So it's no secret that this year we have a relatively weak crop of rookie players to choose from, especially in defence. The fact that a lot of the rookie pool missed a year of footy due to Covid brings about the conversation that some players may be under developed and or a step behind previous draft years. This year I'm looking to start with as little rookies on my field as possible as while they are important to generate cash there are not that many I like in terms of scoring potential and job security. I have attached a video format if you prefer to watch and listen but I've also listed all the players I speak about below with a short comment about each one.
Lachlan Jones ($240k DEF): Before the AAMI series I was pretty confident Jones would be a lock in the Port side. The kid is massive and ready made for AFL level. He only managed a half game in the AAMI series which does make me question if he is in the best 22 and maybe his job security isn't as good as I first thought. He managed 43 from 42% TOG which is great scoring for a rookie but they did play Adelaide who at this stage of the game looked to have gone home early. He should be a decent option but I don't think he will score like this consistently and an average around 50-60 is probably fair. At $240k he's too expensive for a bench job so he would have to go on the field.
Connor Idun ($221k DEF): Going into this game I didn't expect much from Idun but I was pleasantly surprised with what I saw. He looked comfortable down back for the Giants from a defensive effort perspective but then also looked to get involved in the switching of the play and the build up going forward. I'm still not sold his scoring potential is great but his job security should be okay despite Phil Davis having to come back in. Similar to Lachy Jones, at $221k you would probably need him on the field although if there are very limited options come round 1 you could have him as bench cover.
Nik Cox ($256k DEF/FWD): Looks like he has potential but will need a bit of time to get there. He's very athletic and agile for a guy of his height and can play anywhere on the field. The bombers have been using him as a wingman who pushes in both directions. He's still quite green though reflecting his scoring efforts in the AAMI series (28 from 80% TOG). Could possibly make the side but at that price he's not an option in fantasy.
Joel Hamling ($249k DEF): Not necessarily a rookie but comes in rookie priced. Will play a key position post so his scoring is to be relatively poor. With the injury to Rory Lobb, Freo may experiment and throw someone like Hamling forward potentially. His Job security should be good but I can't see him scoring well enough to justify the inflated price tag. There are better options at the same price elsewhere and cheaper options in defence that should have similar scoring output.
Heath Chapman ($244k DEF): Only managed the 16% game time for 20 points which suggests he's not in Freo's round 1 plans. He's certainly one with potential but unfortunately plays a position which Freo aren't short in. Will inevitably get opportunity this year at some point so he's one that I would jump on when that time comes.
Jack Payne ($237k DEF): Another key position player and therefore not a great fantasy prospect. Managed 46 from 88% but there should be other players cheaper scoring the same amount of points. Not one to really consider.
Jordon Butts ($207k DEF): Similar to Payne in terms of position, scoring potential and job security. Comes in $30k cheaper and therefore I would have him above Payne. Butts plays for Adelaide so there should be plenty of ball going that way which gives him some sort of chance to take some intercept marks. Not an option unless there are no other options comes round 1, then I can justify having him on the bench.
Chris Burgess (190k DEF): Came on late for the Suns but I don't think he's an option. He's proven in the past that he can't score and I think he was more brought on just the give Witts a rest.
Harry Sharp ($186k DEF/MID): I think Sharp might still be at school and therefore the likelihood that he plays while completing his year 12 studies is low. Showed some good signs that would have really pleased the coach so he'd be in the good books for sure.
Sam De Koning ($170k DEF): Played some minutes in the ruck and up forward as a key position player. Scoring potential doesn't look great and in a side like Geelong the job security can't be great at all. It's sounding like Rhys Stanley will be fit for round 1 so De Koning probably doesn't get named.
Kieran Briggs ($170k DEF/FWD): Looked decent and managed 51 from 75% TOG. He looks to be a ruckman for the Giants but with GWS most likely to go with Flynn as their ruck there probably isn't a spot for Briggs. It's one or the other so whichever one gets named they are probably worth selecting in your side.
Thomas Highmore ($182k DEF): Didn't start on the field but came on relatively early due to Frawley's injury. This could be an opening for Highmore to crack the side although at this stage it's 50/50. If he's in come round 1 he's one I would select as he looks composed at half back and has decent intercept capabilities. Scored 37 from 57% TOG.
Jacob Koschitzke ($170k DEF): Looks certain for a round 1 birth having kicked 7 goals in the AAMI series match. The issue is the Hawks have a few key forwards in the wings looking to come back and therefore it may only take one poor performance to warrant the chop. He managed 95 from 84% TOG but this was against North Melbourne (Fucking shit) and he won't kick 7 every week. Scoring expectation is to be tempered being a key forward but he's $170k and should be there round 1 so I'll most likely start with him.
Other Names to Note
These are some guys I don't think are in line for a round 1 birth but could see potential later in the year and are worth keeping an eye for:
Will Gould ($170k DEF)
Harry Edwards ($170k DEF)
Trent Bianco ($170k DEF/MID)
Josh Worrell ($170k DEF/FWD)
Liam Stocker ($242k DEF)
Connor Menadue ($242 DEF)
Buku Khamis ($170k DEF)
Isiah Winder ($170 DEF/MID)
Will Phillips ($266k MID): Will looks to be one that is slightly behind not having had the opportunity to play footy last year. Should be a decent scorer when he is given a crack but I don't think he's in the calculations for a round 1 birth now.
Braeden Campbell ($262 MID/FWD): Has settled in nicely at half back. Looks to have role role in the side which is great signs for job security. Should be in the team come round 1 and has decent scoring potential in this role. Scored 57 from 80% in the AAMI series. This is roughly where I see Campbell being this year so it's up to you whether you think it's worth paying extra for the added job security. With my current structure I don't have the capabilities to allow starting with him but he's certainly an option.
Archie Perkins ($254k MID/FWD): Still looks to need some work before gaining a debut opportunity. Did look to have decent hunt around the contest and a strong will to tackle. Pressure is there which is always great to see but I can't see him playing round 1. Could be a decent option later providing he has the dual position status which is always handy.
Tanner Bruhn ($248k MID): Played a great game and draws many similarities to a Toby Greene type. With the depth GWS possess through the middle he looks set for a half forward role. Showed his potential in the AAMI series with 4 goals and 66 points from 82% game time. Most likely debuts round 1 but $248k for a guy who will play forward and will need goals to score he's probably a pass for me.
Tom Powell ($246k MID): Tom was one who was heavy on my rookie radar early based off his numbers he put up as a junior. Tom averaged 119 at state league which certainly grabs attention. Similar to Bruhn Tom looks like he'll play but he'll be restricted to a forward role. He played exclusively as a forward in the AAMI series and the Roos were missing names like Anderson, Cunnington, Polec and Dumont. Tom scored 64 from 67% TOG which is great PPM for a rookie but he was very quiet in times when he wasn't able to push higher up the field. Most of these points came in the second quarter (43) when he got higher up the field. With those added names in the side I think Tom's role won't be great and a small forward for North Melbourne isn't a great proposition. Although he certainly has potential and will be a popular selection he's one I can see fading on being an option also.
Jake Bowey ($230k MID/FWD): Looks to be a classy player with good ability on the outside. Melbourne have said that they can see him being damaging off half back which could be interesting seeing how the footy has panned out this year so far. He played 57% for 27 points which is nothing special and he's not one I would select but he's worth keeping an eye on early.
Sam Berry ($216k MID): Super impressive in a pre-season scratch match I saw but didn't really get much opportunity in the AAMI game. Played 42% for 19 points but Adelaide had packed their bags well and truly at the half way point when Berry had come on. Probably just on the outside but he's one to grab when he gets opportunity as I like the look of this kid.
Charlie Lazzaro ($200k MID): The coaching staff and commentary hyped the shit out of him before the game started and then the game started and he wasn't out there. I honestly looked hard to find him but I didn't see him do anything. Next minute I hear that he's been subbed off. Fuck knows what he did in the 35% he was out there but he managed to get 14 points somehow. He's not an option for me.
Phoenix Spicer ($188k MID/FWD): Came on in the last quarter and looks to be an excitement machine. Probably not ready for the AFL just yet but will be a joy to watch and looks to have plenty of tricks in the bag. Scored 21 from 24% TOG and brought more excitement to the game in that 1 quarter than North did as a whole in the 3 before that.
Tyler Brockman ($180k MID/FWD): Small forward with super pressure. Kicked 3 goals in the first quarter and pretty much locked his spot in the side for round 1. Scored 69 from 76% TOG but 43 of these points came in the first quarter where he bagged the 3 snags. Can't see him having great scoring but his pressure intent looked good and that's what he's in the side for. Could be a decent bench option but I wouldn't have him on the field.
Zane Trew (170k MID): From earlier reports it sounds like Trew has had a pretty solid pre-season. He plays a contested type game and possesses clean hands and good tackling pressure. Averaged 105 at state league so he has scoring potential and managed 30 from 26% TOG which is high PPM for the time spent on ground. Probably not ready for league footy but if West Coast sustain further midfield injuries he could be one to come in.
Jackson Mead ($170k MID): I've always liked the look of Mead. Hasn't been given a crack yet and therefore sees his price down to basement. Looks to certainly have ability but it's a tough gig for spots at a strong Port Adelaide. Don't think he's best 22 from round 1 but 37 from 41% TOG are encouraging signs and he's one to grab when selected.
Will Martyn (170k MID): Only managed a quarter for the Tiges posting 19 from 21% TOG. Traditionally it's been hard to get games as a young player for the Tigers and I don't think Will finds a spot round 1. His numbers as a junior (116 state league) suggest he can score so he's one to consider if he gets a gig but job security will always be an issue.
Riley Collier-Dawkins ($170k MID): Similar to Will Martyn above. Will be hard to get a gig for the Tigers but he's one I'll be grabbing at basement price when he's given an opportunity. Scored 20 from 39% TOG with high CBA usage.
James Jordon ($170k MID): Scored 49 from 79% game time which looks solid on paper but I didn't like what I saw from Jordon. Looked to fumble the ball on multiple occasions and turned the footy over a few times also. Did a couple nice things but overall I got more of a bad vibe than good with him. With Viney, Brayshaw and Oliver to come into the side he could lose his spot early in the year although he probably gets a game round 1. He's a bench option but I'll probably be avoiding him as I don't think his job security is great based off what I've seen of him.
Lachlan McNeil ($170k MID): Played as a small forward for the dogs and looked alright. The dogs have a pretty strong side so I can't imagine his job security is that great. I'm not even sure where he sits in the pecking order and although he played a full AAMI series game he may not be in line for round 1.
Lachlan Bramble($170k MID): Didn't show that much and wasn't really that influential. Only time I noticed him was when he was kicking for goal. Scored 41 from 85% game time and while he did manage a full game which is positive for his round 1 chances I don't like him as a fantasy option.
Nick Shipley ($170k MID): He has decent scoring proposition but he hasn't managed a game in the AFL for the last 2 years and with the depth in the GWS midfield it's hard to see how he cracks the side again. Should get opportunity at some point but 20% game time in the AAMI series confirms he's probably not in the plans for games early.
Errol Gulden ($208k MID): Probably the number 1 midfield rookie option for mine. Like Tom Powell, Gulden will be restricted to a forward role to start the season. The reason why I like Gulden more than Powell is I think his tackling pressure is greater which is always a positive. I think the likelihood that Gulden can receive opportunities up the ground are greater as Sydney look to develop some players through this mid opposed to North who are actually quite strong in that area. Gulden has a great set of foot skills on him so with the new rules he's one I think the Swans will want the ball in his hands forward of centre so while he'll be forward I think his scoring potential is good and he's one you can have on the field if he's selected.
Connor Downie ($202k MID): Looks to have found a position posted on a wing for the Hawks. He was quiet in the AAMI game but his second half showed a lot more promise. I think his job security is fairly high seen as the Hawks are short on wingman and outside runners but I don't think his scoring potential is as high as what some may think. For me I've structured my team so he's only a bench option as I don't think his scoring will be high enough consistently to find a spot on field.
Anthony Scott ($170k MID/FWD): Mature age recruit who looks to be a pretty good footballer. He could nab a spot in the Doggies backline. He looked to be active and got involved providing some impact on the game. I think he'll play round 1 and he's an option to have on the bench especially as he has the dual position status.
Other Names to Note
Luke Pedlar ($250k MID)
Nakia Cockatoo ($243k MID/FWD)
Finlay Macrae ($234k MID/FWD)
Corey Durdin ($198k MID/FWD)
Thomson Dow ($192k MID)
Devon Robertson ($186k MID/FWD)
Luke Valente ($170k MID)
Jay Rantall ($170k MID)
Hugo Ralphsmith ($170k MID/FWD)
Ely Smith ($170k MID/FWD)
Jack Ginnivan ($170k MID/FWD)
Riley Thilthorpe ($268k RUC/FWD): With ROB (Reilly O'brien) having a firm grip over the number 1 ruck role I don't see any opportunity in the ruck for Thilthorpe. He could potentially get a crack up forward but Adelaide have enough tall options already so you wouldn't think this happens unless they accrue injuries latter in the season. At the price tag he's not an option as there are plenty of other guys cheaper available.
Nathan Vardy ($268k RUC): With West Coast confirming that they do not plan to raise Nic Nat's minutes the need for a second ruck is there. They could elect to use Oscar Allen in the ruck but I don't think they will and with Bailey Williams unavailable at the moment I think they will probably role with Vardy. This year we are blessed for options in the ruck who come in 100k cheaper and will have the number 1 ruck role so for that reason Vardy shouldn't be considered.
Matt Flynn ($170k RUC): Didn't play in the AAMI series due to ankle soreness but in all seriousness the Giants probably just wanted to get a look at Briggs in the ruck before round 1. I think Flynn will be the guy who takes this position and if he's named round 1 he should be in your side. Potentially on the field depending on what strategy and structure you're looking to employ.
Paul Hunter ($170k RUC): With Marshall injured for the early part of the year and Ryder taking personal leave, Ratten (St Kilda coach) has already confirmed that Hunter will be playing round 1. You'd think he shares some duty with McKernan but he should have a large majority of the ruck himself and therefore he's one to start with in your side.
Lloyd Meek ($170k RUC): Similar situation to Hunter. With Darcy returning from a knee injury and Lobb going out with a knee injury Freo are in need of a ruck. Darcy is getting close to full fitness but with Meek proving he's more than capable in the AAMI series I think Freo will give him a crack in round 1. He does come up against Gawn in round 1 so I wouldn't have him on the field, bench or utility option.
Tom Fullarton ($170k RUC/FWD): With McStay injured for the early rounds I think the door is open for Fullarton to grab a spot up forward. He looked to have great agility and ground work for a key position sized player. It looked like Daniher is the back up ruck though which isn't great for Fullarton as he won't be able to get those free points from hit outs. This is enough for me to have him behind the 3 other $170k guys mentioned above despite Tom having DPP.
Other Names to Note
Josh Treacy ($170k RUC/FWD)
Samson Ryan ($192k RUC)
Nick Bryan: ($170k RUC)
Tom Campbell ($223 RUC/FWD)
Logan McDonald ($264k FWD): One of Sydney's shining lights for the game. Came on in the third quarter and made an immediate impact. Gave the swans a different dynamic going forward and I think he made enough of an impact in his half of footy to earn a call up in round 1. Looks to be a super key forward in the future but you're not paying up for him in fantasy.
Oliver Henry ($238k FWD): Clearly rated by the Pies but not so much by myself. Dropped 3 marks in the first quarter and looked to fumble the ball a lot scored 27 from 72% game time which isn't enough to justify starting with him at that price.
Atu Bosenuvalagi ($206k FWD): Thought moving to a new club would be what Atu needed in order to get regular opportunity. Looked to be trialled at half back but I don't think he's got a spot in the side just yet so he's one I wouldn't select.
Ned Cahill ($189k FWD): Really liked the look of him in the first practice game but he was quiet in the AAMI and wasn't very influential. I think he will get a game round 1 and he does have a pretty nice role off half back. His score of 36 from 83% isn't the greatest but he's still one I'm interested in. I probably won't start with him but he's one I have my eye on.
Will Kelly ($170k FWD): Looks to have broken his collarbone I think so he's going to be out for a while and therefore isn't an option.
Francis Evans ($170k FWD): Geelong seem to rate him and he's in the mix but he's probably outside the 22 and his 24 from 39% TOG indicates this. He could get a crack somewhat early but his job security will never be great in such a strong side. Due to this he's probably one I won't select even if he plays at some point unless there are no other available options.
Dominic Bedendo ($170k FWD): Played the 62% of the game but he's not a fantasy type and his 14 points reflects that. One to avoid.
Alec Waterman ($170k FWD): He was looking good for a round 1 birth after his 4 goal effort in the first practice match. Essendon chose to only give him a quarter in the AAMI series so I'm not sure where he stands now in terms of a round 1 selection. Probably just on the outside. He's not one I would start with if named but he could be a downgrade option early if he comes into the side.
Chad Warner ($196k FWD): This guy was the most impressive rookie I saw all weekend for mine. I only needed half a game to know that this kid would be in my side and on the field. Looks to have a spot out of the wing and spent time at half forward and in the guts at times. His explosiveness from stoppage was highlight along with his ability to run on the outside. I can see this kid being of huge value to the Swans so I think his job security will be great and his scoring potential should also be pretty solid. Must have rookie in my opinion.
Miles Bergman ($170k FWD): Still not certain he gets a game round 1 but I think he's shown enough and probably makes the cut. Miles looks to have a spot at half back and is where I expect him to play. It could be between him and Lachlan Jones for a spot or maybe they select the both. Regardless he's a high rated draft pick who hasn't had a shot yet. He'll be a good scorer and if he's selected he should be in your team. I currently have him on my field.
James Rowe ($196k FWD): A shining light for the Crows in a game where there wasn't many at all. Managed to score 58 in a small forward role without kicking a goal which is great signs. Looked dangerous up forward and he's someone Adelaide want to get that ball in the hands of. I think Rowe has solid job security and he's certainly an option for fantasy. Most likely just bench though.
Harrison Jones ($170k FWD): He is a key forward but will get plenty of opportunity for the Bombers. Scored 46 from 75% game time which isn't super but he provides a decent safe $170k option. Think Max King from last year. Won't set the world on fire but he'll provide cover for you each week. He's one I would look at.
Other Names to Note
Jonathon Patton ($191k FWD)
My Current Rookie Structure
There you have it guys! That's my in depth look at this years rookie crop. If there are any guys I have missed let me know in the comments below and I'll be sure to give you my thoughts. I hope this information is able to help you in selecting your side this year. Thanks for reading legend.