Browny’s inside word on top SuperCoach rookies
Like many SuperCoach players out there, I've been working overtime talking to my salary cap auditor to try to fit all the players I want into my starting squad.
Crunching the numbers has been tough this pre-season as clubs use the shorter pre-season competition to practice their game plans rather than blooding the younger players that are so valuable in SuperCoach.
But there are still quality rookies out there. After getting around the country with Fox Footy, watching training sessions and talking to club insiders, here are the cheap players I have my eye on.
Marlion Pickett (Rich) $123,900 MID
You have to be mad if yours is one of the 29 per cent of teams that doesn't include Pickett. In fact, SuperCoach squads should have been reduced to 29 this year so he is automatically selected in every team. He will start in the midfield on Thursday night against Carlton and we've seen how cool he is with the ball and that he can kick a goal.
Matt Rowell (GC) $207,300 MID (and other Suns)
The No. 1 priority for Gold Coast this year is to get games into their high draft picks.
Three years down the track they need to have players like Rowell, Noah Anderson, Izak Rankine, Jeremy Sharp and Connor Budarick with 50 games under their belts.
Why is GWS so strong now? In their early days they played Jeremy Cameron, Toby Greene, Lachie Whitfield and Stephen Coniglio every week. That has to be the Gold Coast model.
We saw in the Marsh Series why Rowell was taken at pick 1 and I'm confident he'll play midfield and pick up 20-plus touches every week.
His best mate Anderson is another quality young player with maturity beyond his years. He might not have scored as well as Rowell but I was really impressed by what he showed against Adelaide.
Budarick comes out of the Suns academy and is a tenacious small forward who can also push into the midfield. He's rated very highly internally.
Sharp is another Sun to keep an eye on. He was another high draft pick who showed some good signs in the pre-season. If he gets a game his numbers will be good.
Brandon Zerk-Thatcher (Ess) $189,000 DEF
I mistakenly called him Brandon Zerk-Fletcher during the call and if he's half as good as Dustin Fletcher, that's good enough for me.
Key defenders don't usually get a lot of the ball but what I really liked at Colac was his willingness to take front position, so it's no surprise he had the most intercepts of any player in the Marsh series.
If you've still got Stephen Hill - and Freo medicos have given me no assurances about his fitness - then Zerk-Thatcher is a straight swap.
Fischer McAsey (Adel) $184,400 DEF
Another key defender who is a good bet to get early games in a rebuilding team and with an injury to Tom Doedee.
He'll get good minutes and looked very accomplished against the Suns, taking some nice intercept marks which score well in SuperCoach.
Max King (StK) $123,900 FWD
He's going to have his ups and downs but he's capable of kicking three or four goals from four kicks.
The arrival of Bradley Hill and Zak Jones will improve St Kilda's ball movement and with Tim Membrey and one of Paddy Ryder or Rowan Marshall down there, King should get the third defender each week.
As a young key forward you don't want to be tied to the goalsquare, where you're getting crunched in contests all the time. He needs to get on the move and he's shown he can do that.
I learned my lesson last year picking key-position forwards but at his price you can't say no.
Darcy Cameron (Coll) $123,900 RUCK
Looked fantastic in Collingwood's first pre-season game, scoring 127 points against Richmond.
Mason Cox took his spot the next week and will play in Round 1, but the pressure is on him to maintain his form with Cameron breathing down his neck.
At 24, Darcy is a good age for a ruckman and ready-made if Bucks calls on him. He's on my ruck bench.
Deven Robertson (Bris) $117,300 MID
He's in my team but there are still question marks over whether he can squeeze into the Lions team - which doesn't have anyone on the injury list.
If he does get games what we know is he's a natural ball-winner who didn't look out of place at AFL level.
I might have a word to Fages before selection. Hopefully he's having the same SuperCoach salary cap issues as me.