Shannon Hurn handballs during a West Coast Eagles training session.
Shannon Hurn handballs during a West Coast Eagles training session.

Gun AFL SuperCoach defenders no one is talking about

Defence is perhaps the most important line this SuperCoach season.

The new kick-in rules mean defenders may reach new scoring heights, and another season-ending injury to Sam Docherty makes nailing our selections even more crucial.

But while many coaches have opted for Jake Lloyd, Rory Laird and Lachie Whitfield, there are plenty of unique options on offer.

PODs (points of difference) set your team apart from the rest and can see you fly up the rankings. And, let's be honest, it's more fun to pick a unique player who you can claim as your own stroke of genius (it it comes off, of course!).

Here are some of the best bets for those looking to roll the dice in their defence:


SHANNON HURN ($523,400) | 2018 AVG: 96.4 (22 GAMES) | OWNERSHIP: 3 PER CENT

Changes to the kick-in rules have seen ownership rise for many players but not Hurn, who possesses one of the most damaging kick-in weapons in the competition. Like a fine wine the Eagles skipper appears to be getting better with age, enjoying his best SuperCoach season of his career in 2018. Often the 31-year-old will stay in the square as he kicks-in from defence - such is the penetration on his kick - but expect the stalwart to regularly wonder out of the square, picking up crucial extra points, and drive the ball long. His kick-to-handball ratio is another plus, averaging over four kicks per handball last season.


Jeremy Howe’s speckies score well in SuperCoach.
Jeremy Howe’s speckies score well in SuperCoach.


JEREMY HOWE ($497,200) | 2018 AVG: 91.4 (17 GAMES) | OWNERSHIP: 2 PER CENT

Howe is his ownership so low? When you consider the Magpie defender's average of 91.4 points last season includes an injury-affected score of 17, it is staggering that he is sitting in just 2 per cent of teams. When we take this score out of the equation, his average is a healthy 96. The intercept specialist posted seven 115-plus totals across the season, and was left alone by opposition forwards more often than not. Oh also, he loves taking the kick-ins. Underpriced and underrated.

LUKE RYAN ($489,900) | 2018 AVG: 90.3 (20 GAMES) | OWNERSHIP: 3 PER CENT

We saw Ryan break out in just his second season, recording six tons and passing the 120-point mark four times. There's no doubting his potential, the question mark on the Docker defender is his consistency, also registering seven sub-80 scores in 2018. The 22-year-old is known for his ability to intercept and, like Hurn, has a favourable kick-to-handball ratio. Both these factors should bode well for his scoring. Another who sprints to the ball bag when a behind is scored.

HARRIS ANDREWS ($480,100) | 2018 AVG: 88.4 (18 GAMES) | OWNERSHIP: 2 PER CENT

Key defenders generally aren't fruitful SuperCoach scorers, but Andrews is one of the few exceptions. Last season saw Andrews' average take a massive spike, rising 19 points from 2017. This is including a score of 22 after Jeremy Cameron's ugly hit in Round 14. The 22-year-old scores in unconventional ways, ranking second in the competition for one-percenters per game in 2018 - all of which score him points. Should have some weight off his shoulders with Marcus Adams' arrival to the club.

JIMMY WEBSTER ($472,500) | 2018 AVG: 87 (17 GAMES) | OWNERSHIP: 1 PER CENT

Webster was one of the shocks of the 2018 season until injury struck in Round 13. The Saints defender shot into SuperCoach prominence, averaging 103.8 points across 10 games, but a groin injury spelt an end to his rapid rise. After two weeks on the sidelines Webster failed to surpass 85 for the rest of the season, frustrating those who had traded him in at his elevated price tag. Now we can purchase the attacking defender at a very favourable price. If he can replicate last year's hot start, he is worth every penny.


WAYNE MILERA ($433,100) | 2018 AVG: 79.8 (19 GAMES) | OWNERSHIP: 1 PER CENT

A positional change has come Milera's way after being used in defence more as 2018 went on. It is his finish to the season as a running defender that makes him a tantalising option - recording 23 disposals, six marks and 95.4 points across his last seven matches. Will this formline continue with Brodie Smith back in the side? A risky pick, but one that could set you apart from the rest if he fires.


Hayden Crozier (right) finished last season like a train. Picture: Michael Klein
Hayden Crozier (right) finished last season like a train. Picture: Michael Klein



Seeing Crozier storm home last year, I made sure to mark him as a "watch this space" for season 2019. The 25-year-old took some time to assert himself in his new colours but he thrived after the bye, averaging 97.4 points from his last 10 games. Crozier was the designated loose man in defence during this period, with his reading of the play standing out - his 30 disposals (25 kicks), five marks and 137 points against North Melbourne being his most damaging performance. Looms as a bargain if he picks up where he left off.

MICHAEL HIBBERD ($398,700) | 2018 AVG: 73.4 (18 GAMES) | OWNERSHIP: 4 PER CENT

Hibberd fell off the SuperCoach cliff in 2018, failing to raise the bat across the entire season. The running defender had to fill the void left by Jake Lever midway through the year, playing frequently as the third tall, but his form was poor before that. It was a staggering fall from grace following his fantastic first year in Dees colours, but we know the running defender is capable. Three of his past five seasons he has averaged 90-plus points, is he too good to pass up at a touch under $400,000?



Michael Hibberd burnt a lot of SuperCoach players in 2018.
Michael Hibberd burnt a lot of SuperCoach players in 2018.


JASPER PITTARD ($365,700) | 2018 AVG: 67.4 (11 GAMES) | OWNERSHIP: 1 PER CENT

Can a new club bring Pittard back to SuperCoach relevance? It seems an eternity ago when Jasper the friendly ghost posted 91.4 points per game in 2016, with injuries restricting him to 27 games in the past two seasons. The Roos recruited him for a reason, and his run and dash off half-back should be encouraged. His price is tempting but it would take a brave SuperCoach to take the punt.



Like last week, we are bending the rules and allowing a player outside the 5 per cent barrier in. Following a promising first season, Williamson was sidelined with back injuries in 2018, failing to play a senior game. As we saw in his debut season, the 20-year-old has some wheels and likes to use the ball by foot out of defence - recording 1.7 kicks for every handball. Carlton will continue to play the youth and with Sam Docherty remaining on the sidelines, he will make us some solid coin if selected.


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