This week, Doctor Supercoach brings you the Judge’s verdict on two young guns chosen by our community! They are Carlton’s Patrick Cripps and Essendon’s Zach Merrett.
Price: $558, 500
2016 average: 107.6
Carlton unearthed a gem when it took Patrick Cripps at pick 13 in the 2013 draft. Whilst his first season was very forgettable (three games for a 39 point average) his second year was absolutely phenomenal. In only his second season of AFL football, Cripps boasted an average of 96.3 Supercoach points per game, as well as 23 disposals, six marks and five tackles. Cripps recorded over six tackles or more on eight occasions in season 2015. Cripps’ best game for the season came in round four, when he took the Saints to the cleaners and finished the day on 172 Supercoach points. Excitement brewed in Supercoaches at the start of his 2016 season, and Cripps did not disappoint! He played 21 games and brought his average up to 107.6; including 13 games over 100. Cripps went slightly berserk in his last few games last year, notching up scores of 137, 118, 124, 118, 153 and 140. At just 21 years of age, Cripps was the AFL’s leading contested possession getter. Cripps started 2017 off poorly, with a measly 50 points against Richmond. Since then however, Cripps has averaged 106.25, including an absolutely ridiculous 157 against St Kilda (again!) in round eight. What I really like about Cripps is how hard he goes at the man, averaging just over six tackles per game. This kid is absolutely going places.
Price: $582, 000
2016 average: 111.5
Another gem from the 2013 draft, Zach Merrett debuted for the Essendon Football Club in 2014 and played 18 games with an average of 63.7. When it came out that many members of Essendon would not be playing in 2016, most wondered where the on field leadership would come from. By the end of round one, we knew. Zach Merrett started 2016 with a bang, scoring 114 and 131 in the opening two rounds. From there, he would drop below the ton just seven times. Merrett scored over 120 a staggering 10 times last year, and averaged 30 disposals for the year. Merrett averaged five marks, six tackles and five inside 50s for season 2016. Many people believed with the return of the banned Bombers, Merrett’s scoring would struggle. Well, they were wrong. Since the start of the season Merrett has kept his average above 111, and even managed a 137 in round eight against Geelong, which included a whopping 10 tackles for the day.
Mark my words, Community – both of these lads will be Supercoach guns for many years to come. There is so much to like about both of their games, and they are so similar that it is rather difficult to separate them. What I really like about Cripps (apart from his hair – seriously, take a look at it!) is his contested ball, and unfortunately he hasn’t been up to his lofty standards this year. This is partly due to the re-emergence of Marc Murphy. Merrett just continues to impress me week in, week out. He really grew and matured as a footballer last year and is on his way towards elite status, if he’s not there already. If you’ve only got one spot and you’re deciding between the two of them – I’d be picking Merrett.