Well hello again! Badger here – completing my rookie review at 5:16am due to average organisational skills and a sick kid.
I hope you all enjoyed the Festive and Summer periods and the good times distracted you from our lack of AFL. I’m pumped that it’s back, even if it’s not the real stuff and my team’s sitting half our players out (Jeez I can’t wait for that saga to be over but people can fight for what they believe is right no matter the time frame).
Anyway, let’s get on with the Rookie Review. I’ve looked at rookie-priced players who have so far played NAB Challenge games – more than happy to add other rookies as they play and we’ll do a final Rookie Review wrap-up prior to round 1 where we can add any likely players that missed the NAB Challenge.
Below are my thoughts on the rookie-priced players from Collingwood Vs Hawthorn, West Coast Vs Carlton and Brisbane Vs St Kilda. I’ll add the Bulldogs vs Richmond, Adelaide Vs North and Gold Coast Vs Geelong tomorrow.
Nice to be back and feel free to tear my ill-informed review apart or add any inside knowledge you may have. We love feedback! Cheers, your mate Badger.
- Patrick Karnezis FWD, $133.5K – NAB SC Score 95. Fool me once and all that…but I’m okay with being fooled twice by Karnezis as I think his upside is unusually high. He has an AFL ready body and Collingwood need all the help they can get with midfield rotations and goal scoring. He’s an accurate kick and booted over 30 goals in an injury-interrupted 2014 in the VFL. That, and he looked awesome against the Hawks last Thursday. I’m calling it early but I think he’ll be a lock in most teams by round 1. Can’t hurt putting him in while we play with our teams anyway, especially as a forward rookie under $150K.
- Jordan De Goey MID, $202.3K – NAB SC Score 66. De Goey’s debut for the Pies was impressive without being spectacular. As a new draftee, I like that he has the body shape to cope with plenty of games – as a rule of thumb heavier rookies get the nod in Badger’s teams (with the occasional exception of course). Good to note that he scored quite a bit higher in SC compared to DT as well – his disposal efficiency is generally high and he likes the contest. I’m somewhat concerned about him getting the green and red vests and will wait to see how the rest of his NAB challenge pans out. If you’re going to pay north of $200K then you don’t want the vest to appear regularly.
- Nathan Freeman MID, $123.9K – NAB SC Score 56. We’ve all been hearing rave reviews of Freeman’s preseason and at his price he remains high on my list of potential rookies. Given his 2014 season write-off and the fact that last Thursday was his first AFL game, he can be forgiven for a fairly quiet appearance. Now that he’s got a taste I’m looking forward to watching Collingwood’s next preseason game against Carlton. I reckon he’ll bounce back into everyone’s radar – he’s a strong kid (184cm/85kg) and has been in the leading pack during Collingwood’s preseason time trials. Not only does Freeman have good endurance, he’s also fast and was a great clearance player as a junior. I hope he remains injury free as he has the attributes of Patrick Dangerfield and may reach similar SC scoring in a few years – balls on the line cause I like to make big calls occasionally.
- Nathan Brown BACK, $146.9K – NAB SC Score 62 (41 DT). He’s hardly a rookie but he’s definitely priced appropriately. Given the likely lack of playing rookie-priced defenders he remains an option…a very risky option with an unfortunate injury history and a low ceiling. Look, if he played Collingwood’s first two games and scored 60+ in each then you could consider him depending on who you might be moving on and whether the cash allows a more useful trade. Low on my radar but jeez he was a bloody great defender when on the park early days. I sincerely hope Brown gets on top of his injuries.
- Adam Oxley DEF, $123.9K – NAB SC Score 34. Oxley was subbed into the game at half time so his 34 points were respectable at his price. Oxley was taken as the 34th selection in the 2013 rookie draft and is still relatively light in frame. 2014 was a write-off due to injury but in 2013 he played 16 VFL games where he averaged over 21 disposals and was impressive enough to be elevated onto the senior list. Keep in mind.
Special mentions (players that just fall outside rookie-price): Ben Kennedy – he’s a good egg with FWD/MID eligibility and could explode this year. I’m on him like a rash.
- Jed Anderson MID, $141.4K – NAB SC Score 110. Wow! What an impressive performance against the Pies; 26 disposals, four marks, two tackles, a free, a goal and even a hit out (haha), he can do it all. Strong suggestions out of Hawthorn that he is easily a best 22 player and has had a super preseason. Jed was a NT zoned player that GWS recruited for their TAC Cup team where he won All-Australian selection in 2011. He was traded to Hawthorn in exchange for Stephen Gilham in 2013 (looks like the Hawks win another trade). Anderson was good enough in his debut year to be selected for Hawthorn’s first final, and his non-sub-affected scores for the year were 46 (first full game), 92 and 78. I’m tipping this guy will be in 95% of teams come round 1, and a season average of 75+ won’t surprise me at all. In fact, I’m making an early call – he’ll average 87 exactly. Another opening for Badger-bashing in the future…
- Alex Woodward MID, $197.8K – NAB SC Score 73. Another impressive performance from one of Hawthorn’s younger players. Woodward had 12 disposals (8 contested) and a game high six tackles along with two frees for. He loves to fight for the contested ball and having Sam Mitchell as a mentor won’t hurt his chances of becoming a bloody good player. After two knee reco’s Woodward managed to play 16 VFL games in 2014 and was rewarded the VFL’s best and fairest. If he’s named round one I’d be happy to pay nearly $200K for him.
- Billy Hartung MID, $195.8K – NAB SC Score 55. At just 68 kilos and winning most of his ball on the outside, Hartung is just the sort of player I typically cross off my team list. If he was closer to $100K and could avoid the vest I’d consider. That said though, I think he’ll be a jet in a few years’ time.
- Jared Hardisty MID, $103.9K – NAB SC Score 51. A ball magnet as a junior with high disposal efficiency and a body ready for AFL (179cm/88kgs). Apart from those positives, he’s a rookie trying to fight his way into one of the best teams this decade. If he played for Melbourne or GWS for example, I’d take the punt. He could end up a trade down target if he strings together a few games into the season. I hope so.
- James Sicily FWD, $123.9K – NAB SC Score 52. If anger and intensity scored SC points then Sicily would be a top 5 player for sure. Unfortunately, when you have Breust and Gunston in the team only injury or rest will see Sicily play consistent game time. According to Hawks supporters he’s had a great preseason but I think there are better forward rookies available. Dermie loves him and I suspect JS will get sporadic opportunities this year.
- Tom Lamb FWD, $117.3K – NAB SC Score 13 (subbed on at halftime). Just four disposals in a half of footy against Carlton’s reserves doesn’t bode well for Lamb as an SC selection. He’s got a history of inconsistency and seems a project player, and project players take time. On a positive note he has both the size and endurance to play straight away, and I can see him developing into a very good player in the future.
- Patrick Cripps MID, $211.4K – NAB SC Score 78. A lot of positive talk about young Cripps coming out of Carlton. They could certainly use another consistent inside mid and Cripps fits the bill big time. A contested possie rate of 68% shows a willingness to do the dirty work. He’s also monster sized for a MID (193cm and 91kg), and with Brock McLean retired and Juddy likely to spend more time forward, Cripps will play 20+ games and should score well. For me, I’d prefer to pay north of $200K for a big-bodied or experienced “rookie” with a high ceiling and lots of game time – Cripps fits the bill. He’s in.
- Matthew Dick DEF/MID, $123.9K – NAB SC Score 35. Just nine disposals against the Eagles and a poor 44% disposal efficiency. As a dual position rookie available in the backline he’s definitely worth considering. He comes from a great system (Swans) and has the pace that the Blues need. I wonder if the Swans might have regretted delisting Matthew Dick prior to finding out Malceski was off to the Suns. Either way, I think he’ll get games and he’s a big body (187cm/86kg) fully fit for his third preseason. A big improvement in NAB 2 would have him back on the rader.
- Blaine Boekhorst MID, $132.3K – NAB SC Score 29. A mature aged rookie taken with a high pick screams “put me in your SC team!” more often than not. Admittedly, he had an average first up hit out against the Eagles, but his dashing run past two opposition players and kick into the Blues forward 50 showed a glimpse of what Boekhorst is capable of. His disposal efficiency has been a highlight throughout 2014 and I remain convinced he’ll play plenty of games. I’ve still got him pencilled in.
- Tom Fields DEF, $102.4K – NAB SC Score 26. Subbed off during the third quarter, Fields had a relatively quiet game playing key defence. His disposal efficiency of 66% was down on his 2014 SANFL numbers (a touch under 80%) and he’ll want to find a little more of the ball in game two of the NAB Challenge. Still, he kept Lycett to no goals when the West Coast ruckman was forward, and he could get games for the Blues as a ready-made Defender depending on injuries and teammates performances. I’d say that the only Key Defenders that are locks for Carlton are Jamison and Rowe (what a brilliant turnaround in Rowe’s career). With White playing forward occasionally, Jaksch yet to prove himself and Everitt playing all over the ground, Fields is a chance at some game time if promoted off the rookie list.
- Clem Smith MID, $117.3K – NAB SC Score 17. A dismal score for someone who played most of the game. However…the Blues didn’t get the ball into their forward line all that much and when they did the delivery was average. He’s a versatile player having been used across the whole ground in his junior years as well as the 2014 WAFL season, and he likes the contest with plenty of experience playing against bigger bodies. The Blues will likely throw him forward alongside Troy Menzel (who may get additional midfield minutes) – especially with the departure of Garlett (and of course Betts the year prior). It’s a shame we can only select Smith as a MID as I currently have a few others ahead of him. Nice price though and worthy a place in your team if picked round 1.
- Dylan Viojo-Rainbow DEF, $117.3K – NAB SC Score 3. Didn’t get onto the park until late in the third but just one disposal hardly fills us with confidence. He’s a big enough body to cope with the rigours of AFL and I hope he bounces back in NAB 2. With the likes of Tuohy, Yarran, Kade Simpson, Docherty and Walker running the ball out of defence, it’ll be hard for the Rainbow-man to get consistent game time but you never know. Perhaps Walker will go forward again with Simpson spending time in the midfield along with Docherty.
Special mentions (players that just fall outside rookie-price): Kristian Jaksch – he’d be a somewhat risky pick and his ceiling would be fairly average, but Carlton did target him and he should play plenty of games. He averaged nine disposals last year along with 5+ spoils, is performing well in his third preseason. And he has the size (195cm/84kg) – I like size!
- No rookie priced players put their hand up as yet, and with Beams and Christensen coming in (as well as Rich rejoining the team) the low-priced Brisbane options are few and far between. Perhaps NAB 2 we’ll see someone bob up. Hopefully Liam Dawson gets a run.
Special mentions (players that just fall outside rookie-price): Brent Staker – at under $250K he’s definitely worth considering. Brisbane is very short of competitive tall forwards and Staker will play if fit. He’s also capable of high scores and will consistently deliver 70+ when injury-free. A risk I agree, but depending on his preseason and fitness going into round one, perhaps a risk worth taking. It worked for me in 2010 where he managed 22 games a respectable average of 87.6. You never know – he could do this again.
- Paddy McCartin FWD, $222.3K – NAB SC Score 62. It was a good hit out for McCartin in his first competitive outing for the Saints. A future gun for sure, and could potentially make an impact against the lower sides this year. But at north of $220K, as a young key position player (admittedly he’s a monster for an 18 year old at 194cm and an impressive 96kg) and with the Saints young midfield unlikely to provide silver service with potential low forward entry numbers, I can’t see Paddy making my team.
- Ahmed Saad FWD, $151.1K – NAB SC Score 41. Welcome back Ahmed Saad! Saad is a decent small forward and at a touch over $150K is worthy of selection if promoted off the rookie list. Saad can regularly score 80-90 SC points when on song but he needs to find a bit more ball to lock in a best 22 spot – the Saints are rebuilding and Alan Richardson will be pumping games into the kids. Saad could be competing for a specialist forward role against the likes of Saunders, Markworth, Templeton, Minchington, Membrey and Lonie. I’ll be waiting until round 3 teams are announced before considering.
- Blake Acres MID, $220.7K – NAB SC Score 46. I generally like a second year former top 20 draft pick that’s still priced low but I’m not convinced Acres will see game time without risk of the vest or injury. He was okay in NAB 1 with nine disposals, 77% efficiency and just 68% game time. Consider.
- Tim Membrey FWD, $172K – NAB SC Score 28. Kicked the first goal but only managed six possies across 83% game time. Not a great sign but Membrey remains firmly in my sites. He’s come from a good system up north (Swans) and posted some exceptional and consistent scoring in the NEAFL (yeah yeah, I’m told NEAFL stats are worthless but at least Membrey found the pill and the goals). I reckon there’s room for TM to lock in a spot in the Saints forward-line and at 188cm, 89kg and onto his third preseason he’s ready-made.
- Jack Lonie FWD, $117.3K – NAB SC Score 54. Lonie started as sub against the Lions and came on late in the second quarter. An impressive SC score from just 59% game time and a tidy 71% disposal efficiency. I remain slightly concerned with putting 18 year olds that weigh less than 70kg into my SC side – generally, they don’t get a lot of game time nor win their own ball. However, based on Lonie’s junior career he could prove the exception to the rule and the Saints will give him plenty of games (with nice green and red vests thrown in).
More to come over the next few days…
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