HPN on ABC: Christian Petracca and the best players of 2021 (so far)

This week on the ABC, HPN had a look at what makes Christian Petracca great and whether it was wise to sign Petracca to such a long contract. It’s a good piece, and well worth a read.

As is normally the case, there’s some overflow information that didn’t make it into the piece for whatever reason. Here’s the best and rest of Christian Petracca.

Beat the internet with Christian Petracca

The thing with the internet becoming ubiquitous in modern society is that everything seems to be recorded, even things that maybe should be forgotten. In order to write each week, HPN undertakes what is now called a “desktop review” by consultants everywhere.

Basically, that’s a lot of researching and reading. Thanks to the modern condition of being terminally online, it’s much easier researching younger players than older. Finding footage from Lachie Neale before he made the AFL took hours. Finding similar footage for Christian Petracca took seconds.

There was a series of articles, videos and podcasts focusing on his draft year – something that would have been impossible just two decades ago. This article by Callum Twomey in particular shines a light on his character pre-draft.

But this probably isn’t the best draft-related content involving Petracca. Let’s go back to the wild and crazy times of… 2019, where the AFL looked to ramp up its draft content.

Think Taskmaster without comedians. Or jokes. But the vibe is there. Well, something is there. This isn’t the only part – it’s an entire series.

The piece touched on where Petracca came from – Warrandyte. In his u18 year, five players from the smallish area made the Vic Metro squad – basically unheard of. Of the rest of the crop, Jason Castagna (actually from beyond Warrandyte) is probably the best known.

Petracca narrating?

Apparently this website is a partnership between Melbourne FC and Monash. Enjoy it. Breathe it in.

The piece also talked about his journey back from injury. It was a long and arduous path, as documented by then Melbourne physio Joel Ames. Local paper, the Warrandyte Diary, also talked to Petracca while he was injured.

Here’s a quote from the piece:

MD: And the family?

CP: They’ve done everything, I get home, they’ve probably seen I’ve had a bad day and they give a lot of sup- port. My brothers haven’t changed and that’s probably the best thing, they’ve kept on telling me to suck it up. I don’t want them to change just because I’ve done a knee, or become an AFL footballer or anything, but it’s good because we haven’t changed at all. Mum and Dad have been really good the whole year, even off the field, just helping me through and it’s what I needed.

That’s not everything on Petracca, but to take a leaf from the books of the Petracca brothers, suck it up.

So how much is Petracca worth?

The reported terms of the Petracca deal are seven years, a little more than a million a year. That’s a lot of cash.

Last year HPN built a Salary Prediction Tool based on our PAPLEY prediction system. While the system hasn’t been fully updated for 2021 yet, a quick look at the system estimates that his “fair” value, based on the current TPP amount and excluding third party deals, is about $950,000.

That puts it at a slight overpay, just over odds absent other context. However, Petracca also has a year on his current deal before his extension kicks in, likely at a far lower salary negotiated when he was a lesser player. When factoring this in, and the likelihood that the TPP cap will rise over the next eight years, Petracca’s reported salary is in line with what he “should” earn.

That’s before the third party allowance is considered, which should make it even more favourable for Melbourne. Without clear salary information, the best that can be worked out is if it seems in the ballpark of fair, but from the outside it seems to be the case.

And who is the best so far in 2021?

As always, HPN is tracking the PAV of each player in the league. Two months is a fair enough sample size to see who is performing at their peak, and who is struggling a little.

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Surprisingly, three each from the Dogs and Dees are leading the way so far, with Bontempelli having a career year to date. Up forward, Taylor Walker and Toby Greene are leading the way, with Harry McKay and Jack Darling not far behind.

Down back, Jacob Weitering is having a career year, with Steven May on the fast track to AA selection. Daniel Rich is also having a superb year to date, with Jayden Short and Jordan Dawson also performing well.

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