The job of picking your premium players can sometimes be a tough one one for fantasy coaches. Ideally you want these players to be high scoring, durable, reliable and feature in the top dozen averaging players across their positional line - in other words, we want them to be our 'set and forget' players.
But what happens when you have two premiums on your mind, you can only afford one and it seems impossible to split them? The Tragic is here to help. In the lead up to round one, The Tragic will be pitting some of the best premium players against one another to help coaches make the tough decision.
Welcome to the Head 2 Head series... So, who will you choose?
These two little wrecking balls have very similar physical attributes and therefore play similar roles for their respective teams. Both Hannebery and Neale have the rare quality of being able to play both inside out and outside game styles which has made for a well rounded stats sheet as they have the ability to fill every relevant fantasy column.
At just 23 years of age, Lachie Neale has stamped himself as one of the great ball hunters of the competition over the past two years. He set an astonishing career best record of 33.5 touches per games in 2016, which also happened to be the best in the league. That backed up his 2015 breakout season of averaging 27.4 disposals, so it's no fluke - he can find the ball. As a consequence, Neale also had his best fantasy season recording a season average of 111.1 while playing all 22 games. He was a picture of consistency the whole season, knocking up 15 scores above 100 and 9 monster scores of 120+. He can can HUGE on his day and win you the round against an opponent off his own game which is one of the great upsides to having him in your team. 2017 brings his midfield counterpart Nat Fyfe back into the equation as fantasy coaches wonder how this will affect the ball winning ability of Neale. Fyfe will no doubt cop the number one tag from opposition teams, leaving Neale to do what he does best in the centre, so it can only be a good thing in my opinion. Add the fact that Sandilands is back and will be handing it to the both of them on a silver platter and Freo's anticipated rise up the ladder, Lachie Neale could very well improve on his elite 2016 season.
Dan Hannebery will be entering his ninth season as an AFL player and the little Sydney nugget managed to backup his 2015 breakout season with a 107.4 fantasy average in 2016. Hanners was slightly down on his output last season, though only marginally, he averaged less marks (3.6) and tackles (4.9) per game compared to 2015 while improving his disposal rate by .8 to average 30.8 for the season. Based on this, you wouldn't expect Hanners to take his game to the 'uber' premium status of midfielders and clock up a 110+ average in 2017. It's more than likely he stays around that 105-108 region as his role and position as a midfielder in the Swans lineup shouldn't change next year. Still only 25 years of age, he has an amazing injury record over his career and is as durable as they come. From 2010, Hannebery has played year totals of 21,24,25,24,19,24 and most recently 26 games - that's impressive for a player that goes at the ball as hard as he does. After a slow start to 2016 with scores of 76,96 and 100, he would have had some fantasy coaches worried with his premium price tag dropping. Though he came home with the goods in the final five round to finish with an average of 121.4 between rounds 19-23.
You can't go wrong with either of these two bulls, though I do like the fact that Neale will have less pressure on him in 2017 with the return of Fyfe and Sandilands. I can forecast that Hanners won't be dropping on his average, if at all - though I also don't see him moving into the uber elite bracket that Lachie went to in 2016. It's Neale for mine as for some reason, coaches will tend to steer clear of him and he could prove to be a great point of difference - especially when he explodes for those 140+ games.