Age and on ABC television and radio.