For multiple seasons the Blues have strived to get the midfield group string enough to compete for finals. With the addition of George Hewett, he may just add the missing ingredient to send the Navy Blue back into September action.

PLAYER PROFILE

Name: George Hewett
Age: 26
Club: Carlton Blues
Position: Midfield/Defender

2021 Highest Score: 
106 Vs GWS Giants (AFLFantasy)
134 Vs GWS Giants (SuperCoach)

Career Highest Score: 
113 Vs Melbourne| AFLFantasy (2017)
154 Vs Brisbane| SuperCoach (2019)

2021 Average: 
63.9 (AFLFantasy)
73.3 (SuperCoach)

SuperCoach Price: $399,000
AFLFantasy Price: 
$537,000
AFLDreamTeam Price: 
$545,300

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WHY IS HE RELEVANT?

For some, the inclusion of new Carlton midfielder George Hewett might be the first big surprise of the fifty most relevant. Don’t worry; there’s potentially a couple more coming throughout this series. But when we look at the player, the forecast role he plays in his new side, his positional status and price point, then he’s someone your need to at least consider.

2021 was a challenging season for George Hewett. He found himself in and out of the team and battled to lock down a consistent role in the developing Swans midfield. At his best, he’s a reliable midfielder capable of getting hands to the footy first at stoppage and negating opposing teams top midfielders. However, at Sydney, he spent time rolling through the midfield and playing some defensive roles on opposition damaging forwards.

From an AFLFantasy perspective, he posted just one ton last year, but it was in his side’s elimination final loss to GWS, so it wasn’t in the fantasy season proper. However, over the whole season, he seven scores over 80, including four over 90. While in SuperCoach, he posted four tons, including 134 and four additional scores of 80+. So yes, it’s not outstanding in isolation, but when you look into the data, there are some promising scoring signs especially given his price point.

In the ten games last year where Hewett won 20 possessions or more, his average is 81.3 in AFLFantasy/DreamTeam and 90.8 in SuperCoach. The vast majority of these games were when Hewett was used in his preferred midfield role. That’s approximately 18 points per game, more than his price point across the formats. To go one step further, using the current 2021 averages for defenders would rank him 26th overall in AFLFantasy and SuperCoach.

Statistically, you can make numbers do anything, but these midfield scores reflect his 2019 season where he played as a defensive minded midfielder. He averaged 88 in SuperCoach and scored six tons and seven additional scores over 80. While in AFLFantasy, he averaged 75, scored three tons six additional 80+ scores. Amazing again? No! But show the value of anywhere from 15-20 points per game of growth on his current price point.

Without question, I’m picking and choosing the games to make him look good. But that’s the point. At his price, if Hewett pits it all together for the first six to eight weeks as he has done previously, then coaches will have a flying start to the season. Both from a cash generation and a points on-field perspective.

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MY TAKE

Over the past few seasons, Carlton has been the team that’s ‘dominated’ the offseason with winning the trade and draft period, but in reality, by the time round one has come around, they’ve been forgotten by the footy public and genuinely considered an outsider chance at best of making finals. The addition of Adam Cerra as the most notable move in the offseason is undoubtedly a good one, but the addition of George Hewett could be even more critical.

We’ve known about the pedigree of Sam Walsh since the moment he walked into the AFL. While skipper Patrick Cripps has historically been a contested beast, the Blues midfield has fallen away drastically beyond that. They’d hoped players like Zac Williams, Will Setterfield and even Matt Kennedy would be the next tier of support their two stars. Sadly none of them worked to the level desired thus far. However, I think the addition of Hewett could be a masterstroke.

The most significant support Carlton’s midfield has needed has been someone to apply defensive pressure on the opposition midfielders. Having a player/ that can fulfil this function would allow the Cripps, Walsh & Cerra’s of the world to play with their regular attacking flair & not get defensively exposed. George can do this for Carlton. Hewett brings experience, leadership, consistent effort and a high defensive footy focus. I say defensive midfielder, not tagger on purpose because I don’t see that exclusive lockdown role being necessary or part of the Blues game style moving forward.

Even though he’s listed as a defender/midfield in fantasy footy, I assure you he’s been targetted to play a midfielder. Carlton doesn’t need another half-back or another pressure forward. He’s been recruited to play accountable roles in the midfield. Whenever a player listed outside of the midfield in fantasy footy is playing in the midfield, that’s a viable watchlist option. And if he can repeat the scoring fortunes of new teammate Ed Curnow who has previously held this role, then it could be a goldmine for coaches who jump on Hewett.

Between 2016-2019 Ed Curnow played this role perfectly. He still won plenty of the footy but was primarily focussed on negating the influence of the oppositions top midfielders. Over these four years, Curnow averaged 102, 88, 100 & 89 in AFLFantasy while he went at 101, 86, 102 & 92 in SuperCoach. If Hewett can match or even get near these numbers across the formats, then he’s not just a valuable stepping stone defender but rather a legitimate top 10 defensive candidates.

As we look at our starting squad selection, it’s the backline that is the place to take some risks. We’ve got some apparent top tier forward premium and value options. It’s the same across the ruck and midfield lines also. But in the backline, the question can pop up quickly.

Can you start players like Jack CrispDaniel Rich and Tom Stewart, who are arguably maxed out price? Will North Melbourne’s game style allow the continued easy ball accumulation for Aaron Hall and Jack Ziebell? Does Jayden Short increase with the absence of Bachar Houli? Statistically, it’s not a certainty. Will Lachie Whitfield ever give us another entire season? The same goes for Shannon Hurn? While does Christian Salem or Jordan Dawson score enough to push the top 10, or are they just good but not great options?

Without too much pushing, the possible top tier of defence holes starts to open dramatically. It’s why a player like Hewett can allow two things. One, provide a potential value stepping stone for some cash generation while also giving you a look at which defenders are emerging as premiums in 2022.

At his price point, he enables you three very viable situations in the first few rounds:

  • If he comes flying out of the gate with good scoring early, you’ve got yourself a winner and can choose to upgrade to a fallen premium early or hold as premium.
  • If he struggles to deliver early, he can be moved quickly onto the firing stepping stone.
  • If he stinks, he can be moved quickly into the cash cow you missed and free up some cash to potentially patch another hole in your team.

In reality, the risk of starting him is minimal if you have a plan, set a scoring benchmark for him and then execute based on the results. It’s why for me, in multiple formats, I’ve got Hewett right in the Mix at D3/D4.

DRAFT DECISION

I can see two scenarios unfolding in drafts for George Hewett. Scenario One: Someone reaches for him at a D3 position hoping that he can become a top 30 averaging defender. Scenario Two: He slides in certain leagues to become nothing more than bench cover. The reality is he’s likely to go somewhere between the two spots. However, if he gets more preseason hype by clarifying his role, these ranges could move drastically.

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