Before you continue, like I said, do yourself a favour and grab yourself a coffee. You’ll thank me later.
Last year there were 11 forward rookies who played 2+ games in NAB and averaged over 60, this year, only 4. So it looks like scoring potential and cash gains are going to be a little down on previous years.
It’s not all bad news though, we were offered a smorgasbord of rookies over the JLT series to have a look at, with 35 rookies getting 2 or 3 games. Much more than the other lines at least. This means we’ll likely have more choices up forward than other lines and it’ll be the line where peoples rookies differ, so making the right choices will put you on the front foot from the start.
Without further ado, lets get stuck into it.
GWS traded very aggressively over the free agent period to secure pick 2 so they clearly knew who they wanted to get. The result, Tim Taranto, and he had a stellar pre-season campaign averaging 89 over over his 3 appearances. Rightfully so (even if it possibly did come down to injuries), he has been rewarded with a Rd1 debut and found out Tuesday morning before training. He called his father in Texas to tell him the good news and low and behold, the club had already let him know and he has already organised to fly over and watch his son in his debut match, well played GWS and God bless. Now the question is, is he worth the price tag? He needs to score an average of 80 to make 150k by Rd10, although a couple of timely 90 would see him reach that earlier. How long is he going to play though with Delideio, Whitfield and Coniglio to still come back? That, I cannot answer but he should get a fair crack at if for ~5 weeks at a minimum if he performs. At least if he is dropped, he has a nice price tag where you could do an easy downgrade to bank some cash. Something that is often overlooked in the “too expensive” rookie category.
Kayne Turner turned up to the party in JLT3 to boost his average 65 across the 3 games off 81% TOG as he averaged 6 kicks, 4 handballs, 2 marks, 3 tackles and 2 goals over the series. He comes with a price tag that is a little pricey however Brad Scott has said bar injury, he should play 22 games this year (as much as his word is worth). Has been a vest candidate in the past and in games where he has played more than 50% TOG, he has averaged 62 points. This is probably what you should expect him to average over the year but if he can have a performance early on just like JLT3, he should drop his breakeven enough to increase his price quite nicely. He has scored 101 and 107 before so his potential is not as issue but has also posted scores of 12, 27 and a couple in the 40s all from 60%+ TOG so be prepared for a bumpy ride.
Cam McCarthy has filled the missing piece of Freo’s future full forward conundrum of the last couple of years. His job security is rock solid. There is no one else in the team who would push him out. He averaged 61 points from 85% TOG from the 3 games from an average of 7 kicks, 2 handballs, 3 marks and 2 goals. He improved throughout the series steadily increasing his score although for him to score, he will need to take marks and kick goals. His 86 points in JLT3 came from a 6 goal performance. and Fremantle aren’t going to play Carlton every week (sorry Motts) so he is unlikely to kicks backs of 6 week in, week out. His scoring will probably be too up and down for me, but again, if you are only worried about rookies with good job security who will average in the 60s, then you can’t go past him. A massive game will see his breakeven drop and price rise which is what you are effectively after from him.
Dan Houston has been elevated to the senior list in time to make a Rd1 debut. He averaged 60 points from 74% TOG courtesy of his disposal efficiency of 86% which is SuperCoach Gold! He averaged 8 kicks, 5 handballs and 3 marks across the series. Although listed as a forward, he has been playing defence over the preseason and is looking to get early games with Pittard injured. He has Bonner breathing down his neck for the same position so his job security is questionable but good performances warrant selection.
A tell tale time that we are in dark times this year is when Ryan Schoenmakers cracks the top 5 SuperCoach averages in a position. Playing all 3 games, he had a high TOG average (83%) which meant he was able to collect points for most of game, compared to other around him who had much lower TOGs. If I were to scale his TOG up to 100%, he looks like he could max out at 72 points a game, which is not far off what you’d expect looking at his scoring history. He averaged 6 kicks, 4 handballs and 5 marks a game across the series for his average of 59. If you pick him up, expect him to plod along as a slow burn.
Schoenmakers excitement being awarded the “Possibly Fantasy Relevant” award
Aaron Black, despite his solid JLT1 game helping him average 59 for the 2 games he was apart of, he doesn’t seem to fit the current Geelong structure. They are currently experimenting with Harry Taylor up forward which might not leave a spot open for him to slot in. He did only play 50% of JLT2 and had two time All Australian defender Talia on him, so maybe, they will give him the benefit of the doubt..
Brett Eddy played all three games, albeit a late call up in JLT3, but his 5 goal performance in that game boosted his average to 59 for the series. He averaged 9 kicks, 1 handball, 4 marks and 2 goals/3 behinds for the series so certainly has some improvement if he can shake out the heebie-jeebies and straighten up his kicking. He’s been upgraded to the senior list and will debut this weekend against Sydney. His scoring will be very up and down but should have decent job security and is a worthy bench option cash cow for the forward line, especially given his basement price. I certainly wouldn’t be starting him on field, especially against Sydney this week but one to loophole if you have the option too.
Daniel Butler has been given the nod by the selection panel to debut for Richmond after impressing in his third pre-season for the club. He played all 3 JLT games but was on a downhill ski with his scores reducing each game to end up on an average of 58 points. He ended up averaging 8 kicks, 4 handballs, 2 marks, 4 tackles, 1 goal and 4 clangers (yuck!) from 80% TOG. I’m getting the annual Richmond rookie vibe from him but given Richmonds Thursday game being before extended benches are cut for Sunday, I’ll probably park him on my bench. There are worse options around.
Brandan “Vanilla” Parfitt played all 3 JLT games for an average score of 58 points from 75% TOG courtesy of an average of 8 kicks, 6 handballs, 2 marks and 2 tackles. He has handy DPP status if named and can be sat at M11 to open up a link. Sitting on the fringe of Geelongs best 22 though so he will need to perform to be able to maintain a spot in the side, but that’s like any other rookie.
Sam Durdin was drafted as a forward in 2014 but was experimentally thrown in defence in the VFL at the end of last year and looked really comfortable there. He then played defence again in the first 2 JLT games before sitting out of the third although the general consensus is he showed enough to line up Rd1. He won’t put up huge numbers as he only averaged 56 points from 81% TOG in the first 2 games.
Darcy Cameron had almost done it. It was said that he was set to debut despite only playing 52% of the JLT series. It appeared he had done enough to secure a spot given he was influential in his limited time with an average score of 55 from 6 kicks, 3 handballs, 3 marks and a goal. Then he went and lacerated his finger and will miss at least this week. Word on the street he was playing with his dog but there might be more to it, I don’t know… Anyway, after bringing him in into my team earlier in the week, sitting there all smug with the latest change I had made, I was forced to revert. For those willing to risk it, you might be inclined to start Cameron as your Rd1 loophole option with hope he plays in the next week or two. Something that I have entertained at least.
Hugh McCluggage has gone and got himself injured as well and will miss early games. Put a line through him ladies and gentlemen. It was rumoured that he didn’t want to play for the club so maybe this is his way of not getting senior games. His average of 54 points from 70% TOG didn’t have him high in the ranks for rookie options though but you never know. Pass for now and he may provide a future downgrade option if he looks good on the bubble.
Oliver Florent has just about been handed his spot on a platter with Sydney losing 3 of it’s smaller forwards in the likes of Heeney, Rohan and Papley. He offered good pace and ball use over the series averaging 54 from 65% TOG across the 3 games. Horse loves to blood a couple of rookies every year and Florent will the spotlight on him given the current circumstances. It will be his spot to lose and when the others return from their injuries/illness, Horse will find a way to make them fit if he’s shown promise, it’s just what he does.
Teia Miles is another who is wrongly positioned as he has been playing off the half bank flank with stints through the middle in all 3 JLT games. He averaged 53 points from 71% TOG from an average 9 kicks/4 handballs (86% DE), 5 marks and 2 tackles. This is his third year in the Hawthorn system so it’s make or break for him this year, especially given the turnover of older players and Burgoyne/Hodge looking to hang up the boots sooner or later.
James Stewart should be given an early run at the bombers with Luey/TBC going down with injuries, which will send McKernan to the ruck, which frees up room for another tall in the forward line and in this case, Stewart. Not going to be the biggest of scorers but should see plenty of game time early if you are after a slow burn. But how much ball will they actually see?
Troy Menzel averaged 52 across all 3 games off 70% TOG. He averaged 5 kicks, 4 handballs, 4 marks and 3 tackles. There’s not much room left in the Adelaide list and he’ll be one of many fighting it out for that last spot later on today. His price is a little on the expensive side given his JLT scores though.
Kennedy-Harris is another who could have been an outside chance of early games although his average of 51 from 69% TOG wasn’t putting his name up in lights but is now injured and will miss the start of the season.
Jarrod Pickett has already been named to debut for the Blues later on this evening. He averaged 51 points from the 3 games he played from 57% TOG which gives him a pretty respectable points per minute played for a rookie. He’s cheap, will get games and has DPP, which should be enough to entice lots of people. Definitely one to be putting on the bench though if you pick him as he will put up many low scores being a small forward for Carlton but on the right day, he’ll pop up, kick 3 goals and push his price up. Expect a slow burn though (Ugh, we’re getting into a theme here now aren’t we?).
Joshua Begley is the last of the rookies to play at least two games of the JLT series and average at least 50 points although 79% of that average cam from one performance. His score came from an average of 6 kicks, 4 handballs, 3 marks, 2 tackles and 2 goals in each appearance with half of his possessions being contested. He looks a little underdone for the AFL at the moment and had a disposal efficiency of 57% and an average 3 clangers per game. He will most likely need some time in the VFL to develop but could present as a downgrade option later in the year.
As I mentioned above, we’re now moving well and truly into the “Not going to be a massive scorer, and will rely on one fantastic performance to drop his break even enough to make serious cash.” None of the other rookies really excite me and I won’t be touching them regardless if they are named or not.
Best of luck coaches, I hope I’ve been able to steer you away from the duds and into the studs over the last 4 weeks.
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