Trade guide: Midfield guns in SuperCoach bargain bin
This is the week to add some serious star power to your KFC SuperCoach midfield - without breaking the bank.
Last week the focus for most coaches was on the defence, with discounted premiums Steven May and Caleb Daniel dominating trade discussions along with Port Adelaide rookie Martin Frederick (who scrambled plans for thousands of coaches when he started as the medical sub in the Showdown).
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This week we have two proven SuperCoach midfield stars who have both dropped dramatically in price and shown in recent weeks they have turned the corner after a slow start to their 2021 campaigns.
And, like May and Daniel last week, they are almost exactly the same price, leaving coaches looking for a big upgrade with a tough dilemma over which way to go.
JOSH KELLY $511,600 MID
Discount from Round 1 price: $104,000 | Current ownership: 5 per cent
Kelly looked back to his best a week ago when he piled on 129 points against the Crows, but many coaches wanted another look to make sure it was the real deal.
They got confirmation on Saturday with a 111-point return in a thriller against Essendon, with Kelly looking in ominous touch gathering 30 disposals and booting two goals.
Kelly has as strong a SuperCoach pedigree as anyone in the game, averaging 113 points a game or more every season from 2017-20.
The concern is durability - he has missed 20 games in past four seasons, mostly through soft-tissue complaints. We are also relying on Leon Cameron keeping Kelly on a wing after he played the first five rounds at half-forward (averaging 95).
On the positive side, Kelly faces the depleted and tagger-free Tigers midfield next round. And his Round 12 bye will be friendly for most teams.
TOM MITCHELL $525,800 MID
Discount from Round 1 price: 84,200 | Current ownership: 14 per cent
Most of the above description could apply to the 2018 Brownlow medallist, but potentially with a bit less risk.
Mitchell flew under the radar after missing most of the pre-season following shoulder surgery, but was added to 13,000 teams after a huge 135-point game in Round 1.
Since then his scores have been pretty good without hitting the heights we know Mitchell is capable of, hitting the KFC SuperCoach ton in three of his next six matches but failing to pass the 110-point mark.
The positive was he wasn't having any trouble getting his hands on the footy - averaging 32 disposals over that stretch - it was just a matter of turning the touches into SuperCoach points.
There were signs the wheel was turning when he posted 105 points from 38 touches against St Kilda and on Sunday he was back to his best, tallying 41 disposals and 147 SuperCoach points.
Mitchell averaged 113.5 points a game last year after a year off following knee surgery, so the only way is up from here.
Both are bona fide stars at a great price, so there is really no wrong answer. Kelly is a bit cheaper, the Giants are likely to win more matches and he plays a more eye-catching style, but he has greater risk in terms of injury and the whims of coach Leon Cameron. Mitchell might be a less exciting selection but two weeks ago I took a gamble by selecting Christian Petracca over Clayton Oliver, seduced by his star power over Oliver's consistent excellence. Since them Oliver has averaged 120.5 and Petracca 82.5. Mitchell for me.
ROUND 9 ROOKIE RACE
To obtain the cash to trade a rookie up to one of the midfield guns above, most coaches will need to cash in another cheapie for a player on the bubble - about to play his third game and rise in value.
And the good news is there are several excellent candidates this week.
RILEY COLLIER-DAWKINS $123,900 MID
SCORES: 76, 43 | BREAK EVEN: -45
"RCD" had a case of the second-game blues as the Richmond midfield was comprehensively beaten by the Cats on Friday night.
Collier-Dawkins was the Tigers' No.1 centre bounce attendee on debut against the Bulldogs but attended far fewer in game two, with Marlion Pickett's new role as an inside mid seemingly coming at the youngster's expense.
His 63 per cent time on ground was the lowest of any Richmond player apart from sub Patrick Naish, and the flip side of being a centre bounce specialist is a lack of flexibility to play in other positions.
But Dimma is a fan, he had some nice moments late in the game and a medium-term injury to Shane Edwards - on top of the continued absence of Trent Cotchin and Dion Prestia - should ensure he keeps his spot in the side for a few more weeks at least.
CALEB POULTER $117,300 MID/FWD
SCORES: 52, 81 | BREAK EVEN: -63
The long-haired Magpie put his name firmly on the rookie radar with an 81-point second game against the Kangaroos off the back of 18 disposals and four marks.
That followed a debut game that featured 15 disposals but four clangers (he had zero against North Melbourne).
Poulter's SANFL numbers last year are enticing reading - averaging 25.2 disposals, 10.6 contested possessions and almost a goal a game to go with 130 SuperCoach points.
Nathan Buckley is playing the kids and you wouldn't expect any changes to a winning line-up.
Dual-position could be handy, too.
MATTHEW OWIES $123,900 FWD
SCORES 67, 49 | BREAK EVEN -42
It's not that unusual any more to see footballers recruited after a stint as an American college basketballer, but Owies might be the first small forward to do it.
Owies has kicked five goals in his first two games after being recruited by Carlton in 2018 as a category B rookie (despite standing 179cm he played junior basketball for Australia and spent time at Seattle University before returning to footy).
He hasn't done much wrong in his first two games but relying on goals to score is fraught with danger and his job security could be iffy.
RYAN BYRNES $123,900 MID
SCORES: 52, 62 | BREAK EVEN: -40
The most low profile of this week's rookie options deserves more attention.
His stat line reads better than you might expect from his KFC SuperCoach scores, gathering 18 disposals and nine marks against Hawthorn in Round 7 and 16 touches and five marks against the Suns on Saturday.
Byrnes, who averaged 120 KFC SuperCoach points as Sandringham's captain in the NAB League in 2019, made his senior debut last year but his lone score of 22 didn't bump up his starting price this year.
He has performed an important role as a hard-running outside midfielder the past two weeks and it won't have escaped Brett Ratten's attention that the Saints won both those games to get their season back on track.
Watch the teams, though - Seb Ross will return this week, Daniel McKenzie is available after suspension and Luke Dunstan is putting up huge disposal numbers in the VFL.
Come back soon for more great trade options!
Originally published as Trade guide: Midfield guns in SuperCoach bargain bin