The highly anticipated 2019 AFL season is just around the corner! As usual, the Carlton Blues will face off against the Richmond Tigers in the season opener on Thursday, the 21st of March.
We previewed the team side of the 2019 AFL season earlier in the week, giving out tips for the premiership, top 8 and more. You can check out that article here!
Today, we'll be taking a look at the player specific bets for the season, including the Brownlow Medal, Coleman Medal, Rising Star and more player props.
The 2019 Brownlow Medal race got off to a disappointing start before the commencment of the home and away season as reigning winner Tom Mitchell was ruled out for the season with a broken leg suffered at training. With Mitchell out of the running, we think it comes down to a four horse race.
Our top pick for the Medal this year has to be Carlton skipper Patrick Cripps ($7.50). Cripps racked up 20 votes and finished in fourth place last season as the Blues won just just two games for the season and finished in last place. We think the Blues should win at least five games this year and Cripps should only improve. The other three we think are in the mix are Nay Fyfe ($7.00), Dustin Martin ($7.00) and Patrick Dangerfield ($7.50).
If you're looking for some more value, we like the look of Zach Merrett ($51) and Matt Crouch ($41). Both players had some injury troubles throughout 2018 but they both accumulate a lot of the ball through the midfield and should be on top eight sides this season.
Jack Riewoldt took out the Coleman Medal last season with a 10 goal performance in Round 21 to get him over the line. It was Riewoldts third medal, the most of any current player outside of Buddy Franklin. In fact, there will only be four players in the league this season who have won a Coleman Medal before. Alongside Riewoldt, there is Lance Franklin, Josh Kennedy and Jarryd Roughead.
Kennedy starts as a firm $4.50 favourite but injury problems over the last few years are making us wary of the his chances this year. Lance Franklin is also bound to miss a few games through injury. We love the look of Jack Riewoldt to go back to back this season. The bookies have him at $13 due to the fact that Tom Lynch has been added to the forward line, but we actually think that helps Riewoldt this season, as he should stay much closer to goal.
Tough to find much value here but we don't mind Jack Darling ($23) of the West Coast Eagles. Had a break out year last season and should be more of a focal point in the Eagles attack, especially if Kennedy does miss a few games. At $41 each, the Hawthorn duo of Luke Breust and Jack Gunston might also be worth a pop, if you can split them.
The 2019 Rising Star presents less of a challenge than the other two major medals in our eyes. Through two JLT Community Series matches, No.1 draft pick Sam Walsh looked right at home in the AFL. He racked up 25.5 touches per game and was one of the more influential players on the ground in the Blues win over the Bombers in the first round.
Walsh was billed as a ready made midfielder coming out of the draft and has lived up to that expectation so far. Should get unlimited opportunity in the Blues midfield alongside Patrick Cripps who will get the best run with player every week. Despite an injury to derail the season, we think Walsh runs away with this award.
On the value side here, we like the second year St Kilda player Nick Coffield ($34). The Saints should be in rebuild mode this season which means Coffield will get plenty of opportunity off half back and in the midfield. Loves to accumulate the ball and uses it extremely well.
Last season, two of the most dominant players in the AFL were ruckman in Max Gawn and Brodie Grundy. The two forced the All-Australian selectors to pick dual ruckman for the first time since Mark Jamar made the team alongside Aaron Sandilands in 2010. There are head and shoulders above the competition at their respective position and should be a lock to make the All Australian team once again. Better odds for Grundy here who we actually like to make it ahead of Gawn as the Dees ruckman will likely be sharing the responsibility with Braden Preuss this year.
Jeremy McGovern announced himself last season and arguably took the title of premier defender in the competition from Alex Rance. He led the league in intercept marks and was one of the most influential players on the ground in West Coast's Grand Final win. 2018 was the first season in a while that the AA selectors haven't named three tall defenders and I think they revert to that standard this season. Rance, McGovern, Michael Hurley and James Sicily should be fighting for the three spots, and McGovern seems most likely to slot into the CHB position.
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