Dream Team aficionados Ryan Sutton and John Hamilton take a look at some of the best picks available in this years field. Ryan takes a look at the Championship division while John looks at the plate.
AUSTRALIAN CAPITAL TERRITORY
There are only two players from the capital heading over to Perth this year. Noel Barrett and John Hamilton. Both are in the championship division. Expect more ACT entries next year when the event is held in Canberra.
NEW SOUTH WALES
Joanne Craig – Jo is a much better player than her rating of 1755 suggests, after some patchy results of late. Her win in the 2016 Australian Masters proves she can match it with the big guns. Could easily finish in the top few.
Margaret Neal has been a consistent improver for sometime now. With a rating of 1191, she is good value and will perform just as well as those rated 1250.
Marlon Prudencio – Most of the overseas players should be in line to finish in the top third or so, but with a WESPA rating in the high 1700s, Marlon looks to be the value pick of the bunch. Also an impressive 6th place finish in the 2015 WESPAC in Perth.
There are no overseas players competing in the Plate division.
Karen Richards – With only four Queenslanders to choose from, the only one who I would think could challenge for the top quarter is Karen Richards, who at 1617 seems like good value.
Shekinah Giffen rarely gets to play in competition due to living in a remote areas. That doesn’t stop her though as she consistently improves. She hasn’t played in Australia since last years nationals but her WESPA rating did go up 74 points when she competed in the World Championships in France last September.
I learnt the hard way at the 2014 South Australian Champs that Helen Jones plays a good tactical game compared to most others at her rating level. For that reason, she’s my best pick out of the South Australians in the Plate division.
Again, hard to pick an underrated player. If I had to pick one out of the 5, I’d lean towards Jan Hill.
Paula Messer was forced to mix it with the big guns at the 2015 AMSC tournament and held her own. I’m willing to back her to do well at this years event.
There are 18 Western Australians to choose from in the Plate division and half of them offer some serious value for money. My pick out of those is Liana Aho who is rated 608 but has been consistently averaging 340 in tournaments recently. If she continues that trend in the big dance over Easter, she will win more than her fair share of games and be a great addition to your team