No-go zone: Avoid these KFC SuperCoach traps
Overpriced, unreliable or just not worth the pain.
Every seasoned KFC SuperCoach player has a "never again" list of players they won't touch after being burnt by them in the past - and nearly all of them have cast those reservations aside to take a chance on a tempting pre-season prospect.
It's time for a KFC SuperCoach intervention. Here are 14 players to remove from your selection plans in 2021.
Michael Walters (Fremantle) $531,100 FWD-MID
Justin Longmuir must not play KFC SuperCoach. Walters was one of the best forwards in the first half of 2020, mixing his time between midfield (68 per cent) and attack (32 per cent) to Round 8. He had seven tons and a season-low of 92 to that point, before missing several games due to injury. When he returned in Round 12, Walters played almost exclusively as a forward, spending 92 per cent of time in attack for the last six rounds. As a result his KFC SuperCoach average dropped from 112 to 81.5. How can you pay more than $500,000 with little guarantee of what his role will be in 2021? Adam Cerra is about to join Andrew Brayshaw in the Dockers' midfield and that doesn't bode well for those with Walters in their SuperCoach plans. Take it from someone who owned him last season, it's a very hard pass.
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Shannon Hurn (West Coast) $477,800 DEF
Hurn's days as a premium scorer are done. He averaged a career-best 103.5 in 2019 and his second-best season (96.4) was 2018. But last year his average dropped by almost 15 points to 88.9, a figure which was boosted by scores of 112, 88 and 138 to round out the season. There was a period last year where Hurn scored 68, 39, 93, 114, 63 and 68 in consecutive weeks - disastrous for those who paid top dollar after he opened the campaign with a score of 152. Liam Duggan, Jackson Nelson and Tom Cole ate into Hurn's scoring last year and Alex Witherden will join that mix as another defensive outlet this season.
Ben Brown (Melbourne) $260,300 FWD
The new Demon had loomed as one of the bargains of the year at about $170k less than his starting price from 2020. Brown opened last year with scores of 81, 80 and 83 and averaged 76-83 between 2016-19. But the spearhead is now in doubt for Round 1 after having surgery in an effort to fix persistent knee problems. Brown went down with a knee injury in Round 10 last season and did not feature for North Melbourne again. He's worth assessing in his first two games for the Demons when he features, but the doubts over his availability in the early rounds should scare KFC SuperCoaches off.
Toby Greene (GWS Giants) $448,400 FWD
He's an exciting talent, no doubt. But Greene has far too many red flags when it comes to KFC SuperCoach. He hasn't played more than 20 games in a season in the past four years due to a combination of injuries and suspension. And when he does play, he's often isolated in the forward line. Greene's best, such as his Round 8 score of 166 last year, is as good as any player in KFC SuperCoach. But there's too many question marks to take the risk at that price.
Lachie Hunter (Western Bulldogs) $618,500 MID
Adding Adam Treloar to an already potent midfield is a huge boost for Western Bulldogs' premiership ambitions. From a KFC SuperCoach perspective, the Bulldogs' midfield depth has caused several headaches. Last year, coaches lamented Josh Dunkley being used as a ruckman and Jack Macrae spending time on a wing early in the season. In 2021, Luke Beveridge will need to work out how to get the best out of Dunkley, Treloar, Lachie Hunter, Bailey Smith, Marcus Bontempelli and Macrae, among others. Hunter had averaged 100 only once before last season, when he posted 115.1 in nine games. He costs more than $100,000 more than his 2020 starting price and there's much better value in the midfield.
Nic Naitanui (West Coast) $593,700 RUC
The Eagles ruckman may have benefited more than any other player from shorter quarters last year, with his high-impact game attracting significant KFC SuperCoach scaling. Naitanui's average of 110.5 was his best since 2021 and he got through 16 of a possible 18 games after playing only 33 matches from 2016-19. The major question mark is how Naitanui is managed through a full season when quarters return to 20 minutes. He's only $55k cheaper than Brodie Grundy, who doesn't need the same scaling Naitanui enjoyed last year to post monster scores.
Stephen Coniglio (GWS Giants) $528,900 MID
How can we trust his role? The GWS skipper has never quite reached uber premium status in KFC SuperCoach, averaging a career-high of 108.4 in 2018. His numbers since then (101.2 and 98.4) won't illicit much excitement from KFC SuperCoaches. Coniglio opened last season with scores of 114, 111 and 87 but then scored 49 when he was used as a defensive forward against Collingwood. He just doesn't hit the heights other premium midfielders do often enough to be considered, especially when he's often squeezed out of the Giants' first-choice midfield or used as a forward.
Isaac Heeney (Sydney) $454,500 FWD
How can a player in more than 20 per cent of teams be classed in the no-go zone? Heeney has had an interrupted pre-season after a serious ankle injury brought his 2020 campaign to an early end. Heeney said recently he wasn't guaranteed to be right for Round 1, which has alarm bells ringing. The likelihood Lance Franklin will miss the early rounds after an injury setback was a further blow to Heeney's KFC SuperCoach prospects as he could be forced to play forward again. Logan McDonald's arrival somewhat mitigates that risk, although the Swans will be reluctance to put too much onus on their No.4 draftee.
Lance Franklin (Sydney) $312,000 FWD
The cheaper he gets, the more KFC SuperCoaches have to look at Buddy. But ultimately, the continued injury issues plaguing the Swans superstar should be enough of a deterrent to look elsewhere. Yes, $312k seems cheap. But even if he makes an unlikely bid to feature in Round 1, how can you guarantee a 33-year-old Franklin won't be managed through the campaign? After all, he's only played 28 games in the past three seasons and didn't feature at all last year.
Orazio Fantasia (Port Adelaide) $271,800 DEF-FWD
Every KFC SuperCoach wants to find value and the prospect of a player being rejuvenated by moving clubs is a trap most of us have fallen for before. He averaged 83.3 in 2018 but has played only 19 games since then for 12 scores of 60 points or less. Few mid-sized forwards score premium numbers and there's rookies available for $100,000 more or less who can average as much as Fantasia will.
Jordan Clark (Geelong) $241,800 DEF-MID
Charlie Constable anyone? Constable was supposed to be one of the KFC SuperCoach cash cows of 2019 and had made $88,000 by Round 3 after scores of 85, 84 and 99. The Geelong midfielder only played another four games and was dropped after Round 4. The Cats' team is one of the toughest to crack and the addition of Shaun Higgins, Isaac Smith and Jeremy Cameron is only going to make selection even tougher. Clark's DPP status and low price make him appealing, but do you really want to take that risk on a player with such low job security? He's currently in more than 7 per cent of teams.
Originally published as No-go zone: Avoid these KFC SuperCoach traps