IT’S the selection decision dividing SuperCoach players in 2017: should Gary Ablett Jr be in your initial SuperCoach squad?
SuperCoach expert Schwarzwalder examines the pros and cons of picking the greatest SuperCoach player of all time.
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It feels like I’ve written this article a hundred times already in my stint at SupercoachTalk. The question comes up every season and is now more relevant than ever.
Gaz, Gazza, GAJ, The Little Master, The Bald One, God, Yabbaleeeeeeeeet!!! Whatever you want to call him, he’s been the benchmark SuperCoach player for many years.
Starting Ablett in SuperCoach hasn’t been a choice in years gone by, it’s been a must! Many believers have now, however, turned their back on the great one. Faith has started to waver as the great man has struggled with recent shoulder and knee issues.
The SuperCoach purists will tell you it’s a no-brainer: “Look at his record! Of course, he warrants a start in your line-up!” I don’t need to repeat his stats. If you’ve played SuperCoach long enough then you already know.
For the record, I started Ablett in 2016 after leaving him out in 2015 (in hindsight, it was the right move). This year I will be giving him a miss. I see three main reasons to gamble against Ablett in 2017.
1. WILL HE STAY OUT THERE?
Ablett has played only 35 games over the past three seasons. Injury has put an early end to each of those seasons and I doubt that he’ll play more than 15 games in 2017.
My gut tells me that his body (and that shoulder, in particular) just can’t handle the constant rigours of the game any more. I’d much rather spend my dough on a premium that is more likely to play 20-plus games such as Patrick Dangerfield, Scott Pendlebury or Joel Selwood.
2. HIS SCORES AREN’T WHAT THEY USED TO BE
It may sound harsh to be attacking a player who averaged 114 points a game in 2016, but it’s a long way off the 130-140 average of his stellar years (when he was playing 20-plus games!).
It comes down to a question of who will bring more points to my team over the course of the entire season? Ablett with a 114 average over 15 games (total: 1710 points) or Pendlebury averaging 110 over 20 games (2200 points)?
3. JUST TOO RISKY
There is a plethora of players returning from injury in 2017. Like most of you, I’m keen to take the risk on a couple of these returning players. However, I feel the need to set a limit on how many I can start with or trades could start disappearing fast if any of these players break down.
If Dayne Beams and Nat Fyfe are fit for Round 1, I’ll most likely start with them. Many players are considering some or all of Jaeger O’Meara, David Swallow, Marc Murphy and Aaron Sandilands.
Adding Ablett into the mix starts to make my midfield very susceptible to injury, which could cost me valuable early correctional trades.
Gold Coast coach Rodney Eade has flagged that Ablett will spend more time forward in 2017. For that reason, I had hoped that he’d get mid/forward dual position status. No doubt, that would’ve put him in the mix for most Forward line-ups.
As a midfielder only, I’m just not willing to take the risk.
I wish you all the best of luck for the 2017 season!