Brods is up at the crack of dawn today to bring you the Lions engine room. And it seems to be a story of the R’s – Rockliff, Redden, Rich, and Rorko. OK that last one should, of course, be Dayne Zorko*.
Tom Rockliff, $615,600, 20, 112.1
Reigning B & F smashed it in the last part of the 2011 season. Added 27 tackles in the final two games to further improve his scoring in the final rounds. I don’t see him slowing down but the further emergence of his fellow midfielders could cost him a few points but he has a knack of being where the ball is and that’s a bonus. Easily gets a guernsey in my side every other year… this year I’ll be upgrading to him.
Jack Redden, $557,600, 22, 109.2
‘Jack Who’ often gets bandied around when his name is mentioned but the numbers don’t lie and he’s done even more over the pre-season to condition his body to adhere to the rigours of AFL footy. Not shy of a clearance and will take on even more of the load now that Power is gone and with Rich copping the tag each week, his average is a big chance to improve and would be a massive POD to the likes of Selwood, Judd, Murphy and Boyd with a minimum of risk.
Daniel Rich, $459,800, 16, 80.9
Rich will have a better year if Redden and Rockliff cop the tag every other week but it’s not hard to fathom that opposition coaches think he is also the most likely to turn a game while Rockliff and Redden are the accumulators without doing a great amount of irreparable damage. His last two games of 2011 perhaps indicate that he’s due to breakout in 2012 when he returned three figure scores against West Coast and Sydney. If he stays fit he’s clearly capable of big scores it’s just a question of consistency and if he’s able to cope with the weight of expectation of supercoaches across the land.
Sam Docherty, $141,600, Rookie (Def)
The Lion’s second choice in the 2011 draft (12) has been playing amongst men since the age of 15. Here’s hoping Michael Voss doesn’t just ‘have a look’ at Docherty early in the season and then send him back to the reserves to work on aspects of his game as per Jared Polec last season. That, aside from injury, is the only thing stopping Docherty from earning you some good early season cash. His DPP status is also working in his favour over the guys taken above him in the draft. If you wanted Jed Adcock for a fraction of the price he’s your man.
Dayne Zorko, $113,200, Rookie (Fwd)
In just about everyone’s team you would think as his DPP status is extremely appealing. Traded in from Gold Coast’s pre-selections as another mature aged recruit, he’ll slot in nicely with Patty Karnezis in the Lion’s forward line. Size was perhaps the reason he was missed in the draft back in 2008 despite being a ball magnet in the TAC competition yet he has won the last 4 B & F awards with QAFL side Broadbeach since then. It’s hard to see him not getting a round 1 berth if his NAB Cup/Challenge form is encouraging.
Keep an eye on:
Jared Polec, $274,700, 3, 62.3
Taken at 5 in the 2010 draft Polec was put in mothballs for most of his debut season with the Lions but still managed to impress garnering 11 possessions in his first quarter of senior footy. Aside from the aforementioned spell from the seniors, injury also played it’s part in keeping him on the sidelines missing most of the second half of the season with a medial ligament strain. His starting price is a little offputting but should make great strides if he remains injury free in 2012.
Callum Bartlett, $113,200
Drafted with the Lion’s first pick in 2009 (27) after a brilliant season with the Geelong Falcons, he’s had a rotten run with injury and only returned to reserves action late last season where he enjoyed his most complete month of senior footy. A virtual mature age recruit, he’s stacked on 4kgs in his first uninterrupted pre-season since being drafted and will no doubt feature in the NAB cup.
* ‘Rorko’ is something Scooby Doo used to say.
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