This issue was always going to be the biggest one of the week, but I’ve held off on blogging about it until now. You haven’t made your trades, yet, have you? Remember the Ricky Petterd Rule! No trading until at least Thursday teams, and preferably not until 5pm Friday when the Sunday teams are announced!
For those of you still reading, congratulations on your self control. Many of you, like me, will have watched as first Anthony and then Raines destroyed our squads. Raines in particular was the worst case scenario, hitting me right where it hurts in the defence where I had modified my all-premium back structure specifically to include him as a no-brainer mid-price improver. To be brutally honest, if you didn’t have Raines in your starting fantasy 22 this year you are a spud who got lucky. There, I said it. All of you who swerved past him and have been crowing about it in the comments can count yourselves as (a) extremely fortunate, and (b) deserving of scorn by Raines owners for being such poor judges of fantasy scoring potential.
Before we start, the question has to be asked: do you trade this week at all, or do you wait a week to see how the rookies are going? My take on this is rather conservative. We haven’t quite reached backopalypse proportions yet this year, but my feeling is that there are more shocks to come, particularly in the backline with all those Fremantle youngsters we have been loading up on. I don’t trust Stephen Hill or Nick Suban not to pick up a knock and miss a week or two, even if Mark Harvey shows faith in them at the selection table. They’re just the sort of thin, slim-hipped kids who can fall victim to “general soreness” (Mathew Stokes) or a random bump (Travis Tuck). My thought is that the Raines trade has to be made this week if you also have Anthony (especially in a non-playing mid bench combo with someone like Dayne Beams), because you would leave yourself open to more than two holes next week if more bad news comes down the highway, and you know what that means… donuts. Here are what I expect to be the most popular trades of the week.
Raines to Kyle Cheney. As I said on the Coaches Box this week, I’m not entirely convinced by Cheney’s debut game. He was given a run-with role on Daniel Wells for the first quarter or two and was taken to the ball a lot, something which I don’t expect he’ll benefit from in subsequent games. There’s no denying that he got a lot of rebound ball, though, and even marked a few long kicks from the opposition, which no doubt led to his stellar Super Coach score. The preseason knock on Cheney is that he’s just warming the seat for Matthew Whelan, who is listed as 1-2 weeks away with his calf injury. The other concern is Paul Wheatley, who was listed as a test for this week but didn’t get selected. With Simon Buckley‘s injury, though, this is the obvious trade and tens of thousands of coaches will make it this week.
Raines to Sam Gilbert. Looking over options for sideways trades, it’s hard to find any surefire improvers. I had Jarryn Geary myself last year and was happy with his output, but I’m usually wary of second-year players who played a lot of games in their debut season, as they can sometimes tire early as their young body struggles with the wear and tear of weekly senior footy. I’m not convinced with Ricky Petterd‘s round 1 score and would need to see at least one more week to confirm that his role is as lucrative as it looked last Saturday, and that it will continue on past days when Brad Miller and Matthew Bate are having barries. Gilbert requires a fair wad of cash to move up to from Raines in DT, though in SC it’s easier, and I think this might be more of a Super Coach pick anyway. The injury to Raphael Clarke cements Gilbert’s role alongside Farren Ray as halfback rebounder for the new-look Saints, with Brendan Goddard and Jason Gram scampering through the corridor.
Anthony to Andy Otten. I would recommend this trade only to owners of Travis Tuck (which includes me :'( ), even though his AC joint injury is only going to put him out for one match. Otten’s spot in the Crows 22 looks reasonably safe to me, with Jared Petrenko the 22nd man and not much waiting in the wings to replace either of them, other than Robert Shirley who is in Neil Craig’s bad books at the moment. It always tugs at the heartstrings to burn two trades in week 1, but I think this trade in combination with Raines to a rookie would be two good decisions.
Anthony to Patrick Dangerfield. For many of the same reasons as the Otten trade. Craig has a weird public relationship with Dangerfield, knocking his Geelong coaches for presenting him in an unfit state in the preseason, and bagging him all through the NAB, but picking him out of the blue for round 1. I suspect it has all been a ruse, and Craig has been planning all along to enter the Danger zone for an extended period.
Now please, no more schadenfreude in the comments. Those of you who have Raines, Anthony, Tuck, Matthew Spangher, Sam Butler, Stokes or any other prominent player missing this week, tell me what you’re going to do and why.