When it comes to Fantasy Footy, coaches love nothing more than fielding players with conducive roles to score bulk fantasy points! Inevitably, defenders who play on out of the defensive goal square when kicking the ball in are massive winners. For the record, if a kick-in is taken within the defensive goal square, no stat (or more importantly the +3!) is recorded. However, as soon as a player leaves the square, they cash in with a cheap +3 (kick) or less commonly +2 (handball).
In this series of articles, I will breakdown and analyse each respective clubs kick-in numbers for 2022 and provide my two cents (‘Crystal Ball’) on what to look out for in season 2023! Information of value as we look ahead to selecting our starting squads.
- It was Mr Reliable T.Stewart leading that way for the Catters, taking 65 of 172 kick-ins in games he played (20), equating to 38%. Of course, Stew missed a month of footy after KO’ing Dion ‘Meatballs’ Prestia into next week in R15…
- In total, T.Stewart added 150 points from his 20 games to increase his score by 7.5 points per week through kick-ins. For the record Stew had a season average of 94.
- Interestingly, Geelong are the only side in which the top two kickers had a play on percentrage <80%… Perhaps it’s all part of the winning formula?
- In total, Geelong had 11 separate kickers, of which only 4/11 (36%) recorded greater than three kick-ins.
- Rumour has it at least half of this list has some sort of early onset osteoarthritis!
- How good is it when premo mids get back for their lick of the ice-cream?! C.Guthrie somehow managing two kick-ins vs St Kilda in R9 is the type of commitment we need but don’t deserve!
Unsurprisingly, it was the old firm of Stewart/Touhy/Duncan who took majority of the kick-in responsibilities. We saw much the same in 2021 with Stewart and Touhy leading the pack with kick-in numbers also in the 60’s in 2021! One thing I noticed was the two-fold spike in kick-ins for Mitch Duncan, who found a home down at half-back… His exquisite ball use has been a feature for many years so why not give him the cheap +3’s when you have the power to choose?! We did see Duncan blank in multiple games given his ability to be played as a midfielder or even off a wing for periods in games. I can’t say I was expecting Geelong top three kickers to each respectively play on <81% of them time… I can’t imagine this was a legitimate tactic but probably shows that these guys don’t give a rats tossbag about the cheap stat – if they have a short target on they’ll instinctively hit it. As an aside, if we were to extrapolate the data you imagine Stewwy would have led the pack by more given his one month holiday. During this time, it was Mitch Duncan who benefitted most, taking a third of his total kick-ins over the four week period…
2023 Crystal Ball
Another year, another stellar trade period from the Cats and their list management… adding Jack Bowes, Tanner Bruhn and Ollie Henry. From a fantasy perspective, Jack Bowes was deployed predominantly behind the footy at the Suns so I will be intrigued to see if he does find a spot in the defensive half… Given Geelong have a pretty settled back six or seven, I think their longer term plan will be to play Bowes as a midfielder, however, he’s still lacking size to mix it with the big dogs! As such, I think he’ll see a bit of time off half-back and take the odd kick-in – to the detriment of the fantasy relevant Duncan and Stewart. Certainly some food for thought heading into the preseason fixtures. There’s even reports that Geelong are “open-minded” to playing Ollie Henry on a wing or even in a defensive role. My view is that if a Henry back role did eventuate, he wouldn’t be trusted with kick-ins anyway… I think we’ll see more of the same with the Stewwy/Touhy combination topping the list given their exploits as reliable, long kickers of the footy!
- It was genuinely horses for courses at the Gold Coast Suns in 2022, with their top four kickers taking 21% (Ellis), 17% (Weller), 15% (Powell) and 12% (Farrar) of the kick-ins respectively.
- To illustrate the spread, Gold Coast had the most players record >10 kick-ins in the competition with nine separate kickers!
- Of each of the top kickers, Ellis took the least competition wide, recording only 53 of his own (38 of which in his final six outings of 2022 – more on this in the analysis!).
- Of all 48 players to take 30 or more kick-ins in 2022, J.Farrar had the lowest play on percentage of the lot with 50%… Any danger of strolling out of the square brother?! Only 45 of a possible 90 cheap fantasy points!
- After recording a solitary kick-in in season 2021, the messiah Touk Miller was unable to sneak down for his lick of the ice-cream…
While not the most fantasy relevant footy side, a couple of interesting trends emerged with the Suns kick-ins as 2022 wore on. The main trend of note was the role change of Brandon Ellis to half-back in the final seven rounds of the season! The former Tiger cashed in big time becoming the Suns go to man from opposition minor scores to finish 2022. As a result, his fantasy output improved handsomely! Having only scored 95+ twice in his first 16 games, Ellis then had 4×95+ scores in his final six outings! A great example of why it pays to keep an eye on players roles, particularly if it precipitates bulk cheap +3’s as it did with Ellis! As mentioned in Geelong’s ‘2023 Crystal Ball’, the departing Jack Bowes also got his lick of the ice-cream in each of the five games he played, recording 3+ kick-ins each time. Elsewhere, Wil Powell and Lachie Weller’s season’s ended in cruel circumstances following serious leg injuries (broken leg and ACL for the record!)… Had they remained uninjured for the season in its entirety we would have seen them topping this list comfortably.
2023 Crystal Ball
Looking at how 2022 finished up as well as the Suns trade period and I can’t see why Brandon Ellis wouldn’t continue his role as the Suns main man from kick-ins. The departure of Jack Bowes and long-term injury to Lachie Weller only strengthen Ellis’ credentials to enjoy somewhat of a monopoly on the kick-ins – at least for the first half of the season whilst Weller remains on the side lines. The only flag I will mention is the potential return of Wil Powell from a gruesome broken leg… By all reports, he is aiming to play R1 which would be an incredible effort! If this comes to fruition, I’d expect to see more of a duopoly at the kick-ins which may dissuade coaches from starting with Ellis. Regardless, preseason will be an interesting watch for those bullish on Ellis as a starting selection in 2023!
- Tidy kicking skills seem to cum naturally for our man I.Cumming (Jordan Brereton). He took 129 of 241 kick-ins for BWS, equating to 54%!
- With a play on percentage of 90%, I.Cumming added 348 points alone at kick-ins. This boosted his fantasy score by some 17 points each week… Enormous!
- H.Himmelberg took all of his 56 kick-ins from R10 onwards at an average of 4.3 per game… See analysis below for why this occurred!
- It was a frustrating season for L.Whitfield owners… Despite taking 15 of his 18 kick-ins in the first five rounds, he could only muster one ton in this time and did not ton thereafter pre-bye! A far cry from his 2019 season where he averaged an absurd 114!
- BWS had five separate players take a solitary kick-in in 2022, the equal highest (with Brisbane and Hawthorn) in the competition.
Despite some lacklustre on-field performances, BWS continue to be fairly fantasy relevant and in 2022 this extended to the kick-ins! In the first half of the season, it was all about Isaac Cumming with a sprinkle of guys like Lachie Whitfield and Harry Perryman. Astute observers will note that at about R9, there was a clear shift in who took the kick-ins. Specifically, the emergence of Harry Himmelberg and the dissipation of Lachie Whitfield. For those unaware, Mark McVeigh took the reins from Leon Cameron and was not afraid to shuffle the magnets! The result? Himmelberg lifted big time in the second half of the season to average 98 post R9 including a bonkers 161 vs Norf in R13 which included 25 kicks and 16 marks! Those who jumped on Himmelberg as a speculative mid-pricer part way through the season were rewarded handsomely. Kudos to those coaches who took the hint and jumped on early! Isaac was still the go to guy post R9 despite Himmelberg Cumming to the party. Elsewhere, it was a frustrating year for coaches who owned Lachie Whitfield… He only managed to ton once pre-bye and dropped multiple floating astroturds (40’s) throughout the season… His output did not change significantly when he was deployed higher up the ground following the arrival of Mark McVeigh.
2023 Crystal Ball
BWS will be hoping to start 2023 afresh in the capable hands of incoming senior coach, Adam Kingsley. He has not wasted any time making his intentions clear with what can only be described a huge cleanout of a trade period for the Giants. Taranto, Hopper, Bruhn and Bobby Hill departed but this paved the way for four picks inside the top 20 including the coveted #1. I know what you’re saying – “That’s all good and well Fantasy Fanatic, but what has this got to do with the kick-ins?!” Well, it is now common knowledge that the Giants snaffled key forward A-a-ron Cadman at pick #1… You imagine he is ready-made and if so will slot straight in to GWS’ forward end. For those who can put two and two together, it means that there is a much higher likelihood that Himmelberg continues his elite fantasy role down back and cashes in with bulk kick-ins alongside Isaac Cumming in 2023. Given Himmelberg can roost a footy 60m+ with ease, there’s no reason why himself and Cumming wouldn’t combine for >75% of the kick-ins (assuming nil injuries / suspensions, etc.!). Astute coaches will also be watching the role of Lachie Whitfield closely in the preseason. His versatility is an asset so I will be intrigued to see where Adam Kingsley deploys his running machine come preseason and beyond.
So there you have it folks, a complete analysis of Geelong, Gold Coast and BWS’ kick-ins! Hopefully this information will give you a bit of a leg up on the competition – at the very least an insight into what to look out for in the preseason. Hawthorn, Melbourne and Norf as up next!
What did you make of the third of the kick-in analysis series? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below! Feedback, comments and banter welcome.
Fantasy Fanatic #70