KFC SuperCoach jury: Key questions for 2021 answered

The KFC SuperCoach jury is back — bigger and better than ever before — for 2021.

We’ve assembled some of the sharpest minds in the game, including several top finishers from past seasons, to answer the key questions to help pick your teams.

From the must-have rookies of the year to the players you can’t live without, our brains trust has answered it all to help finalise your KFC SuperCoach teams.

Check out their answers to all the burning questions of the pre-season below.

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The KFC SuperCoach jury like Brodie Grundy as the biggest lock of the season.Source:Getty Images

1. Who is the biggest lock of 2021 and why?

@azzajewell: BrodieGrundy. When you’re selecting a SuperCoach uber-premium, you look for three things: durability, consistency and ceiling. Grundy ticks all of these boxes. Absolute lock.

@honeyballafl: Brodie Grundy at $648k is hot. He averaged 120.7 in 2020 which was eight points more than the next best ruckman, but almost 20 points per game behind Max Gawn. At times, Grundy didn’t seem his usual self in 2020, yet he still scored pretty well, so I’m expecting a rise.

@Adrian9Johnson6: It took me 13 rounds to bring Lachie Neale into my team last season and ironically by then, it would have been better to just leave him out. I won’t be making the same mistake this year. The 2020 Brownlow medallist typically starts the season like a house on fire and as such, should be first-picked by all serious SuperCoach teams.

@bolchdylan: I’m big on Rory Laird, who averaged 117.6 playing predominantly midfield at the back end of last year.

Rory Laird dominated when thrown into the midfield midway through last year.Source:Getty Images

@damosc: Jake Lloyd hasn’t left my team since the whole thing opened. His ability to score above 100, and consistently do so, is something that is so important for our SuperCoach teams.

@hunterpunter_1: Rory Laird — only went under 100 once last year after Round 9, when he made the move to midfield. Very durable as well which I value highly.

@lekdogSC: There are quite a few obvious locks like Lachie Neale, Max Gawn and Patrick Dangerfield, but my lock for the year is Zach Merrett. Priced at $620,900 and heading into a contract year, Merrett is primed for a huge 2021. He showed us his huge upside in 2020, averaging a whopping 115.6, a number boosted by his stellar end to the season which saw him average 119.4 across his final 12 games.

@JordsSupercoach: Brodie Grundy. He averaged 120 in a poor year by his standards.

Jake Lloyd is a hot favourite to be the top defender of 2021.Source:Getty Images

@NaCheers: Jake Lloyd. Everyone who didn’t start Neale, Gawn and Lloyd etc. last year spent their season burning trades and waiting for their price to drop. It’s not worth what it costs you in points.

@damoj88: Neale. He’s expensive, but for good reason! Super reliable, consistent and incredibly durable. He’s played 82 of a possible 83 games over the past four years, which is just insane. Over that period he has averaged 118.3 and tonned up on 73 per cent of matches.

@Empr_X: Jake Lloyd. No other defender comes close to matching his output over the last three seasons. Has played every single game, scored 47 tons (third among all players behind only Gawn and Grundy) and has recorded just three scores under 80. If that isn’t enough to lock him away at D1 I have no idea what is.

@the_SC_bull: Patrick Cripps. After riding the roller coaster of 2020, 2021 looks to be the year the big bull we know and love returns. At 523k for someone who has previously gone 117 and 119, the upside is huge. Locked and loaded at M4 for The Bull!

Bat Fyfe playing more as a forward? It has our jury worried.Source:Getty Images

2. Who’s the player from 2020 you won’t pick again and why?

@azzajewell: Darcy Macpherson. I definitely got sucked in by his pre-season dominance and ended up selecting him at the last minute over Hugh Greenwood.

@honeyballafl: Tough question as it’s not wise to ever put a line through someone. But to answer the question in the interests of fun, Stephen Coniglio and Patrick Cripps were frustrating last year and you’d need some compelling evidence.

@Adrian9Johnson6: Michael Walters. After trading him in for the final seven rounds of 2020 for an average of 81.5 (frustratingly did not play Rnd 18 either), he quickly cemented his spot in my SC burn book.

A heel injury limited Connor Rozee’s impact last year.Source:Getty Images

@bolchdylan: Devon Smith comes to mind. I picked him last year as a mid-pricer, but he struggled early so I pulled the trigger. MID only this year makes him even more irrelevant in a SuperCoach sense.

@damosc: Luke Shuey. Looking back I can’t remember why I thought he was a good idea to trade in. West Coast played a few games in a row at home, but his yoyo scoring and injury troubles created headaches that I never want to have to deal with ever again.

@hunterpunter_1: Unfortunately I don’t think I’ll pick Nat Fyfe in 2021. Uncertainty in role and his injury history means that I’ll probably steer clear and favour the pure midfielders like Neale, Oliver and Mitchell. I’ll be picking him in 2022 if he has DPP though!

@lekdogSC: If there’s one thing I’ve learned from SuperCoach BBL, it’s that cognitive bias can really impact SuperCoach decisions. I’m heading into 2021 with a fresh brain and no-one in the burn book … except for Shannon Hurn.

@JordsSupercoach: Stephen Coniglio. Having someone you traded in for $540k dropped late in the season wasn’t a great experience and his disposal efficiency isn’t as great which hurts his scoring. I hope he plays half forward to give a young player midfield opportunity.

Shannon Hurn’s scoring dropped off last season.Source:Getty Images

@NaCheers: Zac Williams, I got sucked in by potential mid time and his low price, forgetting that his body is cooked. He did the same to me the year before as well.

@damoj88: ConnorRozee. Burnt me to a crisp after I wasted a trade on him at his highest price point following scores of 125 and 145. From then on I watched as he struggled to score higher than 55 over the next six weeks and dropped to $282k. Although, I could quite possibly get roped in again if he starts like a house on fire. What’s the saying? “Fool me once …”

@Empr_X: Chad Wingard. After picking him up on the back of his 131 in Round 1, he delivered me a couple of decent scores in a 122 and 136, only to then fall by the wayside and average 75.5 from Round 5 on.

@the_SC_bull: It hurts me to write this, but Josh Kelly. I started Kelly last year as a POD thinking it would give me a leg up on the competition. But the problem with Kelly has always been his durability and I was stung on the backside multiple times across the season.

Max Gawn starts the year at a record KFC SuperCoach price.Source:News Corp Australia

3. Which ruck set-up are you going with?

@azzajewell: In the 15 years I’ve been playing SuperCoach, I’ve never once had a “set and forget” ruck setup. It’s true. I’ve always chosen a premium at R1, and then chased value at R2. But after the recent news that Braydon Preuss and Rowan Marshall are out for extended stints on the sidelines, I think the SuperCoach gods are finally telling me it’s time to set and forget.

@honeyballafl: The set and forget method with Gawn and Grundy. They averaged so much more than the rest of the rucks in 2020 and their averages were relative to the best midfielders, so it’s worth paying up.

@Adrian9Johnson6: The injury to Braydon Preuss — who I was planning to start — means I’m rolling with the set and forget Gawn-Grundy combo.

@bolchdylan: Set and forget. SuperCoach causes enough headaches as is and I’m willing to pay a premium for Max Gawn and Brodie Grundy.

@damosc: Locked and loaded with set and forget duo, Gawn and Grundy.

Braydon Preuss’ injury means the ‘set and forget’ structure is popular.Source:Getty Images

@hunterpunter_1: Gawn and Grundy are my starting rucks now. Need Gawn with his good ruck draw to start and being able to captain him. Grundy’s a good price for his potential output.

@lekdogSC: Gawn and Grundy, I was dumb to ever consider anything else. That being said, O’Brien over Grundy does tempt me — but the $80k I’d make simply isn’t worth the risk!

@JordsSupercoach: Gawn and Grundy. Captain and vice-captain.

@NaCheers: Last season not starting Gawndy cost me about four trades and really cost me at the back end of the season.

@damoj88: Was originally going to risk it with Gawn and Preuss, but now that the latter has gone down, it’s Gawn and Grundy all of the way.

@Empr_X: Gawn/Grundy. In the last three seasons no player has scored more tons than either of these two. The money is worth it.

@the_SC_bull: Currently I am looking at a set & forget structure with Gawn, Grundy & Treacy. I can’t see there being any other way in 2021.

4. Which mid-pricer takes your fancy?

@azzajewell: I only have two mid-price players in my side: Connor Rozee and James Harmes. But there are plenty more that are on my watchlist: Wayne Milera, Hayden Young, Tom Green, Mabior Chol, Jackson Hately, Jack Ziebell to name a few.

@honeyballafl: If the $450k mark counts, Bachar Houli despite his age and injury-proneness. I’ll be monitoring Buddy Franklin ($312k) closely in pre-season too, while Port’s Willem Drew ($310k) basically missed all of 2020 after a strong rookie year and is worth consideration. Jackson Hately ($310k) always did well at GWS.

Ben Cunnington is at a much lower starting price than previous years.Source:AAP

@Adrian9Johnson6: Ben Cunnington – a proven option, who, if fit, should feature in most teams.

@bolchdylan: Zac Williams will be popular, given he has been touted for a midfield role at the Blues. Elsewhere, Connor Rozee and Isaac Heeney appeal given the lack of premium forward standouts this year.

@damosc: I didn’t get stung by Connor Rozee like many others last year, and all the word coming out Port Adelaide has me pretty bullish on his chances to take that next step.

@hunterpunter_1: Ben Cunnington. He’s a proven point scorer and if he gets his body right, he will be bargain at $439,800.

@lekdogSC: I told myself I would not be burned by mid-pricers again this year but I have two in my side … Ziebell and Hately. I’ll need to see some impressive signs out of both of them during the pre-season to lock them in though.

Dyson Heppell is set to be used at halfback by Ben Rutten.Source:Getty Images

@JordsSupercoach: Jackson Hately played very well in the 2020 pre-season games, amassing 54 touches over two games as an inside midfielder. I am keen to see what he can do in pre-season for Adelaide.

@NaCheers: If Blake Acres is considered a mid-pricer then potentially him. He had a really strong last four games where he averaged 105pts. One to watch during pre-season will be Kyle Langford who finished with a five-round average of 94.2 and only went below 70 four times.

@damoj88: Depends on what you classify as a ‘mid-pricer’, but I love the look of future Brownlow medallist in Matt Rowell from that higher tier. Absolute machine of a player as we saw in 2020, who is just built for AFL with a super friendly SuperCoach game.

@Empr_X: Zac Williams. The potential in his move to Ikon Park is huge, and with the potential to play a huge amount of midfield time as a 458k defender, he’s far too tasty an option to pass up at D3.

@the_SC_bull: At 319k it has to be Dyson Heppell. Injury derailed his 2020 season, but if you look at his history of scoring you will see why I am excited to pick him.

Tom Powell racked up huge numbers as a junior.Source:Getty Images

5. Who’s the standout rookie you need to have?

@azzajewell: Sure there might be a little bias here being a staunch North Melbourne fan, but it’s hard to go past Tom Powell.

@honeyballafl: Tough one to answer at this stage as you need some pre-season form lines to make a call and there’s little under-age 2020 footy to scrutinise either. So I’ll turn to those who’ve been in the system a bit longer, with West Coast’s Bailey Williams ($193k) set for better job security after a few games and with longer matches.

@Adrian9Johnson6: Pending job security and fitness, I really like the look of both Mark Hutchings ($158k MID/FWD) and Nakia Cockatoo ($123k MID/FWD).

@bolchdylan: It is worth paying up for No. 3 draft pick Will Phillips. North Melbourne have given him the famous no. 29 worn by Boomer Harvey and the draftee has already been touted as a future captain.

Nakia Cockatoo is one of the most popular players in KFC SuperCoach.Source:Getty Images

@damosc: Braeden Campbell at the Swans seems to have taken up real estate across half back for the Swans at training, which is a very SuperCoach friendly role and with lots of scoring potential. His dual position eligibility makes him all the more sweeter, too.

@hunterpunter_1: Tom Powell. Big junior numbers and should get games at North Melbourne.

@lekdogSC: I’m sure everyone has said Tom Powell so I’ll say James Rowe. He averaged over 90 in the SANFL last year, comes into that Adelaide forward line immediately and provides cover up forward which is an are we always struggle to find player for in SuperCoach. Do I expect him to set the world on fire? No, but he’ll be a nice little slow burn at F8.

@JordsSupercoach: Will Phillips — the closest rookie we’ll get to a Rowell or Walsh.

@NaCheers: Tom Powell is an absolute lock! He will get opportunities at the Kangas as they are rebuilding. In the SANFL he averaged 153 SuperCoach points and scored over 200 a couple of times.

@damoj88: Probably too early to lock in a first year rookie with 100 per cent confidence, but Phillips is probably the closest thing to that at this stage. Will have a secure role and get ample opportunities.

@Empr_X: Honestly, I don’t know. Which rookies are playing in R1 will have a huge say in this, but Nakia Cockatoo could be virtually a free hit. Even if his body lets him down you’ll be in the same boat as everyone else and you won’t put yourself at a disadvantage.

@the_SC_bull: It’s hard to make a call at this point in time given we’ve seen very little of the rookies. I’d like to say Will Gould would have to be the pick of the bunch so far. We know how close he was to debuting in 2020, and I think 2021 could be his year.

Clayton Oliver is one of the big guns worth more than $600,000.Source:Getty Images

6. How many players $600k are in your team?

@azzajewell: Currently, I have five $600k+ players in my side. Jake Lloyd, Lachie Neale, Clayton Oliver, Max Gawn and Brodie Grundy.

@honeyballafl: The structure of your squad is going to change during pre-season based on a variety of factors. From speaking to the top 10-100 finishers, the best strategy is getting a mix of elite players ($600k plus) and the pick of the cheapies. With that in mind, seven to nine $600k+ players is my plan.

@Adrian9Johnson6: Currently seven: Jake Lloyd ($656k), Lachie Neale ($722k), Clayton Oliver ($657k), Tom Mitchell ($610k), Max Gawn ($751k), Brodie Grundy ($648k) and Patrick Dangerfield ($612k).

@bolchdylan: Seven at this stage, but like most SuperCoach teams, this number is constantly changing.

@damosc: Six! – Lloyd, Neale, Oliver, Merrett, Gawn, Grundy.

New Saints co-captain Jack Steele is a player our jury has their eyes on.Source:Getty Images

@hunterpunter_1: Currently I have five but this may increase (or decrease) based on how many playing rookies are picked in Round 1.

@lekdogSC: Currently I’ve gone with just four $600k+ players in Gawn, Dangerfield, Neale and Merrett.

@JordsSupercoach: Five – Lloyd, Neale, Oliver, Gawn and Grundy. I can’t fit Steele in but would be keen on him.

@NaCheers: Seven.

@damoj88: Five.

@Empr_X: Currently seven. Lloyd, Neale, Oliver, Macrae, Mitchell, Gawn and Grundy. And all of those are absolutely locked away.

@the_SC_bull: Currently there are seven – one defender, three midfielders, two rucks and one forward.

Jack Macrae has been one of the most consistent scorers in KFC SuperCoach history.Source:Getty Images

7. How many Bulldogs midfielders will you start?

@azzajewell: None. There’s too much uncertainty with the Bulldogs and how their team will function with so many premium midfielders. Not to mention the Bevo factor which has caused SuperCoach coaches plenty of headaches over the past season.

@honeyballafl: I understand the fear that with the addition of Adam Treloar and retention of Josh Dunkley that all their mid guns will take points off each other. But whether that’ll turn into reality is really tough to say so pre-season form will be indicative. In saying all that, I like Jack Macrae ($650k) for his reliability and durability.

@Adrian9Johnson6: None, probably. I succumbed to a double-Dog midfield to start my 2020 season (Bontempelli and Dunkley), but with the inclusion of Adam Treloar, I believe the best bet is to wait and see.

Can the Bont still fly high in KFC SuperCoach after Adam Treloar’s arrival?Source:Getty Images

@bolchdylan: I’ve got Dunkley at the moment and aside from him the only other one under consideration is Jack Macrae. Luke Beveridge spins the magnets way too much.

@damosc: None. I do like the idea of Jack Macrae, he seems to score well no matter where he plays. I don’t think I’ll be starting him though, he should be available cheaper at some point.

@hunterpunter_1: None at this stage. Think they’ll take points off each other.

@lekdogSC: None, and the only one I would consider is Adam Treloar because he’s the only one who can’t play outside of the guts.

@JordsSupercoach: In my midfield, none at the moment. Dunkley has shown a decent floor playing forward, and a huge ceiling playing midfield, so he’s locked at F1.

@NaCheers: Ever since I started playing SuperCoach I have started Macrae. I feel a little emotional typing this but this might be my first year without starting him or any Dog midfielders.

@damoj88: None! The addition of Treloar just adds to that uncertainty with regards to Dogs midfielders.

@Empr_X: Just Jack Macrae. Has been the second-best midfielder in the competition behind Lachie Neale for the last two years and the addition of Treloar doesn’t faze me one bit.

@the_SC_bull: Currently I haven’t got any of them. I’m happy to sit on the sidelines and watch to see how Bevo lines them up over the first couple of rounds before I bring any in.

Originally published asKFC SuperCoach: Every key question answered

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