Suns running too hot?: Gold Coast sunburn

How many Gold Coast players in your side is too many? Cases can be made for more than a dozen Suns for fantasy, but there has to be a limit…

I am in the middle of preparing my Dream Team for tomorrow’s Coaches Box episode with Footylover18, where I reveal my team and he shoots it down in a hail of gunfire. It’s what he does. Anyway, I looked up in the middle of working my plan team (can’t rely on the official site, it was down the other day and people couldn’t update their teams! oh noes!), and realised that in addition to the suspended Drew Petrie, I was working with nine Gold Coast Suns in my starting squad of 33.

Now, I realise that I have been going harder with Suns in my plan team than most people this preseason, judging from conversations in both public and private forums. Even I can see that starting round 1 with a single playing emergency may be taking the Vitamin D policy a little too far, though. I still think a strong case can be made to stash three Suns on your bench in at least one of the three positions with three bench players. With every Gold Coast rookie, though, you have to keep in mind what I am going to call the Suns Projection Factor (SPF): the percentage likelihood that these proto-stars are going to play every game from rounds 2 through 8 with enough scores to qualify as a legitimate cash cow.

This preview article on the GC web site recently, without a byline but presumably written by some AFL apparatchik, covers some of the issues that fantasy coaches are canvassing, but nailing the Suns rookies is going to be a big part of getting close to the cars this year so it’s time to drill down through the photosphere.

Backs

Joshua Toy (SPF 70) has been completely underwhelming in the preseason with scores of 17 and 37 in the two half games in week 1, followed by 37 and 39 in weeks 3 and 4. Nevertheless, the AFL article had him pencilled in a back pocket, via the expedient method of moving Jarrod Harbrow to a wing. I’m not sure that’s the structure they will go with during the season, since the reason they recruited defender so heavily at the top end of their list was to have a strong backline. Nevertheless, fantasy coaches seem to be placing their faith in reports rather than numbers where Toy is concerned.

If you accept Toy’s anointment in the 21, Michael Coad (SPF 80), Jack Hutchins (SPF 40) and Sebastian Tape (SPF 30) seem to be fighting for one spot at most. It’s hard to go past Coad with his size and experience. I suspect that we will see a lot of Hutchins and Tape, but more towards the second half of the year – thus Coad is someone you would not be locking in as a bench keeper.

Then there’s Danny Stanley (SPF 90), who was inexplicably left out of the AFL site’s 22. It is true that Luke Russell (SPF 30) played early in the NAB in a small forward role and didn’t look out of place, even though he is nominally a midfielder, but Stanley’s performances in the preseason surely merit him a red guernsey in Round 2.

All in all, if there is a position you can afford to take three Suns in, I think the backs are it.

Midfield

The late news of injuries to Daniel Harris (SPF 95) and Sam Iles (SPF 50) puts the spanner in the works here. The AFL site has Iles as a sub, which is hard to argue with given his interrupted preseason. With so little coming out of the Suns camp and not enough action on fan sites – similar to the Lions in respect of it being terribly hard to figure out what is going on at some stages, showing the lack of a gossiping football community in Queensland relative to other states – we don’t know what’s going on with Harris’ back, but in the absence of any concrete bad news I think the upside is great enough to hold the line.

One thing I have been surprised about is the lack of love by fantasy coaches for David Swallow (SPF 100). What’s not to like about the number 1 draft picks in recent years? Apart from Jack Watts, who gave us plenty of warning not to pick him a couple of years ago, every #1 pick has been a solid fantasy option even with the price premium. As for Harley Bennell (SPF 60), he is obviously a quality kid but might struggle to keep up with the pace and physical demands of the midfield in senior footy, being a smaller body type without much in the way of blockers around him.

It’s obviously harder to make cases for Marc Lock (SPF 30), Hayden Jolly (SPF 10), Maverick Weller (SPF 15), Trent McKenzie (SPF 20) and Josh Caddy (SPF 20) in the centres. Some of you out there are believers, but if you throw Iles with the others in the big pile of Suns whom we don’t really know enough about in terms of job security, it’s easy to limit your Sun exposure to two at most in the midfield.

Ruck

While every man and his robo-dog are on Zac Smith (SPF 40) even with his preseason injury concerns, I think there’s a solid case to make for including no Suns in the rucks. I have this funny feeling that Smith is going to have a fairly even game share with Daniel Gorringe (SPF 5) and Tom Nicholls (SPF 10), which will limit the ability of any of them to earn cash cow money or provide bye/injury cover at crucial times.

Forwards

Obviously Brandon Matera (SPF 95) is in most sides, and plenty are also pencilling in Charlie Dixon (SPF 60) for JS reasons as a Scott Gumbleton type, especially in SC. Dion Prestia (SPF 50) is another one of those ones in the too-iffy basket for me, but again there are adherents out there. I like Liam Patrick (SPF 50) but he’s a player who will go missing for entire quarters, especially when the Gold Coast are getting flogged, as they will a lot this year. Sam Day‘s (SPF 30) injury concerns have been a concern, but with other options going down in the forward benches he’s starting to look good in comparison to what’s left.

After all of that, I’m still left with somewhere between six and nine Suns. What about your side, how many are you considering and what’s your upper limit? Do you disagree with my SPF ratings on any of the players mentioned above?

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