At the time of writing this, it’s mid-November and pre-season has just begun. Below is a list of the players that I will be keeping an eye on this preseason. Before picking any of them they must be fit, score well during the preseason competition and be named to play round 1. These are the guys that I will be looking at for a cheap, point-of-difference option. These aren’t premium SuperCoach choices, they are players who will be cheap but I feel as if that won’t be the case for long.
Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti is back after early retirement. Tippa was listed in 2022 but failed to play an AFL game. If fit, the 29-year-old will slot straight back into Essendon’s best 22 and add to his 126 AFL-game career. Not playing since 2022 means that he will likely be priced cheaper than this year, and we know that the 2020 Essendon leading goal kicker can score well in SuperCoach. If Tipungwuti is priced below $350,000 and playing well in pre-season, he could be worth a shot.
The former number 10 draft pick couldn’t get a game at the Suns in 2022. I can see a break-out season brewing and we know from averages like 84 & 82 from his previous two seasons, that he can score. It won’t be easy to break into the reigning premiers’ side but Chris Scott did openly state that he recruited Bowes to play AFL. We already know Bowes can score well in SuperCoach consistency is what has stopped Bowes from jumping to a premium option in the past. Lest’s see what he can now do in a better side with better players around him. In addition, Bowes will likely be priced well and could be a Daniel-Rioli-like pick-up in 2023.
King’s 2022 never really took off after an impressive 2021, as he fell during the preseason to a knee injury, which caused him to miss the entire year of footy. He will likely have a starting price in the mid-$200,000 mark and if we are lucky, even cheaper. King will not be a great consistent scorer or a keeper for the season, but will be cheap and within Gold Coast’s starting lineup every week. The young Sun is very talented and with an improved midfield like Miller and Rowell sending it his way, he could score well. Don’t let others talk you out of picking him “because he’s coming back from a knee injury,” remember; Charlie Curnow did just that in 2022 and he went on to win the Coleman medal.
2022 was very disappointing for the young talent. 2021 was meant to be his “break-out year” but that didn’t quite happen. Then 2022 came with an injury-interrupted pre-season, which delayed his start to the year. After retuning from injury, Clark was never really able to get his season moving with more fitness and form issues. As a result, will be priced accordingly in the early $300,000 bracket. He will also likely also have DDP status, furthering his value. I can see Clark having a better year under new leadership in 2023. If he’s priced below $350,000, is fit and playing well this preseason, he becomes a must-have to start with but I will assume that Clark is just a stepping stone for premium later on.
This is a long shot but the Hawks have moved on a lot of experienced bodies in 2022 so, I expect most of their list will play at some point. Greene is 24 years old and previously played 5 games for the Western Bulldogs before being delisted in 2020. This guy will be very cheap and likely priced in the mid $150,000 mark. If he’s named round 1, pick him but if he’s not, wait until he plays.
One of The Tiger’s premium recruits during the trade period. Taranto will be 25 years old and will be coming off a season to forget at GWS, where he struggled with form, role changes and injury. Expect Taranto to play more midfield while resting forward for the Tigers in 2023. The 2019 Giants Best & Fairest winner is a proven SuperCoach consistent scorer and will likely be priced somewhere between $450,000-$500,000. Taranto will also likely have DDP status and If he’s listed as a FWD, he should be a good option.
Just like Taranto, Hopper has made his way to the Tigers after a disappointing season with GWS, where he struggled to get his body going. This restricted Hopper to only 7 AFL games and his price fell below $400,000 as a result. Hopper has started preseason early already with the Tigers and we know that he can average well in SuperCoach. Before 2022, Hopper averaged 97, 90 and 95. I can see him reaching those heights again and proceeding somewhere between $350,000-380,000 makes the choice easier.
Hayden Young took his football to another level last year and I loved seeing his scores from within my side. However, it wasn’t quite the “break-out” consistent season where he averages above 100. I can see Young going bigger in 2023. He will be 22 years old and in his 4th year of AFL. Young, as I said, played well in 2022 and so, won’t be cheap but also shouldn’t be a premium-priced defender either. I’ll be taking a punt on him if he’s priced at around $450,000, fit and is playing round 1.
Similar to Young, Warner will be 22 and playing his 4th AFL season but will be priced higher in 2023, as Warner had a fantastic season in 2022. Though, was often forgotten behind his All Australian teammates in Heeney and Mills. I assume the same will happen again this year and could be a POD as a result. Keep a close eye on Warner, I predict a massive 2023 if he stays fit.
The 2018 Brownlow Medalist is a proven SuperCoach scorer but struggled for consistency under Hawthorn coach Sam Mitchell. Tom has moved to Collingwood where I can expect they will utilise him better. I can see Mitchell’s scoring improving significantly with better players around him in the middle. Mitchell will be one to keep an eye on if he’s fit. Mitchell will also likely be priced below $500,000 after an average 2022. If he’s playing well then this could be a bargain pick and a keeper for the year.
Jamarra Ugle-Hagan is now entering his third AFL season. The former number 1 draft pick had a disappointing debut season but showed signs of improvement in 2022, adding 6 AFL games to the 5 he played in 2021. With Josh Dunkley leaving the Western Bulldogs during the 2022 AFL Trade Period, it could mean Ugle-Hagan takes the role in the side that Dunkley has left vacant. I can’t see Ugle-Hagan’s starting price being above $300,000. So, keep an eye on his scoring this preseason. I expect that he will be playing a lot more football this year.
The former number 9 AFL Draft Pick is eager to add to his 59-game career after moving to Essendon this offseason. The 25-year-old struggled for opportunities at Melbourne but did manage 10 AFL games in 2022. His SuperCoach scoring history isn’t great but at Essendon, he is expected to be one of the main forward targets, which he has never really been at Melbourne. This means his scoring will hopefully, be better and with a predicted starting price below $300,000, he might be worth a chance. Keep an eye out on how Essendon uses him this preseason.
The Collingwood key defender was a hot topic during last year’s preseason before he succumbed to an injury, which sadly cost him his debut for all of 2022. Dean was only priced at $102,000 in 2022 and I can’t see that price changing much. If Dean can make the impact in 2023 that we were hoping for 12 months prior, then he will make a great defensive option. Dean won’t be a top scorer but will make you cash and provide you with last-resort bench support.
Players thought Dusty was a bargain at $503k this year. Now, imagine how good of a pick he could be $70-80k cheaper. Dustin Martin’s season was riddled with injuries, fitness issues and personal leave. However, we also know how good he can be and he appears to have started pre-season strongly. It’s early still and it’s only a few months since Hardwick said similar things about the 31-year-old leading into 2022 but if Dusty is fit, he’s surely worth more than $420k-ish. Dusty is a big risk but it’s a risk that can really pay off if you get it right. Although, I’ll only be taking the risk if he’s got DPP status as a FWD/MID.
I believed Marshall could have been the most-owned player in 2023. Especially, if he was listed as a FWD/RUCK. However, that’s not happening. The Herald Sun has already revealed that Marshall will be a RUCK option only. The 27-year-old will now be St Kilda’s number 1 ruckman after All-Australian ruckman Patrick Ryder retired in 2022. We got to see a glimpse of what Marshall’s scoring could be like against Sydney 156 and Hawthorn 173. Now, imagine him doing this more consistently. Before Ryder arrived at St Kilda in 2020 Marshall was a SuperCoach premium, averaging 110 points in 2019. Except for similar results, if he’s fit in 2023.
New Essendon coach, Brad Scott, has stated that McGrath is set to regain his position as a damaging half-back in 2023. This is a position the former number 1 Draft Pick averaged 94.9 points for in 2021. Technically, he was averaging 100 points for the season but his 29 score against WCE in round 15, decreased his overall figures. That is when McGrath got the injury that ended his year. If McGrath is scoring 90’s or 100’s this offseason, pick him! His price will likely only be $400,000-$420,000.
Cunnington is a player who averaged over 100 points between 2018-2021 and did manage to return for the last two games of the season in 2022. His scoring was pretty average, which is expected for someone who was returning from cancer treatment. However, their signs thus far are good and he could return to his best. The 31-year-old has also obtained DPP status, now being listed as a forward, which does mean he can be a useful FWD scorer, as he is likely to actually play mostly midfield again. However, I do not think his price will reduce much from 2022’s asking price. This means that Cunnington will likely be over $550,000 and that’s a big risk. Make sure that he is playing in the preseason competition and that he is playing well. I wouldn’t pick him if he’s scoring below 90 in the off-season. However, despite his offseason scoring, i think this is a guy you can snap up very late in your SuperCoach draft league. I haven’t talked too much about the draft league here yet but Cunnington is a premium pick that would have been chosen as a first or even second-round pick only a couple of years ago. I expect him to be available as a fifth or sixth-round pick in most leagues now. I’d say he’s worth a chance. Especially, as a FWD.
Yes, I can see myself starting both Marshall and Lycett in 2023 as my two starting rucks. Lycett is not a bad scorer and was averaging 98 points in the opening three games of 2022 before he was cut down against Melbourne in round three, which ended his season. Lycett’s season averages have all been above 90 points since the West Coast Eagles premiership player made his way to Port Adelaide in 2019. Due to only playing 4 games in 2022, Lycett will likely be available at a discounted price. I can see him being a cheaper option that you could use as a stepping stone for the best-scoring ruckman later on, when we know who that is. Remember, it’s doubtful that we will be blessed with such cheap ruck’s who can score well in 2023, as we did in 2022. You may have to pay a little more this season for a bargain, which will still allow you to score well in the ruck and free up cash for other positions.
The duel Brownlow medalist is going to be a very popular pick in 2023. Fyfe has just gained DPP status as a FWD/MID. Due to injuries, Fyfe was limited to just 7 games and a terrible average of 63.3, which reduced his price to $373,800. I can see Fyfe’s starting price possibly being even lower than that as well, which makes him arguably the best pick of 2023 if he can complete a full preseason. Fyfe is a premium player who has averaged over 100 points in every season outside of his debut year in 2010 and 2022. The only concerns here are that Fyfe’s scoring was reduced due to his time up forward but this was due to his interrupted preseason, which affected his fitness. Also, his fitness is the other issue, as the 31-year-old is starting to have soft tissue problems. If Fyfe can smash out a full preseason then I can see Fyfe returning to the midfield and that will result in massive scores.