Mark LeCras is well advanced in his recovery from a knee reconstruction.
Photo: Getty Images
2013 position: Forward
2013 price: $355,400
Bye: Round 12
Four reasons to have him in your team
1) He's tastily priced at $355,400. LeCras comes into this season with his price slashed from $426,400 after a torn ACL rubbed him out of 2012. It's not as big a cut as most expected but it's still a generous one, especially considering that the West Coast forward averaged a healthy 86.2 in 2011 with a high score of 140 and six tons overall. If LeCras can get back to that kind of production he'll turn out to be a smart pickup, especially with West Coast primed to go deep into the finals again.
2) Before his campaign was ended in last year's pre-season, LeCras had been earmarked for a role in West Coast's midfield. The move made sense – the Eagles needed speed through the middle, and LeCras is both fleet-of-foot and blessed with explosiveness. This year, John Worsfold is still likely to give LeCras some time on the ball, especially given the glut of forward options the Eagles possess. LeCras kicked just 47 goals in 2011 but still hit his career-best average thanks to increased disposal, tackle and inside-50 numbers. A permanent move to the midfield – though unlikely - could see LeCras push his average towards 90.
3) He is reportedly training the house down in Perth. Dream Team coaches will be wary of any player returning from a knee reconstruction, but LeCras made an unsuccessful bid to play finals footy for the Eagles last year, so clearly he's well-advanced in his recovery. He should be right to play NAB Cup footy and face Fremantle in the round one Western Derby, and should play most games for the season.
4) He's high risk, high reward. LeCras is not cheap enough to be considered a must-buy, and indeed for many he won't be cheap enough to take the punt, but for Dream Team coaches looking for a point of difference he could prove a solid investment. His average has steadily risen every year from 2007, when he started playing regular senior footy. Even if he fails to build on 2011's form, LeCras's value will still go up about $70,000, and he's unlikely to dip any lower than his current priced average of 69.
The accepted wisdom is it takes 12 months to recover from a knee reconstruction and a further 12 months to reach pre-injury form. LeCras may play 22 games but whether his output holds up is another question entirely.
West Coast have so many forward options at their disposal that John Worsfold may take a 'softly, softly' approach with LeCras and ease him back in with the green vest.
His asking price also occupies that grey area between rookie and premium. For the money, Dream Team coaches may be better off plumping for a draftee and using the extra cash to pick up one of the game's elite forwards.
Risk rating: At his best LeCras is one of the first picked in West Coast's 22. Keep an eye on their pre-season progress, and especially his form in the NAB Cup. If he looks fit enough for a midfield stint then he's a solid buy. Either way, he's still unlikely to disappoint. Two Alan Didaks.
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