THE BACKLINE has plenty to offer this year, with elite scorers, returning stars, rookie prospects and players seeking opportunities at a new club. If the rest of your team is looking a bit vanilla, there are some viable options down back to put a bit of a unique twist on your starting line-up.
Here is my current Rollin' 22 where I predict who will be the best defenders for the year.
Roy’s Rollin’ 22
Lachie Whitfield (DEF/MID, $795,000)
Jack Crisp (DEF/MID, $854,000)
Jake Lloyd (DEF, $823,000)
Jordan Dawson (DEF/MID, $745,000)
Aaron Hall (DEF/DEF, $731,000)
Christian Salem (DEF, $779,000)
In the mix: Daniel Rich (DEF, $823,000), Tom Stewart (DEF, $812,000), Jayden Short (DEF, $783,000), Brayden Maynard (DEF, $683,000), Dyson Heppell (DEF, $795,000)
There is plenty of value available for a lot less than the big boys. Here are some under-priced premiums to consider:
Jordan Dawson (DEF, $745,000): After showing what he could do on a wing for the Swans where he averaged more than 100 following the bye, the Crows fought hard to make him theirs to fill that role. He has a huge ceiling, as we saw in the final round with 158 and all the signs are pointing in the direction of a career year mixing up a wing and inside midfield role.
James Sicily (DEF, $510,000): The talented Hawks defender is set to finally make his return, and for a bargain price. He is as close as it gets to a 'must have' selection, given he has averaged more than 96 on two occasions in the past, yet he is priced at an average of just 61.
In the mix: Zac Williams (DEF, $600,000), Jordan Ridley (DEF, $671,000)
Here are some bargain priced players to keep an eye on:
George Hewitt (DEF/MID, $537,000): The Blues didn't hide from the fact they wanted a two-way, inside midfielder to support their skipper. Enter Hewitt. The hard-nosed former Swan has turned heads on the training track and all but cemented himself in the centre square for the first ball-up. He finished the season with an increase in midfield time and his scoring reflected that, averaging 98 in that time. He will be needed even more than anticipated at the beginning of the year with Sam Walsh missing.
Wayne Milera (DEF, $378,000): After managing just two games over the past two seasons, the talented and versatile Crow is back and available at a bargain price. He has had an outstanding pre-season and from all reports he looks set to resume his role off half-back, while taking up opportunities to push up a wing and through the midfield. In 2019 he averaged 77 and I think he will cover that with ease.
In the mix: Hayden Young (DEF, $543,000), Daniel Rioli (DEF/FWD, $469,000)
There are a number of rookies putting their hand up for selection this pre season to keep that cash generating in the backline.
Campbell Chesser (DEF/MID, $264,000): The versatile young Eagle has been doing his best work on the wing this pre-season, to the point he has his hat in the ring to run the opposite side of the square to Andrew Gaff. If named there for round one, it will be hard to say no.
Josh Sinn (DEF/MID, $268,000): The talented left-footer has already demonstrated this pre-season why the Power traded up the draft to get him. He has been making waves in match practice and will be well worth consideration if he is named off half back in round one.
In the mix: Nathan O'Driscoll (DEF/MID, $190,000), Will Kelly (FWD/DEF, $191,000)
Here is my current defender line-up: