Gawn decision to define AFL SuperCoach season
Deciding whether to start with Max Gawn or not is one of the defining choices of SuperCoach 2019.
Gawn was an absolute must-have last year, with his average of 127.5 the third-highest in the game.
But many coaches are taking a punt and leaving Max out in the hope of saving some money in the ruck. Is that a winning play or a massive mistake - and who else at Melbourne should be on the selection radar.
Here's our take on the best premium, mid-price and rookie picks at the Demons this year.
Max Gawn $692,100 RUCK
Scoring behemoth who failed to top 100 only four times last year, finishing the season with a pair of 156s. There are only two questions to ask before adding him to your team: 1. Will the arrival of Braydon Preuss effect his output? (unlikely); 2. Can you afford both Gawn and Brodie Grundy? (not so easy to answer)
Clayton Oliver $622,600 MID
A brilliant one-two punch with Gawn, Oliver is a SuperCoach beast but seems to fly under the radar compared to players like Patrick Cripps and Josh Kelly. He was the seventh-highest scoring player in SuperCoach in 2018 in just his third season and will only get better. Also durable - he has played every game the past two years.
Angus Brayshaw $526,900 MID
In the run home last year Brayshaw finally shrugged off the injuries that dogged the early part of his career to shy why he was drafted with the third pick overall in the 2014 draft. Averaged 109 after the bye and over the final four rounds he scored 115, 116, 115 and 116. No longer a dual-position player but that will make him a big point of difference.
Jack Viney $449,500 MID
We have a small sample size to work from thanks to persistent injuries, but in 10 games Viney posted six SuperCoach tons and showed his star potential with 27 disposals, 17 contested possessions, eight clearances and five tackles in the semi-final against Hawthorn - in 67 per cent of game time. Plays a very SuperCoach-friendly style but has been injury-prone.
Michael Hibberd $398,700 DEF
A consistent scorer in defence - until last year, when his average slumped to just 73, and we still aren't entirely sure why. Scored 10 tons and averaged 99 in 2017 so if he can return to that form he'll be a steal. New kick-in rules could help his cause.
Kade Kolodjashnij $363,700 DEF
KK was bleeping brightly on the SuperCoach radar after averaging 89 in just his second season back in 2015, a year he also finished second in Gold Coast's best-and-fairest. He couldn't match that in the three seasons since, with the wheels falling off completely last season leading to a trade to Melbourne. He says he's over his concussion problems and ready to provide dash off halfback, telling Fox Footy: "I'm really confident I'm 100 per cent over it … now I just want to get back to my best."
Christian Petracca $442,600 FWD-MID
Is this the year of the much-anticipated Petracca breakout season? We've talked it up the past two years which makes us a bit reluctant to go again, but the ingredients are all there and he's now entering his fourth season. More midfield time would help.
Marty Hore $117,300 DEF
Arrives at the Demons from Collingwood's VFL team at age 22. Hore took the second-most marks in the VFL last season and is ready to play right away. The Demons aren't afraid to play mature-age recruits after the success of Bayley Fritsch and Mitch Hannan and he could be the perfect backup until Jake Lever returns mid-season from a knee injury.
Corey Wagner $123,900 MID
The ex-Kangaroo was signed by Melbourne under the new rookie rules - does that mean coach Simon Goodwin has a specific role in mind? Another mature-ager - he turns 22 just before Round 1 - who played just eight games in three years at Arden St. Keep an eye out for him in the JLT Series.
Bayley Fritsch $408,400 MID
We loved Fritsch as a rookie last year and with good reason - if you cashed him in around the Demons' bye you received a $307,000 profit. He seems to have a role in Simon Goodwin's side but at that price and midfield-only in 2019, save him for SuperCoach Draft.
Nathan Jones $459,200 MID
A warrior who thoroughly deserved some finals success, but managed just three SuperCoach tons for the season after a role change took him out of the centre square. Hard to see him turning the graph around this year.
Braydon Preuss $239,900 RUCK
It remains one of the mysteries of the trade period why Preuss, who was stuck behind Todd Goldstein in the ruck queue at North Melbourne, requested a move to a team with arguably the best ruckman in the game. Can they play in the same team? For the sake of Gawn's scoring, we hope not.
Tom McDonald FWD
Transformation into a key forward is now complete. He finished last year with a 98-point average with the ability go much bigger (scoring 164 against the Bulldogs).
Steven May DEF
Arrived via a blockbuster trade and will step straight into a key defensive slot. That's generally a big SuperCoach turn-off but he scores well enough (averaging 80-plus the past three seasons) to be worth thinking about.