Here it is, the last of the kick-in analysis articles. Could help you on the way to GOAT (I drive a Hilux) status in 2023!
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.
- Look up “duopoly” in the dictionary and you’ll get “J.Lloyd and N.Blakey’s 2022 kick-in numbers”! In total, they took 219 of a possible 247 kick-ins, equating to 89%. Individually, Lloyd took 48% and Blakey 40%.
- With a perfect 100/100, Blakey took the most kick-ins with a play-on percentage of 100% in the competition. For a bit of context, the next highest was N.Daicos with 53/53.
- 7/28 kick-ins (25%) not taken by Lloyd/Blakey occurred in R1vs BWS… Unsurprisingly, Lloyd did not play in this game!
- Of Sydney’s 247 kick-ins, they played on 239 times, equating to 97% play-on – the highest of any club in the competition… Cheap +3’s baby!
- Pills, Thrills and Callum Mills. The Swannies Mr Fix it managed to get back for a cheap +3 vs Port Adelaide in R14. The type of commitment we need but don’t deserve!
Callum’s reaction after I coined ‘Pills, Thrills’…
It was all about the duopoly of Lloyd and Blakey giving us Coles/Woolies vibes in season 2022. The elite half-back role was there to be filled following the departure of Jordan Dawson to Crom and it was the Lizard Nick Blakey who took the opportunity with both hands. Swannies coaching staff and fans alike would have been elated with the emergence of Blakey off half-back… He still has plenty to learn but showed flashes of brilliance throughout the season! On the other hand, fantasy coaches who ran with Lloyd (myself included!) would have been banking on a monopoly on kick-ins which unfortunately did not come to fruition. 2022 was Lloyd’s worst averaging season since 2016 – for the record it was 91.1. Still pretty good stuff but not enough to mix it with the big boys! Elsewhere, nothing really significant to speak of… I think someone like Braeden Campbell who is known for his dash and penetrating kick would get a greater lick of the ice-cream at another club… He struggled to cement his spot in a solid Swans outfit so 2023 will be an important season for him.
2023 Crystal Ball
2022 was largely about the emergence of Nick Blakey as he cemented his spot at half-back, cashing in on cheap +3’s at will. Looking into my crystal ball, I can’t see a lot changing from the Sydney kick-ins given how dominant the duopoly of Lloyd/Blakey turned out to be. With this in mind, it’d be a brave coach to start with Lloyd in defence, however, some will see him as under priced given the consistent body of work he has put together over the years. Elsewhere, depending on the state of the game, there’s every chance Callum ‘Pills, Thrills’ Mills is swung into defence when the Swannies are in the shit! I think he’ll end up taking more than the one kick-in he got this season given their increasingly reliable midfield depth (I’m talking guys like Parker, Warner, Rowbottom, Gulden and even Heeney)
- It was the evergreen veteran S.Hurn who led the way again for the Eagles, taking 135 of a possible 258 kick-ins, equating to 52%. Taking out games Hurn did not play and his kick-in percentage grew to 61%!
- In total, Hurn added a whopping 321 fantasy points in kick-ins alone, boosting his scoring by 17 points per week. For the record, Hurn averaged 93.5 which turned out to be his best fantasy season of his 17 years in the game!
- Hurn’s total of 135 kick-ins ranked 4th in the competition behind S.May (151), D.Rich 145) and L.Ryan (136). Imagine if he had played those three games he missed?
- Of nine players to take at least 100 kick-ins in 2022, Hurn had the lowest play-on percentage at 79%… This was down 12% on his 2021 numbers – perhaps cbf to run out of the square???
- A.Witherden and J.McGovern managed a kick-in in all games they played (only 22 between them)… Their lack of appearances further contributing to the Hurn monopoly.
Aside from the kick-in mainstay that was Shannon Hurn, it really was horses for courses at the Weagles throughout 2022 based on who was available / not selected in WAFL Colts. Alex Witherden’s fantasy numbers have always been pretty good, but his job security has been shaky at best over his career and 2022 was no different… Those who got sucked in (I was strongly considering!) midseason got burnt verrrrrry quickly in a perfect example of how this game shits you from time to time! Certainly glad I didn’t go through with the trade in though his role was undeniably delicious, borderline Jack Ziebell 2021 vibes. Had Witherden held his spot and McGovern remained healthy, it is unlikely we would have seen a domination of this proportion from Shannon Hurn. Elsewhere, we saw the likes of Liam Duggan and Elliot Yeo get their lick of the ice-cream in the back half of the season… Duggan’s kick-in numbers were particularly patchy which made it difficult for coaches to get a read on his role! Thankfully, this was later in the season when coaches would have been looking to ‘complete’ their squads.
2023 Crystal Ball
Hurn has agreed to go around again in season 2023 but I can’t see him playing every game given he is now a 35yo… He is the textbook candidate to be “managed” throughout the season or cop the “general soreness” on any given week! Given Hurn’s monopoly in recent seasons, opportunities will likely present themselves throughout the season – the question is, who will cash in on the bulk of the cheap +3’s in Hurn’s absence? If Witherden plays, I think he’s the man given his lack of experience in any other position on the field… Buyer beware of course with his ever present dicey job security! It may be a matter of picking him up for a three to six week window (if Hurn gets injured or is managed frequently) as a stepping stone to an uber premium… As we know in fantasy land, not all well-intended plans come to fruition so a strategy like this, whilst having merit is fraught with danger! Elsewhere, I’ll be keeping a keen eye on the roles of both Liam Duggan and Elliot Yeo given their 2022 kick-in numbers. Yeo isn’t getting any younger and has had his injury woes so may settle into a role off half-back. Time will tell as we keep our eyes peeled over the preseason.
- It was slender man B.Dale leading the pack of bulldogs, taking twice as many kick-ins as the second ranked pint-sized pit bull C.Daniel.
- In total, B.Dale took 124 of a possible 226 kick-ins, equating to 57%. On average, Dale boosted his fantasy score by 16 points per week – for the record he averaged a very respectable 90.
- Of Dale’s 124 kick-ins, he did not leave the square on only four occasions… Curiously, this occurred twice in both the Doggies Melbourne fixtures (R1 + R19) – bit in that I reckon.
- Based purely on play-on percentage for each clubs top two kickers, the doggies combination of Dale and Daniel ranked 3rd highest with a combined play-on percentage of 95.6% (178/186)! This say behind Collingwood (Moore/Daicos – 96.7%) and Sydney (Lloyd/Blakey – 97.3%).
Unsurprisingly, it was all about the Dale/Daniel duopoly at the kick-ins for the Doggies in 2022. They compliment each other nicely with Dale providing the dash and penetration and Daniel having an uncanny knack of lacing targets in basically every situation with either peg. Daniel missed a month of footy post-bye following a knee injury that required surgery which left a hole to fill. It was Adam Treloar who filled the void, taking 11 of his 16 kick-ins in during Daniel’s absence. Role is always a big factor when considering Treloar given the Doggies stacked midfield and reliance on CBA’s to bolster his scoring. Treloar averaged a modest 90 in games he was trusted with kick-in duties… While not disastrous, Treloar struggled to hit his ceiling and posted a season worst of 69 (R21 vs Freo) during this stint. Elsewhere, it was slim pickings with the rest taking 24 kick-ins altogether which somehow included The Bont who snuck down in R22 vs BWS to register a solitary kick-in.
2023 Crystal Ball
I’m expecting more of the same from the Doggies at the kick-ins in 2023 given the largely effective combination that is Dale and Daniel. Don’t be surprised to see these two combine for >80% of the kick-ins between them, barring any injuries and/or suspensions. The departure of Josh Dunkley to the Lions should be good news for Treloar given the hole Dunks leaves at the CBA’s. Still plenty of mouths to feed in that stacked midfield (Macrae, Libba, Bont, Bazlenka) but the departure of Dunks should only help Treloar’s cause to see more midfield time and thus, less likely to feature at the kick-ins!
So there you have it folks, a complete analysis of Sydney, West Coast and Western Bulldog’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.
What did you make of the kick-in analysis series? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below! Feedback, comments and banter welcome.
Fantasy Fanatic #70