2013 position: Midfielder
2013 price: $376,900
Bye: Round 11
Last year's average: 73.1
Last year's high score: 107
Four reasons to have him in your team
1) He will thrive at Fremantle. One of the knocks on Pearce during his time at Port Adelaide was that he faded out of games under a tag. That shouldn't be an issue at the Dockers. Taggers will be forced to sit on Stephen Hill or Nat Fyfe, freeing Pearce up to run and carry on the expanses of Patersons Stadium. Playing in a potential top-four side will also have a positive effect on Pearce's game, and his numbers – possessions and tackles especially, and possibly goals too – should trend upwards in 2013.
2) He's got the potential to smash out big scores. Pearce averaged just 73.2 points per game in 2012, but he did rack up three tons and one 99. The big problem was his consistency – he scored 101, 107 and 99 in a three-game run from rounds eight to 10, then slumped with a 62 and a 70. He made his second-highest score of the season (105) in round 21, and then went 32 and 72 to close out the year. The gamble is whether he can stop tailing off at his new club. In 2009, he averaged just 76.8 despite six centuries, including a whopping 130 against Hawthorn. Again, a number of poor scores (including a 28 and a 29) kept him from hitting the AFL Fantasy Dream Team heights.
3) A change is as good as a holiday. The very morning that the AFL's free agency era kicked in, the Dockers announced they had lodged a bid for Pearce's services. He was out the door two days later. Clearly, this was a man who wanted to get out of Port Adelaide. Was Pearce growing stagnant at Alberton Oval? Could that explain why his average never got into the 80s despite seven seasons in the seniors?
4) The Ross Lyon factor. The Fremantle coach has made a habit of turning unsung players into hot properties. Take a look at what he did for Clancee Pearce, who was axed by Mark Harvey before Lyon took over. Pearce averaged 84.6 in 2012, his price rocketing from $305,000 in round one to $412,400 by the time Fremantle exited in the semi-finals. If anyone can turn Pearce into a consistent ball-winning cog in the machine, it's Lyon.
His consistency is a huge worry, as is his asking price. At $376,900 he's just not cheap enough to be a must-buy. Most coaches prefer to stack their midfields with premiums and rookies, and Pearce falls into the awkward in-between category.
Also, if Stephen Hill is a guide for how Pearce will play (and score) at Fremantle, steer clear. Hill has never averaged above 67 in four seasons and is a certified Dream Team dud.
Risk rating: He might have found a new lease of life at the Dockers, but we'd stay well away from Pearce until he starts to consistently score in the 80s at least. Four Alan Didaks.
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