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Fantasy Face-off: Terlich v van Unen

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Cheap players who come ready made to win the ball amongst the big bodies. They're a rare breed but here are two who should be on your radar for the 2013 AFL Fantasy season.

Fantasy position
Defender Defender/Forward
2013 price $102,700 $102,700
Age 23 22
X-factor, Rising Star or Mr Reliable? Rising Star. It's hard to see Terlich bursting onto the scene and turning out big scores immediately but that's not what we're after at this price. He has the potential to be a reliable addition
Rising Star. Don't expect van Unen to pull in massive scores but if he can break into the Essendon side he could provide some solid performances in the 60-80 point range.
Value for money There's no doubt if Terlich starts to get some appearances he is value for money. It's just a matter of whether he gets those opportunities. Watch in the NAB Cup. If he's getting a regular game in the pre-season format then van Unen is a terrific bench option in defence, where back-up can be hard to find.
Job security This is Terlich's second chance at an AFL career so he's bound to give it a real crack. Was rookie-listed by the Sydney Swans in 2008 but after one year was cut and moved to Norwood in the SANFL, where he was best afield in the Grand Final. He appears a good chance to solidify his spot in the Demons' defence in the NAB Cup. Limited given Essendon's wealth of options off half-back. He'll be competing with the likes of Michael Hibberd, Courtenay Dempsey, Mark Baguley and Alex Browne for the spot, and they all seem ahead of him.
Injury history Had a recent scare when he suffered a knock to his head and neck region at training. But after being rushed to hospital in an ambulance, Terlich was cleared of any injuries.
This need not be a concern for coaches considering van Unen.
The case for The Demons are already fans of the 23-year-old and in a developing, young side, Terlich offers some maturity. He also averaged 21 disposals a game in the SANFL last year, which is more than handy for a defender. Essendon went to last year's draft searching for two senior-bodied players who could step straight into the senior side. van Unen was one, along with Nick Kommer, so it would be fair to expect he would get some AFL exposure in 2013.
The case against Given he's only really one year into being a defender, Terlich still has a lot to learn about the position. And the backline at Melbourne has a few steady players cemented in roles already.
If fit, the Bombers have a pretty settled defensive group which van Unen could find hard to break into. He also only averaged 14 disposals a game in 2012 for Frankston, meaning he might not rack up big AFL Fantasy numbers.

The verdict
Because he's more likely to hold down a spot in Melbourne's team, Terlich gets the nod, but only just.

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