It hasn’t taken long for the first big injury news to hit 2009 fantasy teams… it’s barely even November 2008! Matthew Egan is now considering retirement after getting bad news from a specialist in Sydney about the foot he broke in round 22 of 2007.
First off, let me say that like all fantasy coaches, my heart goes out to the bloke. Having to choose between giving up footy and the possibility that you may never walk straight again is a tough thing to hear for a 24 year old. The quotes from Geelong assistant coach Neil Balme in this article are particularly alarming, leaving very little room for hope that Egan will ever return, let alone be right for round 1.
So, with that said, what does it mean for fantasy coaches? Egan was on a fair few Fanplanner Dream Teams – 17% bench and 13% starting – but it was Super Coach where his popularity was really blossoming, with many, me included, penciling him in as a round 1 starter in their SC 22 (27%) and others sticking him on their bench (8%). Even if he does play on, he’s pretty much 100% unlikely to make the team for round 1 given the prognosis so he should be off the table for starting teams for 2009 competitions.
The Geelong Advertiser is saying today that if he does stay on the Geelong list, Egan is likely to begin the season on the long-term injury list, which opens up an extra spot on the senior list for a rookie – bringing the number of rookies they can elevate to three. At this early stage before the rookie draft it’s hard to tell who will be chosen (if any), with Shane Mumford and the highly-rated Ranga Ediriwickrama the most likely to be used. If you’re looking for someone who might directly replace Egan then you won’t find anyone at the moment, as the Cats recently delisted Chris Kangars who was their only tall defender rookie – though if he gets re-rookied then that might be a sign.
As far as the rest of the Geelong backline, they’re starting to look a little old. Darren Milburn at 33 years of age, Tom Harley 31 and Matthew Scarlett 30 are all on the down slope of their careers. Andrew Mackie and Harry Taylor will gain even more responsibility, which might boost their SC stats with more contested possessions but will not be great for their DT numbers. If there’s an injury to any of those five then Josh Hunt and Max Rooke become more important, but neither is worthy of anything other than private league consideration.
So if you’ve got an Egan-sized hole in your DT or SC, who to replace him with? At a projected $117,700 in DT you’ve only got draftees below that price, so one of the myriad of key backs that are top 10 picks would be the easiest sideways trade – Michael Hurley (possibly at Carlton) and Jackson Trengove (maybe Adelaide) are expected to go in the first round. If the Crows don’t get Trengove they may well start the season with either Aaron Kite or Greg Gallman as their thrid tall defender, but I would advise severely dampening expectations in DT for either of these two even if they do play in round 1. My overall advice for DT coaches is to rejig your team so that you can buy someone more expensive. For an extra 15 grand you can get Nick Salter, and with 40 Gs you can afford Matt Maguire. To be honest, though, there’s really not much to buy until you hit $200,000 and Tayte Pears.
In Super Coach, where Egan cost $161,000 already, you have a little more wiggle room and better low-priced options. Maguire is practically the same price, making him the no-brainer swap given Goose’s average of 70 when fit – assuming that his foot recovers much better than Egan’s foot! Hurley and Trengove are likely to score more consistently in SC anyway, so saving the $65,000 to get them might be a better idea. Jordan Lisle, if you haven’t already got him, becomes an possibility in this format.
I’m sure this won’t be the last shock injury news. You can talk further about Egan’s replacement in your team in the Matthew Egan thread in the FanFooty Forum.