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Fantasy: Midfielders

Sarah Lucken – Footy Prophet  February 5, 2016 9:22 AM

AFL 2015 NAB Challenge - Carlton v Geelong

Mitch Duncan of the Cats in action during the 2015 NAB Challenge Week 4 match between the Carlton Blues and the Geelong Cats at Etihad Stadium, Melbourne on March 22, 2015. (Photo: Michael Willson/AFL Media)

The Geelong midfield struggled for consistency in 2015. Injuries to Jimmy Bartel, James Kelly, Mitch Duncan and George Horlin-Smith left the Cats short-handed, and as a result the Cats were the poorest team for clearances for 2015. But after a bumper trade period, that looks set to change. The recruitment of Patrick Dangerfield and Scott Selwood add depth in the midfield, not to mention support for under-fire captain, Joel Selwood.

Patrick Dangerfield

$589,000

Joel Selwood

$541,000

Josh Caddy

$495,000

Cameron Guthrie

$468,000

Mitch Duncan

$442,000

Jordan Murdoch

$370,000

Scott Selwood

$326,000

George Horlin-Smith

$266,000

Sam Menegola

$127,000

James Parsons

$125,000

Jordan Cunico

$125,000

Premium

Patrick Dangerfield played his last game for Adelaide at Simonds Stadium in Geelong. It was a carnival-like atmosphere as it also happened to be the farewell game for three Geelong greats, James Kelly, Steve Johnson and Mathew Stokes.

He’ll be a welcome addition to AFL Fantasy teams again this year, starting the season as the 10th most prolific midfielder in the competition with a 2015 season average of 106. Not only is Danger’s average incredible but his consistency is even better. Only on three occasions in 2015 did his score drop below 100, and who can forget that battle with Nat Fyfe in Round 9.

In what was one of the greatest displays of football by two individuals, the pair broke all kinds of statistical records and Dangerfield tallied 147 AFL Fantasy points.

He’s ferocious at the football; he has an excellent turn of pace and hits the scoreboard regularly. He’s a genuine match-winner, and could win you a fantasy premiership.

Mid-Priced

Mitch Duncan had a tough year. After breaking into the Geelong premiership team in 2011, Duncan was a model of consistency and barely missed a game for the next three years. In 2015, a role change saw this output reduced significantly for the first four rounds of the season. A move back into the midfield saw him having an impact and after his role change, Duncan enjoyed a purple patch. He had a three-game AFL Fantasy average of over 125, including the game in which he sustained his injury. A broken foot caused him to be substituted out of Geelong’s Round 7 loss to Sydney and not return until Round 16. He would only manage four more games for the season.

The 24-year-old starts the AFL Fantasy season underpriced as a result and in even better news for Cats fans, he’s back in full training. A pre-season setback required surgery in November, but he got through his first full training session since unscathed and is readying himself to play in Round 1.

With Duncan’s running ability, penchant for finding the football and attacking nous, there’s no reason why he can’t regularly score 120 plus AFL Fantasy points for his coaches. Lock him in!

Rookie

Sam Menegola joined Geelong via the 2015 NAB AFL National Draft. It is Menegola’s third shot at breaking into the AFL Ranks after being on the rookie lists at both Hawthorn and Fremantle without playing a single game.

The 23-year-old played for WAFL club Subiaco in 2015 and produced what was a sublime individual season, capped off by a premiership and a third place finish in the WAFL’s best and fairest, the Sandover Medal; A remarkable achievement given he missed the first 10 games of the season through injury.

Menegola is a strong, quick midfielder, and has an excellent attitude. His professionalism in the way he trains and prepares himself is outstanding. With a mature body, Menegola could well make his AFL and Geelong debut this year and at a bargain price of $127,000 he could prove a valuable cash cow.

Breakout

George Horlin-Smith is the epitome of a breakout contender. At 23 years of age he is entering the prime of his career and has enough AFL experience under his belt to get stuck straight into the season. He’s played 39 games across five seasons, the bulk of which came in 2014.

He played 21 games that year and looked to have cemented his position in the Geelong midfield but injury tortured him in 2015. Persistent knee complaints limited him to just seven games last year, two of which he started in the green substitutes vest.

Working hard in the gym this pre-season, Horlin-Smith is fit. He’s stronger and fitter than ever and is leading the way on the training track. It’s a deep midfield to try to break into, however; he’ll be competing with the likes of Scott Selwood, Jordan Murdoch, Darcy Lang and Nakia Cockatoo.

If he can cement his position in Geelong’s midfield, or even the forward line, he’ll make his AFL Fantasy coaches a pretty penny. Priced at $266,000 and with a three-game average of 70 to finish an injury riddled year, 2016 could be the year for George.

Value

Cameron Guthrie is perhaps one of the most interesting prospects at Geelong this season. The trend of consistent improvement across his career looks set to continue. In 2015 he got the balance right between winning the hard ball and playing a defensive role, and attacking the football and pushing forward.

Geelong have a lot of versatile midfielders. Joel Selwood, Patrick Dangerfield, Mitch Duncan, Jordan Murdoch and Josh Caddy are all adept at rolling forward and hitting the scoreboard when necessary and on a regular basis. Guthrie however can drop back into defence.

The 23 year old started his career in the back pocket as a likely replacement for Corey Enright before moving in to the midfield. With a plethora of midfield options in 2016, Chris Scott could well make the move with Guthrie, playing him out of defence alongside the likes of Enright and youngster, Jackson Thurlow.

If Guthrie spends enough time in the defensive half of the ground he may be eligible to earn himself dual-position status, just like James Kelly did in 2015. $468,000 for a potential defender who could average up over 90 AFL Fantasy points this year is a bargain. For those playing AFL Fantasy Elite, Guthrie is a must-have, particularly if he slides down the draft order.