With JLT now a distant memory and with the anticipation building for the first two Round 1 teams dropping tonight, we should be at the stage where we are finalising our rookie selections, or at the very least, have settled on a structure and as such are aware of how many rookies we need to be named over the next couple of days.
For those that are still unsure on a couple of choices have no fear. I have gone back over and re-ranked AND re-written about my initial top 50 list. Obviously, Sam Walsh does not qualify given his price, but he would be number one had he qualified.
All-in-all there are 15 new players who have made their way into my Top 50 post JLT with Port Adelaide sweeping the podium positions. There are number of risers, as well as numerous fallers.
But in the end it will be up to you to decide who you are going to pick!
With the fun and games just about to begin I wish you all the best of luck for the upcoming season.
50. Izak Rankine (Gold Coast) FWD $198,300 (PRE JLT: 8)
At his price he is a big risk to take, but showed in his first JLT game the level of talent he possesses by kicking an amazing goal in the opening minutes before only managing to accumulate another 5 disposals for the game resulting in a poor outing of just 32 SuperCoach points. Was looking a bit better in JLT 2 with 32 SC points in just 38% TOG before he hurt his hamstring. May struggle to be available for Round 1 and at his price probably isn’t someone you should consider unless you love risk taking.
49. Jez McLennan (Gold Coast) DEF $117,300 (PRE JLT: 20)
Didn’t make an appearance for the Suns in the JLT series but is expected to get a shot at some senior footy at some stage this season as a rebounding defender. With Gold Coast’s defensive stocks taking a hit already, McLennan could be an important mid-season downgrade target. One to put on the watchlist.
48. Tom Jok (Essendon) MID $117,400 (PRE JLT: 46)
A project player who got a chance to show what he can offer against Carlton in JLT 1. Scored just the 22 SuperCoach points from 59% TOG and is unlikely to break into a strong Essendon team early in the season.
47. Will Hayes (Western Bulldogs) MID $117,300 (PRE JLT: 28)
The Bulldogs best-22 for round one is one of the hardest to predict in the league, given how many new players they have at the club. Hayes played in both of the Bulldogs’ JLT matches but finished with just 42 and 29 SuperCoach points. If he makes the Round 1 teams there are likely to be better options available, but could be a great downgrade bench fodder target later in the season if he gets held back. Watchlist.
46. Luke Valente (Fremantle) MID $117,300 (PRE JLT: 13)
Injuries meant we didn’t get to see him in the JLT and rules him out of contention for selection in Round 1. Ross has a reputation for holding the kids back until they are well and truly ready so don’t expect to see Valente early. Hopefully provides us with an opportunity to downgrade to him later in the season.
45. Josh Corbett (Gold Coast) FWD $123,900 (PRE JLT: 5)
The only Gold Coast priority mature aged we didn’t see in the JLT series due to injury. A good marking forward Corbett is likely to see game time at some stage this season, once he gets back up to speed. Hopefully we don’t see him too early.
44. Shane McAdam (Adelaide) FWD $123,900 (PRE JLT: 22)
Carlton traded away the rights to McAdam, as a mature aged priority player, to the Crows for Mitch McGovern, so it’s clear that Adelaide like what they see. Didn’t manage to get on the park for a JLT game but hopefully can become SuperCoach relevant later in the season.
43. Oleg Markov (Richmond) DEF $158,000 (PRE JLT: 32)
The Tigers coaching staff have made it quite clear that they like what Markov has to offer, and with a number of player departures in the off-season it was no surprise to see Markov play in both of Richmond’s JLT games. But with scores of 55 and 43 will it be enough to guarantee a spot in Richmond’s best 22 for Round 1? Will cost a little extra and JS isn’t great so probably best to look elsewhere.
42. Tom Wilkinson (North Melbourne) FWD $102,400 (PRE JLT: 17)
Missed all JLT games. Won’t see Round 1 action. Best to look elsewhere but keep on watchlists for later in the season.
41. Tyson Stengle (Adelaide) FWD $123,900 (PRE JLT: 48)
The clever Indigenous small forward knows where the goals are has one of the best teachers in Eddie Betts. Didn’t get to play in either of Adelaide’s JLT matches but kicked four goals in a SANFL practice match so could see senior action at some stage this season.
40. Ben Cavarra (Western Bulldogs) FWD $117,300 (PRE JLT: 12)
Once a midfielder, Cavarra won a Morrish Medal in the TAC Cup as a midfielder but has earned his spot on the Bulldogs list as a small forward. Won Williamstown’s goalkicking two years straight and averaged 97 SuperCoach points a game at VFL level last season. Picked up a couple of niggles over the preseason, which resulted in him missing both JLT games. The Dogs have a somewhat dysfunctional forward line so you’d expect Cavarra to play at some stage if not Round 1.
39. Riley Collier-Dawkins (Richmond) MID $121,800 (PRE JLT: UNRANKED)
A tall midfielder at 190cm, Collier-Dawkins is said to have had a great pre-season including “best on” performance during a match simulation while the Tigers were in Gold Coast on a training camp in January. Unfortunately, wasn’t able to convert in Richmond’s first JLT game and didn’t get the chance in the second game. Unlikely to play Round 1 but definitely should be keeping him on our watchlists for later in the year.
38. Tarryn Thomas (North Melbourne) MID $175,800 (PRE JLT: 38)
Scores of just 31 and 21 during JLT means at his price the Tasmanian is pass. May not even feature in North’s side in Round 1 anyway. Looking elsewhere for now.
37. Ben McKay (North Melbourne) DEF $123,900 (PRE JLT: UNRANKED)
The general rule is that key defenders don’t make great SuperCoach scorers. McKay went against that rule a little in his first JLT game, accumulating 14 touches at 100% disposal efficiency for a score of 62. However, he managed just 35 from 95% TOG in his second game highlighting just how up-and-down he may be. Given injuries to key defenders at North he may get spot in the side in Round 1, but I can’t see him being a good enough scorer to select him in my team. Might be ok to just sit on your bench, but don’t expect big scores from him if you need him.
36. Justin McInerney (Sydney) DEF $117,300 (PRE JLT: UNRANKED)
A rebounding defender that makes it look easy, McInerney had a terrific performance in the Swans’ intra-club which firmly put him in the frame as one to watch during the JLT games. Struggled a bit in JLT1 but managed to get 5 disposals and a SuperCoach score of 35 in just 25% TOG. Got more of a chance in JLT 2, accumulating 15 disposals from 70% TOG for 51 SuperCoach points. Injuries to the Swans defence early in the season may see McInerney squeeze his way into a Round 1 spot, but despite proving to be a decent scorer his job security isn’t great. I’d pass for now but will watch Round 1 team lists with interest.
35. Callum Wilkie (St Kilda) DEF $124,900 (PRE JLT: 11)
The Saints mature aged recruit is a playmaking defender who it was expected could have an immediate impact in the senior team down at Moorabbin. However, he only managed scores of 26 from 46% TOG and 18 from 29% TOG during the JLT games. The unfortunate news about Roberton may mean Wilkie gets a chance from Round 1, however, if he misses he becomes a downgrade target later in the season.
34. Dylan Moore (Hawthorn) MID $123,900 (PRE JLT: UNRANKED)
Scores of 45 and 40 during the JLT didn’t exactly see Moore lock down a spot in the Hawks best 22. There isn’t a tonne of rookie options in the forward line, and even less good scoring rookies, so if Moore makes it into the Hawks line up in Round 1, he could be a decent bench option for the early part of the season.
33. Darcy Fort (Geelong) RUC $117,300 (PRE JLT: 9)
Early expectations were that Fort would hopefully be carrying the Cats in the ruck, however, after his JLT campaign it is unlikely that Chris Scott will be looking to Fort, at least in the early portion of the season. A decent bench option given he may play at some stage, but I’ll be looking elsewhere.
32. Bailey Smith (Western Bulldogs) MID $180,300 (PRE JLT: 16)
Ranked second in the TAC Cup carnival behind only Sam Walsh for SuperCoach average, however didn’t showcase that scoring potential during the JLT with scores of just 29 and 41. If selecting him you would want to see far better scores than the ones he got in JLT. Better options in the midfield in my opinion.
31. Francis Watson (West Coast) DEF $123,900 (PRE JLT: UNRANKED)
Watson was super impressive in JLT one where he amassed 17 disposals, took three marks and laid 10 tackles to finish with 76 SuperCoach points. Was a late out in JLT 2 meaning we didn’t get to see if he could back that scoring performance up as well as calling into question whether he is Eagles best 22. If he is named in Round 1 he is a good option, but his job security scares me.
30. Luke Davies-Uniacke (North Melbourne) MID $197,500 (PRE JLT: 47)
The man most pundits selected as the must have rookie last season just wasn’t able to live up to the hype averaging just 40.4. With North acquiring a number of players in the offseason there were questions surrounding whether Davies-Uniacke would even have a place in the team. He answered many questions in his first JLT game where he had 27 touches, five tackles and scored 73 from just 60% TOG. Found the going a little tougher in JLT 2 but still posted a 57 from 65% TOG. While you are paying a little more for him, and it is a bit of a risk, Davies-Uniacke is a unique rookie choice which could pay off.
29. Harrison Jones (Hawthorn) DEF $123,900 (PRE JLT: UNRANKED)
Has had a massive preseason by all reports and that showed in JLT1 where he accumulated 21 disposals and laid four tackles, scoring 79 SuperCoach points from 79% TOG. Didn’t get the chance to back it up in JLT when the Hawks bought in a number of senior players which makes you wonder about his job security if selected in the early rounds. Hopefully gets a chance midseason and proves to be a very good downgrade target.
28. Connor Rozee (Port Adelaide) DEF/FWD $189,300 (PRE JLT: #31)
The No.5 draft pick played in both of Port’s JLT games but sadly could only manage scores of 41 and 44. He’s a likely starter in Round 1 at his price and for the scores that he has shown he will get, there are better options out there.
27. Isaac Quaynor (Collingwood) DEF $153,300, (PRE JLT: #10)
The Pies don’t really have an out-and-out rebounding defender but coming off a grand final it is a hard team to break into. Quaynor offers great speed off the half back line but only managed 34 from 66% TOG in Collingwood’s first JLT game. Wasn’t selected for JLT 2, which means he is an unlikely Round 1 starter, but could provide us with an option later in the season.
26. Michael Gibbons (Carlton) MID $102,400 (PRE JLT: 2)
Well, I’ll put my hand up and admit I got this one very wrong. When Gibbons finally got a spot on an AFL list it was very much deserved and he soon became one of the must have rookies of this season. However, Carlton, sadly, have different ideas for Gibbons, and it seems that he will be spending most of his time in the forward line. Kicked 3 goals in JLT 1 but didn’t get many touches and so could only score 68. Managed just 34 in JLT game #2 which was disappointing. Hopefully Carlton come to their senses and release him into the midfield. Despite being priced at just 102k I’ll be looking elsewhere for my midfield rookies this season.
25. Brett Bewley (Fremantle) MID $117,300 (PRE JLT: 7)
Most people’s early choice for cash cow of the year, the mature aged recruit from Williamstown didn’t get as many JLT minutes as we would’ve hoped for. Managed to get 13 disposals, three marks and four tackles for a score of 48 in just 39% TOG in JLT 1 and after initially not being selected to play in JLT 2, Bewley was a late inclusion and got eight disposals for just 16 SC points in 41% TOG. A bit of a JLT tease but if Ross selects him Round 1, there are probably worse options.
24. Nick Hind (St Kilda) MID $117,300 (PRE JLT: 3)
A likely Round 1 starter, Hind played in both of St Kilda’s JLT games for scores of 52 from 58% TOG and 29 from 53% TOG, stats that hardly show whether Hind will be a consistent SuperCoach scorer. The good news, is that he is likely to have decent job security, at least for the early part of the season as a number of players make their way back from preseason injuries. I wouldn’t expect an average of more than 60 from Hind, but that may just be enough for him to sit on the bench and make cash in the early rounds.
23. Isaac Cumming (GWS Giants) DEF $173,700 (PRE JLT: #18)
Cumming is into his second AFL season after managing to play just two games last season. While he will cost a little more than other rookies, he showed a decent scoring ability in both JLT games scoring 49 from 39% TOG in Game 1 and 63 from 65% TOG in Game 2. If selected Round 1, I believe he has strong claims to sew up a spot for a number of weeks barring injury and could prove to be a decent scorer. One to consider when team lists are dropped.
22. Chris Burgess (Gold Coast) DEF/FWD $123,900 (PRE JLT: #26)
At one stage of the preseason Burgess was one of the most popular picks in the game, however, after a terrible game against the Swans in JLT 2 which saw him score just 15 points despite spending 86% of the game on the ground, a lot of pundits have jumped off. However, while his scoring may not be the best for his rookie class, there are other aspects to consider before putting a line through him. Firstly, his dual position status could be extremely useful if you are picking Darcy Moore, who is also a DEF/FWD. Secondly, given the lack of forward options at the Suns, Burgess has very good job security and will likely play most weeks. Definitely one to consider strongly, particularly if you can get away with him just sitting on your bench.
21. Darragh Joyce (St Kilda) DEF $123,900 (PRE JLT: UNRANKED)
Another key defender, which goes against the rule of good scoring rookies, but after a number of injuries for St Kilda, Joyce could become a decent selection. Played well against the Bulldogs in JLT 2 but still only managed 53 SC points. Won’t set the world on fire with his scoring, but looks likely to be given first crack in defence which means if he just sits on the bench we’ll see his price rise up. One to consider.
20. Matt Parker (St Kilda) FWD $117,300 (PRE JLT: 15)
Another Saint who looks likely for a Round 1 spot, Parker is in the team to apply forward pressure, something he did during the JLT Series. Won’t score massive but with a lack of forward rookie options, an average of 60 would make Parker a great cash cow. Definite chance for a forward bench spot.
19. Bailey Scott (North Melbourne) MID $117,300 (PRE JLT: 37)
A lightly built midfielder with great aerobic ability, Scott was taken by North Melbourne under the father son rules and quickly found himself in the Kangaroos’ JLT team, playing both games. Showed promise with a 59 point outing in JLT 1 (70% TOG) before following it up with an even more impressive 89 point game in JLT 2 (58% TOG). Whether he has done enough to earn a spot in North’s best 22 becomes the main question now, but if he has then he is a great option for one of the rookie midfield spots in your team.
18. Noah Balta (Richmond) FWD $123,900 (PRE JLT: UNRANKED)
A tall athletic forward who can go into the ruck and give Toby Nankervis a chop out, Balta stormed into Round 1 contention with a massive performance in JLT 1 scoring 104 SC points. Couldn’t quite back it up in JLT 2 managing just 52 points, but with questions surrounding Tom Lynch’s availability a Round 1 spot wouldn’t surprise. Whether he has good enough job security to last enough rounds to make enough money for your team becomes the big question now. Probably a pass unless Lynch is out for 6+ weeks.
17. Jye Caldwell (GWS Giants) MID $162,300 (PRE JLT: 23)
The Giants lose seriously talented players but just keep on replacing them with more high-quality draft picks. Caldwell slotted into the GWS midfield in JLT 1 and managed to get 78 from just 62% TOG. Dropped back in JLT 2 scoring just 24 SC points from 42% TOG which will turn a lot of people off. Given he is a little more expensive than some other rookies he won’t be in a heap of teams and if he can tie down a spot in GWS’ midfield there is no reason why he can’t be a great cash cow.
16. Sam Collins (Gold Coast) DEF $188,900 (PRE JLT: 1)
Looked the goods in JLT 1 playing as an intercepting and rebounding defender for the Suns scoring 93 SC points. However, before JLT 2 Rory Thompson went down with an injury which means that Collins may now have to play as a tall, lock-down defender. This is exactly what happened in JLT 2 and while he still scored 52 SC points, at his increased price, whether he is an automatic lock is questionable. Could still make good cash and has shown potential but I am scared to take the risk now.
15. Jack Ross (Richmond) MID $117,300 (PRE JLT: UNRANKED)
Has had a massive preseason and is ready to play senior football from Round 1, with many Tigers supporters saying that he has shown more than enough during JLT to have earnt his spot. Collected 21 disposals in JLT 1 for a SuperCoach score of 67 from 59% TOG, and only played 39% of JLT 2 for 28 SC points. A strong chance to be selected Round 1 and you could do a lot worse than have Ross as one of your midfield rookies.
14. Zac Clarke (Essendon) RUC $142,600 (PRE JLT: 30)
Clarke was impressive in JLT1 playing as a ruckman with spells in the forward line and managed to get 37 hitouts, and showed he was nimble around the ground, accumulating 15 disposals and kicking a goal. After 89 SC points in Game 1 many were hoping to see Clarke and Bellchambers play in the same team in JLT 2. Sadly, that didn’t happen, but with news that Joe Daniher is injured with a calf complaint, it is not beyond the realms that we see Clarke come into the team for Round 1, predominantly as a forward. Would make for an interesting decision for the R3 position if he is named.
13. Jack Petrucelle (West Coast) FWD $123,900 (PRE JLT: UNRANKED)
With Mark LeCras retiring after the Eagles win in the Grand Final last season, Petrucelle is touted as the bloke who will get first crack at that spot in the team. Scored 43 in JLT 1 off nine disposals and a goal (62% TOG) before playing even better in JLT 2, kicking two goals and scoring 87 points. Scores may be a bit up and down but the comparisons to Liam Ryan last year cannot be ignored. Given the lack of forward rookies, if Petrucelle is named Round 1, I expect him to be a popular rookie selection.
12. Marty Hore (Melbourne) DEF $117,300 (PRE JLT: 36)
Took kick-ins for the Demons in JLT 1 which got everyone’s attention and showed he was a solid scorer with 57 SC points in his first game. Got replaced by Jordan Lewis in JLT 2 for kick in duty but improved his scoring with 69 SC points (92% TOG). With Jake Lever injured for a while yet and Steven May missing Round 1, Hore is a real chance to play Round 1. The biggest question we face is whether he has the job security to make a good cash cow.
11. Jackson Hately (GWS Giants) MID $148,800 (PRE JLT: 35)
Like Jye Caldwell, Hately will see be looking to demand a spot in the GWS midfield and showed his readiness in JLT 1 where he accumulated 16 disposals, took four marks, laid four tackles, all of which culminated in 101 SuperCoach points. Found the going a lot tougher in JLT 2 despite collecting 12 touches, scoring just 42 SC points. In contention for a Round 1 spot and has shown he can be a handy scorer. Definitely one to consider given he won’t cost you too much more.
10. Nick Blakey (Sydney) FWD $166,800 (PRE JLT: UNRANKED)
Much like key position defender, key position forwards also struggle to accumulate SuperCoach points. However, for those of us that watched Blakey you could tell that he may very well one day demand SuperCoach selection. As a rookie, Blakey will likely play as a forward with short stints further up the ground. Extremely clean below his knees, Blakey moves around the ground extremely well for his height. Questions indeed remain whether he will in fact play Round 1 as well as whether he will score well enough to demand selection. With the lack of forward rookies, if selected, he’s as good an option as any in my opinion.
9. Patrick Bines (West Coast) RUC/FWD $102,400 (PRE JLT: UNRANKED)
Bines is a former basketballer who is unlikely to feature at all this season. So why do I have him as #9 for must have rookies this season? Well he is dual position player which makes him attractive if you are selecting Justin Westhoff and want to make use of his FWD/RUC status, but he also provides the best option for you to use the VC loophole. If you want to know how to do this read this!
8. Jack Scrimshaw (Hawthorn) DEF $149,800 (PRE JLT: 27)
The former number 7 draft pick remains as close to a lock of a selection as they come. Don’t be put off by Clarko’s comments suggesting he hasn’t decided as to whether he will play Round 1, because he will. Showed steady improvement in both of Hawthorn’s JLT games and has the quality. Just lock him. Play him on field. He’s must have in my opinion.
7. Charlie Constable (Geelong) MID $123,900 (PRE JLT: 24)
Constable was a big chance to make his debut for Geelong last season, but just wasn’t quite able to break through. Instead he went back to VFL level and dominated. He showed that he is now 100% ready for AFL level scoring 91 SC points of 71% TOG in JLT, before backing it up with 61 SC points from just 50% TOG. Big lock for every team’s midfield and you will struggle to find a better scoring rookie. LOCK!
6. Jordan Clark (Geelong) DEF $144,300 (PRE JLT: 19)
Taken at pick 15 in last year’s draft Clark looks ready made for senior football as a rebounding defender. With Zach Tuohy likely to miss the start of the season Clark looks set to play Round 1 after an extremely impressive JLT Series. 87 from JLT 1 and 67 in JLT 2 show that Clark has good scoring ability. Another rookie you just have to pick.
5. Will Setterfield (Carlton) MID/FWD $144,900 (PRE JLT: 6)
113 in JLT should be enough to convince you that he’s a lock, particularly given we can select him as a forward. Pick him. Start him. Don’t even look for reasons not to.
4. Tom Atkins (Geelong) MID $112,900 (PRE JLT: 43)
The Cats midfield is a tough place to get into, but Atkins is a mature aged recruit who offers Geelong something that they don’t have outside of Joel Selwood, a midfielder who loves to tackle. It is based on this alone that Atkins should seal a spot in Round 1, after scores of 69 and 80 in his two JLT games. A good bench option at the very least.
3. Xavier Duursma (Port Adelaide) DEF/MID $130,800 (PRE JLT: UNRANKED)
Duursma was the fourth-highest scoring player in the TAC Cup last season, and he has carried this over to AFL level, at least so far anyway! After scoring just 40 from 58% TOG in JLT 1 many were worried, but a 24 disposal, 11 mark game in JLT 2 that resulted in 78 SC points means he is a must have. Already been announced that he will make his debut in Round 1 and the fact you can select as a defender or midfielder means he’s a must have.
2. Willem Drew (Port Adelaide) FWD/MID $123,900 (PRE JLT: UNRANKED)
A big-bodied midfielder who was struck down with injury last season, Drew is another player who it has already been announced will make his debut in Round 1. Collected 16 disposals in JLT 1 for 77 SC points before bettering it in JLT 2, scoring 86 points. Averaged the second most amount of points of any player under 200k who played both JLT games. Dual-position status makes him a lock.
1. Zak Butters (Port Adelaide) MID $157,800 (PRE JLT: UNRANKED)
25 disposals and 91 SuperCoach points in JLT 1. Three goals and 82 SC points in JLT 2. The best averaging player under $200k during the JLT series. As with Drew and Duursma, it’s already announced that he will play round one. Pay the little bit extra and start him on the field next to Sam Walsh in your midfield. Must have.