Honeyball’s community-voted 2021 SuperCoach awards: Top flops, rooks & best players

Now that the 2021 SuperCoach season is complete, we thought we’d briefly reflect on the star performers, but as always seeking your feedback for votes.


We’ve assembled a list of Honeyball award winners across a variety of categories led by best rookie and biggest flop to best midfielder, defender, forward and ruckman.

Beyond the novelty and debate-inducing nature of these awards, these things can be helpful to consider when planning for next season, so take note, particularly on price rises/drops.

Rookie of the Year

The criteria for this category is subjective. Do you need a rookie who bursts out of the blocks and generates cash quick in the first half of the season, with a second-half fade being OK, or do you need a consistent points scorer who holds his spot in your 22 until you’re close to completing your team? Dunno.

But James Jordon was above and beyond the popular choice, garnering more than half the 464 votes, to finish ahead of GWS ruckman Matthew Flynn and Sydney’s Errol Gulden, who both fit the bill of a fast start, although the Giants bigman was a bit stop-start. Jordon missed only one game, averaging 68.6 which was hampered by a late sub appearance, denting his final price slightly too.

Honourable mentions go to Jeremy Sharp and Lachlan Bramble who provided a late-season rookie option, along with Tom Powell who was good early.

Flop of the Year

This category garnered plenty of discussion, namely around the inclusion of Jake Lloyd ahead of Round 23, before he proceeded to rubbish that call by posting a monster 154 score.

We received more than 2,000 votes, with Patrick Cripps coming out the winner, having appeared as a mid-price premium in pre-season but turning out to be a frustrating, under-delivering, injury-prone burden. Sorry Crippa, but he averaged 83.5, missed two games and went 100+ only twice.

Reigning Brownlow medalist Lachie Neale, who was top priced in pre-season, never got going and teased at times. His injury-interrupted pre-season is worth consideration for next year, while Matt Rowell’s return from injury didn’t work out.

Zac Williams and Dustin Martin probably should have made the top four ahead of Lloyd, so we’ll cop that in hindsight.

Defender of the Year

Adelaide’s Rory Laird had DPP status in pre-season making him uber attractive, finishing the year as the most owned player, and he didn’t fail to deliver with a spectacular season, averaging 116.2 and not missing a game.

Despite a late season injury, Tom Stewart was next best, with Sydney trio Lloyd, Jordon Dawson and Callum Mills unlucky not to make the list.

Forward of the Year

The forward line was often seen as the weakest line in SuperCoach this year, particularly given injuries to Patrick Dangerfield, Rowan Marshall, Josh Dunkley and Martin, so these options reinforce that.

Jack Ziebell was arguably the value pick of 2021, starting at $257k and almost hitting $600k at one point, averaging 107.6 for the season. Dayne Zorko actually averaged more than Ziebell but price comes into this, while Aaron Hall was another revelation, starting at $392k. Bailey Dale really made up the numbers.

Ruckman of the Year

As shown by the forward of the year, SuperCoaches seemed to lean towards value over scores, with Freo revelation Sean Darcy overwhelmingly taking out the ruckman gong. Darcy polled 61.1% of votes, finishing well ahead of traditional ‘set and forget’ certainties Max Gawn and Brodie Grundy.

Darcy started the season at $420k, rising above $700k, and finishing with an average of 118 despite threatening to be injured numerous times. The Docker’s season was highlighted by back-to-back scores of 193 and 183 in Rounds 16 and 17. Gawn actually averaged more at 120.8 and didn’t miss a game while Nic Naitanui and Grundy both averaged 115+. Tom Hickey is a good value shout.

Midfielder of the Year

To be honest, this category essentially is the SuperCoach player of the year given how well mids score. And there was four clear standouts but Jack Steele wins the vote marginally ahead of Jack Macrae.

That probably comes down to expectations as Macrae (128.6) averaged more than Steele (126) and they were priced initially relatively evenly at $650k and $658k respectively. Macrae went below 100 once all season and that was for a 97, but only exceeded 150 once. Steele dipped below 100 three times but never after Round 11, a stretch where he went 150+ four times.

Touk Miller was a welcome surprise but not as well owned as the others, likely hindering his vote-winning ability, while Marcus Bontempelli had a great year but faded, thus Clayton Oliver may have snuck in ahead of him.

Beyond the subjective, on a quantifiable basis Flynn ended the season with the biggest price rise, totalling $276k, marginally ahead of Bramble with Gulden and Highmore not far behind, meaning the rookies dominated, which is worth noting for 2022.

But after them were pre-season mid-pricers led by Hickey, followed by Jake Stringer, Ziebell and Brayden Fiorini, who stormed home.

On the flipside, the biggest price drops was led by the high-priced Neale, who went down $247k across the season, with injuries meaning Jarryd Berry, Trent Dumont and Michael Walters were up there too, while Marc Murphy’s sub role and form weren’t good.

Lachie Hunter, Adam Treloar and Gawn all seemed over-priced in pre-season and leaked a lot of cash.

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