(Last year finished 6th)
Predicted Average: 1721
Ducks would have been thrilled to receive pick 9 for Duggan in the off-season. They would have been equally livid when they learnt that Jaensch, a player they had been eagerly awaiting the return of, decided to retire out of nowhere. The Ducks honestly have my sympathy because when you pick up a player with injury history or poor habits then you shouldn’t be surprised when they miss weeks but I don’t think anyone saw this coming. The Ducks took this blow on the chin and proceeded to pick the eyes out of the preseason draft with three selections in the top 10.
Breakout Player – Cameron Sutcliffe
Hunter, Cripps, Crouch and Cutler will all improve on their average but Sutcliffe is my sneaky call that the Ducks may not even have noticed. He averaged 70 ppg in his last 5 but dislocated his shoulder in the last game. Remove that game and he averaged 80. He looks like he’ll be sharing rebound duties with Sheridan in 2016. Will be solid without being outstanding.
Time to Slide – Shaun Burgoyne
It’s the obvious choice but the Ducks actually don’t have many old drakes down at the pond. I think Burgoyne will be managed heavily in 2016. If Hawks look to be in flag contention he’ll be put in cotton wool until the finals. If they don’t then he will probably make way for the next generation.
Make or Break – Heath Shaw
With the absence of Jaensch and the decline of Burgoyne the Ducks are fairly thin through the backline. We all know Heath Shaw is capable of anything. Last year he was an upstanding citizen both in fantasy and real life. Can he keep up this good behaviour?
That’s a Bold Strategy Cotton, Let’s See If It Pays Off For ‘Em…
The bold move that has already paid off for the ducks was the convoluted three way trade that took place in 2015. At the time we were all perplexed that a side that seemed to be on the verge of finals would hit the reset button but the Ducks seem to have emerged winners from that deal. Hunter was originally the icing on the Prestia trade but with hindsight it would have been the other way around.
The Ducks traded strongly for picks in the top 10 this draft. The top 8 available players were all very good in my eyes so Ducks should be happy with what they got. They essentially traded Zaharakis for Oliver and Duggan for an anchored Cockatoo while still grabbing a tasty Cutler at 5. Ducks could have loaded up on older players to help their immediate success but instead opted to secure their long term future. They may regret this move if they end up a few points away from ultimate success this year but at least they certainly don’t look like sliding down the ladder any time soon.
Ducks may sit 4th for forwards and 5th for mids but the margin is a slim 9 points in each position. Stefan Martin will continue to provide good service and if they can nail a starting second ruck then they’ll be right up there with the Titans. It’s easy to forget that the Ducks have also been patiently awaiting the return of Brad Crouch (taken with their second pick in the first draft). If they can catch a break with injuries (Prestia too) then they will bat very deep in the midfield. They’ll also be hoping little Aish finds his feet as they need help down back.