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.
- R.Burton led the way for Port, taking 104 of a possible 237, equating to 44%. In total, Burton added 264 fantasy points from kick-ins alone at an average of 12 points per game. For the record, Burton averaged a shade under 80… Not nearly enough to mix it with the big dogs.
- The more fantasy relevant D.Houston added 75 fantasy points from kick-ins at 3.5 points per game… Coaches became accustomed to the weekly heart palpitations courtesy of the man and his yo-yo like scoring tendencies!
- Darcy Byrne-Jones took the highest number of kick-ins without playing on in the competition – three kick-ins at 0% play-on… Come on man!
- Despite being in and out of Port’s best 22, R.Bonner managed the highest individual tally of kick-ins for a Port player in 2022 with 10 vs Essendon(e) in R11!
- T.Mackenzie was one of only five players in the competition to take greater than 10 kick-ins and play on at 100%. Why not take the extra yardage when you’ve been nicknamed “The Cannon”?! For the record, “The Cannon” had 52 kick-ins in 2021, also at 100% play-on!
I won’t sugar-coat it, there’s not really any household fantasy names appearing in the table above, though you could make an argument for Dan ‘Heart Palpitations’ Houston given what he is capable of on his day… His kick-in numbers were true to form, blanking in six of his 21 games. Taking a closer look at the above table and you’ll notice Trent Mackenzie only managed 15 kick-ins despite his reputation as “The Cannon“. TMac’s season was marred by a knee injury sustained in R3 after which he only played two senior games… Unsurprisingly, in every game he played >10% game time, he got his lick of the ice-cream with at least two kick-ins per outing. Needless to say, if we extrapolated the data there is every chance TMac is right in the frame with Burton as Port’s most popular distributor from fullback. Elsewhere, we saw a late season role change for lethal left footer Kane Farrell. This resulted in him being utilised from the kick-ins in the final month of season 2022. Having not averaged over 50 in a season since his debut in 2018, Farrell enjoyed more game time and posted two of his best four fantasy scores following the role change to the defensive half.
2023 Crystal Ball
After making a preliminary final in 2021, only to bundle out in the regular season in 2022, there’ll be plenty of soul searching being done down at Alberton over the preseason. Pending fitness, I think “The Cannon” will almost certainly take more than 15 kick-ins in 2023 and mix it with Burton atop the list. However, his durability is shocking having not played over 15 games in a season since 2015… Riley Bonner’s shaky job security could be good news for those considering riding the rollercoaster that is Dan Houston – though I wouldn’t be surprised if Kenny is keen to get him up the ground given the plethora of options they have at their disposal at the kick-ins. These factors should additionally help Kane Farrell’s cause to feature more heavily at the kick-ins in 2023. Whilst active during the trade period, I can’t see any of Port’s additions (or departures) having any bearing on Port’s kick-in distribution come 2023.
- Despite missing the first month of 2022, it was N.Vlaustin who led the way for the Tiges with 64 of a possible 182 kick-ins in games he played (18), equating to 35%!
- J.Short took 94% of his kick-ins in the first six rounds… after which he only managed three kick-ins for the rest of the season (more on this in analysis).
- In total, J.Short recorded 117 points from kick-ins in the first six weeks alone boosting his score by an absurd 20 points per week… He was well on track to have the most kick-ins competition wide!
- While D.Rioli featured at the kick-ins in 23 of his 24 games, he finished with just a solitary kick-in in 10 of these outings (43%)!
- Richmond are the only club in the competition to have four separate players record >40 kick-ins for the season… With Short’s abrupt role change, someone’s got to do it!
Unsurprisingly, the main talking point of this analysis is the role of Jayden Short within the Richmond outfit. His distribution of kick-ins sums up his season pretty well… In the first six rounds, Short averaged an enormous 106 and probably had Sam Docherty covered as D1 to that point in the season! From there? Short was deployed in the midfield/forward rotation, which, as it turns out effected his fantasy output negatively – much to the dismay of coaches. He still averaged a solid 94 from R7-R23 but it was his lack of ceiling (a previous asset) which hurt coaches! He only managed 1×110+ score from R8 onwards. Again, a great advertisement as to why we should pay attention to players roles and another illustration of just how conducive that half-back role is. Elsewhere, coaches who jumped on Hugo Ralphsmith would have been pleased to see him feature at the kick-ins in early rounds! Unfortunately thereafter, Hugo found himself in and out of the side through injury and poor form. Dan Rioli also put together a solid season in a new role down back following the retirement of Bachar Houli. He increased his fantasy average by 20 points in season 2022 and gave the Tiges plenty of drive on the rebound!
2023 Crystal Ball
Well, it was fun while it lasted, Jayden. Sadly, I think Short’s bulk cheap +3 days are past him! Unsurprisingly, champion data have left him with MID status only to commence 2023 which all but puts a line through him from a fantasy perspective… My expectation is that Rioli will take on more responsibility at the kick-ins in 2023. He has found a home down back and the Tiges would be silly not to take full advantage of his dash and creative ball use. The question is, will he improve enough to justify selection noting that he will be priced somewhat awkwardly at 78. I think you could do a lot worse. Elsewhere, there’s really not a heap to crow about from a fantasy perspective. The Tiges had a strong trade period, acquiring the services of both Tim Taranto and Jacob Hopper from BWS but I highly doubt either of these guys will feature at the kick-ins given their exploits as midfielders.
- Despite trailing multiple teammates following the first month of footy, it was J.’Monsieur Calves’ Sinclair who led the way for the Sainters. He took 85 of a possible 232 kick-ins, equating to 37%!
- In total, J.Sinclair added 213 fantasy points from cheap +3’s at an average just under 10 each game! For the record, Sinclair had a standout season, averaging a massive 103 to firmly entrench himself into the top 6 defenders.
- Despite blitzing the kick-ins, Sinclair blanked on three occasions throughout 2022. Funnily enough, this was less than second top kicker Jimmy Webster who blanked only twice.
- Despite having a list featuring 7x Jack’s, only one (Sinclair) actually registered a kick-in for 2022… Not such a big Jack off!
- Of all 43 players in the competition to take more than 30 kick-ins, Jimmy Webster had the third lowest play-on percentage at 71%… Must have some sort of mild allergy to cheap +3’s?
What a season it was from the man with the largest calves known to human-kind! Couple that with his flowing mullet and clearly there is a recipe for success! Sinclair took almost 5x more kick-ins in season 2022 (compared to 2021) and cashed in handsomely with cheap +3’s galore, particularly after the first month of footy. From R9 onwards, there was only one game in which a team mate individually took more kick-ins that Sinclair (R15 vs Sydney). While some pundits did forecast a role higher up the ground (particularly when the Saints season was dead) Sinclair continued on his merry way racking up cheap +3’s for fun on his way to a season high average of 103! Elsewhere, even as a Saints man I can’t say there was anyone else remotely relevant from a Fantasy perspective… Ratts did his best to try and get Brad Hill into the game by gifting him 31 kick-ins but again he probably didn’t live up to his pay packet!
2023 Crystal Ball
Following the highly publicised exit of Brett Ratten, the Sainters will look to reload under the loose cannon himself, Ross the Boss! From a fantasy perspective, anything is possible! Could Raph Clarke come out of retirement to monopolise the kick-ins?? In all seriousness, I think Sinclair will continue his role down back given how influential he is with his run from behind and creative ball use. A flag worth mentioning is that teams were putting a lot more time into Sinclair later in the season. This effected his fantasy scoring, illustrated by being restricted to no tons in the final month of the season. Another thing worth flagging is that he may be set for stints in the midfield given he was initially recruited as a defender/midfielder and has the capacity to run on-ball! Hopefully for us coaches, the likes of Steele, Widnhager, Crouch, Clark, Gresham and Ross can do a bulk of the grunt work to allow our man to rack up those cheap +3’s – I see this as the most likely scenario! Elsewhere, preseason will be an intriguing watch to help coaches determine the roles of both Bradley Hill and the returning Nick Coffield (from ACL reconstruction)… For those unaware, Leinert has been delisted so won’t feature at the kick-ins in 2023. I also can’t see the incoming Zaine Cordy pinching any kick-ins!
So there you have it folks, a complete analysis of Port Adelaide, Richmond and St Kilda’s 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. Sydney, Glorified Traffic Cones and Western Bulldogs to come to finish the series!
What did you make of the fifth of the kick-in analysis articles? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below! Feedback, comments and banter welcome.
Fantasy Fanatic #70