KFC SuperCoach AFL: 11 unique picks to set your team apart

Teams are looking very similar as Round 1 fast approaches, and plenty of guns are being overlooked. Here’s the best point-of-difference options to set your team apart.

Welcome to groupthink season.

The time of year where all point-of-difference picks go out the window and KFC SuperCoach teams morph into one eerily similar side.

We are guilty of it as anyone with our consensus teams.

There are definitely positives to group opinions, but it pays to be different in this game and if you do your own (SuperCoach) research, some hidden gems can be found.

Who are the best point-of-difference picks, who reside in less than 10 per cent of teams?

Find out the best 11 to set your team apart.

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DEFENCE

Daniel Rich $582,700

Ownership (%): 7.5 2021 SC Ave: 107

Like a fine wine, Rich just keeps getting better with age. The 31-year-old is coming off an All-Australian season where he averaged 107 KFC SuperCoach points, ranking first for total points of all defenders. Keidean Coleman was earmarked for a role down back but will be sidelined for two months, meaning Rich should have the same role as last season – and that means a monopoly on the kick-ins.

VERDICT: While Jack Crisp and Jake Lloyd are the talk of the town, Rich is flying under the radar yet again. A nice POD in defence.

Jordan Dawson (Adelaide) $550,300

Ownership (%): 3.5 2021 SC Ave: 101.1

An injury interrupted pre-season has seen KFC SuperCoaches overlook Dawson, but the boom recruit is a confirmed starter Round 1 after being rested for the Community Series. The former Swan went to another level in the back-half of last season, averaging a formidable 114 points from his final nine matches. The word out of West Lakes is Dawson will be spending time at centre bounces this season, giving him huge upside

VERDICT: You’d be a braver coach than me to pick him, but there’s no doubt it could pay off handsomely. Think he would have been in my side if he’d played the final practice game.

Jordan Dawson is in for Round 1. Picture: Keryn Stevens
Jordan Dawson is in for Round 1. Picture: Keryn Stevens

Heath Chapman (Fremantle) $275,200

Ownership (%): 6.4 2021 SC Ave: 56.2

Chapman has bolted into mid-priced contention with limited rookie options in defence, following scores of 107 and 86 in the Community Series. In one of those matches Chapman racked up 16 disposals in the first half, showcasing his ball-winning ability across halfback. Those scores aren’t out of the blue either, with Chapman posting totals of 86 and 91 in his second and third game last year. The second-year defender was a noted interceptor at under-18 level, averaging 10.5 intercept possessions, 4.6 intercept marks and 132 KFC SuperCoach points at WAFL Colts level.

VERDICT: Does he score well enough to average 80-plus? Perhaps, but I am willing to wait until Round 3 for further evidence.

MIDFIELD

Darcy Parish (Essendon) $621,300

Ownership (%): 8.6 2021 SC Ave: 114.1

Parish was flying under the radar this pre-season until the ball-magnet blitzed Essendon’s first practice match where he had a case of leather poisoning. The main thing that sets the prolific Bomber apart is his enormous ceiling, posting five 150-plus totals last year – including a 169-point display in the elimination final. There are concerns about how he handles a tag, highlighted by his 49 points against the Giants later in the year, but Parish fell below 95 on just one other occasion from Round 5 onwards in 2021, where his rise as an inside midfielder began.

VERDICT: Faces Geelong in Round 1, who he registered a lazy 190 against in their last clash. No GWS to worry about until Round 21 either, so he shapes as a unique pick with huge upside.

Darcy Parish has a massive KFC SuperCoach ceiling. Picture: Getty Images
Darcy Parish has a massive KFC SuperCoach ceiling. Picture: Getty Images

Josh Kelly (GWS) $582,200

Ownership (%): 7.9 2021 SC Ave: 107

2021 ave: 107

Ownership: 7.9 per cent

Kelly was owned by just two per cent of KFC SuperCoaches before his emphatic 41-disposal, 161-point display against Collingwood in the Community Series. But he is still owned by under eight per cent of teams, making him a juicy point-of-difference given his scoring power. Last season was an average year from a SuperCoach perspective by Kelly’s lofty standards, having previously four seasons with an average of 113.8 or higher. But if we disregard the first six rounds, where Kelly was spending less time as an on-baller, Kelly’s average jumps up to 113.9 from his last 14 matches. If you take out his injury affected score of 76 in Round 18, it jumps up again to 116 after round six.

VERDICT: The more I think about it, the more I want to pick him. His ceiling is enormous, as we saw in the Community Series, and he has years of reliable scoring under his belt. A POD play with minimal risk.

Caleb Serong (Fremantle) $451,000

Ownership (%): 4.8 2021 SC Ave: 82.9

A surprise inclusion in The Phantom’s KFC SuperCoach team, all signs are pointing to a breakout from the 2020 Rising Star winner. The relentless midfielder had a slightly delayed pre-season due to a finger injury but has been dominating Fremantle match simulation since. After two tons in the first 16 rounds of last year, Serong reached three figures in five of his last seven matches, averaging a tick under 100 points across this period. This included scores of 115, 135 and 103 to finish the year. Can he go to another level without Adam Cerra? Serong was the Dockers’ No. 1 centre-bounce player in their practice match against the Eagles.

VERDICT: Is it worth spending up to grab Serong over Matt Rowell? The upside could be worthwhile with Serong, but it’s unclear whether he can reach a 105 average.

FORWARD

Tom Hawkins (Geelong) $510,900

Ownership (%): 2.7 SC 2021 Ave: 93.9

Tomahawk frustrated owners at times last year but let me tempt you into the fourth most expensive forward in 2022. Hawkins faces a Jordan Roughead-less Collingwood, Hawthorn and North Melbourne inside the first six rounds, along with Essendon and Sydney, who aren’t renowned for their key position defenders. And in the 12 home-and-away games Jeremy Cameron played last year, Hawkins averaged 98.5 KFC SuperCoach points, compared to 88.3 when Cameron was out injured. With Cameron at full strength heading into the season, Hawkins could be manned by the second key defender. Hawkins finished with a four-goal haul against the Tigers, and it could have been a lot more if he’d kicked straight.

VERDICT: Lots of midfield friendly options at a cheaper price which makes it hard to fit Hawkins in. However, his favourable draw after Round 2 (Magpies, Hawks and Roos) is juicy. Cheeky Round 3 trade boost, anyone?

Tom Hawkins has an enticing early draw. Picture: Alison Wynd
Tom Hawkins has an enticing early draw. Picture: Alison Wynd

Tarryn Thomas (North Melbourne) $459,100, MID

Ownership (%): 5.2 SC 2021 Ave: 84.4

Thomas won’t be a point-of-difference pick for long if his eye-catching pre-season continues. The exciting talent entered KFC SuperCoach calculations late last year with increased midfield time, attending 50 per cent of centre bounces and averaging 109.2 points in his last five games in 2021. His forward-half X-Factor gives him scope to score well without high-possession tallies, with his scores of 135 and 139 in his rapid finish coming from 23 and 26 disposals respectively. North Melbourne has a number of names running through the midfield, but Thomas should feature prominently given his rare mix of speed, agility and silky skills. He showcased these traits in an 81-point outing, the fourth highest scorer for the Roos, against Melbourne in his first practice match.

VERDICT: Really like Thomas as a starting pick. Hard to pick all of Zak Butters, Isaac Heeney and Jordan De Goey, but he ticks a lot of boxes.

Lachie Weller (Gold Coast) $400,300, MID

Ownership (%): less than 1 per cent 2021 SC Ave: 73.5

Weller has been identified as an uber-POD by none other than KFC SuperCoach Ambassador Heath Shaw. A well-connected man, he had heard murmuring of Weller being Gold Coast’s new backline distributor in the absence of injured Sun Jack Bowes. The proof was there for all to see in Gold Coast’s practice game, where Weller was deployed in defence and took the bulk of the Suns’ kick-ins – which should pique the interest of KFC SuperCoaches. Weller’s sublime skills should mean he is used as a distributor off halfback, and you would expect the Sherrin to be in Gold Coast’s defensive 50 more often than not.

VERDICT: We saw what Jack Bowes was able to do in the first half of last season. That ownership will be only going up from here — a POD with plenty of upside in his new role. But will it be long-term?

Hugo Ralphsmith (Richmond) $206,700, MID

Ownership (%): 9.2 SC 2021 Ave: 42.2

The aforementioned Ralphsmith was thrown down back in Richmond’s intra-club and onlookers were impressed by his efforts. Ralphsmith played as a small forward after breaking into the Richmond side last year, but his scoring could see a spike if this role in defence continues. With Dan Rioli out, Ralphsmith was used in defence against the Cats and has a strong first half — even taking two kick-ins — before fading out of the game. Ralphsmith was touted for his line-breaking and athleticism at under-18 level, averaging 88 points in the NAB League in 2019.

VERDICT: The halfback role is attractive for a player at this price in a very unsettled line. One of my back-up options if Will Brodie doesn’t get up.

Originally published as KFC SuperCoach AFL: 11 unique picks to set your team apart