Rookie Review – 2024 AAMI Community Series

Written by Chillo on March 4 2024

Drought, what drought? It’s a veritable rookie flood in 2024!

The AAMI Community Series is many things to many people, but for Supercoach it’s our first (and only) real look at the cornerstone of every Supercoach team, the rookies. Who will be the new blood that generates that sweet, sweet cash for us, while also providing valuable onfield point scoring in the crucial early stages of the season? Is there another Harry Sheezel lurking in the rookie ranks who might become that most precious of commodities, the rookie keeper?

Grab a coffee, because here’s a comprehensive review of every aspiring cash cow that ran around last week. For reference, the price cut-off for rookies is the $207,300 that is always assigned to the number one draft pick – this year, known as “The Reid Line”.

Collingwood v Richmond

In the Nank’s absence, Sam Naismith ($123,900 ruc) was given the keys to the Tigers’ engine room and gave a good account of himself with 13 disposals and 11 hitouts for 87 pts.
Josh Gibcus ($150,700 def) didn’t see much of the footy (8 disposals), but a game high 11 one percenters still got him to a respectable score of 62.

The much-discussed Finlay Macrae ($152,600 fwd) was the night’s disappointment, only coming into the game late in the third quarter but still managing 10 touches in that time for his 29 points.
Tiger cub Tom Brown ($154,200 def) with 55 points, and Pies key def Charlie Dean ($123,900) with 47 (from only 36% TOG) also gave promising performances.

Reef McInnes ($123,900 fwd), Harvey Harrison ($180,000 fwd), Steely Green ($123,900 fwd), Seth Campbell ($123,900 fwd) and Mykelti Lefau ($102,400 fwd) all recorded low numbers and are not Supercoach-relevant. 

Carlton v Melbourne

Caleb Windsor ($180,300 mid/fwd) has caught the eye of plenty this pre-season and did some good things again, managing a couple of nice snags off the wing for 77 pts.
Bailey Laurie ($125,200 fwd) has questionable job security but was effective again in a variety of roles with 17 touches and 4 marks for 58 pts.

I really don’t know where Orazio Fantasia ($175,900 fwd) stands in the Blues’ pecking order at the moment and this game was not helpful. 9 disposals in 82% TOG for 36 pts.
There was a bit of excitement around Blake Howes ($123,900 def), probably because he’s an actual rookie-priced defender, but he had limited opportunities and finished with 6 touches and 44 pts.

Jaxon Binns ($123,900 mid), Billy Wilson ($117,300 def/mid), Kynan Brown ($102,400 mid/fwd), Will Verrall ($123,900 ruc), Koltyn Tholstrup ($153,300 fwd) were all given a chance to stretch their legs in the final quarter. And that is all.

Notable DNP: Marty Hore ($123,900 def) is still at 16% ownership. If you’re one of those, it’s time to hit the ejector seat button.

Brisbane v Sydney

Matt Roberts ($156,800 mid) has been making a pig of himself in the VFL for a couple of years and I reckon (hope) now is his time. Hit an even ton in this game with 18 touches and 377 metres gained off the halfback line.
Kai Lohmann ($150,900 fwd) was dynamic on the wing and could hardly have been more impressive….but will he be there in round 1? 16 disposals and six tackles for 99 points.

Corey Warner ($123,900 fwd), younger brother of the Chad, was given an opportunity and looked the goods with 60 pts but will likely start the year in the twos.
James Tunstill ($123,900 fwd) is probably another rung down the selection ladder from Lohmann but was also very good, totalling 59 pts from ten touches and 4 tackles.

Caleb Mitchell ($123,900 def/mid), Will Edwards ($123,900 def), James Madden ($123,900 def) and Henry Smith ($123,900 ruc/fwd) managed a handful of points between them in limited game time.
Veteran defender Darcy Gardiner ($187,800 def) was played as a key forward for some reason and had three disposals.

Gold Coast v Greater Western Sydney

Every year Supercoach throws a curveball and this year’s edition is 30 year old Alex Sexton ($133,400 fwd) being reinvented as a halfback distributor. Absolutely filthy game with 31 touches, 11 marks and 125 points. He should be everyone’s F6.
I really enjoyed the game of Giants draftee Harvey Thomas ($117,300 mid/fwd), who showed great intent and no shortage of skill. His 72 points included nine contested possies and 6 tackles, and he should be pencilled in as a downgrade option for later in the season.

Josh Fahey ($136,500 mid) did his usual thing full of left-footed goodness mixed with some questionable decision making. Only 49 points but potentially a huge ceiling, so keep an eye out!
Aaron Cadman ($127,600 fwd) means business this year and with the Giants’ friendly early draw, he might be worth a punt at F8. 13 touches, a goal and also 4 hitouts in this game.
Jacob Wehr ($123,900 mid) will probably need injuries to get a game but impressed again with 12 disposals at 75% efficiency for 55 points.
Thomas Berry ($163,500 fwd) did some nice things as he usually does for his 54 points. Can’t have him in your team though.

Bodhi Uwland ($137,100 def) is playing that awful lockdown small defender role, Toby McMullin ($123,900 fwd) ran around like a maniac for the last quarter, and Leek Aleer ($123,900 def) was solid enough at the back. None of these three should be in your Supercoach team.

Essendon v Geelong

Jhye Clark ($123,900 mid) was honestly terrific with 17 touches at 94% efficiency and a team-high 10 contested possessions, but only 69% TOG. Why does Chris Scott hate rookies? Fingers crossed that Jhye is there when the real stuff starts.
I had doubts about Zach Reid ($123,900 def) and his Supercoach viability, but he was super solid and Ridley’s possible absence may also work in his favour. 92% TOG and a game-high 4 intercept marks enabled him to gather 80 points and he is a great bench option in your backline.

Ollie Dempsey ($148,400 fwd) played on a wing and nailed it! 15 disposals, 6 marks, 322 metres gained and 93 points. Yet another forward rookie to add to the pile, although possibly lacks the job security of other similarly-priced options.

Shannon Neale ($201,200 fwd) is very tall, Oisin Mullin ($153,400 def) is very fast.
Shaun Mannagh ($117,300 mid/fwd) remains a very popular Supercoach selection but didn’t get on the field until the last quarter. Even though he was terrific in that time, I think we need to look elsewhere.

Fremantle v Port Adelaide

Perennial vest candidate Jackson Mead ($199,800 mid/fwd) was the primary beneficiary of Zak Butters leaving the field early in the first quarter. 21 disposals at 95% efficiency and a game-high 10 score involvements pushed Mead to 112 points, one of the best rookie performances of the week. But is it an accurate indication of his season to come?

Jordon Sweet ($158,700 ruc) was a watch in the ruck and he basically shared that role with fellow recruit Soldo. 62 points from 43% TOG is nothing to sneeze at and he is certainly an R3 contender.
Jase Burgoyne ($179,700 def) saw plenty of it but I’m still not convinced he’s best 22 despite a 20-disposal, 69-point night.
We were probably hoping for more from Jeremy Sharp ($123,900 mid), but given he missed last week with illness maybe his 51 points wasn’t so bad? Job security seems pretty reasonable and he definitely has a role on that wing.
Patrick Voss ($123,900 fwd) is a big unit and one to watch out for, but possibly not for Supercoach despite a 75 in this game.
Oscar McDonald ($123,900 def) the journeyman had a nice game (70 points from 12 touches at 100% and seven one percenters), but is a “break-glass” option only.

Matt Taberner ($172,100 fwd) is super cheap for someone so experienced, but look elsewhere.
Cooper Simpson ($117,300 mid/fwd) has big wraps, but not big scoring (yet). Possibly worth a thought at M11 as a swinging loophole option, as he will likely get games at some stage this year and Freo frequently play on Sunday arvo.
Karl Worner ($134,100 def), Liam Reidy ($123,900 ruc), and Josh Draper ($123,900 def) were rarely sighted and should not be in your team.

Adelaide v West Coast

Quite a few jumped off the Harley Reid ($207,300 mid/fwd) train after a quiet first outing last week, but the top pick was a lot more impressive against the Crows with 20 touches and 88 points. Reid got a lot more mid time this week and looks to be a safe pick for cash gen, albeit a slow-burning one.

The Eagles gave a lot of fringe players a run but none particularly stood out. Campbell Chesser ($199,600 mid), Loch Rawlinson ($102,400 mid/fwd), Coen Livingstone ($102,400 ruc/fwd), Callum Jamieson ($199,000 fwd), Harry Barnett ($123,900 ruc/fwd), and Tyrell Dewar ($123,900 fwd), can all be safely avoided.
Will Hamill ($144,100 def), surprisingly for me at least, only came on late in the last quarter and, unsurprisingly, didn’t record many stats.

Notable DNP: Daniel Curtin ($175,800 def/mid) needs to come out of your team now, as he appears to have been tagged “further development required” by the Crows.

Hawthorn v Western Bulldogs

Ryley Sanders ($184,800 mid) had 30 touches, including 10 contested and 10 score involvements, and looks like he’s been playing for years. Lock, lock, lock.
Henry Hustwaite ($184,400 mid) was heavily involved in the first half but sort of faded out of the game as the Dogs midfield got going. Still managed a very respectable 84 points from his 17 disposals and should be strongly considered for M7/8 if named for round 1.

Everyone loves an SSP selection and Ethan Phillips ($102,400 def) looked okay in his key defensive post, managing 56 points. Obviously he’s super cheap, and with the Hawks’ ongoing injury carnage he should be a decent shout at D8.
The Hawks are loaded with small forwards this year, and in amongst all that draftee Nick Watson ($189,300 mid/fwd) may struggle to justify his elevated price tag. Good player though! 53 points, including six score involvements.
Looks to me like Nick Coffield ($123,900 def) and Buku Khamis ($123,900 fwd) might be duking it out for one spot on the Dogs’ halfback line this season. Both scored in the 50s in this game and were good at different times. Absolute coin toss as to who Bevo gives the nod to for round 1.

Harvey Gallagher ($123,900 fwd) was prominent in the first quarter but rarely sighted thereafter. Likely makes way for Macrae.
Bodie Ryan ($117,300 def) and Max Ramsden ($123,900 fwd) were on limited game time and are not Supercoach-relevant.

Notable DNP: Sam Darcy ($123,900 fwd) played VFL, which was a bit disappointing. Currently running at 20% ownership.

North melbourne v st kilda

All eyes (from a Supercoach perspective) were on number two pick Colby McKercher ($202,800 mid) in this game, currently in 64% of teams. While he couldn’t quite live up to that standard, 17 possessions and 55 points was adequate and you won’t be dropping him based on that.
Charlie Lazzaro ($181,100 mid/fwd) ran through the midfield and, while his use of the footy was haphazard at times, I think there’s enough there to justify a spot in your forward line. 21 disposals at 66%, five tackles and 68 points.
The big story out of this game though was draftee running machine Darcy Wilson ($130,800 mid/fwd), who racked up 24 touches and 10 marks on the wing for 106 points. Who knows what Ross The Boss is thinking at the best of times, but on form Wilson gets a spot on the wing in round 1 and is very close to a lock for your team.

Toby Pink ($123,900 def) played fullback and somehow scored 70 points. Don’t ask me, I don’t know either. Decent shout for your def bench though.
Zane Duursma ($193,800 mid/fwd) showed a heap of class in compiling 14 touches and a couple of very impressive goals for his 81. I still doubt his scoring power, but not as much as I did last week?
Bigoa Nyuon ($123,900 fwd) was the pleasant surprise here after coming across from the Tigers in the pre-season. 15 possies at 93% and five marks equated to 87 points, a very nice return and one to watch out for on the round 1 teamsheets.

Arie Schoenmaker ($117,300 def) looks a likely type and racked up a heap of uncontested ball, however overall wasn’t all that impressive. But Jimmy Webster is set for a long holiday, so don’t dismiss just yet.
Hugo Garcia ($117,300 mid/fwd) was great in the first quarter but unsighted after the first interval.
The wonderfully named Lance Collard ($117,300 fwd) came on late and missed a difficult shot at goal.


That obviously adds up to a serious case of information overload, even for the most hardened data freaks out there. So I’ve taken the liberty of compiling my completely unofficial Rookie Rankings, which are based partly on numbers but also a significant portion of intuition and speculation (and vague concepts such as job security, scoring power, etc). Take the following with a grain of salt or as gospel, the choice is yours!


  1. Zach REID (ESS)
  2. Josh GIBCUS (RIC)
  3. Nick COFFIELD (WBD)
  4. Toby PINK (NTH)
  5. Ethan PHILLIPS (HAW)

Disclaimer: I’ve listed six players but I’m aiming to pick only three of these in my team maximum. I think everyone’s well aware of the rookie shortage in the backline this year and my best advice is to structure your teams accordingly. I like the look of Reid, Gibcus is a bench-only option, and hopefully Coffield gets a decent run at it after those awful injuries.


  1. Ryley SANDERS (WBD)
  2. Colby MCKERCHER (NTH)
  3. Henry HUSTWAITE (HAW)
  4. Matt ROBERTS (SYD)
  5. Jhye CLARK (GEE)
  6. Jeremy SHARP (FRE)
  7. Jacob WEHR (GWS)
  8. Josh FAHEY (GWS)

Sanders has muscled his way into the Dogs midfield and the top spot on this prestigious ladder. McKercher is set for a role in the Roos backline and Hustwaite has looked composed so far this year. The others I am less convinced about for varying reasons, but fingers crossed a few of them hang around long enough to do a job.


  2. Jordon SWEET (PTA)

As usual, this list is brief and held together with sticky tape. Naismith’s output is almost completely dependent on Nankervis’ foot injury, while Sweet’s role remains unclear in what may be, at best, a dual-ruck setup with Soldo. If you’re looking for an active R3 though, there’s your lot.


  1. Alex SEXTON (GCS)
  2. Harley REID (WCE)
  3. Darcy WILSON (STK)
  4. Caleb WINDSOR (MEL)
  5. Charlie LAZZARO (NTH)
  6. Zane DUURSMA (NTH)
  7. Kai LOHMANN (BRL)
  8. Nick WATSON (HAW)
  9. Aaron CADMAN (GWS)
  10. Buku KHAMIS (WBD)
  11. Oliver DEMPSEY (GEE)
  12. Finlay MACRAE (COL)
  13. Bailey LAURIE (MEL)

This is clearly where all the action is on the rookie front this season, and also the area I have least certainty in. Having said that, I have locked in the first four players on the list and feel reasonably comfortable about it. Macrae unfortunately looks set to vest it up again (at best) for the Pies, while the rest have question marks against their job security and/or scoring ability.

Bear in mind that we get four more games in the Zero Round to have a look at (some of) these players. That’s four more games worth of data which could make or break your season, but don’t forget that it’s also important to consider the players who won’t be playing next week. Don’t let the idle ones drop off your radar! Good luck.


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21 thoughts on “Rookie Review – 2024 AAMI Community Series”

  1. Great to see the articles are back and something to read in the morning. Looking forward to another great year from you guys!

    My only doubt with Sanders in the Bevo effect. Macrae hasn’t played due to injury, so would him coming back in affect Sanders in any way? Not sure where Macrae would play because of Bevo.


    1. Yes it is possible. I look at the Dogs midfield though, and I reckon they need a bit of a refresh. Libba 32 this year, Treloar 31, Macrae 29, Bont 28.

      Macrae’s involvement had a notable decline last year and I think that trend will continue this year, especially after his interrupted pre-season. Just a hunch, it’s all speculation at this point…


      1. they have gone and added Harmes, not really a step in the right direction.

        I saw Harmes was playing the ‘Macrae’ role on the weekend, i think when Macrae is back it is Harmes who gets the shove. I think Saunders TOG will drop


    1. I knew I would miss at least one somewhere….

      Yeah, played quite well on Saturday but I think Rhylee West keeps him out of the best 23. Again though, I need to qualify that: it is Bevo.


  2. With the depth of forward rookie options, does anyone see value in running Reid, Windsor, Lazaro, Sexton on field, with Wilson and say Cadman on the bench?

    If ever there was a year that 6 forward rookies were viable, it may be this year.


  3. Phenomenal stuff Chillo.

    One of the most important articles of the pre-season.

    As someone who doesn’t get to watch a lot of footy anymore… this is fantastic.


  4. Is McKercher a must have at that price? If they’re going to have Fisher and Sheezel racking up so much out of defence will McKercher find enough of it to justify his price tag? Something to ponder


    1. I really hope so! I am banking on him getting DPP and moving him into defence in R7.
      I like the mid rookies like Sharp Roberts and Clark onfield more than Pink or Reid. Maybe more than Coffield, though I think we are all hoping he can be a respectable D6. I guess if it’s not McKercher, then it could be Roberts (and at a pinch Fisher if you are running that way), but McKercher is my main hope.

      Given we have best 18 for 4 of the first 6 rounds, having weaker defence rookies is less of a problem. So we get some relief. But in R7, it will be nice to have that answer.


  5. Have just read on AFL website that Blake Howes 123k defender will debut this week.

    We do get a week to see how he goes. Plus get to see if he gets picked in r1.


  6. Great work Chillo!
    On one hand it’s great to see so many relevant rookies but on the other it makes it that much tougher to start the right ones


  7. Not sure I could remotely cope in SuperCoach without great summaries like this. Much appreciated


  8. Gold.
    Super interested in McNeil. Hoping he holds West out.
    Lots of nice <$130k options in def and fwd just a shame most look like low scorers.



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